One of my aims for the year is to average a book a week, making that 52 in total. I want to capture at least some of them here, as I believe reading and learning is a key facet to mindfulness and living in a fulfilled way. But hey, we’ve all got busy lives. So in that vein, here’s your five-minute book review!
If I had to describe Running Man in five words, it would be:
Interesting adventures, somewhat weak narrative.
If you’re a runner, you’ll probably have exhausted all the obvious choices when it comes to running literature- Born to Run, Eat & Run, Running with the Kenyans…etc. etc. I turned to Running Man for a dose of running-based inspiration, and whilst it delivered that in spades: charting the author’s journey from drug and alcohol addiction, to ultra marathon adventure racing, to prison and then to rehabilitation; the narrative structure was sometimes lacking. It was very much a chronological telling of the events in the author’s life, but lacked cohesiveness and an overarching message. Don’t get me wrong, there was still a wealth of insights to be learned from such an adventurous and often troubled spirit; it’s just that perhaps the autobiography wasn’t the best vessel to convey them.
Would I recommend it to a friend? If they were a runner, maybe.
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!
Here’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:
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.
I 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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That’s all for now folks! Any advice on this kind of injury would be much appreciated.
These days it feels like you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to subscription boxes. Five years ago it started out with Graze, delivering snacks direct to your door, and it truly seems that the subscription box has ushered in a whole new era in how we spend! When I heard about Energy Snacks on social media, I was fangirling pretty hard (that’s what Twitter’s for, right?) and they were kind enough to send me a trial monthly favourites box. Opinions, as always, remain my own. Head to the bottom for the discount code!
What was in the October box:
Mule Bar (Apple Strudel)
Sweet Peaks (Citrus)
Virtue Energy Water (Lemon & Lime)
Tribe Bar (Cacao & Almond)
GU Energy Stroopwafel (Caramel Coffee)
GU Energy Gel (Chocolate Outrage)
PowerBar PowerGel Shots (Cola)
PowerBar Recovery 2.0 (Raspberry Cooler)
32Gi Sports Gel (Raspberry)
32Gi Sports Chew (Orange)
OTE Hydro Tabs (Blackcurrant)
The boxes retail at £19.99, and I think you actually get a fair amount of products for that, especially given that they’re specific sports nutrition goodies.
What I liked:
I loved that I was able to try out products I wouldn’t have usually bought, such as the Virtue Water. Additionally, it was great to try out Tribe Bars without having to commit to buying a whole box of them. I’m notoriously fickle when it comes to my choice of snacks, so I like to try before I buy!
What I wasn’t so keen on:
I’d like to have seen a more complete mix of recovery and everyday snacks as well as high-sugar energy foods. Yes, yes, I know, the clue is in the name, but balance is key! However, fear not! I’ve had a sneaky peek at next month’s selection and there’s a really good balance of energy, hydration and recovery.
Will I get it again?
Yes! Not necessarily as a regular subscription, but definitely when I’m doing a heavy load of training. I think you get a lot for your money, especially with items like the hydration tablets and Gus. They’re the kind of items I always run out of, and have to buy the day before a race when there are frankly other things I’d rather be spending my time doing (eating pasta and napping)! I love the idea, and it’s just so damn convenient!
What was that about a discount?
Yes, let’s get to that! The folks at Energy Snacks have offered followers a 20% discount off a monthly favourites box with code PIPINMOTION20 – just head over to their site!
Have you tried Energy Snacks or a subscription box? What’s your favourite?
I was lucky enough to get tickets to the OM Yoga show this weekend, courtesy of Tapped Birch Water. I already stalk them on social media as well as fangirling over their water, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out I had tickets!
So let’s get to it: OM Yoga Show is an expo and festival covering all things yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing. Based in Ally Pally, it’s a bit of a trek to get to for a South-Londoner like myself, but well worth the effort. There are products to try, open (free) yoga classes all day, and additional workshops you could sign up to in advance. And so I ate my body weight in free samples and did as much yoga as I could manage, but sadly did not get my aura photographed or my chakra cleansed! Here are some of the highlights:
This was my first open class, which I somehow stumbled into, and even managed to get a mat right at the front! It was a half-hour class taught by Leon London, and was a great introduction to Rocket Yoga, with a relaxed vibe and some challenging postures.
This has to be hands down one of the most bonkers classes I’ve done to date. Kathy was clearly inspired by her experience as a dancer for this vinyasa flow, with both club tunes and deep chill vibes playing over the sound system whilst we moved through an incredibly fast-paced yoga flow. It perhaps wouldn’t have been best for a beginner, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, myself included!
I signed up to this class on the advice of my friend, colleague and all-round fantastic yogi, so I had high expectations! Needless to say Marcus delivered, with a combination of challenging yoga poses and ujyayi breath, all tied together with the rebellious spirit and great sense of humour that Rocket is all about. Marcus’s past life as a DJ came into its own, as the music was paired to the ideal tempo of breathing- all you had to think about was breathing to the music.
I’m not going to lie, I was not prepared for my second Rocket class of the day, especially considering how many miles my legs still have in them from marathon training. I struggled with some of the more intense standing postures, as well as anything that required upper body strength. It’s a goal of mine to get stronger though, and that only happens when you challenge yourself.
We rounded off the class with a pranayama practice followed by meditation and savasanah. I really enjoyed the workshop, but I was completely knackered afterwards, and headed straight to the food tent for some gorgeous vegan eats.
After three yoga classes I was pretty much done, but somehow managed to have another wander around, buying more products I probably didn’t need. Whilst I absolutely loved the show, all the classes, and the positive vibes, it was still pretty hectic and by the end of the day I was craving some downtime to just chill, eat and drink some of the many tea samples I picked up! But it certainly reinvigorated my passion for yoga and the need to incorporate a regular practice into my life. How I’ll do that? Well the verdict is still out, but I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have a regular yoga practice? How do you incorporate it into your life?