Hello Chums and Chumesses!

I had to write a little bit about my run today. I didn't realise that today was "Time to Talk" day - a day to talk about mental health. I don't suffer from depression thankfully, but I've had (like EVERYONE) some major downers about life, career, personal life, money etc etc in the past. I listened to a phone in on the radio and saw a couple of interviews about this subject and one common thread which raised it's head on how to keep on top of depression was EXERCISE. Now I'm sure that's the last thing someone suffering with clinical depression fancies - getting the blood pumping and getting breathless, but I find that my running does some amazing things to my mood......

Finding C25K for me was such an incredible gift - and I know that so many others on HU feel the same. It's come along like some sort of magic potion and always (for me) delivers the goods. My main gripe with regard to my mood taking a bit of a nosedive, comes from my increasingly frustrating career. One minute you're ahead of the game, the next forgotten about, then you're well off, then you're broke. It drives me CRAZY! Especially as I get older and more "life experienced" - but I know that doing anything about it is purely down to me and I WILL take the bull by the horns one of these days and change things. In the meantime, what gives me an ENORMOUS boost is running. Running soothes. Running cures. Running elates (is that a word?). And so this morning came around....

I got up late - at 9.30am -blissful slob'o'clock and did some stretches for my hips and core. My legs until this morning have been really painful and despite last Tuesdays snowy run, they still felt achey. That was until this morning when they were at around 75%. Much better than the previous two days so I'd planned to run my fave 7K route. I needed this run today - my mind and body felt so. It didn't look very nice out, but I knew that once I was warm I'd be pleased to be oustdie breathing fresh air.

Donned my lycra tights, two tops, beanie and gloves and after swallowing a glass of cranberry juice and chomping on half a dozen almonds, three dried apricots - I WAS OFF!

The difference my body felt this morning to tuesday was amazing. I felt lithe, sporty, slim and fast - and I covered the first two k in a pretty fast time. The third I sped up even more and it felt good to push myself. Breathing was steady, no pains in my legs, - I was feeling good. The air was chilly but I warmed up at three K and started to slow very slightly for K4. People got out of my way (thankfully) and my path was clear to push on towards my turn around point which wasn't that far ahead.

A thousand thoughts about my recent job raced through my head and I suddenly put it all in to perspective by asking myself this one question - "Would I rather be sitting in a windowless basement room working with a prize prat who I wanted to slap round the face with a sea bass, or.......be out running by the Thames in the cold fresh air, where the birds sang, the water hens squawked and the blood was pumping through my veins?"

ANSWER - The latter - (obvs).

My chest puffed out and my stride lengthened with macho manliness!! I was sweating and puffing a bit but still going strong. I had reached Richmond Bridge and waited 15 seconds (I counted) for the lights to change so I could zip across the road and head down the path home. I was going strongly but by now a pain had developed in my right quad. I gave it an almighty thump with my fist which instead of making the pain go away, made it hurt ten times worse!!! "Owwww!! F*** f*** f***" I swore, remembering that if you swear loudly at pain, it releases endorphins to quash it. What a load of rollocks that is! It hurt.

Ahead of me a middle aged lady was walking along carrying her opened umbrella along. I wondered why on Earth someone would walk along with an umbrella opened when it wasn't even raining??? But there was another hazard to negotiate which was far more annoying....

The thames path has these bike barriers every few hundred yards and I was approaching one set of these at exactly the same time as UMBRELLA WOMAN. "Surely she'll stand to one side and let me pass?" I thought - remembering the frightful woman in Richmond Park the other day who decided to step right in front of me as I passed her. Umbrella Woman wasn't going anywhere. No sir. She calculated (the witch) exactly the time I would reach the barrier and walked REEEEEEALLY SLOWWWWWWLY around them, holding her open umbrella to ensure I had no passing area. I was almost touching her as I slowed to snail pace, loudly hopping from foot to foot behind her as though to say "Please would you kindly allow me to pass please?" (my version was far ruder than that I can assure you!!). She almost stopped she was going that slow, and as soon as I got the chance I raced past her mumbling and grumbling in a far from polite manner. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!

Apart from that little incident, the run was a giant success. I got a PB for 7K which worked out at 38'13 so I was thrilled with that. STRAVA, which is my new app I use to measure time and distance told me I had a whole host of "bests" - some of which are ridiculous - like "fastest" 0.5K??? Who cares about that???

But I end this post with the main point of what I started talking about - mental health. I felt FANTASTIC at the end of the run today - endorphins flooded my brain with "feelgood" thingys and my legs made it despite the right hook I gave my right quad.

So anybody who knows someone suffering with depression, make sure you tell them about C25K. As hard as it may seem to them, the rewards are enormous and it might just be what they need. And it's not all about endorphins either - it's about achievement and routine. Get those lemons all in a row and the world will be a better place to live in.

Thanks for reading.

Yer pal


34 Replies

  • Good one Dan. Right on the money, as always. Pity you couldn't have parked Umbrella Woman's umbrella somewhere creative ;)

  • Hahahaha!!! Hilaaairrrrr!

  • I suffer from depression, have done for years. And SAD syndrome at this time of year. But guess what? First year running, and first winter with no major SAD issues so far. Running has changed my life so much for the better. Endorphins really DO make a huge difference. I can totally understand why anyone in the midst of a big low wouldn't want to don their running gear and get out there (this is one of the problems with depression - all the things which will help are all the things you can't face), but if you are feeling miserable and reading this, be brave and JUST GET OUT THERE! It WILL make you feel better. I promise!

    Nice post Dan. Some people are just rubbish aren't they? So far everyone I have come across (apart from BMW drivers) have been lovely and polite and waved me through. People round here are just nice I guess, not like those folk from That London!!!

  • It's got to be "That London" which is the problem. I'm moving. Getting the hell outa here. Unless people get out of my frickin' way!!!

    Very pleased to hear running helps you UIOLI. It's all about them thar endorrrrrphins!!

  • My sole reason for entering a HM in March was to make sure that I kept running through the winter and didn't slip into SAD mode as in previous years. I may not have always felt like going out and I may not have always come back with a smile on my face but, by jove, I feel a million times better than I normally do at this time of year!

  • Nice one FH. :-)

  • As always, a very nice run description :)

    I've suffered from depression for 3 years. A psycologist did his very best to convince me to go running in order to feel better, but I couldn't be arsed. Then in March last year I decided on c25k and at the same time reduced my dosage of anti depressants. By September I was off the pills, much fitter, and much happier. So yes, exercise DOES work.

  • That is SO BRILLIANT to hear tomas. Well done for dealing with it like that. As the kids of today would say "Major respeck bruv.!"

  • I had to give up my corporate career because I burned out and had a brief period of depression afterwards but I'm lucky as it didn't last very long. But I forced myself out every day to go for a walk (I hadn't discovered running then!) and can vouch that, along with support from my family and friends, the exercise and fresh air got me through that period.

    Now that I've discovered running I know it keeps me sane when life throws some wobblies. And you're right Dan those endorphins are so brilliant and worth running for!

    I love your tags! So funny!

  • My tags are designed specifically to put a smile on YOUR boatrace! Haha!

  • Brill piece. Look forward to your posts. I have passed our post to a friend to read as she frequently gets low moods.

  • Awwww thanks janglyshe. Hope it helps. And make sure you tell her that c25k is one big happy pill!!

  • I have been trying since I started C25K but I think she might appreciate this post of yours and the responses from others.

    Thanks again.

  • Great post Dan. My wife (and colleagues) have all remarked how much more positive I am generally since I started running. I began C25k at a particularly crap time at work and I honestly believe it's part of the reason I didn't just leave. Coming toward the end of week 7 each run is still a challenge, and sometimes I feel fit to drop by the end, but when it has ended? Wow! Such joy, and wonder at what I can do now that I couldn't have got close to 3 months ago. I never for one moment thought I'd become addicted to running, but it was almost instantaneous - how could I not love this thing that made me feel so good? Keep them coming Dan, always a good read. Cheers, Steve.

  • Steve, you know this forum is just a support group for addicts, but rather than having addictions which are destructive and negative we are blessed with having discovered this magical "secret" to which we are all hooked and which has hugely positive and beneficial results across our lives. That is why so many graduates hang about here, to get a vicarious buzz from those like you who have recently become empowered and enthused by running. My first ever post on here was to do with the addictive nature of the whole C25k experience, and I still feel the same way about it.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Brilliant to hear. You're living proof that by grabbing the bull by the horns, you can get positive results. Long may it continue and Godspeed to you for your graduation! Not far now.....

  • Now look here, Winter Run Dan (good on y'all, loved the JuDan vlog), if you change your run tracking app each week you will get a complete set of shiny new PBs each week, but they don't count mate!!

    In the civilised parts of the world, where most of us live, when we encounter the umbrella wielding witch, we just say, by opening our mouths and uttering words out loud, in a patient tone,"Excuse me, can I get by, please." Which is commonly met with a reply such as "Oh, I am sorry. My you are a fit young man." To which a smile and a quick sprint is an acceptable response.

    I remember staying in my sister in law's bedsit in London many moons ago and was amazed by the guy who lurked in the room next to the kitchen, who left the kitchen immediately, when he saw there were people in there cooking and later on slipped a note under our door asking us to return his knife to his drawer, rather than actually exchange words with us. What is the matter with you guys?

    As for running being good for mood...............I couldn't agree more. The most unexpected and delightful result of starting to run for me. As I have said before.......keep running, keep smiling.

  • What a brilliant reply IDT! I know about changing apps and for what it's worth, who cares about stats! They're only numbers ultimately. But it gives me a boost now and again!! As for "Them Londoners" never speaking to each other.....I dunno why that is? It must be the water.....

  • Brill post. I have been thinking about this for a while. I started using the HU weight loss site before I did c25k and then it was more positive than it seems today.

    I still look and post on the weight loss site but most people are really struggling and it seems to me (without doing any analysis of the figures) that most posts are negative, rather than positive. This contrasts with c25k where most requests for help are for technical advice.

    I think it would be good if the HU team had the opportunity to look at this and maybe promote exercise more on the other forums.

  • Very interesting point you make there.

  • Kitty I can but only try and imagine the loss you must've felt. Of course I'll never ever really know, but what I get from your posts, your general sense of expression, is that even though "loss" doesn't go away, you CAN make progress by believing in a routine and making yourself put in the effort to boost your mental capacity so that you cope better. Perhaps this running lark is the answer to "what is life?". They used to say - "a bowl of cherries"..... Much love . X

  • Leaving London is currently a pipe dream....but one day we will I'm sure. Work not sorted yet, but I live in hope that the phone will ring soon.

  • I am lucky enough never to have suffered from real depression but I so identify with that buzz from running. Even before I enjoyed the running itself the sense of achievement was so uplifting. We are so lucky to have found this programme!

  • UR you are so right. It's a blessing isn't it?

  • Someone said to me at work yesterday, "what have you done? You look as if someone has pulled your head up with a string. And what's happened to your face? It's gone all thin."

    I think these things were good...

  • They are good Allie. VEry good.

  • Running is definitely a mood lifter I agree. Fortunately I have never suffered with depression but I still feel a lift in my spirits when running and feel as though I can deal with anything and anybody. We are gradually passing on the secret! And re London- I always find people really friendly and willing to help- especially if I'm puzzling over my map- perhaps I've just been lucky. x :-D

  • Perhaps I give London too bad a press. Some of us are REEEEALLY friendly. Honest!

  • Great post Dan :) But they always are! :)

    I can agree that to get out there in the fresh air with a purpose in mind and attain your goal really does work . I had a bad bout of depression in my early twenties and again 4 years ago, it was the hardest time of my life so far (off work for 6months) and at the time my brother(an ex runner) tried to get me to do a training plan with the aim to do the Great South Run. Went out, bought a pair of running shoes, downloaded a plan (not C25K though) but for me it was too soon and fell by the wayside :( But eventually this thought came back to me and encouraged by my pal Tracy, i started in Jan 14 and have soon become a convert to running (which i never thought i'd be able to do really!) The sense of achievement just can't be beaten, I did it on my own in the main (with supportive friends and family) and still can't believe i can ACTUALLY RUN for 10k! which is ace! :) I gave up my tablets in April last year and have not needed to go back, which for me is an achievement in itself. I can't say i'll ever be cured 100% but things in general are much better and i feel more focused(though have been a bit out of sorts since returning home from LWR, but never mind, i can kick myself up the butt and get back out there-did a snowy run tonight my 1st, braving the elements kind of accidentally, going to post in a mo!)

    anyway ........... GREAT SOUTH RUN 2015 here i come! :) lots of training to do but i've just go to do it this time! :)

    PS not sure about London pedestrians, but i went dog walking with my brother in Plumstead on Monday and the people were SO friendly in the park there, definitely on a par, if not more, than my IOW walkies! :) i was pleasantly surprised, but i guess he does know alot of them through walking at the same place often! But nice all the same :)

  • Ali that's quite inspirational of you. Getting on top of something like that is quite a feat and I'm so pleased that you're "pill free" AND that you get the same buzz out of running as I do. You're doing great - and we will meet again at LWR2016!!

  • Your posts were the ones I first noticed when I happened across the forum, so it was great to meet you, just love your entertaining reads! :) thanks Dan, must get booked up for LWR 16 when I have some spare cash and see you all there again :) I've got to have plenty booked in to keep the motivation there, just got to get rid of this achy leg :(

  • Great PB... And you are Lithe, sporty, slim and fast...I have seen the EVIDENCE!!! A lot of my family have suffered with mental health problems, and I completely agree that exercise helps....depression is the worst....

  • It is. My Mum had it and her whole body and mind shut down for 6 months. I thought she was a gone'er actually, but with some amazing nurses and her super sons, she's now back to her normal insane self, reading, painting and laughing LOADS!

  • Great post. I'm lucky never to have had clinical depression either but agree about running as a general de-stresser and mood enhancer. I started C25K during a very frustrating and stressful job and I was amazed at how it helped me feel better about things.

    Freelance life eh... I do find 'something always comes along' although you have to knock on a lot of doors and hassle a lot of people to make it happen. You just need one good experience now to overwrite your memory of working with the prize prat - till then enjoy your freedom.

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