Drinking - Anxiety - Run Fails

I moved house recently.  New house.  New start.  Space.  Lots of space!    A very exciting time for JB and I.  Very stressful, but exciting.

His parents came round to help us move and sort the old house out before the buyers moved in.  I’m so grateful to his mum and dad.  I’m not sure we would have coped otherwise!  We said we’d have a celebratory drink once we were in and mostly unpacked.  Got to the new house.  Got in.  Faff about.  Let’s get some lunch.

Went out for lunch.  JB, his mum and I shared a bottle of wine.  That was my first drink in 47 days.  I wasn’t worried about this.  Spoke with JB about it.  All is fine.  At least I think it is.  I’m not sure.

From there, I’m not sure how many days I had a drink and how many days not.  I’m not even going to try to work it out.

I was happy.  Drinking wasn’t affecting work or running…managed the Stopsley 10 and the Kimbolton Half.  Had great runs at both.  Brilliant.

The week after the Kimbolton Half was the bank holiday weekend.  I was planning a 16 mile run on the Saturday following being a marshal at parkrun.   This didn’t happen.

I won’t go into all the details, but there was a beer festival at the local pub.  My brother was up from Cornwall.  A lot of alcohol was consumed.    I made it to parkrun in the morning, a little worse for wear, then got home and spent the day hiding from the sun.  I didn’t run.  I’m never drinking again.

The new plan was to run the 16 miles on Bank Holiday Monday as on the Sunday we were heading to a BBQ at a friend’s house. (JB did do his own 17 mile run on Sunday so I should have done the same, really – also well done, JB – 17 bloody miles!) We popped to the shop on the way down.  I’ll get some alcohol free beer.  They didn’t have any alcohol free beer.  Screw it, I’ll get some beer.  Many beers and shots later, Monday was also spent hiding from the sun.

So I didn’t run 16 miles.  I had also been having some pain since Kimbolton.  I think I’d pushed a bit too much and I was having dreadful pain in my ankle (probably from turning it at Stopsley) and then also my shins.  I went out for a run with my friend on the Tuesday following Kimbolton and had to stop after 1km due to the pain. It was awful.   I’ve obviously been doing a bit too much and my legs don’t like it.

Never mind. I’ve had a week of rest, now I can recharge and start again.  Bedford Half Marathon and ABF Soldier’s Charity Ride next week.  Start. Again.

The week started off well.  No drinking.  Then some bad things happened work wise.  I was extremely stressed.  I also realised I’d not picked up my new prescription from the doctors and I had just run out of tablets.  Stress. Central.  I went out after work with some work peeps for a leaving thing and just drank.  A lot. 

I was struggling.  I still am.  I have admitted this.  I’ve told people.  But I’m not sure what to do about it.  I decided to look forward to the weekend.  I had a half marathon in Bedford on Saturday and a bike ride on Sunday.  These are positive things.  I can do this.

Saturday arrived and a group of us made our way to Bedford.  Started running, felt good, hot day, but this was a good run.

Now for some reason, the organisers started everyone in waves.  Not a problem.  Races do this to filter out runners, it makes sense.  I don’t think it made much sense on this course, however. 

The course followed narrow paths and about two miles in you hit a section where you have to run two laps.  What happens here is that the slower waves come up to do their first lap and then the faster waves are coming through to do their second.  When I got there it was a bit…”clogged.”  There were people everywhere and some runners who, through no fault of their own, weren’t sure of what they were supposed to do and it was a bit of a mess.  It sorted itself out slightly, but there were people everywhere, overtaking, undertaking, the whole way round.  I could not handle this.  I panicked.  I’ve panicked in races before, but that’s normally when I’m pushing myself too much and getting a bit delirious.  This was pure anxiety and I couldn’t do it.  I got round to do the second lap and tried to battle with my head to keep on going.  I wasn’t injured in any way and felt good.  But no.  I just stopped dead.  Turned around, and walked back.

People were helpful and asking if I was all right, if I was injured. No no, I’m fine.  I stood there and then burst into tears on this random spectator.  Poor woman, didn’t know what to do.

I took my number off and walked back to the start.  Gutted.  Absolutely gutted.    I don’t know what to put it down to, apart from my anxiety and the people.    On a side note, I have picked up my prescription now and am back on the medication.

I stayed and cheered everyone finishing.  Saw my friends finish and my brother - got himself a PB!  Also saw some of the club bunch finish which was great.

JB had finished before I made it back.  He had had a brilliant run and got himself a PB by 3 minutes! 1:36. Just amazing.  Super proud of all his hard work. 

The next day was the ABF Soldiers Charity Ride.  I was signed up for a 35 mile ride.  I woke up and was still emotional from the day before.  Didn’t want to do anything.  I also hadn’t been on my bike since Easter.  This wouldn’t be pretty.  JB talked me round and off we went to Tilsworth to the start.  Dando was also with us.  He had also run Bedford the day before AND got himself a snazzy PB.  As I was still a bit fragile (and because their legs were tired) they opted to ride around with me on the 35 mile rather than do the 64 mile they originally planned.

I am extremely grateful to them that they stayed with me.  They’re very VERY strong cyclists and to ride along with me who just pootles around, well.  It was nice.  It was a tough day, very windy.  But it was great fun.  I enjoyed myself, more because they were with me.  I would have been in tears if I was cycling alone (the original plan).  Thank you, boys.

So what have we learnt from all this?  If I’m drinking, I don’t run and scupper my training.   If I’m not taking my medication, my anxiety hits the roof, I don’t run and I scupper my training. 

What do I need to do now?  Stay off the booze until at least Snowdonia is done.  I think at that time I will have another hard look at myself and reassess my goals.  The aim is still to change my relationship with alcohol so I can make different decisions when I'm stressed. See my previous post for more on that.

Also keep taking the medication and speak to my doctor.  I’m struggling a lot with sleeping and struggling to remember to take the tablets.  I cannot get into a routine with them.

I can feel in my head I’m still not right.  It takes a while to settle and I’m in a place at the moment where I’m having what I call my “bad thoughts.”   To stop these I would usually head to the pub and drink myself silly.  So far, I’ve not done this and I’m now on day 8 of no drinking again.  The bad thoughts remain.  I just have to try to ignore them, I guess, until they stop.

What’s next?  Well yesterday I completed the Two Arms on Two Legs Half Marathon.  I will write about this separately later this week and talk to you all more about what training I’ve got coming up. 

47 days until Snowdonia.  Oh dear.


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