The Comeback Chronicles: Christmas Edition

Well hello there. Remember me?

It’s been a helluva long time since I posted last. To be honest, the past few months have been really tricky, with work, fitness and my family situation. I’ve been experiencing an ongoing procrastination about opening up again on the blog, and it’s only gotten worse with time. But something has changed. I don’t know what exactly, but I feel ready to write again. I thought I’d start things out gently with the latest edition of the Comeback Chronicles.

For anyone who’s missed it, the Comeback Chronicles was a series dedicated to my recovery and comeback to fitness, after breaking my ankle very badly in December 2016. Part of the reason I stopped blogging was that my comeback has stalled quite considerably. But all that aside, let’s jump in!

 

What’s been going on 

As I mentioned, things have been pretty hectic around these parts. I’ve been snowed under at work, and it’s been pretty all-consuming. I haven’t had as much time or headspace as I’d like for all the other things in my life.

As a side note, the holiday season has been pretty intense too, with work parties, drinks with friends, Christmas dinners and all the rest. Now that that’s all subsided, I can hopefully carve out a little more space in the day for myself.

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Fitness

My fitness routine lately has been pretty haphazard. Some weeks it seems impossible to fit a workout in, in between working late at the office, and actually having time to take care of myself (read: eat and sleep). Other weeks, I manage to kill it with my workouts, and feel full to the brim with motivation. It’s a tricky one. The key for me in 2018 will be to even out these peaks and troughs in my life, and find a routine that works for me.

I’m trying to be more consistent when it comes to strength training, which means (for me) 3 x strength-based workouts a week: lower body, abs, and upper body.  The thing is, when I’m tired and have no headspace, I find it so much easier to zone out and do an hour of cardio than actually concentrate on lifting heavy things. Ultimately though, I know that strength training is going to get me the results I want; and so I have to persist.

 

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Running

Running has unfortunately been my downfall the past few months. I’ve gone through phases of running home from work every other night, to being so injured and in pain that I can’t actually walk. (I wish that was an exaggeration – it’s been a year since my injury, and I still can’t walk down stairs. No lie). I’ve been provisionally diagnosed with burstitis or achilles tendonitis, but I’m awaiting an official diagnosis once I’m referred to a physio. At the moment, I’m running purely for mental health purposes; that means if I’ve had a really terrible day at the office, or things are too much in my personal life, I break the “injury” rule and allow myself to run, even when it’s painful. I know it sounds ridiculous, but sometimes it’s the only thing that will clear my head, and for me it’s worth the trade-off of some pain.

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Food

Wow, that got a little intense back there, didn’t it? Well, the good news is that I’m still predominantly plant-based, and my relationship with food is getting somewhat better. It’s hard to turn off the calorie-counting in my head, but I do try my best to ignore it and get on with my day. My focus for 2018 will be to try to focus on filling my body with nutrients, as opposed to tracking every calorie down to the letter.

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Everything else

If you’ve made it this far, you might have guessed that I’m not having the best time, when it comes to my emotional and mental health. The first Christmas without my Dad was always going to be a difficult time, and to be honest work stress hasn’t made it any easier. I’m not coping as well as I could be (and part of that, I have to admit, is the fact that I can’t just take off on a 10 mile run whenever I feel like it) – but I’m trying to take positive steps.

Recently I moved in with two of my best friends, and that’s really helped me emotionally, in that I can always talk to them if I’ve had a shit day. Additionally, I’ve started seeing my therapist again, and whilst it’s slow progress, it’s progress nonetheless. (Side note – quitting therapy two months into your parent’s divorce because “the storm’s over now” is not a good tactic).

All in all, although this year has been a total shit storm, one thing I’ve really improved on is listening to my body and taking care of myself. I take sick days when I’m sick, I don’t run when I’m feeling under the weather, and I don’t drag my butt to the gym after a 14 hour work day, just because I have to. It might not seem like balance – in fact, it seems like a total mess – but I’m gradually carving out space for myself.

 

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Me and my main man

 

All in all, this year’s been a bit of a hot mess. But that’s okay. Life never goes to plan, and sometimes all you have to do is weather the storm.

How are you? How are you celebrating the festive season?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

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2017 Goals: Checking in

Given that Summer is officially over, and we’re now heading into the tail end of 2017, I thought it would be a good time to check in on the goals I set for myself at the start of the year. To recap, I ended 2016 with no job and my leg in a cast, so I have to say those goals should be taken with a pinch of salt… But anyway, let’s jump in!

A Half Marathon

Sadly, it’s a no from me. Today actually marks the date of the Vilnius Half Marathon, which I was supposed to be running with the guys from London City Athletics. But unfortunately, work and life got in the way of anything resembling a proper training programme.  To be completely honest, I still haven’t really rehabbed my ankle properly, and I just haven’t been in the position to train with the dedication a big goal race deserves.

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A Sub 1:45 Half Marathon

Again, it’s a no from me.

A Sub-45 10k

I have only raced once this year, and that was just to get me back in the running game after an extended injury break.

Move house!

I’ve finally moved house! Yay!! It’s so nice to be in a new and different environment, with flatmates I really get along with – some of my oldest friends, in fact. I’m still settling in and getting a feel for the area, but I’m in a far better place than I was previously.

Parkrun at least once a month

Absolutely not. Unfortunately, in between the broken ankle, the new job and the parental divorce, I’ve been all over the place (literally) and haven’t been able to commit to getting up early on Saturday mornings for a friendly 5k. As much as I would absolutely love to, it just hasn’t been happening.

Take at least one race vacation

No! Sadly, the race vacation to Vilnius just didn’t happen. Boo.

Read 52 books in 52 weeks of 2017!

This is the one goal I’m actually on top of! We’re 36 weeks into the year, and I’m on 36 books! It’s been great to expand my horizons in all directions, including modern geopolitics, third-wave feminist thinking and of course, some good old fashioned fiction. If anyone would like a rundown of my book list to date, I’d be more than happy to write a post!

 

Do yoga at least once a week

I’ve been doing more stretching, but to be honest yoga is the one area I’ve really failed to achieve in without a decent excuse.

Explore a plant-based diet

Yass!! I’m 100% vegan, and enjoying it thoroughly! There have been a few stumbling blocks such as craving cheese and eggs when I’m sick and/or hormonal, but I’m learning to cope with those. I have to say I don’t feel restricted in the least, and I’m enjoying bringing my friends along for the #plantbased ride.

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Find a way to give back at least once a month

I haven’t been ticking this off per se, but I’ve definitely been finding ways to give back wherever possible, whether that be through shopping at and donating to charity shops; donating money to charity or just practicing kindness as a daily act.

Up my photography game

I think so…! One of my favourite happy coincides is that running and blogging has definitely opened me up more to the creative side of things, photography included. I love nothing more than snapping beautiful sunset shots on my runs, and I’ve even bought myself a book on iPhone photography. It’s a small passion  but it’s growing!

 

Be able to do a single pull up

Okay I can now do an assisted pull up with around half my bodyweight supported. Not too shabby!

Travel!

I used most of my annual leave this year on taking my mum to the south of Spain. She’s been through such a lot with the divorce this year, that I honestly didn’t give it a second thought. And whilst it’s true that I have the post-holiday blues (especially having realised I only have 2 days annual leave left in 2017), I can always travel next year!

The Mantra: Move Your Frame

Yes! It’s so important to me to keep active every day, whether that be simply taking a walk at lunchtime or doing some quick yoga before bedtime. It makes such a difference to my mood, and helps me make the most of my body!

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All in all, it’s been a tricky year so far, goals-wise. Part of me just wants it to be 2018 already so I can start afresh, but also I know it’s silly to wish away time. I want desperately to refocus myself on a new Big Goal, but nothing has struck a chord as yet. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Tell me, what were your 2017 goals – and how are you getting on with them? 

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

Mindfulness: Starting Again

As you may well be aware from my previous posts, I’ve been struggling a lot recently with a family situation – namely, my parent’s divorce and the breakdown of my relationship with my father.

This whole situation has left me feeling pretty fraught, and the year itself has been entirely chaotic, what with twice-monthly visits to my mother, tense family gatherings and a whole plethora of other issues. In addition to that, there’s the small detail of trying to keep the rest of my life ticking along in a semblance of normality – meaning, showing up to work and giving 110%, working out wherever possible, and still spending time with the people in my life that I care about.

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As such, it’s all been a bit of a mess. I realised that one of the reasons I started this blog was not just to talk about physical health and exercise, but also mental health and emotional wellbeing. To be completely honest that side of things has been pretty absent from the blog over the past year, which speaks volumes about how absent it has been in my life. More and more however, I’m being reminded of the need to take care of myself in addition to taking care of everyone else around me. I was reminded by a good friend that I am in an entirely absurd and distressing situation, and that as a result it’s perfectly acceptable to not have my shit together. He told me that it was okay to feel depressed, and I would be entirely forgiven if I stopped acting strong for the sake of everyone else.

That conversation was all the validation I needed – sometimes we have to have courage in order to fall apart ; to allow ourselves to feel the full gravity of what has happened. And that’s okay.

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What I guess I’m trying to say is that I’m not okay. I’m no longer trying to act like everything is okay – I’m allowing myself to show weakness and surrender ever so slightly to the awfulness of the situation. But I’m not allowing myself to wallow in it, as much as I want to. Instead, I’m allowing myself more time for self care and mindfulness. As such, I’ll be bringing back my old Mindfulness series. I need a kick up the backside to actually take care of myself every once in a while, and I can’t wait to share that with you.

So please, share your self-care and mindfulness tips with me. They are much needed right now!

Lots of love,

Pippa

The Comeback Chronicles: Episode 10

Well hello there folks! How is everyone? It’s that time of the week again – so settle in with a nice cuppa tea and let’s catch up, shall we?

What’s been going on

I’m moving house next week! And then immediately going on holiday! So there’s some good and some slightly stressful. To be honest I’m not quite there yet when it comes to looking forward to my holiday, but once the  move is done, I’ll be able to get excited.

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Cannot wait for my holiday

Exercise

Errr. It’s been going okay, I guess? I mean I pulled a muscle and all, and I’ve been crazy busy – but it’s been okay,  I think. Here’s what I managed to get done last week:

  • Monday: Weights, pull-ups, calisthenics type things and then half an hour of cardio
  • Tuesday: Half an hour of cardio, some calisthenics moves & abs
  • Wednesday: Half an hour of cardio, some calisthenics moves & abs
  • Thursday: Rest day  – I pulled my lat from doing too many pull-ups. Oops.
  • Friday: 30 minutes running – yay!
  • Saturday: Rest day!
  • Sunday: Rest day – rather reluctantly this time, as I seem to be coming down with something.

 

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Ouch. And yes, I had to Google this.

Running

I managed a whole thirty minutes running this week (!) – not ideal. I would love to be able to run more, but with one thing and another it’s just not happening. I pulled my shoulder/rib/waist, plus now I think i’m on the brink of coming down with something. And with a house move and a holiday on the horizon, I’m not risking getting sick! In other news, it’s looking like I won’t be running Vilnius Half Marathon in September. Some days I can barely walk when I get up in the morning, and so training for a big goal race is just not feasible right now. It’s a huge shame, but also I was kind of prepared for it right from the start. You live and learn.

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It woulda been sweet, Vilnius

Everything Else

As mentioned in my last post, things have been tricky recently with a big Family Situation. I’m going to be sharing more on my coping strategies and self-care soon, but let’s just say I’m making a much bigger effort to take care of myself as opposed to just trying to be strong for everyone else. The motto of the story: I’m not okay. But that’s okay.

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JK guys, I’m fine I swear

 

So that’s all from me!

 

What’s been going on with you?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

The Comeback Chronicles: Episode 9

Well guys, it;s been a hot minute since I posted. After the big reveal of all the drama that’s been going on in my life, I kind of fell into an unmotivated slump. I’m not going to lie, the past year has been really tough on me, and honestly sometimes I just don’t have the sheer force of will to actually write a blog post. But despite all that whinging, here I am. Let’s jump into things!

 

What’s been going on

It’s been a busy few weeks in the office what with various colleagues being away – it’s holiday season after all! I’ve just about been coping with it all, as well s trying to enjoy the best of what London has to offer in the summer time. I’m also moving house at the end of August! It’s a good move for me, but packing up and hauling ass halfway across London is never going to be a fun time. I went home to visit my Mum and Grandma last weekend, and spent some quality time with my dog Shadow, also known as the light of my freakin’ life right now. 

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Look at this glorious badass

Exercise

About two weeks ago I had a particularly stressful time of things – it was busy at work, plus t I was in the depths of a horrific family argument which was really getting me down. And so, I ran. I ran every day for about a week, which seemed completely miraculous at the time, and far too good to be true. And of course, it was too good to be true. I ended up with a very swollen ankle around the sight of the original rupture, as well as a really sore foot – an aggravation of the severe bone bruising I sustained when I injured myself. Nonetheless, it was good while it lasted.

As a result of all that ankle drama, last week I stuck to cross training at the gym – a combination of the elliptical and spinning. It wasn’t as fun as the treadmill, but frankly I’m just glad I got it done. Feet still very sore and muscles still very tight,  so I think it’s time for a yoga class.

 

Running

As you may be able to tell, me and running had a bit of a thing a few weeks ago. It was predominantly a stress thing, but it felt so good to just hit the treadmill for half an hour every day, no matter what. Needless to say, I’m paying the price for it now with a very swollen ankle and very sore feet. But you live and learn.

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Everything else

My mood has been really quite low recently, on account of the family divorce. It’s just complicated, and there are so many dynamics and emotions and arguments. I’m trying to focus on the positive, but I think I also need to allow myself the time to feel sad, as opposed to being strong for everyone else. So I’m taking a day off work for myself.

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How is everyone? How is your running going?

 

Lots of love,

Pippa