Bye bye 2016

We are fast approaching the end of the year. It’s been a pretty shocking one in relation to high profile deaths, Brexit, US elections but for us here at alifetimeofdiy it hasn’t been a bad one. The good times have thankfully outnumbered the bad. 

I’ve struggled a lot with my anxiety towards the later part of the year but I feel I am coming out the other side now and am feeling almost excited to be starting a new year in a few days. 

I have a lot of plans for next year. We have started decorating the front room, we’ve bought a new sofa and Little Lady’s room is getting a shuffle around after we were gifted a cabin bed for her. 

My Day Zero List finishes on New Year’s Eve. I don’t feel I’ve achieved much over the last 1001 days even though I have managed to tick off over half of the items on there. I still have a few days left so I’ll do a round up possibly on New Year’s Day. 

I’ve started a new list to be started on the 6th April too. Hopefully I’ve set more realistic goals. 

I have recently been asked to blog about my running over at Run Wales so I will possibly not be blogging so much about my running here. I am planning to increase my crafty posts. Start showing some of my makes again. We’ve also got a lot of DIY planned for next year so keep a look out for those posts. 

I do hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and a relaxing week so far. 

How was 2016 for you?

From First to Last

After the joy of the Severn Bridge Night Run I should have known I was due a bad run. 

My club has recently started holding a monthly handicap 5k race. I did the very first one and loved it. It was fantastic to see the runners on an equal playing field.

I came 5th in the very first one and was mega impressed with my time (28:41) until we all realised that the course was short of 5k. I was slightly gutted as my time had smashed my previous PB by a minute. But obviously the lack of distance explains that. 

The rules of the handicap race state that your starting time and place are set by your PB in a previous handicap run. This stops people stating they are slower than they are in order to win. It’s a good rule but it meant that yesterday I had to use the (unachievable) time of 28:41. 

As it happens I was still the slowest and therefore first to set off. It was cold and foggy and my legs felt like lead. I was struggling for breath when I was overtaken just over 1km into the run. I was then overtaken twice more before the halfway point. As we ran the bottom loop every man and his dog overtook me. It was so embarrassing. 

As I came up the last stretch I could see that I was last. But not just last, last by quite a while! I was mortified. Every single person had overtaken me! I had tears in my eyes crossing the finish line and would have cried had Little Lady not been with me!

My time wasn’t a bad one. In fact it’s about right for me at the minute but going from first to last really hurt.

I’ve had a bit of time to think about it since then and really it’s not the end of the world. We all have bad runs and I need to remember that. I had such lovely messages of support from members of my running club who saw how upset I was and that really made my day. It reminded me how supportive the running community can be. 

Onwards and upwards

Severn Bridge Night Run

Wow! What can I say? This run lifted both my mood and my confidence. I absolutely loved it. 

A couple of weeks ago one of the ladies in my run club posted about this run and I immediately signed up for it. It sold out pretty quick apparently so I’m glad I didn’t stop to think about it. 

It was a 5 mile run and I’ve never run a 5 mile race before. I work in kms so I don’t think I’ve ever done a 5mile run in training either. Obviously (as I’ve run Half Marathons) I’ve run further but never just 5miles. I had no idea what to expect or what time I would be likely to finish in. 

My 10k (6.2miles) PB is just over 64mins and this would be just over a mile shorter. However my running hasn’t been up to scratch lately and I was afraid that a big crowd would trigger my anxiety again so I decided to aim to finish just under an hour. That should be doable. 

This picture is at the start. 

Four of us went from my club and the other 3 are very speedy. So speedy in fact that both the ladies won prizes on the night 🙂

The bridge itself is 2.2 miles long so we ran along the right hand side pedestrian walkway into England, up and over the toll booths, into the services and back round onto the other side of the bridge to run back over it. 

I felt very strong running the race. There were a lot of times I could have stopped but when I actually thought about it my body wasn’t actually tired. It was my mind. I pushed through and played games to occupy my mind allowing me to keep going. 

I was pretty pleased to see the 4 mile marker and I knew I had enough to push for the finish. There was a girl in front of me that I wanted to overtake so I started to chase her. But then I was passed by a group of 3 women! I decided to go for it and try to catch them. I over took the group of 3 just before the route took us off the bridge but then we were faced with a hill. Not a big one or a steep one to be honest but I was suddenly afraid I had pushed too soon and I would blow up before the finish. I knew my chances of catching the girl I wanted to pass was slowly fading as she made her way up the hill. Then I spotted one of our run club who had come back for me. He shouted at me and I knew I couldn’t slow now. So I pushed up the hill and not only caught but overtook the girl I had been chasing. I got to the top and ran back down the other side knowing the finish was only around the corner. 

As I rounded the corner, the other ladies from my club were waiting for me. One shouted “run faster and you can sub 55!” I glanced at the time above the finish gantry and sure enough it showed 54:49. I had 10seconds to cross the line if I wanted sub 55. I ran as fast as I could and I did it!! I finished a whole 5minutes faster than I originally wanted! 🙂 

I was so pleased I couldn’t stop smiling. Even when both the other ladies won prizes for being so fast. I was genuinely happy for them. But I was also so happy for me. Not because I had run fast. The race was comfortable for me. To be honest I probably could have pushed a bit more but I needed this to be enjoyable. The fact that I got a really good time (for me) was actually just a bonus. 

Here’s hoping for more races and runs like this one. 

Sticks and stones

I like this blog to be a happy place. I like it to be a place that I can share good things. Unfortunately life isn’t all good things and I’ve had a pretty rough time lately. It’s meant I haven’t wanted to blog or even leave the house most days. My anxiety levels haven’t been this high since I had PND after having Little Lady.

I’m not going to go into detail as it’s not a place to air dirty laundry and like I said, I want this to be a happy place, but I do want to highlight how important words are. No one knows exactly what someone else is going through. I was at a low point when comments were made to me that sent my anxiety spiraling out of control. These comments were brushed aside with “oh he didn’t mean it”. But by then it was too late. The damage was done.

I have slowly been building up the confidence to start going out to places where other people will be. It’s been hard and I’m still not quite there, as evidenced this weekend when I went to a social event and had to leave early as it felt like the incident that started this was a joke to many people. They obviously have no idea of the effect it has had as if they did, I would hope they would not have made the many (public) jokey references to it as they did.

I was brought up being told “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Kind words don’t cost anything and yet they can mean the world. Please always try to say kind words. Many people are going through private issues. If we all try to be kind to each other then the world would be a much nicer place. Words can make or break someone.

If you know someone who is currently going through a hard time why not send them a quick message? Let them know they are not alone. Your words can make a huge difference to someone’s life.

*Normal service to be resumed shortly I promise*