Sunday, 6 June 2021

12 months on....

So 12 months on since my accident. The world has changed so much, my tiny slice of it, has like most people's changed and progressed with it. Some of it good, some of it not so good.  I generally like to think of myself as a glass half full rather than half empty, for each and every bad thing, something positive has to balance it out, although its not always obvious. 

In the UK we are currently coming out of Lockdown 3. With the prospect of things opening up, lighter nights and warmer days along with the rapid vaccine rollout. Generally things are looking brighter. The thought of actually cycling to a cafe with friends, sitting down and having a coffee and maybe even cake (be rude not to really) is such a delight, I’m so looking forward to it.

My training has started in a limited capacity as swimming is not allowed until the end of March 2021.  I've booked to go Open Water Swimming on 29th, 30th and 31st March & 1st April.  Not desperate really!! (Can you guess) to get back in to it πŸ˜„πŸŠ.  So looking forward to that.   

This years challenges are a mix from those that rolled over from last year and some new ones. Ironman Stafford - which may/may not go ahead, The Snowman Swim at Snowdonia at the end of July, Swim Serpentine in September and a place in the Virtual London Marathon on October 3rd.    This last one came as a shock as i really didn't expect to get a place, and actually never had any desire to run a marathon.  But having gotten a place, I figure it has to be done.πŸ˜…

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Back on the bike 😊

I have been pondering about the good old British weather, whilst I had my cast on the weather was beautiful, since the beginning of June, we have had torrential rain, cold weather and it’s been very windy! How does that work!!

Despite the weather, it is wonderful to be back out on the bike. On Tuesday this week, I went out with the Tuesday evening group I normally ride with. I wasn't fast but it was so enjoyable.  Hats off to zwift which has helped keep me sane and ensured that my fitness and stamina have not disappeared.
The swimming is progressing, and to be honest a bit of a mystery. I was never a good swimmer, learning when one is 'mature' (polite for old) and not having a great technique is a bit of a hinderance. However, I have done some Open Water Swimming recently and to say my speed has increased would be an understatement. I am sure there is something wrong with my watch! So I'm going a different open water venue on Saturday to try and establish if a miracle has occurred or the GPS was just wrong.......I know where i will put my money 😁

The wrist/hand is slowly healing, the latest scan has shown extensive Soft tissue damage, which is going to take many months to heal. No impact sports until after Christmas, so nothing that involves a club, racket, bat or similar. It is a bit of a revelation that bone heals so much quicker than soft tissue 🀷‍♀️. I know from previous muscle damage that it does take a while, but I’m surprised at quite how long it’s going to take.

The movement is coming back which is great news. The physio has said that my arm and hand muscles need flexibility before they pick up power.  So onwards and upwards with the exercise.  

A few weeks ago, I managed to put my wedding and engagement rings on, and put my watch on my left arm for the first time in 4 months. In the grand scheme of thing these are just minor changes, for me they are important.  

My Ironman Staffs place is secured so it will be soon back to the Don & Mel Fink training plan to improve my base fitnessπŸ’ͺ

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Good progress

Its always good to be positive and last week was positive in so many ways. 

Tuesday afternoon I managed to go swimming in a friends pool. First time since early March and the first opportunity to test the hand out.  It is a tad odd, and i need to do a lot of work.  Working out how best to front crawl with a strange “catch” part of the stroke. Breast stroke is no longer an option as my hand/wrist won't bend, I would like to say I am upset about that, but I never seemed to go anywhere when I did it, more of a doggy paddle than breast stroke. 

As gym’s and swimming pools are still closed UK wide, I went to Cliff Lakes at Tamworth on Saturday. It was glorious, really wanted to build the confidence, getting back into the lake and it didn’t disappoint.  Changing rooms and showers remain shut, so getting changed in the car park after swimming, and remaining dignified is a bit of a challenge, but I eventually managed it 😱

Thursday, the Physio said I could try cycling outside, really! I could do some short rides,  and, need to be aware of the vibration on the wrist, but I don't care, short ride or not I'm happy.  Very nervous about going out, so 2 good friends came out with me on Saturday afternoon. Not sure why I was nervous as I didn't damage the hand/wrist cycling, but who knows how the subconscious works sometimes.

Rishi Sunak the Chancellor says we need to get the economy going and I  like shopping, and, for those of you that know me and have been on this journey with me, you will know I can’t resist, so I’m doing my bit to boost the economy πŸ€ͺ.  So a new pair of padded cycling gloves are on their way. Shock absorber type of gloves to protect the wrists. It's amazing what you find when you search google 🀦‍♀️  

I also bought a water bottle for the new bike (see below) it has a Leicester City logo on it. I'm not a football fan in anyway shape or form. My OH is, so its a tribute to him and all the help he has provided. I did buy him a new shirt as well, be rude to visit the local fan store and not to treat him really. 

One of the friends I am cycling with, has changed the brakes on my Focus Cayo bike. The brake levers are now in the middle of the handlebars. A game changer for me, I wouldn't be able to operate them at the moment if they were still on the drop bars. The pull and grip on my left hand isn't there or strong enough. It may never be, who knows. 

Also it just so happens that my new bike has arrived, although the local bike shop have been so busy they haven't had chance to make the brake alterations yet. I went in on Monday and there it was, it’s a Liv Avail Advanced 2, a lovely plum colour. For the time being and to get used to it, I’m keeping the 32mm tyres but will change to 28mm eventually. 

Unfortunately I don’t have any clothes to go with it....... 🀦‍♀️🀦‍♀️ 

Running never was my favourite activity, however, I have been looking at my stats on Strava and have been pleasantly surprised. I have started back, more or less where I left off, which is a big surprise. I thought my pace would be way back on the field. 

I was lamenting that I could no longer do push-ups, the OH, who is ever practical, pointed out that I have not done them for the last 59 years, so nothing really is going to change. Ho Hum...

Ironman sent through emails stating that we as we had all been deferred from this years event, we had to register for 2021. So June 13th 2021, I am expecting to be at the start line 😁 my objective is to finish it, regardless of speed. It would be nice to do it on my EnviLiv bike, but if that isn’t possible then the Avail will be the steed for the day πŸ™ƒ

Exciting times ahead, now must go shopping for some plum coloured shoes ........

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Physio and weights πŸ‹️‍♀️

It’s 10 weeks today since my accident. The ribs are healed, the arm cast has gone and the physio has started. I was surprised to find that after 8 weeks with the cast on, when it was removed my hand was still swollen. 

My hand is also a very strange shape, and it doesn’t function like my hand should and it aches quite a lot.  It also looks like it belongs to someone else....not sure who, but not anyone I know. 

The physio manipulated it and it improved a lot. I have exercises to do, so do those every day. This week I have started lifting some weights, well 1 kgs, to start improving the strength in the hand, next week the weights will change to 1.5 kgs. 

Because I have a shopping habit.......I  bought a cute set of weights from an online retailer. So the conservatory is now a gym 😁 it has the turbo trainer, a Pilates mat and the weights. A 10 minute video is now done everyday, to try and build up my arm muscles, and the weight I can lift. 

So running has started, swimming will start this week - hope that goes well, not sure how you swim without bending your wrist, but if you don’t try, you’ll never find out. Fingers crossed 🀞 

I might be able to cycle outside this week. A good friend has changed my winter bike so that the brakes are in the middle of the handle bars, this is good as I should be able to brake, which will prove useful πŸ˜³πŸ€”. I am soo looking forward to going out on my bike, although a tad nervous. 

My Garmin watch has had to go back to Garmin as it’s being uncooperative! Garmin have very kindly offered to send me a replacement. I feel lost without it.  

Although at the present moment, I would swap anything for a haircut.....I’m starting to look and feel like a yeti which is no fun. Although did you know that grey hair is officially on trend at the moment, who knew 🀷‍♀️ It’s very comforting to know that I am finally trendy at the age of 59 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Cast is Off, New Bike Ordered

The cast is off. Time to do a little dance! πŸ˜πŸ’ƒ it was such a relief, I am sure that there were birds nesting in it 🀦‍♀️. I can’t start running until 1st June, to give the ribs a bit more time to heal. It will then be a run/walk for the first 2 or 3 weeks, to see how things go.

The turbo though is calling. Riding with one hand is tough, but things can only improve.  Physio started on Wednesday, with a phone physio session - quite weird really, the exercises are tough and the hand is like a block of wood.  

Things can only get better,  I have little or no wrist movement at the moment and can expect to get 30% of my original movement back. 

My OH is being a dream. My EnviLiv bike is having her paint chips professionally repaired and will be going into my local bike shop (LBS) next week. The soul searching is over and I shall keep it as a challenge, the target is to do Ironman Stafford on it; June 13th 2021!

In the interim period, I have been treated to a LivAvail endurance bike, the LBS have offered to adjust the bike and add the extra brakes in the middle of the handlebars free of charge for me.  

I tend to be a bit of lunatic going down hills, mainly to make up for the lack of speed going up, so braking won't be a problem, which is probably a good thingπŸ˜†!

The new bike should arrive and have the brakes fitted sometime towards the end of June, in reality I don't want to collect it from the LBS until I can ride it home. That probably sounds sad, but new bike day is new bike day, and something to look forward to and enjoyed 😁

Hopefully by the middle of June I can think about swimming. If my wrist is quite rigid it may help me streamlining in the water, which might stop the crab swimming.... so maybe a positive. πŸ˜ƒ

I also need to think about driving. Not possible at the moment, changing to an automatic maybe the best solution. 

Anyway onwards and upwards, thank you to everyone who is supporting me, and reading this. I do hope you are not to bored. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Stage 2 - Cast Removal Day 😬

Well today in about 4 hrs, I am hoping to have the cast removed, so fingers crossed this goes ahead.

I am very nervous of the cast coming off, equally, it definitely needs to be removed, it has been on my arm for 7 1/2 weeks, it has been very warm weather, to say it is a bit "minty" is an understatement. πŸ‘ƒπŸ’©.

The amount of walking I have done has surprised even myself! on one occasion I was walking down a country lane, doing my arm excercises (as you do!) when a car stopped and asked if i was ok, they thought I was trying to flag them down. πŸ˜†

Socially distanced coffee on the go, is my new norm. Walking alone, with friends and on a couple of occasions, total strangers! I realised afterwards they could well have been rapists or murderers, but they seemed friendly enough at the time. What I have discovered is that there is plenty in my local area to be discovered, walks, information, fascinating people. People doing great things. 

My target was to walk 100 miles during May by the time the cast came off, as at last night; Monday 25th May, a total 136.6 miles have been covered, taking a time of 34 hrs, by my calculation that is an average of 4.01 miles per hour and average of 5.464 miles per day. That seems quite reasonable. 

The last few weeks have been a soul search. I tried half heartedly to sell my beautiful EnviLiv. I say tried, I didn't try very hard, also She now has 3 paintwork chips on her that need to be repaired, so no one will want to buy her till they are sorted, and, to be honest, I don't really want to sell her. 

A friend of mine is a physiotherapist, she is a kind, generous lady, and is helping me with excercises on my arm whilst I still have the cast on. This involves a 1kg bag of rice, 4 pegs and a mug. 

The bag of rice has been tied to my arm with pair of old tights, I then have to bring my thumb to my mouth, (not my mouth to my thumb). this took a few days but I can now do it. 

The pegs have to be removed from the mug with my thumb and one finger at a time, they then have to be put back on the mug using only the thumb and one finger.  She certainly knows what she is talking about. The results have not been huge, but I have started to get some movement back in my hand, and hopefully in time the muscle will start to build.

Another person, has very kindly offered me the use of a swimming pool to help with the rehab. I am bowled over by this, no one has to make such offers, it is unbelievably kind.

So now it’s off to the hospital and fingers crossed, I will be back later without the cast. 

Monday, 11 May 2020

Muscle loss and Using your core

In one of my first blogs, I commented that my swim instructor said I wasn't using my core, hence the crab πŸ¦€ like swimming technique!! No one really seemed to be able to explain what they meant. Afterall it's OK saying it and you can even shout it, but if someone (me) doesn't understand it, it can be said or shouted till someone is blue in the face, makes didly squat difference really. 

Someone advised me to read an excellent article, How to find your core. For me it has proved really helpful. I adopted this during my daily walks. During the first few days, it felt really strange, but like all things in life your body has an amazing way of adapting. Hopefully when I am able to start running again, it will help as well.

Pilates has been a saviour really, adding in core strength work as well has helped me try and reduce the muscle loss. 

The muscle mass that has disappeared from my arms is alarming, specifically the left arm. I never really gave it much thought, doing various strength exercises regularly, like kettle bells and weights, carrying a bag with golf clubs during the winter, everything helped. 

My arms now do not look like I own them. They should belong to someone at least 20 years older than me, and certainly someone who has never moisturised!!!  It's come as a bit of a shock to see these crinkly things at the end of my shoulders! I will never be able to wear sleeveless shirts again. 

A lot of people have said that as soon as I start weight training again the muscle will start to return, but can you ever undo crinkly skin, I don't think so!!  If there is a secret out there please let me know urgently.  

During my many walks, a number of people have entertained me at the end of their drives. I have had cake, coffee, tea and even managed to come home on one occasion with 6 freshly laid eggs πŸ“πŸ“, it strikes me that hikers are probably very well fed 🀣🀣.

On VE Day. We had a socially distanced Street Party. I dressed as a land girl, well why wouldn't you 😏.  I went for a short walk in this odd looking outfit, you do get some very odd looks, (well I seem to). Lady dressed as a land girl, with lime green cast & crinkly arm, speed walking past, it must indeed have frightened the local cats, and, other small animals, let alone their owners.