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2022 Running Roundup / The Covid Chronicles 🏃🏻‍♀️🦠

It only occurred to me the other day that I never posted a blog about the Wilmslow Festive 10k on Sunday 27th November! Things have just been mega busy recently and I haven’t had a great deal of spare time to open up my laptop.

As I currently have Covid, I thought now’s as good a time as any to sit down and post a few little updates!

And yep, you heard that right: Cazza B has finally joined Club Covid! It’s a bit of relief, tbh, because I was starting to think that I was some sort of superhuman after nearly three years of escaping it. 🙄

I have a low BMI due to my anorexia, which is thought to heighten the risk of Covid complications. With this in mind, I have always been a little worried about contracting the illness, especially given the potential impact that it could have on my long-term running performance.

Fortunately, I have been one of the extremely lucky ones, and I haven’t felt too poorly. I initially started with a sudden, random barking cough, a stuffy headache and one singular mouth ulcer. I just put it down to being a bit run down, as often happens when it’s my ‘time of the month.’

I took a Covid test a precaution, but it came up negative so I didn’t give it a second thought and carried on going into work and out running.

A few days later, my cough subsided, but in its place came a runny nose and a loss of taste and smell.

I knew something wasn’t right when I failed to detect the yeasty deliciousness of my Marmite rice cakes (... said no-one, EVER 🤣). I was half way through a 13 mile hike in Edale at the time, but did another test as soon as I got home, and voila! Positive. Welcome to Club Covid. Get ya double lines out.

Hiking in Edale, in the Peak District. This photo has absolutely no relevance to the blog whatsoever, other than the fact that I was there when I started to suspect that I had Covid. HOWEVER, I just thought it was quite a cool pic.

I kept waiting for the inevitable crash and burn to hit me, but happily, I managed to get through my ‘Rona stint with very minor symptoms – for which I am extremely thankful!

Last week, I walked/ ran a total distance of 124km in 7 days... With Covid. Weirdly, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this energetic in a long time! I even got my second non-competition Half Marathon PB three days after testing positive?!

Seriously, one night I got in from my run and I was so giddy and pumped that I started trying to recreate the Wednesday Addams 'Goo Goo Muck' dance around my kitchen, sashaying about in my sweaty cagoule.

For me, the most annoying thing has been the absence of taste and smell. I treated myself to some Lady Million wax melts, which I haven’t been able to appreciate, much like the Banana Milkshake I pointlessly ordered on Saturday. May as well have topped flat Pellegrino with whipped cream and downed that instead. I could weep. Although saying that, I did have Port Salut cheese and a Dib Dab this afternoon (not together, obvs) and I could definitely taste both, so hopefully I’m on the mend!

I mean, what is the point in Christmas if you can’t taste anything?!

Anyway – running!

The Wilmslow Festive 10k was fab, as always. It was a really great event to close the running season, and the perfect way to mark my last race of the year.

I made the decision to just enjoy this one rather than put myself under pressure for that seemingly-impossible sub-40 10k (as you know, I’ve not managed to get close all season, and my 10k PB stubbornly remains 40:24....).

And enjoy it is exactly what I did. 😊

I really adore the atmosphere of the Wilmslow Festive 10k.

Fancy dress spotting is a definite highlight of the event. In fact, I kid you not; I had a candy cane hot on my heels for the first 5k of the race!

I completed the race in 42:48, which is a long, long way off where I want to be. But on this occasion, I didn’t actually care too much. I felt strong, I felt healthy, and I felt really, really happy, and so I think it’s unfair of me to ask any more of my body. I had a fantastic time at the Wilmslow Festive 10k, and at the end of the day, that really is the most important thing.

Having the time of my life at the Wilmslow Festive 10k! 🥰

2022 has been an incredible year for my running. I’ve competed in Malta, Lisbon and Brussels, and I’ve also participated in some brilliant races on home-turf, too! The Stockport 10 Mile and the Marple 10k Trail Run were definite season highlights for me and I can’t wait to get back to both of those courses next year.

While I might have failed to achieve my goal of running a sub-40 10k, I have certainly improved in other distances, and I’m quite proud of some of things I have achieved this year:

🏃🏻‍♀️ I finally ran a sub-21 5k and got my PB down to 20:32! Sub-20 next!

🏃🏻‍♀️ In March, I knocked 3 minutes off my previous Half Marathon PB by running the Malta Half Marathon in 1 hour 36 minutes. Then in October, I took a further 4 minutes off by completing the Brussels Half Marathon in 1 hour and 32 minutes!

🏃🏻‍♀️ I was the 16th female home in the Brussels Half Marathon (out of over 1,000), and the first British female!

🏃🏻‍♀️ I placed first female at the Sandbach 10k!

🏃🏻‍♀️ I placed in the Top 100 female finishers (out of 8,341) in the very elite Lisbon Half Marathon, despite the fact that I struggled around the course in 32 degree heat.

🏃🏻‍♀️ I tried trail running for the first time, and entered two different competitions in the space of four days – with an injured tendon. I placed 6th female out of over 100, and 11th female out of just under 500. And I absolutely fell in LOVE with trail running!

🏃🏻‍♀️ And lastly, not exactly running, but still an exercise-related success... Josh and I walked the Gritstone Trail (35 miles / 56km) in one day again, knocking two hours off last year's time!

My 2022 medals and trophies!

(Ignore the state of my hair - this pic was post-run; my mop hadn't been washed in days and was pending its weekly egg yolk treatment 🤣)

Sometimes, it helps to remind myself of these achievements when I’m beating myself up for not hitting the times I would like at every race. I only got into competitive running 18 months ago, and I am not and never will be an elite runner. I don’t run with a group or have a coach. Prior to entering my first event back in June 2021, I had no idea that I was an ‘alright’ runner. I certainly never, ever imagined that a year and a half later, I’d have placed First Female in THREE different races, and numerous ParkRuns!

But, you know, all of the above is just a bonus. Running continues to teach me so many lessons every time I do up my laces, and that is just so invaluable in terms of my anorexia recovery. ❤️

Running just... Completely alters my mood, and I can’t quite explain how, or why. It turns every bad and average day into a day bursting with pride and hope. It makes me hold my head that little bit higher.

Running is the best journey I have ever embarked upon, and I am genuinely excited to see where it takes me next.

I already have a pretty full race calendar for 2023, and I’m competing overseas again, too!

Also, just another update on my weight gain goal... So I said I wanted to try and put on four pounds by January to bring me closer to a healthy weight.

I weighed myself at the beginning of last week, and I’d gained two pounds! However, I have to take into account that it was my ‘time of the month’ and obviously, I have exercised a lot over the past 7 days, so I’m unsure whether this gain will have been retained.

I do feel like I’m starting to look less ‘gaunt’ though, and other people have backed this up. Hopefully it’s all moving in the right direction.

In addition to the current ice making it difficult for me to run, me and Josh have a meal booked this week and I’m out for food with my bestie over the weekend, so I’m thinking that this will all work in favour of some further weight gain.

It's not always easy and I've had some 'freak outs' along the way over the past few weeks, but I'm determined to stick to my plan and gain the weight I know I need. And not only do I need it; I want it. I want to look healthy again. I think I'm finally ready to loosen those controls and defy anorexia once again. 🤞🏻

Like I say, it's not easy but I KNOW it will be worth it and I KNOW that I'll get there. I've done it before and I'll do it again, because I remember how sweet recovery tasted last time.

Right, I’m off to shove my nose into my new apple strudel candle to see if I can catch a whiff... 🤣

Walkin' in a 'RONA wonderland... the red nose says it all! 😒🤣

✨Read my book 'Running For My Life: An Anorexia Memoir & Self-Help Guide' HERE:

Cara Jasmine Bradley


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