Mindfulness

2017 seems to be the year of the buzz word – rather than a list of resolutions that everyone forgets two weeks into the year, people are finding one word that will encapsulate their year and I’ve decided to do the same.

2017 for me will be the year of mindfulness

After everything I’ve been through and my new digestive system, there’s a lot of things I can’t / shouldn’t eat because basically they make me ill.

While I have cut out the things that make me massively ill, straight up dairy is the biggest culprit but also fried food, very fatty food and sugary foods do the same thing – I’ve spent a lot of my daily life feeling nauseous, bloated, sluggish due to eating foods I know make me a little bit ill.

For the most part I wanted to eat ‘normal’ foods like ‘normal’ people but towards the end of 2016 I decided that maybe it’s not worth it and I should try and eat things that make me feel good and fulfilled.

The lightbulb moment went off properly at Christmas, I was given a bar of vegan, raw dark chocolate with peanut butter (yes it was as delicious as it sounds) and for the first time since my operation I ate the whole bar of chocolate (it was a small one I assure you) without feeling nauseous / being sick afterwards. I’ve always known that I can’t really tolerate dairy anymore and have used dairy free milk in coffee for ages now but I guess I just wasn’t ready to give certain things up, chocolate, cheese, ice cream etc but this year I’m determined to find good quality alternatives without dairy and me and dairy are going to break up for good

I don’t really eat a lot of chocolate but it’ll be awesome to know that I’m not going to feel sick for ages afterwards if I eat the right kind for me, the same goes for pizza and ice cream.

So in 2017 I’m really going to think long and hard about how what I’m eating makes me feel and I’m going to try and be really mindful about what I put in my body – at the end of the day if my body isn’t spending all it’s time fighting what I’m putting in it then I can only have more energy to do everything I want to do!

Wish me luck!

Advertisements

Solid Training Week

After last week’s mental downturn this week has gone a lot better thank goodness!

I’ve really been enjoying my pre-work gym sessions including the spin classes that my gym do on a morning, if you follow me on instagram you’ll see I’ve been very at home on the spin bike this week

I’ve been doing three early morning spin classes a week and I love how it makes me feel for the rest of the day! I’m also hoping that these spin classes will help me get a pair of bike legs.

For my warm ups before spin class I also introduced myself to this particular torture device!

img_1794

S’s sister uses this at the gym and I decided to give it a go – with my leg / butt on the way to recovery I thought it might be a good low impact way of warming up my legs and getting my heart going before spin. I’m definitely going to use this again, I’m very klutzy so I’ll admit I spent most of my time on there in fear of my life but this machine is no joke! My heart was racing in no time!

On the leg / butt front my running is coming along really nicely – my paces have fallen through the floor but I’ve finally managed to do 5 pain free kilometres for the first time in ages! I’m looking forward to ramping my distances back up again and then hopefully my paces will get back to where I left them before the half this summer – I have dreams of a sub 25 minute 5km and a sub 50 minute 10km – I’m sure I’ll regret saying this once my tempo work starts again but I’ve missed my hard workouts and I loved my running this summer. I felt strong and in control and for the first time since I started running I enjoyed my recovery runs, they really helped me clear my head.

My workouts for this week looked like this…

  • 3 spin classes – 30 minutes each
  • 2 5km runs – 6:19 and 6:25 km pace
  • 1 PT class – 1 hour
  • 1 warm up run before spin – 15 minutes
  • 1 warm up on the stepper before spin – 10 minutes

Not horrendous for someone coming back from injury!

I’m planning my 2017 training plan as we speak! I’m excited to move into my ironman year!!!

BMI bug bear…

Overall I’m pretty happy with how my training has gone the last fortnight

There are definitely some things that I’d like to be better with but I’m just starting back and I’m happy with where I am right now

I’ve been consistently going to the gym three to four times a week before work – I’ll admit that there have been lots of times when my alarm has gone off and all I wanted to do was switch it off and go back to sleep but I always feel better once I’m halfway through my workout and it definitely sets me up for the day.

Most of the time at the gym I’ve been running on the treadmill which I don’t really enjoy but it’s been pretty cold and icy here recently and I was trialling my hip and how it’s holding up so I didn’t want to get a distance from home / the gym and my hip to go and have to hobble back so onto the treadmill I went.

All in all my hip seems to be playing ball and my distances and paces seem to be slowly getting closer to where I once was so for that I’m happy. It now means I can re-start a more complete training programme again and make the gains this winter season that I would like to.

I have also signed up to the spin classes that my gym offers and for the most part I’ve been enjoying them. The ones I go to are only 30 minutes before work so I’ve been setting the resistance a little higher than instructed and my cadence a little faster so that I can get the most out of that short time but they are sweaty sessions that pass quickly – my quest to love the bike continues

So, for the most part things have been going well although I’ve been having some issues with myself in terms of feeling ‘squidgy’ round the edges. I weigh myself regularly and have noticed that recently I’ve put on a couple (as in exactly 2) kilos

The thing is though, before I got ill, I struggled with my weight and then when I was ill and started losing lots of weight I have to admit I loved it. With not getting hungry and not having the stomach room to eat enough or properly the weight loss became uncontrolled and I’ve spent the three years struggling with my inner demons to be as ‘skinny’ as possible and being told to eat more by my specialists as my body weight and particularly body fat percentage was getting towards being borderline dangerous.

The last few months to a year my weight has stabilised and I’ve trained and eaten to make my body as healthy as it could be – mentally I’d love to be a lighter weight but my specialists have been happy with where I’m at and working on my strength and conditioning means that I’m now maintaining my muscle mass and ‘was’ feeling good about how I look (I’m a UK size 8)

Then…

Since S and I recently moved house we had to change our GP surgery which I was already sad about as I had a brilliant relationship with my doctors, they saved my life after all.

I went to my new doctors for a new patient appointment (I didn’t want to go but it was a pre-requisite) and saw a nurse who quite frankly was very short and rude to me for the whole of the appointment but then proceeded to weigh me, in jeans, trainers and a hoodie I might add and then proceed to tell me that according to my BMI I was overweight

In addition to this when asked about if I exercised and I told her how much I did she looked at me with a very patronising look on her face and asked ‘is that because of the weight problem?!’

So now i’m battling my demons again to not eat – not getting hungry means this is particularly easy for me to do and especially since I’ve been feeling a bit softer round the edges anyway it seemed like all she did was confirm what I’d been thinking anyway.

Hopefully the doctors at this new place are better than that woman or I might need to look around for another doctors practice because I’m not playing the martyr here but I’ve been through enough and I need people in my corner not against me!

Day One… Done

We had friends over for dinner last night so this morning’s 5am alarm clock stung a little bit.

I really wanted to push snooze, roll over and sleep a little bit more until it was time to get ready for work.

But I couldn’t fail with my new plan on the first day now could I?!

So out of bed I got, changed into my gym clothes and approximately 6 million outer layers because it’s freezing here at the moment and at the bright and early time of 5:30am I got in my car and headed to the gym.

At the moment due to my hip being injured I’m cautiously working running back into my training plan and although I would love to be running the streets, it’s been icy and slippy recently and the last thing I need to do now that my hip is finally starting to feel better would be to slip and pull something!

My coach wanted me to try a 4km run today and as much as me and the treadmill aren’t friends I figured, from a ‘is my hip ok’ standpoint, it wouldn’t matter if I was running on the road or the treadmill so onto the damn thing I hopped.

Other than reminding me of how much I don’t like the treadmill and trying to find ways to entertain myself the run went well. My hip didn’t give me any trouble at all and other than a noticeable lack of fitness from not running consistently recently I was pleased with how it went.

One thing that bugged me though was the huge difference between the treadmill and my watch.

I’m more inclined to trust the treadmill than my watch at times like this but my workout went like this…

0.2km walk on the treadmill to warm up

Speed up to a run

Push start on my watch (activity setting: Indoor Run)

Run 4km varying my speed between 9 to 11 kmph to try and keep myself entertained

This is what my watch said

img_1773

And this is what I got from the treadmill

img_1772

Bearing in mind that I started my watch AFTER 0.2km on the treadmill! Crazy!!

I also bumped into a friend of mine at the gym (at 6am – us triathletes are mental) which made me smile.

I felt so good after I’d finished my session and mentally so different – it’s amazing what getting back to what you love does to you – however when you’re feeling down it’s so easy to neglect what makes you happy for moping around the house and not wanting to socialise.

Plus getting my session done in the morning meant that when work went mental and I ended up staying at the office longer than I expected, I’d already got my training done for the day and didn’t need to worry about missing it.

Because I’m being careful with my hip, tomorrow is a rest day but I’ll be back to the gym on Wednesday to see how hippy is doing then hopefully I’ll get the all clear from coach M to get back to a full training programme again

Onwards and upwards hopefully

Back to Day One

Be warned – if you don’t like a moaney post you might want to look away now…

Things haven’t been great for me for a while, health wise I’m still one of the luckiest people in the world and I’m doing really well but the rest of my life has been a bit more difficult recently. I’ve been feeling pretty down, mentally, for a while now and although there are some places where I can put my finger on the reason, for the most part, I don’t really know why I’m feeling like this. Hopefully it’s just a blip and I can get back on track again in no time.

I was doing so well really, I was training and training well for my second half marathon. I was running so well, my paces had increased so much and I was really enjoying running for the first time since I started. Things seemed to have clicked and I was loving it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really slow for most people but I got my first sub 30 5km and my first sub 1 hour 10km which were huge accomplishments for me. I was feeling great and starting to dream about my next goals (sub 25 5km and sub 50 10) and more importantly believing I could do it.

My half marathon training was ticking away nicely, I was running further and further without stopping to walk and I was loving it! I was headed for a 2:05 half time, my longer term goal was a sub 2 hour half which although I’d have loved to have got this year I just knew it wasn’t on the cards for me, this years event was merely a stepping stone to the bigger goal for next year and I was doing so well that I didn’t mind that I wasn’t going sub 2 this year.

Then things started heading south for me personally. S and I bought an amazing house, which I love, that needs a lot of work at around the same time that I lost my job. This worked out well for us as it meant that I was in for workmen and deliveries etc, it also meant that I could do a lot of the prep work to save us some much needed money (no job remember). However, this meant that quite often I was working all day / waiting for people to arrive and shattered by the end of the day. So the last two weeks of my half training before the big day I ran a total of one time, yes I know!

The half came and didn’t quite go as planned, everything was going really well up until between 11 and 12km, I was on course for my 2:05 finish and feeling pretty good about it then things went downhill pretty fast. I pretty much fell apart at the 12km marker, my feet, toes especially, started hurting so so much, my hips followed suit pretty soon after that and mentally I gave up. The longest run I’d done in training was 18km and not only did I finish faster than I was going in the half but it felt easy, smooth and relaxed, a polar opposite to how I was feeling on race day – I kept telling myself I’d gone longer in training but it wasn’t working. The last half of the race was just going through the motions to get to the finish. Mentally it was such a tough race and I finished feeling despondent and defeated.

Last year I finished in 2:31 and this year I finished in 2:14

I RAN MY SECOND HALF MARATHON, 13.1 MILES, WITH A 17 MINUTE PB AND I DIDN’T TELL ANYONE!

All because of how I was feeling and because I missed my 2:05 goal. I was so down on myself and I spent so much time beating myself up that I failed to see what I accomplished.

After that things continued to feel down, I developed an issue with my piriformis on my left side which has, until recently, stopped me from running anything longer than 1km at a time, I’ve spent most of my time doing physio exercises set by my PT and trying to get rid of the pain.

I’ve now found a new job, for now, but it’s very varied hours and only part-time. I’m hoping that more work will come along and I’ll get kept on but I’m self-employed and the industry I work in is in a massive slump at the moment so I’m just lucky to have work, I know a lot of my former colleagues who aren’t working.

So it’s been tough to find a routine in a week that pretty much has none but I know that I always feel so much better when I work out and although when I’m feeling down it’s the last thing I want to do, I need to remind myself that it’s precisely what I need to do.

I’ve joined a gym near my new office and my plan is to go before work every morning, it’ll mean I can build up my running distances on the treadmill, the weather has been really icy and cold recently. The cold I can handle but with my dodgy hip I daren’t risk any slips.

I used to go to the gym before work most mornings at my last job and it always set me up for the day – most of the time it was just 30 minutes either working on speed work on the treadmill or a quick HIIT session but it always did wonders for my day. Plus there’s always an awesome smugness that comes with the knowledge that you’ve run 10km before most people are out of bed!

So, after all of the whingeing and moaning above, I’m declaring this day one. I’m starting afresh. Here’s to things picking up and a great winter training phase.

It’s been a while

Hmmm… It’s been a while since I’ve been on here! Six months in fact! Whoops

I’ve been doing lots of lovely things – I completed my first Olympic Triathlon in London which was an awesome day and I spent the weekend catching up with dear friends too so that was good.

I also completed a two mile swim in Loch Lomond, ran my second half marathon, bought a house with S and lost my job! Ha ha can’t have it all can you!

Anyway – this time around I’m determined to be better at keeping this little space up and running (pardon the pun)

Training Tuesday #3

I’m very happy to report that I’m training again! Woo hoo!

Yesterday (Monday) was the first day that I felt more like myself again – I’m still quite tired but my brain doesn’t seem as foggy anymore which is making ALL the difference. Fingers crossed it means that my iron supplements are kicking in nicely and all I need to do is keep taking them and I’ll be all hunky dory again.

Yesterday it was an absolutely gorgeous day in Glasgow

Sunny Glasgow

and in the quest to get more comfortable on my bike I’d devised a simple 14km out and back route that I wanted to try out before work.

The route had a couple of good things in it for me, the first section of my route has lots of traffic lights on it which is quite daunting for me and my clipping in / clipping out mishaps but that’s precisely where I need the practice and I can do this over and over again in the park on the bike track but it’ll never replicate the roads so on the roads I shall go.

The second section of the road is mainly dual carriageway which means that for the most part motorists just go into the outside lane to get round me and don’t try and squeeze past me. I’m hoping this will help me get a bit more confidence on the roads without having to worry overly about the cars – I’ve had a couple of incidents where I’ve been beeped at and although I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I’m as much entitled to be there as the cars, it still made me anxious!

This route can actually be quite busy with traffic at the wrong times but my intention was to get out at 6am to get my hour (or so) in giving me enough time to get home, showered and to work for 8am

As I’ve proved above, the weather was in my favour for my first trip out and it was pretty awesome! I also managed to pass (twice) my personal trainer, M, at the end of my out and back section and he commented later how good I was looking on the bike! I’ll take compliments anywhere when it comes to the bike!

Cycle before work
Out and Back Bike Confidence Route

After work, the less said about that the better, I had a PT session with M to go to. Because the weather was still so nice and my M’s gym isn’t far away from my house I decided to be crazy and run to my PT session.

Run to PT session in the sunshine

Run to PT

Having not had the energy to do pretty much anything for the best part of a fortnight the idea of running was scary at the thought of how much it would hurt but once I got going it felt oh so good to get my trainers on and pound the pavement again!

M knew about my anemia so we spent more time on weight based workouts during my hour session rather than my usual HIIT style training – there’s no point breaking me just now – there’ll be plenty of time for that once the docs are sure we’ve found the cure!

This was great too as it meant I still had the energy to run back home again and my return route felt even better than my outgoing one!

I really need to remember this feeling the next time I’m struggling to find the motivation to drag my feet through a tough run session! Don’t take anything you can do now for granted, you never know when it might be taken away from you!

Run home from PT

Yes the above km times are actually pretty great for me! I’m a slow turtle but I get there in the end.

Three Things Thursday #2

Training

As you may probably have guessed from my last post my training hasn’t really been going anywhere at the moment. I’m still incredibly tired, the work day takes it out of me enough these days! But as I explained previously now that I know I’m ill I’m letting my body do what it needs to do to heal. I’m not OK with lounging on the sofa every night, I feel like I should be doing something but then I listen to how I’m feeling and realise that I wouldn’t have the energy to do anything even if I forced myself. Last night, after work I went to do some food shopping for the weekend and by the time I got to the flat I was spent! I just wish my lil red blood cells would hurry up and reappear. Hopefully my iron tablets will start to work their magic soon and I’ll literally be back up and running in no time.

Weekend Plans

Although I’m pretty shattered at the moment and it might not seem like the best idea to have plans, I’m excited about the weekend because my folks are coming to visit! They haven’t been to stay for the best part of 18 months (we’ve caught up in other locations due to other family events during this time) and they’ve not met our little furballs, the kittens, yet and my Dad loves cats (don’t get him started about how he wants a new one when my Mum is dead against it!) so hopefully he’ll enjoy being around cats again and the girls will love meeting their human grandparents.

We don’t have a lot planned for the weekend really but my Dad is going to help S with some DIY things around the flat – mainly fitting a wall mounted bike rack to our cloakroom so that we will no longer be falling over our bikes all the time!

Bike Skills

Although I was absolutely shattered last night S and I had training plans. A while ago I had signed us both up for some Bike Skills sessions put on by a couple of our triathlon coaches. S says he learned a lot from last night but really the sessions were more for my benefit than his. We were split into two groups, a faster and slower group, with S being in the faster and me in the slower, and went round the local bike track (in the wind and pouring rain I might add!) learning more about cornering, starting and stopping, hand signals, taking water on the bike and riding in a group. We learned how to stay on the wheel of the bike in front, signals used when riding in groups and stopping and setting off without causing a pile up.

Even though the weather was horrendous and I was shattered before I’d even started I really enjoyed the session and it is definitely helping me get more comfortable and confident on the bike. I managed about 1 hour 20 minutes of the 2 hour session before I started properly dropping, I was desperately trying to stay on the wheel in front of me but I didn’t have the energy and then when I got dropped, the energy needed to battle the wind and get back on to the wheel again meant that I was too tired to stay on the wheel when back there! Vicious cycle indeed!

My coach knew what I was dealing with and, hopefully, understood when I declared myself done – hopefully my tablets will kick in soon and the next sessions, its due to run for the next 12 weeks (I think) so I’m not being too hard on myself for missing part of the first session.

I am absotivelyposilutely determined to finish this summer loving cycling and my bike – I loved my bike when I first got it and then we had a bit of a falling out recently and I wanna make amends!

Anemia and my first DNS

Training hasn’t been going so well recently as the last couple of weeks I’ve been incredibly tired, as in, unbelievably so.

So I booked an appointment to see my GP as I’ve been falling asleep everywhere, have no energy whatsoever and whenever I was sleeping I’ve been waking up just as tired as when I went to bed!

My doctor didn’t think it was embarrassing that I was booking an appointment because I was tired – I was worried that I was imagining it and just being lazy but he seemed to listen to what I had to say and decided that I should go for some blood tests to see if anything came up.

Well – it turns out that I am, in his words ‘severely anemic’ my iron absorption levels should be between 25 and 200 and mine were the grand total of… 3! No wonder I was so tired!! As iron is responsible for creating red blood cells and carrying oxygen around the body it was fair to say that I was absolutely exhausted.

At the moment I’ve been put on iron tablets which might not work due to me not really having a stomach in which to digest and absorb the stuff. He’s hoping that a large volume of iron might help my body even to absorb a small percentage of it however I need to have more tests to try and find out why I’m not absorbing the iron in the first place. The answer to this might be that I have to go on iron injections but I’ll be honest if I can stop being this damn tired then I’ll do anything at the moment! I’m barely getting through my standard working days nevermind even considering training at the moment!

This has, understandably, bummed me out a bit but on the other hand I’m really relieved that there’s something medically going on to make me like this – I honestly thought I was either imagining being so tired and using it as an excuse to not workout or simply being lethargic and more I slept the more tired I was becoming. Knowing now that it’s not any of these things and it’s actually my body and something wrong then I can give myself some slack and let my body recover.

Hopefully the iron tablets / injections will work and I’ll be able to ramp my training up once again.

My aim for this summer is the bike and gaining confidence with my clipless pedals and generally getting stronger riding however the last thing I wanted to do when I was feeling shattered and weak was to try and stay upright on a bike! Plus it hasn’t helped that it snowed here in the UK this past week! I didn’t want to try and cycle in that! So this week was pretty much a rest week for me – no use pushing it when my body doesn’t actually have the capacity to carry oxygen around my body!

And this brings me on to my next topic…

My first ever DNS

I had signed up for the first sprint triathlon of the season which is due to take place on Sunday (8th May) but after speaking to both my doctor and coach they’ve both advised not to do it. This particular triathlon isn’t the easiest in terms of terain, the bike course is four loops and involves a dead right hand turn at the bottom of a downhill section which then u-turns straight back up the hill again – my bike confidence would have taken a battering on the course with full energy levels but the way I am currently? It could derail me again for a long time. The run course whilst not being hilly takes place along a canal path which last year was basically flooded due to horrible weather and it’s not been much better this year either and not to mention that I haven’t run if forever (it’s actually only been two weeks but feels like forever).

S also mentioned that it’s probable that I’ll get out of the pool, my usual strong section, absolutely shattered with the knowledge that I’ve still got the bike and run sections to go.

So, to cut a long story short I’m going to be getting my first ever DNS – but in my head I’d much rather have a DNS than a DNF (and collapse! lol).

I’m thinking of this DNS as a sensible reaction to a known situation – this is me taking control of something and being cautious and letting my body recover – now that I know there is actually something wrong with my blood levels there’s no point pushing it. If I’d not trained and eaten crap then yeah I should be totally pushing through the pain and getting on with it but this isn’t the situation here.

I’m a huge advocate of pushing through pain and ‘just getting on with it’ but here a DNF would be me going into this knowing something’s wrong and blindly go on anyway.

I have another triathlon in 5 weeks so my focus has now turned to that instead – I also did that one last year so I’ve got a time to beat too! Hopefully by then my bike skills will have gotten better and I’ve recovered from this illness and will be back running again.

Here’s to looking forwards!

Training Tuesday #2 – Mallorca Update

Its taken me a while to write this – I’ve been back from Mallorca over a week now and I feel like I should write this down for my sake and my memories rather than from exhilaration and pride.

Quite simply Mallorca sucked – I’m not supposed to say that, I’m supposed to say it was tough but I had an amazing time and there were good times in it but honestly for the most part I felt alone, useless and incapable.

I was really hoping that, coming back from Mallorca, I would have a new found confidence and drive towards my training and although I feel a desperate need to dive right back into training again it comes from fear rather than an urge to improve.

I’m a very new cyclist – I cycled a lot when I was a kid with my Dad who was also a keen cyclist but I fell out of it during my teens and throughout university I walked everywhere. So my first time getting back on a bike was actually a couple of days before my first triathlon on my new shiny road bike and maybe I’ve tried to go too fast as in I’ve already installed clip in pedals and got shoes with cleats – I don’t know but I fell, a lot, in Mallorca. A couple of times not due to my actions but I seemed to bear the brunt of it anyway being in the wrong place at the wrong time and ending up lying in the road feeling battered and embarrassed and it’s completely knocked my confidence on the bike.

I felt like I didn’t fit in at all and although that’s something only I can change it didn’t help matters feeling alone and stupid with a huge feeling like you weren’t supposed to be there with everyone else.

The rest of the guys were lovely, really lovely, and like I said I think it’s more to do with my own mindset than how they actually treated me but as the week went on I just didn’t want to go out with these people on group rides and, yet again, make a fool out of myself!

Other than that I felt like I was failing in a lot of the other training sessions too – the runs were hot and hard (yes I KNOW I was in Mallorca) and during the swim sessions (which were undoubtedly my favourite) we were videoed to have a look at our swim technique which meant that all the things you were doing wrong were pointed out. Yes, this was in an attempt to improve but in a week of doing, what seemed like, everything wrong it was a tough pill to swallow.

My favourite part of the week was the open water swimming – I absolutely loved it and it gave me the pick up I needed to go out again on the bike the next day, there’s just something pretty awesome about swimming in and out of the waves even if sometimes you get a complete face full.

Luckily I had a pretty good ride on the last day of camp which made me feel better when I was leaving but boy was I ready to go home!

Now I’m determined to get out on my bike, build my confidence back up again (I’ve bought new Look Keo pedals in the hopes that they’ll help) and I can work on that on my own without other people I’m likely to see again seeing me fail over and over again. My mission this summer is, without a doubt, to make the bike my friend – most of the people I see look like the bike is an extension of themselves whereas I feel like it’s this flighty thing underneath me just wanting me to get off! By the end of the summer this won’t be me anymore, I won’t allow it.

So, Mallorca was horrible, this year for me but i’m determined that if I go again next year it’ll be more of the enjoyment side of things.