injury

L is for Liberty

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

When you think of New York then images from the big screen automatically spring to mind.

The Manhattan skyline, the flurry of yellow cabs, Rockefeller Plaza and of course Lady Liberty overlooking the spectacular city, or the Statue of Liberty as she is most commonly known as.

The statue’s full name is Liberty Enlightening The World and she was given to the Americans as a gift from their French neighbours in 1886.IMG_5149

She’s had more film credits than Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep combined, and she still attracts millions of visitors every year.

She was certainly right up there on my wish list of places to visit whilst in New York.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty as she defines New York City to me.

When you’ve grown up watching a lot of movies and television shows as I had, I used to dream of the day that I would get to strut around NYC and say hello to her. Who can forget how she came to life in Ghostbusters 2, she opened up the credits on New Jack City and was featured in Sex and the City several times over the series.

Oh Lady Liberty how I adore thee!

My dream of strutting around NYC faded when I had children quite young. My friends were going on holidays abroad and travelling when I was stuck at home raising a baby. For many years we could barely pay the rent and bills. Luxury for us was being able to dine out once a month. Holidays were certainly not on the agenda for many years.

The whole flying thing became a real issue too so I didn’t ever believe that I would see the Statue of Liberty, unless someone could drug me like BA Barracus in the A Team and get me on a plane that way.

So last year when the dream became a reality and those flights to New York were booked I felt like a child on Christmas Eve.

You can imagine how emotional I became walking from the subway at Battery Park station for the first time and seeing Liberty in the distance.

It felt like I was in slow motion. Husband and son walked ahead and I just stood in the middle of the crowds exiting the subway exits, staring into the distance with my eyes transfixed on this robed lady holding up her torch.

“She’s there, right in front of your eyes Sarah” I heard my inner voice tell me. I do believe there was a tear, and a quivering lip as I stared at her. Beautiful!

My dream like state was quickly interrupted by son dragging my hand and telling me he wanted a hot dog. Thats’ kids for you, they sure can spoil a moment.

I’ve had a lot of moments like that in the past ten years. You’ll read about the flying thing a lot because it really has been the biggest fear in my life that I’ve had to overcome. And, because of that being a factor for so long, well there are a lot of places that I want to visit before I am old and senile.

If you’d read my entry for E, the Empire State Building blog you would read how we were kind of duped into buying tickets for the Empire State Building which also included a boat trip to Liberty Island. I asked the vendor really clearly, “Can we get off the boat to walk around the statue?” He was adamant that yes we could.

Of course he’ll say that, he was on commission for the family tickets we were about to purchase. It was the day after when we took the boat ride, and that boat was stopping for nobody. The journey was “quick get the camera, quick get the iPad, quick the camcorder, quick the iPhone”.

That was probably my only regret from the trip. I wish we would have paid separately and got one of the boats that did stop as it felt a little rushed sailing past it.

But never mind, the lady will still be there when I visit again someday.

Next time I’ll stop by and say hello properly to her.IMG_5150

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Self-promotion : Challenge 23

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It’s all well sitting behind a screen and dreaming that one you’d like to see your play on a stage being performed by actors, or listening to a piece of radio that you wrote etc. This will only happen once you get your name out and the internet is a great place to start.

The goal is visibility. Name recognition can lead to industry awareness, respect, paid writing assignments, and greater creative control over your career. That would be a nice goal to aspire to, but I still need to pay the bills and working full time in the day job will be a reality for years to come. Somehow, Hollyoaks or Corrie aren’t going to come knocking, unless I can go to them with some credits to my name.

The first stop was to get some work published online so I sent off my CV and examples of written features. Two e-zines took me on as a features writer so long as I could contribute three articles per month. The first time I saw an article that I had penned published online with my name next to it, well that was a nice feeling. Always great to see your name next to something that you have put heart and soul into.

The next piece of advice I was given was to start a blog. Having no idea what I would write about, the only thing at the time that I felt confident writing about was running. My first blog title Sweaty Betty was born. I wrote in that for approximately nine months. Due to a serious back injury which affected my running, I neglected this and felt that I wasn’t in the position to blog on that subject given the current circumstances with my health.

I don’t know about other people, but thinking of a name for a blog is not the easiest of things to come up with. I rattled my brains for weeks to think of a catchy title, that would not only sum me up, but also be a reference to what my interests were. I wanted the blog to reflect my journey as a struggling writer, and then The Northern Scribbler was born.

The blog has only been live for nine months, but already has over 1800 views, and I’m pretty sure they are not all from my mum and the other half. It’s always a massive compliment when a complete stranger decides to follow my blog, as they don’t know me and they have taken the time to sign up to an email notification everytime I post something. I currently have 42 people who have signed up to following my blog and I appreciate every single one of them.

I’ve been taking part in @sofluid June writing challenge this month. I decided to participate as my entries to the blog were very sporadic and I wanted to spark some life into the site. As a result of doing this challenge the creator of http://www.writesofluid.com wanted to feature me in an interview about the challenge. This was a really nice request, I’ve never been interviewed for anything before – except jobs, and quite a compliment to be featured next to “proper published authors”.scribbler

Finally, in order for me to gain a greater knowledge of stories and structure I decided to become an online theatre reviewer. It’s a great way to see live shows and Manchester is rich in the arts industry, both with our fantastic The Lowry, Opera House and the Royal Exchange Theatre, but also it has a large fringe theatre scene which seems to be growing. Being part of this is such a privilege, and is also a cost effective way to see lots of exciting plays.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June.

Welcome 2012

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This is my first blog of the year, so happy new year if you are one of the viewers who have found me by googling Paula Abdul’s hair and 80’s fashion.

Odd number years are generally a bit rubbish for me – so I am thrilled that we are in evens again this year. Hurrah!

2011 started off as a really great year for me. I was enjoying running which is something that has never happened before. At one point I was clocking up 11 mile runs which, for me was such an achievement. It took over my leisure time – so much so that I had decided to give netball up for a season so that I could concentrate on running and entering races. Oh yes! I was very fit and lost loads of weight in the first quarter of the year.

Until I slipped my disk in May – and then my life took a drastic turn. I could barely walk, no idea how I managed to work during what was a very busy period with exam boards and graduation. It also affected my confidence and I found myself suffering with depression and the panic attacks reared their ugly head.

Yes May to September were a particular tough few months. Thank god I have a great husband who took care of me, and sacrificed our “holiday of a lifetime” to the USA because I was unfit both physically and mentally to travel.

I don’t know exactly how I slipped the disk. Having woken up one Tuesday morning and feeling the most excruciating pain run down my buttock and leg – it’s a mystery. There are a few things that happened during that period, one being that a guy ran into the back of my car while I was stationary – however, there was no damage to the car so I never did do anything about that. Swine –he could be the reason why I spent my summer in misery.

The latter part of the year was fine. A much needed holiday to Portugal was just the order for the family to spend some quality time together, and we got away to Germany for Xmas which was lovely.

So what am I hoping for 2012?

Well definitely no more injuries. I am hoping to start running properly again, and play some gentle netball every now and again.

I generally don’t make new years resolutions as they are so hard to keep. Yes I need to lose weight, yes I could do with not drinking alcohol for a while and each year I want to stop biting my nails.

Instead of resolutions I give myself goals. So a few goals I want to achieve this year.

  • Pass the first year of my Masters degree
  • Do an activity that I have never done before
  • Visit a place I have never been before
  • See my family more than I did in 2011
  • Each month the husband and I are going to take it in turns to organise an activity for us to do as a couple.

Hopefully I will achieve all those goals and 2012 will be an eventful and fulfilling year.

Blog slacker

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As this year draws to a close, I realise how little I have been blogging since I really injured my back, which was back in May.

It’s amazing at how an injury such as a slipped disc can change your whole outlook on life. I know there are many people in far worse health than I have been, but it has been really tough.

I look back to how fit I was in April when I completed theSalford10k. I felt amazing, both physically and mentally and my passion had grown for running. My longest run being 11.5 miles which at the start of the year I would never have anticipated that I could achieve.

Then 21st May 2011 I woke up with the worse pain I have ever experienced in my left buttock and leg. The next four months felt like hell. I tried chiropractic, intense physiotherapy and massage.  I felt the most stress ever in July when I was still crippled in pain and due to go to the States for 3 weeks with my family. In the end I wasn’t fit enough to travel, both physically and mentally.

Oh yes mentally! That was a massive shock to the system. I wasn’t prepared for how depressed I would feel. Injuries are not just a physical thing, but a mental one too. I suffered a couple of panic attacks which I hadn’t suffered with for years, so that really knocked my confidence. I didn’t feel myself, I had become desperate and pathetic – needing other people to keep me calm. How the hell had that happened? I hated myself every day that I felt like that. My poor husband must have felt so suffocated.

At the time of writing I have began running just a mile every other day. This feels like I am on the mend, but still hoping that my netball days are not behind me and that I will still be in a position to be able to play again. I am awaiting an MRI scan results too, although the scan was taken three months too late given that the pain has diminished somewhat.

I’ll never take my health for granted again. Being incapacitated and having to rely on other people is the worst experience ever. The darkest days being when my sons had to help me put my socks, shoes and tie my laces for me. I hope I never have to go through that again.

 

Training update

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10k number one was over 5 weeks ago, and although I was feeling slightly more relaxed about number two, I couldn’t help but feel that I had let my training schedule slip.

The Trafford 10k really took its fury out on my knees, which although are feeling better than they have been in years, they did swell up and feel rather sore after Trafford.

Instead of running down the three humps during the Trafford 10k in the road with caution – I forgot all the things I had read about running with composure and caution on the downhill and instead thought it would be a good way to gain speed. So, I paid the price in the two weeks following the race.

This affected my training as I was unable to run the distances that I would have liked to. The lack of exercise then impacted on my back which became stiff, so it felt like a vicious circle. I got to a real low point as I had not run for six consecutive days and started worrying that I would quickly lose the fitness levels that I had worked so hard to achieve.

The final two weeks before my second 10k race proved really good. I managed to record my longest distance 10 days ago of nine and half miles which I was so pleased about. Who’d have thought it – six months ago that the fat girl would be able to run that distance.

I also broke the 2 stone barrier in terms of my weight loss last week which I was ecstatic about. I am hoping that the pounds loss will turn into more speed during my races.

And I keep checking out dates for half-marathons. Is it possible at this early stage of my running career to reach so high? Who knows!

Injury after injury after injury

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There are plenty of people in the world who abuse their bodies by smoking, taking drugs, being overweight and not exercising.

Apart from the odd blow-out at the weekend when I succumb to the devilish delights of vodka and dairy milk, I tend to look after myself. I stick to my weightwatchers eating air diet, I exercise regularly and have a mostly healthy mind.

Then why do I seem to be prone to injury at the moment. My knees flared up after my last 10k race which suspended my training for over a week. Then I had to do lots of short distances to not aggrevate them even further. I spent every evening stretching on the foam roller (which is a god send for my knee problems). So, I finally got them pain and swelling free last week and my back decided to start playing up (whilst sitting on a chair and eating my tea).

It is so unfair. I have been desperatly trying to keep it mobile, take lots of ibuprofen and do all the exercises (that I do anyway to keep my back supple) and then some more.

I have my next 10k race on Good Friday, and it’s not going to be good for me if I have to either:

a) walk it

b) crawl it

c) get pushed in a wheelchair

d) get carried round (mmmm actually depends on who is doing the carrying)

e) forfeit my place

I don’t like to be a moany old arse but aren’t injuries just the pits? I have felt so great since I started running. I feel physically and mentally a different person – so why is my shitty post 30 years body not catching up!