You have to listen

Recently I spoke about how well I’m doing within my running but with the good, evidently comes the bad and I want to tell you about that too.

I was aiming for my longest run. So far the furthest I have gone is 4.51 miles, which is about 7k and my aim was to go just a little bit further.

Though the majority of my runs have been quite tiresome, I thought it was a reasonable goal. I’ve been getting a teeny bit faster with my 5k’s and thought a long distance run was in the cards.

Continue reading…

Don’t let it win

Remember, waaaaay back when I asked all you lovely people to help me raise money for Crohns and Colitis UK because I was running a half marathon?

I’m pretty sure you all must be wondering what happened.

Well first of all I’d like to thank you, because without your support I wouldn’t have been able to raise the figure I did which was

£410.00

How amazing is that?!?! That’s just a little bit more money to fund some research into this disease. A little bit more money to help find a cure. A little bit more money to someone who may have this disease so badly that they can’t work and have no one to support them, that little bit of money might have gone to help buy them new bedsheets, or something that they really need to make life just that little bit easier.

So, with every fibre of my being, I thank each and every one of you who donated. Each and every one of you who promoted my page to help me raise this money. Each and every one of you who read my blog and may have thought a little bit differently about IBD and how people live with the disease. To each and every one of you who told your friends about what I was doing.

Thank you so much.

Did I run the race in the end?

No. I didn’t. Because guess what? The amazing disease decided that it didn’t want me to run the race and I, once again, flared.

I was um’ing and ah’ing about whether I would run the race anyway because it was the weekend before I flew out to Australia.

I had been struggling with getting training in because I was tired and the more mileage I would do, the more exhausted I became. I was worried that I would finish and complete the race but ultimately put myself back in hospital.

Now I have been wanting to get to Australia for years. I had made it a goal and it’s all I thought about. It was a very hard decision not to run the race because I really felt like I was letting people down. Everyone who donated, wanted me to run the race, how could I get people to donate their hard earned cash and not run?! I felt like I was cheating people and I did not want to do that.

Then I spoke to a friend of mine, who also has Colitis. This lovely man had donated a lot of money for what I was doing, and I spoke to him about how I felt and he made me see sense.  Maybe it was the fact that he had put the most money in and he didn’t mind that I wasn’t running, or that he too had the disease and so knows where I am coming from.

Australia was my dream. How would I feel if I couldn’t go? I had finally booked my tickets and after three years of wanting this so badly, I was going. How would I feel if I had to wait another year because I ran a race that made me too sick to go?

I really appreciate the talk that we had, most probably more than he realises. Essentially I still feel bad that I didn’t run the race, however, I made my dream and am now living in Australia. I raised £410.00 for something extremely close to my heart and I will run a half marathon one day. I will run that race eventually for all the people who donated. I was just too unwell at the time.

That’s unfortunately a horrible part of having IBD. You make all these plans to do things, and then it rears its ugly head and pulls you under. It says, “Oh, you wanted to do this today? Well I say no. I say that you’re going to spend an epic time in the toilet today”

And bam, there you are in that toilet whilst IBD is laughing at you, and you’re sat there with a sore butt from too many toilet trips and a seriously messed up heart/head because you’re really gutted you couldn’t do whatever it is that you wanted.

As much as I try, I can’t plan my days. I can see this as a negative, or I can put a positive spin on it.

IBD forces me to take every day as it comes. Sure I do try to plan, I’m a Virgo, planning is ingrained in my soul, but essentially it makes me a lot more easy going.

I enjoy and appreciate the good days when I am feeling healthy enough to do what I have planned.

Essentially, that’s what you must do when you have a debilitating disease. You must take the bad, and find the positive, or essentially the bad will swallow you whole, and we don’t want this wretched disease to win now do we?

Itchy Feet

I was listening to this as I was typing this post, check it out 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpQPSoB8kSY&feature=relmfu

There is a very high chance that this post will not make sense; an even higher chance that the grammar and flow will be even more off key.

Ladies and Gents, I have completely fallen off the band wagon and am walking down the road like Ron Burgendy shouting “MILK WAS A BAD CHOICE”

Running has come to a standstill. I have no idea what is wrong with me I just can’t seem to lace up those trainers and get out there.

I do not have a reason. I’ve just stopped. Its weird. At this present moment I just don’t seem to care. About anything. I’m plodding along with life and I can’t help but hear this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something’s not quite right. I have no motivation for anything.

I got the same feeling when it was super close to my surgery. I want Australia and I want it now. Its so close I can taste it, to smell the salty air, to feel the sun gently warming my skin.
The monotony of my life at the moment is killing me, I need to do this to get to where I want to go but I hate the fact that I don’t wake up in the morning and I’m like WHOOOO work! I can’t wait to get my teeth into something that I love. It’ll happen, but as my priority is Australia I just need up put up and shut up.

I’m sure that all the anxiety I am feeling is because I haven’t been running. I hate what I’m about to admit but running gives me clarity and focus. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other for a small amount of time allows my brain to just be.

I’m a stickler for over thinking. I will take a thought and bludgeon that thought until the little letters are splattered across a wall, a’s and t’s sliding down into a pool of “What am I doing?” and I’m sitting in the corner crying because I feel like my life is spiralling out of control.

I feel like I’m out of control most days. I don’t know what I want to achieve any more, I don’t have any creative outlets and I feel lost.

However, I’m sure that’s how a lot of us 23year olds feel. No purpose, no direction.
I have an amazing amount of things to be thankful for.
For one, the amount of beautiful friends I have in my life. They say that you can count on one hand the people you can truly rely on. Pfft not me, give me another hand, or even my foot and let me count my toes. I have so many people that if my boat was sinking and I was about to drown, they’d swim by on a speed boat, pick me up and hand me a beer as we cruise into the sunset.
My Boy. My beautiful boy who means the world to me.
My family. I am truly blessed with an amazing dysfunctional family. We are messed up but I could find no greater pleasure than sitting with these crazy mofo’s, cup of tea in hand, cracking joke about the most random of things.

Someone said to me once that they couldn’t believe for someone who has had such bad luck, they couldn’t believe how positive I was.

Its experience. I’ve had some pretty horrific things happen but when that ugly beast called life stares at me, growls, tells me that its going to eat me whole I stand up and stare it straight in the eye and say
“You can try, but you’ll have to catch me first”

 

Lazy Girl Running

As I shut down my computer last night from work I thought of the evening that lie ahead. I figured I’d go home, sort out my flat as I hadn’t unpacked all of my things and settle down to a nice, aggressive football match.
I thought then knocked and rudely made a mess of my plans “You haven’t run in a week.”
Oh. Yeah. That.
 “This marathon isn’t going to run itself you know”
Yes, I am fully aware of that brain.
Dumping my belongings on my bed when I got home I stared at my trainers. My beautiful Nike trainers. The ones that I could not wait to test out when I had first brought them now lay in the corner of the room.
I sat on my bed and sighed. The trainers, bright orange, were coaxing me to go for a run. “I see; I was just a fad, an infatuation. You don’t really want to be a runner. You just dabble and pretend that you run on a regular basis!”
I gasped! “It’s not true” I said, “I’ve been running three times weekly since February!” Better than my sporadic attempts where I would run twice, finish the week on a long run and end up not running for a week after.
The trainers tried a different tact.
“You were so excited when you first got me, showing me to your friends, excited to be running in your new trainers, what about now?”
Indeed. What about now.
With a deep sigh I hauled myself off the bed and begun to change, promising myself that the sooner I had done my run the sooner I could curl up on the sofa and watch the football.
Off I went running beside the park, a run I had not done for a while because I lived in Stockwell.
Suddenly without warning I realised that I had tears in my eyes.
“Oh God, what’s the matter with her now?” My brain asked, “Body, you okay down there? Are you in any pain?”
“No, everything’s fine here,” Body replied drinking in the crisp night air
“She’s lost it; she’s gone cookoo, why are you crying?”
“Because I’m happy”
“Heart. I should have known it would have been you.”
“But brain just think, this time last year I couldn’t run through the park without stopping, now I’m doing a whole length around it! Don’t you think that’s an achievement?”
“Yes, but there’s no need to cry about it”
And the tears disappeared as quickly as they came.
One thing I have learnt about running is that it is an emotional journey as well as a physical one.
To know that two years ago I could have died, yeah it’s a bit dramatic but if you leave a dodgy colon in place it will eventually burst. I’ve gone from knocking around illness playground to being able to run 4.2 miles without stopping. So yes, occasionally I do get quite emotional on some of my runs when it hits me how unbelievably amazing my body is.
In fact, it’s amazing what all of our bodies can do. They are wondrous and you should never take them for granted. They can be pushed in unimaginable ways and come back even stronger.
 I’m done with my “Oh my god” life is wonderful speech. It’s just really nice to be in a position where I can appreciate the amazing things in my life from a doing perspective rather than a wishing one.

The Method To The Madness

Over the past week I have been asked this question several times
“Why are you running a half marathon if you hate to run”

My response has been “I have no idea”

I took the time out to sit and actually think why am I doing something I really hate? Why could I not have raised money doing something I enjoyed?

I have always been a very active person. In school I would play netball, football, tennis, looked forward to sports days and what with being a hyperactive person, I was always on the move. University came and though I was never on any teams, I was studying acting and so was on a very physical course.

I love to be active.
Colitis slowly stopped me from being as active as I liked. I couldn’t exercise for long periods of time because I was tired constantly. When things were really bad I couldn’t even go for walks for fear of having some sort of accident. (Yes people, I do mean of the pant soiling kind)

When I had my operation, it took me three months to recover and be able to do a few shifts at work, let alone start any exercise.

The moment where I decided to run was after my second operation. It was partly inspiration from a friend of mine, Candice. I had seen her journey unfold, which by the way you should all check out here http://thetortoisewithnohair.com
and read the amazing journey about a girl who is running the world for Avert(ing) HIVand AIDS

And partly because I had been so sick of not being able to move. I wanted to make my body stronger. It had been through much and still had another operation to go. I wanted to take care of it.
I had no money to spare to go swimming or buy any work out dvds so I started to run.
I hated it (as you are all aware from my previous post) but I would get better with every run that I did and I slowly got addicted to the feeling of adrenalin kicking in when I realised I’d beat my PB. Addicted to the might rush of those feel good hormones rushing around my brain, making me love life and anyone I came across! Addicted to the fact that after a good, hard, long run, I would sleep like a baby.

I chose to run for my charity because doing a sky dive or bungy jump is something I really want to do. Its not a challenge for me and therefore not an achievement.
I won’t grow as a person from doing a sky dive, I mean sure I’ll have an awesome memory of it but I intend to do it when I go travelling.
Running is an epic challenge for me, it teaches me things I didn’t know about myself and it will continue to teach me because this mind of mine is going to have to be shown who’s boss at some point.

When I run this race in September I won’t be the same person who is writing this blog. I have a lot of learning to do, a lot of hard graft to get through and some revelations to share.
With this run I know that I will have put my everything into this. Raising awareness for Crohns and Colitis is something that means a lot to me. I want to reach as many people as possible with this fundraising so that those suffering know that they are not alone. Most importantly they don’t have to go through this disease alone.

Sure, I’m a little bit crazy for deciding to do something I hate, where I will spend hours every week clocking up miles, where I will have to most probably cancel dinner dates and catch up sessions in favour of training. But this run will just highlight the fact that I can do anything I set my mind to regardless of what I have been though. I hope that people with IBD can take something away from my journey and feel just a little bit better about their own. I can’t inspire people by just doing a sky dive.
I have to earn the right to be inspirational.

I came. I ran. I died.

Can I make one thing clear?
I do not like to run. I am not one of those people who run for fun, or run because they enjoy it.
I do not get home and lace my trainers up thinking “Whoo! Running time! Let’s go”
Running fills me with dread.
I lace my my trainers and I’m sure every step I take my feet are saying “Fuck this! Why are we doing this again?”

Running does not come easily for me. I am not a graceful runner by any means. Every run is an effort. Every run I feel like I’m dying.
I am constantly battling my mind, there is no inner peace when I run, there is no getting away from the stress of life, to let loose on the pavements because running is a stress for me.

The beauty of hating running though, is every run is an achievement. Every mile I clock I am always ecstatic that I’ve done it because I can’t believe that I managed to get out the door to do it let alone run it!

I’m a lazy runner. My pace is slow. The moment I don’t want to run my feet start dragging, my mind starts to battle with me. “I want to stop, I don’t want to do this any more”
I know, I know but lets just keep on going
“But I don’t want to, lets just stop, its so much easier”
Silence
“I can’t do this, I need to stop”
You can do this, stop saying I can’t, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

If I get this conversation 20minutes into any run, how am I meant to run a half marathon when I can’t even run 20minutes without battling with my brain?

It’s hard.

But that’s what’s going to make this half even more amazing, the fact that I can’t do it, the fact that I find this running thing so difficult, it is going to be so much more of an achievement.

Someone give me a break.

I am not a woe is me kinda gal; I’m a Pick myself up, up and at ’em kinda gal.
Today has pushed me to a limit I did not know I had.
I was this close *puts fingers together so they are almost touching* to having a mental break down. To going to the nearest bar, getting so smashed off my face that I couldn’t see. To going back home to bed, flippin’ the middle finger to the world and not emerging for a very long time.

Today I was told that I have a cyst on my ovary. That they usually go away by themselves but mine is so big I require surgery to remove it.
Yes.
You have read that correctly.
Another surgery.

It can be removed laparoscopically (key hole) or by opening up a small area by my pubic bone. My cyst is so large that its looking to be the second option. There is the choice of going key hole and draining the cyst but my dear cyst has built chambers within it so it can’t be drained.

When my gynecologyst told me I would most probably have to have surgery I laughed. She said she was sorry and couldn’t believe I was taking the news so well.
What else could I have done?
Burst into tears and say “why me?” No its just not my style.

I won’t lie to you all, I am very upset about this. If we’re going on the basis of karma, I have done nothing wrong to deserve this constant stream of shit.
If its fate and my life is mapped out before me and I am meant to be going through this to somehow achieve something, I’d rather sit this one out thanks. Unless the trials are to be superwoman or some sort of bionic lady, its not worth it.
Four surgeries in under two years.

As this surgery is not laparascopic it means I will have increased recovery time. In relation to my running it means I will have to sit out 12 weeks.
3 months.
How am I meant to train for a 10k if I can’t train for 3 months?

All day my mind was a mess. How do I pick myself up after this? How am I meant to do what I usually do, give myself a pep talk and battle on through when all I keep thinking is why? What have I done to deserve this?
All I wanted from life was to go to uni, get a degree, go travelling and then get an acting job. I love to act, its my passion and I wanted to do something that I loved. I wanted to settle down with someone I loved and just earn a living doing something I enjoyed.
Why is it that so many people go through life with the things that they want just landing in their lap with no complications?

Today I had a choice. I could break down or I could pick myself up and I could get on with it.
And without realising, I had already picked myself up and got on with it. How? Because I laughed when the Dr told me I had to have surgery. I didn’t cry, I didn’t go silent I just laughed and said “wow” and asked some questions.

As much as I want to sit cry and eat a crap load of ice cream (which by the way I can’t do because my pouch will get angry) I know deep down I won’t because its just not me.
I’m starting believe that not everything happens for a reason, but just because it is happening does not mean I can’t do something with it.

My life right now is totally messed. My health is in tatters and I’m a teensy bit scared that I might not have a job at the end of it. I am after all still on probation and 4 hospital appointments in the space of two weeks with an impending surgery, would you still want me on your books?

But fuck it man. This is happening and I have no means to control it so I might as well make the best out of a bad situation. I have amazing friends and family, I have a wonderful boyfriend who has supported me through some seriously bad times.

In relation to my running journey, sure I may not be able to run it completely, I may have to walk the majority, but I will make sure I will be in that race.
You will see me cross that finish line with a smile on my face, because even though I have had the worst luck, and a whole heap of shit thrown in my face, I have set my mind on achieving something and I will see it through to the end. I am not a quitter. I am a fighter and I’ve always said I won’t let colitis beat me so why would I let something as small as a cyst stop me?

Little Too Much Ambition?

About this time last week I was sitting in Nandos with a friend of mine discussing my schedule for the week.
I was excited to get on it and see what times I could hit.
I was feeling pretty optimistic with what we had planned, I had put it all in my new diary (Christmas present from said friend) and woke up early Monday morning to put my plans into action.
You know how the Monday run kicked my ass!
I was sleepy for the rest of the day.
Tuesday was stretch day. My alarm went off and I forwarded it an hour and got up my usual time, promising to stretch when I got back from work.
Yeah, that didn’t happen and I went out with friends (I have to have a social life somewhere no?)
Wednesday saw me up again this time trying to see if I could do something about my pace. Roll on the interval training.
Feeling pretty decent after the run and did some strength work.
Thursday saw an opportunity to take a yoga class before work.
Didn’t take that opportunity and stayed in bed. I felt better for it as I was feeling pretty knackerd. Spent the day trying not to lift my hands too far above my head.
Friday was another interval training day before work and some time spent on legs legs legs. Got a few yoga stretches in there for those tight muscles.
Today I made it to the gym for a swim only to find that the pool was closed. Gutted as I made the effort but did not let the session go to waste, took some time out to reflect in the sauna and steam room, once again stretching those tight muscles for a hard session in the morning.

I can honestly say I was far too ambitious with my schedule as my body isn’t used to running more than twice a week let alone only having one day off a week for rest!
All week at work I have been sleeping in the staff room on my break. People have asked me if I’m okay as I’ve been a bit quite this week and its purely because I am so sleepy! This running malarky is going to take some getting used it.

I’m feeling apprehensive about my up and coming runs because as of tomorrow, I will be off antibiotics. I was meant to come off them on Friday but I extended it purely because I am so worried that I’m going to flare when I come off them.

I am really not sure how my body is going to cope with my running antibiotic free, but the only thing I can do is try.
 I’m not going to push it too hard because I’ll end up in hospital purely because I just don’t know when to quit. I’ve spent so long fighting against my body, trying to get it to do what I want because I’ve missed out on so much being ill for so long.
But I won’t be able to put my body under so much pressure. This is a major learning curve for me, I’m going to have to sit back and listen to my body instead of going in with my usual “My-Way-Or-The-HighWay” attitude.

Motivational Speech

My first post about how my running is going!

This morning the run KICKED MY ASS.
Like, I mean, took me by the scruff of my neck, gave me a wedgie and flushed my head down the toilet kind of kicked my ass.
I just could not get into it this morning. My pace was off, my concentration was all over the place and more importantly my breathing was in ruins!

I glanced over at this wondrous creature beside me who was pulling off a 5k with ease, with a slight film of sweat on her brow.
Flick back to me and I was drinking in the air like it was the list 5 minutes of the happy hour at a cocktail bar. My face was so red I’m pretty sure I looked like I was about to explode and I was sweating so much my earphones kept popping out my ears.
Yup. I am one attractive lady when I run.

I wanted to stop so many times during that run but I kept telling myself to just put one foot in front of the other, that’s all you have to keep doing.

My Just giving dontation page is up and running and I am already overwhelmed by the support I have received. I’d like to take the time out briefly to mention a couple of people here not because their donation means more, but in theory I am running for these guys too
Becky, Rob, Gemma and Rio
These guys have had colitis and furthermore have all had stomas or still have stomas. These guys have been people who really and truly get what I mean when I say I am having a seriously shit day. They have supported me and listened to me when I’ve needed to vent about stuff and given me advice/hope when things have got bad.
When I am slogging my guts out at the gym and I think I can’t do it any more these are the faces that pop up and I think I just have to keep on going.

When I run, I’m not just running for me. I’m running for every single person out there who has Crohns and Colitis. For every person who has felt ashamed, felt pain and anguish, felt like they couldn’t continue and that the disease would beat them.

I’m running this 10k to raise awareness for the strong people out there who have to suffer with this disease in silence.

This isn’t just about making money for charity its for getting this all out in the open. The more people I reach with this the better, so when you read my blogs, I would seriously appreciate it if all of you could pass on this website to everyone you know. Hell they don’t need to donate, don’t get me wrong it would be nice, give me 10p if that’s all you have, but just get people talking about IBD share my story, get the word out there.

And now that I’ve gone all Barrack Obama on yo asses (I just mean in the sense of motivational speaking before I get some kind of abuse) I am going to have a nice long soak to ease my tired muscles.

http://www.justgiving.com/AdventuresOfSuperSteph