I got issues man

What on earth is going on?!? 

First it was a tight muscle in my back, then a pain in my chest by old issues being dragged up, and now it’s ‘women’s issues’ I thought had gone! Don’t worry, I won’t go in to detail.

Until the beginning of this week I could still run, limited because of child care but I could still get out.  Then Tuesday came and BAM – no more running.  My body is on strike!  I’ve literally fallen out with my body, with myself.  How do you fall out with yourself?!?!? 

I haven’t changed my diet, eaten anything new, done anything different so seriously – what’s your problem?  I took my youngest to soft play yesterday to meet up with a friend (part of my healthy mind plan and to tell my anxiety to do one) but at times was almost walking doubled over.  

I was sooooo glad when he napped later!

I’ve got 14 miles to run to hit my 100 for the month.  It’s not going to happen.  I’ve ran a grand total of 6.4miles this week so far.  It’s bloody hard admitting I won’t hit that target this month! But, I will still hit my 1000 miles for the year. Got to remember bigger picture.

This morning I tried some strength and core work.  Clearly I am the thickest person IN the world! Let’s do core work when your core is in bits, awesome idea!  Honestly.  I actually managed my best set of pull ups yet which I am ecstatic with – however – I then spent over half an hour in the bathroom and I’m now on the couch with pain killers, peppermint tea and a hot water bottle.  

My next race is a week yesterday.  This better be gone by then.  It’s a fast paced 5 miles and one Im really looking forward to.  

I leave you with a little D:Ream ‘Things, can only get better’.

Ha ha ha ha ha

Tough Mudder 2016

Ah, the ‘race’ that started it all.  

Last year when I had only just returned to work and was focusing on getting back to a healthy place in my mind the opportunity to take part in Tough Mudder came up.  Do something I’ve never done before, with a large group of people I didn’t really know, amongst thousands and leave my youngest for the day.  The 4 things that petrify me the most.

So naturally, this year, I did it again!

What was different though was that I was doing it with my brother and after the last few weeks it was needed.  My husband was doing it too but he was racing his brother so I had to accept when the tickets were booked I wouldn’t see him and that he had to do his own thing.  I was secretly hoping his brother would pull out or end up doing it with his wife but ultimately I knew my husbands goal was to race his brother. 

Now, my brother William, did not do any training.  Eating a kebab pizza every night and drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels does not constitute training.  Neither does his measly 4 runs.  He’s a lot bigger than me so there was no hope in me pulling him over obstacles however, he’s very much a social person so I knew he would be able to get a hand if need be.  We are complete opposites.  I hide in the shadows or literally behind someone politely saying hi but nothing much else.  He storms in a room singing some random song at the top of his voice wearing some outrageous outfit – think Ab Fab, in every way!

I had to drive the 2 and a half hours there.   Stress levels quickly elevated and the pain in my chest threatened to jump out and punch me in the face.  At least 4 times I almost pulled over to make one of the boys drive.  But, I didn’t.  First obstacle done ha ha.

We were late, shock horror.  I think it’s in our genes.  It was actually touch and go whether we would be going at all what with my dad and other things.  The plan was the 9.30 wave for Joe (husband) and 10am for my brother and I as we were also meeting some guys I ran with last year.  We didn’t make it in time and Joes brother didn’t wait for him.  As much as I wanted to do the course with him I knew he had been looking forward to beating his brother so I just kept telling him to go for it.  He’s fast, he had a good chance of catching him.  

Off to the start and the warm up and the rain started.  Big, huge drops.  No sunburn this year! We did the traditional pledge and we were off.  After about 500 yards my brothers face went a really worrying shade of blue/purple! This wasn’t good! He swore he was fine but he didn’t look it.  At the first obstacle and we were crawling through the mud under barbed wire.  His expression now ‘why am I doing this?’.  The first high wall was hard, he got a lift up the first one but he’s stubborn and insisted on doing the next himself.  I’m both surprised and impressed he did! 

On to the infamous Arctic Enema and the sharp shock of the ice cold water hit me as hard as last year.  I have to keep moving after that so I made my brother run up the hill.  To be fair he did quite well with the running.  We didn’t go fast and we stopped when he needed but only for a short period.  The longest wait was for King of the swingers, that was a good 25/30 minutes.  William was determined to hit the bell and was like a little kid waiting his turn.  He didn’t get a good hold though and slipped off.  I didn’t get it either, missed it by a whisker! 

Funky Monkey was the other one we both wanted to do.  Monkey bars and then a pole across.  Again though he slipped, the first couple being really wet.  I made it half way down the pipe before realising if I got to the end I could reach the platform anyway as I was so small so dropped in the water.  I’m still really pleased with that! 

William was a bit disappointed as we didn’t see many photographers and being the shy retiring type he is he loves getting his photo taken. The ones he did spot he was right over asking for them to take one.  Pretty sure we would have been at least 30mins faster if it wasn’t for his posing!

He banged his head on ‘Rain Man’ and cut it a little so his chant for the day ended up being ‘ain’t got time to bleed’.  When he could catch his breathe that is ha ha. No seriously he did so much better than I thought he would.  There was very little walking and I was happy to take it easy in the mud as I didn’t want to sprain my ankle now I’m back on marathon training.

We didn’t see Joe until the end but that was to be expected.  He didn’t quite catch up with his brother but he did beat him on time – also to be expected.  He ended up running with another guy I know and had chatted to at the bag drop.  He was also running solo so the pair of them teamed up for a good distance.  That’s the good thing about all of this fitness stuff – you meet so many other people and can join up like that.  

Back to the car after getting our tshirts and we headed to a service station for food as the queue at Tough Mudder was worse than it was for some obstacles and the prices were through the roof.  I needed home for the kids too so this was the fastest way.

At least it would have been had my brother not got lost!

All in all a grand day.  Not sure yet if I will do it again next year.  It didn’t feel very difficult and I am focusing more on distance running.  The atmosphere wasn’t as good this year either – not so many stewards shouting you on.  I don’t know though, never say never.

Pretty Muddy Race For Life

After what felt like the longest week in the history of long weeks I had Pretty Muddy to look forward to.  A 5km obstacle race for a charity that means a lot to not just me but many, many people.  I run Race For Life in memory of my mother in law – a remarkable woman I never had the privilege to meet.  And right now, I can’t tell you just how much I wish she was around!

My dad had his operation on Monday, it went well but he has picked up a slight chest infection.  His mood is up and down and as much as my mum says she is coping, it’s hard for her.  My chest pain hasn’t eased.  Life is difficult.  Running is the only time it doesn’t hurt.  So 5km on Saturday was just what the doctor ordered – literally! 

I picked up my friend and we had a good old gossip about kids, work and refusing to admit how old we are. (She’s older than me – by a whole year!). As we pulled in to the park there was a bit of drama over the traffic, a couple of guys got out shouting, we were stand still for a good ten minutes before things started to crawl.  It wasn’t the best.  Once parked we waited for a few more people we were running with and headed to the toilets.

The warm up was good, the sun was beginning to come out and I was finally relaxing – whilst doing high knees ha ha. Then it was straight to the start line and we were off to the familiar tune used on the adverts.  I won’t lie, I love it!!

I wouldn’t really say they were ‘obstacles’ as much as they were inflatables in the way but this race isn’t designed to test you.  It’s about getting together and doing something to fight cancer.  It was never going to be difficult and I don’t say that ignorantly, it’s just fact.  Yeah it’s hard for some but I applaud anyone who tries something new. Whether or not my friend admits it she definitely found it easy.  She runs well – she will have you believe she sucks at it but she really doesn’t.  Everyone enjoyed it and the chocolate chip bread at the end was lovely!

The drive back (when we eventually got out the park, poor organisation I’m afraid) was filled with chatter again.  I say chatter but I found myself on the receiving end of her ‘Humour’.  She finds it hard to believe I can’t touch my toes and as I was explaining how running tears your muscles she cuts me off and says she’s surprised because I am so close to them! Cheeky cow, I’m not that small!  We get on to the subject of my dad and I see her stifling a giggle through the corner of my eye.  ‘I’m so sorry’ she says, ‘but there is a cow humping another in the field behind you and it’s so funny’.  I’m telling her about my dads life saving operation and she’s laughing about 2 cows getting freaky!

But that’s what friends do.  They make you laugh when you need it the most.  They can say anything to you and you can say anything to them without fear of offending.  I needed that. 

Next year I hope my mum does it with us. She would both love it and hate it but my dad at the side cheering her on would be worth it! Tough Mudder is next weekend and they are both gutted they can’t be there.  I’m focusing on positivity though. It’s the only way to be. 

Stretching and Planning it out

After being told by the physio and numerous others I need to stretch more I’ve been working on it.  Not as much as I should but this weeks been better.  I looked up a beginners yoga guide to ease myself in to it and I have to say it’s definitely working! 

All the running has really tightened up my hamstrings and my desk job doesn’t help my back so I have to do something.  And let me tell you, not being able to do something you could do as a kid is a right slap in the face! Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I want to do the splits – as someone recently pointed out when would you need to – but touching your toes I think is a must, for me anyway.  And preferably without the groaning ha ha.

So yeah, lots of stretching has ensued, my youngest has been showing me how yoga should be done and my daughters been laughing at the side watching.  

However – below is the result!

Not quite at the toes – I can just touch them but I can’t stay there.  Legs aren’t straight enough but they are ok.  End of the day it’s an improvement.  I’m writing out a plan for the gym to incorporate more weights as I do enjoy that and it will help my core.  My core hurts and I’m telling myself it’s my abs screaming to come out – my husband thinks I’m truly mental ha ha.

Tomorrow is hill repeats at run club and I will be breaking in my new trainers!!! Cheap and cheerful ones as the vet bill robbed the bank account but I’m hoping to get the next marathon out of them.  During the day I’m hoping to get a good cycle in.  Tempted to do a long run but with hills at night not sure about that.  And then of course there is Pretty Muddy on Saturday – NOT in the new trainers.  

Photos from that should be good!

Looking back, looking forward

My dad x
In this last week my anxiety reared its ugly head in true T-Rex dinosaur style forcing me to throw my hands up and give in.  Not a fan of ‘cure by tablets’ I managed to convince my doctor to let me try and kick it through exercise and working out what’s triggered it. 

So that’s was this is – a look back.

A lot has happened, and all at once.  Difficult to know where to start.  There’s the niggle in my back and the thing with my pelvis which I’m told could cause me problems later on. I’m worried about our daughter going up to secondary school.  She has problems with reading and directions and I panic she gets lost.  Our smallest dog woke up in the middle of night shaking in pain and after a trip to the emergency vet we were told if the injection didn’t work there wasn’t anything they could do.  How do I explain that to the kids? 

Then, most importantly, there’s my dad.  We were told he needed a double heart pass and as we waited he seemed to be getting worse and worse.  I looked on it logically – a serious operation he had to have or he wouldn’t be here much longer but one that was carried out on a regular basis.  So yes very worrying but marginally small risk.  How I handle it in my head.  

It’s the knock on effect of this that has let the dinosaur loose.  My lovely mother (she’s not just my mum she is my lovely mother), is the only support we have with the children.  My dad has them for an hour or 2 if I’m desperate for a run – obviously not recently or in the near future – and my brother would be able to have them in an emergency but he works long hours and has a social life that beats the kardashians.  Point being he’s there if need be.  But that’s it, that’s all we have.  My mum has our youngest so I can work and she won’t be able to have him with my dad being in hospital and then for a period after.  She’ll be looking after my dad and doesn’t need a toddler round her ankles.  My work is very accommodating – god damn stressful and getting to me right now but can not fault my boss’s approach to things like this.  We came up with a schedule that would work for both.  This makes me feel even worse about being signed off right now.  So if it’s been organised with work why did it come back?  Well, figuring out when I could work and juggling everything over the month reminded me of what we don’t have.  It’s difficult to write without going in to detail but it gets to me.  It was the same when our youngest broke his leg, it was my mum only who was there.  So things haven’t, and aren’t going to change.  

My lovely mum x

We have an event coming up very soon also and it’s a cold, harsh reminder of the situation.  My husband is doing Tough Mudder with his brother – they are racing – and I begged and begged my brother to do it with me (much to my parents delight).  There’s now a high chance my mum won’t be able to look after the kids therefore one of us can’t do it.  It’s an expensive event so that’s a lot of money wasted and bearing in mind emergency vets fees aren’t cheap it’s a slap in the face.  My husband has been talking about beating his brother in this race for a while.  If I don’t go my brother has no one else to do it with.  It’s hitting me hard right now because I use exercise and pushing myself like this to keep my anxiety at bay.  Irony in its finest form. 

I could go on but in a nutshell that’s it.  If I keep thinking about it all my chest is never going to loosen up and the doctor will insist on putting me back on tablets.  My dad had the operation yesterday and this morning we have been told everything looks ok and so far no complications.  They kept him sedated all night and are bringing him round now.  I will get to see him tonight.

I have devised a stretching and yoga plan which I am sticking to.  My husband and I now have a training board up so we can each fit in what we need to do.  I’ve met with my running coach and I’m taking the first steps towards my next marathon with his help.  The dog is ‘OK’.  It’s a case of wait and see.  She’s had to have another lot of pain killers. 

This post will very quickly be followed up with another – and it WILL be positive.  As I’ve said before it wouldn’t be a genuine blog if I wasn’t honest about the downs.  I’m determined to overcome this with exercise and not drugs.  I know it works, it has worked.  Everyone has set backs, but I’m going to use it as something to learn from. 

Gung Ho – Edinburgh

Today there was no park run.  There was an early morning train through to Edinburgh with my mum and my daughter to go and spend some much needed quality time and have some fun! 

We truly are a beautiful family

I had spotted Gung Ho a few months ago and after suggesting it to my daughter she didn’t stop going on about it – she was really excited.  So I contacted SAMH who were the charity partner and signed up (they are also the charity I ran my first marathon for).  It’s a 5km obstacle course of inflatables and a little foam at the end. 

My dad is going into hospital in a few days for a double heart bypass so right now he is understandably grumpy and on edge.  My mum needed a little break before it happens and to take her mind off it so she came along – plus she loves all this! My dad can’t manage anything right now so he stayed at home and watched football – trust me he was happy!

I have to say the day went well from my organisational skills point of view! I bought the train tickets the day before, we were there before my mum, we were 30 mins early for the train and got to Edinburgh 2 hours before our wave.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that early for anything – or so often – ever in my life!!

We walked in to the park and Lucie and I had our SAMH tops on.  A girl from the charity came running over asking if I was Ella – a fantastic welcome! She quickly followed this with ‘thank god you are that could have been awkward’.  It was Megan who has been emailing me about the couple of events I have done.  I have to say right now it’s been very difficult and my anxiety is back big time so meeting her like this really helped! It’s such a fantastic charity and everyone is so welcoming and happy doing what they do!  I will definitely be doing more for them.

We went across to the stage and found out the waves were running a little behind as someone had had a little accident but was ok.  Numerous times we were thanked for waiting which I found really nice.   Accidents happen, you can’t prevent everything.

Lucie decided to go full charge at the first obstacle and took off in front of me – she flew up it with ease and continued to run after.  In fact she ran the whole time between obstacles which I was very proud of as in other events she has struggled.  Today she did amazing!

And she’s off!

There was 10 obstacles, all inflatable but we managed to race each other on almost all of them! She beat me – on them all! She didn’t even hesitate on the really high slide one or the high jump one! No fear that girl. The foam was right at the end so naturally we had a little foam fight ha ha.

It was a little chilly but not really cold.  The running kept us warm and my mum had Oreos for us when we finished – got to love her.  We treated Lucie to a Subway for lunch and she fell asleep on the train on the way home.  

I’m hoping to get in some more fundraising money – it’s not a huge amount but it’s something.  As I said I will definitely be doing more for them.  We got an email last night wishing us luck – it’s a small charity and little things like that really make you feel they appreciate what you’re doing.  

My mum had a great day too.  She just loves chasing round trying to get photos and shouting from the side lines!  She relaxed a little too – as you can see below 🙂 Best photo of the day!

Next weekend is Pretty Muddy Race For Life with a very old friend of mine.  Another step towards getting my anxiety back under control. I’m a little nervous about it in case my chest tightens up again but I’ve got the week to work on how to overcome it. 

Hips don’t lie

Never a truer word spoken (or song sung ha ha).  I’ve had an ache in my hip since the Tay Ten.  It went away for a short period but it came back just before the marathon.  I was running ok and my last long run was fine.  At running club the Thursday before Edinburgh though it was niggling too much and I found myself skipping some of the drills.  It felt like I was almost dragging my left side.  

So after Edinburgh I knew I had to get it seen to.  I made an appointment at the physio and headed down, not really knowing what to expect.

Some typical questions ‘what exercise do you do’ , ‘what’s your occupation’ , past medical history etc etc.  I explained the ache and how long it had been there.  She explained that’s not my hip it’s my back (easy mistake if you ask me).  She asked what I was hoping she would be able to do.  I explained I didn’t really know what a physio does I had just been told I need to see one.  As you can tell, things were going well. 

I stood up and she looked at my hips and back and very quickly discovered I had a rotated pelvis.  ‘Oh I think I knew that, I had it when I was pregnant – could barely walk.  I presumed it had just gone though’.  She found this fascinating.  Unrelated to the problem but interesting to her.  She tells me I have one leg longer then the other.  Again I think I’ve been told this before but I had also thought pretty much everyone had this.  Turns out not to this extent.

On to the table and she gently pokes at my back.

I practically jump off the table.

This happened when I was pregnant.  I could have killed the physio then.  Had I not been too fat to move.

It turns out to be my Quadratus Lumborum muscle which is severely tight.  The next 10 mins are filled with my tears and screams as she tortures me claiming she’s relaxing this Harry Potter character in my body.  

She doesn’t by the way.  I walk out in severely more pain.

I’m told heat will help ease it and I’m met with amusement when I explain I have been using ice. ‘It’s not inflammatory’.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that – again – I don’t know what she means. 

A quick Google search when I get home and I educate myself on what’s wrong. It amazes me how it explains exactly how I had been feeling.  

Harry Potter deleted scenes


It’s going to be a full week of lots of stretches so when I go back next week it’s not so painful! Hips don’t lie.  Not when it’s actually you’re back that hurts ha ha.