Friday, 28 April 2017

Mind over......... part 2

Last night, I watched the second episode of Mind Over Marathon. I was anticipating being affected by the emotions that might be portrayed, but I didn't anticipate how much it really did start questions going around in my brain.

Up to now, I've always said I would never do a marathon. I've watched the London Marathon in previous years and always thought that doing it was never an option. 26.2 miles. Not do-able. I've seen friends complete marathons and I think they are utterly awesome and amazing, but I've always had the idea that it wasn't for me. Until last night.

Watching them complete training and go on to run the marathon, seeing their emotion when they finish it, was just heart-wrenching. It took me back to when I did the Great Suth Run in 2014, and I ran all 10 miles raising money in my memory of my dad. I was so overwhelmed with emotion at the end, I was sobbing into a friend's jacket.

One of the things from the programme is the feeling that we let ourselves down when we ask for help. I can relate. Feeling that it make you seem and look weak in your own eyes, and in the eyes of others, if you ask for help. Sometimes I don't know what to ask for - almost like I want someone else to take the lead and tell me what to do and how to do it, and actually come alongside me on the journey. But how do you ask someone to be so willingly committed to you, even in the days when feelings are low, so low, and they might need to really support you through those times?

One thing that I really battled with last year was feeling very anxious about getting to an event. Dealing with hoarded of people around me, going in different directions, and me feeling very pulled in abut 5 different directions. And that's one of the things about London that would sway me to not have a go at entering. How would I cope with finding where I need to be? That feeling of being alone and scared. Being in the startline and dealing with the voices of doubt. I can't recall not doing an event because of anxiety. I think I pretty much did everything I entered for the purpose of the challenge. So I know that I can do it. But it was really really hard.

I do have something in my heart and head that I do want to give it a go if the opportunity arose. But I'm scared to go it alone. Fighting the feelings of the sense I'm not good enough, I can't do it.

I have been reading about 'jeffing', a method of structured run/walk . This makes doing this more appealing rather than the feeling of trying to just run it all. I think I need to become more confident in myself in using this method with It's feeling I let myself and others down if I don't run it all.

I have the equipment and facilities to train. But why can't I just get myself out there?

I'm still undecided about entering for a ballot place. But I know that if I do enter, it will because I want to have a chance to do it and I want to do it. Not because I'll enter it because it's unlikely I'll get a place and then freak out should it actually happen. And it's likely next year there likely to be a record number of applicants for the ballot as a result of inspiration of this programme, which could lower the chances of being successful.

London seems to be the pinnacle of running challenges. There are other marathons around. There was one local to me last weekend, but London seems to be the coveted race maybe due to the balloted places.

I love what the Royal Family are doing with Heads Together, and their efforts in normalising mental illness.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mind over.......

I've just watched on BBC iPlayer the first episode of 'Mind over Marathon', where, if you haven't seen it, a group of volunteers with various mental health issues challenge themselves to train for the London Marathon 2017.

Some of the barriers the volunteers faced I could relate to. Not wanting to go out running alone, anxiety about getting somewhere new, finding the energy to just keep going.

I stopped running a couple of weeks after completing forty b4 forty. I lost the motivation and will to persevere. By the end of 2016 I had managed to run 5km without needing to walk. That was something I had really wanted to accomplish.

Sometimes looking at my medals, I feel I ought to take them down. I know I've earned them, and some of the events did take me out of my comfort zone. I faced anxiety before races in getting to an event venue, and at the start line where I felt I just was not able to do the race. During races I struggled to manage my emotions and was thinking I just want to finish now, I've had enough. But looking at them now, and knowing that I stopped running, makes me feel I don't deserve to see them because I haven't persevered following my challenge.

There is lots of research which suggest that exercise releases endorphins, which are the chemicals that make you feel good, and as a result improve a person's mental health. I'll be honest and I have struggled in feeling good consistently for a long time particularly after exercising. Is this a mindset thing? Why can't I just feel ecstatic and awesome after doing a run? Instead of feeling hollow and glad to be back home.

I'm not a pessimistic thinker by nature, as I can really be enthusiastic when I get my teeth into a project or task, but I struggle to apply positive thinking to myself. A form of self care I guess. Running alone is something I do really struggle with and I know I don't have to run alone, as I know there are people who will run with me. But I hold back for a number of reasons:
* I'll hold others back
* I'm not good enough
* I've lost fitness
* what if I have to walk?

I do feel very alone as I look at other runners, and think 'how do you keep going?', 'how do you enjoy exercise so much?'. So, why not me? Why is the motivation to push myself so difficult?

So for everyone running this weekend, particularly in Southampton and London, I think you are all utterly awesome, totally nuts for doing a marathon, and I really do admire your determination and focus you've shown in training.