Crisis of Confidence

When I was studying for my A Levels I completely lost my ability to play in front of people. I used to dread doing practical lessons in school because I was suddenly hyper aware of not being as good as other people in my class (it didn’t help that my class teacher was also a flautist, and amazing, and even though she had a lot more experience than I, I kept comparing my standard to hers). In all this I never stopped playing but I did have to hide when practising which became a bit of an issue when it came to checking my progress. It took a long time for me to regain my confidence and some very patient handling from some very special staff to help me over come this but over come it I did and I will always be grateful for the help I received as it enabled me to go on and fulfil my career ambition.

Fast forward to the present day and it is like I am reliving that same experience but this time from a running perspective…

At the beginning of the year I blogged about being a bit too hard on myself after a Parkrun and how I had set targets for the year to ensure I enjoyed this fitness journey rather than putting too much pressure on myself and yet now I feel that no amount of positive thinking is helping me over come this crisis of confidence.

I enjoyed a lovely little plod with some of the purple family last night; it was a 2 mile loop around Bangor designed to get us warmed up if we were staying for hills or just have company if we were not. I chatted the whole way round and didn’t stop for any walking breaks therefore proving that I can keep a consistent pace when I put my mind to it. However, at the end of the first loop I didn’t want to carry on. We had twenty minutes, I knew I was physically capable of doing another loop but there was something in me that would not continue. I was sitting waiting for the others and could not help but think how much better off they are not needing to slow down for me. When they returned I could not face sticking around and asked Jayne to take me home. Essentially, I ran away. It’s so sad when you come to the realisation that your confidence has gone on vacation. The most frustrating aspect about this is not knowing why….

I love running. It is the best thing I have ever applied myself to. I don’t intend to give up because I have reached a little hurdle but I suspect this might be something that takes a little time to mend. I really don’t want to end up sounding like a broken record and boring people with my woes so I will try to plod and get myself back on track. I’m hoping that the blog will help to remind me how things have improved!

Moving on up!

2019 is upon us and having spent New Year’s Eve enjoying some chilled time at home (with a brief but entertaining visit to a rope swing) I was all set and ready to start the year as I mean to go on – running with friends. We had a fab time at the affectionately nick-named Knoborough Parkrun (see picture below for explanation) with an excellent turn out from the purple family. The route is lovely and a good challenge so I will definitely return to give this run another go and a massive thanks must go to all those involved in organising the New Year’s Day Parkrun events – what a fantastic way to start the year!


On returning home, I did the inevitable look through the results table and started to get a bit down about my time and how it never seems to get any quicker. Now the logical side of my brain reminds me that I have been injured and I have only been back running for 4 weeks and that has been pretty infrequent thanks to the gadding about of the Christmas season but still I found myself a little blue. Then my thoughts turned to the first race I have booked for the year (Anglesey Half Marathon) and a wonder of whether I should aim to work towards a PB. When you start to question things like this I find the best course of action is to consult the Coach and see what wise words she has to offer. As always, Chris’ advice is golden and she soon put me back to an eased state of mind reminding me that speed work is never my favourite thing to do (accurate) which completely defeats the object of running (it needs to be something I enjoy) and actually I may just be suited to long slow runs! I mean it would be nice to go a bit quicker so I don’t feel like I am holding everyone else back but someone is always going to be at the back of the pack and if people don’t like the speed I am going then they simply don’t have to stay with me! I also got sent an article by Claire as she knew I was having a wobble and there’s lots in there to take on board; the first two resolutions listed are particularly noteworthy for me so if you find, like me, you’ve been a bit hard on yourself lately I would definitely recommend a quick read of this…

So, what goals might I like to achieve in 2019? Well all sorts of things started to go through my mind including trying to go one better than the previous year – who else is guilty for doing this? Last year was such a major accomplishment, why do I need to almost forget it and move on to something bigger and better?!  I decided to have a little word with myself and really think about what is important to me and my running/fitness journey and it came down to these things:

  1. Continue to maintain/develop my running buddy friendships by taking as many opportunities to run with folk as possible and explore new routes with them;
  2. Enjoy the exhilaration that is outdoor swimming and try to get as much experience of this as possible;
  3. Get to the start line of the Eryri marathon injury free!

I like that these goals are pretty vague (well, apart from the last) because it gives me room to play around and take opportunities as and when they come to me. I signed up for the gym in December purely to help reach goal 3 and have already started to try out some of the different classes that may be able to help improve my strength, I also have a PT session next week which should be able to provide me with exercises to do on the gym equipment so I can kick this IT band issue in to touch! Goal 2 is linked to the Bala Big Swim which is booked for June (4.5km swim in Llyn Tegid) so I know that I need to continue my swimming training to help build up to this but the rest of the year is pretty much a blank canvas (after Anglesey Half)! There is talk of doing things like running the Anglesey coast path with Jayne or trying to get in the sea once a week with Chris but it is all open for negotiation and that is super exciting! What I can say for sure though is 2019 is going to be a good one!