Run #20 Reflection: back to reality!

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While I crashed back to reality, facing the brisk wind in the Welsh capital, the edge of this harshness was softened not only by seeing another good friend but softened by my new running tights, a birthday present from said good friend. So I pulled on the junior size jazzy black and white leggings (yes, junior – Nat reassured me they’ll stretch and I’ll fit in them… hmmmmm) and we set off for a short run around the block and the park, with super Seth in tow (the most awesome cocker spaniel!). I must admit, I’m not a massive fan of running with other people. I know I’m not the fastest and I don’t like to push myself too hard; I want to get fit, train well and make sure I get across that finish line come April 23rd but I’m quite happy at going at my own pace in my own time. Now Nat’s super fit, as is Seth! So the pace was a little quicker to what I was used to. Plus, I was a bit rusty. While I’d been doing lots of different kinds of exercise in St Lucia, I hadn’t done all that running – something which I kind of need to be doing! So my legs were a little out of it on this run. However, I did complete it and I did enjoy being with Nat and Seth. Still not something I’d do for every run but I realised much of my dissatisfaction of running with others comes from my own self-consciousness, lack of belief in my own abilities and me comparing myself to others. When I ease off on those, running with others eases, too.

Run #20 Rating & Reflection

Achievement = 4

Ran pretty quickly but had to stop a couple of times for feeling short of breath.

Enjoyment = 4

More enjoyable than what I was expecting (no offence Nat!).

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The Cotswold Way Reflection: I did it my way😊

After a bit of an emotional and tiring day on day 4 I actually took the decision to come home instead of going to the B&B for what was supposed to be my last overnight stop on the route. The 4 days ultimately served their purpose: I got fresh air, peace and quiet and time to reflect on things and because of that I returned much calmer. I also feel good for challenging myself, doing some exercise and spending time in the outdoors. Slightly annoyed I didn’t complete the whole thing but I gave it a go and considering how the reality of it all panned out, I think I did myself proud.

I know it must be scary reading some of my posts; I really don’t mean to upset anyone but I want to be honest because it’s helping me recover and I hope it’s helping in a wider sense in contributing to an honest, no-bullshit conversation about dealing with a mental health illness. Showing the ups and downs all at once shows how not so black and white depression is. You can feel elated yet down at the same time; motivated and disinterested all at once; brave and scared in the same instance. It really is bloody confusing! And I know it must be like that for people on the outside looking in, not knowing how I (or others with depression) are feeling. But I can tell you one thing: support, no matter how big or small, makes the world of difference. I don’t expect anyone to understand this illness – especially when I don’t myself – but knowing there are people who care about you along the way despite not understanding is what really matters.

£1000 milestone achieved 😊 A much needed boost this week – THANK YOU 🌟🌟🌟

After the shambles that was Monday’s run (see Run #26 post) I was feeling rather disappointed, dejected and, without using the word lightly, pretty depressed. While I didn’t achieve the goal set for my training at the start of the week, I did achieve another milestone this week. Or rather, you did.

Everything I see this in my inbox, my heart jumps:

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It genuinely doesn’t matter what the amount donated is, it’s the thought that someone either cares about me or cares about the cause I’m fundraising for – or both – that makes my heart jump. I’m starting to enjoy *some* running but I’m not doing this challenge for me. I’m doing it because I care about raising money and awareness for mental health illnesses, particularly depression and anxiety, because of my own experience and the experience of so many others I know, whether they may be direct or indirect. So when I’m having a bad day with my head or a bad day with my legs, having a little email drop in my inbox displaying a message of support for me and a figure of support for the Mental Health Foundation, then I know the pain I’m feeling is worth it.

Thank you to all those have sponsored me over the past few months – every single donation, every single word, every single penny makes a massive difference.

Now to continue to rack up those miles and hopefully the pounds, too…

Now that’s how you do customer service…

Well, this is rather unexpected. Not only am I blogging a day earlier than I planned, but I also woke up to 3 rather nice emails this morning. They took me by surprise so much that I just had to share it!

First, an email from Fitbit. After having my Fitbit replaced a few months ago after the button falling off, I managed to lose my replacement Fitbit a few weeks ago. It’s something I originally bought last year to help me get back in to doing exercise. An expensive, and potentially unnecessary, way to get back in to exercise but it worked for me and I’m glad I invested in one. Because that’s what it was for me – an investment. An investment in myself, my health and my future well-being. When I realised I’d lost it (the Fitbit, not my mind just so we’re clear!), I felt pretty down. At first I told myself that it didn’t matter and that I’ll just have to do without. But I really missed it and realised it was a great motivator for me. So I contacted Fitbit and told them my situation and wanted to see if there was anything they might be able to do. What I received was a personal email of support and encouragement, making me feel like a valued customer. Not only that, they helped me get a replacement Fitibit and I should be getting it in a few days. I can’t wait!

The other 2 emails that I woke to came from the same company, Bristol Massage Therapy. It was Victoria who emailed – the founder of the business. I’ve gone to her just a couple of times but each time I’ve been, she’s really helped me physically and mentally. Her approach is a holistic one. I talked about my depression and how it manifests physically for me: tight jaws from grinding my teeth from stress; tight, painful shoulders and upper back from tension building in my body; painful hips and thighs from the tension that builds in my legs linked to one of the side-effects from my medication. While it might seem it’s easy for me to talk about this and share it, it’s not, and having to say it all to a complete stranger is really daunting and uncomfortable. But Victoria put me at ease and really did listen. Plus she really sorted out my aches and pains, even if the jaw massage is a bit odd as she admits herself. I wish I could go more often! Anyway, Victoria emailed me words of encouragement to do with the blog and the marathon training along with a kind gesture of a discount on my next massage. I was blown away by both her words and her generosity Again, I felt like a valued customer. But that’s not all. After replying to her email to say thanks I started to go through my other emails. The next one was a notification that someone had sponsored me for the marathon. Yep, you guessed it: Victoria herself made a donation. I was completely blown away. Of course I then sent another reply to say thanks, again!

So there you have it. Motivation and encouragement today from 2 places I wasn’t expecting it to come from but in doing so, I have been given a real lift 😊👍🏼

Thanks Fitbit, Bristol Massage Therapy and Victoria ❤️