Year 3 Week 20

14th – 20th May 2018

It really isn’t long now until I go to Kenya. It’s hard to believe that a month from now it will all be over and I will be looking for something else to focus on.

For months now my main focus has been training for this half marathon. I know it will be the second time of doing it but the training is still important.

I think the fact that I know I have done it before makes me believe that I can do it again. Last year that was one of my biggest fears – not knowing if I could do it or not.

I have been training now for over 6 months and some months I have been training almost everyday. Since January I have set myself goals that have been going very well. Infact they have been going so much better than I expected.

That is until this month. For May I have set the goal to up my mileage every week and by the end of the month hopefully I would have reached 10 or 11 miles.

Last week I managed to reach 9 miles which I was extremely happy about. However afterwards I was ill. My neck was burning and swelling up I got incredibly tired and I put on 5lbs over night. I generally felt really rotten and my emotions were all over the place. So I booked an appointment with my doctor. He suspects that I might have a thyroid disease which he can only prove with further blood tests. He also said it’s brought on by stress.

Fortunately, this week I went to see Jenny and a month ago I had a DNA health test with her and this week my results had arrived. I told her my issues and she said the way I was feeling made sense. This stress the doctors said though is not mental stress – it’s physical stress.

She said that the Thyroid contains something called T3 and T4. One keeps you going helping you do the things you need to do and the other helps to heal repair and level out things afterwards. She said the one to repair is not working which is why I instantly put on weight and why my emotions are going haywire and why I am generally tired all the time.

She also said that what I have been doing is basically sticking a plaster on a stab wound.

I have had a thyroid issue for years and I have always kept up on test checking that all is ok. My main focus throughout my training though has all been about strengthening my legs and sorting out any little ailments I may have, which I feel I have done.

What Jenny said has totally made me think and I realised that has been exactly what I have been doing – I have been putting that plaster over a stab wound. I have been too busy trying to make sure my legs can get me across that finish line that I forgot to look deeper to see what the real problem was.

It isn’t all bad news though as there is something that can be done about it apparently. I have done another 9 miles since and I was a little better than before. So it means that I can still go to Kenya. But I am actually starting to doubt whether I can complete the challenge. Whatever happens, I will keep trying.

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Year 3 week 19

7th – 13th May 2018

Sometimes in life you feel you can be doing things on your own. I very often think this.

It’s like I’m in my own personal little tug of war. A war against my emotions and I’m losing

my half marathon training has not been very easy for me and when I train on my own it is the hardest thing ever.

It’s so much easier when I have someone with me rather than being on my own.

The people I go with are all so much better runners than me. They go further distances and they can run nonstop. So, I am sure, when they are with me I am holding them back.

One of my friends ran the London marathon this year and this week she invited me to run with her. I said yes but when we turned up I realised that she had actually entered me into a 10k race.

I know I have done a half marathon before but I didn’t class it as a race because it was many different events not just a half marathon – I didn’t feel the pressure of finishing on time because I had marathon and ultra marathon runners coming in behind me.

So in my head what I did last week was my first race. It was no surprise to me that I came last. However my friend stayed with me the whole way. But we did it and I even got a medal!

Two days later I went with another friend and I wanted to do 8 miles. My challenge this month is to up my mileage by a mile every week gradually getting to 10 miles however we ended up doing 9 miles instead.

So that thought of me doing it alone is not true – I have so many people who are supporting me on this journey and without them I would never have got this far.

Doubling my fundraising target also shows me how much support I have.

So those times I feel like I am struggling and I am needing to try a bit harder, I am going to remember that I am not alone and there are people around me helping- helping pull that rope too

Year 3 week 17

23rd – 29th April 2018

My post from last week has really helped me with my post for this week. Last week I told you how hard it is to stay motivated. A friend commented on it who I met when I was on my trip to Rwanda last year – he did the marathon while I did a half marathon. He simply reminded me of the reason I am doing it.

He said to remember the children, see their faces and see their joy. He also said that they need people like me to keep digging deep. All this week I have been reminded of the children and their smiley faces

Last year when training for the half marathon in Rwanda those children were my motivation. For some reason knowing that I was doing something good for someone else really drove me on. Knowing that in some small way I am helping children on the poverty line get a better future is why I did it.

About half way through the part I was struggling the most those children helped me along. They wanted to run with me holding my hand as we went. I counted I was holding the hands of about 10 children at one point. It was a very special moment for me. I don’t think I would have finished without them

Last year my run helped raise money for the children of Rwanda. This year its to help the children of Kenya. I know in the scheme of things what I am doing is relatively small as there is so much need in the world not just in Kenya but to me it’s huge. It’s a lot of effort and hard work but it’s totally worth it when you see those smiley faces.

My training this year has been really hard. I know now it’s because I lost my focus – I was too busy thinking about myself and how much hard work it is. I was forcing myself to train every week but I really couldn’t be bothered to do it. All of a sudden though, after I was told to remember the children, things changed. It was still tiring and hard work but all of a sudden I was starting to enjoy it (even in the rain). That can’t be bothered attitude disappeared and was replaced with a purpose and a reason to carry on.

If you feel you can help and donate to the children of Kenya push the link

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/500/debbie-wattis

Year 3 week 16

16th – 22nd April 2016

Over the last 3 years I have been on quite a journey – one that I think is never going to end.

Lately I have been comparing each year of this journey. In year 1 I was so determined – I was losing weight at a rapid pace, I was eating healthier than I had ever done and I had to force myself to like food that I have never liked before. I got over so many emotional issues and I confessed them all to which I think helped me get over them.

Year 2 I felt I needed a goal to keep me focused so I signed up for the half marathon in Rwanda. I had amazing determination to do it. It was never something I ever imagined I could ever do and yet I did. I was over 5 stone lighter but still very overweight. I think the odds were really against me but I feel the only reason I did succeed was sheer determination. Since then I went down hill rapidly – it was like I achieved my goal and then nothing.

Year 3, this year, I feel I have been trying my hardest to get back to how I was before but for all my efforts it’s not working. Certain things have stayed improved like my emotions. Before going down this journey it was hard to say how I would feel on that day. My boys learnt what day they should avoid me and when they could approach me. Since improving my eating habits my mood and emotions have levelled out.

My ability, motivation and achievements skyrocketed on the run up to my half marathon last year and then gradually depleted afterwards. I feel, even though I have trained so much more and I am still training and trying hard for the half marathon in Kenya this year, I don’t feel I am any where near the standard I was. I feel I need my determination back.

This chart is just how I think things are – it’s not accurate but it is how I see this journey is going. Looking back at all this has actually been encouraging because it makes me think ‘if I can do it once I can do it again’ even if it’s hard work and a huge challenge.

Year 3 week 13

26th March – 1st April 2018

This week I have struggled to complete this months challenge. It has meant that on some days I have had to double the amount of exercise just to catch up and complete my challenge.

I am at the moment doing an hours exercise at least every weekday and sometimes I extend it to the weekend too. I have never exercised so much in my life. This week though I have done about 2 hours almost everyday just so I can complete my challenge before the end of the month.

All this is for training for another half marathon I’m doing in June. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through all this pain. If it wasn’t for the kids I am raising money for I think I would have quit long ago.

I have also really cut down on my food intake too. Upping the exercise and lowering my food intake has been one of the hardest things I have done so far.

You would think that this would mean that I would lose weight. I did lose a few pounds last week but nothing this week. I feel I am doing all this effort for no reward.

These challenges are something that I have set myself to do. No one is pressuring me to succeed. I am however pressuring myself to succeed and as the weeks go by that pressure gets stronger.

I saw a quote this week that says “a diamond is just a piece of charcoal that can handle pressure extremely well”

It got me googling how a diamond is formed. They come from deep under the ground, they start as carbon (like coal and charcoal) and they are a mineral of carbon in a concentrated form. They form because of the amount of pressure sitting on top compacting it tight.

After that deep sourced lava comes up through the earth pushing them to the surface heating them to incredible temperatures in the process.

Once the ground cools they just need to be dug up and shaped to the diamonds we all see today.

I have a few diamonds that are very special to me, not just because they look nice but because of what they represent and who bought them for me.

I have never once realised what it took to get that diamond on my finger or around my neck.

This whole process of how a diamond is formed is what makes it so strong and the reason why they can’t be broken.

This little lesson on diamonds has made me think that the pressure I am putting on myself is a good thing. Upping the heat on my training is making me stronger, hopefully it is shaping me into a much better person.

So I think I will continue on my current course and hopefully it will make me stronger

If you feel you could help support this cause go to:

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/500/debbie-wattis

Year 3 week 12

19th – 25th March 2018

This month it has been a real struggle completing my challenges. 8 days away this month hasn’t really helped much. I feel it has meant I am behind on my goals

To run/walk 30 miles I am on schedule but with the swimming I am very behind and I have been trying to catch up ever since I got back from my travels. I also gave myself the added challenge to lose weight this month too. Up until now I have been failing miserably.

I have found that these challenges have been really good for me. I have risen to the challenge every month and I have not failed once. This month though I might be looking at just that – FAILURE!!! I feel the swimming I can catch up on but the losing weight, well that’s a different story

I still see Jenny my nutritionist and this week I told her that I was really struggling to lose anymore weight. I think it was nothing she didn’t already know. I also told her about this little voice I have got going round in my head telling me to eat the food I shouldn’t. I have been struggling with this little voice for a while and it wouldn’t go away until I had succumbed. I know this sounds really silly but I feel by the fact I shared it with Jenny it made that voice disappear.

She then went on to give me a new diet plan to follow which I was really happy about. I thought to myself great I will start tomorrow. Straight after I went to lunch and I thought if this diet is starting tomorrow I will eat today. I was sitting there in this cafe not even eating anything majorly bad but I was still eating something I shouldn’t and I found myself looking around and checking that Jenny wasn’t there to witness it.

I think the thought of Jenny witnessing what I was doing was far worse than the other voice I had just got rid of. So really you could say I have just replaced one voice for another.

The next day I started her diet. All I know from Jenny’s diets is that they are not easy – she likes to remove all carbs, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and anything with sugar in. I thought with my motivation at the moment there was not a chance I would even get through the first day. I am now on day 4 and still going strong I even watched the kids eat pizza today at lunch while I had a homemade vegetable soup.

I think having Jenny’s voice going around in my head, having her as my conscience, on my shoulder is definitely a good thing and I am happy to say that the scales are going down too.

Year 3 week 10

5th – 11th March 2018

Up until now I have been doing really well with the challenges I have set for myself.

I don’t think they have been easy – they have been quite hard at times.

This month the exercise part of the challenge is going far better than I expected. This month is a really busy month for me so I wasn’t sure how I would find the time but I have managed to grab a bit most days from somewhere.

The eating part of the challenge is not going quite so well. I am not eating bad, but I have to say I am not eating good either it’s just ok and there’s definitely room for improvement.

I just can’t seem to get the motivation I need. It got me thinking “how on earth did I ever do it before?”

It has meant thinking back quite a long way and I remembered that I was desperate and it was that desperation that drove me on and gave me all the motivation I needed.

I still have the desire to lose weight but I don’t have that desperation anymore. I have achieved my main goals even though I haven’t got down to my ideal weight.

To me, having the energy to keep up with the kids and being able to do so much more than I ever could before has taken away my motivation, but I want it back!!!

Matt reminded me that when I started this diet I was very strict with myself – he said I was very military like. I wouldn’t step out of line once and I did exactly what I was told.

He said that he would sometimes say “go on you can eat that it won’t hurt”, however I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even have a small bite.

I felt that Jenny my nutritionist was the expert and I was to do exactly what she said for my own benefit and it worked. It was like she was my Sergeant Major.

I really need to get back to that but I just can’t seem to do it. I need to get desperate again but since I have been seeing Jenny I have learnt a lot and I think that knowledge is hindering my motivation because I now know what to expect.

So I think I will get Jenny to get that Sergeant Major head on again and maybe do something new.

Year 3 week 6

5th – 11th February 2017

This week I have really put in a few miles. I have managed to run/walk 16 miles so far this month which I feel is a great start to my total of 50 miles by the end of the month.

My knees are feeling really good – it seems the more I run the stronger they get. That’s how I feel after the run but during it is a totally different story.

I run outside but I also do some on my treadmill. On my treadmill I can do so much better than outside. It seems I can go faster, I can keep up the same pace throughout and I feel good while doing it.

When I go outside for a run I seem to be in pain with every step. My knees seem to creak, I am so much slower too and I can’t seem to warm up.

The weather has been so cold lately that when I run outside I feel like my joints are like a block of ice and I have icicles hanging off the end of my nose.

When I get back it seems to take me all day to thaw out. Even though I have run more this month it has left me a little disheartened.

Then I got to thinking of last year and how did I train for my half marathon in May and why couldn’t I remember it being so cold. I remembered that last year for me to run I had to have an operation to remove the saggy skin from my arms. It would flap against my body causing problems when running which meant it had to go.

This time last year I was still in recovery I was practically bed bound, I couldn’t pick up anything heavy and exercise was definitely a no go.

Remembering this means I am not so disheartened anymore. In fact I have found it quite encouraging. It means I am so much further ahead than what I was last year and I have so much more time to train for it too.

Last year after I recovered from my op I only had 6 weeks to train. This year I have 6 months so I have no reason to feel disheartened but every reason to feel encouraged.

So now I get why I can’t remember the cold. I am just looking forward to some warmer weather.

Year 3 week 5

29th January – 4th February 2018

My swimming challenge is now over and I have now started my running challenge. This week I have really put in a few miles.

When I go for a run I can’t seem to run it all I have to walk some of it, I can’t seem to keep up the same pace throughout. This month that is something I am trying to work on.

When I went to Rwanda to do the half marathon last year. I met all the other people doing the challenges too. One of the guys would always refer to us as athletes. Every time it was mentioned I would laugh because in my head that was the last thing I was.

I have to admit that I don’t look like your typical athlete. Even though I have been on this weight loss journey for over 2 years I still have an awful lot of weight to lose.

A typical athlete to me is someone super fit, super thin, has energy in abundance, can run like it’s no effort at all, wears all the cool matching gear.

Not someone like me, someone who struggles with every step, someone who would love to have the matching outfits but they don’t make them in your size, someone who is likely to damage there knees with all that weight pounding on top of it and someone who is so tired afterwards that I am not fit to do anything else.

I have been running again now for a few weeks. My knees have been fine. After one run though they were so sore that I thought I might have overdone it. The next time I went running though they were fine

Sometimes I think to myself “why am I doing this?” I am overweight, I am not your typical runner, why am I putting myself through this torture?

One thing I have found on this journey is that keeping the weight off is so much harder than getting the weight off. I feel I have to do this otherwise that weight will be piling back on again.

My motivation isn’t the best so this trip to Kenya to do another half marathon is helping with that.

To do something for a good cause is all the motivation I need. Knowing that I am going there to help vulnerable children and help provide solar lamps to provide light and electricity to homes that need it. Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

Knowing that I’m helping in some small way makes the pain worth it and makes me think “who cares if I’m not your typical athlete.”

If you feel you would like to help those kids in Kenya too then click on the link.

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/500/debbie-wattis

Year 3 week 4

22nd – 28th January 2018

I decided at the beginning of this month that I wanted to do a challenge. The reason I wanted to do it was because I have a half marathon coming up in June and I needed to start training for it.

I decided to swim 2018 lengths of a 15 metre pool. I thought it would be good training to strengthen my legs with low impact on my knees. The discipline of doing it has been tough. Forcing myself to go everyday has not been easy. It has definitely given me focus though because I just didn’t want to fail this task.

I am happy to say that I completed this challenge this week. I thought this challenge was going to be tough but I find when I get my determined head on nothing stops me from succeeding. That’s probably why I finished with nearly a week to spare and I did more lengths than I was supposed to.

I have never really been very good at maths but I found myself calculating how far I actually swam

If I calculated correctly it turns out that I swan nearly 20 miles/ 32 kilometres in that time. Seeing the distance that way was really encouraging I couldn’t believe I actually swam that far.

As January is nearly over and the challenge for this month has gone really well I have decided to set a challenge for February. I have decided that next month I am to run/walk 50 miles. It seems like a totally unachievable task at the moment but if I get my determined head on I am in for a chance.

I suppose we’ll see how it goes.