3 months since I decided to do the marathon

3 months ago I decided I was going to apply for the London Marathon. 3 months ago I decided that even though I didn’t know if I’d get in I’d start training anyway. I had a sudden panic earlier when I realised that 3 months have already gone by and then I reminded myself that I have come a long way in 3 months.

My first park run was 12 weeks ago. I did it in around 33 minutes and I had to stop several times to walk as I had a stitch and I was out of breath. To think that a couple of weeks ago I was able to run a 10k hilly route on a hot summers day, without stopping, in under an hour is just nuts. Three days ago I also ran 10 miles. I can’t quite believe how far I have come.

I still have a long way to go way with my training. As I increase the distance it’s going to be tough. Winter is going to be horrible. But to know how far I’ve come in 3 months and that I have treble that time to be able to run 26.2km, I feel confident I can do it.

My concern is that I’ll get an injury or something which will really interfere with my training. On Monday morning I have my first session with a running coach who is going to be helping me through the next 9 months. I feel better knowing I will be having some guidance.

My half marathon is in 4 weeks. I am really nervous but I’m going to go for it and hope for the best. Here is to another 3 months of training!

I GOT IN

I have a place in the London bloody Marathon! 26.2 miles, what on earth have I let myself in for?

The other day I decided I’d get up at 5.30am and do a 10.6km jog. I felt so good after it but then it dawned on me that the marathon is going to be 4 times the distance! A bit of sick just came up as I wrote that.

I have 9 months to prepare. The female body can grow a baby in that time so hopefully I can grow some courage and be fine come race day. Motivation for me isn’t something I lack. Which I guess is fortunate given that most people struggle with that. I just struggle with the time aspect. It is really hard to fit training around work and I think I am going to really struggle in the winter months to go out and train. I hate the cold and I have really sensitive feet and hands so I’m not going to enjoy this at all.

I have a few half marathons planned between now and then to keep me working towards something at all times. My first half marathon is in a few weeks. Knowing I am going to be doing the full marathon has suddenly made this feel less daunting.

Hills are also the devil. I am hoping to get enough hill training in before April. I did a 10km this weekend and that was so hilly. A lot of the route was also on grass. It was not pleasant. I’m aiming to go out and do hill sprints at least one day a week.

Another thing that also concerns me is my unpredictable bladder and stomach. I try to *cough* ’empty’ as much as I can before running but sometimes my body just feels like giving up halfway through. It is strange as I’m fine as soon as I get home, I no longer need the loo. Irritating. I’m worried about this for race day.

Another thing I need is some new footwear. Mine are super reliable so to be honest, I don’t think I would mind if I bought exactly the same pair again, but I am going to speak to a specialist about what sort of trainer I should be wearing. The fabric of my socks tends to rub against the soles of my feet during long runs so I’m on the look out for some running socks as well.

My diet still isn’t brilliant. I am trying to get this back on track. The good thing is that eating carbs before a run is encouraged (yay for running!) I think I just need to look at the sort of food I’ve been eating. Particularly with my unpredictable stomach. Weight has just been falling off me since I started running, so dieting isn’t to lose weight by any means, but eating the right sort of foods at the right times is going to be really important as I get closer to the big event.

Finally, I need to raise £2,000! I have a few ideas of things I can do so I’ll start fundraising properly once my half marathon is out of the way. I don’t want people to get confused with what they are supposed to be sponsoring me for and I’ve already doubled my target for the half now. I have a few ideas of things I can do which I’ll blog about in the very near future.

I am documenting my training on my new Instagram page (@MarshmallowstoMarathons) so feel free to check that out.

EEEEK. I am terrified. Here is to the next 9 months folks! Any marathon tips for fundraising or training would be great…

Bert died

Bert was our hamster. We found him in the adoption area of Pets at Home in December 2015. We had gone to Halfords as I was getting my bike fixed and whilst we waited we decided to go and look at the animals in Pets At Home. We had no intention of getting a pet, but then we met Bert.

It was early afternoon and all the other hamsters were sound asleep, but not Bert. He was running on his wheel and kept coming towards the window as if he was saying ‘hello’. We found out his former owners had given him back to the store and we were not sure how long he had been waiting for a new family. We gave it some thought and called our landlord to ask if the ‘no pets’ policy included hamsters too but he said it was ok for us to keep Bert.

Actually the story was that I pretended a family member was unwell so had asked us to take care of their hamster and when he asked me what the name was I panicked and said ‘Mavis’. So the landlord thought poor old Bert was a girl.

Bert had a different name when we got him. But we decided to rename him and when we were going through all the names we could think of Joe excitedly suggested ‘Bert’ and we both just knew we’d found his name.

We had to stop off at Joe’s work that day and I waited in the car with Bert in his little Pets at Home box. He was rummaging around in the box which was on my lap and all of a sudden his nose appeared through one of the breathing holes. He had managed to escape the smaller box by chewing through it and had stuck his nose through the hole. It was probably a ‘you had to be there’ moment but it was so funny. When Joe came back into the car I showed him the box with Bert’s nose sticking out and we just both sat there laughing and taking photos.

I remember the following morning I went to check on Bert before going to work and he was sound asleep. So I gave him a little stroke and went to put my shoes on. When I walked back into the living room he was sat on his little ledge staring out as if to say ‘hey, you woke me up! Come and play with me then?’

Bert really wasn’t your average hamster. He was so full of life and had his own little personality. About a year ago we read somewhere that hamsters like melon so we, of course, went out and bought him a melon. We would hold a small slice of it to his bed and he would sit there eating it from your hand. He couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

If you knew the amount we spent on treats and food for Bert you’d probably be horrified. I don’t think any other hamster in the world has fresh melon broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spinach delivered weekly. We spoiled Bert because he was family.

As time got on Bert got slower and more tired. That didn’t stop him making us laugh though. He had his own personality right up until the end. On Sunday night Bert was struggling to stay awake. He was so sluggish and also really cold. We tried to warm him up by wrapping him up and we laid him to rest in our duvet late afternoon. When Joe came to check on him before bedtime we had realised he had gone to hamster heaven.

I honestly didn’t know how upset I would be when Bert died. I knew I’d be devastated but for the past few days I just haven’t stopped crying! We buried him in a box in mum’s garden with a few of his favourite treats, including his most favourite treat which was monkey nuts. He didn’t like eating them, he just loved removing the nuts from the shell. We also put a photo of us both in the box and then planted a pot plant and a cross with his name on it. The cross wasn’t planned, mum just happened to convienitely have a miniature wooden cross kicking around so we wrote his name on it and stuck it in the ground.

So many friends have sent lovely messages because they all knew what a huge character he was. One friend even cried herself when finding out as she adored Bert. I don’t think you’d ever find a hamster like Bert. He was one of a kind and we miss him so much. It feels like a huge part of our life has been torn out and an empty hole has been left. That’s the impact one little furry boy had on our lives.

Rest in peace Bertles. We love you.

Running update

Running is going pretty well. I have sussed out a new route locally which originally started as a 7km and I am gradually adding little excursions which is extending the distance. I have so far managed to get it to 10.6km which is great. I am going to try to extend it even further this week as I think I have figured out a way of bumping it up to 12km.

Next Saturday I am running a 10km Race For Life with two of my best friends. I am really looking forward to it and am going to try to get a good time. I would like to be able to finish in under an hour. Race for life events are always such a great atmosphere and you just feel so overwhelmed when you finish. I wish all my runs could have marshals cheering me along the route! I think that is what makes ParkRun so great. Having the positive support from others really helps to motivate me.

I am still going to ParkRun every Saturday. I have now been 11 times. When I started my time was around 33minutes. I have now managed to get a pb of 27.14 minutes which feels incredible. I would like to be able to get the time to around 26minutes in the next couple of months.

I have put a timetable together for the next 8 weeks ahead of my half marathon. This includes two big runs a week where I will be gradually increasing my distance, Park Run on Saturdays where I aim to increase my speed, 1 gym session a week to focus on muscle training and core strength and 1 evening/morning of hill reps to increase my endurance with hills, as I am told the half marathon route is pretty hilly.

Overall I am still highly motivated, still loving running and still seeing progress. The one area I really need to work on is my diet as that still isn’t brilliant. I have started being better with my lunches, as I went through a spell of buying Boots meal deals daily which was neither healthy or cost effective. I also need to plan our evening meals a bit better as recently Joe and I have been opting for the easier and unhealthy option.

London to Brighton in 30 degrees of heat

Yesterday, myself Harriet and Aurore all took part in the London to Brighton cycle, in 30 degrees of heat. It was so difficult. I struggle with too much heat as it is, but fighting through the hills and miles on a bike was such a challenge. We set off from Ashford at 6.30am. None of the coffee shops were open that early and I can’t function early without coffee so I started to panic. Luckily there were a group of station staff all dressed in Lycra, on their day off, who were also doing the challenge. They each had a coffee cup in their hand and very kindly offered me a cup from the staff room coffee machine. I realised at that point that I actually have a real addiction to coffee.

Harriet and Aurore met me at the station and we got the train to Orpington, we then changed and got the train to Brixton. From Brixton it was about a 10 minute cycle to Clapham Common. We had just enough time to have a wee, take the ‘before’ photo and then before we knew it we were setting off.

London was quite congested because of the traffic lights. A lot of roads were closed off which helped but it did take a little while to get out of the city. It felt like quite a long time before we were pulling into the first stop at Mile 10. I kept thinking about a nice cold can of coke, it was all I could think about for the first 10 miles. You can imagine my disappointment when I got to Mile 10 to find they didn’t sell anything other than sports drinks and water. We sat and had some snacks and then we were off again, planning to meet at Mile 20.

Mile 20 was quite a big place to stop however there was no where to sit in the shade, so we decided to keep going until mile 30. There were no cans of coke at Mile 20 either, so I had given up hoping I would find one after this point. Harriet and Aurore both went off ahead of me and I decided to go at a slow leisurely pace behind. The heat was really tough to cycle in and I really didn’t want to exhaust myself too early on in the journey.

As I got to Mile 25 I heard the pop of somebody opening a can, it could have been beer, it could have been canned tuna, I had no idea, I braked so hard I think I almost caused an accident. I was so excited to find cold cans of coke that I didn’t even care they were being sold for £1.50 each(!!!)

I sat on the grass alongside the road and a group of 3 guys came and sat just behind me. I had no signal on my phone so I entertained myself by listening in on their conversation. They were saying that they each bought a bike 3 weeks ago and hadn’t done any training for this. One of them was wearing swimming trunks, so didn’t have any padding. Knowing how much us girls had practised and prepared for this cycle, it is absolute madness that others were so casual about it! I don’t think I could have completed yesterday in one piece if I hadn’t trained as much as we did. The guys all said they were not going to attempt the Beacon and that very few people manage it. At that point I decided I probably wouldn’t attempt it either.

I carried along to mile 30 where I had planned to meet the others. I didn’t have any signal to let them know where I was so had expected them both to have left by the time I arrived. The route from 25-30 was extremely hilly and it took me a while to do those 5 miles. Luckily they were both still there when I arrived. I bought a sandwich and another can of cold coke from the shop and we all sat on the grass for a while. The next stop we agreed to meet at was mile 45, so 15 miles ahead, this would be the last stop before the beacon.

I met Aurore at mile 45 and then we both saw Harriet fly past the stop, not realising we were both there. We set off again soon after and then realised we had gone to the stop just before the last stop, by the time we got to the final stop Harriet had already left. I stopped for a few minutes to have some water and cool down and then I went on to the beacon.

I expected the beacon to be a few miles down the road. I was cycling up a beastly hill which seemed to be never ending. A lady who was walking alongside me as I cycled confirmed that I was on the beacon, the adrenaline from realising I was cycling up the bloody beacon gave me enough energy to get 1/3 way up where I saw Harriet. Neither of us could believe I was still peddling and she seemed just as excited as I was about it which also gave me a bit of a push to keep going. I had no idea how long was left. I was really struggling to breath and all of the walkers were really encouraging me to keep going (but also really worried that I was about to collapse) At the top of the Beacon there was a guy with a megaphone encouraging people up, I had come so far, I felt like I was going to be sick or faint but I didn’t want to quit, so I kept pushing. I made it to the top and knowing I cycled the ghastly beacon was the best feeling ever. I met Aurore at the top who had also managed to cycle the Ditchling Beacon.

As I got off the bike my legs were wobbling like jelly, I couldn’t stand so fell to the spot next to Aurore where I was able to recover. When Harriet joined us we went to treat ourselves to an ice cream and then set off for the final 6 miles of the journey. Going through the finish line and hearing everyone cheer was the most amazing feeling. It was so emotional and I am so proud of us all for doing it. I would absolutely recommend London to Brighton to anyone.

My 7 top tips would be:

  1. Dress appropriately – Padded shorts are a must. I wore padded leggings and it was too hot so definitely wear padded shorts.
  2. Training – Get in as much mileage as you can before you go. Especially hill training.
  3. Take a decent bike – Strong tyres, good gears, a comfortable seat are all important.
  4. High energy foods – Bananas, protein snacks, energy gels, you need to be well fuelled along the route
  5. Hydration – I took x3 water bottles, two were attached to my bike and one was in my back pack. This was enough for half the route, after that I had to keep topping up.
  6. Sun block – I made sure my arms were protected but forgot about my face which is looking very red today.
  7. Take cash – I took my bank card and a bit of change but had to borrow some money from Harriet as most of the stops were cash only.

No regrets but there are things I would change

It has always been my motto to never regret anything in life, because it is the mistakes that teach us what we know, they make us stronger and make life less boring. I’ve made a few mistakes in life that when I look back I do wish I could change, but I try not to regret those things as best as I can because they have each taught me a thing or two.

The main thing I wish I could change was how little I looked after myself when I was younger. I was so unhealthy. I would eat so many snacks, fast food, chocolate etc. On a night out with my friends I would drink so many gross sugary drinks which didn’t really make me drunk unless I had copious amounts. I never exercised, I hardly walked anywhere let alone join the gym or go for a run around the block. I was overweight and unhappy and now I think about how much I’ve changed my life around I’m so proud of myself but also so irritated by the person I was.

The thing is, gym memberships, healthy food, a healthy lifestyle, it was all available to me. I just did a terrible job of utilising any of it. It’s only as I’ve got older and I guess more educated about healthy diets etc that I’ve started to listen and realised what I really want. I love my lifestyle now but it is a struggle to find the balance. I struggle to find time to go to the gym or do long runs when I work long hours in London. I run 7k at 6am most mornings, if I was to get up any earlier I would just be useless for the rest of the day. I’m training for some big runs but trying to find the time to get the mileage in isn’t easy at all. I think back to when I was at college and working minimum hours at a call centre and I’m so annoyed with myself for not using the free time I had to exercise and look after myself.

Up until about a year ago I would go on a night out with friends boozing and get through a pack of 10 cigarettes. I was not a smoker however I was a ‘social smoker’. Now I’m running and exercising regularly and so I want to look after my lungs better. It’s crazy because if you said to the Mel 5 years ago that her future self would be a regular exerciser, vitamin consumer and no longer enjoyed the taste of alcohol she would laugh and tell you to get out of here. I don’t know how I’ve become like this but I know I don’t want to ever be as unhealthy as I used to be. I wish I realised this all a lot sooner as I’d be so much further forward with my fitness.

To anyone who’s reading this and feeling unhappy within themselves, you can change it. You can change your life around and only you can do this. It takes work, effort and willpower and sitting around waiting for a miracle overnight isn’t going to get you to where you need to be. Find something you enjoy, whether it is running, swimming or even something like badminton, because hitting milestones in your fitness journey is the absolute best feeling, but what is even better is feeling comfortable in your own skin. To be able to wear a body-con dress without feeling uncomfortable, or to go out with your friends and not compare yourself, it makes all the hard work worth it. If you are not happy with your body, then you can change it.

Clearing Debt

The other day I wrote a post about my credit card debt. I have recently paid off £1,000 and still have quite a way to go. I have also closed my overdraft which was a huge weight lifted. Below is a list of things I have done to help me clear my debt and some suggestions you may find useful.

1. Put a payment structure in place.

If you have a few debts kicking around, decide which ones need paying first. Sometimes it is best to clear the smaller ones first and then go for the big ones. Have a look at which ones have the highest interest rates and focus on paying those ones first, but also look at what smaller debts you have kicking around as paying those off will take much less time and you’ll save the interest from those debts which can go towards the larger ones.

The first debt I cleared was my overdraft. The £30 a month it was costing me to pay that off (it was only £500) now goes towards my high interest Capital One card. My other credit card has a 0% interest promotion for another 6 months, so it is not costing me anything other than my minimum payments at the moment.

2.  Look into all your options and where help is available

If you have various different debts, consolidating them could be a better option. This would mean you are only paying back one debt rather than multiple debts and you will find your debt will be cleared much sooner. Also see what help you can get from your credit provider. For instance, I called Halifax recently and told them my situation. They gave me an extra 6 months free interest, put a payment plan in place for me, cleared a recent late payment charge and blocked my card from future use (to prevent me from going back to square one).

You can also speak to the Money Advice Service who will help you look at all your options and provide you with guidance for moving forward: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en

3. Cut back on unnecessary spending

I have recently stopped buying coffee from the train station. Instead I invested in a Starbucks travel mug and I make a coffee before I leave each morning to drink on the train. This in itself has saved me around £50 a month (I cannot believe I was spending this much on coffee!)

I have also started bringing lunches in. I have found a lunch which I enjoy (tuna and cous cous) and I buy several tins of tuna and several packets of cous cous in bulk each month from B&M. This costs me about £30. Before this I was easily spending £20-£25 a week just on lunches.

4. Go for the cheaper alternative

I have been a bit of a snob in the past and splashed out on the ‘high end’ brands because they cost more, so that means they should be better right? Not necessarily. I have started to research things a little more so I can make sure I am getting low cost, good quality items. I was spending £20 on an eye liner, until somebody introduced me to Collection 2000’s £2.99, completely underrated, babe of a liquid eye liner. It is definitely the best I have come across and it costs 10% of the price!

It is worth investigating the cheaper brands. I used to use Tigi shampoo and conditioner and each cost around £20 a bottle. I am now more than happy with a ‘3 for £10’ bundle of Tresemme products which in all honesty, are just as good as the high end products you can find in salons. It is also worth shopping at places such as B&M, Asda and Iceland. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose sell the same products but will no doubt cost you a lot more.

5. Spend more time looking into your options

I have been spending A LOT of time on websites such as Martin Lewis, or voucher code sites. When I am about to buy something, or even go out for a meal, I have been looking into all options to see if there are any discounts available or special deals. My bank also does Cashback when you spend at certain places. I also have a Cineworld Unlimited card which comes with a lot of perks and discounts.

6. Spreadsheets

Google Sheets is my new favourite thing. It means I can keep a track of my finances and access the spreadsheet from almost anywhere. I have created an enormous spreadsheet which has a monthly chart for the next 6 months. I have plotted in certain things I have coming up such as work trips, gigs and holidays and worked out how much I need to set aside each month to cover those things. It also includes a budget for birthdays, Fathers Day etc so I have no surprises. I have also included a budget for things like food and transport.

I really don’t know how I got by before this spreadsheet. I suddenly feel like I have my life in order. Spend some time building a spreadsheet which works for you. It will honestly make things so much easier!

7. Cut back on expensive social events.

I am such a ‘yes’ person so this one hasn’t been easy. I have had to cut back on a lot of social events. I still make sure I see my friends though, just instead of going out I have been organising get together’s at home or doing things which don’t cost too much money. I already signed up to a lot of things earlier in the year which are yet to come, such as festivals and holidays so I know I have a lot coming up, I have just tried to not to commit to too much else.

8. Stop being so careless

I have recently started using only a small amount of washing liquid, or hair shampoo etc. I now use just the right amount, whereas before I would carelessly use more than I needed too. It is crazy how much longer products are lasting me as a result of this. I have also tried not to be so heavy handed so things don’t need replacing/repairing as often.

9. Claim what you are entitle to

A lot of employers will not promote schemes which are available to you, but it is definitely worth investigating and asking the question. For instance, my employer pays for my train season ticket for the year and then deducts this from my salary. This saves me £100 a month, as it is more expensive to pay monthly.

When I bought my bike I also asked my employer about the Cycle to Work scheme which meant I could spread the payments across the year making the bike more affordable, I also saved on tax. It is also worth checking what your work can help with. I was paying for transport to meetings until I found out this is an expense I am able to claim back. Although this may only cost a few pounds here and there, it does all add up.

10. Gifts

I LOVE giving people presents and can be a bit too generous when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. I have recently set up a bit of a Birthday committee with my friends whereby we each put in a tenner and decide together what present we will get the person who we are buying for. This means we can all contribute towards a great gift and it only costs £1o per person. For Christmas my brother and I have also joined together to buy presents for a family which means we can spend less but buy more.

11. Sell unwanted items

For a bit of extra cash, why not sell unwanted clothing etc on eBay or at a car bootfair? You will be surprised how much some items sell for.

12. Are all your DDs worth having?

We sold our car recently. It was a tricky decision to make but it was just too expensive too keep and due to having two car incidents (not serious) my insurance went sky high. We live in the town and neither of us work somewhere which we need a car to get to so we decided to sell the car. We are now saving at least £150 a month.

My phone contract also expired recently and instead of rushing to get the latest handset I decided to go for a sim only plan which costs £30 less a month. As much as I would love the latest handset, my phone works fine and I would prefer to save the money. It is worth seeing if you can reduce any of your bills or cut back on some expenses.

Debt

A couple of years ago I was really unhappy in my job. I was driving 80 miles a day to get to and from work, my car was on the brink of dying and I was desperate for a new job, specifically in London. When I was offered a job working in Theatre and Music for an advertising agency in North London, I snatched it up, despite the fact my outgoings would be on par with what I took home each month.

I started the new job knowing it would be tight. The issue was that as the ‘newbie’ I didn’t want to seem boring, so I went along to all the events and chucked whatever drinks and food I bought on to the credit card. I didn’t think much of it at the time, in my head I thought it would be easy to pay off but that, of course, was not the case.

I worked at that job for just under a year. By the time I started my new job I had maxed out my credit card. This was only about £1,750 which to some may not seem like a lot and to others is a crazy amount. Due to having ‘poor’ credit (no credit history means poor credit, apparently) when I took out the card I had a ridiculously high interest rate. I approached my bank and asked for a 0% interest card. They gave me a 0% card and bought out the majority of debt on my high interest capital one card. This moved about £1,400 on to my 0% card and I had planned to pay off the remaining £350 within a few months…

Yeah, that didn’t happen. When I started at my current job, I accepted a more reasonable salary, the issue was that having had a tight few years, from being an intern, to having a job which involved regular car maintenance and then working for a job which didn’t pay me enough money, I was eager to y’know, live a little. I am in my early 20s and I hadn’t had a holiday or been to a gig or bought decent clothes in about 3 or 4 years and I was miserable. So I listened to the voice in the back of my head which was whispering ‘treat ya self’ and I went for it.

I went to Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris, loads of gigs, festivals, meals out with friends, clothes shopping, cocktail nights, all culminating on not one, but two maxed out credit cards. At the start of 2017 I was in £3,200 worth of debt , no remaining credit and I was miserable. So I made the decision to start paying off lump sums every month to clear it. I have just over £2,200 left to pay and it is depressing. It should take me until February for them both to be clean and it is extremely tight. I have absolutely learnt my lesson though. I have decided that once the credit cards are both paid, they are going in the bin and I am going to start saving money instead. Spending money is so easy to do but paying it off is very difficult.

I will upload a blog next week explaining how I have cut back on spending to be able to pay off the credit card. I am just so relieved I realised this before I got even deeper in debt.

An update on my running progress

It has been about 1 month since I signed up through the Pilgrims Hospice charity to run the London Marathon in 2018. I thought it would be good to write a post about how running is going for me so far. Last week I also entered for the ballot so I will find out in October whether or not I have a place either way.

Since I signed up I have also entered for a couple of half marathons. One of them is only 16 weeks away so I’ve really had to crack on with my training. I have received some donations for the half marathon as well, so there is absolutely no going back now! I am commited and eager and I want to be ready to smash it when the day comes.

I have been running from my apartment to the station to get the train into London each mornjng, then from Kings Cross to my office (Tottenham Court Road), then I have been doing the same in reverse on the way home. I have been doing this every day for a few weeks. The distance is about 5km in total. In addition to this, I have been running a couple of mornings during the week and have also been doing Park Run every Saturday.

Park Run is the thing I’ve been looking forward to most. It is such a great atmosphere and every week I’ve been improving my time.

This morning was my 4th Park Run. So far I have managed to get a new PB every week. It’s such an amazing feeling when you can see yourself improving. It’s this which keeps me motivated. I do have some bad days where I think I am not good enough or not improving quick enough, or when anxiety gets the better of me, but looking back at the milestones and how far I’ve come in the past 4 weeks is what keeps me going.

I have also been much better with keeping hydrated since I started. I bought a HydrateM8 bottles which has been SO helpful during the working week. I also try to drink one bottle before I go out running (which is normally followed by a couple of visits the the loo). The one thing I do need to improve on is stretching, particularly after running to work or for my train as I just forget!

I don’t know if I am going to continue seeing progress so quickly, or if I will be fit enough to do my half marathon in August, but I am certainly going to give it everything I’ve got. At the moment I am only running 5km runs, so I need to increase the distance gradually. I have a 10km Race For Life in August, but I’d like to do a couple more before then. I will need to squeeze in a 10mile run before my half marathon too. Being a busy person makes it difficult to commit to long distance running, but this has to be prioritised if I want to be ready for the half marathon in August.

Anxiety

From previous blog posts I have written, if you have read them, you will know that I have suffered with anxiety most of my adult life. I go through spells of it being really bad and spells of it being ok. Weirdly, the bad spells normally arise when things are normal and I have nothing to think about, as opposed to when I actually have something to worry about. My mind seems to think that if everything is ok, then something is going to have to change that. It is probably as pessimistic as you can get.

When things are going really well in my life, I have loads to look forward to and I am busy working on big projects or something, I don’t tend to have the time for anxiety. When an anxious thought pops into my head I am able to bat it away because I just don’t have the capacity in my brain for any additional thoughts. It is just when things are a bit quiet and I guess ‘normal’ that my mind goes wild with paranoia.

If I am having a bad time at work or with money or just general human worrues, I normally don’t have dark anxious thoughts then either because my mind is too busy being worried about ACTUAL problems. I know so many people who suffer with anxiety issues. I guess this is just part of being an adult.

A few years ago I went for some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions. This really helped me to learn how to deal with my anxiety. Ultimately, I am in control of my own emotions though. CBT gave me the tools to know what to look out for and what behaviours to avoid, but it is down to me to use what I learnt in CBT to control my anxiety, It still takes a lot of energy to be able to deal with my own emotions.

So tomorrow is a new day. I have recognised that my anxiety is a problem again and I am going to deal with it. This isn’t an easy thing to do but the only other option is to not do anything at all. What will that solve?