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 15

9th – 15th April 2018

This week has been a particularly hard week for me. The kids have been off school so all routine has gone and I am ashamed to say all motivation has gone with it.

I know I have needed to do some exercise but I haven’t really wanted to. I think this week I would have rather have sat around on the sofa than do any exercise at all.

If it wasn’t for this half marathon coming up in June I would have done that and just sat on the sofa all day pigging out.

I have had to really push myself this week. There was one part of me saying “come on get off your butt and do something” and the other part retaliating and not being happy about it.

One thing I have always told my kids is that sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t want to do. It makes the good things totally more rewarding. I think though this week I have been teaching myself that lesson.

I am glad though I did force myself because once I was out I actually enjoyed it and I felt I didn’t waste my week.

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 9

26th February – 4th March 2018

February challenge is now over. So it’s now onto the March challenge.

March is going to be a very difficult month for me. I have so much on and very little time to think about any new challenge. I am finding though that theses challenges every month are really working for me.

I have actually really enjoyed them when they’re done. During the month I do find it tough completing them but there is definitely a sense of achievement once the month is over.

So January I swam over 2000 lengths (20 miles) of a swimming pool. February I ran/ walked over 50 miles. So I thought for March I would combine the 2.

I thought I would swim 1000 lengths and run/walk 30 miles. It may not sound like enough but I know I have about 8 days where I can’t do any exercise at all this month.

To add to the challenge I thought I would also really try and lose weight this month too. It has been months since I have lost any weight. For some reason it just doesn’t want to budge anymore no matter how hard I try. All I can do is try my best.

As my February challenge ended the March challenge has struggled to get started. All this week I have had one of my children off school sick. All have had coughs and colds and generally feeling really rotten. It has gradually gone around the house causing everyone to get it.

I feel like we have been in quarantine all week trying not to pass it any further

This has slowed down my exercise a little. Trying to exercise when you feel that rotten isn’t much fun at all. I have managed to progress a little though.

There is one consolation and that is I haven’t really fancied eating too much. Hopefully this means I might actually lose weight!!!

Year 3 week 8

19th – 25th February 2018

Back in October I went to Serbia with 8 other ladies from our church. One thing we were going to run was a women’s retreat while we were there.

It was a few days away with a group of Serbian ladies. The idea was we would go and share our stories, take seminars, do workshops and generally connect with the women.

To do this retreat it entailed us doing a year of planning before we went. We all had our own particular jobs. One of mine was to organise a few of the workshops. Which was great for me because it meant I could get creative. Creativity, I feel, is one of my strong points.

While in Serbia we felt as a team that somethings we prepared weren’t going to work. It meant changing a whole afternoon. We found ourselves in the situation of trying to fill in 6 hours with something totally new.

We came up with this new programme and it was a huge success. It was a great laugh and highly entertaining – it ended up with so many people opening up. For me it was the best part of the whole retreat.

Through this experience I learnt something about myself. I learnt that I totally enjoyed this whole experience and I found I thrived off changing the plan and coming up with something new. I was totally in my element and I really jumped in feet first. I am not sure everyone else got as much out of it as me but I have learnt I can totally wing it if I have to.

This week I have had to wing it a lot. The kids have been off school for half term which always means a change of plan. It has also made it difficult to continue with my 50 mile challenge for this month.

I thought though that I could go on the treadmill a few times. We have had workmen in our house this week and they would constantly move the treadmill into a place where I couldn’t use it. It didn’t matter how often I tried to move it back it was always the case that when I came to use it I couldn’t.

I found this frustrating as I knew my time in February was running out and I still had 19 miles to go. It meant I had to totally rethink my plans and resort to plan B.

Changing plans can very often take you in a totally different direction and it did for me this week.

I managed to meet up with a friend and we took the kids bikes. We went to a place by a lake, the kids went off and we made our way around the lake a few times meeting the kids on a few occasions. We ended up going 5 miles which was more than my normal distance and it was so much more enjoyable too.

A couple of days later I went again doing 6 miles this time though. I managed to get out a couple of times by myself upping my total by 17 miles this week.

So plan B ended up being so much better than plan A and so much more enjoyable too. There are only 4 days left to this month and I only have 2 miles to go to complete this challenge. I feel I can do that no problem – if not I will be resorting to plan C!

Year 3 week 7

12th – 18th February 2018

Sometimes I find it hard to remember how I use to be. I feel I have been going down this journey for so long now that I can’t believe how I was.

I do remember though that I let things get to me really easily – it didn’t seem to take much to tip me over the edge and for me to feel like I couldn’t cope. I think it must have been all that excess weight on my brain!!

To have a sudden change in my schedule or finding that I had extra things I had to do would cause me to have a mini meltdown and it usually resulted in Matt sorting me out.

Matt would on occasion have to go away on trips and that was always a particularly bad time emotionally for me and it would usually consist of me collapsing in a heap when he got back.

I have been wondering how I would cope now with all those things. Well this week it has really been put to the test.

Matt has been away this week leaving me with the kids at home. That always means I have to add a lot more to my schedule. I have been prepared for this one so I feel I have coped with it very well.

However this week I have had so many unexpected things fall on my lap, things that have also added to my schedule and giving me so much more to do.

It was also my birthday this week too so I got to go out a lot more.

So this week I don’t know if I am coming or going. I feel I have been pulled this way and then that way. My head is going through a whirlwind of emotions not knowing which way to go next.

If this was a couple of years ago I think I would have had a total meltdown by now.

This time though I have embraced it, got on with the job at hand and actually enjoyed the experience.

I have even managed to stay on schedule with my running/walking this month. I have now reached 31 miles only another 19 to go.

The only negative I am getting out of this is that I am a little more tired than normal but I can totally cope with that.

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.