Rants and raves #12

**Disclaimer: Sadly, I no longer feel like a runner. Now that the weather has improved and the evenings have started to get lighter, I’ve realised just how much I miss running. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

I hope that everyone had a great Easter weekend. Although the weather was slightly rubbish in Sutton Coldfield, I still managed to fit in a couple of decent walks.

Unfortunately, I was informed that I’m too old for Easter eggs 😦

Rave: My right heel

Now I don’t want to curse myself *touches wood* but I think that my right heel is finally starting to get better. Hopefully all of the icing, stretching and resting is making a difference. I can’t wait to put on my running gear again, it’s been a while.

Ready to run

Walking is still quite challenging first thing in the morning, but there has been a definite improvement since I last blogged. I’m definitely at the ‘testing it out on a short run’ stage.

Rant: Job hunting

A couple of months ago I spotted an amazing job opportunity. I had all of the qualifications and experience required so decided to apply. I completed the most complicated online application form I’ve ever seen, and spent ages writing and re-writing answers to five technical competency questions. I submitted my application and started the waiting game.

A month after submitting my application I received the dreaded ‘I regret to inform you…’ email. I was gutted as while I knew there would be a lot of internal competition for the job, I honestly thought that my experience would have at least got me an interview. I asked for feedback on my application but was told they couldn’t provide feedback.

At least this organisation sent me a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email. The majority don’t seem to take the time to contact unsuccessful applicants.

Rave: Sweaty Betty zero gravity crop run leggings

Now although I’m definitely more High Street than posh boutique when it comes to buying running gear, when I spotted these Sweaty Betty leggings online it was love at first sight. Yes I am easily pleased and quite fickle. I also have a bum that needs sculpting.

Sweaty Betty

Fortunately, it’s my birthday soon, so I’ve dropped a few unsubtle hints – i.e. I’ve emailed my size and the link to the leggings – to my friend who just so happens to live a 5-minute walk from the Sweaty Betty on Marylebone High Street.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get…

Rant: Failing to complete Swimathon

Last year an elbow injury prevented me from swimming 1500m for Swimathon. This year a severe lack of self-confidence and an attack of the jitters prevented me from swimming 1500m. On the day of my Swimathon challenge, I arrived at the swimming pool, saw how busy the pool looked and how fast everyone else was swimming and completely bottled it. Not cool and definitely another failure.

Once the Easter holidays have finished, I’m determined to return to the pool to complete the 1500m distance. I won’t get a Swimathon medal but I will hopefully feel a sense of achievement.

Rave: Quirky running gifts

A totally unexpected parcel arrived address to me last week. When I opened the parcel a piece of athletics track on a key ring and a certificate of authenticity dropped out.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry photo! I’m now the proud owner of a piece of the London 2012 athletics track. In 2013 I got to run on the track, now I get to keep a piece of the track. As a running geek and athletics fan this makes me really happy.

I’ve no idea who bought me this rather quirky gift but thanks, I love it!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants, raves, moans and groans then I’m impressed.

Apologies for the bits and pieces blog, my next post will be slightly more interesting.

What is the most unusual running-related gift you’ve ever received? I think the London 2012 track keyring is pretty quirky.

Should I follow the C25K training plan when I start running again, or should I start with short distances and build from there? I suspect that I’ll find having zero fitness really frustrating, but I’m not sure I want to get stuck in a run-walk-run routine again.  

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Swimathon: I’m sinking rather than swimming

Last year, I was asked if I’d like to be a member of the 2017 Swimathon BlogSquad. After an elbow injury meant that I was unable to complete my personal Swimathon challenge last year, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to redeem myself.

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I dug out my swimming costume, dusted off my goggles, consulted the internet and wrote myself a training plan. I hadn’t been near a swimming pool for several months and the first training session was enjoyable but challenging. I’d lost all of my swimming endurance. Last year I’d made myself swim 1500m; fast forward six months and I found myself struggling to swim a length.

That’s correct. Even swimming 25m was difficult.

After three training sessions I could swim the not so grand total of four lengths or 100m. Feeling slightly despondent I researched adult swimming lessons. Unfortunately, the timing and cost meant that swimming lessons weren’t an option.

December was more or less a complete write-off. I was juggling two jobs and working seven days a week. My local pool always seemed to be open when I was work and closed when I was at home. For the first time I regretted accepting a place in the Swimathon BlogSquad, I felt that other bloggers would have been able to devote more time and resources to the challenge.

Not a natural swimmerTaken during the 2016 BlogSquad session – work prevented me from attending the session this year.

Once Christmas was over I had more time to dedicate to swimming. I treated myself to a new swimming cap and costume from Zoggs – new kit always motivates me – and allocated time in my diary for training sessions. By the middle of January I could swim for 15 lengths on a bad day and 20 lengths on a good day. The good days started to outnumber the bad days and my confidence in the water started to grow. All I had to do was swim another 40 lengths…

At the beginning of February I managed to swim 1000m. I took me a long time and I felt shattered, but for the first time I actually felt like a proper swimmer. A combination of the lurgy and a re-occurrence of my elbow niggle unfortunately meant that after that epic 1000m swim, I only swam four more times in February.

I started to panic and the self-doubt made an unwelcome reappearance.

March arrived and I realised that Swimathon 2017 was weeks rather than months away. I taped up my elbow and returned to the pool. My first training session back was quite stressful as I was acutely aware that I was far too slow for the slow lane. It’s easy to move out of the way of faster runners during a race, it’s not quite so easy to swim out of the way of faster swimmers. I completed 10 lengths and then relocated from the deep pool area to the shallow water area. When you’re nearly 6ft tall swimming in shallow water is difficult. I went home feeling quite deflated.

The following day I returned to the pool, ignored the other swimmers in the slow lane and made myself swim 1000m. My confidence increased and mid way through the month I swam 1250m. Only another 250m to go! Six days later I experienced what felt like a panic attack while I was swimming. I tried to stand up mid-length, discovered I couldn’t put my foot down and swallowed loads of water. It was a scary reminder of the day I got into difficulties in the same pool as a child. I had another panic attack the next time I attempted to swim. I felt fine for the first few lengths and then started to panic.

Just thinking about going swimming and writing this post is making me feel anxious. Stupid I know! The weekend of Swimathon 2017 is now rapidly approaching and I don’t think I’ll be able to complete my personal challenge.

Does anyone have any tips for overcoming swim-related anxiety? I don’t want to let the organisers of Swimathon and the BlogSquad down a second time.