The Great Marathon Adventure

Well, it has been a long time hasn’t it? What’s that you say? A good few years… Well yes, I have been very busy doing things, mundane things, but now I’m back to tell you about my adventures!

I’ll start with the story that lead me here, to telling you about what I am doing and why. It links with many of my previous posts from when apparently I had M.E. – like this one.

I didn’t have M.E.; what training for that half marathon taught me is to ALWAYS trust my gut feeling. Always. Because I realised that if you can train for a half marathon and still function, whilst apparently having M.E., then you probably don’t have M.E.

I changed my doctors’ surgery and spoke to a very understanding Doctor. He actually listened to my story and took me seriously (which in my experience in the UK is the exception rather than the rule) and yes, he filled me with more holes and stole my blood, but in the end was a proper, real diagnosis. Coeliac Disease.

I do not know how many times when I had been told I had M.E. that I had just wished for there to be a way for me to make it simply better. Having an answer was incredible and from that moment in I embraced having to go “gluten free” because here was a simple way to make myself well.

It wasn’t so simple though, which is where Coeliac UK come into play. Coeliac UK are an absolute boon to the newly diagnosed. They’re the oldest and largest charity which helps to support, campaign, research, you name it, for people with coeliac disease and they were so helpful in my steep learning curve of going “gluten free”.

So on the 6th of April 2014 I’m not running a half marathon, I’m running a full marathon, the Brighton Marathon, to help raise money to support Coeliac UK. That’s 26.2 miles of sweat and probably tears and I’d dearly appreciate any and all support in doing so. I’m loving the adventure (yes really!) and the challenge and I hope to share a bit of it here with you, if you’d like to join me.

raise money for Coeliac UK. That’s 26.2 miles of seweat and a few gallons of tears


It’s Winter of course…

So we all know that recently I have been going through more change than I normally do.

I know the past two years have pretty much been constant change for me but recently – much more so.

In determining a direction I want to go and realising that the only way I will get there is to go there myself, I have been struggling against this change far more than I realised.

Resulting in a January more hellish that I can describe.

There were tears and cursing, almost rash actions, certainly rash fantasies (they’re not nearly as fun as they sound on paper!).

Ugh basically.

Then I realised…

It’s still Winter

But of course.

The time of gestation, going inward and sowing the seeds.

Spring is the time of birthing.

Spring is close, but it is not here yet.

So here I am pushing and pushing to find these solutions to everything.

Seriously – the pressure has been on to find answers to life, the universe and everything.
I know it is 42, but apparently I need to work this out myself rather than let a computer do so.

Such high expectations of myself.

Then I realise – it is time to nourish and be within.

It is time to slow, work with the flow of things and slowly grow the light.

No need to push and push and then question why the results aren’t happening when I think they should be happening.

Time to grow roots and a base from which to draw what I need when it comes to the blooming, shining, birthing time.


If I spend this time asking myself what it is I need most and trusting the response, is it not logical that I will give myself what I desire most?

This is something I need to trust.

I worry that I won’t be able to accomplish everything and therefore don’t trust that I will accomplish just that if I give myself what I need.

Learning to pay attention to what you need is harder than it seems and a perfect thing to spend some time learning during a time of year that calls for just that.

Food for thought.

Re-encounters with Comfort Eating

The New Year has brought an insane amount of newness for me which, although expected, has thrown me into chaos.

The New Job

You see – it was totally expected. Eventually, eventually they gave me my start date and it was in the new year and not before Christmas as originally expected.

So now I’m working shifts – which I have NEVER done before.

And I’m working in a cafe – which I have NEVER done before.

In a climbing centre – which, to be fair, I know quite well, but…. as a climber not a worker bee.

There are a thousand things which have thrown me off whack.

Mostly it is the newness of all the new things I’m doing and having to adjust to them.

There’s realising that although this company and its people are incredible (we have meetings on beanbags, with lollipops – what is not to love about that pray tell?) the work I am doing for it is so totally no up my street that it may as well be in another city.

Struggling to adjust

The newness and the change are difficult for me to adjust to, because on one hand I need this job and I know that this is an amazing experience and on the other hand knowing that this is just so not right for me is making it hard to keep going in every day.

And then there’s the shifts – which have just thrown my days into disarray and along with that my social life.

Like I never get to see my housemate any more. The woman is one of my closest, dearest friends and I never get to see her anymore.

Where I used to see her every day, at least for a little bit before we fell asleep.

Heading back into old territory

So on my days off last week, where I had no one to spend my time with, I discovered this much about me:

When I am left alone and am struggling to adjust to something, I spend my days in bed, watching telly and eating. Mostly eating.

Old comforts.

Food is something I used to have a very tangled relationship with and I spent a very intense year about nine years ago learning about how much I was using food as a comfort instead of listening to the needs behind my feelings.

But the change

Since spending a year journaling away my relationship with comfort eating I have a new way of interacting with it.

It involves allowing it to happen but also picking up my journal and listening to what is going on behind the scenes.

No judgement.

What I found this time was such a huge change in my ways of interacting with myself that it took me by surprise.

I remember the days before when there was so much guilt and anxiety over feeling what I was feeling, this time however what was there was permission.

Comfort and Joy

Yeah, I discovered that the reason I was eating was because it was bringing me comfort and joy where I was feeling these things were lacking greatly from my day to day.

My other sources of these are scarcer now – my friends, my QS job, my colleagues, the known – and so I was turning to once source which was readily available.

Furthermore, I was able to give myself permission to need comfort and joy in a difficult situation, committing to finding some different, healthier ways of giving this to me.

Whilst I’m not sure what these are just yet, it does mean that every time I fancy eating when I’m not hungry and especially when it’s something sugar laden, I can recognise a need for a bit of comfort and then I can give myself an invisible hug and permission to need some comfort.

And so I say this

Comfort eating is a complex issue and the reasons behind it differ for everyone, but most often I believe it exists because there are some unmet needs lurking which are scarier than putting on weight or whatever negative connotations there are to comfort eating for you.

I have found that gently asking myself what’s up during these times, whilst still giving myself permission to need the crutch invariably leads to me being able to give myself what I really need without worrying that I am depriving myself of a source of comfort.

Food is less scary than asking for help in many, many situations.

Unless you’re asking for help from yourself, and in my experience, that’s the source that’s most often the most helpful.

Most of all permission to need is key.

Some rules of life… (My life anyway)

1. It’s all about pace

As you are probably aware, I’m training for the Cardiff Half Marathon (you should sponsor me!)
I’m a runner. Have been since I was about 12 when something went *Pop* in my head on a cross country course at school and I thought, “I can do this!”

It doesn’t mean I’ve always run, but it means that I can and I do (now) and that it brings me peace of mind. Once I’ve set up my pace, providing I don’t get out of breath, I can plod along quite happily, with my legs feeling strong and capable and taking me along.

Ask me to run faster than ‘my’ pace, get me out of breath, and I’m beat in about 100m! It means that training with anyone else is tricky for me as I try and match their pace. I’m learning, pretty quickly, that the key to achieving this goal and my distances on my training plan are to simply stick to my pace.

I’m not that comfortable asking others to stick to my pace yet, so I mostly train alone or in situations where the others can do their own thing comfortably as well. But that is a whole other post.

Of course it’s occurred to me that this is a pretty strong metaphor for life.

In other words, you can do anything; go anywhere as long as you stick to the pace that’s right for you.

For me, I’m coming to realize (ever so slowly and in the tiniest baby steps) that my pace is slow and steady.

I feel deeply, I think an awful lot and this means that in order to not be totally overwhelmed by it all I need to take things slowly, making space to find out just what I think and feel about each thing that comes up.

Rushing and impatience, although tempting and almost second nature to me, get me no where other than three steps forward and two steps back. Frustrating and not all that constructive, or compassionate at that!

2. Attitude is everything
Oh how boring! How many times have you heard this old chestnut? Positive thinking, positive expectations, positive intentions – BLAH BLAH BLAH and if I may say so – eff off.
Not my point. At. All.

Again a running metaphor.

Signing up to this marathon scared the bejaysus out of me. I didn’t think I could do it.

I am not the type of person who gets all gung ho about a challenge and proving stuff to myself. Most of the time I think I cripple myself with self doubt.

The first time I set off to run five miles? I was worried the whole day before that I was asking too much of myself.

What if I ran out of steam? What if I set off an attack of the tireds? What if I injured myself? What if, what if, what if?

Turns out that by setting the right pace (see? Do you see how beautifully this all ties in?) I did it with absolutely no problems at all. I was not even out of breath by the end!

Tired, yes, exhausted and crippled, no.

Then yesterday as I plodded away on the treadmill (seven miles on a treadmill leaves you ample time to think about a LOT of things) I realized that my belief about myself is that I am a quitter.

That I don’t achieve anything because I quit, because I don’t believe I’m an achiever.

Can you believe?


You can imagine all the Whizz! Pop! Bings! that were going off in my mind after realizing that and where it all comes from, and oh boy do I know where it all comes from.

Needless to say, it’s something I want to bring attention to, because it’s luggage I don’t feel I need anymore.

3. Take it one step at a time

When you’ve only ever run three miles, imagining thirteen and a half feels unbelievably overwhelming.
Running four though – that seems do-able.

Then once you’ve done four, five seems quite possible too.

Once you’ve done five, you imagine that you will quite like to see if you can do seven. If you can only do six then fine, but maybe… just maybe… you have seven in your legs.

Once you’ve done seven you realize you are over halfway there.

You begin to believe.

So if you’re starting up a new business? Trying to work out how to make it work so that you can bring in one month’s rent may seem totally overwhelming. But perhaps just one sale and then two?

Or any other goal or decision for that matter.

Do I want to see this person? You don’t start asking your heart/ god/ whatever you ask if this person is the meaning to life, the universe and everything to you. You simply ask, “is this for me right now in this very moment?”

4. Trust your tools. Trust yourself.

Running shoes – I will and do spend good money on them.
Not vast amounts, because I am not made of money and besides I do not actually think you need to.

Comfort and support are absolutely vital for me in my shoes and that is all.

If I doubt my shoes, if they are unsuitable for the job, give me blisters, don’t support my knees properly etc then I do not feel confident going out for a run, let alone a testing run.

Make sure you have good support systems in place, both internal and external.

Good support in training, encouragement and help with niggles – absolutely vital.

Good support in business… you are getting the hang of it.

Good support through friends and family…. You see? You see?! It is all transferable to personal life.

Know yourself and trust yourself. Know your limits, your buttons and listen to them. Trust the feedback you get from your body.

Pain, like fear needs to be listened to, but not necessarily pandered too. Perhaps you need to stop and stretch rather than give up completely.

Learn this about yourself and then trust that you do actually know what you are doing.

Be prepared to work with yourself instead of against yourself. Your pace is your pace and that pace is totally acceptable.

Start slow, start gentle and take care of yourself each step of the way.

It is not guarantee for success, it is not always easy, but it makes things more comfortable.

5. Warm up and Cool Down!

Heh heh heh! That is probably only hilariously funny to me.
But seriously, I do not like attempting any run without a good warm up and stretch and if I don’t cool down – well I probably struggle to walk the next day.

Make sure you give yourself space to work up to the “Big Thing” and space to stretch and let yourself recover from the “Big Thing” before throwing yourself into the next “Big Thing”.

As you get fitter, your recovery time gets better. Your muscles can cope with more and remember how to recover. Oh you also have more scar tissue but you work with that through stretching and stuff.

So it is with my personal life. As I get more in touch with myself, as I trust myself and have more compassion with the hard, the more self accepting I am – the easier the Hard is to process.

I resist less.

Life continues to deliver its goods and I will inevitably get hurt from time to time. New wounds will open, old wounds will be prodded but I heal faster and support the healing process better as I come more familiar with what works for me.

Who’d have thunk huh? All this for a £1.70 gym session, a treadmill and a pair of shoes doing the same thing over and over!




The Answers you get when you try listen to your body.

Ha ha. I totally freaked my body out the other night.

 I was lying in bed with my head all in a tizzwazz, full of jumbled up thoughts and thinking, “I HAVE to sort this mess out. I CAN’T go on like this. WHY is this up to me to sort out? Blahdeblahdeblah.”

Then I thought to myself, “I know, I’ll try a little of my own advice. I’ll ask my body what it wants to do. I’ll listen to some other parts of me than just my head.” So:


ME: Body, hello. You know this rubbish in my head yeah?

BODY:    Hello. Why are you talking to me? This is very strange to be talked to.

ME: Is it? That’s interesting. Anyway, back to business, I’m hoping for your steer on things really. You know, on this tizzwazz in my head.

BODY: (*&(^*&%&*^%£%£^$^&%*$£^!!! HUH? Dude – you just spoke to me. Your BODY. You know I’m a collection of limbs and skin right? Just limbs and skin and some other stuff.

ME: Yes, I do want your input. I think it could help.

BODY: ^%£^%£&%*%^£&*()**%(&$!!!! HUH???

ME: Look the stupid incredulous thing is losing its charm. Your opinion please.

BODY: Seriously, you’ve just asked me for an opinion for the first time ever. Sorry, but it’s going to take me a while to get over the shock.

ME: Oh fine then! Sod off to you too. I’m going to sleep if you’re going to be like that.


So that went well huh? J