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.
Adrenaline flows from the minute I wake up. As soon as the alarm goes off I remember why I have set it for 7am on Good Friday when I should be having a well earned lie in.
As I felt pretty good running the Trafford 10k I decided to keep to the same ritual that I undertook for that race. I had a slice of toast, cup of coffee and a berocca before I set off.
The sun was shining and the birds were singing, so I figured it may just be a scorcher of a run this morning. Putting on my new running shorts, t-shirt and the new investment of Nike trainers, I set off for race number 2 of my trilogy.
I arrived at the sports village and queued up for my race number 950. I started to feel very slightly nervous as my greatest fear in my racing life is being last. I know that someone has to come last, there is no shame in being last but its not something I wish to experience in a 10k race.
So, another dilemma for me. Do I run with my camel-back on to keep myself hydrated or do I chance it without. I wanted to try and run without it as many a run at home I have barely touched the water during that distance. It is more of a comfort thing for me as I have only ran twice without it and both times I felt like an item of clothing was missing. However, I decided to rely on the water station and left the camel-back in the car.
I made my way up to the start line with the other runners. I felt exhilarated……..I really enjoy the buzz of starting a race, and started a bit further forward than I did for my Trafford 10k as I didn’t want to get caught up in too much traffic.
And we’re off!!
It was getting hot and I immediately regretted not carrying my camel-back especially when the route took us through a dusty industrial estate. I could get through it though – only five miles to run and then stop for some water.
I felt really good during this race, not a sign of cramp, knee pain or any aches in my back. The new trainers felt good too – my toes felt spaced out and every step was cushioned, instead of feeling every pace shoot through my body.
I gained a lot of momentum at the half way mark. Firstly I got to hydrate, although I really don’t like throwing plastic cups on the road and do look for bins first. Secondly, I saw my husband and sons waving and yelling me on. That was a real boost. I think my speed picked up from 9:24 to 8:45 for a couple of miles.
I finished this race in 54:35 minutes which was a minute and twenty seconds faster than my previous 10k.
My next race is the Great Manchester 10k in May. That will complete my fund-raising trilogy, but is only the start of my distance running. I cannot believe I have caught the bug.
It was well worth getting up early for on the Good Friday!!
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!
Anybody embarking on a weight loss journey should photograph their body during the process and record their journey.
I really regret not doing this. I was too ashamed, embarrassed and in denial about how large I had let myself get since having children. The children were 14 and 9 so I had run out of excuses.
It was easier to not look in the mirror, buy bigger clothes and I was convinced that if I got too large I had a lovely husband who would tell me so. In reality my husband loves me whether I am 13 stone or 10 stone. Everybody else thought I was healthy and physically fit as I was able to run around the netball court for 40 minutes – twice a week.
As with everything people can’t make you do something – you need to do it for yourself.
D-day for me was seeing a photograph taken at the back of me at the buffet table during a work colleagues leaving lunch. As soon as I saw it, I saw a fat, frumpy council worker who shouldn’t be helping herself to buffet as she looked like she had ate too much over the years.
I felt so ashamed of how I looked.
I went home that night and looked at my husband who is so physically fit, has a muscley body which he works so hard to maintain – all the things that I love about a male and why I was attracted to him in the first place. If anything he has improved physically with age.
I then looked at myself and how I had really let myself go over the years following having children and felt about as low as I have ever felt for years.
I had turned into one of those frumpy looking mums who have let their appearances fade. There are plenty of them in the playgrounds – you know the type, they wear tight jeans and have an overspill of flab in their midriff. I had become that and it didn’t matter how many netball matches I could play, or how many sessions I could do at the gym – without losing that fat I was a frumpy, fat middle-age mother.
So, I joined weightwatchers.
I had calculated that I was going on holiday to Menorca in exactly 14 weeks from my joining date so if I could lose a pound a week then at least I would be a stone lighter for my holiday.
That was the goal I had to focus on.
Surprisingly I found the weight loss plan quite easy to stick to. I didn’t feel hungry and it was more of just watching what I ate and keeping a track of all the food I was consuming.
I could not believe it after my first week when I was weighed and I had lost 2 pounds. It was a great feeling to have achieved that, so that was the motivation I needed. My stone for my holiday was a definite achievable goal.
Some weeks I would stay the same, the weeks that I didn’t track every day I would gain – but I managed to lose a stone for my holiday.
I even wore a bikini for the first time on holiday.
So, if I could lose a stone slowly and just by watching what I was putting in my mouth, then surely I could lose another one?
It was much slower to lose the second stone but all the compliments I received from people who were noticing the weight loss gave me all the motivation I needed. I also dropped a dress size too, which felt like a milestone. I hadn’t been in size 12 clothes since I was 28 years old.
When I had lost 22 pounds in total my life would change forever. I signed up for 10k races and started running. Again, another thing I had tried a couple of times over the years but found it too physically challenging for me.
However, this time it felt easier and after running for a few weeks something clicked and I was able to just switch off and keep running with no thoughts. It felt a bit like meditating and the way I felt after each run was awesome. I felt happy, energetic and calm.
One thing about running is that even though a few times I feel like I can’t be bothered going out and running, especially when its really cold outside – I never feel downbeat and unhappy when I get home. I always have the runners high.
So, back to the present day. Unfortunately I never took those photos or wrote the logs of my weight loss journey. But, I can look in the mirror now, I feel at my peak in terms of my physical fitness and I am nearly at the weight I was when I first met my husband.
I think the husband finds me far more attractive at the weight I am now too.
But the greatest achievement ever was that I bought my first pair of skinny jeans the other week and there was not an overhang of flab in sight.
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!