Couch to 5K
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The ups and downs of running!

Oh running, sweet running. Many of you old-timers know that the past couple of months have made running difficult. 17 weeks and 6 days to be precise.

Parkrun last week – and this week – the parkrun that I live for, didn’t happen. I’m exhausted and both weeks I ended up, unconsciously, turning off my alarm and sleeping on – only to feel disappointed and wretched for my weakness for the rest of the day.

Monday I had a headache all day. Visiting hours at the hospital aren’t until 6.30 but I had to get out of the office. I had my running stuff in the car so I drove to the hospital and then went for a run. A fast 4km including a couple of horrible hills. I was happy with myself. When I got back to the hospital, dad was in such a deep sleep that I couldn’t wake him so I just sat holding his hand for 30 minutes. When I got up and left I left a sweaty bum mark on the standard issue plastic chair!

Wednesday is running club and I love running club. This week’s coach told us that, instead of the normal mix of speed, distance and strength exercises, we were going to do a continuous run of at least 5k. I was terrified and instantly started to doubt I could do it. It’s a long time since I’ve run 5k non stop – over 17 weeks and 6 days for sure. The girls must have been able to see the fear in my face – I can’t risk failing at the moment as every bit of emotional strength is focused on dad. I know I have the ability to run over 5k – but I need to get back to that place because I’ve lost that stamina for now.

Whatever route we run from the school where we meet, we have to run downhill. That sounds great – until you realise that in order to get back to the school, you have to run uphill! We ran, very steadily but as a group with me at the back. As I hit 15 minutes I started to hit the barrier – as I always do at 15 minutes. The girls refused to let me stay at the back and dropped behind me, spurring me on. We kept on running but it was really feeling tough. As we hit 3k and we carried on, it became obvious to me where our coach was leading us and that before we got to the fairly short – but sharp – hill that leads back to the school, I was going to have to deal with a long gradual hill – my nemesis. As we approached it my coach told me to go as slowly as I needed to – but to keep going because she absolutely knew I could do it. The girls would run ahead and then slowly drop behind me so I took the lead, then gradually came forward again and, in doing this, pushed me on and on up that hill. My legs felt like lead but somehow I kept going, encouraged and supported by everyone in the group. I did it. I ran over 5k non stop for the first time in a long, long while. In the anonymity that darkness grants, a couple of grateful tears ran down my face. As we stretched out afterwards I thanked all the girls – because what they did for me on Wednesday night was beyond measure as I focus on running a 10k in a few months.

I’m disappointed I didn’t parkrun this morning but we were called to the hospital at 10pm last night as dad was, emotionally, in a very bad way. Hopefully I’ll get to run tomorrow if ice allows………….

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Oh my word, you’re clearly going through a truly tough and exhausting time right now - no wonder running is sometimes too much to face! Your running club sound amazing - what lovely people to give you such support and encouragement and build you up like that.

Sending you lots of good wishes - be kind to yourself, run when you can, but remember that sometimes the impossible is just too difficult and it’s ok to just do your best.

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Wow! What an amazing bunch of people to be supporting you like that!

Sounds like you’re really going through the ringer at the moment... but, you’re still WANTING to run and surely that’s the most important part? If you’re not physically up to it due to worry/stress/exhaustion... well then that’s not surprising is it?? Don’t be too hard on yourself... as is often said on here: “the runs will be waiting for you”

Wishing you a peaceful week. 😘😘😘

Liz x

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This is a truely emotional post...you are going through tough times but are still able to push yourself & it’s that inner strength that will get you through these terribly tough times...be proud of the strength you have within & use it to free yourself, when you can, with your fantastic runs...thinking of you & sending you a big Mummycav hug xxx

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You are one strong lady and a very loving daughter.🌟

You fully deserve the support of your lovely kind club mates.🌟

What a real and very touching account to share with this very kind and understanding forum🌟

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A truly inspirational post from the heart. What an amazing bunch of truly suppprtive people you have to raise you up.

It's a shame you haven't made your Parkruns, but they will indeed be there for you in the future. Sometimes you just can't do it all as much as we want to and feel we need to.

I hope you do manage to get out today and that your Wednesday triumph carries you on light feet.

Best wishes all round 🤗

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Best wishes and be kind to yourself. Lovely support and warmth for you from your running club friends.

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Yes your running club are amazing but so are you! You didn't stop, you kept right on going through the pain and up that hill 😀👍🏼

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Oh Rebecca... this is a joyous, yet heartrending post...very, very well done to you... I was running up that hill with you, and feeling your strength and the encouragement from those lovely club runners by your side:)

Take great care of yourself...use the running to sustain you, but take it gently.. you are your best asset and need to be strong for your Dad....

If you get out today.. we will all be running there with you.. and if not, we will still be there... arms around you :) xx

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You're clearly going through a tough time and my heart goes out to you.

But running is a big stress reliever so it's good that you're able to still do it.

Try to look after yourself physically, decent food, water and sleep. I know it's all hard but it does help a little.

I'm thinking of you x

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My thoughts are with you, after only doing three weeks with my Dad after a fall I know what an emotional place it is and it will play havoc with your energy. Rest when you need and enjoy the runs while you are out. You are allowed to leave the stress behind for that time if you can, hospital visiting takes a lot out of our muscles so stretches are a great way to counteract the pressure for sitting for hours in hospital. When I did it a few years ago I bought a heated cape that sits round my neck plugs in and soothes my shoulders. Take very good care of yourself and enjoy those runs. Rfc x.

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You are doing just amazingly, don't beat yourself up over park run. What you are doing and going through is very hard on you full stop, in every way. If you sleep in, your body and mind are telling you that's what they need.

Your running club sounds amazing, so glad you have them to support you. Let them carry you as much as they can for now. Let them look after you and cut yourself some slack, you deserve it. Big hugs xx

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What a post! Despite all that life throws at us you've shown how to carry on. So sorry to hear your dad is in hospital and that your running has taken a back seat. I really identified with you running up that hill as I've been stuck in a snow-sinuses-snow-sinuses rut all winter. Am taking it slowly back up to 5km so I can eventually get back on the 10k plan. I admire your tenacity and will think you of you when I'm next out running. Look after yourself and focus on all the positives no matter how small they may seem. Big hugs.x

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