Written by Jenny Bede


Marathon Woman: Weeks 11 & 12

Jenny Bede is running the London Marathon – again – and she’s sharing the joys and the pain of the whole experience with Standard Issue. This week, let’s talk about socks, baby.

Legs wearing colourful compression socks “People with depression do not need a doctor and a bottle of something that rattles. They need a pair of running shoes and fresh air” – Katie Hopkins, March 2015.

I try to pretend Katie Hopkins doesn’t exist, as I’m sure a lot of you do too. She evokes a mixture of pity and rage within me, like when ITV tells me what hashtag to use. I hate that I’m even acknowledging her and her recent comments, but I feel I had to mention them given the content of my article and what I was talking about last week.

If you happen to have read Lady Hopkins’ Twitter feed this week you may have noticed that she has found a cure for depression: running. This is brilliant! I’ve thrown away all my medication! Literally nothing can go wrong! I mean, I’ve been running so much recently that I’m probably already cured. Thanks Katie!

It wasn’t just the running one. Hopkins unleashed a whole stream of ill-informed statements about depression and its treatment, including gems such as: “Most depression is just genuine sadness at a social situation. Like being caught in torrential rain with a bag from Primark,” and “I diagnose you all with acute victim disorder. My epilepsy meds are supposed to be prescribed with anti-depressants. Sod that #standstrong”

The latter is mostly infuriating but also a bit hilarious. To suggest that not taking anti-depressants is a form of #standingstrong is incredibly harmful. Though most of us can look at these tweets and dismiss them as attention-seeking drivel, there will be some people who for whatever reason respect her opinions and potentially fail to seek help as a result of these views.

I wonder how she’d feel about throwing her epilepsy pills away and going for a run instead. Medication is medication. For people who are clinically depressed, SSRIs are as vital as anti-epileptic drugs are to an epilepsy sufferer.

I know this is her thing… She bullies people and spews vitriolic bile under the guise of free speech, but when it’s as potentially damaging as this, it goes from her just being a bit of a cunt to her being incredibly irresponsible. Her saying that depression doesn’t exist because she hasn’t experienced it is the equivalent of me saying the 1850s didn’t happen because I wasn’t there. Or that Sweden doesn’t exist because I haven’t been.

Anyway, enough of that.

“I adopted my skiing style and just sat down when I felt like it, this time in the middle of Hyde Park, which was a lot more comfortable than the floor of a snowy mountain.”

It’s been a good couple of weeks. I went skiing. That’s an understatement, I went to the greatest comedy festival in all the land, Altitude. ‘Slopes all day, Laughs all night’ is the tagline. And it’s not wrong. The last time I went, in 2012, I tried snowboarding, got too cocky too quickly and broke a bone. I considered doing the same this time to once and for all get me out of this shitting marathon but then I remembered the charity element and went with the ‘safe’ option: skiing. I had asked my physio if I could do it and he said that it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. And actually, it wasn’t. You stay on your feet (ideally) so there’s no real impact on anything.

There were a couple of times where it all just got a bit too much on my knees and shins at which point I’d really helpfully just take my skis off, sit down wherever I was (which was normally right in the middle of a mountain) and announce that I was done for the day. I’d gently be reminded that the only way down was to ski, so invariably I had to eat my words and put them back on, bar the one occasion where I point blank refused and walked down a mountain, while a group of lovely comics/friends waited patiently at the bottom. But I didn’t break anything. In fact, I only unintentionally fell over once all week, which was pretty good.

The rest of the festival was even better, doing a couple of gigs myself, but more excitingly watching others. (I got to see relative newcomers Sofie Hagen and Jamali Maddix for the first time – WOW). A bit of running here and there, some swimming and heavy carb-loading (too early, according to some miserable purists) all added up to an amazing week.

A pair of trainersDue to injury I’m about a week or so behind in my training. I was supposed to have done a 20-miler by now and I haven’t. Since being back in the UK I managed 30km (about 18.7 miles) without any catastrophes. Damn it hurt. Damn I was slow. I adopted my skiing style and just sat down when I felt like it, this time in the middle of Hyde Park, which was a lot more comfortable than the floor of a snowy mountain. Don’t judge me, it was a nice day. Loads of other people were sitting down. I was just trying to fit in. And 19 miles is BORING.

One interesting thing did occur doing this, though. *Disclaimer – my definition of interesting is vastly different to a lot of other peoples when it comes to running.* So…I think I got to the bottom of the problem that I had during the disastrous Silverstone half, and ensuing failed 18-miler…

My compression socks. Now compression socks are supposed to make things better, but I’m pretty sure they do the opposite for me. I didn’t wear them when I ran in Austria and I wasn’t in any pain. I didn’t put two and two together until yesterday when I set out for my 30k and had severe pain in my lower legs. Pins and needles, burning sensation, all the hits. Out of desperation I rolled them down to my ankles and almost instantly the pain went. I ran (and walked a bit) almost painlessly until about the 14-mile mark when my ITBS kicked in. Which is how it’s SUPPOSED to be; not searing discomfort from mile zero.

Told you it was interesting. Seriously though, despite the relief in knowing that they’re the culprit, I can’t describe the disappointment of being betrayed by my most expensive item of hosiery. £30. For a pair of socks. And they’re no use to me now. YES MUM, YOU WERE RIGHT; IT WAS THE COMPRESSION SOCKS. I’M SORRY I EVER DOUBTED YOU AND YOUR WISE WAYS, YOU EVIL GENIUS.

Anyway, I’ve only got one long run (21 miles) left, then I can start thinking about tapering, resting and full-time carb loading. In the meantime I’d love to ask you a favour. I’m getting bored with my running music and I’d love some new suggestions. Please tweet them at me @JennyBede.

These are my current favourites, just so you know what you’re dealing with:

Top 10 Running Tracks
1. Public Enemy – Harder Than You Think
2. Wretch 32 – Traktor
3. The Jurassic Park theme tune
4. The Killers – When You Were Young
5. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
6. RuPaul – Champion
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us
8. Taylor Swift – Out of the Woods
9. RuPaul – Jealous Of My Boogie
10. Anything by Lonely Island.




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Written by Jenny Bede

Jenny Bede is an actor, writer and comedian living in London. @jennybede