August

August began with nothing much on the calendar other than Colour the Coast for St Michael’s hospice, but it ended in the most emotional run I’ve ever been a part of.

Colour The Coast

4km around the park, with my best friends, having paint powder thrown at us, to raise money for a good cause, what’s not to like?

This year they moved the run from the seafront to the park, but the format was the same. Turn up in your official, pristine white t-shirts, and then get pelted with different colour paint at ever kilometre. We had an absolute blast, mostly walking, taking our time, being silly which is what we do best, and covering each other in paint from the paint packets that came in our race packs, as well as getting a good coating at the colour stations, we giggled our way around the course and then joined in the the paint throwing colour clouds at the end. The only negative from it being moved seemed to be that people didn’t really hang around afterwards which was a shame since they had a band playing, and it had the potential to be a good after party, more was needed around the start/end zone to make people stick around I think. A fab morning out with my friends though, and we will, of course, be back again next year!

After Colour the Coast
After Colour the Coast

The 2nd 10k in The Rye Summer Classic Series

Picked up again by Ashley and Kev and taken to rye harbour for the second 10k of a three part race series, it was hot hot hot, and I’d been having real trouble with knee pain, so I was resigned to the fact before the start that I wouldn’t be able to equal what I had managed the last time or have any hope of a new PB.

Before the run, with my boys: Kev, Ash, Phil, Jason and Ben :)
Before the run, with my boys: Kev, Ash, Phil, Jason and Ben 🙂

We set off from the harbour along for the out and back run by the sea along Rye’s nature reserve, I didn’t bother checking my pace on my watch, just plodded along as quickly as my damaged knee would allow. When I finished I was shocked to find that I had actually only run 9.5 seconds slower than I had the previous month, and was really delighted to have a second 10k under my belt at less than 50mins. I’ll be back next month for the final race, a 5km run, to complete the set.

Finished, with my darling husband
Finished, with my darling husband

Dirty Destroyer

Phil bought me entry to only my third OCR of the year as a birthday present, since the race fell 4 days prior to my birthday and I was heading up to Essex to do the 18km race with some of the RPCC guys. Sadly a few days before the race, our trainer and friend Rich Pringle’s young son passed away, devastating all of us who knew him, and causing our whole town to come together in support in amazing way, as well as the wider community, particulalry the in the OCR world where Rich is extremely well known, liked and respected. People were asked to wear red the day of the race, whatever they were doing and when we arrived at dirty dozen this request had been followed on a massive scale. It was a sea of red shirts, shorts and vests as far as the eye could see, and it was moving in a way that can’t really be described, you needed to be there.

The group of 9 of us who would be going and representing RPCC at this race decided that we would wear our black RPCC kit, with red armbands, or shorts, or tops underneath, and we stood, arm in arm, at the front of the first wave, with a mass of red behind us, as we had a minute of silence for Hughie, followed by a minute of applause. Tears fell as we held each other, but the moment was beautiful.

A minute for Hughie
A minute for Hughie

After the warm up, that I actually had to join in as we were foolishly still at the front, it was time to get going. We wished Dean luck as he was off to race properly, and the remaining 8 of us set off at a more leisurely pace, choosing to do this one together as a team. We were enjoying ourselves despite the fact that we seemed to be picking up injuries one by one by one, myself turning my ankle painfully at around the 5km point, leaving me 13 painful km still to hobble through. We happily clambered over the well built obstacles, helping each other and having the kind of fun I had been missing from racing lately. We stopped to pose for some great group shots every time we saw a photographer and enjoyed watching the ribbon of red tops spread along the course.

Bunch of posers
Bunch of posers

Despite our myriad of injuries we managed to make it around the course, and after a cooling dip in the lake we could see the finish line in sight, just a clamber over a trailer with a very ungraceful dismount, a thin ladder climb and a big wall and we would be there. Sadly I was unable to complete the last two obstacles, my ankle finally getting the better of me, I was beginning to struggle to hold up my own weight, but together the 8 of us crossed the line and into the waiting arms of Doug Spence. We took a moment there at the finish, with Doug, and a few more tears spilled down our cheeks. It had been an emotional day and we didn’t need words, just some time together arm in arm again before we headed back into the event village for some warm clothes and a well deserved drink.

At the finish
At the finish

Dirty Dozen had laid on an amazing race, and an amazing tribute to a wonderful little boy and it was a privilege to have been able to be a small part of it, and I’m so glad I had decided to go along.

For the rest of the month though, I fear, it will be rest and Ice packs for me as I try to get my ankle back into shape so I can start training and running again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

(If you have read this and would like to donate to a fund to build a play park in Hughie’s memory, please click on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/2k42bhvt )

 

The thing about bullies…

I’m not entirely sure what has prompted me to be writing this now, or where I’m going with this, I’ve just been low, and thinking about things. I’m constantly told by people to stop overthinking, and to stop worrying about things but that’s just me, and one of the things I’ve been pondering lately is my own inability to take a complement. If you were to complement me on anything at all, I would automatically assume you (at best) were just trying to be nice, or make me feel better about something, what I wouldn’t do is believe you. At all. I think people are being kind, but not necessarily genuine. I might mutter an embarrassed thank you, if it’s on line I might give you a kiss emoji, more likely I’ll make a self depreciating joke, or possibly argue against what you said. In person I’ll probably look embarrassed, shake my head at you, look down at my feet, or list a load of things I don’t like about myself to counter your comment, but why? If I say something nice about someone I’m being 100% honest every time, why would other people be any different?

So here I am thinking about all this nonsense when a memory slides into my head from school, I must have been around 12 or 13 so we are going back 20 years here, It was just after one holiday or another and I was just back from camp, I had just had my first kiss, actually I had kissed TWO boys, and I was telling someone who I believed was my friend all about it. I made a fairly throwaway comment that “maybe I wasn’t as ugly as I thought I was”. By the end of the day this simple statement to one person had been turned into something else entirely. Now, according to rumour, I had arrogantly proclaimed that I was more beautiful than *insert name of the most gorgeous girl in my form group* and this in turn lead to a new round of the bullying I had endured on and off through most of my secondary school life. One particularly nasty girl in my form “accidentally”  tripped and fell into my chair, pinning me to a table and then hissing at me “So sorry Beautiful” not one person stood up for me.

So what does this have to do with anything? It certainly taught me early that people who say they are your friends aren’t always, and I was taught over and over by some people at school that I wasn’t worth a damn. I remember dreading the one lesson a week that I had German, where I had no friends in my class and used to try and disappear into the background, which never worked and I was picked on relentlessly for a hour every week, and I remember how lonely it was when those people who had said I was their friend abandoned me. I still have issues surrounding this, sure that the people in my life will one day walk out on me again. Sadly sometimes this turns out to be the case, it’s easy to say someone is important to you, or that you care, and quite another to actually show this and it makes you wonder what it is about you that makes you so easily dispensable to some people.

The stupid this is, the people who initially made me feel this way, and affected my self worth so badly, are no longer in my life. I made new friends then, who are still around today, I’ve made new friends since, and the ones who have stuck around are truly amazing and make my life better every single day. It’s amazing and sad how badly some nasty little children can have such a long lasting effect. A few years of bulling at school against years of good friends and sometimes relative strangers trying to pick you up and I still can’t take a complement, maybe I never will be able to see the good in myself, but for those of you who continue to wish to tell me the good things you see about me, for once, with no arguments, can I just say thank you!

 

July

As I sit writing this, it’s getting towards the end of the month and so far all I’ve done is one race. I’ve done a lot of socialising, and spent a week sitting in the sunshine and exploring the Greek Island of Kefalonia and getting fatter by the day, but very little running!

The Rye Classic Summer Series July 10k

Doing this race was a last minute decision after my friend Kevin messaged me and invited me along as there was space in the car, so I agreed, and tagged along with him and another friend Ashley, unrested and a little un-well.

Before the run with Ash and Kev
Before the run with Ash and Kev

Ordinarily I would take at least one rest day, and usually two, if I was planning on racing seriously, but as this was a spur of the moment thing far from being well rested I had done two tough training sessions the day before. I had also come down with some kind of chesty cough a few days before that had left me finding it hard to breath when exercising. I was told this was a nice flat course that is a good one to chase a PB, but I wasn’t hopeful and just figured it was something to do and a chance to have a run and get a medal.

Despite all this, at the start line I got swept up and set off way too fast, I over took a few people, and found myself neck and neck with another lady for quite a while, and was worried I was going to be battling her the whole way, knowing I couldn’t really go much faster to overtake, but suddenly she wasn’t there anymore and had dropped behind me. I had settled into the race and snuck a glance at my watch and realised I was still holding a good pace, as I came up to the turn around point of this out and back run and the front runners were coming back towards me I started counting the women in front of me, one, two, three… three, that was it, I was sitting in 4th place, I couldn’t quite believe it. This spurred me on to carry on pushing it and not give up, whats more the next lady was quite a way behind me. I held on, but by mile 5 my chesty cough was catching up with me, and I was wheezing, I was also overheating as once we turned around the wind dropped and the humidity seemed to treble, with only a mile to go though I didn’t want to give up, I could see by my watch that a PB might actually be in my grasp, I pushed on, and there was the finish line, I stopped my watch and beep, beep, I had done it, new 5k PB, new 10k PB and at under 50mins I was ecstatic, remembering back a year or so when I didn’t believe that would ever be in my grasp, I had also held onto 4th place lady and had come 2nd in my age category as well. Ash and Kev also hit new PBs so it was a great evening run all round.

Finished!
Finished!

What next?

So after this triumph I was out of races for July, with every weekend taken up with holidays and social engagements that left me this morning with the highest number on the scales that I’ve seen since January, so this last week in July is all about training hard and eating right to try and pull this back to something I’m happier with (not liking my mirror or scales at the moment!) I’m also going to look to see if I can find and squeeze in another last second race entry this weekend, if there is one that I can work around my crazy social life, we’ll see…

Bexhill 5km

… So despite there only being one week left this month I managed to find not one, but two last minute races. The first of these was the final in a series of 5km races run on Bexhill seafront in the summer, although this is the first one I’ve been able to get to. I went along with my friend Jac, and decided to pace her rather than try and push for a PB of my own, and had a lovely time doing the three up and down laps of the short stretch of seafront at a pace that was comfortable in the heat of the July evening. This was a nice little run out on a Wednesday evening and it was great to help Jac get a new 5km PB in the process.

Finished the Bexhill 5km with Jac Ginn
Finished the Bexhill 5km with Jac Ginn

Brighton Trailblazer 10km

The second race I found to do was a 10km trail run near Brighton, on the final Sunday of the month, which I convinced my husband that we should do before returning for our friends birthday celebrations later in the day. We also took Kev along with us, to take on this hilly course set over a section of the South Downs.

The start of the race was very crowded, and if you are at all competitive I would suggest getting as close to the start line as possible. The start was up a narrow track where we were basically queued up to cross the line, and we were near the back of the line, once we were off it stayed very narrow for about a mile and it was really difficult to overtake people.

The scenery during this race was nothing short of beautiful. Running over hills, overlooking the sea, which was a deep blue on a gorgeous summers day, through shady wooded paths, and over grassy farmland.

The race finished with a nice downhill section and offers you a medal and a selection of cakes at the finish. It comes up slightly short of 10km and doesn’t include a water stop on route but both of these things were clear on the website before you signed up so there were no surprises. It seemed well organised, and really was a lovely pretty run.

Finished with Kev and Phil
Finished with Kev and Phil

And that brings July to a close, as with this month, I’ve not got anything booked in yet for August, but it’s unlikely to stay that way for long!