Get the F*#K up!

I am bad at getting out of bed.

 

It’s not that I am not a morning person (my husband is not a morning person, his whole family are not morning people. Makes me fell like I am super duper good at getting up!) Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not that I am not a morning person, it’s just so hard. Hard to move and greet the day when my bed is so lovely and warm and so very very safe. But it means every morning I hit the snooze button one too many times and then I am rushing around to get into work, which is only a 3 minute cycle so that will tell you how close I cut it!

 

I don’t like this. I want to use my mornings more. I want a morning routine that has a purpose other than get into to work without being noticeably tardy. I want to do some light yoga, read my book, do a crossword in bed, have a relaxing cup of tea maybe get some laundry sorted before the bustling begins.

 

And since the new year I have tried to make this happen by downloading apps for activities in the morning, by setting a bajillion alarms, by actually going to bed a little bit earlier. But nooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’m still motherfuppin’ sleeping till I need to get gone! I mean, I’m sort of awake but there is this little voice that says ‘sssssh, no, stay here,” or better yet comes up with really good reasons for staying in bed longer. Like, “I don’t neeeeeeed to wash my hair, it’s better for my hair if I don’t,” or another classic “I don’t want to disturb Cormac too much with my moving around, best stay in bed.” This morning I convinced myself (very easily) that 20 minutes of light yoga was simply too much in the morning if one isn’t used to it. That I best snooze for another 15 before getting up to do an nice introductory 5 minutes of stretching and yoga. Did I get up for the 5 minutes of stretching and yoga? Of course not! And I would love to say this is because it’s all dark and wintery but I am just as useless in the summer time!

 

This has got to stop.

 

How am I meant to conquer the world and succeed in my goals if I can’t even get out of bed?

 

This isn’t a “how to” blog post. I haven’t figured this out yet. This is a “help me” blog post. I’m reaching out to you, Bitchmitten readers. HELP ME! Any tips would be appreciated. Any sage advice will be taken. Any words of wisdom will be welcomed. Or are ye all the same as me? Struggling to get out of bed, wishing to hold on to those precious warm sheets, those perfect fluffy pillows. Or are you on the flip side and think I’m a crazy wagon for wanting to get out of bed sooner. Maybe I should be grateful with how my mornings go. I’m sure there are people who wish they had no other reason to get up than to just make it in to work on time, but they have a dog to walk, kids to get to school, a 7am train to catch.

 

And maybe I am mad, but I’d like to get up. I feel if I could get up and control my morning that I can do anything else that day throws at me.

 

When to Run

Running is often met with a great deal of groaning, moaning, complaining. People don’t like it! It seems repetitive, tiring and loooong. When I discuss running I’m often told that people would rather do something more fun with their time, that exercise shouldn’t be a chore. And I whole heartedly agree. Exercise should be fun! But running is fun, we’re all just looking at it wrong.

 

The other day I was thinking about all the times we run (or could run) and not think of it. When it’s an asset and a not chore. I thought I would list them to see if I can’t shed some of the running’s bad rap.

 

Running from the bedroom to the bathroom when you’re naked.

Running after your kids.

Running away from your kids.

Running down a long corridor in a hotel while semi-intoxicated.

Running to the loo.

Running to shelter whenever it rains.

Running to get that thing you forgot when you’re next at the check-out.

Running because you’re scared.

Running because you’re giddy. (Is this just me???)

Running after a bus, train, taxi, that friend who promised you a lift!

Running into the sea because walking is just not an option at that temperature. Hello Ireland!

Running after your dog when he’s spotted the local cat.

Running after your dog when he’s noticed someone eating.

Running after your dog because he’s found a herd of deer.

Running out to the car to give your husband his lunch when he’s leaving in the morning.

Running to work yourself because you’re late (again!)

Running to get shotgun (of a car) because let’s face it, nobody abides by the laws of shotgun.

Running to stop your nephew getting hit by a swing.

Running to win your league’s rounders tournament.

Running to de-stress.

Running to get the last seat.

Running to your family at the airport because you missed them soooooo much.

Running down hills because it’s super easy.

Running on flat surfaces and feeling like a plane taking off (seriously, still only me???)

Running so fast you feel like you are going to keel over.

Running when you’ve gotten in trouble.

Just running.

 

I am sure there are many more instance where running is beneficial and, what more, lovely. If possible, it’s something that should be embraced. It can be hard when you are pushing yourself but remember, exercise isn’t always about pushing yourself. It’s also about living your life, getting things done, feeling free and de-stressing.

 

So enjoy you’re run, even it’s just to the the loo.

 

 

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.

 

A Step Back from Sport

Just over a month ago my father-in-law was diagnosed with late stage Motor Neurone Disease (MND). For anyone who doesn’t know MND is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. The messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. It is terminal. Remember that Ice Bucket Challenge? Yeah, it was for this thing…

 

Cormac’s (my husband) father hasn’t been given a long time. There is a lot to get done, a lot to sort out. Finding him a nursing home, finding him a GP, sorting out his home, sorting out his legal situation, sorting out his pension and other finances, buying suitable clothing, visiting him as often as possible, reading to him, feeding him, sorting out arrangements for when he eventually passes. There is a lot to get done. And there is no one. Cormac has only one brother (and bless him he is doing all he can by phone and email) but he lives in Scotland, soon to be even further away. He can’t be here, at the front line as often as he’d like to. And Cormac’s relatives have their own lives and frankly don’t know what to do. The majority of it has been left to Cormac.

 

This is where I come in, I can’t just sit at the sidelines and watch Cormac struggle with all this. What kind of wife would that make me? What kind of friend would that make me? No, if Cormac was going to have to do this then he was not going to be doing it alone. Even if I suck at legal jargon and finances and technically have no say in what happens, I can still be there by his side. I can make burritos for our drives to Kilkenny to visit his father (which hopefully won’t be for too much longer), I can wash his dad’s laundry and feed his dad when Cormac just can’t anymore, I can chat to his dad when Cormac is trying to sort shit out with the doctors/nurses/admin staff. I am going to be there for him, I need to be be there for him.

 

Which brings me on (finally) to the topic of the post which is having to take a step back from our beloved rowing. This whole mess came at time when our crew was going through some major life changes. From ruptured discs to final year of college to getting a new job and moving away our crew has taken a blow this year. Myself and Cormac were just the icing on the cake! If you are (were) a rower you know that it just consumes your life. Consumes it! At the height of rowing season we’d be clocking up 20-25 hours at least a week (each!) and we’re not even that competitive! That’s time we just couldn’t spare anymore. Time that was going to now be taken up with phone calls, visiting hours, doctor appointments, solicitor meetings and endless, endless paperwork. We both knew we just couldn’t fit rowing in. With heavy hearts we told the rest of the crew that we had to take a step back. So that we could both take care of Cormac’s dad and still not burn out ourselves.

 

At first the idea felt novel to me. There is sometimes that niggling feeling that you’re training not because you want to but because you have to. Taking a step back freed me from that obligation. I felt the break was coming at the right time for me, that I was becoming tired of all the work involved. That I would still train when I could, I would still get out on the water but they would be on my terms. A month in and I realise now that I was wrong. I’m not training when I want to, I’m training when I can. Fitting in runs at lunch time and before breakfast when visiting my family. We said we were going to use our our nights not travelling to keep active. But actually we’ve been exhausted and fed up, just lying on the couch wishing we had the energy to train.

 

This whole thing is still really new, still so messy. Hopefully, when it begins to settle down we will have our life back a little. That we will have the time and energy (and desire) to exercise again, to train again. We miss it, so much. Rowing was such a huge part of our life. It feels odd passing over the all-in-one and watching our beautiful oars gather dust. It’s sad to press pause for now. To not feel a part of this amazing group we’ve spent nearly our whole lives in.

 

But isn’t that great thing about sport, when we’re able to go back to it we can. It will always be there for us.

 

An extra plug: I am actually running the Flora Mini Marathon this June to raise money for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please if you could donate anything at all that would be so so helpful! My page is just here!

 

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.

 

 

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