Catch you when I fall….

It’s dawned on me that my last 12 months of running was mainly to run away from my problems and help me focus on what I thought was important so I didn’t have to confront what was really important.

Running will always be in my life now but since my problems found a way to confront themselves, I’ve felt less pressure on myself to get it right and concentrated more on running to run.

Because I’m quickly learning what is right for me is not always right for everyone else.

I’ve taken a bit of step away from social media since hurting myself in the Durham Coast Half.  I’m still on there more than most by all accounts, but it’s starting to dawn on me that I haven’t got a great deal to say and maybe the things I have got worth saying should be saved for those that really want to hear me. Those that really care.  Because it’s starting to dawn on me that by “finding myself” on social media the last year or so, made me lose myself to those that really cared. Shut myself down from people who already loved me and from the possibility of new friendships.

It made me very lonely.

Because with any fight, with any loss of control in life, there is always someone being hurt. Always someone being forgotten about. Always someone you need to say sorry to. Because when you lose the person you are, its very easy to use the goodness in people around you.

I’ve spent the last few months being absolutely terrified of how in love I am with my husband. Ridiculous right?

Depression or no depression, we’ve had and have a great deal to work through. They say what doesn’t kill you,makes you stronger and we’ve both had times when we’ve genuinely thought it might get to the former in terms of our marriage. Since deciding to work through our problems we have definitely opened ourselves up to finding out about ourselves in order to support each other. I researched depression, I researched happy marriages and I researched my own behaviours and how I could look to be a better wife. I was prepared.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the hatred I would have for myself on the days when the light left his eyes and the frustration of not just being unable to support him but the heartbreak that he didn’t want me to.

We’ve had days in the last few weeks when he genuinely would have been happy for me to walk away. Days when he lost the fight. Days when the problems of the last few months…or even years… got too much for him to cope with and by being in the room, the only thing I seemed to do, was make that worse.

This last 12 months or so has seen me go from caring about nobody but myself, to realising that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side. And to get back to the green grass means running-metaphorically and literally -into the issues that made me take up running in the first place. And with that brought the realisation that I’d been using my selfish to blame anyone but myself for what was going on around me. I ran to make myself angry at everyone and everything. And then the situation made me run to face my fears. Losing myself became less important and losing those around me became more of a possibility. My friends. My family. My Husband.

And suddenly when the choice was taken away and losing them wasn’t up to me, I realised that I was pretty happy with the grass that I was already on.

There’s a lot of talk on running groups about non supportive partners and families. When it comes to all aspects of my life, particularly running, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family all boast about my running (particularly physio mum who might have told someone I completed a marathon in 2hours35). I get good luck messages off all my friends and family before runs, they comment on all social media posts from training to events and they not just listen but ask questions about every run I do because they know how much it means to me. And they stick around. Even though I ask precisely 0 questions about them.

And do I ever think to let them know how grateful I am? Do I heck.

And what about Mr Husband? Is he as supportive as everyone else in my life?

Nope.

Mr Husband is in a league of his own.

Him (and little step-son) have been at every finish line. Recorded every finish time. Played chauffeur to every run. Googled the best running diets. Taken sacrifices on meals out and treating himself so that Mrs Wife can buy yet another pair of running shoes that are identical but cleaner than the ones bought just weeks ago.

He makes me protein bars, mixes my protein shakes and listens about every training session.

And even when my ankle is twice the size of the other one, he gently suggested that maybe I shouldn’t train but listened and supported when I saw Mr PT anyway.

I never stopped training. Even when life fell apart around me I stuck to my running and Mr PT. And even though life was falling apart as we knew it, Mr Husband not only supported me through each run, but let me blog about our troubles for all to see.

And just like the sprained ankle that made me want to train more. Suddenly when something is taken away from you without your permission- like my marriage- that was the time I realised I wanted it most.

And just like my training, I realised that all good things come with hard work and some serious commitment. Every goal requires you to look at all aspects. Because you would think I would have learnt by now that there’s not much point in achievements if you have no one to share them with. And whats the point in focus, hard work and determination if you’re taking everyone down around you in the process. If friends and loved ones or even strangers virtual and real are offering support but your focus on making yourself feel better simply tears them down then is that really a goal worth achieving?

I’ve total warrior coming up next week and completed my first proper trail half marathon last week and suddenly the focus for Keilder full marathon is real. I don’t just need to put in hard work and training to make these events count, I need to support those supporting me. It’s not about wanting praise and encouragement but about giving praise and encouragement back.

This week someone told me that we often hear the phrase “treat those like you want to be treat” but actually isn’t it more important to “treat those like they want to be treat” ?

So to those around me who have supported, trusted and been there for me…maybe it’s my turn to give back. Even if giving back is just accepting that all good runners much take a fall sometimes and learn how to get back up and carry on.

This week Mr Husband put on his trainers and ran with me. He didn’t run far and he’s not sure he’ll keep running but he tried.

Total Warrior is just 2 weeks away after struggling but finishing my trail half last week, I’m under no illusion how tough it is going to be. The training has been done. Mr PT has put in his hours and supplied workouts when hes been unable to train me to make sure I have the tools to be ready. And physically I need to put back what he’s given me and show all supporting me that I have worked hard for this. But what I wasn’t expecting when this journey began was the training received by Mr Husband.

It’s not jus about climbing ropes, running hills and lifting weights. The strength comes from within. The strength comes from others. Comes from recognising where you went so terribly wrong and figuring out how to try and put it just a little bit right.

So I continue to move forward. Who knows where it’ll take me?

I’m 98% certain there will be blood, sweat and tears.

I’m 99% certain there’ll be plenty of unexpected obstacles in the process.

But I’m 100% sure that I’ll do all it takes to learn my lessons. To stop worrying about the possibility of me falling and instead start to get rid of the barriers I place around to prevent others from falling in the first place.

So this is my sorry. To those around me that have been there and supported me in any way in the past. To those I forgot to thank for the support and took for granted.

Can I promise I won’t do it again? Probably not.

Can I promise to work harder that I ever have before to try? Absolutely.

Jx

http://www.mind.org.net

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jill-cull3

D.N.F

Did not finish. 3 words every runner fears.  3 words that I always knew were a possibility but always hoped I would never have to associate myself with.

I was wrong.

Another 3 words I’m not great at saying.

I think deep down I knew Durham Coast Half Marathon was going to be a struggle both mentally and physically. Only 2 weeks after my first full marathon (have I mentioned I ran a marathon??!) I was straight back into the gym and every run I had between the two races made my legs hurt, my mind tired and my body slow.

But the thing is-I love this race! It’s start line is 5 minutes away from my home and its scenic route makes even the toughest mile a joy to run. So off I went, ignoring how tired my body seemed and how mentally drained I felt. As soon as we set off, I just felt……well….off.

The first 2 miles is mainly uphill and I genuinely thought about walking it. I didn’t and then passed the time from mile 2-3 giving myself a good talking to Mr PT style, about how I had to get my head in the game whilst secretly wondering how on earth I was going to get through it.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. Less than half a mile later as I was just perking up at a down hill, I stumbled and suddenly had the most excruciating pain in my ankle.

1hour in a wooded dene, 3 paramedics, a national trust van, my husband and an x ray later and it was confirmed it was just a sprain and I was sent home with the order of rest, ice and elevation. I took it upon my self to include a very large dollop of self pity.

You see, that’s why its taken me so long to write about this. I thought about it whilst I was whinging to anyone that would listen and eating my own body weight in cake about how it was so unfair I couldn’t run but then it started to dawn on me that this DNF might be in the top ten best things I’ve taken from running.

Because once the self pity faded,the epicness of the people that I had the pleasure of meeting and the other lessons I have learnt from running really began to hit me.

I was in too much hysterical pain to really notice how many people stopped as I fell, but I do remember people running back to help, running miles back to try and locate a paramedic and sitting with me for ages whilst help came. People were giving me tablets, sweets, sports drinks, hydration salts, tissues and hugs a plenty to try and reassure me it wasn’t the end of the world. And then, once I’d cried to all the actual people I could find, once I was back home and the gravel scrubbed from my knee, I broadened my sympathy search on good old social media and as our little running world is so small, up popped some of the people that helped me. And within the space of 3 hours there was suddenly a group of lovely ladies who will be running the course with me as soon as I’m back up and literally running again.

The rest of social media was also incredibly supportive-as always. And the race organisers were incredible. I still have my t shirt and medal- brought to my home, and I get to run it next year, with a friend….for free!

Total Warrior were also amazing and have moved my race date to the Lake District in August so all in all, I made a big fuss about nothing.

I even got asked to answer some questions for a popular running magazine about my favourite race and an old friend who dedicates his time to connecting people together wo suffer with mental illness featured an interview with me in his blog, proving that regardless of physical state, their are still plenty of opportunities running can give you.

I know the big lesson should be about listening to my body and embracing the need for rest but the reality is I was back in the gym with Mr PT on Saturday- upper body only though so if the pain in my arms is anything to go by today, I shouldn’t have any issues with strength by August!

The actual lesson learnt in the whole week I had without any training came with the thinking time it gave me. I couldn’t train away my thoughts anymore. And so I started actually listening to other people’s. I read comments on running communities ad recognised other people’s achievements and realised just how much I don’t do that.

The harsh reality of loving running because I am so self absorbed suddenly hit me. I started to embrace what was going on around me. I started to realise those closest to me have things going on and actually started paying attention to them.

Poor Mr Husband has to live me as well as deal with is own emotional state of mind and this week, being unable to run away or run off to the gym, meant we actually talked properly. Not just the type where I listen but then get defensive when he mentions my behaviour or training. The type where I let him get everything off his chest and actually acknowledged that for the most part he was right. The type where I actually realised how supportive he continues to be when I swan round pretending to support him.

We’re all allowed to feel sorry for ourselves from time to time, and their is certainly nothing wrong with feeling sad but I found this week, that their is always someone that needs you and its very easy to bury yourself in negativity and miss that without realising that these people are still finding the time to support you.

Honestly, I can’t promise to change. I’ve learnt a lesson but old dogs…new tricks…and all that. But I do promise to try. To try and see the great things everyone in my life, reality and virtually, bring and to try and see the positives. I promise to try and embrace opportunity and not forget about those around me that might want a little bit of encouragement themselves. Or maybe, as a redhead in the UK, I’ve just spent a little bit too much time in the sun!!!!

Jx

http://www.infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk

http://www.mind.org.net

http://www.justgiving/jill_cull3

26.2 miles at a time

I did it!!!! With all the grace of a pained baby elephant, but I did it. Edinburgh marathon in 5hours 23minutes. And I’m proud of every second.

It was slower than I really wanted but I really don’t care.

I ran 26.2 miles for Mind.

When I took running back up 18months ago, a marathon was always something I knew I would aim towards and although I always knew it would be tough, I really underestimated the work that would go into running for almost 5 and a half hours and I am completely in awe of anyone that has put themselves through it.

I had a PT the Tuesday prior to the race and Mr PT did his best not bothered face and told me I had nothing to worry about and that I should be feeling confident so I went into Sunday feeling pretty motivated.

I prepped well, didn’t alter anything I had done in training and suddenly it was time to run a marathon.

And I didn’t just run it but I enjoyed it. The course was along beautiful coastlines and the atmosphere was fantastic. The support from other runners, the general public and course marshalls was something I had never experienced before and got me through some pretty tough times.

The running online community told me to believe in my training and I really did. Up until about mile 15 when my head started saying “this is a long way” and despite my best efforts of thinking about food, work, life and food again, I could not get my head to shut up. And at mile 17, the prospect of running another 9 miles literally made me cry. And then I prayed for a sign, a miracle that would show me I would get through. It’s not something I really believe in but I would have done anything at that point. And as ever in times of crisis, it was my grandad I turned to. Begging him. If he was watching I needed a sign, something to show me he was watching and egging me on. And then I turned the corner to see a band. Who just happened to play a song my grandad sang to me and loved as I reached them. And whether it was a sign, whether it was coincidence, I knew at that moment I was finishing this run.

Those last 6 miles were the slowest, most painful and emotional miles I have ever run but I did them. And I have never been so proud of myself.

Mr husband was there waiting for me at the finish and cried with me with pride. Step-son was with his grandma but kept in touch with his daddy for updates and I got not one but two well dones from Mr PT!!!

And then yesterday…two days later…I was back in the gym and back at PT….doing squats. Slowly and more sluggish than I’ve done anything in my life but I did them.

12 months ago, shortly after my first half marathon, I remember waking up in excruciating pains and taking a week off any form of training. Yet after double the distance my body took a whole 12 hours to sort itself out and it felt great to be back in the gym.

I feel stronger some how. Mentally that is. I suddenly have the ability to see clear again. Run towards my fears rather than away from them. Mr Husband has even signed up for Rat Race stockton in August and is more motivated than I have seen him in a long time. We have our wobbles but are both more focussed on resolving them now.

So that’s challenge one done.

And now the focus on TotalWarrior can begin. I feel focussed and strong. Mr PT has really honed in on the upper body stuff and I really feel like I’m making progress.

My training is teaching me the importance of pushing through the pain barriers and believe in myself and I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere.

So it’s time for a different type of training for the next few weeks and I’m really going to need Infinite Air’s help.

WWW.INFINITEAIR.CO.UK

WWW.TOTALWARRIOR.CO.UK

WWW.MIND.ORG.NET

13.1 stages of convincing the mind

Just a quick one tonight folks.

Today I acheived my Half Marathon PB. It’s not quick by a lot of peoples standards, but by mine I was very happy with my 02:11:04 time. More so as it was a PB of over 5 minutes!!!

I felt good, listened to my body and enjoyed every step.

I met twitter friends and the stranger support was epic.

And more than ever today I realised that my upcoming marathon really will be 40% body and 60% mental…. Actually when I realised my body had this today, I started listening to my mind

MILE 1 – OK, we’re off…settle in don’t go out too quick… why oh why am i doing this.

MILE 2  8.30min miles….are you crazy lady??! I’m going to die. I hate running. All of these people think I’m a fraud

MILE 3 – I love running! I’ve totally got this…downhill is great…I’m a machine!!!! Only 3 parkruns left…who’s idea was it to put water in bags!!

MILE 4 – argh uphill. I hate running. I can’t do this. Some one tell that Marshall WE ARE NOT NEARLY THERE I’m giving up running after this race. Sort yourself out woman- you’re body can handle this- actually I feel pretty good. I might have a look at those Ultra marathons when i get home

MILE 5 – High 5 children! I am totally a role model. Ah who am i kidding. I might take up knitting I’ve had a good life.I don’t NEED to be healthy. Oh i might have a jelly baby.

MILE 6 – I wonder if this charity vest makes me look fat….I’m definitely fat. I bet people are thinking I look stupid. I might write my next blog on how no one thinks I look stupid. I think i could actually speed up….oh I forgot to have that jelly baby.

MILE 7 I’m past half way. I’ve totally got this . I’m a machine…i wonder if I could catch Paula Radcliffe.

MILE 7.5 I’m totally not catching Paula Radcliffe.

MILE 8 Oh hello voice of Mr PT, ok I’ll dig in, you’re right, its not a case of if I’ll finish, it’s a case of when… I’ve so got this….suck it up butter cup…

MILE 9 – oh crap now i have build it up, buttercup in my head…i hate that song…ooooh butter…..or cake…I’d love some cake

MILE 10 – Must not walk. Must not walk. Must not walk. I hate running. I hope that boy that was handing out ice pops last year is back this year. I might walk when I get the hill round this corner. Why are all these people overtaking me. I’m so slow… i bet I’m last

MILE 10.5 – I LOVE HILLS-Look at me running up this hill….I know I’m slow…. all these people think I look stupid. Ok Voice of Mr PT I’m going im going

MILE 11 – I love running downhill – weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……oh I really want ice cream

MILE 12 – That Marshall isn’t lying, we’re nearly there!!! Oh the ice pop boy wasn’t there. I hope there’s a Kit Kat in the goody bag. I hope Mr Husband has bought Coca Cola .

MILE 12.5 -Right I’m so close I can smell the finish line…and chips…i can definitely smell chips.

MILE 13 – I’m at mile 13!!!!! My legs hurt-i can’t do a full marathon…I’m going to have to quit Edinburgh.  I’ve just over taken someone. I love running…. I’m getting faster… listen to all these people cheering…. I love running . Sprint finish!!!

MILE 13.1 – I’M DONE!!!!!! It was faster than last year. Where’s my medal. In 3 weeks I’ll only be half way… I should properly keep running……

So there you have it – a downright terrifying look into how my mind keeps itself occupied on race day proving running is very much in the mind….and will I put myself through it all again…. just so I can gloat, get a shiny medal and guilt free order pizza…..you betcha!!!!!!

J x

http://www.infiniteair.co.uk

http://www.Mind.org.uk

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

Www.totalwarrior.co.uk

 

Confessions of a fraudulent runner.

There’s two main reasons I haven’t done much posting recently.

1) I’ve been busy

2) I’ve not had the foggiest idea what to write about

This month I run a marathon….hopefully!! And actually I’m feeling pretty good about it. My training finally feels structured and as though it is going well and I’m confident that, although it may not be fast, I can definitely get through 26.2 miles in one go.

I’m learning a lot on my marathon journey, but truth is, I’m not sure I should be sharing it with you.

When I first signed up for my upcoming marathons I did a lot of research. And there’s a lot of material out there to research. Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. And I found out pretty quickly that it can all get quite confusing, none of the advice plans in actual life and their aren’t really any right answers.

I started by doing a training plan. Mr PT looked over it and suggested some changes. We incoporated intervals. He suggested I’m realistic about the amount of miles I’m doing and how often I am doing them, and as I am also training for TotalWarrior, we spent PT sessions concentrating on my strength ad the obstacles I’m going to face on this course. We did a food diary and talked good foods and bad foods and the right calories.

All sounds great right? Except I realised quite quickly into it that it didn’t leave much room for much else and that it was making me really boring.

I’ve not really kept it a secret, that personally there has been quite a bit going on in my life and I have used running to escape from it all. But it’s also stopped me from getting things into perspective. And with all this running for the marathon training, I was no longer running because I wanted to, but because I had to. And I was starting to hate it.

So I committed the cardinal sin and 6 weeks before my marathon, I decreased my running. Not my mileage, but the amount of times I went out.  And then Mr PT’s wife had a baby so i went solo in training sessions for 2 weeks. He gave me four workouts that ensured I kept up with all my training but I started to make sure I made time for my family.

Me and Mr Husband are successfully rebuilding our marriage. My bond with step-son is better than ever and I am enjoying doing more things as a family. We’re an active family so I didn’t really feel as though I was missing out on training.

And this led me to making another cardinal sin decision…. I dropped the training plan.

I started running when I wanted to and if i really didn’t feel like running, I didn’t go.

I remained concious of my runs and obstacles coming my way in the next 8 weeks but actually what I found was that the quality of the work was much better than when I was cramming it all in whilst trying to work 8 hour days, play house and see my friends and family. I dropped PT to twice a week in order to use a weekend day to have time to do a longer run and made sure I enjoyed every PT and run I completed.

And 5 weeks before Marathon day, when late shift left me feeling exhausted, I even took a whole week off training.

And in this time, I’ve lifted heavy, had some great training sessions, felt mentally more prepared than ever and ran 18 miles…in one go!!!And I loved it! As well as a couple of shorter runs. Simply if I’ve wanted to run I have and if my body has told me not to, I’ve listened to it.

I’ve learnt that resting is as important as the moving.

That being said, Mr PT returned last weekend and I could have cried with joy.

I’ve had 2 PT’s since his return which gave me the opportunity to check that doing things my way wasn’t completely mental, and although I have no idea if it is deliberate, each training session is as much mentally preparing me for what lies ahead as it is physically. I’m forcing myself to be open about my fears and he’s making sure I make myself face them. But more importantly I am being realistic. With my marathons and total warrior, I will be pleased just to complete them. It’s not about times. It’s about strength. It’s about knowing I can get through anything.

Mr PT has agreed to see me the Tuesday of every week before my races for mental support as I need that mindset to get me through the tough times.

The whole Infinite Air team all know I’m training and a few are even contemplating Total warrior. I have never felt so supported from them all. And I feel like they believe in me and that will hopefully carry me through my last few tough miles of all races. Particluarly with TotalWarrior, it will be the support from Infinite air that carries me through obstacles that I have no idea how my body will react to. But I now know, quite simply my body will do as it’s told.

And before I finish off this post, whilst I’m in a confessions mood, I have no idea what tapering means yet alone whether or not i should do it before my marathon.

I have a half marathon this weekend and then plan on getting a last long run a week or so later. My marathon is 3.5 weeks away so that gives me two weeks of shorter runs and then Mr PT has advised that after training with him the Tuesday before, to rest my body and make sure it’s fuelled right.

And I’m enjoying every minute.

I may be wrong. I may have the worse marathon and obstacle course of my life. But I’ve heard Mr PT say it enough to trust that his mantra is the truest now than its ever been for me

“Your body can handle it, it’s your mind you have to convince”

So rightly or wrongly, Edinburgh Marathon and Total Warrior UK…. I’m coming to get you and I’m getting to it by doing it my way!!

JX

https://www.totalwarrior.co.uk/

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

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

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

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