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 9

 

The Fear. 

Firstly, my apologies for the lack updates. I had been put on a training ban by my doctor while an investigation into what happened with my face during the 5k took place (my face dropped on one side half way through the race). This meant I had no training and nothing really to blog about for two weeks. And then once back training, I spent a good couple of hours writing my next blog post only for it to go missing. Like I can see it in the recent items but when I click on it, it says it’s not there but there is no sign of it in the trash or any other folders. You are just gonna have to take my word for it that it was an awesome read! Hopefully, this re-write will be at least half as good.

 

I was rather upset with having to lay off the training for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t want to break my stride. As a really lazy person, I was quite nervous about being idle for any period of time. Afraid my bad habits would rear their ugly heads. My doctor had really stressed the need to take it really easy until I got the all clear. Secondly, I was half way through my six week intense kickstarter at the Womens Fitness Gym and I really didn’t like the idea of losing out on any of the weeks. I mean money is a bit tight at the moment and I knew I wouldn’t be in a position at the moment to do another round for the moment. I was going to have to save up for it and I have few other demands at the moment. But worry I should not have. I got on to the gym to explain what happened and they allowed me to suspend the program until I got the all clear. So I only had to worry about reverting to my lazy ways. Eeek!

 

Eleven hours, three trips to have an MRI, half a meeting with the doctor before I was taken out for the second failed MRI, a lot of miscommunication between the medical staff, one negative pregnancy test, one rushed final consultation and a rather vague explanation was my experience in CUH. At the end of the day, I left really rather frustrated about our health system but with a letter in hand saying I was fit to resume training. The explanation was it is unlikely to have been a Transient Ischemic Attack (or a mini stroke) but it possibly could be the training.

 

I was prescribed some blood thinners and cholesterol medications to avoid any reoccurrence. I don’t like taking meds and I try to avoid them when I can. The best thing about trying for kids was no more pill. But then there was the PCOS and underactive thyroid and I have proven to be not the best a taking them. My bloods in the previous month had shown good levels for cholesterol, and with all my training surely they could have only have gotten better. So at the behest of my mother, I’m not taking the cholesterol until I speak to my own doctor.

 

Before the tests, I wasn’t worried about what had happened. But now, I was. The vague explanation had scared me some what. Would happen again? Would it be worse? Why is my neck feeling sore? Did it always twinge like that? I felt like I was overanalysing everything. Could not tell was there actually pain or was I imagining it. My session back with Denise was on a Sunday and the closer I got to it the more “the fear” grew. While on the bike warming –up, I didn’t even notice that I was crushing it at a level I used struggle before. I was so focused internally, am I feeling dizzy? Was this room always spinning? I should leave, just go home. And then there was Denise, “Where the heck have you been?” I sheepishly explained and she responded with, “we’ll take it easy so.” Though I did proudly tell her I did the run in 34 minutes and that earned me a high five.

 

Even though we scaled it back and took it very easy by comparison of what she normally puts me through. She is doesn’t go easy on you normally but doesn’t kill you either. She’s great for the banter and the giggles, which makes the session seem to fly by. It’s why I keep going back to her. But today, even with her pulling me right back from my previous level of intensity, everything was a struggle. Things I was smashing a couple weeks ago, were a struggle with the light weight. I mean it was easier than my very first but it was one of my worst sessions. I didn’t even make it the whole way through. I had to skip the kettlebell swings, the strain on my back from not doing them correctly was quite severe. (I don’t know what it is I just can’t get the technique right with those.) And the last set, well, that had to be abandoned even though I tried to solider on. Denise was telling me to stop as I had gone all grey. I put down that 5kg plate so fast and ran to the nearest bathroom to say hello to my breakfast. That session couldn’t have gone worse. But I was back in the swing and for me that was the main thing.

 

My fitness level had clearly taken a big hit, but the fear remained. I didn’t do a single class in the week to come for fear of overdoing it. I had a PT session with Michelle on Wednesday as Denise was off. And that went well-ish though my legs were trembling something terrible and she made me do a plank. I geared up to do my own session on Saturday before my weigh-in, but I missed judged the time and wouldn’t have had enough time and then chickened out to do it after. I was down a pound in the weigh-in but that more muscle wastage rather than actual weight loss. Though Lorraine advised with everything that I had gone through I should consider that a win. She advised me to take it easy and only do a session or class if I really feel up to it.

 

I did come to the conclusion that running the 5k at the pace I did with the little running training I had done might have been the main factors in what happened. I decided that once my current cycle was up that would try to focus more on the running training and supplement it one or two classes at the gym to shake it up a bit. While finances did play a role in not being in a position to actually do another session, should I have been able to afford it I would still opt for this plan.

 

While I do need to take care of myself and not push myself way out of my comfort zone, I can’t let “the fear” imped my process. I mustn’t use it to excuse myself from pushing myself and allowing my laziness to slink back in.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The Day I Fell On My Face

So…

 

I went mountain biking on Saturday. Mountain biking is lovely when it’s on the nice little Coillte-built roads through the forest. You’re cycling at a gentle speed, laughing with loved ones, breathing in the fresh mountain air, taking in those stunning views. Yes, it’s all quit lovely!

 

You know what’s not lovely? Mountain bike trails. Where they hand you a helmet and expect you not to die.

 

(Now before we go any further, I feel it needs to be stressed that I’m not telling ANYONE not to go mountain biking trailing. It’s an impressive sport and I admire anyone who can do it. It requires a lot of skill and looks awesome, it just wasn’t for me and that’s ok too.)

 

OK, so over the weekend we had a buddy visiting and the husband (Cormac for those who don’t know him) thought it would be a fine idea to bring him to a mountain bike park. He was eager for me to come too. I was skeptical, I had seen the bruises and cuts Cormac had come home with but at the same time he would be gushing about how amazing it was. So despite my better judgement I decided to tag along. I was already quite emotionally tender form a bust up I had with a crew mate (and bestie) that morning so in hindsight it might not have been the best day to try new things. But what’s done is done.

 

So, we got there and I got handed a bike which looked class and was in amazing nick. Only thing is I had no idea how to use it. I was only used to my old-as-Bejesus-Frankenstein’s-monster of road bike which had barely any brakes and almost no gears. I loved her. I did not love this bike. The brakes were sharp (which I know is technically a good thing) which I wasn’t used to and it was hella bouncy (again a good trait but felt super weird). I had managed to garner a bit of attention 9not the good kind) from just practicing on it. A lot of “oof’s” and “oh’s” and “no no no’s.” Cormac felt to get myself and our buddy ready for the trails ahead we would start on the practice technical loop, this had a bit of everything that could be expected on the trails and it was within screaming distance of the bike rental place. I was nervous already but they’re weren’t letting me off that easy.

 

I was on the trail 2 seconds when I thought “Wow! This. Is. Narrow. I can’t cycle on this!” Then we came to a bump and bend and I had to brake sharply. It was a close call. I couldn’t give up just yet. I could hear Cormac yelling “Look forward don’t look down!” but how could I not look down, there was so much to look at! So much to anticipate! It was like a game of chess where every time I made a wrong move and lost a piece I would get punched by my opponent. I was very wary. Over another bump, dodged a rock and down a hill. Another roar came from Cormac “Don’t use your front brake!” Which one is the front brake? Well, I learned that quickly as I came a round a pretty deep bend. Brake! Shit! Oof! Bleurgh.

 

Yep, I was on the ground… Face first into the ground. Lip swollen, legs (and ego) bruised I sort of just lay there for a moment. Willing myself not to cry. Cormac behind and our buddy in front were quickly by my side. Dusting me off and telling me that this happens all the time and was I ok, was I hurt, could I go on. I could, but now I was slower than ever, afraid of every bend and bump and rock that came my way. All I had in my head was that Friends episode where Rachel quit her job to “get the fear” and Chandler kept saying “I’m too afraid!” I was too afraid. You need some kahones for this sport and frankly I did not have that, not even close. There was reason I love rowing, it’s on a flat, wide surface and it’s mostly in a straight line. This was simply too much for me, or at least for my first time out there.

 

I swear my lip felt more swollen than it looked! You should see my legs!

I swear my lip felt more swollen than it looked! You should see my legs!

 

I completed the practice loop and vowed never to such a thing again. Cormac was kind but felt I couldn’t just give up so quickly. However, he was gracious enough to let me off easy, bringing my up the mountain on the nice Coillte-built roads and showing me the beautiful scenery, teaching my how to use the bike and putting up with my random bouts of tears when something was too hard (it really was not my day). I managed a bit of the easier trail (albeit with one foot mostly on the ground) but complained about how I couldn’t enjoy the scenery. The adrenalin rush was just not doing it for me. I preferred the slow and steady mountain biking. Before I was through he made me do the practice loop again, to test what I had learned. I didn’t fall and I gladly retired with that accomplishment under my belt.

 

 

If anyone is interested in giving Mountain Bike Trails a go then I have these tips:

  1. Go with someone who has done it before, learn from them. They’ll have all the tricks.
  2. Be prepared to fall. If you want to invest in extra padding then do.
  3. Do try and think of your next move. It’s a sport that is both mentally and physically challenging.
  4. Know how to fix a puncture, their will be no professionals out there to help.
  5. Bring extra gear. You will get wet and you will get cold.
  6. Most of all, try and enjoy it. Don’t be a scaredy cat like me!

 

 

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