Conquering Stuff.

First off, I need to say an almighty congratulations to my incredible coach and dear friend, Jonathan Pain (off of Painless Performance Strength and Conditioning) for completing the Celtman! Extreme Scottish Triathlon. Rated as the world’s second toughest tri. He tirelessly programs for, coaches and nurtures his scarily huge client base while training hard to reach his own goals. A proper inspiration.

It may be no Celtman, but today I ran up a hill. Not a terribly big hill, but a hill. And technically I walked it but it was basically a cliff face and it was muddy and my stomach wanted to not be inside my body. Brian and I entered the Benarty Trail Race after stumbling on the finish of it last year during a training ride for Aberfeldy, and I was excited when my good pal Katherine and her hubby Greig entered too. We had a lovely morning soaking up the bizarre fife gala day atmosphere and the rain began just as the race did.

I went out too hard. Way too hard, but somehow managed to keep my km’s “comfortably” below 6mins. I say “comfortably” because my legs felt great by my tummy was absolutely trying to make a break for freedom and I had a stitch in my liver (shut up. It felt like my actual liver) for the last 5 of 7km.

benarty.jpg

See? not a massive climb, but it basically felt like death was coming. I didn’t track HR on my forerunner but my Vivoactive clocked 182bpm as max.

The race finishes beside the giant pit-wheel and, despite feeling like I was very much last for most of the race, was DELIGHTED to find out I wasn’t even CLOSE to last. The first time Brian and I recce’d the route, I ran it in 53 minutes. So to finish in a smidge over 45 is a great improvement!

The race cost a staggering £8 (yeah you read that right) to enter. Timing was provided by PB Timing and we even got medals. Such a fantastic and popular event.

benarty bling

In other, more endurance-related news…. After MUCH deliberation and a gentle bit of cajoling from my amphibious pal IronPugsley,  I decided to push my boundaries a bit with swimming.

Last year, at Great Scottish Swim, I did well. VERY well. Without even trying. I remember checking results after my wave. I noticed, for the mile swim, that I was 154th, and seeing as there were only 300 in my wave I was happy being average having not trained at all and having swam a bit of breast stroke to enjoy the view and, quite literally, taking a kick to the right tit.

GSS

It wasn’t until I did a bit of searching that I realised I was 154th OVERALL. Out of over 1000 people who did the 1 mile. I had planned to train, and I mean REALLY train and maybe come in the top 10 of my age group instead of the top 20.

But…..

Instead I have come over all mental and entered the Great Scottish Swim 5k. A swim which IP kicked in the face last year (but not sans incident…) and a distance which fills me with more fear than ANY event I’ve taken part in so far. 5000m in open water is a long, long way.

I am a swimmer. I have always BEEN a swimmer. Swimming doesn’t scare me, it makes me excited and giddy. Give me an hour in a pool over any other sporting event any day. But…. 5000m in a rubber suit in a loch filled with sharks, swan shit and stuff-you-can’t-see-till-your-hand-touches-it is a pretty terrifying thought.

But what exactly is the point in taking part in these things if I don’t push myself a little from time to time? If I ever want to reach my goal of becoming IronBean, I’m going to have to do a bit more of the “going a long way”.

I’ve even had to tick A Box to say I shall take this seriously and that I will finish in under 2 hours.

No pressure, then…

GSS16

Probably time I got to a pool and did a bit of proper training…

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Bannockburn 702 10km

A few weeks ago, the Bearded One and I ran the Dunblane 7.5 Mile Road Race and at the end (at the top of the vertical climb to the finish) we were handed cards that gave us a discounted entry for the Bannockburn 10k. 

As we had just run probably my hilliest run ever (not really but it felt like it 3 weeks post VLM) I assumed that Bannockburn would be flat. So I jumped at the chance to test my legs on my usual type of terrain. 

Oh Bean. Oh. Ginnie. Bean. 

I specialise in Drama Queen, so it wasn’t really actually “hilly” but there are two ‘challenging’ climbs that, when you’re really up for running a PB, definitely throw a spanner in the works. 

Having spent the week riddled with anxiety, I had all but given up hope of sub 57 minutes. However…. 

The weather was perfect. Overcast, slight breeze, not toasty. And for once I dressed appropriately with shorts and a Tshirt. This wasn’t without faffing though, I can assure you. There were two outfit changes in the car park. Two. 

You start off downhill which is a real treat and loop round a course where the downhills are actually rewarding. Unexpectedly, my calves didn’t immediately request that I stop what I was doing and go back to bed. Nope! Everything felt… Dare I say it…. Smooth and strong. 

I started in the middle of the field for a change and actually didn’t get overtaken that much at all. If I did, despite being as agile and able as a breeze block uphill, i began to reel people in from 4km. 

And this leads me to The Nasty Man. 

I won’t name the club he was running for, but never in my short life of races have I experienced such rudeness from a fellow runner. 

He, ahem, had gravity on his side for the downhills. So he’d race past me and then walk the up-hills. Every time i jogged past him I heard “fuck sake”. 

Now. I know it sucks to be overtaken. But there’s no need for that at all. 

I assumed he hated being chicked so I let him get ahead and when I could no longer hang back because my pace was going up and I was feeling strong, I passed him again. This time he properly let on that it was not ok. “Jesus Christ!” He shouted. 

No idea why. Perhaps in a moment of running-induced euphoria he envisioned the actual Jesus Christ. Who the fuck knows. 

I carried on towards 8km and the turn onto the main road towards the finish. 

He literally sprinted past me. And pushed me out of his way. Onto a busy road. 

Seriously. 

And that was it. No fucking way pal. I may have called him a dick. I definitely then kicked it up a notch and chicked him to fuck. He was 500m behind me at least, once I turned the last corner to the finish. 

There is absolutely no need for that kind of attitude. I didn’t hear him react to anyone else overtaking him so one has to assume he didn’t enjoy my bright pink trainers. But just because he’s racist towards pink trainers, doesn’t mean he can behave like that. 

I had been running sub 6min kms for a while. The up hill sections were under 6:40/km. so I knew I had a sub 60 in my legs. Something told me to switch my Garmin screen to elapsed time as I rounded the corner to the last 300m. 

58:35 

Fuck. 

That gives me less than 90s to run 300m. 

No problem for Mr Bolt, but for chubby Bean with dodgy calves this would be a challenge. 

I was so focused on the finish line that I totally missed Bearded One cheering me over. All I could say was “water. Water” when I crossed the line and I was so hypoxic that I couldn’t open the bottle. 

But. 59:41

Shit the bed. Not a PB but my 2nd fastest 10k ever, when my fastest was on flat terrain. By the skin of my teeth. 

By the time I had pulled myself together, Brian had found me and put my medal on me (my hands couldn’t open the bag!) and I was happily inhaling a macaroon bar. 

The race was really well marshalled, well supported and well attended with over 500 people of varied abilities taking part. It’s the 3rd year of the event and it’s already a well-oiled machine with a 3km race for kids and a 1km fun run. 

The fun run was easily one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever watched. From the dad bringing up the rear carrying his tiny baby son to the dad frantically trying to stop his toddler from deviating from the track, failing, then picking up the mid-tantrum-child and carrying him to the finish. Must sympathise with the child, here. Quite often I actually decide half way through that this was a terrible idea…

We opted to buy t shirts, because I need some 10k t shirts to complement my collection of marathon ones. (HAHAHAHA. Ha. Amazing) and they were pink (not purple, Brian. Soz). 

I would thoroughly recommend this race for anyone who lives locally or a Wee bit further afield. Nice Sunday out in the countryside and a Wee bit of bling to boot. 

Delayed Reaction. 

When the carpet is pulled from beneath your feet, it can feel as though everything has collapsed around you. Total darkness. A power cut. When your Energy Provider can’t even give you a rough guesstimate on when you’ll get your supply restored. 

That’s what it kind of felt like to lose my job. 

I felt like I dealt with it all pretty well at the time. And, in the grand scheme of things, after the horrid, harrowing events of the last wee while, and in a society where everything seems to be imploding, losing a job, getting a decent pay off, getting a new job again almost immediately and settling in fast isn’t actually that much of a big deal. 

So why do I still feel so anxious? 

I guess stressful situations affect people in bizarre ways. 12 weeks after hearing of my employers administration. 8 weeks after redundancy (which, although it was on the cards, was as sudden and brutal as we were open and trading and I was still very much involved with the running of the shop.) I wake up from horrendous nightmares. Having a car that hates traffic and a new commute which features – you guessed it – a fucktonne of traffic, hasn’t helped. A new sensible car is on its way but I’m still panicking every time I go near a car. Literally. Even to the shops. That, to me, is misplaced anxiety and is an outlet for something that is bubbling away much further under the surface. 

Getting my Arse back to training has helped provide a vent for the anxiety but hasn’t removed it completely. Last Friday I went for a swim and inhaled a bit of water during a turn. Normally this would give me a wee fright but I had a monumental panic attack and very nearly almost had to leave. I went for a run last week and felt a bit chubby. Nothing new there but for the first time ever, I gave up. I stopped. I couldn’t breathe and I just wanted to hide. 

Every single night I go to bed exhausted and can’t switch off. My head buzzes with a million what ifs. I feel sick and when I eventually drift off, I wake at 4am and panic some more about some shit which may not happen. 

I went to order my new car last week. Mega excitement. And then? 

Crippling panic. 

What if I lose my job again? 

And that’s when I realised. It is just sinking in now. I was thrown in the fire and had to react fast. Damage control. Must be proactive. Get job. Pay bills. Take control. 

But now it’s over, it’s as though my head has caught up with itself. I keep remembering beautiful stock I’d ordered that will never come in. Paperwork I’d yet to file. Training I’d yet to implement. Meetings and buying trips that would be coming up now. All gone. Forever. For what? 

Everything id pushed for with my team. All our blood, sweat and tears. All our patience and pain-staking negotiating. All the scrimping and saving to make do and mend. All for nothing. All for (a BEAUTIFUL) group of shops to lie empty. 

At the same time, the news is filled with horror and tragedy. Humans being utterly horrific to one another. Death. Terrorism. Destruction. Murder. 

How on earth does one remain positive at times like these? 

Be grateful I’ve yet to be directly affected (which isn’t true because the economy is partially responsible for the death of retail). Be grateful I have my health and my wonderful family. Be grateful I live in a beautiful country where half an hours drive takes me away from civilisation. 

I think it’s important to try and hold on to the tiny good things. 

But why does it feel like everything is still falling apart?