Oxygen is overrated – Open Water Swimming Part 1

Oxygen is overrated

Oxygen is overrated….and so is being warm. Learning to swim was all very well but then the realisation hit that I was actually going to have to swim outside. In the sea. Or a lake. Somewhere where you can’t see the bottom and there are other things in there with you. And it’s not heated.

We arranged the date and picked a location (no wild swimming for us, but then who even knew that was even a thing?) an official open water swimming place in a lake about 40mins away. They had wetsuits for hire or buy and were very enthusiastic about us just showing up and getting in.

It didn’t even occur to me to be apprehensive until we were stood in the booking office. Then when I saw people in wetsuits walking up from the lake and leaving the changing rooms about to go out, I started to get very, very, very scared.

The sizing of wetsuits appears to be a mostly arbitrary thing (probably not really given some time and a lack of fear), they have size charts which correlate to height, weight and sometimes waist measurement but the brackets of measurement are sometimes large, sometimes overlap, it’s very confusing. Especially at 8am on a cold Saturday morning with cold dread fear in your stomach. In the end it was easily resolved because they only had 3 of the larger sized wetsuits left so we took those and they all fit fine. It wasn’t as hard to get it on as I thought. There is some pulling and shimmying but it’s not impossible.

Wet suited up, feeling a bit silly but then realising no-one was pointing and laughing at us, we were escorted by a friendly staff member down to the swim-off point (i.e. a pontoon) and given a bit of advice. Some of that advice even remained in my head , I’m sure there was more than these, sorry:

  • Wait for a bit in the water by the pontoon before swimming off and practice breathing out under water until you can breathe normally
  • Purposefully let some water in your wetsuit as soon as possible so your body heat starts to warm it up
  • Don’t worry about distance on your first try just get used to the sensation of swimming with a wetsuit on

There was a choice of going in via the steps or just sliding in off the edge of the pontoon. I chose the latter – I knew once my feet felt the cold they were going to go on strike and there was no way I was getting in otherwise. And before I could give myself the chance to say WTF am I doing here, I got in.

I lost all ability to swim, breathe, speak (apart from some hissed swearing) for a good few seconds. The cold is a physical shock! Then I gradually warmed up, the advice surfaced in my brain and I hyperventilated into the water for a while until I could semi-normally breathe again. My bare feet – Oh Lord. And my ears! Thankfully my hands didn’t feel too bad.

After a few minutes and some giggling, we set off for a buoy, part doggy paddling, part breast stroke, and something that resembled front crawl for very short bursts. The hardest thing with front crawl was persuading myself to put my already very cold face in the water and that the wetsuit makes you so buoyant your bottom keeps boinging up into the air which pushes your face in the water or you have to force your torso to go slightly banana shaped to keep your face out.

And – worse – putting my face in the water meant I got glimpses at what was under the water. It was incredibly clear so you could see all the lake weed and whatnot that was below you (and which occasionally, shudder, also brushed against your bare feet). Every time that happened, I am ashamed to admit I completely forgot how to swim again and doggy paddled/panicked/hyperventilated for a bit until I calmed down.

We swam (or an approximation of) back and forth for a bit then struck out around the lake loop that is marked out. Eventually I got into a rhythm of front crawl for 10 or 15 strokes, then breast stroke for the same. My breathing got more controlled, I decided to close my eyes when I put my face under the water to minimise the “weed-fear” and I remembered how to swim again. I even swam past a moorhen, which was surreal for both of us.

This is definitely going to take some practice. The water was 14 degrees apparently and presumably as its still only Spring, it will only get warmer and easier. Here’s hoping.


Runderful! Getting running…..


How is it that I find myself up to my knees in a freezing cold Welsh estuary water trying to find submerged stepping stones with bemused sheep and swans looking on?

I think we decided to do this triathlon thing because we want to capture that youthful feeling of delight that you get when running through beautiful countryside or plummeting down a hill on your bike or carving through crystal clear waters.

I am the Tri-Sista that did not run. It was my kryptonite – I used to run and I gave it up after my hip was replaced. I can swim and bike well but I needed to get back to running to stand a chance keeping up with the other two (both long legged gazelles with mile-eating strides). So I went to the library and got a book on how to run. Old school.

It was a Runner’s World book and it suggested that I do the 30-30 Getting Started plan. This involved 30 runs of 30 minutes over 30 days. You walk for the first 10 minutes, then alternate 30 seconds running with 30 seconds of walking for 15 minutes, and then walk for the last 5 minutes. This seemed just what I was after – a slow gentle way to get moving.

So I did the first few runs in the area around my home and things went well. But when I had to go to South Wales on business for a week the fun really began. I have run along cliffs dotted with sheep at dawn, along the beach with the sun warming my face, puffed up sand dunes and scrambled over castle ruins – all before breakfast. It has been brilliant.

On my last evening I decide to run along the estuary to the castle ruins of Ogmore. I parked my car and puffed along the grass track to the castle. The river, which ran close to the castle, had about 25 big stepping stones leading to a little village I could just see in the distance. Well it seemed like a good idea.

I hopped from one stone to another and thanked my lucky stars that they were not wet and slippy. Laughing at my intrepid behaviour I run/walked on to the village and made friends with a couple of horses and read the information boards along the way. Finally I decided to head back. Now I really should have known that a tidal estuary will tend to flood (being a graduate of a coastal management course and all) but it took me totally by surprise that there were no stepping stones to be seen across the river. Nothing. Nada.

I checked the map. The nearest bridge was about 3 miles away and then I would have to walk back another 3 miles to the car. I stood there dithering. Should I walk or try to cross? There was not a soul in sight – just me and the swans. Panic set in. I will have to cross.

So tucking my car keys in my knickers, I took the plunge. I could just about see the stepping stones and the water came up to my knees. I had to take little leaps from one to another and tried to avoid falling into the waist deep water either side. It was about half way across that the absurdity of my situation hit me and I started giggling. This was adventure. I was having a ball.

Back at the car after an hour of running, soaking wet and feeling massively pleased with myself, all I could think about was how can I get my kit dry so that I can do it again tomorrow?

The first rule of Running club is…..

……don’t be an eejit at Running club.

I’ve been so busy with my swimming in the past year that I’ve only had time for maintenance runs with the Tri-sistas and not really had any focus on running….but I’ve always had in my mind my target to break 50 mins for a 10k.   I’ve come close in the past with 52:00 being my PB but shaving off that 20 seconds per kilometre has eluded me.

Now lovely husband has been trotting off with his friend every Monday night to the local running club for nearly a year and he has just got faster and faster and more and more lean.  Last month I decided it was time to get back into it, and having booked the delightful girl next door to mind the Tri-mini’s team while we went out with some trepidation I went along to join him.

It is a lovely, friendly and informal group, not affiliated and free for anyone to come along at any level.  They explained that there is normally a group who splinter off at about 3 miles and then another core group who run 6 miles.

When I arrived at my first session, one very nice lady kindly explained that it didn’t matter how slow I was I wouldn’t be left behind (she may or may not have looked me up and down assessing my non-runners slightly paunchy build).  It was a very kind thing to say but these kind words unfortunately triggered all my proud competitive instincts and I was FIRED up.  When the team set off I went off like a bat out of hell.  I ran faster than I ever had before in any race at any time and even led the faster core group for a few very short moments.  I thought I was going to DIE the whole time, but kept a super happy running face on and was chatting and laughing.  It was like being in a race but actually racing people rather than trying to beat my own time.

For a week after each session, my legs ached a lot, like a deep core bone ache.  But I was so pleased with myself, I could smell that sub 50 minutes coming just round the corner.

Well yes, anyone who has ever had a running injury before or who has even the smallest amount of common sense can guess what happened next…the deep core bone ache post-running is not a good thing. Of course it’s not.  I started waking up in the morning and having to limp down the stairs because one ankle wouldn’t bend and the same calf and foot ached all the time with a nasty stingy hurt.

Eventually I could no longer run at all.

Lots of googling has pointed towards it being Achilles tendonitis, hopefully only mild but lots of evidence to say if it starts that I should take it seriously and stay away from the pavements for a few weeks.

So the sub-50 will still elude me for a few more months.   When I can start running again, I’m definitely going to be more sensible and patient.  Maybe even follow a proper training plan rather than just going out there and running hell for leather…..?


First ever Swycle session this weekend (and yes Swycle is a word, I googled it, in Triathlon circles anyway). Basically we swam and then went for a bike ride i.e. the first two legs (phases?) of a triathlon.

It’s also called Brick training – where you combine two of the triathlon skills to get your muscles/body/brain to practice the horror/shock of doing something hard right after you have done something hard and then go on to do something else hard after that. Triathlon sounds just great when you write it down like that hey?

There were some hiccups, one sister went to a completely different pool so missed the swim leg. Lets call it a gin related WhatsApp miscommunication or misunderstanding, all parties taking responsibility and apologising profusely while equally all parties feeling just a little bit guilty/ and slightly annoyed. Anyhow we put it behind us and only two of us swam.

On a side note, my swimming is getting better every session, I swam a drill session, working on my breathing to try and stop hyperventilating every time I get tired and also started breathing out through my mouth rather than my nose. Is that obvious and what everybody else does already? It made things much easier. Sessions go so much faster with variation, we had written swim training sessions with us and floats and the 45 minutes flew by.

Then straight out of the pool and into cycling kit. This was quite hard and a little bit terrifying. Damp bodies trying to wrestle on lycra, wet hair into helmets. It puts the whole transition thing we are going to have to deal with into perspective. This particular transition took 45 minutes, what with dealing with lockers, extracting bikes from cars, pumping up tyres and a little bit of chatting and apologising (see above). But we eventually got going with a 10km bike ride. And you soon dry off. So that’s encouraging.

Basic bike maintenance is definitely moving higher up the priority ladder. And an Open Water swim session is on the horizon. Stick with us.

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Veni, Natavi, Vici – Swimathon 2017

4 months ago I couldn’t swim a length of front crawl. 2 weeks into adult swimming lessons and I could manage 2 lengths and then my capability seems to have exponentially increased every week. Swimming has become just a little bit addictive, I just want to get back in the pool to concentrate on different bits of my stroke and breathing and speed. But in all my sessions so far I’ve never swum continuously up and down for longer than 2 lengths, I’ve always stopped and had a drink, a breather, possibly (probably) a chat. This as it turns out, was an oversight.

The target for this first part of the year was Swimathon 2017, a 5k distance which depending on my progress, my sisters and I were going to split equally or some other proportion between us as a team.

We ended up with my stints being 10 lengths at a time. I’ll be honest my preparation wasn’t the greatest, I did a boot camp the morning of, then didn’t make good choices in the hours before regarding pre-exercise fuelling (I’m writing a really interesting research blog about eating and exercise – watch this space – but this was an example of what NOT to eat before you swim) so when I finally got in for my turn it was with a slightly heavy non-dolphin like air. 10 lengths in one go is hard. I don’t think I ever realised how hard swimming is when you do it as an endurance sport. Writing this down in actual words makes me want to face palm about what a numpty I am, of course it’s hard…..

My sisters, aka mermaids, swam their 20 lengths barely breaking sweat, and I made it through my 4 lots of 10 lengths, but it hurt, interestingly though each set got slightly easier and we finished in style with some sprint lengths, last team in the pool, just us and the wonderful volunteers who organised and the lap counters (slightly wearily) applauding us in.

Next target, keep working on technique to increase the efficiency of my swimming (I might be swimming but it’s not very pretty if you know what I mean) and build up swimming endurance. I’m going to do some swimming interval training, just like I would if I wanted to increase my running speed and distance. I’ve found some Speedo Swim Training workouts that I’m going to try – an 8 week plan, check it out here:


They seem a bit complicated so I have tasked one of my sisters with coming up with some simpler ones that you can pick and mix from. Watch this space.

Also Open Water Swimming……soon anyway……when it’s a bit warmer [coughs nervously, sidles into next room].

Kit for the Curvaceous – Part 1, Tops

Because it’s not just the skinny who want to exercise….


Before I had children I used to go the gym (fairly) regularly. Sure there were periods where I didn’t and I embraced the pizza and red wine a little bit too readily but even so I was (fairly) young and could mostly get away with it. One thing I didn’t worry about was what to wear when I went, I just threw on a pair of leggings and a vest top and my go-to sports bra of the time (I did worry about my bra actually, I can’t afford not to but more on that in a later post).

Since 2 children and the associated period of rapid weight gain, a bit of weight loss, a bit more weight gain (I never understood how some people can get through pregnancy without eating an occasional (daily) custard slice – and there’s my problem in a nut shell) , I’ve got more wobbly bits than I used to. My triathlon training is helping and the diet but some of those bits I believe are here to stay. I know I’m meant to be proud of these wobbly bits and not care what anyone thinks of me when I’m running or boot camping or cycling but I’m not ashamed to admit that I am vain and I do care. I am immensely proud of what caused those wobbly bits (i.e. the children part, not the associated custard slice inhalation part) but I am sure I am not alone in feeling self-conscious and wanting my outfit to at least flatter my good bits and to help in concealing my less good bits (my husband has just commented that all my bits are good bits (bless him).

We may all have different good and bad bits, you might be lucky and/or be more confident than me and have all good bits but my particular areas of concern are my bottom and my tummy.  I want a top that doesn’t leave my bottom too exposed and I want it to flatter/not cling/drape over my (hard-earned) mum tummy. And considering that running, working out, gym-ing is or should be the first stop in a weight loss healthy eating life transformation I am frankly staggered that there is not more choice out there for the not-yet-so-perfect of figure. Nike have only recently introduced a plus size selection – Nike!! – Bonkers.

After considerable research, a Pinterest board and quite a lot of grumbling, I present to you my top 5 “Kit for the Curvaceous” Running/Gym tops. Going in order of Price, High to Low.

Sweaty Betty, Lateral run vest, £65 and Seamless Double Time Workout Tank £60

Two entries from SB, both long line and slightly flowy/flattering. The double time tank my especial favourite, layers work for me and help to break up the tummy/hip area which I find can be flattering and confidence inspiring.

Nike Breathe, women’s training tank, £35


Best bits: the back! Plus it’s basically a loose t-shirt but the cut-outs and netting details make it look more than that

New Balance perfect tank, £24.00


Best bits: Ruching at the sides gives a looser fit across your tummy and a low dip hem at the back

Domyos energy long fitness tank top, £5.99

Best bits: long loose cut, flowing lightweight fabric, lots of different patterns, the price!

Check out my Pinterest board if you want to see the long list (find it here: Kit for the Curvaceous). Plus I’d love to hear your recommendations, I’m sure there are loads more.

Next stop in the “Kit for the Curvaceous” Journey is Leggings and Cycling kit, watch this space (and send me ideas, I am Pinterest-ing the sh*t out of it currently and need help!).


Chlorine – the Breakfast of Champions

Swimming Tips for Beginners

Breakfast of champions

1. You need to get up early. I’ve never seen so many pitch black mornings since I started swimming and amazingly there are loads of other people who get up crazy early to swim for the pure pleasure of it too. I was a regular attendee at a gym for a long time (pre children) and have been running regularly (post children) and I don’t think I ever got up before sunrise just to go to the gym or to run.  Maybe swimmers love it more? And I wonder if cyclists get up this early – to be determined….

2. Pick a lane carefully, my sister wrote about lane etiquette in a previous post but even before that you have to negotiate the minefield of picking the correct lane.  How busy are they, have other people picked their lanes correctly (slowbies or even worse fasties in the wrong lanes). How many people are there just chatting at the end of a lane? And more importantly – why do they do this? If you just want to stand in the water and have a chat, get out of my lane!! The best moment of a swim session is arriving and finding you have a lane to yourself – bliss!

3. Pack your bag the night before. Otherwise you WILL forget something crucial. And it takes away one of your excuses when you wake up, peer at the clock and start to regret your plan.

4. Get a swim buddy and agree to meet them there. My research shows that if I am meeting someone at the pool I am 100% more likely to get out of bed, i.e. the couple of times I planned to go on my own, I just didn’t. You don’t get to chat much when you are swimming (one of the best things about running is you can put the world to rights while you are doing it) but you can fit a chinwag in during the palaver of showering, getting dressed and hopefully a coffee and pastry after.

5. Take a drink. I wouldn’t dream of going to the gym without a bottle of water.  And swimming is hard work. Even though I am still swallowing more water than I probably should be when swimming, it’s not the right kind of water apparently.

6. Have a plan before you get in the pool, in the same way as I wouldn’t just run out the front door without thinking of a route first, I can’t survive a swim session without a “route” planned. My sister started us all off on these plans she found on the internet [Swim Britain Training Plans]. There’s also loads of ideas on Pinterest (cue shameless plug for my Pinterest profile, do follow me, I’ve gone pin crazy recently for Triathlon-ing, Fitness and Gin generally), find it here [Swimming hints and tips on Pinterest]. We’ve printed the guides out and after much experimenting with laminating and plastic bags have found that a good old poly pocket keeps them readable pool side. It’s as simple as warmup for X lengths, kick for X, arms for X, alternate drill/swim, one length fast, one length slow etc etc.

7. Drills – these are worth looking up (or checking out my Pinterest board). Before starting my Swimming lessons I had no idea these even existed. Basically they are how you improve your technique, the principle is you over exaggerate one thing in the stroke for a length or more or make it harder in some way (like swimming (or in my case drowning) with clenched fists…I know CRAZY) and then when you go back to swimming “normally” you’ve improved your form or got stronger or whatever. Bear with me you experienced swimmers, I am sure there is a better way to explain it (and please do if you have the time and inclination). It’s as simple as pushing your elbow up higher in front crawl or pretending you are putting your hand in your pocket under the water. Look at some diagrams online or buy a book or check out my Pinterest board……

8. Buy a swim hat – not because you are trying to keep your hair dry, which is what I always thought they were for – but because it keeps your hair nice and tidy (hair in your mouth/eyes/nose is very distracting) and you are generally more streamlined too. Also buy a float and a pull buoy. Having kit to play with makes the session fly by.

But the most important thing that is vexing me currently is whether I should be washing my swimming costume and hat after every swimming session. Granted it’s a first world problem but I’m throwing mine in the washing machine willy nilly at present and I’m sure that’s not good. More research needed.


Cycling is quite good actually

I haven’t been on a bike since I was 18, fast forward 20 years to our decision to do a Triathlon and this had to change.



I got a shiny new bike for Christmas (it was actually second hand but still shiny), my husband bought it for me (basically I think so he had an excuse to buy the ugly big black speakers he wanted without feeling guilty) but also because he is a brilliant husband who is very supportive of my Triathlon journey etc etc (love you darling, thanks for my bike).

I patted my lovely new bike on Christmas day and then put it in the garage and promptly forgot about it. I was nagged into getting it out a few weeks later and I cycled up and down our road being chased by a 4 year old on a scooter, flapping my hands a bit trying to understand the gears and terrified because the wheels are SO THIN, how do they hold you up? Also the saddle is SO SMALL and NOT PADDED. After just 20 minutes I was a bit bruised and cold and put my bike back in the garage, patted it again and went indoors with good resolutions to do something about all of these things.

By the end of February I realised this was ridiculous, invested in some gel shorts (as recommended by my cycling Sis in Law http://www.wiggle.co.uk/altura-progel-liner-under-shorts/) and some gloves and got out there.

It was ace! You go so fast, who knew it was so fun (other than all the cyclists already obsessively doing it obviously). It even rained and I didn’t really care. I’ve been out a few times now and these are things I am learning or want to work out more about:

1 – There is a reason there are so many gel infused trousers/shorts for ladies – definitely invest in some, it might not hurt at the time but unless you are very lucky and have a rubber downstairs it will hurt eventually or afterwards, sometimes even days later (I made the mistake of doing a spin class recently in normal gym leggings and have been in mild discomfort for about a week now).

2 – Wear gloves and thick socks – especially if you are prone to feeling the cold (hello, all women in the world). There are all sorts of special gloves and over shoe covers out there if you are so inclined. My running gloves seem to be doing the trick so far. Possibly won’t hold up for long distance.

3 – Strava or Garmin or other fancy satellite tracking/speed recording type gadget yourself up – work out a route before you go and check it occasionally while you are out to keep tabs on yourself. If you want to get fitter or faster you have to make yourself work harder and measuring progress is a scientifically proven thing that motivates most people (definitely me) plus then you can post smug route summaries on FB or Instagram about how fast and clever you are.

4 – You don’t have to “serious cycle kit” if you don’t want to but you do need sweat wicking, wind resistant minimally flappy stuff. I think if you want to go really fast, you do need some proper kit though. There is a serious dearth of kit out there catering for normal sized women, i.e. ones with shoulders or boobs but I am hunting some down, will keep you posted.

5 – Pick a hilly route – so fun! Up is hard, down is awesome but basically you are doing interval training and actually going somewhere at the same time

6 – Cleaty shoe/peddle things. My bike has them, I own the shoes. That’s all I can say right now, not yet tested. By all accounts, it will “revolutionise my cycling experience” and make riding easier etc etc. I’m just not there yet, I still can’t believe the tiny tyres are going to hold me up let alone to trust being locked into my peddles as well.  It’s on my list of things to work on.

There is so much more to learn and research, but in summary Cycling is not rubbish and I think I quite like it.


The 5:2 diet. Does it work?



My life seems to mostly consist of preparing meals for 2 toddler terrorists, who would live on fish fingers at every mealtime if they could, and a carnivore husband, who would live on sausages at every mealtime if he could, so I am surrounded by temptation (who hasn’t stuffed a leftover fishfinger in their mouth when tidying up teatime – no one I tell you)

Add to that, I work from home, only 2 rooms away from my fridge, so it has been hard to lose weight.

Smallest toddler terrorist has just turned one, and my pregnancy with her was very full of custard slices and jam doughnuts so I wasn’t exactly lithe.

I signed up to Slimming World first and it was very enlightening. I didn’t want to sit in a room every week particularly so I did the online version. I think the sitting in a room bit might be quite key because while I followed the plan and printed out all the recipes, I wasn’t incredibly motivated or religious about it. But it did drag me out of my reliance on jars of sauces and readymade freezer things though, I can now make curries and jambalayas and all sorts of other things from scratch (only took me 38 years to get there). We still regularly cook most of the recipes now, although never, NEVER, with the syn free sausages or reduced fat cheese. Life is too short.

So I moved on to 5:2. It was massively popular just before I went on my first maternity leave, all the guys in my office were doing it. I tried it after the first baby and it was great, I eeked out the 500 calories that you are allowed throughout the 2 days of fasting – ate half tins of baked beans and rice cakes – and lost some weight but then when trying for second baby decided it was affecting my chances so knocked it on the head. So I dusted it off again, this time I did some more research.

I read that the longer you can go without eating anything at all the better it can be so I decided that on fast days I wouldn’t eat anything until dinner time, other than a tiny snack like some carrots. The only concession was tea, I still drank tea with milk and sugar all day. Life is too short. Then at dinner time I ate a grilled chicken (doused in Cajun seasoning) and some salad and salad cream (the Carnivore would also have a baked potato and cheese with his too). You have to drink loads of water, otherwise you get a headache. And it wasn’t that hard. The children’s teatime was a bit of a challenge but if you tell yourself its only until the next morning or have a cup of tea while they are eating (and throw their leftovers away IMMEDIATELY) you can do it. And strangely the next morning you don’t wake up starving or that desperate for breakfast. On fast days where I did eat something small early on, I found I felt much more hungry all day and resentful/cross/mean to everyone around. Interesingly, I also found I could still exercise on my fast days and it fact, running while fasting is fine. You must drink LOTS of water though.

The other main useful thing I read was that half fasts have been found to be just as effective. This works better for me, because finding 2 whole days to eat like a hermit has been very hard, so I’ve done some 5 ½ :1 ½  weeks and these have worked just as well. Just follow the same principle as normal fast days i.e. nothing during the day but have a proper dinner (and some wine) in the evening.

So far I’ve lost 2 stone or thereabouts. Not quite where I want to be and I seem to have hit a plateau recently (I’ve got down to the older fat that is a bit more stubborn I reckon) but along with the exercise regime ramping up for the triathlon, hopefully it won’t be long.


Worry Less, Exercise More

image-only-jpegMental health is now talked about so much more that is has been in the past.  Numerous celebrities have shared their personal experiences to help people relate and understand how they are feeling.  Support groups are pushing for mental illness to be treated the same as physical illnesses.  A whole industry growing around mindfulness and meditation.

But is it making a difference?  Do we feel differently about mental health, how we feel about ourselves when we’re having a mental health issue.  Do we feel more comfortable talking about it in our offices with colleagues or in the pub with friends?

Well in my personal opinion, not yet….

I definitely can’t say I represent all facets of British society or even just one whole bit of it.  I live in middle England, in a middle class neighbourhood, I’m married with two children who go to a local school and I work in an office for a global company.  But do I talk about my mental health with anyone?  Not really, I read blogs about it, I listen to radio articles about it.  But in my mind depression is something that happens to someone else that is far more serious than how I feel, anxiety is something a bit silly that I wouldn’t admit too even though I feel anxious all the time.

I function like a normal person, I look like a normal person, I work and I parent like a normal person.  But inside I’m a whirling dervish of sadness, fear, anxieties, cold dread and hot shame…

Am I alone?  I suspect not, I really hope not but I don’t know for sure.   I don’t talk to anyone else about this, my friendships are shallow and based on school or work and social interactions are for fun, parties, birthdays, holidays.  But I see and hear glimpses of it from other people, a mum casually mentioning they are on anti-depressants, a colleague disappearing from work for a few weeks due to stress,  someone laughingly mentioning how overwhelmed they are or angry that someone has given then another thing to do.

What can we do?  Well firstly I’m going to try and be more open and more honest in my social interactions from now on,  it must be a grass roots movement,  if we all mention our mental struggles just to one other person every now and then it will gradually become something more acceptable to discuss.

But mainly I’m going to share with as many people as possible that my main coping mechanism is to try and exercise every day.

This is because there are moments in a Weights class or halfway through a swimming set or when you’ve run up to the top of a hill, when everything just melts away.  It’s just you and your body working together as hard as you can.  You can feel connected to the earth or part of the water, or the strongest person in the world with all your body tingling.  It feels magical and free and such a relief to let everything go.  That feeling can stay with you all day if you are lucky, restoring your mental health or making it just a little bit better.

I would recommend it to anyone, it’s not medical, it doesn’t have to cost anything, and it can make your life better.

Run – Cycle – Swim – Walk – Pump more, Worry Less.

Worry Less Design.