This Week’s Goal + Training Log #7

Photo book cover 2010

Goal

Photo books 2010-2017

I had to overcome some reluctance to carry on with my current goal this week. I forced myself to sit down and do an hour’s dedicated work to get me through a boring sorting job in order to start the year 2010. Once I had all the photos ready to go my enthusiasm returned. In total I spent 7 hours 23 minutes on my current goal.

Progress

2010: Arranged up to December
2011: Done, awaiting printing
2012: To be started

Emotions

It’s invoked some interesting emotions going through old photographs. There is something about creating a photo book that allows you to lay the year to rest. I became a mother in November 2009, and 2010 felt like a very long year. I had a traumatic birth and very little support either physically or emotionally after my son was born. Becoming a parent opened up a whole new perspective on my own childhood, which I found emotionally difficult to deal with.

I began the year with a 7 week old baby, a body I barely recognised, dreadful insomnia in the aftermath of my enormous post-partum haemorrhage (2.8 litres), and a whole torrent of emotions I’d never experienced before. I simultaneously found motherhood almost impossibly challenging and also the source of the greatest love I’d ever felt. This tiny baby I’d brought forth into the world instantly became the absolute centre of my universe, and I was terrified of anything happening to him.

Also, I put pressure on myself to carry on exactly as I had before. I wish so much I’d had a wise person to advise me that I needed to rest, and to stay at home with my baby. I wish someone had told me I needed to stop worrying about everyone else’s opinion and not feel obligated to join all the mother and baby activities and groups that everyone was always talking about.

However, as the year progressed, I can remember those feelings changing. I remember getting back to feeling a little more like myself, and a deep contentment at being a mother.

As soon as 2010 is finished I’ll be starting 2012. That was the start of a three year journey to have my daughter, involving many miscarriages. I’m sure that will be emotional, but there is still much to celebrate in that time with my two boys growing up through baby and toddlerhood to school age.

Training

It’s been a bit of a bare week. Life gets in the way, often, of our plans to exercise and be healthier, and this week was a good example. Baby F’s bout of vomiting and diarrhoea coincided with the start of the school holidays, so I only managed a 5k race on Wednesday evening. At the weekend however, I ran my planned long run – a 12km jog around Southsea seafront.

My joint pain has been bad. This is mainly down to interrupted sleep, as it plays havoc with my arthritis.

Now I’m three months into regular running, I’d like to start exercising 4-5 days a week, perhaps with shorter runs and more hill/sprints. I’m still pretty sore from Sunday, so I’ll hold off on that for now!

Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 5km race 30:07 (mis-recorded, I think, as 30:17)
Thu – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – 12km long run

Race Update

On Wednesday I ran the 4/5 race of the Lakeside 5k series. I won’t hold you in suspense – and if you follow me on instagram you will already know that I finished in 30:17.

Am I pleased?

Well, yes. It’s a PB, so I am. But then again…

Things didn’t go quite as planned right from the start. I realised after about a kilometer or so that my Garmin hadn’t started recording the run. No problem, I thought. I know more or less what 6min/km feels like, I’ll just wing it.

3 kilometers in I was so tired. I was really feeling the lack of sleep and I just wanted to sit down and give up. I was in last place too. Why am I doing this?

Then, I got a bit of a second wind, and I pushed on. Slowly I caught up with another runner. It was a woman who looked as tired as I felt. I wanted to tell her she was doing great as I passed, but I was worried she might think I was being patronising. I felt horribly guilty as I overtook her.

As I reached the 400 meter countdown, the marshall had already taken down the signs.

Anymore behind you? He asked.

I really must have entered the wrong 5km if the marshall couldn’t even be bothered to wait half an hour to see the last runners through before taking the signs down.

The final corner approached. I knew there was a clock on the finish, so I’d be able to see my time at about 80 meters from the end. However, when I got there, there was a boy sat on a post in front of the clock. All I could see were the last two digits. It was xx:44.

I sighed inside. With the times I’d been running recently (around 30:30), I reckoned it was at 30:44, so no PB and no sub-30.

I eased off a bit and ran on to the finish, trying to get a glimpse of the clock to no avail.

I was almost at the finish when the clock came into view.

It said 30:03.

I couldn’t believe it. That meant it’d been at 29:44 when I rounded the bend. If I’d known that I’d have sprinted like mad to make it before it ticked over to 30 minutes. My heart dropped as I crossed the line at 30:07. “Seven” said the timekeeper to the person with a clipboard.

I actually felt like crying. If only that boy hadn’t been sat there! If only my Garmin had worked when I set off!

I downed a free bottle of water and headed back to the car. When I got there, my initial upset passed and the elation kicked in. I may not have broken 30 minutes, but it was a great PB for me, and a great surprise. On balance, I decided, I was over the moon.

Disappointment

The results for the lakeside 5k series usually come out the same evening. You can imagine how I felt when I opened the email to discover my time had been listed as 30:17.

I stared at the results for ages and decided I must have misread the clock. I collapsed into bed after a big dinner and thought no more of it. However, a couple of hours later I was wide awake. I’d eaten too late and my stomach wasn’t happy, but most of all, I was absolutely convinced that my time had been recorded wrong. I would not have misread 30:03 – the time when the clock came into view. It was such a distinctive number and so important to me.

I sent the race organisers a very polite and friendly email saying that I was certain I’d crossed at 30:07. I wasn’t really expecting them to do anything, but it eased my mind. Three days later I haven’t even had an acknowledgement from them. Not even a Sorry, results can’t be changed, but we appreciate you getting in touch.

Meh.

It hasn’t left me feeling great about the race to be honest. The marshall packing up and asking me if I was the last one is probably the most hurtful thing. Running is usually celebrated for being such an inclusive and friendly sport.

There is one more in the series, the final race, on the 30th August, and I have already paid for my entry. The way I am feeling at the moment though, I don’t think I want to run it!

Lakeside 5k Series 4/5

Tonight I am running a 5k race. I did number 3/5 of this series last month, and I got my best time in literally years, so I had been hoping that 4 weeks on I would be able to shave a few more seconds off and maybe reach that elusive sub-30 I have been chasing.

Things have not really gone my way in the lead up to this race. Work has been really busy over the last month and I’ve been eating erratically and not very well. Then in the early hours of Sunday morning baby F started vomiting. She carried on around once an hour until everyone woke at 7am, so that was a night’s sleep lost. The following night (Monday), she woke and asked for water a few times and then screamed at me when I tried to put her back in the cot. I slept on the floor in her room. Thankfully she had stopped being sick, but each time she woke I was expecting it. Tuesday in the day was all a bit emotional with L’s last day at infant school. He was taking part in a leaver’s assembly that really tugged at the heart strings and there were quite a few tears from quite a few mums, including me. The husband had looked after baby F at home and I had been worried so much she was being sick again (the husband does not cope well with vomit). When I got home after the assembly she spent the best part of the day clinging to me and crying.

Tuesday night was another broken night’s sleep. Baby F woke crying several times and once for a watery poo in the early hours. This morning, surfacing from what little sleep I had managed she screamed and screamed at me when I tried our morning breastfeed (the last one we still do). It turned out that she didn’t have her Bee-Bee blanket to hold, which she always has during a feed but in my sleep-deprived state I couldn’t fathom what was wrong. After two bad nights and her constant crying in the day my nerves are shot.

Today (Wednesday), is the first day of the school holidays. In desperation, when she went down for a nap this morning, I locked the doors and put a film on for the boys so I could nap too. I managed a fitful hour and to be honest I don’t really feel much better for it.

Baby F has cried on and off today and wants me right by her side every second. With the boys home this is not possible or practical so when I am not with her she just wails and wails. Not to mention I am braving things like trying to clear up a watery-poo-explosion in the cot after naptime, with her wailing and the boys running riot and asking for stuff, all while I am trying not to contaminate any surface or myself.

I am so tired, and so worn out. I have found myself wishing again today that I had family nearby who wanted to help out. I know so many mums who have a grandparent or three living in the next village or street, always at the end of the phone.

I get quite down when I don’t sleep and I find it hard to maintain a positive attitude.

So, all-in-all, I am not expecting great things this evening at the race. It’s a fast local run, so coming last doesn’t bother me, but I really wanted to break 30 minutes and I fear life has just sucked all the energy out of me of late.

I will post an update after the run.

This Week’s Goal + Training Log #6


What a week. I have worked non-stop (it seems) to finish a project and various other work bits and pieces before the school holidays. I finally got there on Friday, just before going to collect baby F at lunchtime.

I’ve found this week quite hard going, but it’s a great feeling to be finished (for now!). The kiddos finish school tomorrow (Tues) at 2pm. Baby F came down with a vomiting bug in the early hours of this morning so she is home with me today instead of at nursery (glad I got all that work done).

Current goal: Finish family photo albums, years 2010-2017

I managed 5.5 hours on my goal, and have finished photo book 2011 and started photo book 2010. Hurrah! However, I have felt quite reluctant to work on this project and miserable about how long it will take me. After working on the books for two weeks my mind is really wandering and thinking about all the other things I could be doing. This is normally when I would get distracted by something else, so I’ve made a point of reminding myself this week that I have committed to getting this stuff done.

Focusing on just one thing has made me very aware of how much I have going on at one time. I can see that I take on a frankly ridiculous number of things. No wonder why I never have enough time to do them all.

Training

It was a mixed week. I did quite a comfortable run on Monday, but Thursday’s run was probably my worst since I started. Legs like lead, so tired and heavy, and I got a stitch, which I rarely suffer from. Then on Saturday I was back on form with a PB at parkrun. This week I’ve got a 5km race on Wednesday evening and I am hoping to run a slow 12km at the weekend to increase my distance. My joints have been painful this last week, and I’ve lost a lot of sleep tending to baby F overnight so not sure how things will pan out.

Mon – comfy 4.5km with some speedwork
Tue – rest
Wed – rest
Thu – planned a longer 6.5km, but gave up after 4.5km. Exhausted.
Fri – rest
Sat – Parkrun 5km PB 30:32 (Aargh! Just 33 seconds to shave off!)

This Week’s Goal + Training Log #5

I’ve had a busy week work-wise, which always seems to be the beginning of everything else sliding out of control. My eating has been erratic, picking at stuff in the day and eating too much sugary food to keep me going. My sleep has been disrupted by late nights because after hours of work I find myself zoning out in front of the TV. My running would normally have suffered too, but I proactively decided after my run on Monday that I was overtired and in need of a rest. My joints were aching and I could barely manage to run at a decent pace on my fast intervals.

The danger of taking a break is always that you won’t start again. I didn’t want 12 weeks of training to go to waste, but thankfully I found that I really missed it. I follow a lot of runners on instagram so seeing their posts all week kept the fire burning 🙂. I took a five day break and ran a 5k PB on Saturday although my knees were quite sore on the Sunday.

Current goal: Finish family photo albums, years 2010-2017

Goals-wise I have spent a massive 13 hours* on my photo books, mostly in the evening or during baby F’s naps. The first couple of hours at the beginning were all about getting back to the point I was at when I stopped the last time (months ago). This is one of the obvious costs of swapping between goals all the time. Leave it too long and you lose the whole mental-map of where you are and what you’re doing. I had to update the photobook software, read through my notes and check files and folders to make sure I was picking up at the right point.

Once I got that out of the way I started to make good progress and I’m now up to November on the 2011 book (I had previously stopped around April). Note that I haven’t done 2010 yet, so things are a bit haphazard. I wanted to get 2011 done first because it is the year that C was born and the first book I did was the year L was born. C has been waiting to see ‘his’ book for so long I decided to do that one first. Man, I wish I’d just done all this before and not procrastinated over it!

Mental distractions

I had to resist the urge to get involved in other projects this week. I thought of a great series of blog posts I could do. I wanted to spend time on a course I want to develop for small businesses. I wanted to do a course in SEO to increase my knowledge, and I wanted to sort out and declutter in the main bedroom.

I stopped and reminded myself that I am trying out this one-goal thing for a reason, and I managed to avoid getting sucked into anything new. Hopefully over time I will be able to increase my focus and my ability to stick to one thing until I have finished it.

Training

Training diary was short this week:

Mon – 6.5km in 50 mins, including walk breaks (too tired!), and a fair bit of uphill work.
Tue-Fri – rest
Sat – 5km 30:36 😄
Sun – rest (tired and sore joints)

I’m going to run easier this week – no speedy-gonzales, haha. Not that you could really call my fast running all that fast, but you know what I mean.

*Timing myself has been a bit of revelation. 13 hours!! I am actually astonished that on top of all the work I did I still managed to find 13 hours for a personal project. That is a huge chunk of time. 13 hours each week for a year equates to 96 work days (7 hour days). Imagine what you could do with that!!