Reflection; VLM17

R E F L E C T I O N 

Last Sunday was one of the best days of my life – right up there with our wedding day [soz Dad, who’d have thought you could’ve saved A LOT of money by just getting me into a £39 marathon?! 😂 💸💸💸] From even before the moment the incredible Dame Kelly Holmes wished me Good Luck to even now, to still now, one week on my enthusiasm was through the roof to run this awesome event.

Once a crazed runner, always a crazed runner!

I have to say I disagreed slightly with the second episode of “Mind Over Marathon” – at the start of the episode they mention about mentally preparing for the marathon and the atmosphere… Absolutely nothing could have ever made me guess or understand what I would feel like at the start, end, and entirety of that marathon. It was 1 million, billion, zillion times better 😍 an experience I can barely even put into words (but clearly, here I am about to try!). I am still thinking about it and still talking about it; finding any opportunity to chat about it; I am still “riding high” and happy and as buzzing as ever at the mere thought of it. 

The other day, my friend and neighbour, and now VLM17 running husband (!), Iain wrote his first ever blog; covering his VLM17 experience. Just reading the blog had me welling up in tears over the sheer overwhelming happiness that day was. Gosh it was so, so amazing 💖.

I have to say though; I just don’t think I can write anything like Iain did. But I’ll give it a try…

Firstly, let’s just rewind 7-ish months to a vague recollection I have of my (then) fertility nurse, Debbie, telling me to not go OTT with the running… and me assuring her that once I had run Cheltenham Half that September, James and I were jet setting off on holiday 👙, where I would begin a vast cut-back on the running. I was hopeful that somehow that treatment cycle would have meant we were pregnant, and James and I discussed whilst in Singapore (where we would find out if we were, or weren’t pregnant) naming the bump 🤰🏽 “Raffles” as a tribute to the famous hotel. (I feel the need to add that only whilst bump was a bump were we going to do this!). Almost 3 weeks on from this, we were on the last leg of our brilliant 3 week holiday – not pregnant – and woke up one morning in Kuala Lumpur to an email from the London Marathon Ballot team… I very nearly deleted this email 📧without even reading it, suspecting, as per the last few years, that I hadn’t gotten a place again; I had said to friends and family I wasn’t going to apply again as I needed to cut back on the running 🏃🏽‍♀️ for the sake of creating our family, but something made me open and read that email…. And my jaw hit the floor (or, my chest, because I was still lying in bed!) 😵 to discover I had finally won a ballot place! I hadn’t run in almost 3 weeks, having struggled round a 5k loop in the (beautiful) ☀️ 30+ degree heat of Singapore, and had gained about a stone eating EVERYTHING whilst moving barely anything while sunning ourselves in Indonesia…. Let’s just say we got up every morning we had left in Kuala Lumpur and attempted the 5k loop around the KLCC Park to begin my training! I have to say, whilst I didn’t think it would be easy, I just knew that I could do it; I love, love, love ❤️ running and have been doing it for years, so my plan was to keep up some “gentle” running until the New Year and then begin my training properly… So, of course, my body found this to be an ideal time to become so injured that I had to take over 2 months off – this is the first time I have ever had to take so long off, and I was getting more than a little concerned as every time I saw my sports therapist, he would say “don’t run on it just yet!” – yet by February I knew I had to ignore him and get going – I was now a month and a half behind my training plan, hadn’t run in over 2 months, with only about 9 weeks until the big day! 🗓

FYI, for anyone that thinks they can just “RUN a marathon” with no training; you are wrong… not unless you aren’t worried about being cut off by the 8 hour 15 minute time limit! I knew from my half marathon times that I could finish a marathon in around the 4 hour mark, and so that was always my aim; under four and a half hours. Thankfully, as I have been running for years, I listened to the warm up advice of my sports therapist and soon got back on top of my training plan; but I would never have been able to start from scratch with only 9 weeks to go!

Throughout all of this, I was still undergoing fertility treatment, and a somewhat hopeful part of my brain continued to tell me I wouldn’t actually be running this year because I would be pregnant and deferring until 2018. Even though I personally knew a few other people running or involved with the marathon in some way for once, which would make it nicer to run. Every month when another period arrived, so did the heartache and grief for another month lost with no baby 👼🏼. I avoided doing any longer training runs (over 13 miles) until as late as possible, desperately clinging to the thought that I wouldn’t be running this year, until I could avoid it no longer.

I ran my first long training run (16.6 miles) on one of the worst weathered days of the year. There were brief elements of sunshine, but mostly horrendous, battering wind, rain and even some hail ⛈. It was awful; but I did it, and even better, I could walk the next day, and run a day after that! And so the “highs” started. I knew I could do this. I still continued to undergo fertility treatment, and didn’t do my second (and last) long 20(.4) mile training run until I knew I wasn’t pregnant (and the weather couldn’t have been more opposite; the hottest day of the year so far!). Somehow, that month was the easiest month I have ever experienced knowing I wasn’t pregnant. I don’t know what on earth I was thinking previously, but it took Debbie saying it would be much better to run this year, than next year with a new-born; and it suddenly dawned on me that yes, trying to run 26.2 (or in my case 27.5) miles having had a baby just months before, inevitable gained baby weight, milk-leaking boobs and sleep deprivation 😴 that comes with a baby, would NOT be an ideal situation to run a marathon in..!

And so, it finally felt right for the first time in my life, to not yet be pregnant. To run my first marathon knowing I had another friend running it meaning the extra personalised support along the route, and, poignantly – given my own ongoing battle – to run the first Mental Health Marathon.


What now feels like a rapid fast forward; the big day arrived. Without realising it, I had subconsciously developed what our neighbourly “Wilstock Run Club” were dubbing “Maranoia” in the week preceding the marathon. I was super excited, but my calves were refusing to co-operate and were tight, heavy and painful for the four runs the week before the marathon. Fortunately, a massage the Friday night before the big day, alongside pure elation on the day, meant that maranoia had disappeared by the time I crossed the start line.

Almost crossing the start line!

Despite encouragement to enjoy and take in every step, I just don’t remember stuff [standard Karen 🙄]. I know from seeing the second part of the fab “Mind Over Marathon” programme that I managed to miss the brilliant Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside Prince Harry at not only my start zone/line, but also mile 6, as well as me failing once again to listen to my gut instincts to head left at the finish line to get a medal from them (Hence my picture is of the back of Harry’s head and the side of William’s, and NO Kate!)

Prince Harry’s head and Prince William…

Although there were some points when the weather felt insanely hot, it wasn’t any warmer than when I did my 20 mile training run, and as there was no evil rain and barely any wind/breeze, the weather conditions were more or less perfect by my own standards… I only have *slight* tan lines….😉 I discarded my orange long sleeved top base layer and pink fleece to Rosie and James at the start and donned what must be the thickest bin bag known to man which also got chucked mere metres after the start line. This is an oddity for me; I am normally found running in layers upon layers because I am ALWAYS cold and I do not like the wind and the rain! I think the sheer excitement, plus the absolute masses of people were surrounding me in a nice warm glow..

Spot me in the bin bag (Thanks Sally for this!)

Getting to my “Blue Start” was surprisingly easy thanks to my London-travel-expert Rosie 🦄, and, as someone who has run A LOT of half marathon’s, I can’t even describe how surprised I STILL am that I only needed one last pee on the walk up from the DLR, before I joined my zone… Usually I leave the toilets and re-join the queue immediately for several last emergency toilet stops (yep, maybe too much info, but normally several nervous number 1’s and 2’s!) I guess my body understood the sheer excitement my mind was in and hadn’t quite realised what was to come! 😄

App results

I was bouncing off the walls as I headed to the start line, seen off by my wonderful husband James and one of my besties Rosie. As I walked further forward I spotted another of my besties, Becky, alongside her sister Kate, Mum Sally, her two children (one of whom is my goddaughter Ellen 👧🏼, and the other my honorary godson Ollie 👦🏼!) and their cousins Charlie and Jake stood at the metal fence of their hot-air-balloon-area searching the crowds for me. I remember excitedly bounding up to them like an absolute maniac; jogging and jumping over already-discarded layers of clothing from other runners up the bank to try and kiss them all through the fence, before pouncing off back towards the start line. I think all of the kids, even the 2 I see fairly often, were slightly alarmed at who this bin-bag-wearing nutter was! As I approached the start line far quicker than I thought I would (crossing at just under 9 minutes after the “gun”) I remember looking up to see the start, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of runners and spectators, and felt myself welling up slightly at the pure size and unitedness of this event, before the excitement took over me again and I started my running properly some way before the actual start (all this adds up towards me running 1.3 miles OVER the 26.2!) – which is definitely how I didn’t notice the Royal’s 👑 as I crossed the start line….!

My awesome cheer squad! 🦄

I remember the happiness emanating from everyone more than the sights of London themselves. I remember how funny I found myself when we reached the first mile marker, announcing happily and still excitedly out loud “Only 25 miles to go!!”… 🤣 with a few others around me laughing. I counted down in my head like this most of the run, but I didn’t share the same kind of happy enthusiasm for it at miles 23, 24 or 25……! Those last 3 miles honestly felt like there was 26 miles between each one of them. I can clearly remember the voice in my head saying “WHERE THE FCUK IS MILE 23?!” and probably almost immediately thereafter (but it felt like forever) “WHERE THE FCUK IS MILE 24?!” etc! I remember – despite my time not actually being that fast – that the first 13 miles seemed to fly by; I didn’t even notice passing the O2, and I didn’t give the Cutty Sark much more of a glance either! I took in Tower Bridge a little more, purely because I had been specifically told by a friend to soak up that moment, but I couldn’t help but find myself thinking that the slight hill up to Tower Bridge wasn’t very nice!! For me, the landmark that I remember the most was the beautifully green, tree lined street which lead up to Canary Wharf; Canary Wharf rising proudly at the end of these beautiful green trees; I remember thinking I didn’t know that road up to Canary Wharf was so beautiful and how lucky those that work in “the city” are to have such beautiful, vibrant shades of green surrounding them! 🌳🌳

I also remember desperately trying to remember all the crazy-costumed people I saw. The one that sticks in my mind the most, I quite literally said out loud “JESUS CHRIST” when I saw him…. A guy running barefoot, carrying a cross on his naked back, wearing what appeared to be just a white cloth, dressed as, well, Jesus Christ himself. I laughed at myself when I realised, as it was seeing his bare feet that had made me say “Jesus Christ” before realising that’s who he was dressed as! I also saw the rhino 🦏, various dinosaurs 🐉, a postbox, a tree 🌳, a few people dressed in chainmail or as wonderwoman, a smurf, Batman & Robin 🦇 and the absolutely insane guy carrying a tumble dryer (I am glad he achieved his WR!)


There was not a single point along the entire route of the London Marathon (with the exception of an underground tunnel, which I think is acceptable and also didn’t feel particularly horrendous considering!) where the streets were not either lined with supporters, or absolutely rammed full with supporters! People with funny signs with messages of support – “This is Virgin on ridiculous!”, “Don’t shit 💩 yourself Abi!”, “Your feet are only aching because you’re kicking so much ass!”, “Shortcut ⬅️!!” are just some of the messages I can remember that I loved, but I know there are so many more I can’t quite put my finger on as I write this! People had cow bells, clappers and their own voices must have been practically non-existent by Monday. Pubs, pop-up’s and other venue’s along the route blared out 🎶 music, musicians clubbed together to play the drums (Caribbean drums are my FAVOURITE to run to!), the bagpipes, brass bands, etc; anything and everything and anyone and everyone was out supporting that day. It is what makes the atmosphere of an organised run so brilliant. Hundreds of thousands of people from all different backgrounds come together as one, big swell of happiness all cheering for the same goal, and boy, do I wish we could come together as a nation and live in happy harmony like that on a daily basis. You cannot help but smile; and I did; a grin from ear to ear the whole way through (the odd picture which suggests otherwise is a lie…!)

Thumbs are up still 👍🏾! Just a slightly more tired grin!

However, despite the amazing all round support from the general public, there is clearly nothing like being cheered on by your own friends/family. It was evident in Iain’s splits, and it is evident mine; minutes per mile for the times I saw friends were 8:53, 8:37, 8:28 (my fastest mile; AT MILE 20!!) and 9:33 (Mile 25!); they worked out as some of my fastest splits so it is clear seeing your own people makes a difference – I wonder what I could do if I had someone at every mile….!! James and Rosie (& eventually Jon, once his lazy ass was dragged out of bed 😜  !) managed to get round and cheer me on from no less than FOUR amazing points of the course; although I missed them once, because the third time I was too busy jumping (running) for joy at the sound of Iain’s wife Dasa screaming my name and cheering me on.


And finally, the “600 metres” sign came into view, swiftly followed by the footbridge announcing “385 yards to go!” I was almost there. Buck Pal looked gloriously inviting underneath the blue skies, and for once with no crowds specifically around it; instead, everyone was turned to face away from the palace, cheering on the 40k runners in their final 400 metres, and finally 200 metres. As I turned away from Buckingham Palace onto The Mall I heard the voiceover announce “If you are finishing around about now, you might well get someone very special handing you your medal!” and I glanced up to see the Duchess of Cambridge on the big screen handing out medals 🏅. Instinctively I felt like if I headed left, I could be one of those people; but in the last 200 metres a combination of self-doubt and memory failure meant I aimed for the middle, and then forgot completely that they were even there (hence photograph being the back of Harry’s head and the side of William’s before I was swiftly ushered away!) as I happily crossed the finish line, quickly calculating that I had managed a sub 04:30 time in a haze of pride and overpowering happiness.

So, so happy!

I was overwhelmed last week with the amazing support, messages of love and encouragement. I felt so, so loved, and I still cannot get over how fantastic the tracking part of the VLM app was; because within seconds of crossing that finish line, I had tonnes of congratulations texts, whatsapps, emails, messages on facebook, instagram and twitter from all of you fabulous friends and family that had been tracking me every step of the way.

Top right – just over the finish line!

One of the best things I saw were these words from my goddaughters mother “what an inspirational godmother”. As part of my ongoing mental-health crisis, I always worry that I’m not “good enough” – there is no limit to this enough. I’m just not ever good enough. It’s mostly subconscious, but I’ve promised to always be there and be the best for her and I wonder sometimes if I am a good enough role model now – now that I no longer work full time or have my career goal of power woman to lead her path. With all my crazy 🤕 mental health issues; and yet they still chose me. They still knew I was an absolute nightmare with food (& I distinctly remember holding her tiny days old body, clinging her into my arms whilst refusing to eat lunch) and yet they still believe in me to be her godmother. I love this little girl, (even if she’s still not so sure about me, even when I get her her one true love; food!) way too much. But can she STOP growing already?! I’m excited to see who and what you become in life – but it needs to happen slower baby girl….. (Tangent!) 

And so, a week on. After 2 days and 2 sleepless nights of severe leg achiness, an over-optimistic failed run attempt on the 3rd day, I’ve now managed two 3 mile runs. I’ve had several alcoholic drinks 🥂🍹🍸 5 out of 7 night’s, eaten out three times, takeaway pizza 🍕once, demolished 15 hot cross buns, several bars of chocolate🍫, Haribo, skittles, protein flapjacks, energy/bounce balls, Lucozade sports and probably not enough water. My total distance that day was an insane 30.7 miles – I doubt I will ever top that “magic number”! I think, a week on, I have finally satisfied all my cravings and am ready to get back onto eating healthier! But I still find myself talking about it at any given opportunity… however, can someone tell me how on earth I have a fairly large graze on my right butt-cheek?!

Magic number..

VLM17 you were absolutely amazing, and despite hating being wrong, and constant promises I’ll never do another marathon – I have to admit my friends were right.. And if I can still run and love it as much as I do now after children… London, I’ll be back…! Even my insane husband is encouraging me to apply for next year, saying if I did somehow get in and was {finally} pregnant/just given birth, I could defer until 2019…. I am thinking about it…!!

Grinning as I reach the finish!

I know over the years I have inspired friends to run; it makes me so happy to feel like I am actually achieving something in this world; I am a typical millennial in that sense! And so, if you’d like to experience the absolute exhilarating and fantastic atmosphere of (a) marathon – VLM18 ballot opens tomorrow people! If you want an absolutely amazing day and experience of a lifetime – DO IT! I’ll come and cheer you on just to experience the day again! 🎉🎉🎉

I did it!

A compromise 

True story 🏃🏽‍♀️😍. Even if every time I hear 👂🏾 the word “activewear” I still can’t get the 🎶doing literally nothing in my activewear🎶 song out my head [ 😝]

117 fabulous miles for April done with #RaceAtYourPace @raceatyourpace . Absolute highlight being #VLM – an amazing day, atmosphere and experience that I still can’t stop finding an excuse to talk about! 

Now, as we somehow enter May in just one day {😫}, a very different challenge lies ahead of me.. I’ve been told NOT to exercise. Not to run. Nothing. Not even swapsies for swimming or yoga.

N O T H I N G. This honestly feels like a harder challenge for me both physically and mentally than actually running the [27.5 for me!] seemingly endless miles of the #LondonMarathon .. I’ve discussed it with friends, family, doctors, nurses, and my therapist. Both he and I are concerned at what the consequences of NOT running or exercising at all might be for me. What it might do for my mental health. What it may result in if I start deeming myself too fat. It’s a concern I’ve felt for a long time – that really I’m only the (healthy) weight I am now so that we can have a family. Not eating or making myself sick is far worse than a little running.

I love running. It makes me so happy. It is a huge part of me and has been for years. 

So I’m compromising. Breaking myself in gently. I don’t feel like I can completely give up yet. I feel like it’s right for me to do what I was meant to do 8 months ago, after I ran Cheltenham Half and before I found out I’d won my place in #vlm17 ; just do less, chill out more, but still exercise a little. So I’ve signed up for just the 25 mile challenge for May (because I’m a sucker for a medal 🏅🥇🥈🥉and I neeeed them all 🤣) and that will be my test. 25 miles-ish for May. I might go over slightly, like I’ve done the last 2 months, (I can’t go under for the sake of the all important medal!) but nowhere near the 100+ I’ve been managing, and certainly nowhere near the 200-300+ I used to do! A compromise. A deal. Come on body, let’s make a baby 👶🏻 (or 2 👯…!). It’s time.

#runner #run #running #vlm2017 #activewear #infertility #infertilitysucks #fertility #iui #ttc #LondonMarathon #VirginLondonMarathon #VirginMoneyLondonMarathon 


{Full posting, including from Instagram..}

LOL. S U B T L E as always, thanks mum.. she absolutely cracks me up.. 🤣I’m obviously no expert, and I’m STILL 🙄 not pregnant🤰🏽 😭 BUT, I really think just eating sensibly, a mix of everything (obvs veg, 🥕🥝🍍🍆 vitamins & minerals are most ideal, but don’t JUST eat them!!), listening to your body and not denying yourself anything, is the best way to live.. ttc or not 💁🏽 obviously, following my own above advice is easier said than done…

I have a soon-to-be 20 year, on/off battle with anorexia.. I didn’t have “treatment” as a “child” and I probably won’t as an adult. It seems virtually impossible to “treat” now; it is engrained in every part of my being. It is almost all I have known/can remember. I have had it for longer than I have not. I have grown up (!) with it. It is also probably the biggest route cause for my infertility.. I have to work SO hard to maintain eating sensibly: a healthy, balanced diet. I generally eat quite well/clean, but sometimes, like today, I allow myself a break; I’ve had a huge brunch of waffles and milkshake 🥞 (& boy has it kept me going all day! And.. err.. let’s just say “dinner” hasn’t exactly been too “healthy” or “sensible” either… 😝). In the 18 months-ish I have had to battle myself many-a-time to NOT cut carbs, NOT avoid certain foods, NOT make myself sick, NOT track every single calorie, NOT undereat/burn more than I consume, NOT take 1/2/3/4/an-entire-pack of laxatives, NOT over-exercise and generally, all round, avoid the dreaded word “diet”.. and no, I don’t have a 100% success rate. I have had to gain weight, and I’ve been told I need to maintain it, for a prolonged period (ever), in order for my body to conceive… and then it still doesn’t and it is seriously hard to not go back to that tiny person I much prefer. 

I honestly, (despite needing glasses at times again) can spot the word “diet” on the front of a newspaper/magazine/book from a mile-off and every, single time I make a beeline 🐝 straight for it. I seem to be utterly programmed to just make myself diet constantly.

And let’s not even get started with the “eat well. Cut stress” tagline there, right? Even my (male!) psychotherapist rolled his eyes in disbelief when he heard a doctor had recently said something to me along the lines of “just cheer up”!! I have never felt particularly stressed when undergoing meds, or all the appointments associated with trying to conceive under the bracket of “infertility”, the biggest stress is discovering every month it still hasn’t worked. That is never going to change, no matter what! In fact, I was the least stressed I’ve ever been about it this month, as it meant I can run the marathon; but instead my husband took it worse than me.. I expect to be back to “normal” and stressed and destraught when I discover in approx 3 weeks that once again I am not pregnant; even though I’ve been under no medication or treatment whatsoever to enable that, and obviously running like crazy! 🏃🏽‍♀️

I love my Mum with all my heart. I am not getting at her, or anyone. I’m not ranting at anyone. As always, it’s just my thoughts over spilling (perhaps getting them all out this week means I’ll actually sleep tonight?!). I want/wish more than anything to start my own family 👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻 with my fab husband, and I really wish we had been lucky enough for it to “just happen” – yet still I find it incredibly difficult to not “diet” one way or another, and to be ok with this (perfectly healthy) “weight”. TTC or not, whatever you’re doing, just eat a healthy balanced diet. Just use some common sense and be sensible! Believe me; I know better than anyone that it’s easier said than done, but if I can work at it and battle it, we all can. Have an apple. Have chocolate if you want it. Eat your veg, but if you fancy a burger, then, that’s what you need. We really need to STOP ❌ with the word “diet”, with what you “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing; WE.ARE.ALL.DIFFERENT



World Health Day 2017

I’ma just leave that ^ right here.. sometimes, I think, it can be even more important. I am physically fit, healthy and able (mostly), and yet, if my mental health isn’t up for it, then all of the physical health crumples too.
Today is #WorldHealthDay – with the focus on #depression – and so… time for another blog!
As always, depression never feels like the right word to describe that black cloud hanging over you for no reason. I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have said to me – or my husband – “Karen doesn’t look depressed” or “but you have SO much/you’re SO lucky” … you get the gist, right?!
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because anxiety is my biggest problem, sitting alongside as depression’s BIGGER, brattier, harder-work sibling.. BUT, what exactly does depression look like?! Seriously! Before reading the rest of this blog, comment what you expect depression to look like in a person; I am honestly keen to know.
Do you expect me to turn up to a birthday/wedding/house warming/hen do/child’s christening dressed all in black with tears streaming down my face?! I cannot even begin to express how much I 100% HATE how often I do cry. I try my best to not, but it happens, a lot. (Although generally these days in the surroundings of Doctors/Nurses/Therapists.. at least they’re half expecting/trained for it..!) It washes over me like a tidal wave for absolutely no frigging reason whilst I’m in the middle of a conversation [with anyone] and suddenly there I am going beetroot red/purple, fighting and blinking back the tears welling up in my eyes, loosing my train of thought and ending up being handed a box of tissues, seemingly constantly. I feel like an over-sized baby. Generally, I seriously try to avoid this happening – particularly in public! How many people do you actually see, “depressed” and walking around in public in tears?? Not many, right? What about him? Or her? Or that child over there? Or that 90-year-old? Race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion; mental health illness doesn’t discriminate. Personally, I find it {my own crying} embarrassing. I sure-as-hell wouldn’t know what to do if I came across someone crying, or if someone broke down in front of me like I so often do to them.. And the worst part of those tears that are associated with “depression”? It’s normally anxiety that causes them in me..
And, I know. Believe me I know. I know how damn “lucky” I really am. I guess I wasn’t born into that surname for no reason, eh!! I have a generally all round brilliant life. The best, most supportive husband, family, friends (having dwindled out those who aren’t really..). I am {reasonably!} fit, and mostly {physically} healthy. I can see, speak, listen, smell, think, read, run, dance, learn, live, breathe, travel and do on a daily basis… if my mind allows.
All of this doesn’t make me feel any better. Telling someone how lucky they are or how they don’t “look” depressed simply adds this kind of “guilt” pressure and, for me, when I am left alone to think (often) then it gets to me and makes me feel worse and worse until in the end it’s spiraled out of control; and I end up at utter breaking point. And I do get to breaking point. I have, I really have. Several times. Almost 20 years of guilt carried around on my shoulders. Years of self-punishment; starving myself, making my self sick (even swallowing a small amount of bleach in a desperate bid to make myself sick; my crime? I ate an apple), over-exercising, over-dosing on laxatives, cutting myself, and all for what? For some brief relief and element of “control” over myself, but years of further pain; knee pain, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, insomnia. And the worst, the one I can’t just battle through and live with; infertility pain. I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again, but for anyone that thinks this is a choice; why would you choose to suffer like this?
I am no longer “tiny”, and I miss it. Boy, do I miss it. I look over old photos of my tiny waist, tiny boobs, thinner, toned, legs and thigh-gap thighs, smaller bum, flat stomach, thin arms, prominent collarbones, hip bones and sometimes even rib bones and I miss looking like that. I miss the scales saying my “magic” number. I miss being told I have “no {brown} fat” by my [wedding] dressmaker. I miss being the smallest, tiny, invisible. Because that feeling of invisibility makes me feel better about how often I am overlooked/called the wrong name/forgotten about/left out/alone. I feel very much like I am only managing the (healthy, very healthy, “must stay at this weight” [thanks, doc]) weight that I am now just so that I can conceive, and yet, still not conceiving no matter what meds I seem to be given.. No matter if I run or don’t run, eat sensibly, R E L A X…
I now spend a lot of time alone. And on those days that are increasingly becoming more common – when I actually want to see and engage with people – it makes me miss Clarks and working full time like that. But deep down I know, I remember (because I was), that I was surrounded by people there yet feeling more alone than I do when I am physically alone now. And yet being alone is scary, it allows me time to think, which can be dangerous in plummeting myself back into that spiral of utter panic; anxiety with depression. And yet, on better days, even I wonder what all the fuss is/was about. Even now, I find this blog harder to write; the sun is shining, I’m on a small amount of medication for my mind, I am undergoing therapy, I am eating well and running really well; I am excited for events to come. I struggle now, to think back to those bleak days that I last fought only a few months ago. And it can be quite a scary place to reside; you feel fantastic, but after the first few times of it happening, you start to almost not be able to enjoy that feeling of happiness and feeling “high”, because you worry for when the negative thinking and behaviors will return, because they will, they always do.  But I cling on to memories. I over-take photographs and I look back on them fondly; it makes me sad for life gone, but reminds me of life and more excitement to come… So sorry, not sorry for the oversharing/posting 😉
I really thought – I was convinced in fact – that at the ripe old age of 26/27 (when I was wedding planning/got married) that we had whittled out all the fake friends. People that wouldn’t be there for us but seemed to expect us to be there for them. I was wrong. Really wrong, and it will probably always annoy me that those people got to be guests at our beautiful wedding. The “best wedding ever” (& that quote is from a friend, not either of us, although we believe it to be true!)
I just don’t understand people. I will go out of my way to help, to be there, to do anything I can and fight your corner (unless you’re in the wrong, in which case, I’ll let you know). And I have never asked or expected anyone to give me the world. I’ve never asked anything of anyone, but I guess a tiny part of me thinks – hopes – that if I’m there for you, you’ll be there for me… I guess not.
Sometimes, I just don’t know what to think, or what to feel. People really mess with your emotions and it’s outrageous. A subject of being “overlooked” comes up consistently in my therapy sessions, and it is so, so true. For my entire life I am constantly overlooked. From doing readings at assemblies, for being picked in sports teams, from accidentally being called “Kate” or “Lucy” or anything other than my actual name. From sitting down with me as a child/teenager/adult with my teachers/colleagues/friends/family and getting to the real bottom of why I constantly resort to harming myself one way or another. To desperately reaching out to therapists only to be turned away, or worse; forgotten about once again. Blood tests missed. “Friends” letting me down or cancelling on me last minute or finding something better to do.
It all adds up, and meanwhile, that girl(/boy) that you think has everything, is surrounded by infinite walls of loneliness. All the love in the world to give, to be, to do, to make a difference, but no longer the energy to keep constantly getting rejected.
So, depression. This is my account. Everyone is different. We are all different; it is part of the beauty of the world in which we live. But depression is not a choice. It isn’t something that you “had once for 8 weeks”. It doesn’t go away. You learn to manage it. To live with it as best you can. As you start to understand your own experience, you begin to realise what works for you; you do what you can to make yourself feel happier, be it eating a certain way (3 decent meals/6 small meals/more vitamins/vegan/vegetarian/etc.) exercising a certain amount/at a certain time of day, or even just a certain exercise (guess what, mine’s running 😝🤣!!), taking medication, undergoing therapy. All of which I have done, and continue to do. It isn’t easy, but it appears to be an ever-increasing problem as we create more and more generations. We aren’t really sure why, but it is, but we can work with it, we can manage it, and we can live with it if we just take some time to understand, listen and, always; be kind. 💖


It’s April. I know I say this every single month, but I really don’t know where March went. Another blur and whirlwind of appointments. Still not pregnant. Still questioning if I ever will be and what happens if I won’t…

As a quick update – generally, I’m ok. I am off fertility meds for the first time in several months; hoping for a clear view this month as to what my body is up to on it’s own, before hopefully starting IUI/IVF end April/May… I’ve dropped (what I feel) is a necessary few pounds – but I really, really don’t think or feel like I have starved myself or over-exercised. For once. I’ve listened to my body. Ate and run as I wanted (more or less..!), and fortunately, this weird craving I seem to be having for all things healthy seems to be working well. I ran 20.4 miles Sunday just gone, and, as I am not pregnant, will be running the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April 2017… Wish me luck…! I am excited and super nervous.. I will be glad and super proud to have finished it, but it is not going to be easy.. I have done what I consider the bare minimum training for it; although, I was already a runner so it isn’t like I was starting from scratch! I just haven’t done that many “long” runs. 2, to be exact. One at 16.6 miles in the most horrendous weather (epic, resistance-training-that-I-didn’t-need brutal wind and spells of rain), and the other on a gloriously perfect day for running, at 20.4 miles… Harder than I was hoping it was going to feel though, however I also ran quicker than I thought I was, so swings and roundabouts!

I’ve done so little distance training, as of course, I had continued to hope that I would actually be pregnant and not really running it… I continued to put off long runs so that I wouldn’t have trained up to a stupid distance and then have to “throw in the towel” and “give it all up” for pregnancy, and also, because that kind of distance running just isn’t really conducive to conceiving… I purposely waited to run the 20-miler once I knew I wasn’t pregnant. A new nurse at the hospital I am now under the care of for fertility treatments, mentioned to me at a blood test last week that I shouldn’t do “too much exercise” as I “want my body to be nice and sluggish for pregnancy”……. Never heard that one before… Obviously, I declined to mention I was running a marathon in 3 weeks..! Clearly, I know marathon training/running isn’t ideal for pregnancy, but it really is a once in a lifetime achievement – I do have the running bug, and I see how people become addicted (like me!) but I will NOT be taking up marathons as my new thing… Halve’s I can do, marathons; NO! Anyway, like I said, I have done minimal training in order to try and keep my body prepped for pregnancy. That is the single biggest and most important goal for me.. But exercise surely is good for you?! Once I have done the marathon I still intend to run, but my distances are likely to be 3 and 5 milers mostly. This is ok, right?! Maybe 5 times a week?! I need to run for my physical AND mental health… I love running..

In other “me” news… I am really not sleeping. I seem to be waking up almost hourly, even despite running 20 miles I didn’t sleep well that night. I have no idea why or what is going on. I don’t feel particularly stressed, upset or anxious about anything, although I have been having some insane dreams/nightmares when I am sleeping. I am confused! I have started taking a very low dose anti-anxiety/depressant med (10mg citalopram, low because; fertility) , which to my amazement did seem to kick in (or placebo) and do something straight away. I don’t feel like it has helped the anxiety side of things (1 example; I called my parents earlier because Dad hadn’t answered my face-time the night before, and I was genuinely worried they weren’t still alive..!) very much, but it does seem to have improved my “mood” and, aside from last Thursday (where I thought I was doing well and then cried 3 times in one day!) I don’t seem to be in tears quite as much… the arrival of my period last month didn’t destroy me quite as much as it usually does; in fact, my husband seemed more disappointed for the first time than me, which was sweet, and yet saddening for me to hear.. I thought I was the one mainly driving the desire for a family 😕.. Although I think the reality of “if I’m pregnant I can defer the marathon until 2018!” and then attempting to train, and then run a marathon with a newborn (or multiple newborns!) and potentially {milk} leaking boobs had finally dawned on me and I realised, really, it is best to run the marathon this year and get it done and out the way… At least (fingers crossed) I should then achieve something on my “30 before 30” list (having a baby clearly not going to happen now..!)

Anyway, despite this now-essay, I don’t really have much to say or update. I have been pretty busy, and thus not having the opportunity to think (probably why I’m not feeling as “depressed”!) or writing as much. I do have several blogs started that are only a paragraph long, where words have formed in my head, but then quickly disappeared before I can get much written down.. I’ll attempt them some day.. xxx