Self Growth – Do not fast forward into something you’re not ready for or allow yourself to shrink back into what’s comfortable. Growth lives in the uneasiness. The in between. The unfinished sentence. YOU are a season of becoming.

Sunday – I felt a lot more upbeat all day, especially in comparison to the Sunday before.
My legs, while tender in places to touch when foam rolling, felt remarkably good considering the pace and both the ascent and descent I’d run the day before. My lower back and upper body however were very different. In part due to the upper body strength training I’d done on Friday, in part due to my run, but also potentially due to my medication. I’ve noticed since starting tamoxifen just how stiffened up I am in my joints in a morning, worse usually a week to 10 days after my hormone injection.
I spent the morning working on an art project for the house and reading. We watched a movie as we had lunch and I put myself to bed for an hour in the afternoon as felt so tired.
Once up I did two new yoga sessions on my Yoga With Adrienne subscription…on her Reunite programme. 40mins later I felt calmer, rejuvenated and most importantly stretched and ready for Monday.

Monday – Is it just me or is there a slight change in the air…a creeping in of Autumn light.
I seemed to have an unsettled night but that thankfully didn’t effect my recovery run. I noted how dull the morning was, sunrise had happened but was shrouded in cloud. Also how much the hawthorn berries are starting to redden and blackberries fill out in the hedges. It was chilly as I left and soon turned to rain, during the hour I was out I ran through two showers and both a welcome refreshment.

I kept my heart rate low and my pace slow and steady. There was a slight tightness in my legs, nothing too bad but it was the first Monday in a while when I’ve had enough tightness to know this would always have to be a recovery run.
Once home I made the decision that I needed to get out…the heather is starting to bloom beautifully and I needed to be amongst it. I had breakfast and set off for an hours slow out and back walk on Froggatt Edge. It was everything I wanted…needed! The light in the woodland before getting onto the edge was impressive.

Sitting on the rocks taking in the view before I turned back my biggest thought was how alive I felt.

I know next year will mean running and walking a lot more in training…the latter is something chemo effected disastrously, I fatigue really quickly and can’t go far without a rest stop…and yet I could run the same distance without issue. It comes down to what I taught myself how to do before treatment, now I need to teach myself how to walk again. Therefore moments of calm slow strolling will help build me up, get my body used to more. Realistically I have 7-8 months to work on that before I have to train specifically and it becomes a necessity, instead of a pastime luxury.
Work went really well but I felt absolutely brain dead on leaving…a complete mix of mental AND physical tiredness. I felt annoyed that that meant I’d pushed myself too much in the morning, but also sad – I’d only walked for an hour and really slowly, plus I’d sat and rested a couple of times. Part of me knows it will take time to build that side of me up, the same as with work – but impatient me felt defeated. I got home and did some yoga before cooking dinner, then made sure to get an early night.

Tuesday – For the first time in a couple of weeks I managed to sleep through to just before my alarm, waking naturally and feeling refreshed. I started my morning with 20minutes of yoga to stretch everything well before 40minutes of bodyweight strength training – three sets which were repeated five times. I hadn’t done it in a while and it was great fun. I noticed a slight tightness in my quads however and so did Yoga for Post Run to loosen my legs afterwards.
Once I’d tidied the house a little I set to and started looking at Open Learn details through the Open University. A lady in my running group had shared information on it a few weeks ago. There are so many free courses to choose from and I highly recommend a look if there’s an area of study that you’d like to investigate. I was interested in researching more in health, sports and fitness due to next years goal and so signed up to a couple of nutrition courses, one centred on motivation, another that covers recovery strategies and finally one based on improving aerobic fitness.
Work seemed to fly by and due to the change in the hours I’m now working, I had my first post work spin class at 6pm. It’s been a long time since I changed into gym kit at work but everything, including the class, flowed very naturally. The only drawback was that it was nearly 8pm before I’d finished cooking my dinner – but that’s just something to ensure I’m more organised with going forwards.

Wednesday – Today marked the first near dark 5am of the year…and yet the birds were up and announcing the morning. I’d a hill repeat 14.5K planned but while I ate my porridge I decided on a circular route instead. Giving me a 3K warm up, then 4K of full on hill climb up to 403m before a steep downhill of around 5K, then a nice near 3K cool down back to home. In part the decision was because I wanted badly to tackle our local hill, but also because I need my legs to get used to downhill running ahead of the Loch Ness Marathon.

It was a great decision and I completely amazed myself by running all the way uphill for the first time since I started running again.

I’ve done so much work to build my muscles back up after chemotherapy, then strengthen them further and it feels like that hard work is starting to pay off – more is needed but I’m getting there.
I got home feeling good and ready for the morning, although thankfully I hadn’t anything too much planned. I studied a little and read before going to work.
At work I struggled all through my three hours, my brain felt muddled…words in the wrong place or lost completely, I was able to keep my train of thought and know what I was doing but I felt embarrassed.

Thursday – Having gone to bed tired and feeling a little drawn and blue I’d set my alarm an hour later than usual to give me extra time in bed. That extra hour was a huge boost and instead of having a little banana and going for my run, I had a full breakfast and packed my hydration vest and a rucksack. A couple of hours later I parked at the National Trusts Longshaw Estate and got myself ready for a trail run.
I had a few small ascents but kept to a reasonably flatter path through the woods and out the back of the Estate land, doing an out and back loop to reach my 6.5K distance.

It was sunny, barely any wind and I only ever met one couple and their dog. It was bliss to have somewhere so beautiful to myself at that time of day.

Once changed I headed to the local deli, had a coffee and read a while before going home…

I still had the blues and my run had never lifted that feeling, infact I almost felt worse afterwards. Was it knowing that my run had finished, that I was going to an empty house after work as my fiancé was working overnight…I didn’t know and couldn’t put my finger on what on earth was wrong.
Tearful I did some yoga, made a cup of tea and had lunch…porridge and lots of fruit as I wanted comfort but also knew I needed nutrition.
Work felt like it saved me a little – busy and wanting to complete the tasks I had I got my head down, chatted to my colleagues as we worked and suddenly it was 5pm again. I’d drinks with friends planned and the couple of hours with them cheered me even more. I got home and warmed the end of some homemade soup I’d made on Monday, toasted a cheese sandwich and ate the baked goods my friend had given me – dessert before main course is sometimes always the best option!

Friday – I’d expected to sleep really badly with being alone, but was thankful to wake up just before my alarm after a peaceful nights rest.
Although my 50 minute upper body strength training had taken quite a toll last week, I decided it was best to repeat it, you only get strong by pushing yourself after all. This week however the yoga I did afterwards was all standing and lunging…not a plank in site. I felt tired afterwards but my body still felt strong, a noticeable change from the Friday before. With such a glorious sunny morning I had breakfast in the garden as I read the news.

I’ve done a little of my studying on and off since Tuesday and sat down with the intention to do more. Then remembered a text from a friend with regards seeing me in November…it made me realise that the 5K race I’m doing 17th November is nowhere near where I thought it was! However, after a little looking and planning we now have a hotel booked to meet at and a fun weekend to look forward to.
Having been in a hot humid office for a few hours and then walking out into the muggy evening air, I knew extra water and fuel were needed ahead of my long run. I try to ensure I dial into my hydration and fuelling at least two days before a long run, this week for some reason my weight has dropped a little as the week has gone on though…most likely anxiety based, but could explain the building tiredness during the week. A few pounds while not a great deal, effects the body and hormones drastically…hello Thursday blues! It could also vastly effect how a long run feels…especially one done in heat. I made sure to drink more water, plus had extra fruit with my dessert.

Saturday – The 5am alarm went off and it took me a good few minutes to go over what day it actually was. Thankfully I’d left everything stood ready and so switched on both kettle and microwave as I passed.
I’d gained a few pounds since Friday and so the extra nutrition definitely worked…a huge bonus given the 21C forecast for the last hour of my run!
It was a misty start and I hoped it stayed that way, or at least until I was a good hour into my run. In the end the mist hung in the valley until just after 9am…then the sun burnt it off. The views it left were just incredible…

reminding me so much of the Scottish landscapes we’ve explored on our travels.
My turn around time was set on finding a bridge at the end of the reservoir…

between undulating track and heat I tired a bit faster than I’d have liked, but once found and on my way back I flew. With a slight downhill and good shady tree cover, I was able to up my pace all the way back to the main road…then I hit a wall of sun. It felt relentless and uncomfortable, it was almost like I was carrying an extra runner and I had to do a lot of mind over matter thinking. My head was very quick to try talking my body into giving up. I needed an extra 2K to get me to my 18mile target and so went to the nearest village and then turned for home, as I turned I realised my body felt fine…the issue was my mental chatter! It made the last kilometre home easier as I just blocked out the noise and let my legs run.
Once back, refuelled, showered and changed we took some time out around lunch, then went for a walk. The sun, although hot, didn’t feel as cruel but it was still a relief to get home and put our feet up.

Sunday – A sunny bank holiday Sunday morning, we’ve no plans but may go for a small gentle stroll before it gets too warm. Otherwise today will just be a restful, peaceful day of togetherness. My legs feel fine after yesterday and this week there’s only stiffness in my back…no aches or discomfort like last week. The week ahead is my cut back week in my running, a chance to aide my recovery and listen to my body more…and to learn if my taper weeks will need tweaking, lengthening even. I also have a couple of days off to look forward to.

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