Sunday – We had one awful nights sleep and I got up at 5am feeling groggy to say the least. I was pleased I’d stood everything ready for my breakfast aswell as my run! I contemplated only having my porridge and jam and taking my banana with me, but given the temperature and not knowing how far we’d be parked from the start, I decided it was best to have everything together.
Setting off the weather was against us, although we arrived in plenty of time and parked right next to the event village. The fog however was that thick you could barely see the start/finish line…the walk to the portaloos was eerie to say the least.
I’d gone with no set goal…my May half marathon PB of 2.15.19 was in the back of my head but I was realistic. I’d trained for it and it alone for the five weeks following chemotherapy while undergoing radiotherapy…I’d done no longer run up to it and was fresh. However, here I was lining up in contrast less than a month since the Loch Ness Marathon and all the quad pain it brought with it – technically my body was still recovering from it. Plus I’d pushed hard the Sunday before at the Brigg 10K to put myself only 30seconds behind my old, before cancer, 10K PB.
I took my time and we sat in the car to keep warm and dry until 15minutes before the start. I headed out and started my warm up, then met fellow Goats Emma & Nick which lifted my spirits no end. Nick aimed nearer the front and Em and I chatted and tucked ourselves into the crowd where we felt comfortable.

Then that was it, all underway and trying to make sure we weren’t too fast but felt comfortable in the pack. I had a lot of people come past – I know better than to start quickly though so just let everyone go and found my pace.
All I could think was how beautiful it was, the fog masking the views but letting us see enough to keep the mind interested and alert…deer under the trees and every now and then people emerging from the mist cheering us on.

Coming over the start/finish at around 10K I was at 1hr 20mins and feeling good. The course is two laps but they’re not identical, which does wonders for the head….I tried to work out my time but gave up somewhere around mile 8 – sure I was slower and quite frankly I’d hit the not bothered button – I was enjoying the experience, the camaraderie…seeing Em to shout encouragement to and get some from…it was fantastic!

My hips ached a little from mile 10 but otherwise I had no problems at all.
As I came through the Estate gate I knew to speed up and give it my all, a sprint finish was on but we had grass for the last few meters and it was hilarious…like suddenly stepping into treacle. I crossed the line as the clock brought up 2.18…

and my heart sank a bit. My phone said 2.16 and yes I’d set it off a little before crossing the start but not much earlier, I was so sure I hadn’t got a PB. All the upbeat great feeling went, I collected my medal and freebies and searched for my fiancé…feeling a bit tearful. He found me not long before Em crossed the line and came to say hello again.

Then we both found a couple more fellow goats for a chat before leaving…

…shout out to Chris for putting up with us idolising Imran.
My fiancé and I hung around and had lunch before we left, watching the fog lift to a beautiful day…it made the park look so different that parts of it I couldn’t recall having run around.
About half an hour from home I decided to be brave and look at my result, see just how far off I was ready for next time. I ended up having to read it twice…a new PB…2.14.35!!!

I cried most of the way home, beyond proud and completely overwhelmed at what I’d achieved. There is no doubt that there were bits of the course I could have run faster, and without all the funk in my legs from my other races, I know that time may have been lower.
We celebrated with a chicken dinner!

Monday – Thankfully I had a better nights sleep and got up feeling fresher. I was a little stiff all over but warming up eased everything and I had no aches. The tightness in my hips had eased and yes my hamstrings were a little tender, but I expected something following a half marathon race.
My recovery run was slow, steady and peaceful…all zone 2 and 3, exactly what I needed. I was a bit chilly when I got in but a quick shower soon resolved that and I headed off for work at 9am feeling quite jolly.
We had a busy morning but I felt like I did well, paid attention and was able to apply things I’d taken on board from the week before. I was a bit drained by the time I got home however. It was nice to sit down and rest before doing a spot of yoga, and starting supper.

Tuesday – I actually slept through, it felt great to wake up naturally a few minutes before the alarm going off.
I’d noticed on Monday just how blue I felt and so it was nice to get the day started with a spring in my step. My legs were still a little tender and I was aware I needed recovery time from the weekends half marathon, so did 15minutes of Yoga For Flexibility to start the morning off. Then half an hour of leg and ab strength training, a half an hour of upper body weight training, and a nice relaxed 20minutes more yoga to finish before jumping under the shower.
My work day passed well but we had a meeting before I left and discussed the next few months…the impact Christmas will have and just how busy we will all be. Forewarned is forearmed as they say, but I left feeling very anxious…a huge seed of doubt there saying “what if I can’t cope” “what if I can’t do everything they want”. It was only after getting back, batch making my lunch for the next few days, preparing my kit bag for spin and breakfast for post run in the morning that I then stopped and reflected! I work with an amazing bunch of people, we’re all honest to a fault and will look after each other these next few busy months. If I can come home and do all those things so that I save myself time elsewhere over the next two days, surely I can apply the same principles to work. There are four key cornerstones in my life…my parents, Frag, work and running – I’ll have moments where I wobble but the new me knows aslong as those four are looked after, the rest of life can make do!
I went to an earlier spin class in the evening, aware I needed to take things easy my body soon reminded me of that too – I had an overall feeling of fatigue, but the 45minutes warmed up and eased my legs no end.

Wednesday – Gosh what a chilly start!
The chill in the house prepared me for what was to come outside and I was pleased I chose leggings, and not my shorts, to run in. As I left the village I noticed a tightness in my lower back but that soon passed. My legs felt heavy and tired throughout the whole 8K though. I’d decided on a nice slow run and was able to keep it mostly aerobic all the way…only towards the end of my run did it rise – as the temperature fell and I started to feel it.

Getting in the main priority was to get warm as quickly as possible, something care has to be taken with when you have bad circulation. It felt a long time before my hands were properly warmed up and functioning right.
After a busy but productive time at work I decided just going home wasn’t enough, I needed to get out. I’d been feeling a bit down since Monday…tiredness, hormones, post race blues…all normal occurrences but effect body and mind an awful lot. I had a bit of a gremlin on my shoulder too, I’d eaten well since the weekend…indulged a little, plus the scales showed an extra couple of pounds – sensible brain said “your muscles are still healing and things will be up and down for a fortnight” demon brain said “you’re getting fat you need to stop eating”. Thankfully the latter didn’t win and I took time out at the local deli to celebrate my Godmothers birthday properly!

I then went home and grabbed my yoga mat for just over 20minutes of Rainy Day Yoga before curling up on the sofa to read.

Thursday – A rainy start that then saw a day of torrential downpours and floods.
It was thankfully above freezing but with wanting to take things slow, pace well and keep my heart rate low, I knew I needed to wrap up a little. The rain was pouring and the wind cut through me. The path between us and the next village was under water in parts and I waded more than ran. I managed to keep my heart rate mostly aerobic but did have 15minutes of just over an hours run at anaerobic zone 4.
I was absolutely soaked through when I got in and felt really cold, a quick change and warm shower later and it was almost like repeating Wednesday morning again. I noted a little discomfort in my left knee but will be honest and say once I’d finished my run and switched my tech off, I then sprinted home instead of walking – so no wonder it grumbled!
Thankfully the warmer air meant not having to de-ice the car before work, I still left early due to the road conditions – flood water enroute making me pleased I had.
Work went well and for the first time all week I left feeling okay, once home I actually felt like I had energy. So set to with a few bits of housework before doing my daily yoga then starting our dinner.

Friday – The rain and howling wind had kept me awake on and off. The alarm at 5.30am was hard to listen to, but I knew the heating would soon come on and that I’d feel so much better after my workout.
I grabbed my mat and did 50minutes of upper body weight training, then half an hour of Yoga For Writers…a nice neck and back release based session.
As I set off to work I noted the paths that I usually run on were now streams, the local village under water and public services barely running due to flooding.

There wasn’t as many cars at work but all of us had made it into the Accounts Office. It was a busy, frantic morning but I got everything done that I both needed, and wanted to. Leaving to then start a week off and refresh my batteries a little.
Back home I had a call from a lady at the benefits office…I made a claim in August, was messed around and so when they didn’t get intouch I didn’t chase – yes I know I should have. But…and this may shock some given the extent of my treatment…throughout all the time I’ve been off and then on my phased return I’ve been entitled to no more than statutory sick pay…which ended in May. They believed my fiancé could “keep me” and so we’ve struggled, made do, lived off my savings, and counted our blessings that we live a meagre life…plus my parents have been wonderful and ensured my car is still parked outside – something I will be forever grateful for!
After feeling like I’d wasted an hour of my new life speaking to her I took time out to have a cuppa and watch the world go by the window. I had an evening alone and so took things at leisure and rested, ready for the weekend to come.

Saturday – After a really good nights sleep I crept through at 5am to start my day. My intention was to set off at 7am for my 14mile training run, take things steady and aim on being back by 10am at the latest.
As I walked past our kitchen window I realised you couldn’t see outside, I knew we had been forecast an icy sub zero start but had never thought about fog! It meant a half an hour delay in setting off so that I could see clearly, and knew the temperature would be just slightly higher.
This time last year I did a Remembrance Day 10K run…I think it was my first 10K post chemo cycle one. Given what I was going through I had to stay close to home and so did laps back and forth between us and the nearby village. Roll forward a year and I decided it was very important to do that run again…to start my day thinking of those who struggled for us all those years ago, who lost their lives and who we will remember on the 11th. My first 6.2miles was peaceful and really lovely. My watched buzzed 10K and I headed off to finish my full 14miles elsewhere.

I was going to loop round via the cement works, through Castleton. Taking in the view I swept down a steep hill but found alot of flooding at the bottom…

…so had to double back. I ended up following a completely different route and finding more flood water along the way. My right quad started to ache at 19K and my hips began to grumble…that much that I actually stopped, stretched and considered finishing my run early. I got going again and, with home in sight, everything eased a little and I was soon back again.
Once in I checked my data, I’d felt fine apart from the leg issue…my pace was slower than I’d expected and I was tired – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that my body was saying it had had enough. In the last 5weeks I’ve pushed it to run a marathon, pull out 5minute kilometre times for a near 10K PB race and achieved a new half marathon PB. Add in everything else I do on just an ordinary day and your left with something that wants a bit of TLC.
My hip and leg issue upset me though, I’ve been doing so much to try and help strengthen the misalignment in my body. On taking my thermal top off I realised the real culprit – aswell as probably not focussing enough on posture…both sides of my waist have matching marks…

…my hydration vest had rubbed because like an idiot I didn’t put it on tight enough!!! The movement of it, with a full water bladder in plus everything else I carry on a long run, will have pulled my back aswell as marking and blistering me.
Once recovered I had to run an errand, but back home again I took to my mat for 20minutes of Yoga To Fill Your Cup before snuggling myself on the sofa…ready for that TLC.

Sunday – My rest day and to be brutally honest I need full on proper rest. I have the coming week off and a lot happening – lunch with a friend, my sports massage, a mid-week long run, a few days out and preparation to do for my first ever 5K race! It’s time to put my feet up.

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