Sofies London Marathon Week 9 Training Update: I Found a Broken God by the River

I am running the LondonMarathon to raise money for the LGBT Foundation, please consider donating here:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SofieLewis

Total Training: 376.1k (235 miles)
Week 7: 67.3k (42 miles)


So that was a lot of running. As I mentioned last week the long run on Monday should have been on Sunday, so this balances out last weeks low mileage.

On Monday I went for a long walk where I found a broken god on the banks of the river Mersey. I took it home to look after it. I then ran to Didsbury runners and did a 10k run at 8 minute mile pace, after that I extended the run down the river to make it up to a half marathon. It was very nice to see and speak to people. I feel like I don’t do that very often and forget how.

Ive been doing a lot more walking since the weather was so nice this week. It felt like a weight had been lifted as I cant really afford heating here, everything felt a loot nicer.

On Wednesday I went on a run with Jose, this time I didn’t need to steal any chocolate from anyone!

On Friday a couple of english athletes came out in an organised transphobic attack. Since these were people who inspired me it was extremely heartbreaking. I had to get out and went for a 9 k run. So in a few days we have been attacked for sport, prisons, and NHS. It is taking its toll, I am pretty sure all trans people in the UK will get some form PTSD from this continued barrage.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2.png

I got a lot of supportive messages from people however, and it made me realise I want to celebrate these people. As former inspirations have decided to hate and inspire hatred of me for being trans, I have found new inspirations and become enriched from them. Neville Southall and another friend reached out to me on twitter and I was so touched that they would do such a thing. So on Saturday I did my longest run this year. It was a day early but I needed to get out and was full of positivity.

These people speaking out for us against these baseless ignorant attacks turned my mood around completely. I did notice that I was slightly more afraid, and remembering how hard the first runs are, it’s important to point out these people are doing irreparable damage to trans peoples confidence who are interested or wanting to start sport. That they use their platform for this hatred is quite devastating.

Running wise I have also been noticing my form seems to be improving, was really happy to see my GCT (the balance between how much time I am on left vs right leg) was super balanced during this entire run.

Also my bum hurt, which means I am using my glutes properly :p I think I am learning a lot from the hill sprints, focussing on how my body works and becoming more efficient. It takes some core strength to keep the form right for such a long run though so these long runs are very important, as well as extra core work like planks, which I aren’t doing yet….

I also wore my new running top which came from the LGBT foundation. It has my name on it, so the London Marathon will be my first race with my name spelled correctly and not my dead name which is fantastic.

So I am about to head back to Didsbury runners, probably wont be a HM distance run today, but 10 miles or so (16k). Will be looking especially fine in my new running top 😀 It does look like it might pour it down on us, as it has been sunny and rainy/hail all day.

Love you all and if you can donate to the LGBT foundation, thank you to everyone who has and everyone for your support.

Sofie xxx

When you find out a famous athlete from your country thinks you are a man in a dress and shouldn’t be able to compete in sport.

I found out today that Kelly Holmes, an inspiration of mine, believes that trans women are males and shouldn’t be allowed to compete. She agrees with this completely transphobic thread. “they would be my words exactly”

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1076276617041854464.html

I feel quite devastated by this.

I wrote :

England is transphobic hell. Fellow athletes suggesting we are cheats without caring to look into any evidence. This is shocking from this person. A failure of empathy and a failure to look into the truth.

I am running the London Marathon this year for the LGBT foundation I currently compete against males, and will never win a race, but when I can I will run as female, I will take courage from people like Rosa Parks, I’m not going to give up my seat Just because I am trans. Shame on you all.

I don’t really know how to handle this. It seems like every day or week the temperature is increasing another notch in hell. This is a problem pretty specific to England. I don’t really know how I am managing to be honest. Why am I still here? I want to do the London Marathon.

I linked the thread in question above. On twitter I also pointed towards the scientific studies around trans people participating in sports. Something surprisingly few (read none) are willing to do before using their platform to tell the world we are cheaters.

The links are here.

https://www.caaws.ca/e/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Devries_lit_review2.pdf

https://sports.vice.com/en_uk/article/vv95a4/what-actually-happens-when-a-trans-athlete-transitions

That’s not exhaustive obviously.

Detransitioning Data and Transphobic Trends

Here’s some interesting data on detransitioning and the importance of recognising someone’s gender identity. If you have heard that GIC’s push people down the path of transitioning, or transgender people encouraging others to transition, you have been grossly misinformed please can people stop “warning” me about this. When I talk to my trans friends they are the most comfortable people with themselves and most introspective individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting, who else has been so true to themselves that they have faced huge amounts of stigma, simply to be themselves. They encourage me only to do whatever is right for me. They don’t care if I am trans or I change my mind. The unanimous advice I recieved from people at the LGBT foundation and trans friends was to be honest at my GIC appointment. If you think we could do this on a whim then you should consider what we have to go through whenever we leave the house. Why am I happy to run through the woods at midnight on ice but scared to use a public toilet.

All of the hallmarks of the homophobic campaigns of the past are being dragged out missing nary a beat. An MP David Davies has encouraged people to listen to transphobic hate groups such as transgender trend. Mumsnet has become a breeding ground of transphobia where conversations of parents of trans children are shut down and organised efforts have potentially caused trans children charity Mermaids to lose lottery funding. This charity’s CEO talks of how she kept suicide watch over her daughter and didn’t want any other parents to go through the same. The funding was to be used to set up support groups and coffee mornings for parents of trans and questioning children to meet. The people who signed that petition prefer trans children to commit suicide rather than be trans. These groups are also buddied up with anti LGBT far right groups in the US. Being LGBT is not “trendy” it isn’t a choice. Good luck bullying someone into being LGBT.

Scratch a transphobe find a racist.

All I am asking is that people be aware that this is going on. It is playing out on the BBC and in the media. It clearly has affected people I know. There is a lot of gaslighting happening people with “concerns” who are constantly on the media saying how much they are silenced by a “powerful transgender lobby”.

Soon in the US it looks like transgender soldiers are going to lose their jobs, this is happening. We are a currently wedge issue for the far right agenda.

Fuck transphobes. Fuck racists. Pass it on

Trans Girls London Marathon Week 4 Training Update

Total Training: 169.8k
This week: 28.2k

An update on my training during week 4.

I am running the London Marathon to raise money for the LGBT Foundation, please also consider donating here:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SofieLewis

Things were looking good this week in terms of the injury. Leg was a little tender on Monday and Tuesday but after then it seems fine. I have also been quite lazy. Only going to the gym once! So this week I intend to finally get an official training plan.

Mentally things have been bad. I had to get some help so went to the GP and he prescribed me Mirtazapine. I needed help with my thoughts and to get to sleep. The pills did work and provided some much needed relief but are a little too powerful and had some bad side effects. I will show you what happened and the effects they seem to have had on parkrun and my resting heart rate. They tend to leave me feeling quite dizzy and clumsy for 24 hours.

This is all a little complicated by the fact I am doing my own HRT, I have no help coming from the NHS nor will my GP check my bloods.

Currently as I write this I’m having the withdrawal effects from the Mirtazapine, something I am unfortunately familiar with, but surprising after just 2 pills with a day off in between. I figure they feel more powerful since I have been off alcohol so long, and the only time I was on them was when I was drinking. The withdrawal effects are hard to explain, currently it is like my skull is groaning like a ships hull as it is crushed in ice. Whenever my heart beats I can hear and feel it in my ear a bit like my ear is letting out gas (it isn’t, don’t worry) but if I am concentrating on something else it isn’t as noticeable which is nice. That is probably why I am up at 1:15 AM writing this. So…………

RUNNING!!!!

Monday, I went again with Didsbury Runners, I decided to go on the shorter route this time at 8 minute miles. As I run there 2.5k and back I didnt want to do too much with my leg still a little dodgy. It was nice to meet everyone though and got in 10.2k overall. Apparently it was the largest turnout of Didsbury Runners, which is impressive in the cold.

Tuesday I went to the gym, I think I did an hour on the crosstrainer and came back home.

Wednesday is the day I went to the GP, I didn’t accomplish anything else and took the 1st mirtazapine that night. It got me to sleep so well that I slept for 14 hours, only waking up once for the toilet and getting back to sleep quickly. Usually the past few weeks that has kept me up for another 2 hours at least. Sleep is very important for recovery so this was good for running too.

Thursday, I went to a running injury prevention (unfortunate acronym) event at a private hospital nearby. It was free and one of the Didsbury runners had linked to it on Facebook. There was free food and the even was interesting. First 2 lectures on running injury prevention, which had a lot of new information and I will be looking in more detail. Especially surprised to hear that the current consensus is that stretching and sports massages have no effect on reducing injury risk. Conflicts what I have been practising and preaching here so look forwards to reading into that. Instead they said current advice is to do dynamic stretching and warmup. It does seem like the Spire hospital has a crack team of running specialists. They also showed evidence that running actually reduces the risk of getting bad joints as you age.

Afterwards there were practical exercise session where we did a bit of physio led pilates, which was new to me and some other workouts to help stay injury free. A lot of this I have seen variations of, including buildin up core and activating glutes aswell as improving balance or proprioceprtion, to keep the knees and joints steady as you run so as to avoid injury. All good stuff. Aparently I am good at single leg squats 🙂

I decided to run to this even on thursday and afterwards went for a longish run. I found after a few k I couldnt quite keep up with my old power, something I am blaming entirely on the Mirtazapine. I also had a stomach problem on the run, which I dont usually get fortunately, blame that on the meds too eh?

Thats when I looked at my resting heart rate. It has risen quite high due to all the transphobia related stress from media and online. Usually I expect it to be in the low 40’s when I am training but the day after mirtazapine it spiked low. What us computer chess nerds call a moob.

Resting HR moobing after taking meds

Also I should point out that 47 and above is high for me, this is what I would expect if I was overtraining and what I was seeing late into training for the Manchester marathon last year. Usually my Resting HR is below 45 during training, when I have stopped training due to injury or before a race it goes to below 40 once I got down to 32 for 1 day.

So I believe my resting heart rate is high due to the anxiety I am having, which I can believe, I can feel it pounding most of the day and it is racing at night as my mind goes over things. So its not surprising the drugs reduced it, because after taking them I felt dulled. I didn’t feel good, I just didn’t really feel, and it was a big relief. I do think there was a further reduction due to the drug itself though. Mainly because that is what I want to blame my poor runs on, the one on thursday and also parkrun.

Saturday, I went to parkrun. After taking the mirtazapine I fell asleep at about 9, unheard of for me. I woke up on time but felt very unsteady due to the drugs. They make me feel a bit like being drunk I suppose but not fun, for example when trying to type I often miss the key I am aiming for, I cant focus my eyes quite so well, etc, this lasts for about 24 hours after taking them. I decided to go anyway, If people were volunteering I had better go! I ran hard and tried to get a PB but it just wasn’t in me, and I am definitely blaming the mirtazapine so there! I still did it in around 21:45 and thanks to Kim for adding me to the results after my barcode seemed to have failed.

So I have been calming myself without drugs and doing some writing, it has been partially successful!

Running video coming soon, and more on my own C25k journey.

Hope everyone is doing well, it has been lovely hearing from people who have started C25K because of my blog, let me know how you are getting on and lots of love to everyone!!!!!!

Sofie,

XXXXXXXX

Trans Girls London Marathon Week 3 Training Update

Total Training: 141.6k
This week: 27.8k

An update on my training during week 3.

A completely unrelated photo. Do you like my glasses?

This one is a bit late, this week was extremely difficult regarding my transition. After a 17 month wait I had my first appointment at the Leeds Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) on Tuesday, which ended up being a triage so I can see a Dr and get help. Now I’m in another waiting list to see the Dr… which will take “12 months maybe more”. My GP wont give me a bridging prescription for HRT and I felt very close to cracking. Will write more about this and what I plan to do separately.

My running has reduced this week. I can feel shin splints beginning in my left leg so taking it easy. Because of this I also went to the Withington Physio to get a sports massage on Friday. They are so nice there and despite not seeing me for months they remembered me and correctly gendered me which was awesome. Recommended to any other LGBT people in Didsbury/Withington area

One of my problems is that my flat is cold most of the time so once I get back from a run I find it very hard to do my usual foam rolling and stretching. This has meant that knots are building up and my muscles are getting stiffer. A sports massage is a good way to help with that, loosening up the muscles and getting the blood flow back to help them recover properly.

Week 3 has therefore been mostly cross training at the gym. I went 5 times and run there and back which adds 1k of running every time.
Wednesday I did an hour on the treadmill at the gym with an uphill bit at the end.

I was feeling so lousy and had so little sleep that I missed parkrun on Saturday, which made me feel worse as my running club was doing a parkrun in blue event to raise money for Mind. (Blue Monday)

Sunday I went for a 9k run to celebrate a huge show of solidarity for trans people that spontaneously happened online. After transphobic tweeter Graham Linehan who once wrote Father Ted, petitioned the national lottery to revoke funding for transgender childrens charity Mermaids. A youtuber hbomberguy started a charity stream playing Donkey Kong 64 to completion. He expected to raise around $5,000 however the outpouring of support surprised everyone. In the end raising over $345,000 for Mermaids. The CEO of mermaids joined in at times and talked of how she kept suicide watch over her daughter and why it inspired her to make sure no other parents or children had to suffer in the same way. Later in the stream famous people were coming on to support trans rights including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who won the biggest upset victory in the US 2018 midterm-election. Despite this Graham continues to lie, telling his followers that Mermaids gives untested drugs to children. Mermaids provides support groups, I honestly feel he would prefer trans children to commit suicide rather than get support from Mermaids.

During the stream #ThankyouGraham and #Mermaids trended globally on twitter for unwittingly raising awareness of transphobia and mermaids.
This has been the biggest outpour of pro trans sentiment I have ever seen, it was so promising and I was so close to breaking point from transphobia and lack of anything from NHS.

It also got me to go on a run to celebrate feeling OK for the first time in about 3 weeks. Up until this weekend I haven’t been able to go for 10 minutes without all the horrible transphobia going through my mine, like having an imaginary conversation with a TERF, then catching myself doing it. I wake up at night for a wee and then it happens again, my heart races and I can’t get back to sleep. It has truly been horrible.

So that covers week 3, disappointing from the running standpoint but I will get through. Fitness wise I feel good, the break from running over Christmas has improved me somehow, Its just a shame I seem to be getting injured again. More cross-trainer this week. I also want to make another running video!

Here is the link to my fundraising page please help if you can donate.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SofieLewis

Love you all XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sofie

London Marathon Week 2: Training Update

Total Training: 113.8k
This week: 39.2k

An update on my training during week 2.

In case you missed it I made a video of one of my training runs last week, check it out :p

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge_vVdMgB1I&t=1s

It was extremely nice to be back with the Didsbury Runners on Monday. It has been 9 weeks since I last made it, due to my injury and being in Skipton/running the Bolton Abbey half. No wonder I missed it so much. I was unsure what group to join but went back into the fast long run group and was glad I did as it felt very manageable. Running there and back as well totalled 15.5k, so a nice long run.

On Tuesday I met a friend in town and say my fist tattoo being done. I also picked up some calligraphy stuff and have been trying that out.

On Wednesday I went on another longish run of 13.2k. This was up-river on a route I used to do a lot. I feel like it has been a long time since I did that route too so it was nice to see all those familiar sights. Speed wise I went a little too fast, but I felt great. I need to slow down a little this week on these long runs as I am feeling it in my legs. At this stage coming back from an injury, slow and steady is the way to go. I have a lot of easy gains as my fitness comes back while pushing too hard only increases my risk of injury.

On Thursday and Friday I ran to the gym and did 1 hour on the cross trainer. I am glad I have that resource to be able to do cardio whilst not pounding my legs. I really want to try and get into cycling for this reason.

On Saturday I was feeling super low, there had been another attack on transgender people by the press. I managed to get out of bed and go to Fletcher Moss parkrun though. This time I wasn’t late. I jogged 2.5k there as a warmup and then went for it. It has been a while since I went for a PB at parkrun but this was one of those times. My watch was just over 21minutes but the official time was 20:59. I am very happy with that as it is a slower course with a hill that you do twice. I was speaking to someone after who said it was about 50 seconds slower for him than South Manchester parkrun so I am nearly on PB shape to get a sub 20 minute 5k. Really feels like the rest and x-mas eating has done me good.

I spoke to people after and then just cried on the way home. When transphobic things like that happen in the press I feel like someone has poured boiling water over me in the city centre, and nobody thinks there is anything wrong with it. It is a traumatic event. It then brings up all the previous times it has happened and just plays around in my mind. I need to start doing mindfulness exercises again as I have lapsed on that front.

I managed to get to Trans Mcr at the LGBT Foundation after parkrun which was helpful and emotional. If transphobic people were witness to the struggles that people go through then they would quickly change their minds. Of course the true phsychopaths would still want to enjoy themselves on twitter or line their pockets by creating a controversy, and as they are cowards there is nothing like punching down. My human rights are not controversial. I did not choose to be trans.

If you don’t know by now, I am raising money for the wonderful LGBT Foundation by running the London Marathon, the training of which I am banging on about here. (See I can be just like Shakespeare) Check out my donation page:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SofieLewis

Thank you to everyone who has donated I love you!!!!

Yesterday (Sunday) I could feel some pain in my left leg. It isn’t an injury but I need to back down a bit. So I ran to the gym again (0.5k each way) and did an hour on the crosstrainer. The pain is probably because I haven’t been stretching and foam rolling enough. Primarily because my flat is so cold so the first thing I want to do is shower and wrap up. So I will probably skip Didsbury runners today and go to the gym. I then want to get a sports massage this week, just being proactive. You do learn a lot about listening to your body when you start running for me by going through the full process of getting and injury. This time I can tell that shin splints are likely if I don’t loosen my muscles.

So almost 40k in week 2, I will try to hold at 40k for week 3 slowing down a tad on the easy runs. Still no official plan, sorry, but don’t panic. I need to figure out my limits in this human host body (sarcasm). I am not really from out of space you know….

I have my first appointment at the GIC tomorrow so wish me luck, it has been a long wait. I have been coming across doubt’s analyzing them and overcoming them, which has been nice. The hardest parts are really society and my depression.

Muchest of love to you all! XXXX

In the UK You Can’t Hide From Transphobia

I remember a while ago talking to a mental health professional when I was feeling suicidal after getting transphobic abuse on the way to a meeting. One of the problems I came across on this occasion was the fact that they didn’t really attempts to help with my mental health problems, it became a problem of me being transgender, which wasn’t why I was ringing.

This happens in regular health too although I haven’t faced it. It is called “transgender broken arm syndrome”. Where a doctor will ignore your complaints and just focus on the fact that you are transgender. The solution to having a broken arm becomes, “maybe we should reduce your hormones” for example. Or, we don’t want to do that surgery without you coming off hormones for a few weeks. Or a lot of tran’s people report being asked about their medical transition for no reason. “Doctor Doctor I have the flu”. “Oh my! Have you had gender reassignment surgery by the way?”

Anyway, on this occasion the mental health professional told me I should wear headphones when out so I can’t hear people shouting things at me.

This got me wondering recently about what exactly it would take to avoid transphobia in the UK. My answer is I don’t think you can. I worry that people think I am constantly complaining of transgender issues, well I don’t mind. I am writing this as a record for the future and to let people know what I am experiencing. As long as I am honest then its all good.

This king of thing obliterates my mental health. It makes me wonder what people think I am when I am outside. I don’t want to be here any more. People want to make the social cost of transitioning as high as possible. It is almost like being able-ist, “I’ve got my body and happy with it so I’m just going to mock, persecute and demonise those that don’t.” Along with racism, it absolutely disgusts me.

On twitter Graham Linehan, the creator of Father Ted, has made it his mission to spread lies and hatred of transgender people, women in particular. He has a wide audience for this and seems to be getting along with it just fine. He recently managed to set up a petition on mumsnet to get a national lottery award to trans-charity mermaids, to be withheld and currently under review. This money was going to be used to set up a network of coffee groups for parents of transgender children to be able to talk about their experience and inform each other. A prospect Graham Linehan called terrifying.

If you can’t see why this disgusts me then know this.

I have a friend whos’e family disowned her when she came out to them.

She also lost her job and became homeless because she was trans

I don’t know if people have the empathy to put themselves in her shoes and imagine what that feels like. But I can never forgive people who support this transphobia. Tell people being trans is a choice, if they choose that its OK to disown them. Telling people transgender women are sex offenders and worse. I believe they have blood on their hands. It has to stop now, but its getting worse.

So I would have to ignore twitter and mumsnet. But what about this.

I have woken up to transphobia on my radio alarm clock on Radio 4. I wrote about that womens hour episode previouslt so wont bore you with it again.

Today brought another example. The headline “story” for the Daily Telegraph (below). Insinuating that trans women are men, and that we are a threat to cis women on NHS wards. Again I walk down the street and wonder if people are thinking this about me. It’s not hard to imagine, some people do laugh at me, some give me extremely hostile looks. By no means the majority of people. Its a minority, but I have to remind myself of that quite hard. Humans have a negative cognitive bias, you can tell me that, but it’s still there. And one person doing this is too many.

This daily telegraph article is one of many over the last year. Only two days ago, the mail online apologised to mermaids, the charity I mentioned above, for misrepresenting it. In this case implying they were connecting trans kids to foreign HRT drug suppliers.

Two days before that the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled that a Sunday times article was “misleading” for saying that the gender recognition act reformation could give trans people the rights to use their correct public toilets.

For people who don’t know, we have been able to do this since 2010 according to the equality act. Telling the truth however wouldn’t encourage people to act out against the GRA consultation that was going on last year. Nor draw attention to the fact that this has been happening without a problem since 2010. Nor drive up hatred towards trans people, increasing the social cost of transitioning yet higher. This is pure hate and greed.

Never mind the cost to trans people. In 2013 a trans schoolteacher Lucy Meadows ended her life because of being outed and hounded by the Daily Mail in an article by Richard Littlejohn.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/transgender-primary-school-teacher-who-took-own-life-had-sought-protection-from-media-hounding-8546468.html

This effects everybody, transgender people and generates more transphobia. I didn’t watch it fortunately but today two hosts of Loose Women had a field day calling trangender women “Men” and saying they should be kept on the mens ward. Why is it only now that this is in the spotlight when for 9 years trans women have been treated on the correct ward? Who watched loose women or read that article and now feels justified and legitimised to hate me?

Next time a friend of mine or myself is forcefully removed, illegally from a womens toilet, punched in the face, or verbally abused in the street for being trans. I know why. All these things have happened to people I know since I came out. I am morally disgusted by these transphobes. For what they are doing for their own benefit. The price that we have to pay and everyone can enjoy vicariously.

Another thing I can’t stand is certain politicians saying this is a toxic debate on both sides. It’s the same with racism and what Trump said about Charlottesville. I am merely existing and being myself. The only way I can appease these bigots is to stop being.