Frequently asked questions…

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked how my running was going. I was grateful he was taking interest. He started asking me about all of the different runs I was doing and i told him i had two marathons coming up and 5 minutes later I didn’t really want to talk about running anymore…..

“So how far is your first marathon”

“26.2 miles”

” And what about your 2nd”

“its the same- the term marathon applies to a race of 26.2 miles”

“ah ok….so how far is your half then”

It didn’t take me long to post this conversation on my social media running groups and surprisingly, it turns out these conversations are pretty common. In fact, it seems us runners spend half of our none running time moaning about how no-one is interested in our running, and the other half fending off ridiculous questions when some – who i am sure mean very well- daft souls try and take an interest.

So with the help of the amazing social media community, I thought i would put together a little guide. So for all of you lovely none runners who do their best to take an interest, you can be slightly aware of just what questions really wind us up…..

 

‘How far is that marathon you’re doing’

I know I’ve covered this above- but just to clarify it’s 26.2 miles. ALL bloody marathons are 26.2 miles. Not just the one in London.

There is no such thing as a 10kmarathon, nor is there a 5kmarathon. All of them are 26.2 miles. And therefore a half marathon is 13.1…yup you guessed it…ALL OF THEM. Not just the Great North Run.

Because to just clear something up, it still counts if the race your in isn’t The London Marathon or the Great North Run!!!!

Oh and YES WE PAY FOR THEM!!

“Did you win”

Yes

You don’t look like a runner”

I’m yet to figure out exactly what a runner looks like. A lot of my social media friends seemed to think this was referring to their weight and/or age but i would hope you none runners wouldn’t be that narrow minded. I can only assume you think us running types are so committed we wear nothing but our running outfits and trainers and therefore that is why we don’t look like runners.

“isn’t it bad for your knees”

I haven’t actually had this one personally but have had lots of different variations of people telling me all of the exercise i do is bad for me. I can’t have a niggle without people putting it down to my training.

No it’s not bad for our knees. In fact, between us running lot who were lovely enough to help me out with this post, it was established that our knees and other various joints were much worse off when we were heavier and unhealthiest….

You’re going running again?

In a word….yes. It baffles me how confused others get by the fact I run more than once. Particularly after I’ve completed an organised race or just returned from a holiday. People assume that the goal has been achieved and therefore i have no reason to continue to run. Oh and yes, we even run when its raining.

So just to clarify…running is for life, not just for London marathons.

How long will your run take you-HOW LONG? I couldn’t run for that long…wont you get bored. 

No one is asking you to and no i wont. Because i will be recalling these conversations whilst I am running these distances and be thankful i run alone.

And although we are aware that we may have to walk a little, yes we plan on running as much of it as possible.

I wish I could run

DO YOU??? Be careful what you wish for. Because we will invite you running with us, tag you in all our running posts on social media and constantly tell you how you can most definitely do it.

When will you stop running

When will you stop needing food to live? When will you stop getting thirsty? When will you stop breathing? Because to a runner, its as vital as that.

What do you mean you can’t come out tonight/aren’t drinking/leaving early?

Yup. We are aware and even a little saddened by how our hobby which has given us so this new lease of life, ironically takes away most of our social interaction with our friends. It’s not that we don’t want to. It’s just that running is important. Most of us are in training for something and have spent a lot of time and effort on our training plans and we MUST stick to them. So although i never thought i would see the day, sometimes we just can’t have that “one more drink”.

Why do you run

Normally swiftly followed with- i hate running or words to that effect.

Well let me tell you, I’m not a huge fan of cricket. Yet i don’t ever really feel the need to source out cricketers just to tell them how much i don’t like what they’re doing.

If I don’t like something I don’t do it, but to most of us running is much much more than a hobby. So unless you want to see how fast we can really run….maybe telling us how rubbish our passion is, isn’t the smartest move……

Do you ever talk about anything else

Occasionally, but i can normally bring it back to running pretty quickly

And finally- for all you none running other halfs….

No- we haven’t got enough running shoe/clothes and Yes- we really do need more.

So there you have it. Just the smallest and most popular selection that came from me asking runners about the questions they get asked. And there were more. So many many more. Some great ones and some just downright bizarre. But all utterly entertaining.

So if you are a none runner, please don’t stop asking your questions. We really do appreciate you trying. I’m sure I’ve asked some pretty stupid things about your hobbies. But please forgive us for a little eye rolling and face palming from time to time….and expect for social media to hear all about it!!!

Jx

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Cull3

http://www.mind.org.uk/

Www.infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

Who are you

I’ve always been selfish. This is not a critisim of myself nor am I bragging about it. It is just who I am.

Some (most) would probably argue that it’s a wonder my husband didn’t crack sooner. And I’m pretty certain most think that I am probably to blame for the build up of the last 12 months. I can’t really agree or disagree at this stage. Potentially we’ll never know.

My husband has depression. Not the Sunday night I-don’t-want-to-go-to-work-tomorrow type. I can’t actually describe the “type” as such as I am only just starting to begin to understand it now. In hindsight he has probably had it a few years but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I have spent a lot of time in the last 18months believing the reason for the change in my marriage was down to my fitness. Down to me making changes to my lifestyle and allowing my life to revolve around these changes. But they were charging me for the better weren’t they? And therefore if my husband wasn’t supportive and didn’t want to come along for the ride then that was his problem. And actually he was pretty supportive. Too much so at times.

He stood at every finish line. Allowed all of our weekend to be consumed with Mr PT and fitness classes. Our car has spent so much time at Infinite Air I’m considering noting it as our “private parking” next time we renew the insurance.

And with all of that came this. The blog that has become so very personal. The countless twitter and facebook posts.

They were making me happy. And it wasn’t that i didn’t care that in the process Mr Husband was deeply unhappy. I was just so absorbed in blocking out how much our marriage was suffering that i didn’t notice the constant internal suffering that was going on right in front of me.

Looking back, it started pretty gradually. He would snap at me more over silly things or not get involved in conversations, and the man i spent so much time laughing with suddenly disappeared and we could barely be in the same room without arguing.

I was so consumed with how unhappy it was making me, i didn’t ever stop to think about the last time he smiled. The last time something made his eyes light up in the way running did to mine.

I never stopped to realise that he started to simply exist rather than live.

It all hit a head in the  summer. After yet another argument over something silly, we both admitted to each other that the relationship wasn’t working. It was a heart breaking conversation but uplifting in that it was the most we’d spoken to each other in months.

And then I ran. Pleased I had gotten it off my chest and said what I needed to say. And yes i felt sad we’d let it get to that point. But did i ever really stop to think what he was going through….not really if I’m honest.

And I kept running. Kept training. Kept doing the things that made me feel better.

I sought attention from friends old and new. Used twitter to forget about the real world and the crap that was piling up around me.

I used to tell a lot of people, including Mr Husband, that he’d changed. But I’d never really stopped to think how. The reality with depression is that it doesn’t just change the person suffering but those around them.  And i have since learnt from Mr Husband, that the more times he heard people telling him how different he was now, it didn’t help. It didn’t make it better. It made it worse.

Because that’s the thing with depression. Or certainly my husbands. He wasn’t sad because someone had died. Or because something bad had happened.

To this day he’s still not sure why it happened and what triggered it. Suddenly he just wasn’t the same anymore.

My laid back and patient husband was suddenly bad tempered and argumentative. He had no interest in anything. He became completely incapable of making the smallest decision. And he followed me everywhere. Every room i went into in our home he followed, he would hang around me while i was cooking, getting dressed, in the bath.  He became inbearable, wanting to know every conversation i was having and completely paranoid that every one had it in for him. I became the only person he would speak to and that would normally result in one of us crying. He didn’t want to go out. He didn’t want to speak to anyone.  But more importantly, he didn’t realise any of this.

It was quite simply suffocating.

My husband can’t run.

So that became my escape. I ran and i trained. To get away. To help myself.

I ran because i was so scared that once i stopped i would have to face what was going on. I used twitter to be someone else. Suddenly i wasn’t using fitness to better myself, or even to escape things for a while. I was using it to hide.

Depression was too big for me. I remember the day we agreed it was best that we had some time apart. I remember not running because i didn’t need to anymore. I remeber being like a naughty child that could do what she wanted. I made new friends. I went out more. And although i missed Mr Husband and worried about him, the only person i really thought about was myself.

And then he told me he’d made a doctors appointment and they’d recommended medication. And that he spoke to someone professionally.

And then I realised this was something real. I realised it wasn’t about me. Or even us. This was about him.

It was the same day I went to PT and broke down. And it was the same day i realised there were two people in my marriage. And that i had completely chosen to ignore the second one.

And we had ignored it for so long that we had let it get too far. There was simply no going back.

Depression hadn’t destroyed us but choosing to ignore it had.

And then it took a few conversations from a few close people to make me realise that yes, i needed to be happy and i needed to do what was right for me, but i also needed to remember that marriage was about compromise and support. For better. For worse. In sickness and in health.

Mr Husband had ran himself into the ground trying to be what i wanted him to be. Consuming himself with trying to make me happy. And I had let him. Neither of us ever really stopped to think about what would make him happy.

My husband wasn’t just unhappy. He was lost. And neither of us knew who we were anymore.

Admitting I couldn’t help my husband changed our lives.

The day he rang me and told me he had called a charity and spoken to them was the day we started dealing with our emotions separately yet supporting each other.

Along with the help of his GP, this charity supported him and helped us BOTH understand that depression is bigger than all of us, but can be beaten. They cleared the clouds and showed us how to understand things from the other persons perspective.

Suddenly i was able to see what Mr Husband was going through and vice versa. For the first time in my life i wasn’t thinking solely about myself.

We started meeting up for coffee and walks and would actually listen to each other.

Suddenly my husband started to become my husband again. And suddenly i found myself again.

I started really enjoying running again. Because i wasn’t doing it so i could post a selfie and brag about it on social media (though i am still a fan of that) but i was doing it because it was who I was. Who I really was.

And it’s still an ongoing process but Mr Husband has started to rediscover who he really is.

And I started to rediscover him. I realised that actually, i hadn’t stoppd loving him as i had convinced myself i had, i had stopped loving me.

It was during one of these talks with my husband that i decided to fund raise for Mind and around the same time Total Warrior got in touch.

With each training session i do, comes the ability to assess the situation. And deal with my non training situations head on.

Suddenly i wasn’t seeking attention to find myself anymore, but was being asked to do something to make me a better version of me.

I was back in a community where I didn’t feel alone.

And thanks to Mind, neither was Mr Husband.

And although Mind should be about him having somewhere to turn, and i promise it is, it’s also about me knowing he has someone else to turn to.

Someone that knows how to not make it worse. Someone who understands. Someone who isn’t me.

And they’re doing a damn sight better than me. Because my husband is smiling again. We’re both smiling again.

We still have a long road to go down but he’s getting proper advice and support and more importantly, someone to sound off.

And most importantly, hes spending time figuring out what makes him happy.

Which gives me time to do the same.

I’m worried to admit and actually put it out there, but my marathon training isn’t going brilliantly. Suddenly HAVING to run in excess of 15miles for training takes the fun from when I WANTED to. And just when i was getting my running focus back, I fell off a box at Infinite Air and hurt my ankle.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but my Total Warrior training has helped me see the wood for the trees again. Given me a reason to focus on training rather than lose focus on life. Mr PT has been a legend in going through the obstacles with me on the website and training me appropriately -incorporating lots of upper body and strength training alongside lots of advice on nutrition and looking after myself.

I’m training for obstacles I’ve never even thought of doing, let alone done. Yet each training session I have with Mr PT, the more confident i am that I’ll be able to do it. But the most surprising thing about my total warrior training is the mental strength it’s teaching me. I’m learning more about my own strength and determination than I ever thought possible. And even now,3 months before the event, i feel I’ll owe them more than they’ll ever realise.

I’m learning there’s so much more to the name Total Warrior than just another obstacle course.

Jx

http://www.infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

http://www.mind.org.net

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Cull3

Losing… Dear Grandad

My Grandad  wasn’t a runner. He walked the dog. He took me places. But other than that he wasn’t hugely the outdoors type.

He was the biggest part of my life and my hero. When it came to his family, he was the proudest man in the world and would do anything for us. And he wasn’t afraid to shout about it.

I wasn’t a runner while he was alive. And I’m not sure if he’d have been the sitting at the finish line type. But he’d have made damned sure that everyone he knew was aware of my runs and even when the Alzheimer’s took him away, years before he actually passed, he’d have still remembered every time of every run I did and told people that I’d won them anyway.

I have never raised money for Alzheimer’s. I often wonder if he looks down on me and wonders why. Wonders if I’ve stopped thinking of him and forgotten him.

Every run I do and every blog on running I read, someone has experienced loss. Whether that’s loss of a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child and even themselves-People running whilst they combat their own serious illness.

Every long race i do, there’s faces and names of loved ones on t shirts. Blogs and articles on charity sponsors from people that are using running to raise awareness for the people that they’ve lost.

Because something i wasn’t expecting when i started running was discovering how amazing some people are. It’s incredible how people can summon mental strength from the darkest of places and use it for great things.

With the marathons and obstacle runs i have coming up, I have been spending a lot of time reading up on how to mentally prepare. Almost every article talks about the reason. We all have it. And we all have that dark point in whatever distance we run where we hit our mental wall. And I’ve read up enough to know that this is that time to pull the mantra and the reason out of the bag.  Remember who we’re doing this for and why it got us to this point.

I have no personal connection to the charities i run for. I choose my charities based on what they believe in and whether I can relate to those that they’re helping. It’s probably the reason Infinite Air works so well as a gym for me. They believe in what I believe in. And they believe in doing without pity.

Because thats the most noticeable thing with runners who are using their loss for strength. They want to raise awareness. They want to deal with their loss and they want to make their loved ones proud. But they certainly don’t want you’re pity.

Because thats who Grandad (with a lot of help from grandma and the rest of the family) brought me up to be. Strong and independent, but unafraid to reassess a situation sometimes.

When my marriage hit it’s lowest point this year. When I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. When my world was falling apart and I couldn’t turn to anyone because even i didn’t know how to regroup my thoughts. It wasn’t running that got me through. It helped. But I’d have fallen apart it wasn’t for my family

I ran initially for fitness. And then i realised that running gave me time to reflect and help me clear the muddy water of life at times. I run for the sense of belonging.

I run to brag about it. To show people i can achieve. To show my family and those around me (and obviously Mr PT ) that I’m taking this training seriously.

When the going gets tough, I often recite mr PT’s mantra that my body can handle it, its my mind i have to convince. I envision Mr PT running next to me and telling me to do it a though I’ve got to and i envision making Mr PT proud that is efforts have paid off.

Medal or no medal Grandad would be proud of me anyway. But when I hit the really low moments, i think about how he’d feel if he saw me struggling. If he saw me broken. I think about how he raised his family to be strong and independent and I think about how proud he’d be at me for getting through that time. And that what getc me through.

There’s not a single race, or even a single day that goes by when i don’t think about my Grandad. It breaks my heart that he’s not here to share this journey with me. Not here to see my both win and fail at life all at the same time. Not to get me through it but to share it.

I run and I train to prove to myself I’m the kind of person he imagined I would be.

I’ve had a great training week this week. I did a 15k race in a great time of 1hr 33 and lifted my heaviest yet with Mr PT. It wasn’t easy but when I see other runners and friends on social media ano speak to family and friends and see the things they contend with, I realise how lucky i am to be part of a community and friendship circle full of amazing people.

I started to think about my first Marathon and Total Warrior UK and have started to test my mental strength in training as much as the physical. Started to push at those blocks and learn how to tear them down. Learn that sometimes you have to get to your not so great place, to reach the highest point you’ve ever been.

Wherever you get our mental strength from. Whatever makes you smile. Keep hold of that. Keep it somewhere safe for those dark moments, when you need it most. Even if that somewhere safe is in the kind words of others.

I don’t run for Grandad. I live for him.

And as I sit here with tears streaming down my face, wishing this post wasn’t needed and i could tell him how i feel, the only thing I hope he knows, is how much I loved ad looked up to him. Knows the impact he had on us all.

I run for everyone i know going through tough times. For everyone that lets that smile slip sometimes and wonders how to just do life but then laces up and does it anyway. I do it because i feel humbled to be part of that sort of community.

So whatever your goal, whatever your dream and whatever your motivation, don’t be afraid to stand tall and remember when the going gets tough, you’re just getting going.

Www.Infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.Mind.Org.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Cull3

 

 

Mojo- it’s all about support

“So do you really think I can do it” was my main question to Mr PT after finally plucking up the courage to tell him about my Total Warrior UK sign up “As well as my marathons” I very quickly added.

I braced myself for his laughter, or worse…. his resignation. “Jill i can’t do this anymore, maybe you should get a new hobby…like knitting”.

But it didn’t come. He looked at me like it was the most ridiculous question in the world and matter of factly stated ” of course you can”.

He either has more confidence in me than i ever realised or is a very good liar. I’m still undecided. But either way it’s given me confidence and a full week of great training sessions.

He said we’d work on upper body strength and I don’t need him to tell me anymore that with the marathon training, it’s now just about convincing my mind I can do the distance rather than my body, that I know is up to the job.

Provided i have my rest days.

Because although I’ve trained on plan this week and more than normal, I actually think I’m becoming sensible. No longer am i thinking I can do two long runs in two consecutive days and expect both to be PBs, or expect to be in the gym for three hours a day. I’m learning to balance the easy days and hard days and listen to my body like never before. And the food diary is back.

To put it simply I feel i am “back on it”….whatever “it” is.

I’ve had 3 PT sessions since telling him about Total Warrior, a circuits class, 3 runs- one long 13.1 miles and 2 6 miles- and 2 treadmill sessions-with faster base and fast pace!!

And I’m feeling great. But realistic. No longer am i expecting every week o be like that. LIfe suddenly takes over, particularly as I’m heading into the dreaded late shift week. But I’m learning to adapt my training accordingly to make sure that I’m not letting myself lose focus.

As I’m doing treadmills and running, most of my PTs are weight’s based at the moment. And I’m definitely becoming a girl that loves to lift. I’m feeling strong and the impressed looks and “well done” I’m getting from mr PT mean I’m not as worried about the Total warrior in June.

Mr PT  took a look at the obstacles and said we’d just need to continue working on my upper body- he mentioned pull-ups and ropes but i think I’ve blanked it out of memory!!!

But we did go 5kg heavier than normal with one of my exercises and it wasn’t all that bad.

And suddenly i feel like maybe I’m not being silly with my upcoming races. That i can do it. It’s not going to be easy, but if it was then what would be the point in doing it. I finally have a focus with my lifting as well as my running and now just have to learn to combine the two.

This week is mainly going to be about legs. Mine to be exact, in case you weren’t sure.

I have a 15k race on Sunday so not planning on overdoing it (see-sensible!!!) so a couple of shorter runs and a spin class is on the cards.

I got an email confirming its only 13 weeks until marathon number 1, so I’m hoping i can keep my head in the game for the time being…. and with Mr PT on board, I’m starting to think i just might.

My fundraising has also started quite well and I’m already into the £100 club for Mind, thanks to some very generous donations from friends, family and more humbly the twitter community. The support is incredible and I’m never going to be able to put into words how much it means to me. But I’ll try with two for now…. Thank You.

Jx

http://www.infiniteair.co.uk.uk

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Cull3

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

http://www.mind.org.uk

The Reason….or 3

They say everything happens in three’s. Currently I have three main things keeping me motivated through life……

 Reason 1 -Infinite Air

“So have you definitely been getting in rest days” Mr PT asked after yesterday mornings session. Normally answering Yes works for him but yesterday he wanted to know exactly what these rest days were. And my food intake. How has that been? “Erm…..ok…might have had a bad week…or two”.

Turns out this answer will make sure you leave PT in no doubt that you need to be fueling your body properly if your training hard.

I’m sure my recent posts have left you in no doubt that recently, I’ve had quite a lot going on outside my training world. As well as having a huge effect on me emotionally, this has also seen me not at home and therefore unable to follow my normal routine. I haven’t been able to eat when I normally do, or have the foods I normally have. Also Mr PT’s shifts have changed so my training days have changed. I’ve always seen myself as pretty good with change…. apart from with my training.

January started brilliantly. Training plan set and checked by Mr PT. Food diary off to a flying start with homemade protein bars, fueling breakfasts and re-fueling dinners. I logged my training, how I was feeling before and after and I was focused.

And then my world came crashing down around me and suddenly all I cared about was biscuits and therefore I HAD to train everyday. Running away….nooooooooo, I’m marathon training so its essential right? But in honesty,  a good training session was if I made it to the end without having a breakdown.

So Mr PT’s questions really hit home on Wednesday. We chatted about protein and in a way only he can, he kindly but firmly reminded me that all of the training I am doing meant that I was burning “a lot” of calories. And I needed to make sure that I was replenishing them properly. “Even if its smaller portions of the right things” I need to make sure I am looking after my body. Same with rest days. If my body is forced to do too much then it will let me down. And probably when I need it the most.

I’m doing a lot of lifting with Mr PT at the moment. Yesterday evening as I stretched I notice both of my arms have these strange lump things which I am learning are muscles!! Me…. little ginger me…. with muscles….who’d have thought? But with all of these new exercises I am learning that my body is begging for more food and tires quickly. I mentioned this to Mr PT and mentioned that with all the other life stuff I had going on, I had maybe once or twice forgot to eat before or after a PT and that my appetite had started to disappear.  He told me that due to the amount of calories I’ll be burning at the moment my body would start to store fat if I didn’t eat. It needed to keep its energy and because my eating was all over the place I needed to make sure I got it back to the routine.

With no judging, and with certainly no pitying, he very firmly told me I needed to get “back on it” as I had been at the start of the year. I agreed I would and we agreed e would revisit the food diary in a couple of weeks.

I’ve recited this conversation to a few people since, and they’ve all commented that although accurate, has he upset me?! God no!! I practically skipped to Infinite Air’s new showers- which are lovely by the way. So lovely that I forgot where I was and anyone that came in would have got a lovely rendition of some old school 90’s tunes.

Because that’s the thing about Mr PT. And Infinite Air. They’re the very reason I do this. The very reason I strated and continue to push myself. They’re my motivation and at times in the last 8 months, have saved me from a very dark place without even knowing it. I’ve joked about how they should be on prescription in the past but I’m only half joking. I’ll be talking about Mind later on, but I only wish that everyone who has to go through tough times can find there place, the way Infinite Air has been mine. The place of escape. It has the same effect on my step-son. At only 8 years old, with Autism, its the one place he truly relaxes. The one place he knows hes not judged and is actively encouraged to be himself.

I’ve seen it with my gym friends that attend classes there too. I see how their self-esteem sores just by being in that place. How relaxed everyone is.

I joke about it being my second home. But that’s just it. It does feel like home. From the management, to the trainers and instructors, to the staff and the custom it attracts, that place is a medicine. The staff all make sure from your first visit they know you by name and I’ve never ever witnessed them forget that. Everyone is down to earth and they judge no one. It isn’t rare to find people like that. They’re all around us. But to find a business that has that atmosphere….that’s pretty special.

And Mr PT…well he’s in a league of his own. Alot of people close to me have expressed worry that I may use exercise too much to escape my reality at the moment. That I may “crash and burn”. Expressed that as I pay him, Mr PT may over work me if I tell him to. And my response….. they don’t know my PT.  Because Mr PT may have a living to make, but he cares about each and every one of his clients as individuals. Without actually getting to know us, he still knows us better than we know ourselves and can get through to us in a way no one else can. He can often do it without words. His “disappointed” and “impressed” looks say it all and from the client’s I know, we’d do anything he says to make sure we get the latter look!

The advice on my diet, the marathon plans and the food diary- I don’t pay for that. Its in our own time and its genuine advice. I’m not some sales pitch. All of the staff just simply care about health and want to help you too.

Throughout school and even as an adult, I’ve been bullied my whole life. Mr PT is quite clearly my comfort blanket in Infinite Air. But it isn’t just him. From the other PT’s and the regulars that attend, as an amateur to this whole fitness game, its nice to find people that support and help you. Its probably the only place where I never feel mocked and although I ask the stupidest questions, they’re answered without me ever feeling like I shouldn’t be asking them.

Infinite Air should be very proud of themselves and for people in my area or those that know me reading this, then you should be going here. Whether it’s for you and your health, or with your children and there’s. Because finding that happy place should always be your priority.

Reason 2 …. MIND

“You run at 100 miles an hour and eventually you’re going to have to stop and you’re going to break down”.

Words I really didn’t want to hear, let alone digest. I heard the same sentence twice. Once about 3 weeks ago, where i convinced myself that it was wrong and I was absolutely fine. And then once last week, when I did in fact then break down. And very quickly, and ironically like a lightbulb moment, I was plunged into darkness. Where I realised that I was running….literally….. because I was scared to stop. Terrified. And I’d allowed everything to muddle itself together so tightly I didn’t even know what I was scared of anymore.

So I took some time. I forced myself not to run as much. I forced myself to sit and think. To read. And I forced myself to talk… to a professional.

Even as I type this, there’s a lump in my throat and I feel sick. Because I train. That’s my release. I have a good life. I enjoy my work. I have amazing friends and an amazing family.

Running and fitness is great for the mind.But suddenly it became clear I’d been using it to escape mine.I’d been labeling myself as a runner so I wouldn’t have to think about who I was anymore. And although forcing myself to think about it plunged me into a darker place for a while, i suddenly started to really enjoy my training again. Because it has become a part of who I am again rather than define who I am.

Because for a little while if I stopped being a runner, I started being Jill- and I didn’t know who she was anymore.

I still have a long way to go with the whole self love and finding myself but I am now accepting who I am and embracing that rather than apologizing for it. I’m learning who the good people are in my life and learning not to cling to the ones that aren’t.

I’m learning a lot about depression recently. Learning about it as an illness. Realising how naive I have been to it and how much more it is than just being a “bit sad”.

Realising that friend and family support may be vital but professional support is sometimes everything.

And it isn’t just depression. Mental illness showcases in all sorts of forms. But because we don’t vomit,or get a rash or end up bed ridden…because we still look like us, those hidden illness’ are often written off and ridiculed. And I can only imagine how lonely that must be.

We’ve all been lonely. Imagine being surrounded by people but still feeling that alone. Imagine feeling that alone whilst having no idea what is happening in your own head? Imagine having no idea who you are anymore.

And then whether it’s through my JustGiving or in your own way, Imagine donating to Mind. Because without charities such as this one, is it even worth thinking about what could happen to the people that need them?

Remember that feeling when you had you’re heart broken or lost a loved one and for a short time feeling as if you had no one to turn to and no where to go…. imagine that being your life. Imagine waking up every morning and feeling as though you were worthless and the world was laughing at you.

`I’m raising money for Mind because I can guarantee that even if you don’t know it, someone close to you wakes up every morning and needs that support. And its important to know where to help them get it. Because you may think you can support them, but without help from Charities such as Mind, it could destroy you too. So please please, support this charity. Because your Mind NEEDS to be as healthy as your body.

Reason 3- Total Warrior

As I mentioned in my last post. Total Warrior UK got in touch last week and challenged me to partake in one of their obstacle races, and I accepted.

The reality of that dawned on me this week when I actually did some research and saw just how challenging these obstacles were- both physically and mentally.

But I suppose that’s exactly what reason 1 and 2 are about so it ties in nicely.

What it has made me realise, is that my training needs to be a lot more than simply putting in the miles. I need strength and stamina. I need to make sure my mind can handle it and then convince my mind the same.

I have a lot of runs coming up leading up to my Total Warrior in June so my main worry at the moment is wearing my body out. I need to learn how to fuel my body and keep it strong. I’m lifting heavier with Mr PT now, but mainly we concentrate on reps and convincing my head that I can cope with the pain and push through.

My biggest fear at the moment is doing it alone. A lot of the promo for Total Warrior is designed for people in teams and I worry that I won’t make it on my own…. though not making it isn’t an option.

Infinite Air run a Warrior Camp on a Thursday which I’ve always been terrified off and a Team Workout on a Monday which I think will help me train for Total Warrior so I may try and include this in y training plans.

The protein bars have been made and the food and training is all being recorded again so I can start to see what works and doesn’t work for me.

I’ve always been a runner. Adding distance is new and scary, but ultimately I know how to run and that I will get through it.

Total Warrior UK is a whole new ball game. Am I strong enough? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Am I going to make an Idiot of myself?

What I am going to do is try. And I’m going to work harder than I’ve ever worked to make sure that I’m proud of myself at the end of it.

15 months ago, I could barely lift and had no strength. Now when Mr PT says hes impressed with my lifting, I actually believe him.

Total Warrior UK is adding a new dimension to my training. Giving me a different type of motivation, and actually making me more excited about the future than I’ve been in while.

I’m sure my training will have its highs and lows, especially as I am marathon training at the same time, but if nothing else, it’ll be interesting.

I’ll be leaning on Mr PT and Infinite Air and it’s team for support leading up to all my runs but I’m pretty sure they can handle it…. and with the right support, anything is possible

Jx

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jill-Cull3

http://www.infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.mind.org.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

 

 

The reason.Mind over Total Warrior

They say everything happens for a reason

This week 2 things happened.

I’ve had a tough emotional roller-coaster of a life the last few months. I’ve reached out to people. Most of those people remain true and rather than blog about it to you, I decided to take the time to thank them personally, so I really do know that these people know who they are and how grateful they are. I’m learning pretty quickly that the others will form opinions and stories of you regardless of whether they are true, just to avoid their own drama and thrive off yours. It’s not even personal. When it concerns drama, as a race we don’t stop to think of the damage our gossiping can be causing others. The sleepless nights and crying for hours that simply repeating something you have no fundamental grounds over, can cause. If this week has taught me anything it’s to be mindful. Cautious that what may be coffee-chat to some, could be damaging to others.

If the last few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that regardless of who you want to be, who you think you are, and what you want others to think of you, the only person that can really sort out your shit, is you.

Which is why this week, i decided to dedicate my marathons and half marathons of 2017 to the charity Mind. I did however, lose so much sleep on not raising money for The Children’s Foundation, that I will also be doing what I can to continue fund raising efforts for them too.

The older I get, I’m becoming a lot more aware about Mental Health. Understanding the difference between being sad and being depressed. Understanding that for some, “snapping out of it” isn’t an option. The mind can be a dangerous place if you start to lose control of it and when you reach that dark place, surely there is nothing more important than having someone qualified that you feel you can reach out to for that support. That’s got to be worth running a Marathon for surely?

Running for Mind just suddenly seems appropriate.

Because in this last few weeks, when I have felt like I’ve lost control, running and fitness has felt like the only thing I’ve got.

Until yesterday, I hadn’t done much outdoor running in the last 2 weeks. I blamed the cold. But really, it scared me. I use running to get my thoughts together. And I was terrified of exactly where that was going to take me. So the last fortnight has been about treadmills-intervals where I literally clock-watch by the minute for half an hour- and Mr PT. Training that gives me no time to think but that makes me throw everything I have got into it. Training that makes me feel invincible.

But yesterday I had a 10k race. Which is the first thing that happened. It’s the very same 10k race that I blogged about exactly a year ago when it was my first ever 10k race. The 10k race i finished in 57min:52. It felt like fate that my Mind fundraising pack arrived the day before complete with racing vest, so off I went to Newcastle’s town moor in said vest and raced in possibly the coldest conditions yet. Sleet, snow and wind obviously works for me on flat courses. I lost the feeling in my face but my legs finally paid me some respect for all those hours in the gym and i knocked a 1:50 off last years time, coming in at 56:02.

And it wasn’t just my legs. My mind cooperated too. Even when it got a little tough, I reminded myself that this was my time. That some aren’t as lucky. I ran my race. My run. I didn’t worry about others. For 56minutes I didn’t care about anything other than that 10k. And then, exhausted, I got my medal and endorphin rush and remembered why I loved running. That being able to overcome your negative “I can’t do this” thoughts and prove to no one but yourself that you can, is a feeling like no other. Whether that be in fitness or just in life.

And then the second thing happened.

I got challenged by Total Warrior UK to take part in one of their courses. As brutal as it sounds, its 10-12k of mud, obstacles and challenges. With a free beer at the end.

And without stopping to think about it-although i may have thought about the beer a little-, I said yes.

Because sometimes its just about saying yes and showing yourself what you can do.

Through the twitter and running communities, I see a lot about obstacle runs. Have online friends that love them. I’ve always wondered with all my PT’s and Infinite Air classes, if I could do one. Mr PT has been doing a lot of weights and strength and conditioning with me lately and commented on how strong I’m starting to become. I certainly feel stronger.

But 10k of mud, ice and obstacles is for the really tough guys right?

Currently I don’t actually have the answer to that question. But what I do have is 4 months.

June 25th- Leeds is the date I picked. 12k as opposed to the 10ks they also advertised. I mean if I’m going to do it why not pick the longest one with the shortest timescale?!

My blogs until that point are going to mostly be about the training and getting Total Warrior Ready. Convincing my mind that I can do this. Taking ownership of my body and showing myself that anything is possible.

Although I see Mr PT tomorrow where I’ll be breaking the news that I’m putting full ownership of completing the course completely on him.

Because we all need a little support to get us through the mud life throws at us…. both metaphorically and literally. Which is why shamelessly I ask, that if anyone wants to join me…wants to say yes and challenge themselves, I’d really like that. I’ve never raced with anyone before but support in something like this would be great. So please visit the web page at the bottom of this page and just say yes!

This time last year, I was terrified about running 10k. Now I’m planning 2 marathons and 3 half marathons as well as a current 8 10’ks and now TWO obstacle races. And as apprehensive as I am, i KNOW i’ll get through it. I won’t allow myself not too. Because I am in control.

Why don;t you take control and join me?

Jx

http://www.Infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.mind.org.uk

http://www.thechildrensfoundation.co.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

 

It’s OK to not be OK

It all started so well. I began 2017 with a clear head. Healthy mind, healthy body. Full of this self love that everyone seems to be talking about these days.

I ran, I PT’d, I recorded it all. I incorporated new training into my marathon plans and I threw myself into it.

I stood tall. I was learning to love me and no one was going to take that away. This is simply who I am now. And if this girl can run a marathon on her own, she doesn’t need anyone else right? Wrong.

Running and Fitness have saved me in the past. They give me focus and an aim and I will be forever grateful for that. But it simply can’t do everything.

It can’t pick you up and hold you when you really need it. Tell you you’re beautiful, special and deserving of love. It can clear your head but it can’t sit for hours telling you how worthy you are. How it’s ok to not be ok.

It’s been a tough few months and running and PT have gotten me through that. But that doesn’t mean that when the elation of a good workout wears off, the self loathing feeling doesn’t come back. Most of the time I can shake it off. With a few kind words from good people, I can see I am being silly. But then sometimes self pity can hit you like a bullet train and take over. And that’s ok. Short term.

Because I am learning the hard way that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I feel I have spent a long time – especially through this blog- apologizing for who I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve and react to situations rather than take a step back. I’m a “dive-straight-in-and-worry-about-it-later” type of girl. The type that gets hurt easily and forms friendships and relationships that may not be the best. Yet I look back on my life and don’t have a single regret. Well maybe one or two… but even those are a learning curve. I can scare people off easily. I’m complicated and struggle to deal with my own emotions, so god knows how anybody else is meant to cope with me. Yet the people in my life….the real ones that are there at all times for me….they’re the ones that get me through it.

Someone told me this week, that I seek my value from others opinions of me. I look for others to tell me I am worthy rather than believe in my self. Even Mr PT told me this week, as I sat sobbing on a bosu ball, that training can only do so much.

My mind got tired this week, as well as my body. Exhausted even. And I needed the people closest to me more than ever. And by god were they there. Forming new friendships are great. But sometimes its the old ones that you really need. The people who have already seen you at your lowest but scrape you off the floor time and time again. That know you completely and aren’t afraid to tell you that you need to look out for yourself. Because ultimately only you can create your own happiness.

I read somewhere this week that if you don;t love yourself then how can you expect others to love you, and yes it’s probably true. And yes people may come and go, but the ones that stick around-those will be the ones you’re really thankful for. Because actually, the people that know you’re insecurities and see your demons yet are still there fore you are the ones that you really want to stick around.

There’s a lot of talk on the twitter running community daily from people upset with their training- their distance, their time etc and its a great place to be picked up when you’re down. But it shouldn’t be all we are.

Running and training will always be who I am now, but sometimes its ok for it not to be.It’s ok to not be sure of who you are. But its also ok to admit exactly who you are and what you want.

So please, to everyone reading this, don’t just be proud of your achievements, be proud of you. And of the people around them. Because I have also learnt that life is too short. If you’re sat wondering “Should I” “Will I” “What if” , then follow your heart. Don’t settle. If someone is in your thoughts, tell them. If you want something, make it happen. And if you don’t get it, move on. Because a little hurt it better than a lot of regrets.

Jx