Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Growing Food

My OH is currently furloughed, so at home 24/7, to keep himself busy, he has been gardening, I have been supervising, as you do!  
As much as it’s nice to spend time together, 24/7 is rather a lot, it’s nice for us to have a break and sometime to ourselves. 

So we have separated our daily exercise. He does his in the morning, I do mine in the afternoon. He has no interest in Triathlon, really hates cycling, cannot see the attraction of swimming in a pool, let alone a lake and as for running, well let’s just say it’s not his thing. He is however very supportive, and takes a keen interest in what I eat.

A few weeks ago, I went for one of my daily walk’s, came back, and discovered he had planted enough stuff ( assuming it all grows) to feed a small country; 4 types of tomatoes ๐Ÿ…, Aubergines ๐Ÿ†, Watermelons ๐Ÿ‰ (didn't know you could grow those in the UK), Rocket ๐ŸŒฟ, Swede ๐Ÿ, Lavender ๐ŸŒฟ, Oregano, Basil.......the list is long. In fact everything except radishes ๐Ÿ˜‚  I will have no excuses for not eating properly.
Basil in a piece of drainpipe 
We only have a small garden but every tub had been used, along with a variety of other things........Come harvest time we will be inundated with stuff. So impressed!!๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹
Rocket & herbs in an old pallet

A wooden box thing that is growing swede, we don't have room for a water feature, so we have a barrel garden. Its amazing what you can do with old bits and pieces lying around.

Swede in a box thing
Water barrel garden
He has now turned his attention to cooking, we are working our way through Waitrose Beautifully Simple recipe cards. - not all the ingredients are bought at Waitrose, so please don’t tell.  We are having some lovely healthy meals, that are simple and nutritious, sometimes followed by some equally unhealthy deserts. I am not complaining, just wonder if it will continue when life returns to normal ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” 

Speed walking ......

Since my accident, I have been walking daily. My target was to do 4 miles per day, my 1 hr of allowed exercise, during the lockdown. Reaching a minimum of 10,000 steps per day is apparently the guideline to use. Having never had to think about counting steps before this has come as a bit of a revelation.  

Reading various articles and researching step counts on the web, the average  person in the UK walks less then 5,000 steps a day. Not sure if these figures are accurate or not, but they are one's reported, so they are the one's I'll use. Fully understand those people with mobility problems and conditions that stop them exercising, they can't do 10,000. Nurses, Posties and many key workers do a lot more than 10,000 steps just at work. I know many triathletes, runners, hikers and all sorts of other people do well in excess of 10,000 per day, which means a lot of people walk significantly less 5,000 per day. Shocking statistics really.  

or April, I have walked 89.6 miles in 22 hrs 25 mins., which seems to be reasonable. I have been in every Road, Close  and Avenue in the small town I live in. Out of town it’s a case of sticking mainly to the paths, and avoiding stiles, and fields with cows in.๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ„ Not that I have anything against cows, but not sure being a field full of them, is something on my bucket list. ๐Ÿ˜† 

I have signed up for Strava 100 miles in May, walking a 100 miles by the time the cast comes off, this seems to be a reasonable target. Then I can get on turbo ๐Ÿšด‍♀️

Yesterday it rained non stop all day, to avoid getting my cast wet, I decided not to do the daily walk, pondering what to do instead. I took a leaf out of the person on the TV climbing Everest ⛰ using the stairs. So Up 50 times and down 50 times I went, it certainly got the heart rate going. 

Getting out of bed is getting easier. During the last few weeks, I have had to roll over, hold my ribcage and carefully sit up on the edge of the bed. Yesterday and today, the need to roll out of bed has receded, I can carefully sit up and then stand. Progress ๐Ÿ˜

So today, the daily walk will include some speed walking, up and down the only hill in our small town. Actually not sure actually it could be defined as a hill, more of a slope. ๐Ÿ”Going up, round and down 5 times should get the heart rate going and get some peculiar looks from people. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

The march continues, so onwards and upwards ๐Ÿ˜€ May 100 miles here we come. 

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Coping Strategies

Determinedness? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ(not sure if that's actually a word) or sheer bloody mindedness?๐Ÿ˜ณ (not sure that's a word either).  A number of people have asked me how I was coping with the emotions, frustration and irritation of what has happened. 

These are good questions and something I hadn't really given much thought to.  Yes I am frustrated, especially when lots of people are out cycling or running during what is, such wonderful weather. I worry about loosing the fitness levels I have gained, and on occasions, I have been irritable and shouted at my OH, I cried when I did it, I cried when the Doctor told me that I would loose probably 70% of the hand / wrist movement, and, how long it will take to get back to anything like what will be the new "normal". 

It's ok to feel and be all of those things, to shout, stamp your feet and go red in the face like a 5 year old, ๐Ÿ‘ฟ - (I may have been known to do this!) but, at the end of the day it's not going to achieve anything, being bitter and hurt are ok, but the facts will still be the facts, and, the wrist/scaphoid and ribs will still be broken. I've seen people be consumed by bitterness and it's painful. 

Many moons ago, when I was young. I had to learn to fend for, and look after myself. Life was tough, a lot of other kids went off the rails, getting into trouble with the Police and going on a downward spiral.  

I decided that wasn't for me. I was going to be successful. I had no idea at what or how, but I wanted to be proud of myself!  So I set myself targets, goals with my own measurements, to assess if I had succeeded or not. They are not important to other people but they were and still are to me. They had to be achievable and something outside of my comfort zone but within my own capabilities, but you really have to want it. Approaching anything without passion, and commitment really won't work. 

I apply the same philosophy to most things in life, and will to this injury.  I really wanted to do a Triathlon, but couldn't swim (see my first blog, "How did I get here....").  I was determined to do it and was as proud as punch when I did๐Ÿ™Œ . I will get back on my bike and will set myself goals and targets. 

I saw in the UK Tri Ladies fb page a quote 

"She believed she could, so she did"  

I adopted this as my personal motto. 
I truly believe that you can achieve whatever you
want, as long as its realistic.

The first and only person you need to convince is 
yourself. If you don't believe in you, no one else will. 

A triathlon is 3 disciplines, so reasonably you can expect to be Good at 1, be ok at another, the 3rd is what it is. Breaking it all down into bite size chunks is the best place to start.

So going out for a run on a cold, damp, grey winter's morning is not the most exciting prospect in the world, your training plan says run for 50 mins, its Saturday, its still dark, you really don't want to go. Make yourself get out of bed and do the local park run. I promise you, you will feel so much better for doing it and for having made the effort. It may not be 50 mins, but the fact that you did it is important. Then treat yourself to a small reward! A coffee and pecan yum yum, chocolate biscuit, doesn't matter what it is. 

Going out on a bike ride when its cold and it takes you 10 mins just get into some warm gear isn't much fun, thawing out the toes at the end is difficult, but the sense of achievement when you have finished and done your 50 miles, 30 minutes or whatever, is worth it. 

Having your teeth chattering in your head, wrapping your fingers round a cup of hot chocolate when you get out of the lake after swimming, is all good for the soul.

I suppose my advice is, give yourself a talking to, be realistic, pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and most importantly believe in yourself! Simples!


Thursday, 23 April 2020

Bad days and Good Friends

Tuesday was not a good day, another X-ray followed by an appointment with the Consultant. The cast will remain in place for 4 more weeks and will be removed on May 19th - ๐Ÿ‘ I did a little jig at this point. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
Swiftly followed by, the cast will be replaced with a splint for 6 to 8 weeks, no weight bearing allowed during this time, at which point my hand will be re-assessed. What really!! not so good, no more zwifting or virtual spin classes!! This was a huge blow, so from being a triathlete 3 weeks ago, I can now well, Walk!

Life can be cruel sometimes, however, on the zwifting and spin class front, my cast is getting a bit well...umm lets say minty, ๐Ÿ‘ƒ๐Ÿ˜† so its probably not a bad thing really. 

Luckily, I have some superb friends. One couple phoned me as they "needed" some advice about something, we had a great WhatsApp chat.

Another friend made a pillow and delivered it to my house, observing social distancing guidelines.

The ladies I should have been cycling Coast to Coast with in July, decided we should put the trip off until I am able to do it..

A group of Ladies I play golf with sent me Iris and Freesia every-time I go into the lounge I can smell them and they are beautiful.

How lucky am I, generally fit and healthy, not in hospital with Covid-19, or like some people have life saving treatments cancelled.

Surrounded by lovely people, even my OH is learning to cook ๐Ÿณ. So that all puts things in balance and I owe all my friends a huge Thank you, for being such good, supportive people.

One other benefit that has transpired from all this, is shopping once per week for food. Like a lot of people I have been making meal plans and shopping for everything all in one go. So our food waste has reduced, the amount of money spent has reduced, and, our diet is healthier, no bad thing.

Onwards and upwards walking every day in this beautiful weather. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Running & Swimming

It is rather ironic really that I have damaged my hand during what was going to be a 5K run, my daily exercise whilst in Covid-19 lockdown.  Out of the 3 triathlon disciplines, running is my least favourite. ๐Ÿƒ

Cycling will always be my first love, now closely followed by swimming - given that I had a fear of water, and now swim like a crab, that is a big turnaround for me. Specifically Open Water Swimming, I love it. Although I am not sure I would do it without a wetsuit!

Running, many people love it, for me it's a chore, it is done because it needs to be done, and allows me to eat chocolate or specifically butterscotch and pecan yum yums ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

The Turbo trainer has been a god send during this lockdown for me and many other people. I can't lean forward to use the handlebars very well due to the ribs but for now it serves a purpose. I did try to ride with Geraint Thomas, but his power output and speed means I cant even ride with the people at the back. 

My Pilates teacher who is a mind of good useful information, said that I could walk as part of my recovery, and would help keep the miles in the legs, she is right as always. Running whilst the ribs are still cracked is not a good idea, mind you sneezing isn't much fun either, trying to run with a cast on, is asking for trouble imo. So walking it is. I only live in a small town, so I am aiming to have walked every street, close, avenue, and all other places by the time the cast comes off.   ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿšถ

So far I have done about 40% of it, and have found a couple of places I didn't know existed, walking between 45/50 mins a day is quite therapeutic in some respects. 

Its interesting to note that because lots of people have been out walking because like me, they are staying home, people actually smile at each other. Also having conversations with people across the street or whilst waiting in the queue to go into the supermarket is weird but strangely comforting.

Whilst learning to swim, everyone was always talking about using your "core" I had no clue what they are talking about, and to some extent I still don't. It's a pity someone can't really explain it, that way I could be less crab and more dolphin! my impression of it is that you need to hold your butt cheeks together, which helps you streamline better in the water, although if someone can explain it to me I would be very happy to listen and take notes.  

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

X-Rays & Scans

No radishes were used whilst writing this blog ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I am sat waiting to see the consultant, over the last few days I have realised how self indulgent I have been. How there are far more people out there than we could possibly know, doing amazing things every day!  The NHS staff for a start.

Dame Sarah Storey; inspirational swimmer, turned cyclist, born with one hand, who competes at the highest level, has two children and a very successful career, she has adpted her life to ensure she can do what wants regardless of her disability.

Tim Dom; if you have not read his story, it is a good read. Truly amazing, he broke his back whilst training for an Ironman, fought against all the odds and came back, to not only not compete in Ironman Kona, but to totally smash it.

My pilates Instructor suggested reading a book by George Mahood; "Operation Ironman" its a great read and free atm, on Kindle unlimited, even better ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘ 

I am not comparing myself to any of the above people, they achieved more than I have ever dreamt of. They have all overcome huge obstacles, mentally and physically, so if needs be I will adjust the swimming (not sure I would call it technique) crab impression, adjust the bike, and plough on regardless!

Yesterday whilst out for my daily walk, 2 young girls ran past me, they looked similar so I assumed they were sisters, anyway they were running along, chatting away, looking very at ease, ponytails swinging in the breeze. I know when I am running well plodding along, usually beetroot coloured, hair looking as if I have just been plugged into a socket, chatting is the last thing on my mind! ๐Ÿƒ‍♀️๐Ÿƒ‍♀️๐Ÿฅต

My name has been called, so off to see the Doctor, wish me luck.

Another X-Ray followed by CT scan. The Doctor was lovely, really kind and understanding. Why do they always look about 15!!  He decided that 9 days in, no operation would be done, due to the high risks at the current time, and the reduced dexterity of operating with a lot more PPE. ๐Ÿ‘จ

The radius bone has a small triangler break where it hit the scaphoid when I hit the road. The scaphoid is fractured and the triangler break in the radius has shattered. To put it bluntly its a mess. I was happily unaware until this morning, that a fracture scale existed, my damage is 8/10 on said scale. I would be happy to admit, that had I never known about this scale I would have remained blissfully ignorant.

The best option is to stay in the cast. So have opted for a lime green one, it is the worst colour imaginable, but equally very bright and will blend nicely with my eyes most mornings! ๐Ÿ‘€

I told the Dr I was doing a Coast to Coast bike ride on the 10th July with some friends, he winced, yes it might be possible, lets see what happens in 5/6 weeks when the cast comes off. The physio required would be intense.   I took this as good news, he had not actually said it wasn't possible. My first real challenge, if I could do this, I could the Ironman, and my Swim Serpentine. 

To the Ladies I am cycling with, if you read this, I have to do it, even if I moan and groan. ๐Ÿšด‍♀️๐Ÿšด‍♀️๐Ÿšด‍♀️๐Ÿšด‍♀️

The daily excercise routine is going well, an hours walk everyday, Virtual Spin Classes; Monday & Friday and a couple of other turbo sessions maybe Wednesday & Saturday.  

Take care everyone and I’ll see you again in a few weeks ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿคž   

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Week 1 More shopping

So 1 week since the accident, showering is proving to be a challenge. I can't get the cast wet, but a regular daily walk in warm weather and spinning on the turbo leaves you smelling, well less than fresh. ๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ‘ƒ

I have unsurprisingly been shopping, ๐Ÿ˜€ this time on Amazon. 

The wonderful NHS nurses who sorted me out in A & E suggested you could buy an arm covering thing. So I ordered it from Amazon and because it is classed as protective equipment, I got it the next day! How cool is that!!

so arm covered, my OH has helped me put it on & following a shower feel so much better, I smell slightly sweeter as well. Yesterday was a bad day for me, so the best part of a bottle of wine was consumed. Not something I would usually do, nor would I ever recommend it, but sometimes, just occasionally, it blurs the edges for a while. The unfortunate consequence of that is that no painkillers were allowed when I went to bed!!

My aim on my excercise routine is to complete the 3.75 mile walk round the town I live in, in 45 minutes. yesterday 54 mins 34 secs is the time it took. I will know the ribs are healing when I achieve this. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Looking forward to seeing Consultant on Tuesdsay ๐Ÿ™

Thursday, 9 April 2020

How did I get here?

So today is day 1 of preparing myself to start a journey of physical recovery. The title of this blog “ how do I cut radishes” really won’t be obvious for a while, to go forward, I need to start the story of my Triathlon Journey at the beginning...… afterrall is there a better place from which to begin?

At almost 56 I couldn't swim, in-fact I was actually terrified of putting my head in the water, what if I drowned in this shallow end of the pool, I might get cramp, I might look an idiot or something unimaginable might happen, over which I had no control. All in all, I don't really know why I was stood there, trying to summon the courage to learn to swim. 

My Ironman Brother, whom I love dearly, is my inspiration, my role model for all things good. He set me this challenge, which I accepted with ease, the Prosecco probably influenced my decision, do a triathlon said he, its October 2016, you can learn to swim over the winter, and do the Warwickshire Sprint Triathlon at Stratford upon Avon in September next year, said he.  More Prosecco consumed and of course I said yeah, I can do this...... hic....๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿท๐Ÿท

So there I was stood in the pool, I did learn one valuable lesson over the next 6 months, no one can see you crying when you are in the pool, you are wet anyway and no one really cares either, they are wrapped up in their own lives. interestingly during one of my swim lessons, GCSE students were doing some part of their exam, one lovely young lady managed to swim 750m in something like 12 minutes, or maybe even less than that, she was graceful and reminded me of watching dolphins, in my opinion she was the next Rebecca Adlington, how was this speed in the water even possible? My swim instructor had likened me to a crab, I dreamed of being a dolphin!

Many panic attacks, complete with crying, snivelling and on one occasion being dragged out the pool by my husband, my first 25m length of splashing, not sure I would call it swimming, was in Dubai in March 2017, it took 2 mins 40 seconds, I know this because I timed it & was so proud of myself. Not sure the sunbathers who got soaked in the process appreciated my efforts, but still 25m done, only 375 more to go. ๐ŸŠ  

So swimming obviously mastered....Cycling was my first love, the piece de resistance had been purchased back in 2016 for my London to Paris bike ride, a lovely focus road bike, I loved that bike then and I love it now, it's my go to bike of comfort. 

Obviously when I purchased the bike, I had needed a new helmet, cycle shoes, socks, those nice little gloves people wear, a water bottle to match my bike - well don't want to look shabby. The local bike shop had obviously seen me coming and rubbed their hands with glee. 

Running now, I had not run since the late 70's, school from memory... on one of those hideous cross country runs...I can still remember the P.E. Teacher saying "One day Wendy you will thank me for this...." I don't recall ever thanking him, I didn't like him then, still running round a field in a cold, wet and damp British winter has obviously left its mark, so thank you P.E. teacher.    Anyway, sorry I was rambling back to the trainers.

Stratford September 2017 on the focus

Trainers needed, so off to the local running shop for trainers and gait analysis, who knew trainers could cost £120 really!, £120 wow, I hope I can run fast for that much money.

Why does no one tell you that Triathlon is not the cheapest of hobbies, maybe they dare not. who knows, but I am one of those people that like all the gear, even if I have no idea...if I'm honest a bit of a shopaholic, so....

  • 2 pairs of trainers ๐Ÿ‘ just in case I lost one (probably best not to ask)
  • Running socks ๐Ÿ‘ lots ... well no-one needs to get blisters, padded socks or none padded?? so many questions...
  • 2 Tri-suits ๐Ÿ‘ - one for training, one for the race 
  • New swim suit ๐Ÿ‘- for when I don't wear the tri-suit during swimming lessons
  • Googles ๐Ÿ‘- many, many pairs, in case they leak, also do I get clear ones or the nice looking ones with the dark glass, best get both you never know!
  • Running shorts ๐Ÿ‘- lots of choice, all sorts of colours, best to get a few just to be sure.
  • Running t-shirts ๐Ÿ‘- well several actually, for warm weather and cold weather, you know what the uk weather is like.
  • Hydration tablets, water bottles and lord only knew what else,  

I was now a platinmum customer at Wiggle and knew the staff by name at Decathlon!๐Ÿคฏ its only the end of APRIL!!!

Much training later and having bored all my family and friends I finally did my first sprint Triathlon in September 2017

Stratford Triathlon September 2017

I was hooked, I had all the stuff, well almost all, just a few missing things like a wetsuit, tri shorts rather than a suit, a new bike that sort of thing....

I bought an EnviLiv (as you do) I love this bike, to me it's an aero racing bike to die for. I do appreciate that approaching 60 I can't really do it justice, but what the hell it's pure joy to ride and makes a wonderful "whooshing" sound.

So I needed to do another Triathlon, to justify all the "stuff" I had purchased and because I loved it. Blenheim followed in June 2018 and then again in June 2019. Woburn in September 2018, a couple of Virtual Tri's, the distances were increasing, going from sprint pool, to sprint in the lake, to Olympic to 70.3 at Cotswold June 2019 

Finishing Cotswold 113 70.3 in June 2019

My EnviLiv finishing Prudential Ride London August 2019
What’s left has to be an Ironman and in my case Ironman Stafford. I knew I could do a 70.3 distance, so paid the money required to enter....really expensive,  and started training. 

We are now April 2020, I have been training all winter, on the turbo (you might know me well enough by now to know I needed to buy one of those...)

Covid-19 has struck us with a force none of us could have predicted.  

Ironman have suspended the race (well British Triathlon have actually), no swimming, so cycling on the turbo and running outside, until this.  

Sunday 5th April, I went for a run, around 5 km so not to far, fully intending to do this, go home have a shower and followed by poached eggs on Toast, a personal favourite.

A dog from god only knows where, came towards me, I stumbled to avoid said dog, hit a large pothole, going down to hit the concrete like a sack of potatoes. Dog and owner disappear, I knew I had damaged something badly, I couldn't stand up for many minutes (it was probably seconds but it felt like hours).

Hospital A&E, X-rays, followed by a CT scan, damaged ribs and a badly damaged wrist, which is now in plaster. The consultant phoned me on Tuesday to say he was taking a personal interest in my case, at almost 60, he was intrigued by my fitness levels, however, I needed an operation to put a plate in my hand, which would give me 80/90% of wrist/hand movement back.

The operation simply isn't possible because of COVID-19, so to go back and see him on Tuesday 14th April to discuss options, but with no op and a plaster, the best I can hope for is 30% wrist/hand movement, he feels he should be honest and say my chances of doing my Ironman are remote. 

So Wednesday 8th April 2020, I am stood in my kitchen trying to prepare radishes to have with lunch. The weather is stunning and I am sobbing my socks off feeling very sorry for myself. I know I should be grateful I don't have COVID-19,  I am fit and healthy, and just happen to have had a nasty accident, but today it doesn't feel like that.

The bloody radishes cannot be cut with one hand, I cannot stand even to have the weight of the radish on my poorly hand, so each time I try and slice or chop the end off, they are shooting across the kitchen, the cat has run for cover and one hit me squarely in my bruised and damaged eye, making me swear profusely and cry even harder. So how do you cut radishes with one hand?

Today is Good Friday, I have worked out a routine, walk during the day, stepping it out as fast my poor ribs will let me, followed by an online spin class with my spin instructor; Richard or 30 mins on the turbo keeping the the legs turning.  

I will do Ironman Stafford in 2021 even if I have change the bike (nothing wrong with a bit of shopping) or have my bike adapted for what-ever state my wrist in. Looking forward to seeing consultant on Tuesday next week to discuss "options" not to sure what that means really.