Well, I haven’t posted since September! I am trying to get back into the swing of things and have the Tour of Merseyside in 2 months which will be a great challenge (6 races/52 miles in one week!) so I need to refocus on my goals. This post is a bit of a long and personal one so please bear with me…
What the hell have I been up to running-wise since September then? Well, when I last posted I was about to attempt to go sub 1.50 for a half marathon in October. I am very pleased to say that I did it! I had an amazing race with Holly and I finished in 1.48.52. We ran most of the race together but at about 10 miles we had to make the decision to separate if we were to both get PBs. Holly finish in 1.50.24, just shy of our goal of sub 1.50 but still 90 seconds off her PB so we were both made up. We also raised nearly £1k for our friend’s Dad, which was a great achievement.
Since then, my running and training hasn’t been my number 1 priority. I have been getting used to the role of women’s captain which takes up more time than I was expecting (hats off to everyone out there who volunteers in grassroots athletics and running clubs – unsung heroes!) and also volunteering to lead running groups at club which has been rewarding. I’ve organised and taken part in lots of team events which has been loads of fun.
We also put our house on the market in October and started the very stressful journey of moving house. We had a few disappointments and struggles but finally moved house at the start of March. In January we celebrated Scott’s 30th by going to Japan which was the most amazing experience ever.
Once we returned in February, we dove straight into packing and stressing over moving house and I have to admit I did struggle a lot mentally during this time with stress – I felt so exhausted some days I would just come home from work and go to bed and cry. I know people always say moving house is the most stressful thing you can do, but I seriously was not expecting it to affect me so much. I had no energy for running at all.
During the same time I was also undergoing tests for PCOS after months of painful and irregular periods and finally received a diagnosis in March of PCOS and also sub-clinical hypothyroidism which I’m still being monitored for. So yes – it has been a very difficult start to 2017!
Once we moved house though, I felt so much happier and as my energy returned I have been attempting to get back into a routine with my running. I had such an amazing season last year, with PBs in every distance I raced and knocking a huge 25 minutes off my marathon PB. However, I am not a natural runner at all. I am one of those who has to continue with consistent training to improve and stay in shape, so my irregular running has really set me back. I was awarded the ‘Most Improved Female’ award at the Penny Lane Awards ceremony last week and I feel very proud of all my achievements last season – they didn’t come easily.
The part I’m struggling with now is comparing my current performances with those times. I feel a bit of a fraud being ‘most improved’ (although this is comparing 2016/17 season with 2015/16 season) when my most recent race times have seriously deteriorated!
I ran the Liverpool Spring 10k at the weekend and finished 7 minutes slower than I did in 2016, 54.14 vs 47.42. I also raced a local 5k which this time last year I set my 23.08 PB at. Official results aren’t out yet but I don’t think I even managed under 26 minutes. My legs just couldn’t move any faster. Fitness wise, I felt fine, I wasn’t out of breath and even managed to sprint to the finish of both and overtook a good few people in the 10k in the finishing straight! I know I have those times in my legs – I just need to get using them more!
One thing that does keep me going is the club. I think if I had been running without a club, it would have been so easy for me to do zero runs at all. I’ve been getting down to club at least once a week but now I need to step it up a gear. Some weeks I’ve only been running once a week in total.
So, I’m going to stop my moping around and get back into regular, consistent training. I know what works (regular running!) and I hope by the end of the season I am close to my PBs and who knows, maybe even set a few new ones. I know I have a long way to go, but I am lucky to have the support of the club and the inspiration from everyone else on their own personal running journeys. I feel so much better mentally when I’m running regularly too and I have really missed it. Although my times in the 10k and 5k races made me feel disappointed, I know that from now on, with some hard work and dedication, I can only improve and set some season’s bests!