Sunday, 17 April 2016

You didn't think you could run 30km either

If you had asked the Kate of 2013 if she would ever have imagined that she'd be so anxious about a fun run she'd entered, she would think you were crazy.

There was a time just a couple of years previous to that, that I didn't ever imagine I'd consider entering a fun run, full stop!  But since then, of course, things changed, and weekends where I didn't have an event on, were rare.

Yet here I find myself, the night before my first event of this year, just that: anxious and apprehensive.

The fact that it's mid-April and this is my first event (other than parkruns) is strange in itself.

Like previous years, towards the end of 2015, I sat down with a beloved blank Excel spreadsheet and the Australian Running Calendar, and wrote down the dates of all of my chosen events to plan towards for 2016.  I wrote down the early bird entry fee cut off dates for each one, wrote down which distances I planned to do, then budget consciously went through the list again, colour coding each event by ones I definitely wanted to do, those that I wasn't 100% on, or probably couldn't do, and those that I couldn't do.  I then put them all in my calendar, and put the early bird entry fee cut off dates in my To Do list on my phone, that would send me reminders a week out.  #rungeek

I'm often pretty slack with entering events, and sign up the week before, which usually costs $10-$20 more.  I desired to be one of those runners who was money savvy and signed up before early bird prices ended.  With so much pre-planning and organising, I had no excuses, and I signed up for the first event for the year, the Resolution Run in January before the early bird cut off date. *thumbsupemoticon*

That was in October.

As the date loomed closer, apprehension started kicking in.  A small part of it was just due to my decreasing running and general fitness.  Thanks to my knee injury in February 2015, I hadn't done much running at all that year.  I also didn't exercise as much generally, and slowly but absolutely surely, my fitness decreased.  I was worried about making the cut off time, and battling whether to downgrade my distance and working out if I should run/walk/run.

But much, much moreso worrying me about fronting up to the Resolution Run, was social anxiety.  Because, you see, in the past, when I had been at my biggest, I would have huge social anxiety about being out in public.  I've talked on here before about how I'd avoid trains
Mish with a non socially anxious Kate
and crossing by foot at traffic lights, in front of stopped cars.  I sat on a couch with Mish Bridges in early 2014 and told her and an audience about how I'd hide behind poles in nightclubs when I was young: directly because of my weight.  I was at my most recent lightest at the time of this chat, and we spoke about how amazing it was then to feel comfortable enough to catch trains again, to do anything, because I felt confident.

And yet here I was again, getting more and more socially anxious, as the year got on.  

Now this is being 200% raw and honest here...but there was an exact moment where I knew it had gone too far.

It was the 2nd January this year, and I was in a busy area (West End in Brisbane), having coffee with a friend, Tracey.  We'd planned to go to a quiet cafe where tables are sort of hidden away, but it was closed because of the New Year holidays.

We ventured across the street and tried to choose another cafe.  We walked up and down a small section of the street, trying to choose, and the more time we spent, the more anxious I was getting.  I wasn't in a great head space that morning; I'd lost my wallet including all of my cards and $500 including Christmas present money, the night before, and I was a bit rattled and upset about it.  I wasn't wearing clothes I felt confident in, because I'd been out looking for my wallet that morning, and wasn't really thinking about my coffee date. So I already wasn't feeling crash hot.  Because we'd been planning to go to the quiet cafe (The Three Monkeys, for anyone in Brisbane who knows it) :)  I was expecting to just to slide in, to a quiet table out the back and catch up with Tracey.  I wasn't expecting to be walking up and down in front of a few cafes, with dozens of gorgeous young couples sitting outside, seemingly staring at me.

We chose another cafe, which happened to be very loud, and very, very packed.  As we walked in, I was following Tracey, and I found myself putting my hands up, to cover my eyes, like a freaking Kardashian or something.

Wow.  I wasn't hiding because the paparazzi would see me because I'm famous, I was hiding because strangers having all day breakfast would see me because I'm fat.

I shocked myself so much that day.  I never thought it'd get so bad that I'd feel the need to physically shield my face...

Anyway, this is sort of where I was at, the week before the Resolution Run (it was on the 10th January).

As it got closer to the 10th January, I considered pulling out.  There was no way I wanted to: I'd paid for it and it's one of my favourite events.  Of all the events I was considering bailing on, it was the one I'd actually been good enough to pay for so far in advance.  If only I was my usual slack self, I very well may not have registered yet.

I went to pick up my race pack the day before, thinking at least that way I still had both options open.  I downgraded from the 11km to the 5.5km while I was there, thinking that might help.

I deliberated all day and my stomach was just completely in knots.  I was so anxious.  I tried to picture myself at the event.  The running community is so small, and I knew I'd see so many friends and people I know.  I was worried how much my worsening fitness and lack of recent running would affect my speed, and getting up at the crack of dawn and standing in a large crowd with clothes that I was bursting out of was just not encouraging thoughts.

In the end, I decided not to go.  I reasoned that no event was worth that much anxiety, whether I'd paid for it or not.  It was the first year I'd missed it, since my first one in 2013, and I was disappointed, but a lot more comfortable and calm on the day thanks to my decision.

After that, I decided to think very carefully about paying early bird fees, wanting to make absolute sure that I'd want to do upcoming events.

I skipped a few other events I love doing: two Fun Run Pinks, International Womens Day Fun Run, Mooloolaba Twilight Run, and the Twilight Running Festival.  The last couple of months I've hidden away more than usual.  I haven't shielded my face since that week - don't worry - but still, I haven't been my usual self when it comes to events.  The more weight I put on, the less I want to get out and exercise.  

I've noticed myself getting more and more out of breath, and my fatigue issues I spoke about in my previous post have caused me to skip so many boot camps.  I usually go 3 times a week: this year I've been going once a week or once a fortnight.  I haven't done parkrun since late January because of this, too.  It's the least exercise I've done since 2012.

I feel (and am) huge and cumbersome, and the flexibility and fitness I had worked so hard for, is a memory.  I don't want people to see me at this weight, and the few (all black) clothes that still fit, are not at all flattering.  

I went to see The Sound of Music with my Dad on Thursday night, at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC, a large state theatre).  We were seated on the top balcony, and had to walk up a few flights of stairs to get to our door.  It truly wasn't many stairs at all, but I was so out of breath, that I was just about to make an excuse and tell Dad that I needed to catch the lift the rest of the way, when I realised we'd reached the top.  We were pretty early, and there was hardly anyone inside yet, so it was really quiet.  I tried to turn my body away from my Dad, so that he couldn't hear how heavy I was panting, as we sat down.  I was ridiculously breathless.

I saw some photos of a friend running at an event last week, and I shocked myself when my first thought when seeing the photos, was "wow.  I can't ever imagining doing something like that."  (Running in an event).

For someone who's done 83 events (I just checked my nerdy running spreadsheet), that's a bit of a shock to think that way.  And it's not me being negative: I can just truly not imagine myself being at a point where I could run a distance, like I saw my friend do.

Of course I intend to try anyway, and turn this all back around, but if you're in a similar boat to me, you'll understand, it feels like a humongous feat.

Enter my friend, Courtney.  I'd mentioned that the Gold Coast Bulletin Fun Run was the next event on my list, and we agreed to do it together.  To be completely honest (sorry Court, nothing to do with you), I didn't think much about it.  Even though I agreed, I was mindfully non-committed.  It felt like so far in the future (it was just last month), and maybe I even thought Court may not end up being able to make it or something.  

She then emailed me to say she'd entered.


So I entered.  

And it's tomorrow.  I'm actually not that anxious about it, I'm just a bit blah and apprehensive.  I'm worried about how I'll fair, considering my knees, my lack of recent running, my fitness, my breathlessness, my anxiety, my random sore ankle I have today (?) and the fact I had a lot of trouble walking today (fun back issues) and had to roll to stand up, and limped around.

I don't have to run, so I can walk it all if I want.  And another beautiful friend, Mel, saw my Instagram post the other day about how I was nervous, and she immediately texted me, signed up and said she'll stick with me the whole way. :)  So I'll have both Court and Mel by my sides: #teamawesome, so I'll be fine.  I have my all black clothes laid out :/  Even black underwear, bra and crop!

I haven't done this event before but have always meant to, so that's exciting.  And we checked: you do get a medal. :)

And I reasoned to myself before: it's *only* 5km - it's just parkrun!  It's not like I'm going out there to do a 10km or half, and have to run!  In saying that, my breathlessness of late with small distances could make 5km seem like a marathon!  But I'm sure it won't be too bad.

So I have calmed down a lot.  That's not to say I'm looking forward to it, but it's not like Resolution Run.

Maybe I've popped my 2016 event cherry by planning this tomorrow - because this week I also signed up for Mothers Day Classic, and got offered to be in the Singapore Airlines team for City2South, so I'm signed up to that, too.  With MDC, I'm doing the same that I did last year: their "I Can't Be There, But..." option.  It's so so so amazing that they do this: you can sign up, and do the event yourself, anywhere, at any time, with any distance, and they mail you your medal.  And it's a cheaper entry price, too!  MDC this year is the morning after my brothers
Court and I in my happier running times
wedding, and I'm on clean up and airport driving duties, so I reasoned it'd be too much for me to get out and participate in the Brisbane event.  And this option suits my social anxiety very much!  I joined the team Rina's Runners, for our friend Rina, for anyone reading this who knows of the team. :)  

And City2South is in June, so I have a few extra weeks to pep myself up for that.

I was telling my GP the other day about tomorrow's event, and how I was feeling about it.  I'd told her the week before about the time I ran my 30km event, and how I wrote on my hand: "You didn't think you could run 1km either" to help me get through the run.  Because at one stage I didn't think I could run 1km.

When I said how I was doubtful about my ability, my GP reminded me of what I wrote on my hand, and it was the best thing she could have said.

So tomorrow I'll remember, that I didn't think I could run 30km either, but I did.

And one day soon, I'll write on my hand "You didn't think you could walk 5km either".

I'll check in after the event.  Follow my Snapchat for the live feed. :)


  1. Cheering you on, brave Kate!

    Linda J

  2. Oh Kate you are putting yourself under so much pressure, my heart aches for you. I remember these feelings way back when, and I remember reading your blog post when you ran your first 5km. I read that post often. You need to go back and read that. Now. It's still one of the most inspirational blog posts I've ever read.