Tag Archives: moody

Living with the curse…

noo noo girl running for David

Having a womb is both a blessing, and a curse. My womb has produced my beautiful children, and for that I shall forever be grateful to it. But the monthly backache, abdominal pain, bloating and spots, to be honest, I have had enough of. You can feel your period coming, like a steam train roaring out of control downhill; the passengers desperately want to jump for their lives, but have to endure their journey to the bitter end. Snatching at people, befuddled brain, losing the will to carry on; all these are monthly visitations that I dread. I try to imagine they are just not there; I am not feeling grumpy, tired, miserable, moody, irritable, tetchy, impatient or cross. No. I am floating away, over a summer meadow full of wild flowers with their dizzying scent surrounding me, totally at peace with myself and the universe.

Even though it’s the last thing you want to do when you are feeling at a low ebb, running does alleviate some of the more ’emotional’ triggers that your period can bring, even if it doesn’t really help with the physical issues. Seriously, if I couldn’t, when at the point of exploding with frustration at every human being within a one-mile radius, just go for a run – on my own, with absolutely no other oxygen-breathing entity entering my ‘white light’ (a sphere of about 10 metres that extends in front of, behind, above and below my body) – I would probably end up incarcerated. Not just thrown into a cell, with the key metaphorically tossed into a river. We are talking about being chained to a cart and taken to Tyburn gallows, hanged, disembowelled then my body cut into four parts, each with a limb attached (to be displayed outside my home) with my head probably put on a spike on London Bridge.

Yet, go for a run, and life becomes like that Chariots of fire beach scene that begins and ends the film… There I am, running down the beach, with the spray suspended around me, a ridiculously happy smile on my face. Sand all over my kit; doesn’t matter. Wind ruining my hair; no worries. Rain smudging my mascara; not a problem. Except, unlike the main characters, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, there are no Olympic gold medals to be had in between. Instead, the reward is simply release. Release mainly of stress, situated firmly and deeply in the brain region.

I am sure if I didn’t have this outlet, then I would feel as if my head had been boiling in a cauldron of water for half and hour, with my eyes already burst and a strong layer of fat risen to the surface. Yes, reader, it truly can feel that bad. I’ve tried taking supplements to help me recently – both with improving my running, and coping with monthly fatigue and period pain. The one-supplement-fits-all powder I tried looked liked pondweed. It promised me every nutrient I could possibly need in my over-worked and over-stretched lifestyle. Knowing it was so amazing I persevered, for about four days, after which my stomach, and gagging, firmly told me no more. Then I progressed to an elixir that would improve my speed in a race, only to suffer horrific wind – horrific for both me and those around me. Even the extra potent royal jelly, filled with the wizened knowledge and power of millions of years of queen bees made no inroad into my sorry state. The label of this last panacea stated: store in a cool, dry place, out of sight and reach of children. Did it mean me, or the supplement? I drank the full contents of one vial before breakfast every day for peak performance. There was none.

Maybe, just maybe, good old-fashioned rest is all I need to re-establish some state of peace, both emotionally and physically. Well, the sun is now strong enough to send warmth deep into the soul, so now I’ve finished writing this I am going to make a coffee and allow the spring sunshine to work it’s magic. Mother nature to the rescue, once again.

Stuff the self-pity

noo noo girl running for David

Being a woman is just so tough! With my race kit methodically laid out on Saturday night, I went to bed in anticipation of a local 10k race the next morning. When I woke up my back was in creaking agony and it felt like someone had inflated a (painful) balloon in my abdomen; yes, my period had started. My first reaction was … “ugh, not today…it’s a mission just to get childcare sorted for a weekend race, get myself sorted and to the race on time, summon the mental energy needed to attempt to run at threshold pace (80-85 per cent effort is as mentally exhausting for me as it is physically!) pull myself together at the end, return home, collect children, then carry on with all the normal Sunday events… without an achy back and stomach”. So my initial hopes of a PB were left on my pillow and a grumpy me slumped down to the kitchen to prepare my porridge. A sorrier sight of self-pity could not have been found in any other house in the land.

Already I was making my excuses; how can I possibly hope to run well when I am in pain; men have it so easy; I don’t think I am up to this; I am expecting too much from myself – if you are a woman, you will know exactly what I mean! I was not doing myself any favours, and I had written myself off before I even left the house. But I didn’t decide to bail out and, in automaton-like fashion, I got myself ready and drove to the event. Everyone from my club, as always, was buzzing, despite of a light drizzle provided from above – the perfect cooling shower for 300 or so runners. Some were nursing slight hangovers but still expected to do well, some were eager to get the race over to get on with the day’s planned events, then there was me… sad me standing rubbing my back and wondering how my body was going to respond when it received the command to run fast.

The gun went off and the faster starters shot ahead. I did not. My legs did respond to my brain though, and after a few minutes I managed to forget my sore back as I concentrated on placing my feet through the hazy rain. The more I thought about running the less attention I could give to my ailments, and the less attention I gave to them, the less they seemed to hurt. Once my rhythm was established, which takes me a good few miles, I surprised myself to be enjoying the cadence, as well as being outside, even though the sun was not in support of us. Running in the rain has a mysticism about it; one is transformed back thousands of years to our ancestors who would have had to run to hunt in all weathers. The rain makes me feel connected to the earth and life, present, past and future, unlike any other running weather.

And then it was done; 10k ran. It wasn’t my day for a PB, but I wasn’t far off. Yet I finished feeling refreshed and invigorated, and much more ready for the day ahead of me than I would have otherwise been. In short, running bought me out of myself and helped me step out of my little puddle of self-pity. If you can get out for a run, despite of, not because of your life, then you have achieved something special for that day. With the ‘life-juggling’ we woman perform, we have to re-focus every so often and remember that every run or race we do is the achievement, whatever the pace, time or pain. Sacrificing one type of pain for another obviously has some benefits.


To self-sabotage, or to not self-sabotage, that is the question…

noo noo girl running for David

Sabotage: noun: any undermining of a cause verb: to injure or attack by sabotage

Self- sabotage: to do the above to oneself

50 shades of grey. If only life was so simple. Life seems to be a monochromatic spectrum so vast that I can fear I am mad, or can soar up to outrageous ecstasy. Both without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. I can be moody, dark, pensive; spiritual, philosophical, universally open; blessed, blissful and bursting with love. Sometimes all in one day, but mostly these phases of life come and go, don’t you find, usually before, alongside or after specific events.

When I was younger I would sit waiting at bus-stops, train stations, in snaking queues outside popular restaurants in London with other students. Did I have a clown’s face painted on me? No. Still people would often approach me and say ‘Smile. It might never happen.’ So annoying! And yes, invariably it was men who felt the need to cheer me up. Was I sad? Of course not. More likely I was daydreaming as I have always loved to, and was actually far away from my physical spot.

Do you find people have to approach you? They need to comment or communicate, whether you want them to or not. Bemused, I normally shrug off the comment with a half-hearted smile that stretches no further than the corners of my mouth. Some people are never moody… or so they say. They aren’t grumpy; they are happy all the time. But life, and anyone living it, is never so simple, understated or boring to elevate any human being into a superior state of perfect personality. No downs, and the ups would not whisk us within a few seconds out billions of miles into unknown galaxies. No, these people, rather, perceive they are always happy, and – perhaps – are not introspective enough to catch more subtle nuances in their daily shifts of emotion.

Recognising we are moody is a gift, isn’t it? We can warn others, isolate ourself, self-medicate with a good long run pounding hard pavement in bitter winds with frosty air biting out our badness. What then, of that other state/mood that can precede the scales of life shifting down? For me, self-sabotage isn’t an emotional state but something like an annoyingly faulty link in my DNA. It doesn’t come along in a monthly cycle. Someone else’s actions cannot induce it. Tiredness or failure; not guilty.

It lives inside me, woven into my fabric as subtly and intricately as the robin in my garden weaves a tuft of sheep’s hair into its lilliputian nest. It exists within. Having looked – everywhere – I can’t find any switch that is flicked before it reappears. Like an eighteenth century religious zealot I believe that everything always works out in life. Every day brings warmth through new offerings, insights, individual moments of perfection. But there it is. Lurking behind everything. Ready to advocate chaos and doom, and wanting to rip apart those little cupboards of life that I slowly build and fill with happiness. Others will fortune and adventure into their lives. I seem to create a roller-coaster; keep moving up, always falling back down. Like British Summer Time in October, it is upon you before you know it and you are left in the dark.

No one it seems wants to talk about this. Well, who would want to? So, where can we escape to from this brute? I am tired of him/her/them. Set 50 leeches upon my skin and get them to suck it out of my body and I will give you 50 pieces of gold.

(We must come back to talking about madness later)