Towards a better me: Part 11

I have sat down to write this post at least twenty times and re-written it closer to ten times. I have not been happy with any version so far. Not even this one. But I think I need to rip of the band-aid.

 

I think it is fair to say that I have been some what lacking in motivation with everything, training, writing and even cooking. The only thing I seem to have the motivation for is reading. Each day is simply, eat, work, read, sleep and do it all over again tomorrow.

 

I am currently over half way through another 12 weeks personal training course. But I don’t feel like I am progressing at all. Firstly, my personal trainer, Denise moved to newer pastures three weeks into the course. It was a bit of a struggle to hold back the tears on her last day. She was so lovely and chatty. Without her pestering me each week on whether I have attended all of my classes, I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself enough.  I’m like ah sure its “Games of Thrones” tonight, that so much more important than going to a class, right! I am slacking, I know this but can’t seem to shake free from it. I haven’t even done a single session that wasn’t a personal training or class.

 

Each week I tell myself I am going do better, I am going behave. I will go to my classes. I need to focus but I just can’t seem to achieve it. It didn’t really help that I was on holidays for a week and half. The PT sessions are released for booking in week batches on the Tuesday the week before. All of the prime evening and morning sessions go so fast. You need to get on real quick if you want to get the slot you want. I had planned to do the training on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday once I was back but being over in France I completely forgot and didn’t get on until later and there was nothing. So, my one and half week break became a two week break.

 

Then last week again the bookings went so fast even though I was checking every hour waiting for them to be released. I only managed to get things booked for the weekend. But then ended going up home for my mother’s birthday instead. So over half way through and missing three weeks! My rhythm is broken and I don’t know how to fix it. It isn’t helped by lengthy recovery times after. My joints are aching something terrible for four or five days. I was so thankful that this week is going much better. But no my lower back is in agony.

 

Another thing I am struggling with is food. Those who know me knows my love affair with food. I love food. Food is emotion. It’s comfort, it’s exciting, it’s memory. Food can evoke so much. When I get homesick, I attempt to make my mum’s beef stew. Its never as good as hers. But it’s enough to tie me over. If I’m really bad and heading up to her soon I’ll put a request for it. While over in France for holidays, Pierre brought me to a Michelin star restaurant, Clovis. To say it was an amazing food experience is a massive understatement. I can’t wait to go back next year!

 

There was a moment earlier in the year, when my boss was selling her practice, that I considered possible doing a culinary course. I love cooking and blogging about cooking. There is so much I want to learn about, to understand flavours and textures better. It was a very tempting idea, but a risky one. What if I wasn’t actually good at it. What if I did have what it takes. If I hadn’t had a mortgage, I might of taken the plunge. Maybe one day I will.

 

But at the moment, I am not really cooking. My poor KitchenAid is sitting on the counter unused and unloved. My dinners of late have been very lazy. Just chicken or salmon with broccoli with sweet chilli sauce. While it is quite tasty, there isn’t anything exciting about it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are just becoming monotonous. I long to get back into the kitchen and makes something new and exciting. But everything is hectic and busy. I hardly seem like I have had a moment to rest, a moment to breathe.

 

This week so far I have been moderately well behaved, I have taken my meds (most days), ate relatively well, been into the gym twice for two intense work outs. I was even inspired enough to make a new recipe, Garlic and Pepper Chicken Stir-fry. It was very tasty.

 

I do feel like giving up sometimes. Ever since my little face drop during the 5k back in March, my period has been consistently absence. I can’t help feeling sometimes that this isn’t gonna happen for me. Every passing month my belief is waning and I think that is where my lack of motivation is coming from.

 

 

Towards a Better Me: Part 10

Realisation:

 

‘The Fear’ was still my training mate this week, but I had Denise back this week. ‘Did ya miss me?’, she said as she bounced down to the PT room. ‘Yes, Michelle made me do planks!’, was my reply. The laughter from her indicated she wouldn’t be taking it easy on me.

‘Any more issues since?’,

‘No’,

‘Good, time to take it back up!’

Oh, what I had let myself in for! It was a tough session, and Denise was holding no punches. But Denise had let slip, she had a new beau. The other girl taking part in the training session and I wasted no time in taking the piss and attempting to freak her out. And while it was fun to see her squirm, I was genuinely thrilled for her. Tuesday night was gone in a flash. It was quite a blur. I can only remember one of the bench presses. I couldn’t get over how heavy the 25kg bar felt. I hadn’t used it in the three weeks and it felt so heavy. It took everything to do those bench presses.

 

Thursday’s morning session was also a blur and quite tough, not helped by the fact that I had missed breakfast. Denise and I had the personal training centre to ourselves. I know I had the bench presses with the 25kg bar but I don’t know what else. Seriously, I really should write these soon as to the day as possible. It’s only been a week like! It was a very good session. I head to work after my shower very pumped and made to the office just on the stroke of nine.

 

I had my little sister and one of the bitchmittens’ founders, Rhona and her new hubby coming down the weekend and she was currently trying to convince me to go cycling. I haven’t been cycling since last June. My gears are fucked and take absolutely ages to change, which really grinds my gears. (See what I did there! Sorry I know I’m not the funny one.) And on my last bike ride, I only managed about 5km and half way through took my gear frustrations physically out on my bike and kicked the shit out of it! I may have even bent the back wheel, but I cycled back just fine. So finally, I reluctantly agreed to cycling if Pierre could fix my bike. Luckily (or unfortunately), he could and we were able to borrow bikes for Rhona and Cormac from our friends.

 

I wasn’t expecting much from me and I had told the others they may have to leave my lying on the grass somewhere while they went all the way to Crosshaven. It 15 km, I was thinking I’d be happy with 7km. It was a gorgeous day down in Carrigaline and the Carrigaline – Crosshaven Railway Walk was looking lush and green and full of people walking, running and cycling. We made our way out and everything was going well. Knees were a bit sore but that was about it. I was quite happy to fly past where I had stopped and had a fight with my bike. And I just kept going, I was in the rear but I was easily keeping up with the guys. The lads pushed forward leaving Rhona and I behind as we chatted. Though they didn’t get far. They had pulled over to take in the beautiful scenery.

 

After a barely of a minute of stoppage and a couple selfies, we were back on the trail to Crosshaven with me and Rhona leading the way. I was in great form, enjoying myself immensely, saying hello to everyone I passed. God only knows what they thought of me. Crazy lady on her purple bike! Before I knew it, we were in Crosshaven. We mused about whether to get a coffee here or head back and get one in Carrigaline to drink at the beach. Beach was the call, so back on the bikes we got and off we went. Unfortunately for me, the gears on bike were stuck in quite a high gear. And I was belting it back in, leaving the others in my dust! Pierre eventually caught up with me and I stopped to let the others catch up. Pierre has a bike computer on his, and clocked me at 28km per hour. Once I caught sight of Ro in the distance off I shot again only stopping at the end of the trail. It took the guts of 45 minutes out and only 1 minute back in. I got a chance to sit down and wait for the others. The gear issue became my undoing once we reached the big hill up to my house. I ended making the climb on foot. It seemed like the longest trek ever! I jumped back on once it had levelled out a bit and then there was only the short ride back to the house where the others were waiting.

 

All in all, it was very good day. I got to remember why I loved cycling so much. I used to go everywhere on my bike when I was younger. I was quite surprised that I was able to cycle the whole thing and with ease, if you exclude my aching knees and the hill! But when you compare it to how far I got last year, it was a clear indicator of just how much more fit I have become in only three months.

 

Now if only I could cycle the mini marathon and I be set.

 

Towards A Better Me: Part 8

The First Race

 

This week finished with the first milestone of this journey the Castleconnell 5 k run.

 

Sunday morning, I was up early for the race. Rushing because I was supposed to be on the road at 9am as I was meeting my sisters at 11am in Castleconnell. Thankfully(?) Pierre was injured and could not run his Ballycotton 10 so I dragged him with me. We arrived there at 11:15 and texted the girls to say I was there and where were there. “Eh I’m like an hour away” replies Rhona. That’s when I double checked the text and realised we were meeting between 12 and 12:30. Oops. Better early than late, right? So I grabbed myself a hot chocolate and some cheeky sausage rolls and sat back into the car to wait. Eventually, the elder sister arrived with the nephews and we headed up to the community hall to sign in and meet Rhona. We chatted for a bit before heading down to get ready. With the boys in the buggy, we walked to start and a good bit past it to World’s End as it is called. When we walked back up, the active warm up had started and I tried do it to but I did feel very self-conscience. I have no idea why. It’s hardly any different from the warm-up in the bootcamp. Dad made it to the start line to wish us good luck before the off. We left the boys with him and Pierre and got ourselves ready.

 

 

race-2

Some very serious stretching before hand

 

 

And then we were off, slowly at first as there was a lot of people surrounding us. Eventually it spread out a bit so we could run beside each other. The first kilometre seemed to go by quickly and without too much struggle. I was falling a little behind my sisters and was not able to chat like them. After the 2km mark it started to get worse. I was struggling to get breathe in and everything started to hurt. My mood was very sour. Karen and Rhona said they were happy to take my abuse. I did also warn Karen she better move to the inside or I might throw her out on to the road. (I didn’t mean it, really, I swear!) I slowed to a walk briefly. As I approached the halfway mark, the pain really started. All on the right hand side of my body. My shoulder, torso, hip, leg and knee were very sore. But in hindsight, what was more worrying, the right side of my face drooped. I don’t know how long it lasted, I was just trying to keep going through the pain. Trying to breathe in enough air, I was very aware of my lip drooping. But I wasn’t even sure was it real. Just thought it can’t be a stroke otherwise I would not be able to keeping running. It wasn’t really until Rhona said she noticed the drooping too that my concerns started )I am going to the doctor to get it checked out and hopefully it won’t be anything.)

 

But I kept going, the 3km to 4km seemed to never end. There were moments when I just wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. I walked again briefly two more times. Karen and Rhona trying to encourage me forward but their words just annoyed me more. I revolted against the encouragement taking longer than I had planned for to get going again. The last km seemed as short as the first. Or maybe it was just that the last one was just so everlasting. I could feel the pain of a blister on my arch of my foot. It felt so uncomfortable. As we rounded the bend, I saw my mother with my eldest nephew, Conor, who then ran the last stretch with his mother (though I think he was actually dragged over the line at the end.) I just focused at the line, trying not to cry. I ran straight through the crowd at the end. I didn’t even go to get my mug and water. Just found somewhere alone and pulled the runners off of me.

 

 

race-3

Mere seconds from the finish line

 

 

I ran it nearly entirely in 34 minutes. I had barely ran 2.5 km in interval runs. I should have been so proud of myself. But I wasn’t. I felt nothing. I felt distant. My mood was very poor. I was very grumpy. Even now, I still feel very emotionless thinking about it, which if you know me, emotional is normally my status. I really can’t explain it. Maybe, I just don’t believe that I actually did it. But the first big milestone on this journey has been passed.

 

And that’s something.

Towards A Better Me: Part 7

 

Lacking Motivation

 

The past few weeks have been really tough for me. There is a lot of stuff going on in my life at the moment. And it all has me extremely stressed out. It always feels like it one step forward two steps back. Every time I seem to make progress towards potentially having a baby, some new obstacle rears its stupid ugly head. It’s so frustrating and de-moralising. It’s so hard when these road blocks crop up, to keep going forward. I am a very emotional person. I can very excited over things. It can be quite a rollercoaster. Sometimes, I wish I was more like Pierre. He is always in the middle emotionally.

 

I had taken a day off work as I had to go get a glucose test done. It’s not easy trying to drink Lucozade when you are not hungover! But thankfully, all is good. I did arrange for my personal training with Denise a bit earlier than normal. We went down to the new personal training centre. We started off with step ups alternating with the battle rope. Man, that thing is not as ease is it looks. Trying to keep that up for 30 seconds was really tough. This was followed up with three round of bench presses using a 20kg bar. Finishing up with squats with the 10kg powerbag and my all time favourite walking lunges. Urgh. Nearly fell over on the third round. Afterwards, I had booked myself in for a new gym programme. I felt like I had outgrown the circuit room. So, Denise whipped one up for me. Looking forward to giving it a go at the weekend. I was quite stiff the following day but yoga loosened that up a bit.

 

Wednesday arrived, and all the emotions I had been trying to shove down came bubbling to the surface. I came home from work. I felt so lost. I didn’t know what to with myself. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what I should be doing. I ended up having a fight with Pierre and then with my mother and father. I even hung up on my mother, when she agreed with Pierre. Seriously, can anyone just be on my side once in a while. Instead of going to Bootcamp, I sat on the couch and cried. I thought what was the point of going. Everything was conspiring against to keep me from being a mother. Even if the regulating of my periods was the first step to being in a position to conceive, current events meant that it wouldn’t be advisable to even try, at least not for now. Maybe, it was down to turning 31 recently. Maybe, it was down to me having my period (yay?). This is the first time in my entire life where I have had a natural period back to back. I should be happy about that. But with the things going on at the moment, it was having the opposite effect. It was like my body was taunting me. Oh, look you have a normal cycle, but you can’t do anything about it!

 

Even in work the following day, I just wasn’t right. I was just so upset. I just felt that it was so unfair. I just threw myself into a set of accounts. I was so stressed out and upset, Judi even recommended going out for some air. But I didn’t go, I probably should have. I came home and didn’t go to pilates. I sat down, ate my dinner. And wrote. When I wrote the first blog post, it felt so good to get the feelings down. So, I hoped doing it again would to. It didn’t. I felt so lost. I feel like I am a shadow. A leaf being blowing around by a gust of wind but not in the direction I want to go in.

 

I had another personal training session on Friday, as it was only time available with Denise. I couldn’t miss that too. Denise would certainly kill me for that. So, I bucked up and went. This was the start of the final week after all, I got in early so I could talk to Susan on the desk about my options going forward. After discussing how I got on and what I enjoyed. I really love doing the PT sessions and its mostly down to Denise being great craic. So, I signed up for the intense kickstarter package for another six weeks. With the intense kickstarter, I get two personal training sessions and three classes. So no excuses! Its an extra €100 but thankfully they are flexible with the payment.

 

We were down in the personal training centre again. And this time, we had it to ourselves. It didn’t take long for Denise to grill me on my classes. I did confess to her that I didn’t do them this week and why. I started off with upright rows with two 8kg kettlebells while lying face down on a bench. I had done this in the second week session but with two 6kg dumbbells. This was paired with kettlebell swings with one of the 8kg. I have to say, I POWERED through these. This was followed up with using the beast of a leg press. It was massive. It was tough. I was a bit scared that it would crush me. This was paired with steps up intertwined with the chats about all the shit that is going on. We finished up on with the squats with the powerpivot bar and the rip60 rows (the leaning tower of pain). And then it was over, with it a lot of the stress that had been ruining my week.

 

It was a very good session. It certainly made me regret not doing the classes earlier. I took my frustrations out. I chatted about it all with Denise and the other girl in our session. She had such a positive non-stress attitude. I was certainly envious of that. She was all “Ah sure fuck it!” Man, I wish I could be like that. My life would be so much easier if I could just let all the stress and shit go.

 

Saturday morning as usual is weigh-in. No change on the scales, I was so disappointed. I was quite pressed for time, as we were going over to our friend’s house to watch the Ireland match. So I didn’t do a full routine. My sister Rhona was pestering me about not doing enough running. Well, no running. But it is hard to find time to do it! So instead of doing a full routine, I just did 20 minutes of intervals on the treadmill. Got through 2.5 km with roughly half and half walking and running.

 

I went for tea and scones with the girls on Sunday, while of husbands trained for the Ballycotton 10. We chatted, looked at an ultrasound scan and I had a scone (bold I know!) The boys joined us for lunch/dinner and I had a bun burger (bolder I know but I only ate half though). It was very enjoyable and it was so destressing. Nearly more so than, the personal training. Sometimes, all you need is your girlies to set you straight.

 

 

Weight: 12st 8.4lbs

Run: 2.5km on a treadmill. (walk/run intervals)

Feelings: Emotional, Raw at the start of the week. But feeling much better at that end of the week.

 

 

 

Towards A Better Me: Part 6

Back in the Saddle

 

Last week I let pain and fear throw me. But this is a new week, and it’s time to get back in the saddle. As I said before, it’s a marathon not a sprint. It is ok to fall down, it’s human. What is important is that you pick yourself back up and try again. So, I am dusting myself and getting back on this horse. And I am very much hoping it doesn’t put me through the wringer again. There is only so much debilitating pain a lass can handle! But despite the excruciating pain, I really do enjoy going to the gym. Rhona had warned me about women only gyms being a bit more judgmental than mixed gyms. But honestly, it doesn’t feel like that at the Women’s Fitness Plus gym. And what way to start the week other than having a go in the newly fitted personal training studio. It looks amazing, they have this huge multi-purpose gym monster thing, three squatting racks, and apparently, there is a lot more to come. Denise, my personal trainer, was super excited about it. She hadn’t left there all day. To be honest, I was pretty excited too, and a wee bit scared. I had seen a video on their Facebook page of one of the personal trainers testing it out. It looked awesome but she was doing shit that I could not possibly imagine doing myself.

 

First up was step-ups paired with kettlebell squats. These were done alternating as usual for 3 rounds. The first two rounds I used an 8kg kettlebell with a 6kg dumbbell for the last round. I followed that up with chest press with two 6kg dumbbells alternating with an upright row with 8kg kettlebell. The final combo was high knees and “PowerPivot” arm raises. Finishing up using the straps, leaning back and the pulling myself back almost upright or the leaning tower of flab as I called it. It was very hard going doing it all but once it’s all over I feel so pumped. I was soaked in sweat. Denise joked about her barely being able to do a pull-up on the rig. And I, stupidly, challenged her to one. Seriously, what was I thinking. I think weights make my brain fuzzy. She did two. The first seemed easy but the second was a struggle. She dropped down quite triumphant, and then it was my turn. I stood up on the bench and grabbed on to the bars. I was barely able to lift myself up by an inch or so, before my arms gave out. Pathetic I know. But if someone super fit like Denise found it tough, that brief tango with the pull up bar, is surely nothing to be sneered at.

 

I was very much relieved to find myself not in too much pain the next day. I was stiff, but nothing to write home about. And I had yoga with D to look forward to. While some poses were sore from the stiffness, it was quite enjoyable. Plus, the gossip in the car rides to and fro certainly is enjoyable. Hard to have a proper goss session if the hubbies are in tow. As I stretched to take off my bra, there was a flash of pain across my shoulders, tensed me right up. Flashbacks from last week’s agony surfaced. “Oh, don’t tell me it starting all over again.” Went to sleep, dreading what tomorrow would bring.

 

So, morning came, but the pain did not! Hurrah! No excuse not to do boot camp tonight then. Yeah!!! Denise came bouncing in, super giddy, after her body combat class. She spots me straight away and asks me “how’s the pain?” I was a bit cocky, “Yeah, no pain at all!” “So we can go harder next Monday then?” she laughs back at me. Oh no, landed myself in it. As there was twelve of us, we were paired off rather than going in groups of three or four. I was paired off with Joan who had similar fitness level to mine which suited me. Everyone else seems so much fitter and more able than me. Like with the personal training session, the exercises were done in alternating sets with 3 pairs of sets. The first set was one person sitting up against the wall (obviously not on the floor) and holding your arms out, which was a whole lot tougher than it sounds. While the other person, did high knees and trying to touch the other person hands with their knees. Again, quite tough. On the last set, I struggled to keep up on both. But I shaked it out and kept trying.

 

The next set was press ups with every time you push yourself up, you clap hands with your partner. Changing the hand each time. This was paired with mountain climbers, which for love nor money I can’t just get a handle on. Seriously why do I have so much trouble doing these, everyone else makes it look so easy. It’s the same with the elliptical I just can’t handle it; I can’t do it. The next set was one person doing ab crunches and the other standing on the first’s toes for their balance and with a kettlebell lifting it above the head. The last set, oh the last set. I did not enjoy the last set. The first person leaning against the wall did arm extensions with the kettlebell while the other is did lunges across the room and back twice. And that was the torturous part. I hate lunges so much. Lunges and burpees with equal venom. I thought I was going to collapse after the first one. I wanted to cry it hurt so much. But I kept going trailing behind everyone else. Now, I completely forgot to mention that Denise was literally dancing around while we were torturing ourselves. Which was quite funny, and dulled the pain somewhat, but not totally. So, halfway through the last round of the kettlebell extensions, Denise told us just to dance it out with her. To finish, we did intervals of jogging on the spot and sprinting. Exhausted was an understatement.

 

Both me and my husband work in the Cork city centre which is totally handy for commuting seeing as we only have the one car and Pierre has a car space at work. But the carpark is a twenty-minute walk from South Mall. This is normally not much of a problem. I just stick on the music and walk away. Anyways, I normally end up waiting for Pierre. But when it is lashing rain like Thursday was, it’s not so much fun. Even worse so, when after walking all the way within spitting distance of the carpark, (well a world record setting spit really!) some complete and utter b*****d tore around the corner, straight through a puddle drenching me from head to toe. I was as miserable as the weather. Sopping wet. All I wanted was a bath and my bed. And you are probably wondering why I’m talking about this, as opposed to my fitness journey. See on Thursday’s I have Pilates, and I was so miserable, cold and wet, I decided to skip the Pilates class this week. I just seem to be working, exercising or sleeping, and I felt a little rest was in order.

 

So, I had my weekly weigh-in on Saturday morning as usual, it was a little later than normal. Poor Pierre had to work so I dropped in him and got my gym session in first, and then into Dee for the all-important weigh-in. I was down another 2.5 pounds. I was now just shy of half stone in total. I was now half way through the Kickstarter program and was making steady progress towards my target of 10-14 pounds. I was supposed to go for a run on Sunday, but instead I cleaned my oven. My house is seriously being neglected at the moment. I need to get better organised, it’s not going to get any easier if and when there is the pitter patter of little feet.

 

Weight: 12st 8.8lbs

Run: 1km on a treadmill.

Feelings: Feeling much better this week. Mood is definitely boosted (apart for the soaking by the jerk in the white Ford Focus)

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