Feeling a bit lost

Initially I wasn’t really sure whether to write a post like this or not. But then I guess I like to be honest and transparent in my blog so might as well.

In general, I’m a very happy and upbeat person. I’m a glass half-full kind of girl. And a lot of times this can get me into trouble because I won’t have back-up plans or contingencies because I assume everything will be fine. I don’t like to dwell on sad things or not see things in a positive light – I’m very much an optimist. I’ll bat of things with positivity and jokes. Happiness is my default, and I know I’m lucky in that respect.

But lately I’ve been a bit down. I don’t really like to mention these sorts of things on my blog as my blog is, in general, a happy space where I waffle on about running and random fluffy stuff. But sometimes it’s good to be honest and to show that whatever you might see on the outside, it’s not necessarily true of reality.

I feel like I’m lost. I don’t know what I’m doing any more (did I ever? Does anyone ever?). I’ve just turned 29 and I don’t know where my life is going. I thought I had it all figured out. When I was growing up I studied hard, always with the goal of university and a career I loved. That sort of turned out as it should but other things happened and the years flew by and now I’m not so certain of anything anymore.

Yes it’s partly that horrible comparison trap again. Seeing what others are doing around me. My friends, family and people on social media all seeming to have such control and direction in their life. While I feel like I’m a ship in the middle of the ocean and I don’t know which direction to sail. I’m floating aimlessly. I’m not sinking but I’m not going anywhere either.

I’m happy in general, don’t get me wrong. Life is very good. I have a good job, I earn good money, I own my own flat, I have wonderful and supportive friends and family, I can go on nice holidays and buy nice things…I really have nothing to complain about. But I have no purpose and a bit of an emptiness inside. Oh I know, this is such a “first world problem” and one of those horribly cliched ideals of modern life. I am well aware of how blessed and lucky I am. But I still can’t help but feel down.

I think my issue is my current lifestyle. I live in a lovely suburban area full of lovely friendly people… but people who have their 2.4 children, their family homes and they’re all settled down. I however am not in that world. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a “family”. But nor am I living the lifestyle of a young (yes? I’m still young right?) single woman. It’s a full on 20 minute drive to get into town and the nearest shop to me is the huge Next Home shop and PC World.

I should be in the thick of it, amongst other young, carefree people who aren’t planning their baby showers or what they’ll do in the school holidays. But I’m not. I’m going to work and coming home, going to work and coming home. I can’t go out with my work colleagues because it’s an hour away from where I live (by car) and I have Alfie at home waiting for me. I can’t, on a whim, ring up a nearby friend and just head out for the evening because they either live too far away or have family-orientated plans. I’ve got all these barriers stopping me from living a proper single life. The only way to date is online dating and so far this has not gone particularly well. I feel like I’m watching life pass me by.

I’m happy and comfortable…But I’m worried that I’ll tick along like this on autopilot and one day wake up and I’m still single, still floating aimlessly and years have flown by. Something has to change I guess. It’s just being brave enough to make that change.

Have you ever felt like this?

What advice would you give?

Thing I’m loving lately – June

*Whispers* I don’t want to speak too soon, but I have had a pretty decent streak of running uninjured.

I mean I had a blip after Tokyo with my ankle, but after a week off I was good to go again. It’s kind of all going…dare I say it, OK??Two marathons and now onto my next bout of marathon training, please let it continue to go as smoothly!

So as I’m in a pretty good mood with my running, I thought I’d continue these happy vibes with some things I’m loving lately.

The new series of My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast: If you’ve never heard of it or think it sounds weird, you really just need to give it a go. It is HILARIOUS. Like actual laugh out loud comedy. I binge listened to the first two series and now they’ve just started the third series. They have fans such as Daisy Ridley, Elijah Wood, Michael Sheen. I can’t recommend it enough.

Dogs of parkrun: I love how many dogs come out to parkrun. Not all of them run, but it’s lovely to see them ‘supporting’. I took a photo of some of the ones I saw at Netley at the weekend and made a collage.All so lovely. I know that dogs at races/parkrun can be annoying but I’m a big dog lover so to me I’m happy to have to dodge around them and their leads. I’d love to run with Alfie but I’m worried that as he’s a bit older (almost eight!) it might not be a good idea. He’s never run further than half a mile so I’d need to start very slowly with him, which at the moment I don’t really have time for. He loves racing about on his own though.

SIS products: I really love these products I’ve been sent. I don’t actually take the Overnight Protein Powder in the evening as it suggests but I have it in my porridge every morning (about 15g). I like to boost my porridge in this way to get some added protein and it adds a nice chocolate taste. It really isn’t overwhelming sweet.They suggest taking the protein powder in the evening due to the casein content (80% casein and 20% whey from the milk protein). Casein works while you’re asleep, stimulating muscle protein synthesis. It’s low in fat and carbs as well. Like I said, I like how subtle the chocolate taste is so it goes really nicely in my porridge (I add it to the oats before I microwave it). I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet porridge. It also makes a nice hot chocolate as well when mixed with hot water!

And as I’ve mentioned previously, I love the Go Caffeine Shots. These are going to become pre-race staples for me. I’d normally have a cup of black coffee before a race but I hate drinking too much liquid. This shot is only 60ml so is perfect, so I can still hydrate well with water.

The tropical flavour is definitely my favourite over the cola flavour though. The cola one is just a bit too sharp/sour.

Having a clear out: My drawers are currently bulging with the amount of fitness clothes and race t-shirts I own so I decided to have a clear out. I donated a load of tops from races that I wasn’t too bothered about (really old 10ks) and then separated t-shirts I wanted to keep but would no longer wear, such as marathon t-shirts.

I’ve decided at the end of the year I’ll get a blanket made up of my race tops as a nice way to keep the t-shirts and remember the race. I’ve found this website that does it. It’s expensive, which is why I’m waiting until the end of the year so I can add (HOPEFULLY) a few more shirts to it.

I’d like to do something with my bibs as well (I always save them as well as my medals) but I’m not sure what at the moment. A friend of mine put them on his wall and that looked cool, but I don’t really have the space. Maybe a big scrapbook or something.

What do you do with your race t-shirts and bibs?

Do you use any SIS products?

Do you have long running streaks or are you injury prone like me?

**Full Disclaimer: I’ve been sent the SIS products for free to test out for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

A wobbly parkrun and my divorce party

Bank holiday weekends are such a gift. That one extra day just makes it seem to last forever.

I definitely needed it after a very poor night sleep on Friday. I was woken up at 2am by some bad hay fever, so took an antihistamine and eventually feel back asleep. Then at 4am there was a thunderstorm. Alfie hates thunder and lightning; he gets very scared and freaks out. For whatever reason he decided that sitting on my head would be the safest place for him. And then intermittently barking. It seemed to go on forever, so we were awake for quite a while.

When my alarm went off at 7am I felt like I’d barely slept. I’m normally the type of person who gets up straight away with their alarm, but it was the first time in ages where I desperately wanted to snooze. But parkrun waits for no one!

I didn’t feel particularly great or 100% when I got to Netley. I’d felt very sick the day before for some reason so wondered if that, with lack of sleep, just made me feel rubbish. The weather was very oppressive as well, humid and close. Anyway, I helped set-up and decided today was not the day to push it.As soon as I started running I knew it was going to be a bad one. I was running far slower than normal and yet the effort level seemed the same. People who I normally run with or ahead of were overtaking me and I just couldn’t seem to catch up. I would occasionally surge forward but then found this shattered me.

I also didn’t feel right in that I felt hazy and foggy and a couple of times lost my footing. It felt really quite awful. Several times I wondered if I should drop-out of walk. But being the stubborn idiot I am I just pushed on, trying to get to the finish-line as quickly as I could.As I got closer to the finish I started getting more and more foggy and when I finished and stopped running I completely lost my bearings and stumbled to the floor. I can’t tell you how embarrassing this was. I just suddenly felt so dizzy and out of it. Luckily someone helped me and got me some water. I was very grateful, though hugely mortified. A lot of other people were also feeling the humid and oppressive weather conditions too so I didn’t look like a complete loon. I should have just stopped when I started feeling off.I somehow managed 23:07, but it felt so ridiculously hard. I helped clear up and then had a hot drink at the cafe. I still felt quite hazy so sitting and taking a moment helped. I had quite a busy day ahead so needed to have my shizz together!I got back home and was so busy sorting stuff I wasn’t able to focus on feeling under the weather, which I actually think helped (tho I had a moment in the shower where I found myself exhausted and wondering if I should just go back to bed…). I had my divorce party planned for 1pm at my friend’s house and needed to get myself together. And as I was in charge of the food, I needed to have that together too.

The day before I’d made a beef chilli (I used this Jamie Oliver recipe and slow cooked pieces of beef shin for over five hours and it smelt amaaaaazing).I was also planning on making some guacamole and had lots of snacks to take too. After rushing around like a mad thing I eventually made it to my friend’s house. She’d made the most fantastic cake! Red velvet…divine!We got the food prepared and spread on the table. I made guacamole using avocados mashed with some spices and low fat Greek yogurt and lime juice – delicious! And we were ready to go.The reason for the party was just to have a fun little get-together to take light of the fact that I’m now officially divorced (well, I have been for a few months now but haven’t really been that free at the weekend to do something like this). Yes being divorced sucks (oh the failure I am, how sad and pathetic my life is, woe is me… blah blah blah) but I’m a half glass full kind of person and wanted to just have a bit of fun with it. You can’t sit in a dark corner and be sad about life events that happen, you just gotta pick yourself up and try and move forward. I think I’ve consistently tried to do that and Saturday was just a way to enjoy myself with cake. My marriage wasn’t a mistake and I don’t regret it, it just had a fixed time limit and that’s that!To be honest, I just wanted a reason to eat lots of food and have cake 😉 I made a divorce playlist (think N*Sync ‘Bye Bye Bye’ and Destiny’s Child ‘Independent Woman’) and a love/hate themed quiz (Round 1: Connect the famous exes…to Round 4: Connect the song with the singer – again themed as breakup songs). It was good fun. I obviously ate far too much (two slices of cake and copious amounts of chilli and dip).Now I know people hate this word…but the cake was so moist! It was very tasty. Louise, my amazing baking friend, did herself proud!

As Lou and Tom, the hosts, had a wedding party to get to that evening we all vacated and reconvened later for, er, more food and some drinks at Portsolent. Some of the friends hadn’t eaten (or eaten as much as me) whereas I, unsurprisingly, wasn’t that hungry but I still fancied going out. We went to Wildwood and I ordered the lightest thing I could find. Just a “superfood salad”. On any other occasion it wouldn’t have been enough, but it was just perfect.I also enjoyed a nice refreshing Sol beer and then Bud Light at the next bar (I love Bud Light!). It was a great evening of chatting, laughing and generally just chilling out. I don’t tend to do much drinking but it was a nice change.

I’ll leave my weekend recap there!

What’s your favourite cake? I keep changing mine, from carrot cake to red velvet to lemon…

Have you ever been to a divorce party? It’s quite an obscure thing, granted!

Have you ever felt a bit dizzy or odd at parkrun/running?

Feeling left behind

I’m 28 years old (29 in June) and I realise this is not very old at all. And I won’t sit here and complain that I feel old and creaky, don’t worry.

I might not be a spring chicken anymore but I am not old (SOCIETY, DO YOU HEAR THAT!?). Yes I can see the fine lines on my face and the odd grey hair springing up, but I am not old. I am, however, in the minority among my friends now.

I have more pregnant friends, or friends with children or friends thinking about getting pregnant than I have friends who are not. In fact, I only have one close friend my age who is in similar position to me (i.e. unattached and childless).

I’m at that age when this is inevitable. Weddings have come and gone and time is a’ticking. My mum had my sister before she was 30 (I mean, I know it was a different time back then but still). Does this bother me? Well no not really because honest to God the thought of having children scares the living daylights out of me and I’m quite enjoying the way my life is right now. The freedom, the disposable income, the flexibility of booking holidays whenever I want, the lie-ins.

But whenever I tell my mum about a couple who’s gotten pregnant I can see a little part of her die inside. She’ll deny this but it’s true. Mother, I know you too well. And I do feel a little like I’m being left behind. I can’t join in with pregnancy conversations about morning sickness and the first trimester tiredness. I’m awkward around my best friend’s little ones. I stare in amazement at how she’s able to be a fully functioning adult, make amazing cakes and crafts, go to work and still be able to bring up two beautiful children. And she still looks amazing (Louise, you truly do).

But I’ll say it again, I’m happy with my childless life. Who knows, I might never have children. And that’s OK too. I never grew up wanting children or wanting to be a mum. I can count on my hand the times I’ve looked at a child or baby and thought, “it might be nice to have one myself”. I only have to see the Facebook statues, the Tweets, and hear the mums at the running club talk about how tired they are, how they can’t fit in a run because of Child One or scheduling conflicts or being too tired/stressed to realise that I think myself lucky to not have children.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that a part of me will feel like I’ve failed as a woman or that I’ve missed out on something crucial if I don’t have children (I know this is entirely incorrect and purely my own thinking), but right now that’s not how I think.

Yes I realise I am only 28 years old and I’m not exactly running out of time in the great scheme of things, but I defy any single woman to not have these little niggles and concerns in the back of her mind as she creeps towards her thirties.

Though I don’t want children right now, and I’m not 100% certain I’ll ever want them, I do feel like the odd one out. I’m running out of friends to turn to and chat about how good not having children is. Meet-ups and dinner dates are harder to schedule as babysitters are required or pregnancy makes things a bit more tricky. And I still get those side-eye pitying looks, almost apologetic smiles, when all things babies are being discussed when I’m there…

I don’t know where this post is going or what this post was for. To reassure myself I’m OK? To reassure my mum I’m OK? To sound like I protest too much? I don’t know.

What I do know is that something does need to change in my life. I’ve let things become a bit stale and stagnant. I need to do something to change things up. I need to embrace my single life and do something a bit more crazy than sign up to another marathon or go on holiday (and run a marathon). I just need to decide what and whether I’m brave enough.

Do you want children/have children?

Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on something?

My goals for the London Marathon

Well, I tell you what if it wasn’t for social media I think I would have just completely forgotten that it’s the London Marathon in a few days. Ha! On a serious note though, it’s so nice to see so many people doing it. So many from my club, so many people I’m friends with on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook… just lots of friendly faces. Well, let’s be honest, most people running it are likely to be super friendly because they’re runners 😉I guess this should be the post where I say what my goals are for running the London Marathon. Hmmm. Survive uninjured. No change from usual I guess! I hope to get around 3:45 but under that would be nice. It really depends on the weather, the crowds and how I feel. The Tokyo Marathon gave me the confidence to know I can run around 8 minute/miles without a huge amount of solid training… but then I was fresher and hadn’t run a marathon a couple of months previously.

It’s all a guessing game with a marathon. Nothing is set in stone. There are SO many external factors along with the internal factors. It’s such a long, long way… you only have to look at a whole host of marathon mile splits on Strava to see people doing absolutely fine, running nice and consistently, to then suddenly gain an extra minute + per mile after half-way or 16 miles or whatever. ANYTHING can happen. Nutrition issues, an injury, a niggle, a mental burp, exhaustion due to bad race strategy, pacing or just plain old fitness.Basically, my first and foremost marathon mantra for anyone and everyone is: RESPECT THE MARATHON. Otherwise it will eat you up and spit you out. You could argue that my not-so-great training and clustering of marathons isn’t quite respecting the marathon…but I’m aware of this and aware of my capabilities. I’m not going to take off at the start like a loony. I mean, I imagine I won’t be able to anyway as it’ll be so busy but in an ideal world I have a list of paces I want to target (i.e. not go faster than) for the first 10 miles, the second 10 miles and then the final 10k will be “see how you feel” as to whether I step it up (unless I’m crawling at that point…).

So, even though I’m not entirely “marathon ready”, I do have a sensible plan and some realistic goals:

  • Remain uninjured
  • Have fun (“fun” is questionable here of course, but fun relative to, say, getting impaled on a big stick and/or getting fired and becoming destitute)
  • See someone famous (ideally I’d love to see Adele from the Early Morning Breakfast show on BBC Radio1, she literally makes my 5.30am gym visits bearable and she’s running London as her first marathon)
  • Time of 3:45(ish)
  • If that fails, sub-4.

So there we go. I won’t lie. I mostly want to meet someone famous 😉 I’ll be THAT annoying person wanting a selfie…I just can’t work out if I’d have the guts to do it while running. Maybe sneakily…

Tomorrow I’m off to London with my mum. I managed to convince her to join me going to the London Marathon Expo to collect my bib by postponing Mother’s Day celebrations until then. After a morning Expo visit I’m treating her to lunch at Jamie’s 15.

Then it gets a bit mad as my mum goes back home on the train while I meet a friend to go with her on the train to Brighton. I’ll spend the day in Brighton with her on the Saturday, to then get the train back to my parent’s house that afternoon. Then I’ll be coaching it up to London stupidly early with my dad on Sunday morning with some other local runners. Wahay I must be mad!!

Huge good luck to everyone running London, or Southampton (10k/half/marathon) and everything else going on!