January started with such positive good intentions. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan though…
I had planned to be active every single day by participating in MIND (Run Every Day) Red January, and making a good start on #NHS1000miles, building on my December running progress. New Year’s Day even began well with me getting up to go and do the ParkRun – I didn’t feel at all well though and didn’t last long. New Year’s Eve was a fun yet sober affair so I definitely wasn’t hungover…The next couple of days were spent resting as a sore throat, headache, fatigue, and all the classic symptoms of a stonking cold set in. Even a short walk left me feeling like I needed a nap.
That week was pretty low: I felt rotten physically and mentally – being unable to exercise had deprived me of my coping mechanism.
By the weekend, I had started to feel a little brighter and thought I could chase out the rest of the lurgy with a bracing walk. WRONG! My body didn’t like the simple walk, not one little bit – and the next morning I felt a million times worse. Bad sinuses added to the fun – like I was constantly being hit around the face.
Following a trip to the local walk-in centre I was sent home, signed off work, and ordered to rest. Frustrating and boring – but I had to listen to my body. That week was spent on the sofa feeling very rotten and fed up indeed as the lurgy settled on my chest.
On the plus side, the enforced rest meant I watched both series of The Crown. It was a lot better than I expected it to be: it is as much about politics as it is about the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, making this history geek happy. The writing and acting are superb. An added bonus is seeing an actor clearly having a lot of fun in his role, as is John Lithgow playing Churchill – an unlikely fit, yet it works.
The enforced rest highlighted just how important exercise is to me – mentally just as much, if not more than, physically. I have really missed it: the feeling of being in control of my body, zoning out as I see what my body can achieve, and those wonderful endorphins.
Time was spent jealously tracking the fun things friends were tracking on Strava. So. Not. Fair! I also did some research on running routes and events/races so I had something to look forward to when I was back on it again…
As a result of my inactivity during these past three weeks I have also learnt the hard way the lesson of just what being sedentary does to my body. A consequence of two decades of desk jobs is a tight lower back – during my usual regular workouts I am engaging lots of different muscle groups, keeping things moving, as well as lots of stretching.
During the past week I have noticed just how tight my lower back is, which has had an impact on my hip flexors and psoas – they are so tight and a short first run led to a painful strain. I’ve since spent ages stretching, and rolling with my roller and lacrosse ball (soooo painful and sooo good!). I’m sure it will be better with a few days of rest – not to mention lots and lots of stretching.
I cannot wait to get back to it all properly!
Ultimately, there is nothing I could have done about my period of inactivity – the lurgy had to run its course, and I had to listen to my body. There is lots of time to work towards the #NHS1000miles, and being unable to participate in RED January is disappointing but not the end of the world.
In some ways (sore lower back and hip flexors notwithstanding) three weeks of enforced rest did me a lot of good. Why? Because since Hugo died in March 2014 I have been constantly active – writing, campaigning, out doing stuff. Keeping busy – to avoid having to stop and think. To help myself feel like I was deserving of the life I so very nearly lost – and the life my son, so feisty and full of fight, was deprived of. A sort of survivor’s guilt, I suppose.
Switching off my brain for a time helped me to recharge, and reset. Time to reassess. Ready (as I can be) for the difficult time of the year, the imminent anniversaries. I am formulating a plan for the 35 days between Hugo’s birthday, and the day he died – to help myself be in control, to celebrate life, being alive, that the world is indeed a wonderful place, as well as to raise awareness of baby loss and funds for the charities that are dear to my heart. Watch this space!
As per my word for 2018 – believe – I believe I am worth investing the effort in, I believe that I can, and I believe that I will.