Return to world class cycling after appendix surgery

British cycling star Lizzie Deignan is taking part in a championship today in Norway today – four weeks after her training was disrupted by emergency surgery to remove her appendix.

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The 28-year-old had to pull out of an event in Holland to undergo the operation on 30 August.

Lizzie, who won Britain’s first medal – a silver – at London’s 2012 Olympics under her maiden name Armitstead, has shown Olympian-style determination in securing her place in the starting line-up – admitting she needed to take to her bed following training sessions for the Norway event.

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Lizzie posted this picture on social media after her operation

In an interview with BBC Sport the reigning Commonwealth road race champion admitted it came as a shock – but she couldn’t stop thinking ahead.

She said, “It’s quite bizarre to be in such form, in such fine form – I was really going quite well – to wake up the next day in a hospital bed and think ‘right, that’s it, it’s over’.

“And I just had this small bit of hope that I could make it here and it wasn’t something that I was ready to give up on.

“Every day I was analysing how I was feeling, which isn’t probably the best thing for your recovery – I should’ve just let it go for a little bit, but I didn’t and I fought on and I’m here.”

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Lizzie at the 2012 London Olympics where she won Britain’s first medal (Photo: Cycling Weekly)

After around 13 days of bed rest, she realised she’d lost around two kilogrammes of muscle – something she admits was frustrating given the fact her training regime involved “sacrificing other races” in order to build up her strength.

Subsequent training resulted in Lizzie “being in my bed every hour after each bike ride just thinking ‘oh, that was painful!'”

But her motivation to line up as part of the seven-strong women’s team remained strong.

Lizzie told the BBC it was partly the enthusiasm of the Norwegian fans that made today’s event attractive, plus the fact did a recon of the circuit back in May and reckoned it would be “perfect” for her.

She added “My career is coming slowly to an end – there’s a few more years in me yet – but I know that if I look back in a few years I would definitely regret not giving it a go.”

I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty good going to make the starting line-up of a world class event within weeks of being confined to a hospital bed.

THE UPDATE..

Predictably, Lizzie wasn’t victorious, finishing 41st in the event, after “fading” in the final lap.

In a Guardian article, she reflected, “My team-mates kept me going. If I wasn’t in a team as strong as that I would have been tempted to pull out. But I thought: ‘I can’t let these girls down, I have to be there as long as I can’.”

The surprise winner was Dutch cyclist Chantal Blaak, whose “day job” involves working as a domestique for for Deignan in the Boels-Dolmans squad.

Now obviously as an outsider to cycling I thought “domestique” meant something like “domestic” so I had visions of Ms Blaak on her hands and knees scrubbing floors but no, the term apparently means being something like a pace-maker for other, higher-profile cyclists.

How unusual then to find yourself actually winning when you’re there to help other people do it!

One could argue it was little wonder Chantal Blaak burst into tears at the finish.

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Winner Chantal Blaak weeps (Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Image

 

The Dutch woman’s victory came despite a heavy crash earlier in the event which drew blood on her right shoulder.

Afterwards she told reporters she thought the race was over for her at that point.

Lizzie Deignan paid appropriate tribute: “I am so pleased for Chantal…

“She had such a hard crash we heard that she was out. And yet there she was! I am really chuffed for her. She’s a great girl and she deserves her stripes.”

Both women evidently will not let illness or injury stand in the way of their sport.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s That Time of (New) Year Again

A long, long time ago I used to dread Thursday nights at the gym.

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Because that was Boring Couples night.

The protagonists would dress up in gym gear (so far so good) – and sometimes they’d even use the equipment! But most of the time they’d just sit on it chatting.

The whole impression was that of a Cocktail Hour in Lycra.

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Had any one of these wretched single units that comprised the whole entity of the Thursday night invasion at any one point thought for itself and formulated the dreaded New Year Resolution?

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I’ll never know. But I’m pretty sure that now, yes right now* – years later at the very start of 2017 – gyms, keep-fit classes and the like across the UK will be simply bulging with the predictable influx of people who simply wouldn’t be interested at any other time.

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I am fully expecting to be struck down in the most Karma-like way imaginable for what I’m about to say next.

But in January my aim is always to avoid these New Year Resolution types if at all possible – if only to protect my sanity.

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Anyone who reads this blog knows fitness is one of my coping strategies,  a way of controlling the bits of my body I’m no so keen on.

And those wobbly bits  need tackling 365 days a year – they don’t just suddenly appear on New Year’s Day like a late delivery from Santa!pejo3hh7nq2dsjlkgmhpImagine then, what it’s like to suddenly have to compete for time/space in what’s often a very personal fight.

So let’s say you do normally do an evening class and you rock up as usual….

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Welllll, in January  suddenly you can’t because it’s full – OR you’ve wised-up to the fact that too many sets of flailing arms in a limited space where you’re all holding hand-weights is just a tad dangerous.

(Trust me I have experience of both – and I hope the latter stays back in the nineties!)

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As already said, I expect to be sent blazing to Hell for my arguably uncharitable opinions regarding what almost feels like a fight for territory but if YOU exercise regularly here are some tips to handle the New Year Resolution brigade:

10 New Year’s Resolution-ers To Avoid At The Gym including “Smart phone dummies”, “wannabe fitness models”, my pet-hate “the couples” and the inevitable “temps” (though hopefully all these characters will be temporary!)zoolander-the_look_you_have

And then there’s Men’s Health’s Crowded Gym Survival Guide – maybe a bit more brutal than I’d be but then hey, I’m not a body-builder…

I have no problems with anyone wanting to get fit (and I’m pretty sure the vast majority are not stereotypical pains-in-the-backside)  but, when it’s a significant amount of people at the same time, then – well, I’m just going to have to shut up, aren’t I?!

My tactics?this-guy-at-the-gym-just-did-four-sets-of-selfies

Remember that, for most, the keep fit good intentions are as seasonal – and as short-lived, as the Festive Period itself

Plan around it – go to the earlier, less popular classes. Do more solo running

Be philosophical – it’s not that bad

Remember the reason I started this blog in the first place – I broke my foot. It’s mended!

For any people trying to avoid the gym hoards in the Bronx, NY, there’s GoJimgo on Twitter – which states: “Know before you go. We tell you how many machines are available at your gym. In real time.”

I’d love to know if this can work in practice – or in the UK!

*”Now”? Yes now! There are gyms that open 24/7!

Monday Motivation!

alarm-clock“A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland.
“But you didn’t ask their opinion – the voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.
“A voice that says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place.
“So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back.”

Hats Off To Larry

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Larry’s mission was to shrink obesity worldwide – starting with himself

A man who inspired many people on FaceBook with his weight loss journey died earlier this morning.

 

Larry Evans, from St Louis, US, once weighed 800lbs (just over 57 stone) but his work-out videos on social media offered hope to many who, arguably, couldn’t be reached any other way.

His passing was confirmed by family on FaceBook. Subsequent press reports said Larry had died aged 40, and friends relatives confirmed he had been battling pneumonia.

Larry founded Let’s Shrink Obesity/Team Larry and charted his progress, and his exercise regime, via short videos. Some were watched as many as 27,837,900 times!

In doing this, his mission was to inspire everyone to GET UP, GET OUT & DO SOMETHING. He wanted to shrink obesity around the world – starting with himself.

Avoiding fad diets and weight-loss surgery, he managed to lose 11 stone over a two-year period through sensible diet and exercise alone.

All Larry asked was that nobody judge him.

In an earlier post, where I described how he inspired meI mentioned how I hoped to interview him for this blog at some point. Sadly this will never happen.

RIP Larry.

And let’s remember him how, I imagine, he’d like to be remembered – working out!

 

 

 

Why I’m thankful for my running injury.

“Not being able to run was an absolutely horrendous experience. I would drive past people running and burst into tears. I had dreams that I was able to run, and would wake up crying.”
Ashley was forced to take a YEAR off running due to injury – yet she’s still managed to smash her half marathon time. Read her post – there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

Rather Be Runnin'

 Hello and Happy day to you!

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As many of you know, I ran the OC Half Marathon on Sunday.

Going into the race, I had set a pretty lofty goal for myself.

If you read my blog post last Thursday, you already know what I was scared sh*tless that I would not be able to achieve that goal.

Running a sub 2 half marathon was something that I had been dreaming about for the last few years.

I had done it once in my life.

Exactly once.

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Last

I am indebted to IronFat for this inspiring video – but it does handle my phobia of finishing last!

Basically it’s a call-to-arms to everyone who – like me – runs at the back of the pack.

Think about it – the winners have won, the elite runners will have got their breath back –  but the focus is on the shufflers for whom the event is far from over.

In the voiceover, the American actress Rooney Mara points out that  most searches for the word “marathon” will lead you to the fact that the first person to run the distance didn’t survive the experience!

Now I’ll be Googling this like crazy from now on because that’s the kind of gal I am, but meanwhile here’s the rest of the script:

“He died. And he was a runner.

“You are not a runner. You are especially not a marathon runner, but at the end of this – you will be.”

At this point the camera’s on the young woman right at the back. She’s out of puff, but she’s still going – and she’ll get there.

BTW the soundtrack is Aretha Franklin’s “Every Little Bit Hurts” – and at that stage of a marathon, it’s a pretty accurate assessment!

The guy who died?  Pheidippides – who is said to have run from the town of Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a military victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

Despite (I imagine) his military levels of fitness, had he specifically trained to run the distance?

Let’s face it, I don’t really think he’d really had a choice in the matter!

I wonder what he’d make of people who do?

As long as marathons exist people will run them – and the slowest ask only that there’s still a finish line at the end.

Good Luck to everyone in tomorrow’s London Marathon.