Thank You

All day.  All freaking day something’s been bothering me.  And it’s the culmination of a few things all rolled in to one.


Not mine.  But other people’s. That’s right, YOURS.

(Well maybe not you personally but you get my point)

Now.  Where to begin?

When I first started ‘being active’ I feared negativity.  I was convinced I was the centre of everyone’s attention as I waddled down the road, Lycra clad, trying to put one foot in front of the other at a pace faster than a granny with a Zimmer frame.  Of course I wasn’t – (the centre of everyone’s universe I mean but no, at that time I was also not faster than the Zimmer frame) – but I had that fear.  The same fear everyone does when they start something new.  But I got over it (or over ‘myself’ which is a bit more accurate – the dog chasing its tail will always be more entertaining to watch than someone running past).  It’s gone.  I moved on.

And I’ve never really experienced negativity at running races either.  At the first few I’ve possibly thought people would wonder what I thought I was playing at attempting to run but that was my own head issues.  Yes I’ve had one or two blokes clearly not happy at being beat by a 4ft midget women but I put that down to competition and the majority of us set a target person to beat anyway, it’s not that bad a thing.

But never, absolutely NEVER, have I experienced the volumes of negativity surrounding a race as much as I have of the Edinburgh Half Ironman.

Moaning about it being called ‘Edinburgh’, complaining about the disruption, bumping gums about what others call it, referring to it as just plain ridiculous.

I honesty can’t take much more.  It’s 2am and this shit is keeping me up.

Let me explain.

Firstly, the ‘Edinburgh’ reference.  Now if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know my geography is probably on par with a pre-schooler however, I do recognise that the race route for Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 is not entirely in Edinburgh.  I’m not sure if some people expected a new open water place to magically just appear in the centre and  for almost 2000 people to cycle and then run through the centre of Edinburgh closing even more roads but come on.  Doesn’t take a genius to work out where the route would likely be.  So having used my pre-school map and compass before entering (along with my back pack, thank you Dora), this does not bother me.  It’s Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 – says so on the uber expensive registration form.

Disruption.  Ok.  I get it.  A big nuisance to those not involved or interested in the race.  But you chose where you live.  You know it’s a popular place for events.  Roads are closed for both the safety of those participating in the event and everyone else.  EVERYONE ELSE.  Have you ever been hit by a cyclist? Has one cycled in to your car or your dog on the out-stretched lead?  Has anyone ever run in to you full pelt and knocked you over?  It’s not just us participating that can get hurt.   But yes, I can appreciate having to work around the area you live in being closed for a few hours is a pain in the backside.  Why should you have your life disrupted because some people want to have ‘a pissing contest’? (And yes, that’s an actual quote from a keyboard warrior).  There is notice that goes out so you can forward plan.  You’re complaining now which means you are aware of it and therefore have time to arrange alternative means.  I do appreciate it’s annoying, especially if it’s something you’re not even remotely interested in – But – can you not appreciate what it does for your area? No Edinburgh doesn’t need ‘put on the map’ – pretty sure Trainspotting did that very successfully, not to mention every other blockbusting movie that likes to film in the centre – but the Ironman brand is a worldwide spectacular event.  It is well known for its support, its expertise in these events and how to pull off said events in a phenomenally easy manner.   

Can you not just be the same just for one day?

So many of us have put ourselves through months and months of training to do this frightening task on Sunday.  No you may not be interested one bit in what we are doing or how we have trained or that we have had near death experiences along the way but surely you recognise it’s all for a good thing?  That it’s not just for ourselves.  That some of us are raising money and awareness for several charities (ironically my chosen charity being SAMH – mental health – this negativity does not support good mental health).  That some of us are trying to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle to our children and also to our friends and families? 


It’s not just those outside of the sport either.  I’ve said before how I’ve not found all triathletes to be the most welcoming.  And my experience of Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 has not done anything to improve that.  Not just the raised eyebrows from a few weeks ago at the Loch swimming but the quick and sharp correction months ago when I mentioned on a Facebook site I was doing Edinburgh Ironman that I MUST put in the title that it was a Half Ironman.  Stupid me. I had presumed any die hard Ironman fan would automatically know Edinburgh only has 70.3 and not the Full Ironman.

My bad.

I should not be surprised though that keyboard warriors are out there and like to express their opinion.  Fine.  Everyone’s entitled to their opinion – hence this post – but I personally prefer to be supportive rather than rant and rave over something that has absolutely no effect on my life what so ever.  Yup, the majority of these ‘fellow triathletes’ aren’t even taking part in Ironman Edinburgh 70.3.  Maybe thats why I prefer being part of my running group.  At least people will say hi rather than the equivalent ‘you can’t call yourself a runner, you’ve never ran a race’.

But let’s not get in to that debate on when you can and can not call yourself a runner or a triathlete.  

It’s now after 3am.  I’ve read back through some of my own blog posts to remind myself how far I’ve come.  How hard this training has been – not just on me but my family too.  And how much I want this.  I’m doing this for me. Not for you.  Not your approval or acceptance.  But for ME.  I know for a fact Ironman will put on a good show.  I don’t doubt it in the slightest.  The atmosphere will be out of this world.  There will be many tears, probably a few moments of seeing my breakfast again and many, many souvenirs bought.

So, thanks for shitting on my parade, but I don’t need your negativity.  I will stick with being on the positive fence and at least try to see the good in all things.  If nothing else you’ve distracted me a little from my nerves.  That can only be a good thing (see what I did there, not hard is it).

Thank you.

Shadys Back

I am desperately trying to think of a positive start to this entry but, I can’t.
So the above will have to do.
Truth is, the anxiety seems to be back. I say seems, let’s be honest, it is back. I am managing to use coping techniques quite well but one of the problems it is giving me is trying to keep up with the training for the Stirling Marathon and the Half-Ironman. It’s kind of hard to force myself out the door when all I want to do is curl up in bed and stay there until the next day. Swap a running marathon for a Netflix marathon and the physical Ironman for the Marvel Ironman and that right now is the easier option.

But is that really what I want? Sometimes. 

They say endurance events aren’t achieved on the day but in training. The race itself is your victory lap. Well I tell you, right now, if I make it to that finish line, I will be amazed. 

I watched ‘400 meters’ on Netflix last week. A man diagnosed with MS decides to do a Full Ironman (not a half!) having never done anything like that before. He has several set backs, a father in law that isn’t too dis-similar from my own dad, and a determination to rival Donald Trump. I keep thinking he found the strength to keep going – and again, to do a Full Ironman – what’s stopping me? 

I haven’t ‘lost my mojo’. Genuinely hate that saying. I still love running, miss it if for some insane reason it’s been more than 2 days since we last met. I am very slowly getting more confident on the bike and the swimming isn’t that much of a chore. It’s just my mind. There are less and less ‘happy thoughts’. Thursday took me by surprise. It was bring your child to work day so I had my daughter with me. I thought she would be with me the entire day but I had to drop her off in a room that felt it contained half the population of the human race. She was fine. I was not. It took my greatest strength not to go back in, grab her hand and take her to my desk with me. Literally the only thing stopping me was the embarrassment I would cause her. I spent 20 minutes alone in a room trying to calm down. It worked though. Breathing techniques don’t get the credit they are due. And later that day when a friend of mine came in she presented me with a surprise gift she had made. It was a box frame with photos of me running and ‘Live, Love, RUN’ written on it. The tears turned to happy tears then – and she hadn’t even known it was a bad day!

I had the next Championship race that night and, as the day had been that bad, I asked Joe to pace me. I had asked him a few days earlier, just for something different. I have never really ran with a pacer and he has never paced someone – could have been tragic! On the day though it didn’t really end up being about time but more just about having someone there as a distraction. You never know what ‘could have’ happened and is there any point in thinking about it? Could I have ran just as fast or even faster? I don’t know. What I do know is that it was nice and it worked. I was distracted. It gave me a little more positivity back. And I used the gift my friend had given me as a reminder of me how much better I feel when I am running. So I rocked up to the start line instead of pressing ‘play’ on the next episode of Designated Survivor. (It’s recorded though so it’s ok!).
And so I have decided I need that little something extra to push myself. Something I can focus on when I’m thinking ‘nah, just skip it, back to bed – retreat, retreat, retreat’. I contacted SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and I am now going to try and raise a little money for them by getting to the start line – the finish line will come later. Some of the coping techniques I have been given truly work for me and there are days I wouldn’t be able to do my day job without them. So why not say thank you? 

If it hadn’t been for people like them, the support I have received and discovering running I would still be locked away in my house, rarely leaving, unlikely to still be holding down a job, and not being an ‘ok’ mum. (I won’t claim to be the best mother in the world, I forgot it was my eldest last ever day at school yesterday!).  

This post may not have started very positive but it’s my nod to my issues to say ‘yeah, you’re still there, you might still knock me down, but I CAN get back up’.

(How bad will it be if I don’t manage this now? Ha ha).

The link for my fundraising –

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

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.