Baby (running) steps

“How was your run?” 

It’s the same question KK asks me every time I return from my run. I’m so busy sync’ing my Garmin to my Strava that I often reply with, “Great!”. But this time, it was different. My run was fantastic and I could not get the smile off my face. Looking at my watch, I was asking, “What? A PB?” I had just run my fastest time on a regular 4km route from home. I was thrilled!

Strava

Strava details comparing my runs on the same route

It’s my last month taking blood thinners since my pulmonary embolism scare in December. Six months of rehabilitation and slowly getting back into running. It’s not the only excuse reason I have scaled back on my running. With KK’s femur stress fracture, we’ve both been living life in the slow lane this year.

But I haven’t been sitting idle…

  • I’ve been training regularly with a personal trainer (and friend) Super Stacey. The focus of my training programme has been on strength exercises, and especially targeting areas such as glutes and hamstrings.
  • I’ve also returned to following a more balanced eating plan *whispers: LCHF/banting*. More veggies, less meat. Cutting out dairy for the first time in my life. What an eye opener! Lots and lots of water. It’s made a huge difference to how I feel. (and yes, I keep promising to update you in a follow up blog on my diet.)
  • Shorter runs. I love heading out for a 4km run before the sun sets in the evening. My route is out, up, down and back in. Mentally, it’s easier to handle after a tough day at work. I keep the longer run for weekends. And when I say longer, I mean no more than 7kms.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 9.47.16 PMI’m unable to say what has made the difference to my progress specifically, but I’m guessing it’s all of the above. It’s a factor of quality over quantity in my running distances, proper eating, focused strength training all wrapped up in one, and time… in my case, 6 months.

You can’t just run. You need to strengthen and fuel your entire body. And sometimes, you need to stop thinking about half marathons and be pleasantly surprised by the joy and relaxation of a simple 4km run.

In other news, KK is ready to start running again. Baby steps….

Drink more water. Yuck! Here’s how I’m doing it.

“Research” says that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I’ve seen this stat somewhere so when my nutritionist recommended that I drink 1.5l to 2l of water per day, 3 weeks flashed through my head. If I could keep it up for 3 weeks, I’d be okay, right? Eeek!

I’m a big tea drinker. I can drink up to x6 cups of tea a day, easily. To give that up in favour of water was tough! I was dreading it! But I’ve survived. It’s 3 weeks later and I think I’ve cracked it!

Here’s how:

  1. I bought myself a spoily water bottle. Instead of using those skanky freebie plastic water bottles you get at the road races, I wanted this to feel different and not feel like I was carrying around my water bottle from the gym. Glass bottle
  2. My personal trainer suggested that I use the dead time driving to work and back to get through one litre – 500mls on the drive into the office and 500mls driving back home. Then to ensure that I fill up again during the morning and again after lunch.  Driving with water bottle
  3. Add a little sparkle! The good old SodaStream has been a life saver. Most of the time, I am drinking sparkling water which feels oh so fancy. People actually spend money on this stuff!IMG_5284
  4. Every now and then, I drop in some flavour bursts. My boss told me to look out for sugarfree flavour drops. What a gem! I don’t mind the plain water during the day but every so often, just having that extra flavour makes a big difference. IMG_5283
  5. Lemon, oranges and even apples. I have added some cut up fruit to the water and been amazed at the subtle flavor it adds.

The difference drinking water has made to my body is incredible. The “research” and all those articles in health magazines was spot on. And yes, it only took 21 days. It’s a good habit to have too. 💪🏼

Any water drinking tips of your own you’d like to share?

Tinsel on the tree

We decided not to decorate the house for Christmas this year. KK was headed to Brizzy on business, my leg was in a moon boot. The jolly feeling just wasn’t there and it felt like more of a schlep than anything else.

But I kinda regret that now. Since my nasty visit to the hospital last week, my condition has improved 100%!

Two visits to the physio confirm that my ankle has healed nicely! In fact, my healing timeline is ahead of schedule! I was originally meant to be out of the moon boot only around 22nd December. But guess what? I’m ready to kick it off and walk in an ankle brace! Forced bed rest was actually a good thing!

The strengthening homework has started: stretches using the band, standing on a pillow while someone throws a ball at me and balancing on each leg.

My physiotherapist, Shelagh, also gave me some mental homework. To walk in the garden.

I haven’t stepped out into the garden since my accident. I’m terrified. That’s where the accident happened. I’ve been too afraid in case I step wrong again. So this morning, I walked out onto the patio and sat on the step. I touched the grass. The birds were chirping like mad and excited to see me. It felt good! *deep breaths*

Christmas is a time of presents, family and gammon. But the main message of Christmas is life; the story of the birth of Christ. The gift of truth, love and hope.

I’ve come through a dark patch but there is light on the other side. The healing has begun and there are so many reasons to celebrate and be happy!

Tomorrow I just might walk out onto the grass. And maybe put the Christmas tree up, tinsel and all. I’m feeling kinda jolly!

How did I get here?

I’m a curious individual, a researcher. I like to read up on topics, especially those related to running form, running health and injuries such as my dreaded plantar fasciitis. I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles and consider myself quite knowledgeable about running injuries.

But lying in the ICU on a hospital bed with beeps ringing in my ears, I struggled to comprehend how this could’ve happened to me!

A pulmonary embolism (PE). Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my right leg. What? I don’t understand?

I drifted between moments where I couldn’t breathe and worried that if I passed out, I would never wake up. A ton of bricks weighed down on my aching chest and injections pierced my stomach. Heat and spiders crawled over my face causing me more irritation as my body rejected the painkillers. Just what I needed, a rash that was hard to scratch between all the ECG patchwork of stickers over my body. I eventually went numb when a stranger washed my body and I needed to ask the nurse for a bedpan whenever I needed the toilet.

DVT is quite common with leg injuries.

The specialist rattled through explanations of how my sprained ankle injury was to blame but that besides pain, I didn’t display any typical tell-tale signs. He prescribed blood thinners and a few days later I was discharged and able to rest in my own bed. Bliss.

The Googling has started and I’ve been doing so much reading up on DVT and PE. A life-threatening condition that is so unknown (well to me it was).

But I’m wiser. And I want the message to get out there. A simple D-Dimer blood test could’ve picked up any DVT in the early stages and avoided the PE.

I’ll definitely be more vigilant & responsible going forward. As runners, we often trip and fall, we accidentally roll our ankles, we self (mis) diagnose calf sprains and tears. Being aware of all complications and treatment is important. There are blind spots and sometimes we don’t know what to look for out of pure ignorance.

It’s back to physio tomorrow to continue treating my ankle. The next 6 months will be different to how I had envisaged them. Giving up my Dis-Chem entry. No more Two Oceans half marathon. I guess more gentle walks. Perhaps even some yoga.

But definitely a re-focus on what’s really important in my life. My health is top of that list right now. Body, let’s do this!