February, continuing my early Spring cleaning

In my last blog i talked about 5S, getting rid of “stuff”, making sure the things i kept were useful and in good order, and starting a lifestyle in which old habits don’t grow back. This was the start of a cleansing period for me, I continued doing this both with physical items as well as in my mind, getting rid of negative thoughts and pushing positive ones to the front of my mind. I realised i had been worrying over not receiving a payslip each month, or at least not receiving one for an interim period. This worry was strangely greater than the worry of not actually receiving money, I guess i’d come to terms with not receiving money as i’d kind of got the money in one go when i left Zurich in December and received redundancy.

I used some of the acceptance training i’d been reading about, i let go of the payslip thoughts by simply accepting they won’t turn up, there was nothing i could do (for now) about this as i didn’t have a job, so why worry about things you can’t immediately control.

I replaced these thoughts with more positive ones such as what i was doing with my time – more time at home, more time with my mother, more time doing new things such as some voluntary mentoring and coaching, more time to simply slow down life and enjoy what i have more.

I also took the decision to drop out of a couple of races i had entered. I entered these last year while i was feeling low, the organisers of these events (Centurion running) are first class and i’d been along to cheer on others at some of their events, but had never raced with them so entered the South Downs and the North Downs 50 mile races in April and May. While it would have been great being part of these races, including running with friends, i found myself really questioning Why ? had i entered them. In previous years i’ve searched deep for reasons why i run, the answers have been i like exploring and touring the country, especially up and down mountains, and i no longer get motivated by entering races over long distances (not due to the time to do these things, the mountain races take just as long, however i find the more varied terrain in the mountains breaks up the monotony for me). The South and North Downs are on my doorstep, i run them quite a lot, if i want to run a long distance along them then i don’t need a race to do this, i just download a route to my watch and off i go. So i contacted the organisers, passed my place onto someone more deserving on the wait list, and left myself with just three races this year – Exmoor, Lake District, and Scotland, starting in June and ending in September.

Physical health wise i feel great, i’m running less than ever but swimming more, plus some spin classes. My step count is through the roof, no more days where i work from home and struggle to hit 1,000 steps. As usual for this time of year i have a small “niggle” (don’t call them injuries, that’s negative), this time it’s a tight plantar, almost certainly caused by my over enthusiasm at the start of the year when i dived into my elevation training plan far too quickly and stressed the bottom of my foot. I saw the positives in this, firstly i still had Bupa from work until March so got physio to help out, and secondly it was a learning point for me as i try to move from using others training plans and onto creating my own – i knew you have to be careful not to increase mileage quickly, which i wasn’t, but had overlooked the same rule for elevation and gone from minimal to 5,000ft a week with a couple of weeks. I ended february pretty similar to january having covered 230km in distance and 20,000ft in elevation, sticking to 4 runs (sometimes a mixture of run/hike) a week, and despite the tight foot i actually feel pretty good.

Highlight for the month was being featured in Men’s Running magazine as well as online in RunUltra.com . I try to live a normal life, i’m an average person trying to do non average stuff, nothing mega like others i know however non average in that many others will follow a set routine, day in, day out, and before they know it life is gone, whereas i like to take small risks and try something new (for example, leaving the comfort of Zurich). I don’t think i let others down by being like this, i give my all when i’m involved in something, but i have a limited attention span and so rather than lose interest and let others down, i move on. It was great when Men’s Running noticed this and asked to feature me, it’s all very well reading about elite athletes and those who are sponsored/ambassadors for brands, however how many actually reach that level ? I like reading about more normal people as well since these are the kind i can realistically aspire to be more like.

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Sally (my wife) and myself promised we’d go visit somewhere new at least once a month, every month this year. January saw us go to Leith Hill in Surrey, February we ventured to Beachy Head and Birling Gap. March is the start of us travelling a little further and staying away, we are going to an old military establishment in Portland and staying for a long weekend, we will explore some of the South West Coastal path, i’m looking forward to that.

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So that’s it, the second month of my life after Zurich survived. There are certainly things i miss but i am enjoying new things more, I always have the option to return to my old life in the future but i won’t always have the option to try this new life, so no regrets so far, and as the days become longer and warmer i can only believe things will only get better.

All the best,

Mark

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