Running through April

Excuse the pun. I do feel as though I literally ran through April in the sense that it’s another month that has just disappeared in a blink of the eye.

In training terms April has been a good month. I don’t want to write ‘May’ because as we enter May tomorrow that means I have just 12 days before I am driving down to London ready for the London Revolution cycle! 

My focus for London Revolution this month was to keep increasing the long Sunday ride along with slightly shorter rides on Saturdays, to ensure I was conditioning my muscles really for consecutive days cycling. My longest ride was 129km and I finished this ride feeling strong and felt as though there were still some miles left in me. This helped boost my confidence for London slightly but still feel anxious (and slightly nauseous) when I think about it.

I started to focus some attention on my running training plan to, it’s crazy to think that I have signed up to Gloucester Marathon in August. The cycling has taken most of my attention and focus and balancing the two is difficult. Gloucester doesn’t feel real yet.

Who watched the London Marathon? One of the biggest events in the running world. Who watched the marathon and thought “actually I could do that”? I hold my hand up. So many people from all different backgrounds crossed that start line, and finish line. 

My heart and attention was particularly with those running for the charity ‘Heads Together’ for the programme Mind Over Marathon. The programme resonates with me deeply and I have personally experienced the benefits of running and mental health. I liked how they focused on showing mental health as part of someone’s life, not all encompassing and not in a way that negative stigma is attached. Many people experience mental health struggles be it depression, anxiety, OCD or many others but it doesn’t and shouldn’t define you and you can function and live a normal life. You can carry on with family life, work hard at your career and personal commitments, it’s just a whole lot harder.

Running can help on so many levels from giving structure and routine, the need to fuel your body properly and look after yourself to get the most of your running. It offers a distraction, a place to find space in your mind and feel free. It floods your body with endorphins, that ‘runners high’ that can make you feel better about yourself. It also allows you to do something that you can achieve great things in, whether that is your first 5km, half marathon or full marathon. You can see yourself improving and it gives you worth.

I’m doing Gloucester Marathon in August, initially I thought about doing it for charity. Not only is raining money for charity an amazing thing to do but it also adds some responsibilities to the run. People have sponsored you so you have to go out there and finish. A marathon is a long long way, one that I don’t know if I can do and so the added motivation that people have sponsored me would have been a big help. But when I stopped and thought about exactly why I want to run a marathon (and was completely honest with myself) the reasons are exactly the same as all of those people on Mind Over Marathon (and probably thousands of others who ran London). I want to run Gloucester Marathon for me. I want to show myself that I can do it, that I am strong enough and that my anxiety and confidence issues that I often face about many situations is not going to stop me from getting to the start line. It will be 14 weeks of ‘lessons to learn’, ups and downs of training and battling negative thoughts that tell me I can’t do it, but the only thing that will stand between me and my finishers medal is injury, a genuine reason.

So back to cycling. May will be knocking at the door tomorrow and the countdown will begin. The next week will be a hard training week and then it will ease off slightly until the big day. Next time I write my monthly review it will be done and hopefully I will have an amazing story to tell.

That’s all for now.

M x

Running through April

Where did March go?

Well, March you showed up and disappeared pretty quickly! I’ll be honest and say I don’t feel that my training has overly progressed this month for one reason or another. I know I am writing this looking at the calendar and seeing that the end of April is fast approaching, time is flying, but better late than never! Sometimes things do get in the way and with a few months to spare it felt ok. Now with 4 weeks to go until the cycle there is no room for the downs of training. Time to focus and push forwards. 

I admit to having less time in the saddle at the start of the March as I was getting ready for Warwick Half Marathon so more running and less cycling. The following week after the half resulted in less cycling than I would have liked. However Warwick was amazing, I loved it and got that PB! Knocked 24 minutes off my last and 6 off my first. What I loved most about this half marathon was that I was running with friends from Run Like A Girl. It made all the difference running and chatting and before I knew it I was 10 miles in. I didn’t set out a certain time I wanted and I wasn’t aiming for a PB, I didn’t even look at my Garmin until the 10 mile mark. Taking that pressure off actually improved my performance and I enjoyed it much more!

Back to cycling then, I’ve been on some great longer runs in March and have got the mileage up to 54 miles with consecutive days in the saddle to try and get used to this kind of ride. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the longer rides and they have taken me to some beautiful places. 


I also got my amazing new bike which I absolutely love and wouldn’t change for the world. She has definitely made long distance rides more comfortable and I can’t wait to take her to the London Revolution.

Another exciting cycling related happening this month. Guess who is now a Brand Ambassador for Stolen Goat? Yes that’s right me! I never thought I’d be an ambassador for anything and can’t wait to get stuck in to this. Stolen Goat for those who don’t know are a great cycling brand for both men and women. I couldn’t be more happy with my kit, which I will post about later.

Take a look at their kit here 

stolengoat.com

So April is here and training has stepped up once again. I have my plan and I will be sticking to it religiously this month. All I want is to approach the London Revolution feeling as prepared as possible and ready. 

Before writing this blog I was thinking that March hadn’t been a great month but on reflection it’s not been so bad!

Now we are mid-way through April and I’m happy to say that training is going well.

Until next time,

M x 

Where did March go?

Looking back over February 

It feels like I have only just reviewed January, how fast is this year going?!

The answer… too fast. May and the London Revolution are fast approaching and I feel completely unprepared for what is to come!

My plan for February was to continue to build a solid cycling base with increasing mileage on the long ride day. Did I achieve this? Yes. Do I feel any more prepared? No.

I managed to get my weekly mileage to 130 miles which is a step in the right direction but still lots of work to do. 

My training took me to the Peak District this month which was fab. It would have been amazing had I not contracted man flu before we went and felt horrific. For someone who struggles to take rest days, all I really wanted (and needed) to do was cuddle up in bed and sleep. I didn’t even visit the FREE spa in the hotel so I knew I must have been ill! But the weekend was booked and it was too good an opportunity to not train so I did. 

The Peak District has some beautiful places and I was lucky enough to run around Ladybower reservoir, after the first kilometre I was surprised at how flat our route seemed considering where we were and became quietly comfortable… and then we took it off road. I never run trails. I never run on grass. In fact I never run anywhere that isn’t considered ‘road running’ but I was taken out of my comfort zone and facing some very hilly, muddy, spiralling and challenging trails. But I LOVED it. It was refreshing to go out and run without having one eye on the Garmin looking at distance and pace. It’s the first run in a while that wasn’t ‘on the plan’ and it felt good. Granted it would have been better had I been able to breathe!

The following day I was feeling worse, the little energy I did have had been zapped, my head hurt and I felt rubbish. The thought of a long road ride (after seeing the massive hills that we had to drive over to get to the hotel) wasn’t appealing at all. I didn’t feel confident enough in my ability to use clip ins when it was so hilly and while feeling like I did, the last thing I wanted was to fall off. So we decided to get the mountain bikes and head out off road. 

“Just a little ride to see some views and stretch the legs”

We had a route and a map and I’m sure it would have been a flat, easy ride had we not missed the turn and ended up having to come off the trail. What started as an easy flat route quickly became a hill training session and I came face to face with the biggest hill I’ve ever seen in my life. (No exaggeration). I did it, it hurt, I couldn’t breathe because of the flu which ultimately made me panic slightly but I did it…and there was nice food and coffee at the top! There was also a beautiful view which made it worthwhile. 

Joking aside, what this ride did teach me is that I seriously need to focus on nutrition and my normal attitude of ‘water is all I need while training’ is not going to get me anywhere now the mileage and intensity is increasing. Before we stopped for food my legs felt like jelly, I was lightheaded and felt exhausted and I know that was more than flu causing it. Nutrition is a big challenge for me but something I need to master over the next few months.

Needless to say that training through flu was a silly idea and I suffered for it after and forced to take a good few rest days. The dehydration was the worst and my first run back after my rest days was painful. From the start my calf muscles cramped and it physically hurt to run, this was demoralising and made me doubt the half marathon I will be doing this weekend. But putting the flu and bad runs to one side I’ve been training well for the Half Marathon (better than last years) I’ve done two 10 mile runs this month and so I am prepared. When you are having a bad week or something gets in the way of training it is so easy to forget the positives and focus on the negatives.

Plan for March:

My longest ride so far was completely last week 53 miles. March will be about continuing to increase this while doing long rides on consecutive days to get used to what I will be facing at the London Revolution. I also plan to focus on nutrition and try and make some progress here.

March also marks the start of full Marathon training, more about that another day.

Let’s not forget the reasons I am doing this:

I am riding the London Revolution Ride to raise money for the Shakespeare Hospice, a charity that works hard to provide support for children and adults with life limiting and serious illnesses. At Blue Skies we have pledged to raise a lot of money in 2017 and so I wanted to do this ride for them, to not only raise money but awareness to.

If you are reading this and would like to show your support please do donate. I’m not asking anyone to sponsor me for the ride, people do crazy challenges all the time but I am asking you to support a fab charity.

All you need to do is;

Text MICM89

With your amount be it £1 or £10 

To 70070
Or visit my just giving page

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michelle-Mumford3 
M x 

Looking back over February 

Giving the silent illness a voice

With Eating Disorder Awareness Week taking place next week 27th – 5th March it’s a little reminder just how crucial awareness of this ‘silent’ illness is. Eating disorders are a very secretive illness. Using myself as an example, to begin with I looked fine, my favourite phrase was ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m ok’ and I acted fine and my behaviour was fine. On the outside everything was OK. As the illness progresses it begins to take its toll and it’s clear to people around you that you are not indeed ‘fine’ but by this point it’s too late, the damage is done, the thoughts and feelings are ingrained and have taken deep root. These thoughts and feelings are no longer thoughts and feelings but they are the truth, they are fact and you believe them. Belief is the key here. If you believe something to be true then no matter what your friends or family or the doctors say to you, you won’t believe them. You know the truth. Everyone else is lying to you. That’s when the paranoia begins, everyone and everything is against you, you feel on edge when you walk in to the room and everyone goes quiet… or worse overly chatty. Clearly everyone was talking about you. Against you. This is when you no longer look fine, your behaviour speaks volumes but it’s too late. This is the point where people may try to help you, where you are forced to see a doctor. I did exactly that and only agreed to see a doctor to make my family happy and stop them worrying. I didn’t see the problem and didn’t think I was poorly enough to get help. When it slowly clicked I was terrified but I felt like it was too late. I wished that I’d seen the problem at the very beginning so that I could have received the help I needed before things got too bad but I didn’t. No-one noticed the signs and that’s because I was so good at hiding it, I had all of the excuses, all of the lies and I manipulated. No-one knew what was going on and why should they? Eating disorders were not talked about so freely and so how could anyone have noticed the signs so early on when I was fighting so hard to keep it hidden.

Awareness of eating disorders is so so important and by people talking about mental health and understanding the early warning signs better places family and friends to make the intervention. It’s sad but true that this lies with family and friends because your loved one cannot be trusted to help themselves, that is not the nature of an eating disorder. 

Recovery from an eating disorder is not a quick fix, you don’t get help and then you are better again, it takes years of hard work and in many cases you never fully recover BUT the sooner you get support and the treatment needed the sooner you can stop the downward spiral and begin working towards recovery. 

Whether it’s the beginning of an eating disorder or a third or forth relapse getting help quickly is the most important thing.

I’m no professional but from personal experiences I have identified the early warning signs. If a handful of people are reading this and take something you never know when or if you might need it.

Early warning signs, to name a few:

Preoccupation with food:

  • having ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods
  • having a list of ‘safe’ foods
  • eliminating entire food groups
  • extreme interest in what others are eating
  • feeding other people 

Comments and thoughts around   weight, weighing themselves more frequently and a desire for the number to go down


Looking in the mirror more often than normal and touching or pinching body parts. 

If these phrases become part of your day to day conversations:

“I have already eaten”, ” I’ll eat later”, “I’m not hungry” “I don’t like that anymore” ” I had a big lunch”

Hiding food and throwing it away

Exercising obsessively with the intention of burning calories


Fixation on counting calories and numbers, checking food labels or knowing the calorie content in almost every food

Supermarket shops become painful, time consuming and stressful

Spending more time on the internet looking at diet sites and forums 

Anxiety and depression

Having a few outfits that are worn and washed constantly and only feeling comfortable in these. They tend to be loose fitting

Becoming defensive and snappy and angry with intense mood swings. Becoming angry for what seems like no reason and then being tearful the next.

Rigid eating behaviours:

  • using a certain bowl or spoon
  • cutting food into tiny pieces 
  • chewing a certain number of times
  • not letting foods touch

Avoiding social situations or being socially awkward and withdrawing and becoming isolated

Being cold and tired all the time

The more we talk and read about eating disorders the greater awareness there will be, with more people getting the help that they need. Eating disorders are silent… we need to give them a voice, we need to make them loud.
M x 

Giving the silent illness a voice

Let the training begin…

So on Christmas Day I unwrapped a beautiful black box with a gorgeous pair of Fizik cycling shoes inside. I loved them, I was so excited to be the proud owner of these beautiful shoes… and then they went back in the box. 
A few days later it hit me that I actually had to start using them on my road rides if I were to have any chance of completing the London Revolution cycle ride this year.
I was scared. Absolutely terrified. The longer I put it off the bigger the fear became.

Truth be told I had been putting off buying these for approximately a year because to me they were a disaster waiting to happen. (Especially for someone as accident prone as me!) I couldn’t get my head around being attached to the pedal and not being able to move and every time I thought about them I pictured myself toppling over. The falling over wasn’t the big deal but I was worried of falling over in front of a car or causing an accident.
So with the ride 18 weeks away I decided to just do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

The verdict



I did it! Not only did I do it but I LOVED them. Being connected to the pedal felt strangely safer and satisfying. There were no accidents and no issues. Now I understand that this is only the first time i’m using them but I finished the ride feeling more confident in myself and that is what this whole journey is about.
So step one done, time to get the mileage up!
Lesson of the day: Feel the fear and do it anyway. The thoughts are often scarier than what you are worried about.

M x 

Let the training begin…

New Year…Better Me

New Year, New Me… or rather ‘Better Me’
Resolutions are a funny thing. For me I’d always finish December and vow to be better, to fix everything and change my life. Part of my resolutions were just words to make my family happy and looking back I’m not sure how much they believed me anyway.

Life with an eating disorder was full of hope and promises come January. Hope that this year would be the year I cracked it. Promises that this time next year we would be looking back and it would all be behind us. In a way these were empty promises. Sometimes New Years resolutions are just not as shiny and motivating as they seem on the outside. The eating disorder couldn’t be overcome by a promise come the first of the month rather a promise and hope every single day that I could get better. 

I’m not a fan of resolutions that tell you to stop doing something, I think you are setting yourself up to fail by putting barriers in place before the year has even began. After leaving hospital and beginning to settle back in to normal life in 2015 this last year has been a great time to make some changes and steps in the right direction, it has helped me see areas that I still need to work on and things that I want to improve. I developed a love for running last year and completed my first and second half marathon. This showed me what my body can do but also made me want to push further. This year my New Years Resolutions are focused on making positive changes, setting challenges that mean I have to start doing certain things rather than focusing on stopping something. Focus on the positives not the negatives.




I have several things that I want to achieve this year on a physical and personal level.
So what do I want 2017 to hold for me?
Completing my first full marathon and my first (185mile) cycle ride. I know I’m not strong enough at the moment to do this but my goals for 2017 are to become fitter and stronger to ensure I succeed in these challenges.

On a personal level there are things that I want to change, or at least improve. 

Whatever your plans are for 2017, think about where you are now and where you would like to be and look at the positive changes you need to make to get there. 
For those who are suffering with an Eating Disorder remember that you can’t change everything in a year, you can’t ‘be cured’ or ‘recovered’ these are not realistic goals, but there are many things that you can do to start on that road to recovery. Recovery is a process, a road and a journey, it doesn’t start on the first of January and you don’t just decide to get better, there will be bumps in the path but there is no failure. 

2017 will be the year that I continue to get stronger. You can do it to. Whether that be summoning the courage to ask for help, continuing to fight a mental health condition or making your body stronger. 


Happy New Year 

M x

New Year…Better Me

Myths and Misconceptions

There are lots of misconceptions surrounding Eating Didorders, here are 8 main myths that stand out to me and need to be challenged.

1. Anorexia is a phase

It can often be thought that anorexia or bulimia are ‘phases’ that someone can and will ‘grow out of’. This couldn’t be further from the truth and is a very damaging view to take. This misconception comes from a lack of understanding and knowledge that surrounds eating disorders. Often those suffering will be viewed as a ‘fussy eater’ or ‘being difficult’ some may go as far as to say ‘attention seeking’. If you know someone who appears to be fussy or difficult it’s important that you look a bit closer and be open to the fact that more may be going on inside. By telling someone it’s a phase that they can just ‘snap out of’ can have negative implications, causing the person with the disorder to be more closed and withdrawn for fear of being judged and their struggles shrugged off as a ‘phase’. Eating disorders are real and serious.

2. Eating disorders will just go away in time. 

They absolutely, most definitely will not just go away. It may be possible to attempt recovery without help however most people with an eating disorder will need medical intervention and professional help in order to begin the road to recovery. By ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away will escalate the problem. The sooner help is sought the more chance of a successful recovery. If things are swept under the carpet, more damage will be done.

3. You have to be thin to be anorexic 

This is everything that is wrong with attitudes and perceptions, made increasingly worse by the media. Anorexia is a preoccupation with weight and body image, a control over food when all other areas of life feel out of control. You do not need to look ill, to be ill. Many people do not seek the help they so desperately require because they feel that they are not ‘sick enough’ and that they are not deserving of treatment. When I was in hospital, although I was not at my lowest weight physically I was at my most unwell mentally. Yes I was considerably underweight, I looked ill and bones were visible BUT there were people who were a lower weight than me. I remember being told ‘you aren’t in that bad a situation, you will turn things around quickly’ by a fellow inpatient. Not only did this reinforce the feelings of not needing treatment but it also fed into the thoughts of not being ‘ill enough’. Looking back I can see I was very unwell mentally and I needed just as much help as the person who said it to me. Weight is irrelevant. Anorexia is a mental illness. The mind can be ill even when everything looks fine on the outside.

4. Eating Disorders are a female illness

Due to the media eating disorders have been portrayed as a female only illness. Men don’t get eating disorders, it’s not a’manly’ disorder. This however is incorrect. Men do have eating disorders however they find it more difficult to seek help because of the stigma attached. It’s important that more awareness is given to the fact men are just as likely to suffer and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Eating disorders are a mental illness, not a gender specific illness.

5. Parents are to blame for eating disorders

Many people assume that the ‘blame’ lies with the parents or family. Each circumstance is different and an eating disorder can be triggered by so many different factors. Very often there is not one specific cause but a series of events and feelings that have built up over time. Noone is to blame and it’s important that this feeling of blame is explored and dealt with.

6. Someone with an eating disorder has a choice

People believe that someone suffering with anorexia conciously chooses not to eat or someone diagnosed with bulimia chooses to purge after eating and someone with Binge Eating Disorder chooses to binge and overeat. The truth is, when suffering from an eating disorder there is no choice, you feel completely out of control of your actions and compulsions take over. You do not choose not to eat, you are terrified of food and physically can’t let yourself. Just like in bulimia you are terrified of keeping food in your stomach and you have to purge yourself. Those with BED want to stop eating but cannot do so. It’s not as simple as choosing to do or not do a behaviour. In theory those suffering do have a ‘choice’ but they are not able to control this or see the choice. A treatment programme is needed to help see the choice and that we are all in control of our behaviour.

7. People can only have one type of eating disorder 

Eating disorders are interchangeable and very often people can transition through several different eating disorders. For example someone may have anorexia and when they begin refeeding and recovery they begin overeating and purging. This can happen when the body panics and thinks it may not get any more food so the binges begin and as this is such a scary time purging can feel like the only option. Just as easily could someone who has BED and begins recovery and they are so unhappy with their body that they begin to restrict and then transition into anorexia. Eating disorders do not always occur in isolation. The right treatment needs to be given at the right stage.

8. Recovery from an eating disorder is a straight road

Recovering from any disorder is not an easy ride, nor is the road straight. There will be many ups and downs, blips in the road, days where you just cannot see a way forward, where you don’t want recovery any more. Then there will be days where eating feels easier, happy days creating memories and living life. Then there will be days where you feel down and deflated or as high as a kite. Every day is a challenge bringing with it its own challenges. But recovery teaches you to cope with the bad days. It’s so important for loved ones, family and friends to understand that it’s not ‘plain sailing’ even when you are doing well it’s easy for people to think it’s over, you are recovered however it’s ok to still struggle, it’s normal for recovery. It’s important to accept that recovery can take years and there will be blips and slips but this is expected.
This is my favourite image that shows what recovery is really like,

Have you heard any other myths or misconceptions that surround Eating Disorders that you think needs to be challenged?

Myths and Misconceptions