Half way through another year, and as I type, the sun is out, it’s actually hot and that probably means that summer is about to finish in an on-going storm of torrential rain and gales. Or perhaps not. It’s been a predictably busy first half of the year, and it’s only now that I’m finding time to draw breath and do a little reflection on whether I am where I want to be.
My second year at college was a real ramp up on the first year in terms of assignments and extra work. I did expect that, but it’s still been a bit of challenge to manage. That coincided with a very busy period at work which has created something of a storm of whirlwind activity and very little time to do anything else. College is finished for this year (assuming I’ve passed my final assignment), so I’ve got a little more freedom for the next couple of months that I know will fly by.
This was going to be an overall goal review, but there’s quite a lot to update on health, so I’m going to tackle that one separately and will do another post in the next week or so on the rest of the goals (hopefully once I’ve had a chance to think about them 😉 ).
So health, then. As a reminder you can view my original goals here. It hasn’t been a great start to the year if I’m honest. After a good couple of months, my health goals were thrown off by developing a hamstring/back injury which has seen me totally out of running and my strength routine for the last 4 months. I had a similar injury in 2008, and they never really pin pointed the reason for it, but after 2 MRI scans on various bits of my, I ended up with steroid injections in my upper hamstring and that seemed to resolve the problem. Since March I’ve been having regular physio which does seem to be helping a bit. I did try some running again in May, but the problems flared up straight away, so it was back to the drawing board. I have been diligent about doing the exercises the physio has given me, but she thinks it could be a long term issue.
I was just starting to get back to a bit of strength training at the start of last week, which was good after such a long break. Then I had a nasty bike crash on Wednesday on my way to work and have made a bit of a mess of my knee. I’m hoping that it’s nothing too serious – walking is ok and the swelling has gone down a bit, but it’s very bruised and any motion which involves any kind of twisting is very painful, so I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed for now that it’s nothing serious.
Goal wise, things are a bit mixed. Although it’s been made a bit more difficult by not being able to run, I should be able to meet my 5 million steps target. I’m keeping a running total and although I have quite a big target to hit each month, after a slow start I’m keeping on top of what I need to do. Just adding an extra thousand here or there by a quick walk round the block etc really helps. The running goals are clearly not happening and I don’t see myself getting to a place where I can even attempt a half marathon this year. This has all had a knock on effect on my body fat %. Obviously not being able to do as much exercise as I’m used to hasn’t helped here. Added to that, I’ve been a) busy and b) miserable about not being able to exercise, both of which I’ve used as an excuse not to eat particularly well over the past six months. I wanted to measure progress with a monthly fitness test, but obviously that has also gone out the window. Woe is me.
I’d underestimated how much of an emotional toll not being able to exercise would have on me. I know that some people would be grateful for the excuse not to work out, but that’s definitely not me. Over the past 15 years or so, it’s become a key part of my life, something that was so ingrained, I didn’t even have to think about it. Even during difficult times, it was confirmation that I cared about my health, during busy times it’s been my escape and my headspace. I’m trying to hang on to the thought that I can still walk and I’m not totally incapacitated, but I really want to get sweaty, to raise my heartbeat and to challenge myself. I know I just need to be patient, but I don’t deal very well with uncertainty in this kind of situation. Creating some sort of a plan will hopefully help me to get my head around this.
My sleep also hasn’t been great lately and that has definitely contributed to a lack of energy and bad mood. I go to bed at a decent hour and drop off quickly, but I often feel that I’m restless in the night and wake up frequently. I’d like a plan to deal with that too.
Next 6 months
The school summer holidays are always tricky as they throw my routine off. I can’t cycle to work as I have to drop the girls at holiday club near the office (don’t get me started on the fact that I also have to give them breakfast and tea!). Normally I’d up the running instead but I can’t do that. Can’t swim before work as there isn’t time. Argh! I feel like the world is telling me not to do anything until September. However, I really don’t want to be totally back to square one in the autumn! The plan for the next few months looks like this:
- Recover from injuries – carry on doing the physio exercises. If still getting back problems at the end of August, go back to the GP to see about other interventions.
- Try and maintain some fitness over the summer by doing lots of walking, some gentle strength training around my injuries and getting back on the bike when I’m confident my knee is well enough.
- Join a gym in September when I can start going before work again. There is a Pure Gym which isn’t too far away and is only £20 a month. It’s very well equipped for the price.
- Arrange some PT sessions at said gym to get back into a strength routine I can do around my limitations.
- I plan to do my usual real food challenge again starting in September. In the meantime, I’ve got a bit more balance back in my diet and will focussing on good nutrition and eating in line with my activity levels.
- Improve my sleep hygiene. Try not to look at my devices after 9pm, make sure the room isn’t too warm etc.