Footless!

Exercising with an injured foot is a challenge – but here are some vids which prove it needn’t get in the way of your workout if you’re determined enough.

Heather Frey of Smashfit won’t let injury stop her regime despite being footless! Note how she incorporates an element of cardio by doing her reps quite fast.

The workout does focus on the arms and shoulders but yes you do get the metabolism heart-lung emphasis too – reminds me of when I hurt my knee quite a few years back, I used an upright rowing machine at the gym to keep that side of my fitness regime going.

And while we’re on the subject of cardio, here’s a chair-based workout from Trish Blackwell – she’s even got a heart-rate monitor on under her sports bra to prove it works (Actual workout begins about 2.15 into the vid after the preamble).

My Google search for Trish Blackwell revealed she’s a confidence trainer – as well as a fitness coach – interesting, really, when you think about it – not being able to exercise the way I want to has affected me in more ways than just physically.

Anyway! Here’s another vid of how to exercise with a broken foot – please accept my apologies for the music – there is no commentary but you’ll see a woman called Katie Hartman (can’t find any web links to her outside of YouTube) doing a lot of the exercises I’m looking forward to getting back to in Guerrilla Training (I think the US equivalent is crossfit).

Yet again – it’s great to see people working out, in full exercise gear despite the relevant bandaging!

Admittedly there's one exercise I haven't tried
Admittedly there’s one exercise I haven’t tried

I have just over a week to go until I can legitimately run again, do all yoga again, go to a normal Guerrillas class again.

But the week in question is going to be packed-full of crazy work commitments so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on.

However, I can’t wait to be back in the saddle and there’s still going to be plenty to go at in this blog, so watch this space!

Night Walk to Fight Cancer

Every angel must fly - your outfit is unlimited as your imagination
Every angel must fly – your outfit is unlimited as your imagination

This Saturday night, as you turn in, give a thought to the 15,000 walkers who’ll be lining up for the 18th London Moonwalk.

They’ll be setting off from Clapham Common round about midnight in decorated bras to fight breast cancer.

With the last ones expected back between 11 o’clock and midday on Sunday, it’s safe to say some will be walking non-stop for around 12 hours!

They’ll be going through highs – and lows – as they tread mile after mile over the Full Moon marathon distance – 26.2 miles (you can do the Half Moon if you prefer), and not having the usual sleep can do crazy things to their minds.

I found out abou t the Moonwalk when I interviewed Beth Graham and Reggie Pugh (Photo: BBC)
I discovered the Moonwalk when I interviewed Beth Graham and Reggie Pugh (Photo: BBC)

Trust me – I’ve been there! I did the event twice – in 2004 and 2006.

Despite clocking up the necessary miles in training, nothing prepared me for the mental and emotional impact it would have on me, but this in itself contributed to the sense of achievement that will stay with me for life.

I first found out about it when I was working as a broadcast journalist for the BBC’s regional internet sites in the East Midlands.

Celebrities do it too - here's TV presenter Lorraine Kelly
Celebrities do it too – here’s TV presenter Lorraine Kelly

Moonwalk founder Nina Barough is Leicester-born and I interviewed a couple of her Nottingham-based friends as they prepared to join her power-walking the Paris Marathon.

On my first attempt I travelled to and from London with another woman from the East Midlands who was significantly faster than me, so she went on ahead.

Walkers get tired - but keep going!
Walkers get tired – but keep going! (Photo: BBC)

You do need to “hook up” with other people, I find, if only for moral support – they will help you when you’re feeling low and vise versa.

With me that sense of what-on-earth-was-I-thinking-of-when-I-signed-up-for-this didn’t really kick in until well after we’d completed the half distance.

It hit me when we got to Battersea Park… even the very words – Battersea. Park. impact on me, even now!

Events like this help bread down taboos
Events like this help break down taboos (Photo: Daily Mail)

The first time, I undertook the event as a journalistic venture and had a rucksack containing recording equipment plus a utility belt Batman would envy.

Everyone who takes part gets a bra which they can then customise any way they like.

I encountered one woman taking a sitting break under a bridge in the early stages – hers depicted photos of George Bush and Tony Blair with the caption “What A Pair of T*ts”.

“So you’re anti the Iraq war?” I asked her.

“‘Fraid so,” she replied.

The event is the brain-child of Leicester-born Nina Barough
The event is the brain-child of Leicester-born Nina Barough

Not wanting to enter into the finer points of current events, I kept on walking. And kept on, and on.

By the time you get to the Embankment the mile markers seem further and further apart and you daren’t risk sitting down for fear you won’t get up again.

You play mind-games with yourself, try out mental arithmetic, play out songs in your head (my favourite was “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave from 1977 – something I couldn’t have predicted!)

What a way to see London!
What a way to see London!

I did hook up with two women who were friends and they let me walk with them. They did, however, decline my request for an interview afterwards!

One looked close to tears on a number of occasions – blisters, leg ache, it wasn’t clear – I just remember her saying decisively “Not since giving birth can I ever remember being in so much pain.”

My second go – and I’m surprised that there was a second time, believe you me – involved me joining Paula Dear, another BBC journalist who’d already done the event, and three of her friends.

Moonwalk - park
Park life – you’re all in it together

This time wasn’t nearly as traumatic, not least because I was in a group from start to finish.

Instead of nuts and raisons (which had remained untouched in my bum-bag), I snacked on chocolate and found it a lot more satisfying!

I even half-walked-half-jogged the final stages (it started and finished in Hyde Park then).

Regarding bras, and the issue of modesty – if, like me, you don’t like showing off your cleavage, then there is no pressure to do so.

My decorated bra (dyed purple with black-fringing) remained covered under a sports top during my second Moonwalk and I felt a lot more comfortable.

Paula and her friends all had camoflage-print bras, but again, these were “camoflaged” – under t-shirts.

Wonder if these bra cookies featured in the fundraising?
Wonder if these bra cookies featured in the fundraising?

It really does come down to how you feel. The pink bra logo features on the t-shirt anyway so the message isn’t lost.

One thing I really love is that events like this are demystifying cancer, breaking down taboos, and getting people talking – and that can only mean we’re one step nearer a cure.

On the all-important fundraising issue, Walk The Walk grants funds to other charities and organisations including Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

And last week – WalkTheWalk officially hit the £100m fundraising mark.

So think about these intrepid walkers as you turn in for the night – and Good Luck to everyone taking part!

For WalkTheWalkAmerica – just click here.

Does this mean I have to DIET?

I’ve been putting off this post for a lonnnng time – but it’s time to grasp the nettle and do it!

I must apply myself - and it's not a happy situation (posed by model)
I must apply myself – and it’s not a happy situation (posed by model)

From that first shoot of pain after I hit the floor, from the moment I saw the clear break on the X-ray, I knew I faced losing a vital coping strategy – exercise.

Not least in my war against weight.

I like that satisfying feeling of sore muscles as I relax in the evening after a work-out.

I have bad memories of going-on-a-diet
I have bad memories of going-on-a-diet

I like knowing how rock-hard my muscles are – whether that’s looking at my sharply-defined calves in a mirror or even running my hands down my thighs.

I like that clarity of mind – and even the “high” that running gives me.

I like that sense of achievement and satisfaction gained from exercise.

Couch potato status is looming large (posed by model)
Couch potato status beckons (posed by model)

And – arguably, most of all – I love the fact that it means I don’t have to religiously watch what I eat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not what would be described as overweight – my BMI is about 24 and I don’t even own a set of bathroom scales.

You’ve gathered I’m a driven person – I’m certainly not a coach potato.

Nice, comfy slippers for my new lifestyle?
Nice, comfy slippers for my new lifestyle?

Yet Failure is inviting me – it’s like a big, soft, cushy armchair, calling my big, soft, flabby body (so it seems) to settle down.

I’ll freely admit that my eating regime is not meticulously healthy – but then exercise has always been my “get out of jail” card.

Just think – I used to avoid a flabby midriff by doing the “plank” – but now I can’t because that puts weight on my foot too.

The plank used to take care of my abs - now I can't do it
The plank used to take care of my abs – now I can’t do it

Now it seems I must apply myself to disciplined eating – and it’s not a happy situation.

Of course I’m familiar with the regime of “eating sensibly” – and, believe it or not, when I was a member of Weight Watchers that regime was very welcome (and successful!) indeed, not least because it caters for those of us who live in the real world.

Navel gazing; Obsessing over my bikini bridge belongs in the past!
Navel gazing; Obsessing over my bikini bridge belongs in the past!

So, wanting to get an angle on reality, I approached the cook at my local pub –  she’s lost a couple of stone with Slimming World – and she put me in touch with her leader.

Paula, who runs the Slimming World group at Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, told me; “I’ve got some members who can’t exercise – and they’re still losing weight every week.

“One lady broke her leg last year, she put on weight with comfort-eating, but she’s lost two stone so far.

I know! I know!
I know! I know!

“It can be frustrating sometimes if you can’t exercise, but if you get the food on plan you’ll lose weight for sure.”

She did, however, go on to say: “I think that once members have reached Target, the ones who maintain it tend to be active”.

I cannot fault all this – in fact I applaud it.

It is just I have what can best be described as a “hang-up” about dieting.

Urgh!
Doesn’t a picture like this just make you want to scream?!

Without going into gender politics, the psychological aspect bugs me.

Dieting is part of female life, so it seems.

I remember my mother preparing what she happily described as a “skinn-ee lay-dee” salad for herself.

From my teenage years I was acutely aware that the “naughtiness” of eating something that tastes good can give me the type of body I detest.

And now, of course, it’s time to grow up.

Nine weeks since the break and – instead of calories – I’m counting down the weeks ’til I can run again.

No Surrender from Street Dancer Amber

I promised in an earlier post to bring you a real live dancer whom injury had stopped doing the one thing she really loved.

Amber broke her arm whilst doing a handspring
Amber broke her arm doing a hand-spring

Meet nine-year-old Amber Kershaw. She’s the first child to feature on this blog – but her frustration – and determination – is just as real as anyone else’s!

For the last three years or so, Amber’s enjoyed dancing with Stoke-on-Trent based Urban Vibez and has entered many events with her crew Crazy 8’s.

All this changed last June.

Amber told me: “I was doing a hand-spring and I slipped.”

Amber (third from right) with her crew Crazy 8
Amber (third from right) with her crew Crazy 8’s

Her mother Roisin McKinney added: “She came in from the park one day and said, ‘I think I’ve broken my arm’, and I didn’t take her seriously! So I sent her to bed with some ice on it and when we woke up in the morning it was the size of a football.”

They went straight to A&E, where doctors confirmed Amber had not only broken her tibia and fibula, but had dislocated her elbow too.

Amber was told by medics her fracture was one of the worst they’d seen in a child.

She's always dancing
She’s always dancing

But her fellow dancers were very supportive – “I got a lot of attention, they just looked after me a lot.”

Fate being what it is, Amber injured her arm the day after her plaster cast came off in September, prompting more trips to the hospital, more time away from dancing and another plaster cast. She’s undergone surgery too.

Watching her friends dance when she couldn’t join in soon proved frustrating for Amber and she preferred to stay home rather than sit on the side-lines.

Goofing around with mum Roisin after one of her operations
Crazy selfies with mum Roisin after an op

Roisin said: “She’s had to miss a lot of dances, and I think that’s affected her in all aspects of her life because she did say to me once that music and dancing was her whole life.

“But she’s determined and she’s never stopped practicing – even when she shouldn’t have been! And now she’s going to go to the world dance competitions in August.”

That’s right – Amber and her crew are off to Glasgow this summer to compete at the UDO Worlds Street Dance Championships 2015.

In the more immediate future, she may even be off to compete in Blackpool.

Amber's looking forward to competing on a world class level
Amber’s looking forward to competing at a world class level

Amber’s under no illusion that she has a lot of moves to learn – and she still has to be careful doing anything that involves putting weight on her hands, such as the “drop”.

Pain, too, is an issue. It’s certainly affected her confidence.

Grandad Martin McKinney said: “I’ve watched her practicing, and yes, she has shied away from her dance because of the wariness she might hurt something. But bit by bit she’s getting better.”

“Obviously pain sometimes meant that she’s had to miss lessons so she’s missed a hell of a lot and she’s joined in when she can,” Roisin explained, “But I know it’s frustrated her, because she can’t do the things she used to do and she’s been in a lot of pain over the months.”

Judging from Amber’s dedication, I for one reckon this won’t stop her making a complete return to street dancing – and I wish her all the best in Glasgow this summer.


Please note – full parental consent was given for this interview and an adult family member was present at all times.