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  • Writer's picture Irina

Changing Gears


The writing is on the wall! March 2021

Two things happened over the last couple of weeks. First, lockdown rules changed meaning we can see up to four human friends and have food and drinks and talk, albeit outdoors. Second thing is I started working with a running coach. Seemingly unrelated events but in fact having one thing in common: Changing gears.


Lockdown restrictions have been undoubtedly horrible. When this latest lockdown started on the 26th of December, I felt completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with the idea of everything shutting down once again. For my own sake, but also thinking of Doug and Frankie I had to try hard to find my joie de vivre. Taking one day at a time and not thinking long-term, helped massively and quite soon I eased into a rhythm and was back to being my usual jolly self! Of course, I will never get used to staying as far away as possible from human beings. It feels unnatural. I want to cheat when no one is looking and give a friend a hug. I struggle with the concept of not having freedom of choice on what I can and can’t do.


On the other hand, I would be lying if I didn’t admit I enjoyed how my life has been simpler over the last few months. The pace of life, so different to my ordinary (hectic) pace and in retrospect I am grateful for what that pace allowed me to do. More free time is priceless really. Free from planning. Time to just be and discover needs that I did not know were there, simply because I never slowed down long enough to hear myself think. Would I have started this blog if it weren’t for lockdown? I will never know, but I have a suspicion I wouldn’t have.


Relaxing - Lockdown style!

And here we are… one foot out of lockdown, well toes at least and an almost violent change in gears that I need to adjust to, yet again. Rule of six meeting outdoors plus Easter Bank Holiday weekend plus managing the weather so the six meeting outdoors don’t suffer cold blisters. That took some planning… Despite it being April and supposedly spring in the Northern hemisphere, the UK is famous for its April showers and huge fluctuations in the temperature. 20 degrees last week, -2 today. I mean seriously, no wardrobe can deal with such challenges. No wonder people dress the way they do. Legs must always be waxed as you might need to be in shorts in a moments’ notice. Combined with a thick woolen jumper. Why not? Sun comes out, get rid of the jumper and make sure you’ve got a bikini underneath. Sun goes down, put on a heavy coat and gloves and boots. After 5 years living here and very close observation, I think I am finally getting the hang of it.


Celebrating Chris' birthday! April 5 2021 (Chris feeling warm in a shirt, Sara with multiple layers on)

Where was I? Ah yes, I was talking about planning to see friends over Easter. We bought a gazebo (photos below), a patio heater, blankets, hot water bottles, all to make sure we can have friends over and be outdoors yet sheltered from the elements. We’ve had a fantastic week catching up with our friends but that has taken adjusting yet again! All through lockdown I was in 4th gear. Cruising down an endless, monotonous but easy motorway. Oh what does that sign say? “Rule of six, sharp turn coming up”? I change down to 3rd, oh no, the turn is sharper than I thought, down to 2nd, take the turn and accelerate. The speed of life went from 0 to 100 overnight it seems and I find myself thinking how I can make the best of both worlds.





In the meantime, I made a decision to start training with a running coach. Talk about changing gears! It’s been on my mind to get some kind of plan or coach to train for the marathon but that usually starts three months before the race, and I felt unsure about how to go about it and so I just put it off. That’s the right thing to do, is it not? No, it isn’t!


Deus ex machina “English ‘God from the machine’, is a plot twist in ancient Greek tragedies, where a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence. Its function is to surprise the audience and bring the tale to a happy ending or act as a comedic device”.

(Fingers crossed for the happy ending!)


My Deus ex machina was Antigoni who casually phoned me one evening (before the big reveal of her coming over to Brighton to run the marathon with me) and suggested that I could start training with her coach in Greece. What a brilliant idea!! I may delay and delay when I feel unsure about what to do, but once I make up my mind I sort of go to the other extreme of not wanting to wait a minute longer. I face-timed the coach the next day, got very excited as she explained the way she works and what I would need to do. We agreed to start straight away and then I put the phone down, went into the lounge to share the news with Doug and proceeded to have a 24hr melt down.


What had I let myself into? The coach had laid down the rules of engagement. First and foremost, three runs a week. No more. Not allowed. This is to avoid injury and give my body a chance to recover properly before pushing hard in the next run. Hmmm… sounds logical. But what if the weather is nice and I want to go out? Go for a walk, she said. It’s not the same! What if I run but don’t record it on Garmin and then she won’t know? Can you believe the thought crossed my mind? How ridiculous would I be to do that? Hide my runs from my coach. Then she said, two of the runs would be interval training and the third would be a longer continuous run. All runs should be flat unless I am specifically told to do hills. And they shouldn’t be on the days I do weights training. So, different running days (queue in OCDs), no more free-style runs depending on my mood, the route I fancied on the day, no more Friday Zopers Hill with Zara. Changing gears once again from 4th gear to a complete stop, to 1st gear, U-turn and down an unknown road with the ultimate fear that I would lose the joy of running.




I couldn’t have been more wrong. A couple of weeks into the new training program and I am rediscovering running and absolutely loving it. It’s so interesting running with intervals, laps is my new obsession, time just flies by and I take no notice of the distance because I am so focused on keeping track of what I need to complete. I already see an improvement in pace and stamina and then there’s the longer run on the weekend where I can lose myself in the views and the thoughts like I used to, while feeling so much stronger.


What have I learned over the last two weeks?

  • Changing gears may be tough at first but I need to embrace change and move on and not let fear hold me back.

  • When having a meltdown talk to Liz, she will sort me out, guaranteed.

  • Layers are the best way to tackle the British ‘spring’.

  • Friends though near or far are precious and if freezing my ass of is the only way to see them, then that’s what I’ll do.

  • I love running. I’ve used my instinct and own knowledge to train for the past year and I’ve done really well. Time to train with a pro and go even further.

  • I really love running.

But most of all, I love Doug! April 2021

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6 Comments


klioutas
klioutas
Apr 09, 2021

Love the gazebo, miss your cooking and possibly the very essence of this blog.

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deborah.hunter10
Apr 09, 2021

Good luck with the new training regime and looking forward to hearing how you progress with it!

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 Irina
Irina
Apr 09, 2021
Replying to

Thank you doctor! I will tell you all about it!

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errietta.varvogli
errietta.varvogli
Apr 08, 2021

You were always like that ,when something gets in your mind you have to do it .remember how many houses you have changed the last years in Athens?once you thought about it you had to do it. in fact we enjoyed it all the way coming every two years to help you moving .

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lizanscombe
Apr 07, 2021

Ahhhhhhhh love this so much!!!!! Embracing the change is hard but doable (said the person who also has meltdowns with change!!) Love that you have settled into your routine and love this post!! Thank you for freezing your butt off to spend time with us!! Always here for a meltdown chat 😘😘😘

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antigoni.rapti
antigoni.rapti
Apr 07, 2021

Cheers to new beginnings, new feelings, new friends, new stories to be told and written! So glad that you became a member of the running team! Watching you closely as you will thrive and for that I am sure of ! ❤️❤️

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