Erica Clarkson a (crazy) Girl Aboot Orkney

Today is national ditch your resolutions day.  I can proudly tell you I haven’t ditched a single one – simply because I didn’t make any.  But I did take up something recently, cold water swimming – yes, it’s cold-  and I’ll be telling you about it in a later blog.

Someone who started her resolutions months and months ago and miraculously kept it going is Girl Aboot Orkney Erika Clarkson. People have recently called me crazy for my recent dipping of my toe (actually whole body) in outdoor swimming in Orkney but Erica is full on totally completely nuts crazy by attempting a world record which involves running. I’ll leave her to tell you about it in her own words.

*SOUNDS TOO MUCH INFO KLAXON*  Erica is going to be talking about the menopause and related body parts, symptoms and problems.  I’ve pointed out the paragraph to perhaps give a miss if you choose because we are in mixed company, but if you’re going to be all stressy and twitchy over the word menopause then stop reading, but you’re going to be missing out on info about an amazing world record attempt.  Just saying…..

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Post-training collapse selfie

Q: So … I’ve seen on various social media sites that you’re doing a lot of running. I’ve certainly upped my game in the exercise stakes over the last 12 months but I draw the line at running (too much of me moves when I run!)

Tell me what you’re training for right now.

A:  Firstly, thank you for having me on the blog! It’s such an honour – your writing is straight from the heart – and you’ve often lifted my spirits!

*Gush*  Thank you 🙂

Secondly, let’s just acknowledge that when I started running 18 months ago, a great deal of me moved too!

I used to run at night so that nobody could see that ALL of my (sizeable) body parts were moving – not just my arms and legs. My self-esteem was on the floor, so were my boobs (almost) and I could feel my tummy jiggling on the outside – in great, sweeping waves of flesh. IT WAS NOT AT ALL ‘ALL GOOD’!

If you embarrass easily look away now and jump to the next paragraph- I first started to experience an avalanche of perimenopausal symptoms in 2016, but I didn’t recognise them as such at the time. Oestrogen levels can start to drop in our 40s and I now know that I was most likely suffering from oestrogen withdrawal. This explains the hideous emotional turbulence, anxiety and low-mood, weight-gain, loss of libido (le sigh), insomnia, headaches, brain fogginess and memory loss, wrinkles (le sigh) and painful sex (le ouch), dry skin, vaginal dryness (sorry boys), recurrent cystitis, sweats, palpitations and shortness of breath. Cheerful stuff eh!? I’ll stop there. Why stop?  It’s such cheerful reading! – Norq

My pretty awesome male GP was absolutely ‘on it’ and encouraged me to tackle the weight gain and to get some exercise and fresh air. I was wholly convinced that I’d have a heart attack, but he wasn’t having any of it. So, I soldiered on with the running and soon upped my distance to 3 miles and then 4 miles, then 5, 6 – and hey presto, the weight dropped off and I started to recover my senses.

To celebrate my new found inner peace, my wonderful (gorgeous, skinny, fit) friend and neighbour forced,encouraged me to enter the 2017 St Magnus 10K race. I did and I was almost last … but … I did it. And I loved it. 

Running became part of my life and taking inspiration from our very own ultra-running legend William Sichel, I discovered a love of running a very, very, very long way. William has been a great support to me – and isn’t at all fazed by my menopausal rantings. I love him to bits. I also discovered an amazing running community in Orkney. There’s a great deal of talent here and I’ve met some brilliant people doing some brilliant things! I’d encourage anyone to join Orkney Running Club at their earliest convenience! I’ll run if you come polar dipping with me 😀 – Norq

I digress.

I’m currently training for an Official World Record Attempt for the most consecutive days to run an ultra-marathon distance on a running track, by a woman. This equates to 124 laps of The Picky track every day for 12 days starting on 25 February 2019. 

WHAT! – Norq

I’m doing this because life is short and I’m so grateful to have a body that lets me do amazing things, and most importantly to raise awareness of the menopause. Running has really turned things around for me and I’d love to encourage other women to get out and get moving – however far that might be. 

Tackling the menopause taboo is another motivating factor for me!

Why do we find it so hard to talk about the menopause and (shockingly) why are some women still wrongly diagnosed with depression?  So many of us think we’re slowly going crazy, but if we educate ourselves about perimenopause and menopause so that we are better able to make informed decisions, if we talk (nae – SHOUT) about it, then we might just start to get the message out there. Every woman we know will experience perimenopause or menopause to varying degrees, so for goodness sake – let’s just get over our embarrassment already.

My Menopause Ultras will also help to raise funds for an incredible charity called Wellbeing of Women who are dedicated to improving the health of women. Please check them out because I’m hoping that any money we raise will fund much needed research into the menopause. My Just Giving page is here – even the smallest contribution will make a huge difference to helping spread the word.

I’ll leave it there. Thanks again for having me Norq! See you on the track perhaps? You’re welcome! No. 

Seriously though Erica, this is an amazing achievement, well done on the training and good luck on the record attempt.  As a token gesture, I MIGHT run round the Peedie Sea. 

This is how crazy people look when they have finished a run

Please click on the link and show Erica some love.




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