Worms, Spots and Life

I am bored.

Actually I’m more than bored – I’m beyond bored.

What do people DO all day??

I get to about 9:30am and I’m hanging upside down off the couch contemplating what life even means.

Not dramatic at all, nope.

What’s making it worse is I’m now on taper.

Taper. Who came up with that word? Where did it come from? ‘Oh, I know, runners need to reduce their running before a big race so let’s annoy them even more by calling it a stupid name!’ Pah.

Taper.

That’s a worm!

‘Are you not running Ella?’

‘No, I’m tapering’.

‘Oh, You’ve got worms?!’

And so it goes on.

I did do a trail race at the weekend though. 4 miles, 2 loops of some difficult hills. Came 4th female!! Lost third on the last hill, gutted. First in my age category though.

Of course there was only just over 50 runners……. minor detail.

So back to the taper.

It’s very difficult when you have a lot of time on your hands. I usually end up going for a little run or heading to the gym.

Shall we talk about my new gym?

Yes. Let’s.

So naturally I’m looking for my new ‘spot’. Surprisingly for me I’m comfortable in the middle section. Usually I like to find the quietest corner and sneak in and out unnoticed. I’ve been drifting to the same locker each time too in the middle so looks like it could be ‘the one’.

However…

(Oh come on you knew it wasn’t going to be that easy).

It has become apparent that the times I like to go to the gym are the same times your older type woman does. And they like to spread their shit EVERYWHERE! The bench in the changing room is huge. I mean you could stick a mattress on it and sleep comfortably.

So why then, do these women insist on taking up the whole thing?

I’m small. My stuff is small. I have ONE bag. One. Unlike you. You have your designer handbag. Your family sized hold-all that could contain the rest of the bedroom furniture and that you empty on to the bench because, you know, why would you not need two hairbrushes, your makeup bag, your small make up bag, your hairspray, your clean clothes for after, last weeks newspaper, this weeks lottery numbers, next year’s calendar right in front of you right now?!?!

I’m not a bolshy kind of girl so I won’t even politely ask someone if they could possibly give me an inch of the bench a la Oliver Twist style. I will struggle in the tiniest of spots in front of my locker, try to get dried and changed and not drop all my stuff. Because I don’t want to be rude.

At least, that’s what I used to be like. Before I had my precious spot wrenched from under me in the most vile way. Not just a number? ‘Ok then’.

She was small. She had a huge bag. She also had two smaller bags?? She had a coat. She had a Club La Santa water bottle so in my opinion, she should have been clued up on ‘space in the changers’. She was wearing a bikini when I waddled in from the pool so she obviously wasn’t going for a proper swim. She had no goggles either. The kitchen sink yes but no goggles. Sherlock Holmes deduced she was going to the sauna. There was no room for me to even place my goggles on the bench. She somehow even managed to take up the area beside the bench as well with her locker door wide open so I was left to drip at the side blocking the walkway. After the third ‘excuse me’ of people wanting past I snapped.

This was ridiculous.

I stormed all of the two steps over to my locker, opened the door and left it wide open and put my wet goggles and water bottle on the tiniest of squares on the bench – knocking some of her stuff off. (That was an accident – but I didn’t pick it up).

She. Tutted.

So I proceeded to strip out of my swimming costume not carefully so yes, she may have gotten splashed, it’s certainly no bikini. You could probably cover a small country in the amount of material but I’m there to swim. Not prance around or pretend to workout. And I’ve found when in the changing rooms many others get very uncomfortable with nudity. I used to be one of them. Getting changed under a towel or covering myself up whilst taking one piece off and trying desperately to put another on. Now I don’t care. The faster I get changed the faster I can get to the gym or the pool and get things done. And quite frankly, if you don’t like what you see, don’t look. There are plenty of mirrors for you to stare at your own beautiful body.

She didn’t like this either. She moved some of her stuff away from me. Presumably because she thought my nakedness would infect her Louis Vuitton bag with I don’t know what but hey, it worked. I quickly dumped my Ironman bag on to what was now ‘my spot’.

Along with my Asda carrier bag. Balance and all that.

Mission accomplished. I did feel slightly triumphant but I’m also aware that by this stage I was also slightly hangry so that wouldn’t have helped. It’s done now though. And she still had at least 3 quarters of the bench.

So overall I would say tapering is going well ha ha. Sorry, my worms are going well. I’ve got my fiftieth Parkrun on Saturday which I’m running with Lorner and the clubs ten mile race on Sunday. My appointment with Mr Cardio is booked for after Manchester which means I can concentrate on GFA. I’m under strict instructions to take it easy until our chat and I’m not stupid. I know if I push it he could pull the plug on some of my events so I will heed his advice and if any symptoms start then the goal will just be the finish line.

It is what it is.

Advertisements
Championship Has Begun

Championship Has Begun

Well aren’t we all just sick fed up of this weather? It’s an absolute nightmare. Lots of disruption for everyone in all walks of life. Someone seriously needs to apologise to Elsa!

Race after race has been cancelled and if I’m honest, I thought the first Championship race would be too. Loch Katrine half marathon was one I was looking forward to but if it wasn’t to be there was nothing I could do. I checked Facebook every few minutes and Joe checked the road cameras too. We decided to make an attempt to get there but if the roads were bad we would turn back. We dropped the youngest at his grampaws with a box of toys and central heating and off we went. Porridge and banana keeping my tummy warm at least.

The roads turned out to be ok. We’ve driven in worse. The race route seemed icy and slippy though so there was a lot of debate whether it was going ahead. It was an out and back route and you had the choice of 3 distances – full marathon, half marathon or 10k. A lot of runners had not turned up so it was quite a small crowd for each one. Joe debated several times whether or not to run but I don’t think he liked the idea of waiting about for 2 hours for me so got changed.

I had had a slight panic in the car as I didn’t have a buff with me but luckily Joe found one in the bottom of his bag. Needless to say it was stinking. Eugh – did I really want to put this on? I decided if it got too much I could put it in my bag. I was taking my hydration vest because this was a ‘bring your own cup’ race and I’m practising where I can with it.

Team photo done and we were soon off. I had been well warned it was an undulating course and some more honest runners had used the words ‘killer hills’ , ‘vertical climbs’ and ‘Mount Everest’. I was under no illusion for this race. Focus on the turn around and then you’re heading home.

I should have been a rocket scientist honestly.

It wasn’t long before I heated up and the wind was keeping to a minimum. I may even have seen the sun at one point but I may also have been delusional and wearing rose tinted glasses. A lot can be said for positive thinking though. The route was gorgeous. It reminded me a lot of Loch Ness marathon – the give away probably being the fact I was running next to a Loch. In Scotland.

Rocket scientist. I’m telling you.

4 miles in and I was feeling quite chirpy. I had taken my clif shot blok and was playing the game of trying to get it out my teeth (so attractive). A little further on and the first runner Duncan was coming towards me. How does anyone run that fast? It astounds me. But I’m too lazy to push for that kind of speed and I know that. I was just pleased to get to 5.45 miles before he went by. This was the only time I checked my watched during the whole race.

By now the hill I was on was steep. I’m talking the kind you need to be wearing a nappy if you’re cycling down it! With the ultra being next month I decided to walk. After all, I’m going to have to walk the hills in that one so may as well get practising. Naturally as soon as I did another road runner went by, chasing down Duncan. Did I care he saw me walking? Not really. Well, maybe a little bit. But it was a bloomin steep hill!

Realising Joe would be along soon I picked the pace up. Club members seeing me walk is one thing but the husband seeing me walk? Not a chance! He went past soon enough and shouted the headwind when you turned was picking up. Great.

On to the turn and I gave a cheery ‘thank you’ to the marshal. The wind had picked up (just as Joe had said) and it was getting difficult trying to climb the hills. Strange, I don’t remember much of a downhill on the first half! My breathing was getting unusually heavily so I tried another clif block and took a short walk break to try and calm it down.

As soon as I started running again I was wheezing. This wasn’t like me. My chest was now hurting and that never happens when I’m running. It wasn’t the implant, I knew what that pain was, this was a tightening. As soon as another hill came I walked. Gillian went past with her trade mark bright smile and sun glasses. She was on fire!

I got to 10 miles and I knew this hadn’t been the race for me. I was weaving all across the road, I couldn’t get a breath deep enough in to my chest and it was hurting bad. I began to wonder if I should text Joe but then figured I was on my way back anyway so what was the point. I pulled the buff up over my mouth hoping if I could warm the air I was breathing it might have a better chance of getting deep enough. It worked very slightly but my god, what the hell was that smell on it?!

This is it. You’re poisoning yourself Ella. Never mind your chest pain or the fact you’re struggling to breath. It’s neither of them that’s going to kill you, it’s this buff that’s going to do it! I can see the headlines now ‘Woman dies from poisoning herself trying to breathe through a buff soaked in her husbands sweat.’

Oh god…..

I was dry heaving now at the thought of this. Is his sweat on this? Is that what that is? I had to stop. I paused. I nearly threw up.

To be fair the distraction got me to mile 12.

Ok just a mile to go. Then you might need to get it looked at. Just a mile.

The lead runner from the marathon went by me.

Ok he is quite clearly non human! THIS weather on THIS course and he’s running THAT fast?!

He turned his head and said something to me but I couldn’t hear him. The negative in me heard ‘for crying out loud lassie it’s not that bad, if you can’t run you shouldn’t be here.’

Obviously that’s not what he said. I’ve never heard any runner say anything along those lines before. But I was in a very painful place by then and quite frankly embarrassed by my performance. It’s more likely he said something like ‘cup of tea waiting for you at the end love, you can do it.’

Last corner and I can see the finish. I. Am. A. Mess. I’m pretty sure I walk across the line. By now I’m giving an Oscar performance of Darth Vadar and I’m horrendously close to hyper ventilating so after sitting for a minute (and giving the poor race director a fright) I slide away to the car to try and calm it down.

I don’t know what happened. It is worrying me for my chances at Manchester but as I’ve always said ‘what will be will be’. Maybe it was just too cold for me, maybe the stress and anxiety of my redundancy is affecting it and maybe I should have taken it easier. Or maybe I just had a really crap day running. Who knows. The doctor did the usual tests and my ECG now has dips in a second chamber so it’s back to Mr Cardio (and thankfully this time I didn’t answer the phone thinking he was selling me something! I’m still mortified about that!).

With that in mind I rested completely the following day and had a more relaxed week. With Manchester only 2 weeks away now I should be reducing the miles anyway, and I can only stay positive about the other things going on (Easier said than done though – I am beyond bored!).

Loch Katrine was gorgeous and I really enjoyed the challenging route. Just because it wasn’t my day for running doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great race and I have every intention of taking the kids up there for a night. Just probably in the summer. When it’s a lot warmer.

Just Like That

At work, on a Tuesday, just a normal Tuesday, my manager came over.

‘Got a minute?’ She asked me.

Half an hour later I was redundant.

I know people this has happened to in the past. I’ve always felt sorry for them, such turmoil to go through, and briefly wondered ‘what would I do if that was me?’ But that’s as far as it went. A brief thought, a ponder.

My first reaction was feeling sorry for the others it was happening to as well. I wasn’t alone. There were quite a few. And then I was feeling sorry for my manager, having to tell us. Then I was thinking about all the work I had to get done before I left. Next up in my chain of thought was ‘I need to find a job’. All these different thoughts whizzed through my mind over and over again.

I needed a run. To think. Clear my mind. It was freezing outside and I only had shorts and vest with me (I was planning a gym session) so treadmill it was. My Garmin was playing up and recorded the 5 miles as 6.6. I didn’t care enough to change it. I had enough to worry about.

14 years in the same job in the same company. So much of my life and now it was no more.

I didn’t love everything about my job this is true, but I did like it. I liked the people, my team, the friends I had made, the routine that I loved, the problems and queries I continuously had to resolve.

And now without any warning at all…..

For the first few days my head was, as we say in Scotland, mince. I didn’t know what to think. The weather was reflecting the situation as well (as it often does) and we were hit with ‘the beast from the east.’ The worst snow storm to hit the UK in I don’t know how long. It felt like Mother Nature was reacting to what was happening. It shut everything down. I was very conscious not to allow the same thing to happen to me and let depression get hold of me again. I knew I was about to go through the journey of emotions – shock, upset, depressed, angry, confused etc etc. And I knew I was lucky to have people rallying around me. I received a lot of supportive messages from co-workers saying they wished it hadn’t been me, it didn’t make sense, they were in shock too. Family and friends offered to ask around for jobs available, their determination ringing loud and clear. ‘We will get you a job within the week, don’t you worry!’ I was told time and time again.

But I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Did I want to stay in Insurance? It was the obvious choice but I wasn’t enthralled about it. Did I want to do a complete 180 and re-train? The thought of going back to school when I have an 18 year old at college really didn’t inspire me either. Until now I would have been the first person to start spewing about how you can do anything at any age and you should just go for it but when it was me being hit with that reality? Not so easy.

Lorner’s suggestion of going to work as a receptionist at her doctors so she could get an appointment when ever she needed was quickly vetoed. The offer of a prossecco night was not. For someone who doesn’t drink I can certainly put it away at times! And my living room dancing skills are second to none. Lorner continued with her suggestions of jobs as the alcohol flowed although ‘dwarf’ almost earned her a slap. (It’s not even a job!).

When the hangover lifted the cold light of day was upon me. What do I do now? I knew I needed a plan, I just didn’t know what of.

Then I got the worst possible message ever. A friend of mine had taken seriously ill and was in ICU. Her husband told to prepare for the worst. I won’t go in to the details here, it’s not appropriate, but if anything is going to put life into perspective, it’s most certainly that.

I needed another run.

A few miles later and I was no longer in the ‘woe is me’ state of mind I had been. Reality was setting in. My friend had improved slightly but was by no means out of danger. This was good news. I had even had a little bit of a joke with her husband to say this was typical of her always going one better than me which he fully agreed with. She was nothing if not stubborn! I had also realised that I was in the fortunate position where I didn’t have to get another job straight away. I didn’t even have to get a job that paid the same. The first thing Joe had said when I phoned him was ‘think of all the training you’re going to get done’ (after the initial ‘where the hell did that come from?!). I had to be grateful for that.

Amazing how running can help you sort your thoughts out.

I chose to go back in to work to collect my official letter and my things. I wanted to get them myself. I also wanted to make sure my team were ok and knew who to go to for anything they needed. I dreaded it. Absolutely dreaded it. I didn’t want to do it but I had to do it. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I didn’t do the ’rounds of goodbyes’ – oh god no. I was most definitely not up for that. But I did have a quiet moment where I said goodbye to my spot. (Ah my spot. We’ve had many, many moments at lunch time. I had to stop myself carving my name in to the bench.)

Once that was done I did what was needed.

I went for a run.

And whilst I was running I received lots more lovely messages from my now ex-colleagues. I couldn’t have appreciated that more. And when I got the message to say my friend was now out of ICU and into HDU, well that lifted everything. Absolute miracle that woman!

By the end of my run I knew what I needed to do. I knew what my plan needed to contain. I had been comfortable in my job. I liked it, I liked the routine, but, it wasn’t really exciting.

I need an adventure. Something that was going to push me. Test me. Almost downright break me.

A plan was already forming in my head. Yes. This is what I needed. Let’s get started.

To be continued…….

A Night To Remember

What makes a memory for you? What special event or moment sticks itself to you and never lets go? Good or bad?

A few weeks ago we had the Perth Road Runners Awards night. Now, being the organised person I am (who coughed?!) I already knew what I had achieved. Plus, you know, writing about every race you do kind of helps jog your memory. So yes, I knew what to expect.

Andyes, I asked my other half to come along. Why wouldn’t I? Ha ha

We are not big on nights out, can probably count on 2 fingers how many times we ‘were out’ in 2017. In fact. Make that one finger. And make it the small one. So I was looking forward to it. My mum was looking after the kids for us until 10pm so we had a good few hours of freedom.

Both of our wardrobes are about 95% Lycra so we had to make a trip into town. Naturally I found nothing so ended up with a tshirt and jeans and Joe was jeans and a shirt. About half an hour before leaving I glanced through social media.

Panic set in.

Everyone was dressed up!! I’m talking going out, sparkly, dresses with 4 hours at the hairdresser and a professional make up artist doing the finishing touches. And that was just the guys!

I was straight on the phone to my friends.

‘What the actual hell, who wears a dress over the age of 16 nowadays?!?! I can’t go in jeans! I’m going to look SO out place! Oh my god their not even jeans, they are jeggings! How the hell did I end up with jeggings?!?’

‘You don’t wear dresses Ella. I’m surprised you even wore a wedding dress. Why do you even care? Everyone knows you’re a jeans and tshirt person. Be comfortable. Oh, and FYI, normal people wear dresses over the age of 16. Normal people.’

I had nothing. They had a point. Not that I would tell them that. I threw the tshirt in the wardrobe and found a top that was a ‘bit more dressy’ and swapped my flats for heels (after covering my entire feet in plasters to try and prevent the inevitable blisters).

Joe didn’t care.

Tantrum almost over we headed out and managed to find a seat as soon as we went in. We chatted to Gillian about all the awards and how training was going. Joe almost had a heart attack when he realised he wasn’t getting fed until after all the awards were given. He definitely went a very pale shade of white.

First up for me was the Hills Series. The one I’m most proud of. If ever I was to take myself out of my comfort zone it would be running (cough) up and down a hill. The only female to run every one of them. And I still only came second ha ha. I really don’t care though. I finished them. That was my success. Oh, and not dying. Kind of important.

I also picked up my Bronze Club Standards. I didn’t get that half marathon time I was after but I gave it everything I had. Hopefully 2018 brings with it that goal.

Third in the Championship. ‘You almost kicked me out of that one by suddenly deciding to run a marathon!’ I joked with Gillian. She just laughed as she went to pick up her second place.

Next was the fastest distances in the Championship. These ones got trophies. ‘If I get a trophy there’s no chance in hell I’m giving that back, Ronnie will have to catch me!’. ‘Same here!’ said Gillian. ‘Pretty sure he can run faster than both of you.’ Joe tried to say under his breath.

Fair point.

‘The fastest female half marathon was Ella Webley.’

‘Did you know you were getting that?’

‘Something was mentioned but I didn’t really understand it.’

The person who was actually the fastest in the Championship was also fastest overall so according to the rules it goes to the next person.

I don’t care, it’s not getting handed back!

Sitting in front of me was proof I had worked my ass off for the last year. I had pushed myself and I had achieved something. I may not have London yet, but I have this.

‘Well done love, is the buffet open yet?’.

To be fair, the chilli was worth the wait. It was delicious.

Back at home and my awards are pride of place on the windowsill. And yes it just so happens everyone can see them ha ha.

Oh, I wasn’t the only one in jeans. At least 1 other women was.

Ella Webley. Jeans and t-shirt.