We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Waiting Room of Enlightenment: Reasons to stay cheerful

Recovery might be a journey, but it's more like a waiting room sometimes. You're just sitting about waiting for that train, plane or automobile to transport you away. You can good use of the time reading, meditating or learning Japanese. You can entertain yourself people-watching or plotting your perfect murder mystery. I think you'd be surprised by how many of the folk at the bus stop are plotting murder and mayhem behind closed lids (or maybe you're not!). Or of course you can rant about late trains; messed up timetables and the general decline of civilisation. The thing about waiting is that you can't control when you move physically, but it can be just the right place to be.

I'm still waiting to run and this train is a long time coming.  I am at that critical point where I'm on the cusp of a little jog, but if I go too soon I will undo my hard work and patience. It is so tempting. I know I'm taking longer than most people do to get back into my trainers and I am feeling such a failure! Yes, even at the time in my life when I am almost certainly paying the price of  too much too soon, I am battling with my speed obsession again and putting pressure on myself to heal faster, dammit!

I want to run. I want to run now. I want to run my first marathon in 8 weeks. Today was glorious day, a fantastic day for running, a good long run. I should have done 18 miles today, totally manageable if I'd not got injured. I am so cross, frustrated, stupid. I'd kick myself if I wasn't scared of another injury!

But I can't run. I can do almost anything but run. The muscle I've ripped is exactly the one that springs me up into the air. All the others - that keep me on the ground, that let me do side planks and toe taps and one legged bridging and squats -  work absolutely fine. It's just that one little muscle. I am sending it lots of love and attention; taking it on little walks to whet its appetite; willing it to get better soon and re join the party - please!

As ever in this amazing world we live in, as I start to despair, the universe sends me gifts. For running these usually come via Twitter. First, Chi Running. Yes, almost a month since I hit the 'send' to Amazon, Danny Dreyer's book on ChiRunning arrived on my doormat and it sits in front of me now. I've looked on the website and flicked through the book and I am really excited and inspired.  On a quick read it's got links with Pilates. I like to have theories behind my training and improving and I'm a big Pilates fan. Pilates got me through some emotionally tough years and helped me manage the chronic back pain I got from being massively fat and massively stressed. Pilates was critical to my body (and spirit) recovering then and has been a constant friend ever since. I have used it a lot over the last month. I look forward to Chi Running helping me through my current recovery and taking me into my new running future. I have high hopes. I am going to read Danny as I travel on the train every day to and from work and I've already started practicing Chi Walking - weird but strangely liberating.

The second Twitter angel was Rowena, one of my running sheroes, who does amazing runs in amazing places and has been massively supportive of me and lots of other hobblers and limpers. Rowena says:

My goals have been pretty simple: finish the same day I start, with a smile on my face, and injury free. 

These are great goals and Rowena reminded me that when I started thinking about a marathon I had no time goals, no pace, no strategy. I just wanted to finish a marathon.  I still do just want to run a marathon and more than ever I want to smile and I don't want to get an injury - that would be failure.  Maybe I could do Barcelona in 8 weeks time, but I won't do it at any cost,  it's not just me that pays the price. Still too soon to be definite, but I have set my parameters.

My third Twitter angel is Johnny, who is also battling an injury. Johnny makes me smile and laugh out loud on Twitter so much that the folk on the train think I'm a mad woman. We both have knackered right legs so can't even do a three-legged race between us.  We will both run again and I hope together, maybe the Edinburgh BUPA 10K again....

So I remain in the waiting room that is recovery, waiting for the train that will take me back to running fitness and onto my marathon.  I would never have taken time out to reflect on my running if I'd not been forced to.  Everything happens for a purpose; every nightmare brings opportunities. I know this is nature's way of telling me to slow down. Not just to run slower (though by gum I've had the choice ripped out of my hands) but also to slow down in setting my running goals when I have so much else to do  A marathon is a heck of a long distance for someone like me and I am not invincible. This injury will probably stop me running Barcelona this year. But it will not stop me from running my marathon and it won't stop my lovely North Berwick runs; Race for Life; the Edinburgh Half and every other bit of running me and Danny are going do do. And it won't stop me smiling!

So, thanks to my running chums on Twitter yet again for making my waiting room a place of enlightenment and discovery. Watch this space for what comes next!

Take care,


ps if I ever, ever complain about not wanting to run or moan about losing my running mojo - shoot me!