A New Challenge

excercise, exercise, fitness, food, Health, health,, healthy, lessons, Life, life,, lifestyle, london, london marathon, mental health, nottingham, running, weight loss

For the last couple of months, Andy has been lovingly nagging the shit out of me to check out a gym he’s been going to. H3 Performance is based just outside of Nottingham city centre, near Sneinton. They run an 8 week Training for Warriors challenge. The creator of the programme used to train MMA fighters, and eventually formed the programme to suit us normos. There is little I love more than pretending I’m super tough, so the thought of training like an MMA fighter suits me down to the ground. The deal is this: you pay £150 and for 8 weeks, you attend 3 group workout sessions a week. Same group of about 10 people every time, to build comradery I guess. Your measurements are taken, there’s a whatsapp group for support outside of the gym and you are given a nutrition guide. The works, basically. So, sort of to shut Andy up, but sort of because I need this, I signed up for the challenge. On Thursday last week I went to my orientation to meet the group. We also heard from an incredible woman who had completed the challenge previously. She has 5 kids, and looks better than I have ever looked in my entire life – superwoman! I think the orientation was partially intended to help ease any pre-programme anxieties, but honestly I’m so excited to get back on the health and fitness wagon I feel immune from any fear.

I want to take just a minute to get real here. My mental health has been less than optimum this year. I didn’t complete the London marathon due to a knee injury, but even during training I was struggling. The long runs were a psychological battle that I rarely won. They left me feeling lonely and useless. I didn’t believe in myself and I felt like nobody else did either. I felt my confidence plummet. One particular Saturday, I was embarking on a 13 mile long run. The weather was unseasonably hot, although it had rained the entire previous day. The lake I was running laps of had tonnes of gnats hovering its circumference, sticking to my sweaty forehead and getting in my mouth and eyes. My nike run app kept randomly pausing, and I momentarily contemplated hurling my phone into the water in frustration. I have found that if I run in my glasses they slip off my face, so I just didn’t wear them. I clearly overestimated how well I can actually see without my specs, and eventually I tripped and fell in the mud. It was this delightfully elegant moment I can now pinpoint as the lowest low of my training. I had to limp for a mile back to my car trying desperately not to cry. I felt like an idiot. And, just to add insult to injury, not a single sodding dog walker asked if I was ok! Ohhh sure they were happy to stare at me like I was the abominable fucking snowman, but god forbid they ask if the limping woman, covered from shin to boob in mud was ok. GOD FORBID.

I’ll probably talk more about my marathon training experience in a later blog but for now, just know that ever since then I’ve found it hard to feel motivated or get into a good routine. Slowly I’ve watched myself slip back into a life of Friday night takeaways and exchanging gym sessions for Netflix binges. My self-esteem probably hasn’t been this crap since secondary school. So now, I’m 100% ready to start this new challenge. The irony that I was supposed to run the marathon to raise money for a mental health charity is not lost on me, believe me.

I am SO ready to get back into shape, for both my physical and mental health. I once lost almost 5 stone (70ish pounds) and even though I was still chubby at a size 16, I felt so strong and confident that it didn’t matter to me. I could walk into any room and feel like I deserved to be there. I could make decisions with clarity. I could operate more smoothly, I was less clumsy and more focused. I just felt like a sharper version of myself. I felt like a respectable person. I now feel sluggish and heavy, and my self-esteem is pretty much none existent the majority of the time. I think knowing the difference between how good I can feel, and how bad I feel now is what makes dealing with how I feel now so tough. You can’t miss what you never had right? But I did have it once, and god damn. I miss it.

So.

Here’s to turning things around, and getting back on track.

 

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LDN Marathon Training: Weeks 3 & 4

blog, depression, fitness, food, Health, health,, healthy, Life, lifestyle, london, london marathon, mental health, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

 

Week 3 of my marathon training is when I promised myself that I would never, ever run less than 3 hours after eating dinner again.  Tuesday was a 4 miler. I was working at an event in a different city on Tuesday, so I had no opportunity to run before work, which is always a bummer. I prefer running in the morning so much more. Apart from wanting an extra hour in bed, there aren’t really many excuses to not run at six in the morning. At 5pm however, you’re tired, you’ve had a long day, you’re hungry, you’ve got to get dinner started, you’ve got a tonne of chores to do, the dog needs walking, the hamster cage needs cleaning, you’ve got to dust the skirting boards, the silverware needs polishing, the cd collection needs alphabetising!! Ohhh the excuses are abundant! The problematic thing about marathon training though, is that you sort of have to just take those excuses and shove them away, because 26.2 miles don’t just happen out of nowhere. Or at least, not for me, Lucy, Penguin Runner.

On Tuesday afternoon I drove home from the event I’d been working at and was starving. I decided to try eating dinner and then run a bit later in the evening. I managed to have dinner cooked and eaten by about 5.30, and by 8pm I was in the gym. Within about 6 minutes I knew I’d end up throwing up before I reached the 4 mile mark. I tried changing my run-walk patter, I tried running at a slower but more consistent pace, I tried distracting myself by changing the treadmill TV screen to a New Zealand ‘run through’ setting. As it turns out, when you’re knackered and trying not to vomit, New Zealand’s surroundings are actually just really annoying. Why are there so many trees?! I think I made it to about the 2.5 mile mark before I tapped out. At that point, it wasn’t just feeling physically sick that was getting in the way, I was so hyper aware that I was having a terrible run that my mental toughness was about as sturdy as a birthday jelly. In fact, I was so frustrated that I ended up going home in a huff and having a massive cry, like a big ole’ sweaty baby.

Thank GOD the rest of the week’s training went to plan, and without any notable trauma. There were a couple of 3 milers and on Saturday, my long run was 6 miles. I did that at a 13 minute mile pace, so believe me, I’m no Mo Farrah, but I felt good. I mean, relatively good. I didn’t have to crawl to the car or anything, so that was nice.

Week 4 surprised me. I hadn’t really looked ahead at my training programme in detail, so I was very close to doing a cartwheel of joy when I realised week 4 was almost a ‘rest’ week. My longest run was 3.8 miles, and the shortest was 2, with a few 3 milers sprinkled into the midweek mix.  I was quite chuffed with how easy the 3 milers were starting to feel, so I used the shorter distances to try and improve my pace. As I said, I’m definitely not going to be breaking any records speed wise. I take walk breaks, because otherwise running just isn’t fun for me, and I won’t make the distances. I am noticing that the further I get into my training plan, the easier I’m finding it to reduce those walk breaks. I’m currently walking about 2-5 minutes every mile, and running/jogging the rest. It seems to be working alright.

As always, if you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for mental health charity, Mind, click through to the link below.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/Lucy-Titterton

Virgin London Marathon 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 25: Runners pass by the University of Greenwich during the 2010 Virgin London Marathon on April 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

 

LDN Marathon Training: Week 2

exercise, fitness, Health, Life, lifestyle, london, london marathon, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

Week 2 of Marathon Training was supposed to look like this, according to my Nike+ app:

Monday – 3 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Wednesday – 3 miles

Thursday – Rest

Friday – 3 miles

Saturday – 5 miles.

What actually happened was this:

Monday – 3 miles

Tuesday – Ran 3 miles then realised the blister that I’d thought had healed, had not healed. Succinctly slammed fist down on the treadmill ‘stop’ button and went home to sulk about the injustice of it all.

Wednesday – Strapped foot in approximately 20 metres of bandaging and plasters, attempted to run on treadmill, burst blister, wanted to punch myself in the face. Spent the day hobbling around like an actual lemon.

Thankfully though, after that it was all uphill from there.  Now I think about it, that’s an odd turn of phrase isn’t it –  All uphill from there? Uphill is harder. Downhill is easier. Why would we describe things getting better as being ‘uphill’? Whoever coined that was clearly not a runner themselves. I digress. After a bit of foot airing and a LOT of complaining, things were on the mend! Rejoice!

On Saturday I decided enough was enough. I went to get new running shoes, yay! It was the first time I’d ever been to a ‘proper’ running shop. The imposter syndrome was firmly in place, let me tell you. The staff were perfectly welcoming, but as somebody who is…a bit jigglier than the average runner, shall we say, I always feel like I have to prove to people that I’m not an ‘all the gear, no idea’ type person. I feel like wearing a tshirt that says ‘I know I’m fat but I can still run OK?!’

Paranoia aside, at the running shop, they made me jog on the world’s most jolty treadmill, which films your feet from behind so the guys can assess what your stride is like. Watching that footage back was less than pleasing to the eye. As it turns out, I run with all the grace of a penguin. Additionally, it seems that my feet are destined for ugly running shoes. When I’d first walked into the shop, I’d spotted a pair of bright pink and orange Nike’s that I instantly decided were my soul mate. If there’s one time you can get away with wearing heinously bright shoes, it’s when you’re running. They were so beautiful… BUT NO. My stupid penguin feet required the most boring looking shoes in all the land.


My heart aches thinking about it. Still. I suppose, if we’re being grown ups about it, having correct support when running a billion miles is probably more important than aesthetics. God damn adulthood.

Since I got my new shoes, I’ve had much, much better runs, including a definite breakthrough run where I felt like I’d leveled up. Getting up at 5.30am to run before work isn’t easy. Running after work when you just want to go home and binge watch Jessica Jones is not easy.  So, it’s nice to feel like progress is happening. But alas. I’ll save that for next week’s update.

Again, I’m running for Mind, who are an incredible charity working to help those struggling with mental health problems. If you would like to sponsor me, click the link below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

LDN Marathon Training: Week 1

blog, fitness, life,, lifestyle, london, london marathon, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

It’s a little over a week since I made the big announcement via my 3082 social media platforms that I’ve been lucky enough to snag a place on the London Marathon. After I’d posted that blog, the marathon was basically all I could think about for the next 48 hours. It’s a weird feeling. Running 26.2 miles feels incredibly abstract right now, but at the same time, the fear is very (x1000) real, so I’m training my big old bum off.

The first week of training was not without a hiccup or two. Typically my running shoes have chosen now to flake out on me. Seemingly, they aren’t as keen on achieving life goals as I am. Lets just say I have become very good friends with Compede blister plasters.Hopefully I can get to a running shop this weekend to replace my old Nike’s. RIP Nike’s. It’s been real.

Speaking of Nike, I used the Nike+ app to formulate a training programme. It’s quite cool, you put in your the date and distance of your race and it puts together a weekly schedule for you to follow. Pleasingly, my first training day (Monday) was scheduled as a rest day. Wahey! That’s what I’m talking about!

When Tuesday did come round, I did my first training run of 3 miles without too much hassle. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of interval training with short bouts of sprinting/walking/sprinting/walking, so cardio wise running 3 miles straight felt like quite a different beast – and it’s without too much shame I admit I did have to stop for a walking breather mid way. I think I did alright though. I mean, I completed the run without having to call for a paramedic or anything, so you know. Bonus.

On Wednesday however, about half way through my second training run I could feel that stupid, irritating burn of a blister forming underneath me. Seriously?! For the love of God. I just about finished, but in hindsight, I probably should have quit whilst I was ahead, because on Thursday I really struggled to walk. I popped into Boots on the way home from work to get some blister plasters on the recommendation of a work colleague (cheers Liz!).

Thursday was supposed to be a cross training day, but I was really nervous of bursting my blister and coming down with a terrible case of manky foot, so I decided to give it a miss. That decision left me feeling a bit useless. This is week 1 of my training and I already had to skip a day? Not the best start. Alas. I recently heard somebody on a podcast that you have to accept your shortcomings and move on, because if you place that negativity in front of you, you’ve got to clamber over it to get to what’s on the other side, which is ultimately going to take longer to do. I felt that was quite applicable to this situation. It’s amazing how much ‘being in your own head’ can impact how well a run goes. Onward and upwards as they say!

Apart from a Friday 3 miler, which went by with relative ease, that concluded my training last week. I feel like last week was more of a light introduction for those who are getting back into the swing of things, which was ideal for me, coming off the back of an interval training phase. I’m actually midway through week 2 of my training as this goes live, but I’ll post about that next week.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! Give yourself a firm pat on the back – I know I waffle! If you would like to sponsor me for this mammoth run, the money will be going to mental health charity, Mind. Linky linky below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

 

I GOT IN! – LDN Marathon 2016

fitness, london marathon, running

I really can’t believe I’m writing this post. When I was 16, I was so unfit that I could barely even walk up a standard flight of stairs without being short of breath at the top. The thought of running for longer than even a minute was completely alien to me. Fast forward 9.5 years to 2015 and I’ve just found out that I have gained a place on the Virgin London Marathon 2016. Holy shit.

In those 9.5 years I’ve spent hours in my mum and dad’s converted garage on a cross trainer, completed the P90X & Insanity programmes, shared a tiny council gym with lethargic teenagers in their PE class, pushed the limits with an awesome PT (Hi Will!), completed the very first UK Colour Run (5km) and then progressed to the 10km Race for Life. It’s been quite the journey, let me tell you. And now the bloody London Marathon! I’d say right now, I’m 50% crapping myself, 50% pure determination.

I’m running as part of the Mind team. For those who might not know, Mind is a UK based charity who focus on providing help for those suffering from mental health issues. They do some amazing work, including offering counselling services, supported housing, crisis helplines and they even help those who have had their lives overturned by mental health problems get back into training schemes and employment. Sometimes MH treatment can seem like it isn’t taken very seriously, which is frustrating for those struggling, as MH illnesses left untreated can have a far more damaging impact than so many physical illnesses. This is why it’s so important that charities like Mind exist.

Running the London Marathon for Mind has a very satisfying sense of symmetry for me. In the past, I’ve taken medication for depression. Sometimes even now I struggle with it. But one thing that has never, ever let me down, and I’ve always been able to rely on to give me a massive serotonin (happy chemical in the brain) boost is exercise. I can’t begin to estimate the number of times I’ve felt that sickening emptiness in the pit of my stomach, but forced myself to put on my gym kit and go for a run, and came back from that run feeling like I’ve conquered the world. Raising money for a charity like Mind, doing the very thing that has pulled me out of a hole so many times before – it’s a very humbling thought. Oh god, now I’m crapping myself again!

So I’m going to be blogging (and hopefully vlogging, providing my camera stops being an ass, but that’s a tale for another time) my training over the next few months. Firstly, I have a feeling I’m going to want to remember this ridiculous journey. Secondly, I’m going to be begging you for your sponsorship over the next 5ish months – the least I can do is keep you in the loop.

The following link takes you to my fundraising page. I understand completely if you don’t want to donate just yet, but please keep me in mind over the coming months. I’ve got a lot of hard work ahead, and your sponsorship would really mean the world to me.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

Race for Life 10k

excercise, fitness, Health, healthy, Life, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

Have you ever had one of those weeks at work where the best plan of action appears to be to quit, sell your belongings, buy a camper van and piss off to the arse end of nowhere? Well, that’s been my week. I am bloody knackered! However, work life aside I had a pretty awesome Sunday running the Race for Life 10k.

So if I start by explaining that I was a bit concerned about doing this race. For one thing, it was my first ever 10k race. For another, right before my Nike+ ‘peak weeks’ of my training plan, I had to rest my leg because I could feel it on the brink of injury. That took two weeks of rest to get back to full strength, which left me with one week before the race. Aaaaand in that week I somehow (seriously, God knows how) managed to hurt my collar bone doing the oh so strenuous task of…. getting in the car. Yup. You read that correctly. I don’t even have the excuse of having to climb into the back seat of a 3 door car, because I was driving. So I pretty much assumed the powers that be were not looking down fondly at the prospect of me owning this race. But, being a stubborn little shit, on Sunday morning I laced up my running shoes, donned the Lycra and headed off to Darley Park in Derby. 

Now.

Let me tell you a thing or two about Darley Park. It fucking sucks. There is zilch parking spaces so you have to walk a mile to the race site before you’ve even started, and then when you get there, there is scarecly a flat surface to be seen. I didn’t notice this at first. I’ll tell you when it did become acutely obvious though – when I was 2km into the race and had yet to stop gathering altitude. I suppose I perhaps should have thought about this when I signed up. After all, I have previously been sledging at this park….

As a lovely little ‘treat’, in addition to the mountainous terrain, Britain decided to have one of its nine hot days a year on Sunday. The sun beamed down and I could legitimately feel my usually translucent white skin sizzling like the skin of a rotisserie chicken as I ran. 

But you know what, in spite of those slight obstacles, I actually really enjoyed myself. Ok, so I didn’t manage to reach my target of 10k in under 60 minutes, but honestly I think given the break in training at a crucial time, the unfamiliar track and the heat, I did pretty darn well.

My favourite thing about these types of events is always the last 100m. The atmosphere is euphoric as music in earphones is drowned out by the sound of people cheering you on. I saw my lovely boyfriend waving his arms around like a loon to spur me on from about 300m away. I mean to be fair, he’s 6’6, it’d be difficult to miss him. But it made me smile so much. My mum managed to get out of work early to come and see me too, and I actually saw a girl I used to work with in a job at we both passionately hated, running the track as well, so that was awesome. 

The race has reactivated the bug in me. A lady at work who I really admire and look up to for about 100 different reasons has asked if I want to do something called Equinox with her and her sister. It’s basically a 24 hour relay, where a team of four take it in turns to run 10k, and see how many they can fit in over the course of 24 hours. It sounds pretty incredible, and I’m nervous as shit, but I think I’m gonna do it. It will keep me motivated and on course with my training.

Next mission: Go. 

The Scary First Run…

excercise, exercise, fitness, Health, healthy, life,, ramble, running

Do you remember that first day back to school after the Summer holidays feeling? That ‘oh Jesus Christ mum, don’t make me go back to that hell hole with those monstrous kids and be taught about oxbow lakes by a hungover middle aged man who clearly hates teenagers and only took up teaching as a profession for the epic annual leave’ feeling? That is somewhat akin to how I feel about going back running, every time I have any amount of time greater than 4 days off. Which is weird, because unlike school, I actually quite like running.

Historic teen angst aside, today was my first run since my ankle started to feel too weak to run on a couple of weeks ago. I was quite literally dreading it. Thankfully, my body woke me up naturally at 4.45 so I didn’t have to endure the rather obnoxious mix of alarm tones I have (Independent Woman – Destiny’s Child, followed two minutes later by Bang Bang – Nicki, Jessie and Ari). I reluctantly squeezed myself into my Lycra, and timidly stepped out of the front door. I live half way up a bloody massive hill, so I always choose to power walk up to the top of the hill to start my workout off – at just over half a mile long, it serves nicely as a warm up for my just woken up muscles. After a few semi discreet stretches at the top of the hill, I decided to start things off gently. Today’s run was 3.5 miles according to my Nike app, and I decided to do 2 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking all the way. And you know what? It. Felt. Awesome. 

Everything I worried about was for nothing. My ankle felt strong and healthy again, I didn’t get honked at from the white van misogynists, my lungs didn’t explode. Overall success! I was having a think about the benefits of easing myself in. I’m so pleased I did, because it’s put me in such a great frame of mind for the rest of the week. Once again, I’m looking forward to the Race for Life 10k I’m participating in on Sunday. I’m so affected when I have a rough performance. It’s so silly. I try to tell myself that even a lame workout is better than no workout, and I’ve lapped miles around the people who are still in bed; but somehow a rough workout day often leaves me feeling frustrated with a lack of progress – even when in actual fact, I have progressed – a lot. 

Human beings are silly buggers. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.