The Comeback Chronicles: Episode 3

Well kittens. Another week, another update! After writing a whole post for last week’s update, it went entirely missing… and so we have a lot to catch up on from the past two weeks!

What’s been going on

Last week I was at Ecocamp Glenshee for some well-deserved relaxation in the form of running, cycling and fresh air. Then this week, I started my new job – it’s been intense! I’m writing this feeling pretty knackered after a combination of a new job, switching my workouts to the morning, and my first race back after the broken ankle. Exciting stuff, huh?

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Workouts & Fitness

I was very active in Scotland – when the scenery is that beautiful, you just have to get outside. But then this week, I took the fresh start of a new job as an opportunity to start a new habit – something I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast – and so I switched my workouts to first thing in the morning before work. It’s been tough and it’s still very much a work in progress, but I think I was pretty successful for the first week!

Last Week

  • Monday: 40k cycle, 2k swim
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: Short 16k cycle (absolutely knackered)
  • Thursday: 40k cycle
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 30 minute run, 10 min row, abs & circuits
  • Sunday: Rest day but a teeny circuit on the rooftop

This Week

  • Monday: Rest day – first day at the new job
  • Tuesday: Kettlebell circuits, 30 mins cardio + abs
  • Wednesday: Sandbag circuits, 30 mins cardio + abs
  • Thursday: Sandbag circuits, 30 mins cardio + abs
  • Friday: 30 mins cardio + abs
  • Saturday: The Comeback 10k!
  • Sunday: Rest. I need it.

 

Running

After one run at the start of last week, the ankle was feeling a bit sore, and so I decided to rest it up in preparation for The Comeback 10K, which was yesterday. I might actually write a full race report on that but TLDR; it hurt, and was actually a lot tougher than I expected on my body! A humbling experience for someone who used to treat a 10k as a short training run. How the mighty have fallen (literally)!  I’ll be taking it easy for now…

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Food & Nutrition

I have to say my food choices have been on point the past two weeks; highlights include a gorgeous hummus, beetroot falafel and roasted vegetable wrap from Nero of all places; and lunch with a new colleague at 26 Grains in Covent Garden. Avocado on rye with an oat milk cappuccino on the side. The stuff of dreams!

 

Everything else

I’ve been settling nicely into the new job, although the Family Drama keeps rearing its ugly head and making things difficult emotionally. Nonetheless I’m trying to take it easy on myself, with lots of treats and weekend naps. I was in quite a low place after The Comeback 10k, as I was feeling nauseous as well as achey and emotional – I think a lot of it turned out to be dehydration, but it’s forced me to acknowledge that my body needs to rest.

 

How’s your week been? 

Lots of love,

Pippa

 

 

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2016: A Final Recap

It’s 2017. Yay!

All I can say is, it’s been a rollercoaster. It was a challenging year all round, what with a slew of current affairs nightmares and celebrity deaths. Nonetheless, it wasn’t all bad- here’s one final recap!

crazyrunninggirl-oatmeal-2016-quote-768x768January:

January began with a slight lack of motivation that was swiftly and thankfully followed by  being given the all-clear to marathon train! And then came the training itself! I started the New Year with a determination to get dating and started seeing someone relatively early on in the year.

February:

Marathon training really took its toll on life and I learned a lot of lessons about maintaining balance in all aspects of my life including work, dating and a social life. The highlight of the month was a trip to my parents’ house, where I raced and took first female at The Golden Gallop

March:

I passed my 3 month appraisal at work, though it was a few days after breaking up with the guy I’d been seeing, and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped…oops. You live and learn. In other news, I completed my first ever 20 – miler which marked a huge shift in the way I perceived myself as an athlete. I’d just completed this amazing thing I hadn’t even thought myself capable of a few months ago!

April:

I ran my first marathon in Manchester! Even though it was tough, and I got my ass well and truly handed to me, I’m so glad I did it! The rest of the month consisted of recovery, a ton of gorgeous yoga classes, and spectating friends at the London Marathon.

May:

My birthday! I set out goals for the year of 25, which included putting myself out there more, trying new things and making a real effort to expand my social circle. I also cut all my hair off! Pixie cut for the win.

June:

The high point was Dorking 10 miler with the running club, followed by the horrific low point that was Brexit. Ugh. Come on England, what were you thinking?

 

July:

Training for Budapest Marathon began with a horrifically hungover 10 mile long run! I had been at a local festival the night before (hosted by my boss) and there had been tequila. Youch. In other news for July, I discovered yoga at Another Space, which has become my ultimate yoga class when in London.

August:

Battersea Park 5k signalled my first ever 5k race one balmy Summer’s eve in London. I had the first nigglings of a calf issue then, which put me on rest from running right up until my trip to Iceland. Reykjavik Half was a gorgeous race day and a lovely holiday- my calf held up, the weather was beautiful, and I ran next to Christy Turlington, beating her by a matter of seconds!

August was a great month and my inspiration was at an all-time high. One of my favourite female ultra-runners Nikki Kimball left me a comment on my WCW postand I wasted a good afternoon intended for blogging watching the Rio 2016 Women’s Marathon in my favourite coffee shop. But hey, if you enjoyed wasting it, it wasn’t really time wasted!

 

September:

One of my closest friends left me! The fantastic Geni is off doing aid work in Kosovo for two years, supporting a community that desperately needs it- and in tough conditions too! She was my brunch buddy, personal therapist, cheerleader and coffee enthusiast. My plan is to go and visit her soon.

Training wise, I got into a total slump, but managed to dig myself out of it thanks to sage advice from Coach Andy, as well as just taking the pressure off! I started climbing again – a former love of mine, and rediscovered another way to move my body and feel empowered.

Oh, and a low point? My favourite podcast Running on Om stopped and I mourned. Still in mourning to this day!

October:

I was lucky enough to snag tickets to The OM Yoga show and zenned out for a full day, doing a multitude of free classes, trying amazing vegan eats, and most importantly getting free samples. I was saddened when I realised an old calf injury (see August) resurfaced, and it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to run the full marathon distance in Budapest. However, I ran the 30k, and had a great holiday with a huge contingent from City Athletics. I saw a city I’d never have found an excuse to travel to; ate great food, and drank many a glass of wine.

November:

I was made redundant right at the start of November, which started things out on a bit of a low. Nonetheless, I kept busy (my way of coping) with my new Gymbox membership, plenty of physical activity, and even a running and brunch pop-up! In other news, I was told that my landlord intends to sell my flat, so I’ll be having to move out in the coming months. Not ideal timing, but not a horrific situation either.

December:

December was spent wrapping up at work, and hitting the pavements on a job hunt. I met with some amazing companies and secured two job offers (which are still in consideration). I spent time with the people closest to me at many a Christmas party, and balanced it out with some great workouts. Then, a week before Christmas, I broke my ankle. Or maybe tore a ligament. We still don’t know. Cue going home to my parents’ house a little earlier than expected, for good food, a few glasses of wine, and snuggles with my puppy.

 

All in all, it’s been a year of ups and downs. Nonetheless I feel like I’m in a relatively positive place, in terms of my ability to handle the trials and tribulations that come my way. I have a great group of friends, including many a City Runner, and I’ve had some great experiences this year. If so much can happen in one year, I’m excited to think where I’ll be in 12 months time!

 

What was your highlight of 2016? Any favourite race?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

The Crutch Chronicles: Christmas

Christmas was somewhat difficult this year. I love Christmas spent with my family, but at the same time it can be quite intense. Running is usually my way to cope- physically removing myself from potentially overwhelming situations and substituting them for fresh air and endorphins. Sadly this year that was not the case. Add to that the fact that I’m somewhat incapacitated, and can’t actually do a lot for myself (even make a cup of coffee!) and you can see why this year was a Christmas I’d rather forget.

You know how it’s easy and often tempting to regress into old family dynamics when returning to your family home? Well it’s quite tricky not to do that when you’re physically incapacitated and have to rely on those around you. I felt childlike and like a sad, Bridget Jones type at the same time. It’s been difficult!

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Here’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

The Good

  • I got to eat great food and have my family bring me cups of coffee
  • Crutches are great for upper body strength- I’m gonna have Michelle Obama arms by the time I’m done
  • I got to get outside most days, even just for a hobble down the road with Shadow
  • The Matriarchs (Mum and both my Grandmothers) taught me how to knit. I have a scarf in the making! It’s fugly, and I don’t care.
  • finally got to binge watch Parks and Rec, which had been on my must-watch list for ages!
  • I worked on (and reevaluated) my goals for 2017
  • My pup Shadow was by my side to give me hugs and slobbery kisses…yum.
  • I got to bust out my sparkly Christmas leggings because I can’t fit anything else over my swollen ankle!

 

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The Bad

  • I couldn’t run, walk or really do anything for myself all Christmas
  • Lack of running = grouchiness
  • Everyone’s Christmas gifts were kind of crap because I was unable to go do my last-minute shopping!
  • I can already feel my whole body getting a bit softer. As much as I’m not overindulging, I’m also being conscious not to restrict, so that my body can use all that energy for healing!
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Trying to focus on nutrition right now!

The Ugly

  • My foot. I mean, really. It’s disgusting. The swelling has now mostly gone down, but it’s a multitude of colours thanks to the bruising. It’s been too painful to shave, and wearing a cast all day makes your foot smell kinda nasty. TMI?
  • My mood has not been the greatest. I’ve been trying my hardest not to take it out on the people around me, but I worry that I’ve failed. I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of jobhunting without being able to walk, especially when the alternative is festering all day in my can’t-work-can’t-walk stupor. I’m trying to give myself a kick up the backside, but it’s a case of baby steps right now

 

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An Update

I’m off for an MRI on the ankle in a few hours. Following that, I have an appointment in the New Year to evaluate if I’ll need surgery, or just immobilization and a ton of physiotherapy. I’m trying to remain positive and have faith that this will all work out in the end.

 

How was your Christmas?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

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Out of Action

This is not a post I had planned. As I write this, I’m sat in my local coffee shop, foot in a cast, crutches to one side, and waiting for my painkillers to kick in. This is not how I would choose to spend my Sunday. Sundays, for me, are spent with my City Athletics crew, getting a long run in before mulling around  our favourite street food market, drinking coffee, eating good food and avoiding the inevitable lull of a Sunday afternoon.

But sadly, the universe had other ideas.

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On Saturday, I went for a lazy morning’s rock climbing session with my friend Josh. We go quite regularly, and it’s become one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend. That, combined with it being the last time we’d see each other before Christmas, meant I was really looking forward to a climb.

We did a few tricky routes, and then a relatively easy one to give the arms a rest. On the way up, I almost slipped on a volume, but made it to the top no problem- and then came the down climb. Down climbing is the part I hate, because by the time you’re going back down again, your arms are sore, and you have to look down at your feet. I was feeling a bit panicked from the earlier slip, and I couldn’t really find an easy way down. And so I made the decision to jump. I guess you can see where this is going.

I’ve jumped before from climbs. Not usually from this high up, but I’ve done it nonetheless. It was a calculated risk, not some split second decision. But it was a risk nonetheless.  I jumped, rolled my ankle, heard a click, and felt pain.  That’s all I can say. Pain. You know when you stub your toe really badly and you just have to hop around in agony for a while and wait for it to subside? Well, this is what that was like, except the pain didn’t subside. At all.

Josh was amazing, and grabbed me an ice pack. One of the reception staff came over to fill in an accident form, and to be honest I felt like this was all a bit overdramatic. It was only when I lifted the ice pack, and saw the size of the swelling on my ankle – about the size of a cricket ball- that I knew something was badly wrong. And then I just started to cry.

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Fast forward to A&E.  I was seen by a lovely nurse who rushed me through on the assumption that it was definitely broken, if not dislocated as well. She was a star, and kept nagging people to make sure we were seen quickly. I had an X-ray, and waited for the results. But here’s the funny thing- the X-ray showed no obvious fracture. This confused everyone, myself included. The swelling was monstrous, and I couldn’t move my foot at all. The nurse even had to double check with me and the technician that they’d X-rayed the right foot. Weird, right?

 

There was no definitive diagnosis, which is frustrating. My foot was too swollen and painful to be examined, and so I’ve been put in an air cast until a follow up appointment next week. The working theory is that it’s either a fracture that couldn’t be detected in the initial X-rays, or a ruptured ligament. The upshot, however, is essentially the same: a long period of rest. I have no idea how long yet, but it looks like we’re talking months.

 

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Artsy shot of us leaving the hospital. Spot Big Ben?

Needless to say this is hugely frustrating. I feel like I was making good progress in my running: my paces were coming down and I was working hard to correct muscle imbalances and incorporate strength training into my routine. I was ready to book races for January to keep me focused, plus a goal half marathon in the Spring.

Sadly though, the universe had other plans.

Nonetheless I’m practicing gratitude.

  • I’m grateful for the staff at the climbing wall for dealing with me so attentively.
  • I’m grateful for the staff at St. Thomas’ A&E for looking after me so well.
  • I’m grateful for the NHS for having me in and out of hospital in a couple of hours, completely free of charge.
  • And mostly, I’m grateful to my friends Josh and Ben for being there with me, waiting around whilst I oscillated between fits of laughter and uncontrollable sobbing.

 

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It’s a shit situation, but there’s not a lot to be done. After my appointment, I’ll have more information, and I’ll be able to make a plan. I’ll know exactly what I can do, and how to organize my life accordingly. I’ll swot up on what to eat, how to train, and literally anything else I can do to come back from this injury stronger than ever.

But for now? For now I’ll be taking a breather. I’ll be taking it easy on myself, relying on my friends and family to get me through this, and focusing on enjoying Christmas as much I can.

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At least I’ve got my Christmas leggings!

 

That’s all for now folks! Any advice on this kind of injury would be much appreciated.

Lots of love,

Pippa x

Monday Motivation: Leo Manzano

This week I thought I’d share some motivation that really hit home for me when I saw it earlier this week. It’s about Leo Manzano, who is a Mexican-American middle distance runner. What struck me about this video was Leo’s focus on learning from injury- as someone who is currently a little bit in denial but also a little bit injured, it gave me solace and inspiration to see that you can come back from chronic or recurrent injury, and be an even stronger athlete than before.

 

 

How do you deal with injury?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa