Conquering the Mountain

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Today, I achieved a milestone. I refer to it as Everest but it is in fact a very small hill. Let me explain.

My running route looks like a rectangle, with steep inclines on the shorter sides and a more gentle gradient along the long sides. This makes the initial jog easy (downhill), turn the corner, carry the momentum then… Everest. what starts as a gentle gradient becomes a small hill, and for weeks I’ve made it only halfway up before feeling like my lungs were going to collapse. But today – FANFARE – I DID IT!

I not only got over the hill, I plodded on and got all the way to the end of the long-bit-of-the-rectangle! Then I had to walk up the short rectangle bit (massive hill) but I kept up a good pace and did some lunges while I got my breath back. Then i jogged-ran-jogged across the home straight and repeated. Didn’t manage to get up the hill without stopping for a second time but once was enough. Yay me!

Interestingly, this took me a minute longer than usual. This could be because today is ridiculously hot, or because my ankle hurts from wearing supid sandals at the weekend, or (more likely) because I’m slower plodding round at a slow jog than I am jog-walk-jogging. I assume it’s better for me to keep jogging for as long as I can?

Anyway, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine 🙂

Keep on running!

Running Scared

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As you may know, I’ve started jogging round my local park a few times a week. As it’s nice weather, that tends to mean a fair bit of people and dog dodging as the path is quite narrow. Today, I was grabbed by a child and befrended by a German Shepherd (I literally looked down to see him padding along next to me like some kind of spirit animal). Whilst I don’t mind a minimal amount of interruption I’ve found that it does distract me and slows me down. It also makes me very aware that I’m a young woman on my own running through some secluded areas where anything could happen. I know that this sounds paranoid but I have become suspicious of anyone without an obvious ‘purpose’ to be there (running, dog walking, with children etc.) I’m not sure what I can do to protect myself or make myself less vunerable? I do go to boxing classes so could probably defend myself to a certain extent but I don’t know what I can do to prevent anything happening in the first place. Perhaps I need to borrow someone’s dog.

The other problem that I’ve encountered is focusing on pushing myself. I’ve found that if I think ‘I’ll run to that tree’ I can get there but no further – it’s like my brain holds back the exhaution until I reach my goal then heaps it on so I can’t go on. I’ve been trying to look at the concrete in front of my feet to stop this but it’s a difficult habit to break. I’m still not entirely sure what I should be doing wth my breathing either which doesn’t help. I’m just trying to keep it steady but the path I run on is quite hilly so that often doesn’t work.

In other news, I’ve started properly timing my runs and I knocked a whole two minutes off my PB so I’m pleased that I’m improving. Yay me!

Career Worries

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I don’t currently have a career. I used to, but I hated it and now I have no idea what I want to do. I’ve got so far down a career path (masters degree) to be able to swap to another profession at the same level but too old to seriously think about retraining.

The main problem is  that I don’t feel that I’ve been very good at any of my previous jobs. I’ve never really felt like I’ve made a difference or helped anyone. I’ve mostly been shouted at or complained to. I have been frequently patronized (I’m sure you can work the photocopier better than me, can you just run me off 10 copies? Will you be serving the refreshments? Are you here as a placement student?) and have often made people cry. I have had jobs that have made me so stressed I couldn’t sleep. I have sat in my office at 10pm on a Friday night and asked myself what I’m doing with my life.

I’d love to be a writer but I genuinely don’t know how that happens. How do you decide what to write about? How do you make money from it? I’m from the West Midlands, where jobs are based in factories and involve manual labour. I guess the answer is to write something first then see what you can do with it? Maybe start with short stories?

As always, any help or comments would be much appreciated!

Things I’ve learnt…

1. Be true to yourself. Fake people are incredibly obvious and really annoying. Be diplomatic, but be truthful. Don’t be afraid to like things that no one else does. One day you’ll meet someone else who gets it, I promise.

2. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, don’t do it. Working in recruitment I’ve had lots of experiences where I’ve felt that someone is wrong for a job that, on paper, they’re totally right for – and for the most part I’ve been correct. If you know that something feels off but you don’t know why, I’ve found that just saying “I’m not sure, there’s something I can’t put my finger on” can help to start a conversation about your reservations. It also encourages others to stop and think.

3. Don’t take no for an answer. Whatever it is, keep going at it. Try to think of different ways to get what you want. Get feedback on why you’ve been rejected and work on those points. Ask for help from everyone you can think of. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

4. Have a plan. If you have an ambition, write it down and work out the steps you need to take to get to it. Set a timeline. Set realistic goals. Be prepared to be flexible when life gets in the way. Even if you have to abandon the plan for 6 months (or 6 years!) and start back at the beginning, never give it up completely.

5. What goes around comes around. Also be careful with your soul. The world has a funny way of repaying you for your previous actions.

6. Listen to your elders. Despite the pace at which the world has changed, basic human relationships are fundamentally the same as they always have been. In my experience, older people couldn’t care less what you think of them so their advice is usually bullshit free and super honest.

7. Make time for yourself. Don’t run yourself ragged. Get enough sleep (ignore all this 7-8 hours rubbish, I need at least 9 to function properly) and drink lots of water. If you have kids (I don’t) I’m not going to patronize you by suggesting helpful tips – I guess just try to get through the day. After seeing some of my friends with their newborns I am in total awe of you.

8. Challenge negative behaviour. I know this can be hard (I once accused a UK CEO of sexism) but if you don’t say something it normalises the behaviour and makes you part of the problem. I have this argument all the time about people who say “it doesn’t matter if I say policeMAN” or “why wouldn’t I call her Mrs …, she’s married”. The semantics themselves aren’t the point but they’re part of the bigger issue. As far as I’m concerned, someone’s gender is irrelevant to their job title just as their marital status is irrelevant to their name. If someone chooses to become a Mrs then that’s totally their decision, but don’t assume that’s the default reaction to marriage. I could expand on this topic but that’s not the point of this post so I’ll return to the subject in the future.

9. Remember that we’re here for a good time not a long time. Don’t beat yourself up about past mistakes. Don’t obsess over small issues. Try to get things in proportion. My nan used to tell me “you die if you worry, you die if you don’t so why worry at all”.

10. Be nice. I can’t state this enough. I’ve had my fair share of negativity thrown at me in the past and it can be incredibly hard to rise above it. You need to remember that people who say nasty things only do it to make themselves feel better about what I can only assume are deeply sad little lives. Pity the haters who need to stoop to that level. Remember that jealousy will get you nowhere.

Spread the love people!