Please forgive me for I have not blogged for a long time. I would like to say it is because my life has been so busy (it certainly has) but in reality it's been for a number of reasons:
1) How to get into words how I really feel without sounding like a gibbering wreck
2) Feeling like a fraud
3) Not being mindful of those around me
4) Family stuff that just gets in the way
5) Pressure of maintaining what I had set to achieve and maintain that
6) Fear - of not being interesting enough that what I had to say was interesting
But above all,
7) Self doubt.
Since we last met I have done so much. I have been to the mecca of Parkruns and visited the very first Parkrun in Bushy Park London. I went with a Manchester contingent of women (I now call them friends), all whom I met through running and had the most epic of weekends running in a Royal Park amongst deer and just the smallest amount of beer!
I have been nominated for an Oldham Sports Award in the Changing Lifestyles category - totally humbled as it was my Parkrun who nominated me - people who I class as 'proper runners' who saw the heart and effort I was putting in.
I blogged some time about 'Find the Balance' as well as the importance of those 'Behind Us'. I will be totally honest with you. I didn't have this right, which makes me feel like a fraud (point#2). Through my running journey people have been lovely and invited me to join them on runs, events, activities and despite being shy and not liking to be centre of attention I tried to respond to as many as I can. Yes I probably do more for my family than I should but there have been times over the last few months that I should have been there and I wasn't. I had discovered a love of achieving what I had set out to do but had lost sight of all the other responsibilities and loves in my life.
As a working mum summer holidays are a juggling act of work, childcare and then holidays themselves. My dream holiday would be peace, quiet, calm, maybe a sun lounger and definitely a cocktail. My holidays were none of the above, fulfilling none the less but no calm.
I am very lucky in this age of social media to have had very little negative response to my story. Yet a family member shared their more traditional view that if I couldn't run a whole 5k I wasn't a runner and maybe I was not bothered about my time because it was too difficult. Of course when they were young (quite some time ago) you had to run the whole thing!! Upset that they didn't understand the message I am trying to share, I then realised they just didn't get it. They weren't like me and struggled with confidence and needed that support to make that first step and not feel they would be ridiculed or excluded for not being the fastest.
I'm on my way towards my 1000km, it may not be in 2017 (it's taken a lot to accept that I may not achieve my goal in the timescale I set) but how far I have come keeps me going. I get joy from running, Parkrun and rediscovering horse-riding again so that is what matters. I don't need more reasons to build self-doubt in my mind. I will achieve 1000km, it may be in 2017 or it may be slightly into 2018 - but what I have achieved is a much healthier and happier lifestyle with new friends who lift me up and support me when 'older' runners just don't appreciate what I have achieved and when I haven't got my home:running balance quite right.
There's no perfect solution. I don't always get it right and need reminding how far I have come but to remember those joys at home and that they need me as much (maybe more) than I need the life affirming achievement of finding that pride in myself.
This weekend I have my 3rd 10k run coming up with Run for All and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal in Bury. I am nervous again as I was with my two previous 10k runs that I might let people down, but even by training for this and taking part (I definitely won't be the fastest) I am doing so much more than I ever could before.
Keep striving for positive change. It's not easy - easy is staying as we are and not taking that step to fight for better.
Thanks for reading