Rejection

Over a month ago I took a punt on a part time job in athletics. Since leaving the NHS I have gradually been building on my dream of working as a physiotherapist in sport. Working in private practice was the first step. Then I took on the MSc in Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy. And then I got the amazing opportunity to volunteer as physio for the Cricket Wales Senior Women’s team. My confidence has grown and I don’t feel like a fraud anymore when I consider sports jobs. So when the job came up, a post involving 6-8 hours a week working with track and field athletes I decided to say a big Yes instead of No.

I was still amazed when I got an interview. I still get shocked when I get offered any opportunities or interviews, it’s a reflection of how I still see myself. But I had thrown my hat in the ring and last week I found myself waiting in the reception of the NIAC in Cardiff.

As I drove home with after the interview I kicked myself about things that I should have or could have said. Isn’t that always the way with these things? I reflected on my performance: I hadn’t been awful but there was a definite brain freeze moment during the interview that I felt had let me down. I didn’t expect to get the job.

And I didn’t. I had a phone call the next day to let me know I wasn’t being offered the job. They said they had really liked me, I was personable and had done well in many aspects of the interview but that one section had let me down. I was given some ideas for future development and that I shouldn’t this let it stop me from applying from jobs in sport in the future.

I think it’s a telling sign of how far I’ve come trying to build a career after leaving the safety net of an organisation like the NHS. In the NHS my career had been going one way but I decided to make a sharp turn and take another direction. It hasn’t been easy because I’ve had to work hard to try and gain experience in an area that until a few years ago was probably unthinkable for me. I think the fact that I didn’t completely crumble at the rejection is that my confidence in myself as a physiotherapist has grown (even though it still needs work) and I’ve decided to take ownership of my skills and attributes rather than apologising for them and being overly self-deprecating.

I didn’t get this job this time but it’s shown me that I am capable of getting interviews for jobs in a specialty I didn’t think possible. I’ll learn from this experience, take the great feedback that I was given, build on it and I’ll go for the next opportunity when it arises.

 

 

 

 

 

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Walking My Dog

I haven’t been running much. I haven’t been exercising much. My energy right now is being funneled into the final piece of work for my MSc: a 20000 word dissertation. I can’t see beyond it at the moment, it’s become all consuming in my spare time when I’m not working or the boys aren’t around. If I go running I feel guilty for spending that time on running (and the inevitable time it takes for me to sort myself out post run) instead of being sat in front of the computer tightening up my literature review and transcribing interviews.

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What has kept me sane has been walking my dog Polly. As another day passes without a run it is the time I spend walking her that keeps me mindful and keeps me active. While I walk around the field near our house Polly will run and find sticks while I clear my head after the school run, getting ready for another day backing up my statements with references and rewriting paragraphs that I realise I hate. I’ve found that walking Polly clears my head for lots of other aspects in my life and seems to prepare me for things that I don’t always feel confident for, in the same way that running always has.

My dissertation is due next month and I can’t wait to have my time and my mind back. Before dissertation fever (or panic) hit me I had actually managed to do some running and had completed a couple of races: the famous Nos Galan race in Mountain Ash and The Buff Trail 10k in the Afan Valley. These runs felt like a final hurrah before I submitted to my fate at the computer.

I keep feeling guilty over running but I have spent too much money over the last two years to piss it back up against the wall. For the first time in many years running is way down on the priority list and I actually feel okay about that. I don’t need or want to get up at 5am to try and fit runs in, I’m tired and run down as it is getting up at 6.30am to sort two children, do my own work at home, run a business, work in the physio clinic and running a household. It’s ironic that my research is on barriers to participation because I recognise all the internal and external barriers for myself right now. Some might even call it ‘amotivation’. But you know what? I’m okay, because if I manage to get this work submitted and I manage to pass, it will all be so worth it for my self-esteem, for the time I’ve spent on it and for my career. Until I’ve got that bit of free time and mental energy back in my life, walking the dog will keep me moving and keep me happy.

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Wheezy McWheezy Face

About three weeks ago on a trip to Spain for a friend’s wedding I had a dream. Well more of a nightmare. In my dream I was struggling to breath. Someone who I couldn’t see gave me an oxygen mask. I tried to breath deeply but I couldn’t. The faceless person gave me another mask and told me to try this one. Again I tried to take a deep breath and yet I couldn’t, nothing seemed to move. The faceless person told me I was doing it wrong and shouted at me. Panic consumed me and then I woke up and I was wheezing and I couldn’t take a breath.

I started taking my reliever inhaler, sat up, drank some water and made an attempt to calm down. My husband was passed out from all the booze and food of a long day at a hot wedding reception. I half thought to wake him but decided against it. After all what could he do? So I stayed sat up, eyes closed, intermittently taking my inhaler and eventually the wheeze eased enough that I didn’t feel panic stricken.

I didn’t tell my husband properly until we were home the next day and I felt safe. I don’t know why, maybe I didn’t want to be dragged off to a doctor while I was abroad. The day after we got home I went to the GP and was given steroids. Not the type that would make me beef up but enough to get my irritated air ways to calm the fuck down. They did help but I felt a little dismissed when the GP told me I ‘it was just a flare up’. So I saw the asthma nurse and she confirmed that I had had an asthma attack. She altered my medication slightly and gave me a new tablet especially for asthmatic hayfever sufferers. Honestly I love the summer but it really fucks me over. And then she gave me the kicker: no exercise or training for a month (not that I could anyway, I feel weak as a kitten). The nurse gave me an asthma management plan and a peak flow: if my peak flow goes below a certain level I have to go to hospital.

For the rest of that week I felt tearful and I cried a fair bit. I felt silly for crying but when I looked at asthma charity sites this is  normal response after an attack. I was cross with myself for not looking after myself and not taking my preventer medication as regularly as I should. I was tearful because I’d had a real fright and I didn’t realise how quickly an attack can come on. And I was especially sad because I can’t run. I’m still wheezy and breathless and my peak flow still isn’t great. I feel dreadful a great deal of the time.

We are so fragile. I can cope with injury a bit better than I can cope with this but this almost seems easier to accept. I can’t cross train with asthma. It’s not physically possible.  I have to be better. I have to be well. What I hope is that because I am a runner and  fit person my attack wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I had plenty in reserve to cope with it. That’s what I’m telling myself, that is my silver lining. I need to let go of the plans I had for races this summer and shift my goals for the Cardiff Half in October. There are always other races. Being able to breath is more of a priority right now.

 

Injured But Happy

Injured but happy. Those words are total opposites in running. How on earth can being injured and being happy co-exist?

About a month ago training was going really well. I had a place in the Reading Half Marathon and I was really excited to get back into road races. All my runs had been going well. I had kept my long runs at a conservative pace without going mad. Shorter, faster runs were feeling more like my old self again and I was feeling quite chilled out about it all. And then one morning I got up and there was a sharp pain in my shin when I walked down stairs. That pain was also there a bit when I walked. After a couple of days rest and some stretching and foam rolling I went out for an 8 mile run. Not even half way in I turned back. There was a pressure in my leg that was building and wouldn’t ease off. I didn’t feel distraught but wasn’t feeling overly confident.

I left my decision right until the last minute as to whether to sack it off. The day before Reading I tried a jog. Every step on my left leg brought on a searing pain on the inside of my shin. The decision had been made. No half marathon for me.

I didn’t cry, I didn’t get overly frustrated. I didn’t come to my blog straight away to moan or blub about it as I might have done previously (Note: nothing wrong with that, just highlighting a change in me here). Instead I carried on about my business, took some ibruprofen and shrugged my shoulders. The only thing that bothered me about it was that I would be unable to take my beginners running group as effectively and I hated letting them down. But shit happens.

The difference in me compared to a few years ago when I was injured is this: running is no longer my emotional crutch. I am happy in other areas of my life and I think it is because I have decided to unapologetically be me. I stopped holding back on the person I wanted to be. I enrolled on my MSc. I have set up my own physio clinic. I went after a volunteer job to be physio for a national squad and I got it. I stopped hiding myself in running. Instead running is something that I do alongside everything else in life. I stopped looking inward, stopped thinking about luck and bad omens, stopped overthinking running and stopped paying attention to social media. Yes it sucks to be injured but I accepted it and moved on. I did what I could do about it and then got on with my life while waiting for my injury to heal.

Four weeks post injury and I managed a pain free run today. I don’t even think I’ve been particularly patient but it hasn’t felt like that long since I had to rest. After I ran I was of course happy but I think I would have felt like that anyway. It’s weird to feel that I am happy. I went for a long time feeling so anxious and stressed that I never thought I would feel like this. I have the excitement of the new clinic and the work with Cricket Wales and it’s a really good feeling. Hopefully the leg has settled and I will be able to run again on the weekend but I’m being mindful about it instead of overthinking it. Plus there are other things right now helping to fill the place in my head that I had expected running to fill for so long.

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New Shoes

As Paulo Nutini, that great Scottish bard sang ‘I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right’. He wasn’t wrong.

Despite being a physio of fair experience, a physio who often reminds clients about the importance of changing your trainers at the appropriate intervals, I appeared to have dropped the bollock on that myself. And the only thing I can put it down to is not writing down all my training runs and totally underestimating how much running I had actually been doing.

Last year I replaced my Saucony with an identical Saucony. I was focussing on the London Triathlon so in my mind my training had mainly been cycling and swimming, my two weak points. Running when it happened didn’t seem to be as important in the training diary that I kept. It was all about water and wheels. After the triathlon my regimented diary keeping seemed to tail off and again in my head so had my running.

About a week ago I started to have severe pain in my left foot, right under the big toe. I could hardly put my foot to the floor. I mentioned it to my other half, and when I suggested I needed new trainers he laughed and said ‘Nah, you’ve only just got those’. I felt like that too (although I’m sure he’s trying to stop me shopping) but the foot pain was telling me something wasn’t right. I looked at the tread and they didn’t seem overly worn. I did the squish test and they still seemed fairly robust. I then put my hand inside the left shoe and found a huge dent that was the size of my big toe, not just a little put of wear but almost worn through the trainer. How the ‘eff had I missed that?

I then went back through my training diary again up until I had stopped recording runs. I scrolled through Strava and discovered a fair few runs that I had completely forgotten about. But I had managed to convince myself I wasn’t doing that much running, because many of the runs had been so short that I had taken them for granted perhaps? So note to self…..

ALL RUNS COUNT. ALL RUNS ARE WEAR ON YOUR TRAINERS KAT, WHETHER THEY ARE THREE MILES OF THIRTEEN MILES.

When I totted it all up I had about 300 miles on paper (good old pen and paper). That’s not including runs that have completely left my memory altogether. I must completely switch off for some of those runs and I really believe that. The Sauconys went in the bin and I found myself some neutral Asics at an outlet store (Macarthur Glen Asics store in Bridgend, what a discovery!). First couple of runs and all the weird aches and pains in my feet and calves have eased off. Funny that *head butts desk at own stupidity*

So the moral of the story? Keep your training diary up to date. It all counts. Slow, fast, long or short, those runs all contribute to improving you and wearing out your shoes. If I make a resolution to keep my diary and a note of the date I start running in new shoes I might avoid total shoe disaster next time. And in new shoes the Reading Half Marathon might actually be alright.

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Bulls, Horns, Jelly Legs and Saying Yes.

As I’m sat here just now I feel like my head is in a bit of a spin. I have said ‘yes’ to something that I never thought I would. I have pounced on an opportunity instead of letting it pass me by and then doing the inevitable ‘what ifs’. No, no. Instead I said yes and got massive jelly legs at my audacity in going against my habitual ‘no, I can’t do it, what will people think?’ mind set. I hope that what I’ve done will work out but if it doesn’t, at least I can say I TRIED.

I have also said ‘yes’ to being a volunteer physiotherapist for Cricket Wales’ senior women’s team. Instead of wondering if I should do it and going over it and having an argument with myself I just applied and now I am physio for a national team. I’ve put myself out there and something amazing has come out of it.

I had an email from the PR people for the Reading Marathon and I said ‘yes’ to running it despite what other bloggers seem to think about people getting offered ‘free places’. I have been running loads lately and instead of letting my past injury woes scare me I said yes, yes I will run a half marathon.

I feel like a woman on a mission at the moment. At running club someone asked me how I fit everything in. I really don’t know I said. All I know is that I got sick of saying no to lots of things because of the fear and these jelly legs that I’ve got right now. But maybe the jelly legs are a good thing? It’s the same feeling I used to get before the gun went for an 800m race when I was 15 or at the beginning of my first marathon in 2012. These jelly legs might be a sign of good things ahead. Who knows? But at least I can say I’ve taken a great big bull by the horns and had a go. Saying yes is scary but it feels scarily good too.

I’ll just leave this here…….

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A blog about some running type stuff.

I haven’t been blogging. Uni work is full on, things are changing lots work wise and so all the ideas that popped into my head to blog about have disappeared into a black hole before I could do anything about them. I’ve never really written a things I love/reasons I run post but all that is about to change. I am easily amused and laugh at my own jokes sometimes so if you read it and think ‘what a prick’ then fair dos.

  1. I love running because I can sometimes invent scenarios in my head that involve running. Sometimes when I run I don’t put my hair up and I imagine I’m a Soviet era middle distance athlete who has taken so many drugs that I beat all the cars to the traffic lights.
  2. I occasionally love running while listening to music. Sometimes if I listen to music I will do the dance moves with my hands if Steps or the Spice Girls are playing. I have dreadful taste in music, it’s a Tragedy (fnarr fnarr).
  3. I like running because right now I have the edge over my kids when we have running races. If we’ve had a ‘boys are better than girls’ argument I suggest a race to prove a point. I’m not sure what the point is but at least I’m winning for now.
  4. I love running because it makes me love my food.  I just had some fish pie and then I was still hungry so I went and ate some more all thanks to running. There is more room in my tummy for nice things.
  5. I love running because leggings almost become legitimate attire to wear to the school gate.
  6. I love running because wearing leggings with ridiculous patterns that you normally wouldn’t be seen dead in become acceptable.
  7. I love running because when I see patients and they mention that they run and they don’t expect me to know anything about running, I can impress them with my running knowledge of funky leggings and local parkruns.
  8. I love running because sometimes when I’ve been out ages my husband will give in and make dinner.
  9. I love running because when a prat in a van toots his horn or shouts at me I have a reason to invent newer and better swears for that idiot in my head. Running feeds my creativity.
  10. I love running because when the zombie apocalypse does happen I’ll be able to run faster and for a lot longer than most other people and will hopefully survive long enough to become involved in some kind of Walking Dead set up.

Not forgetting to mention the physical and mental health benefits but they’re a given right? When I have more time I’ll sit down and write a proper, far more intellectual and topical blog. This post is probably why they say never blog for the sake of blogging.