Blogiversary!

Well – give or take a couple of days, it’s my first Blogiversary!

In plaster

Breaking a bone in my foot which stopped me doing my favourite workouts was just the catalyst I needed – as I never have been an “ideas woman”, yet knew I needed to blog.

The idea was ultimately to give hope, not least to myself, but to anyone else for whom exercise is a way of life that’s suddenly taken away from them.me-xray-foot

I broke my fifth metatarsal in my left foot falling off the arm of the sofa whilst swatting at the smoke alarm – my boyfriend had been cooking sausages.

Gratitude is no bad thing. Today I just threw on my kit and did what I normally do, just go out for a run. This time last year that simply wasn’t an option.

therapeutic shoe - me
Ugh – just LOOK at that shoe!

We are talking a crazy-sized granny shoe and the geriatric “hobbling” which easily made me appear much older than my years.

And I’m comparatively lucky.

During the course of this blog I featured the story of Austin Rathe, who faced the real possibility of leg amputation after a road accident – and developed his resolve to run a marathon whilst recovering in hospital.

Detail from The Hostile Forces, Beethoven frieze, by Klimpt
Flab fear – I don’t want to look like this

I wanted a dancer who’d recovered from injury – and she came along in the unlikely form of Amber Kershaw, then aged nine, who’d recovered from a broken arm to street-dance on a competitive level.

Blogging is a steep learning curve and I’m still learning.

Part of the fun, of course, is seeing how well each blog post does – it really is quite fun looking at the stats.

In that respect, by far my most successful post was Maxing Out, which featured fellow blogger Christian Boyles, from Illinois, US, of Maxed Out Muscles.

guerrillas shakey selfie
Nerves? Yes! A shaky selfie just before my return to Guerrillas

 

Having suffered depression and flare-ups of Crohn’s Disease he told me: “I wanted to take control of my life and not allow myself to become sick again.”

Another high-hitter was Does Yoga Heal? a Q and A with my yoga instructor Espi Smith.

My inevitable fears over putting on weight led to an article on my pet hate – dieting. And I’ll level with you, the inevitable flabbiness caused by lack of exercise did impact on the choice of clothes I could wear for work in the unforgiving summer.

skeleton pray
Yup, I’ve learned to be grateful

Of course there were land-marks along the way in my recovery – getting the six-week all-clear at the fracture clinic, my return to running – and Guerrilla Training!

And whether I was able to run or not, I kept in regular contact with ParkRun – where, much to my surprise, I returned to do a Personal Best.

In the end it was simply a question of patience and letting the bone recover, as it inevitably did.

But this blog did (and still does , as I have no intention of finishing it) help tremendously.

So it’s true – Time really is the great healer.

Along with blogging!

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Guerrillas in the Mist

I should be grateful my bone has healed!
I should be grateful my bone has healed!

A breather after a block of non-stop working means my exercise activities are totally unrestricted – and I’m loving it.

And as my Guerrillas instructor shouts commands to do burpees that send me scrambling to the floor, or boob-joggling star-jumps, I know I should be grateful.

I no longer hobble. I’m there – in the moment.

It’s worth enduring the rain (the “mist” in the title!) to get there.

That once-broken fifth metatarsal reminds me it’s there – I practically see it shining UV fluorescent green through the side of my shoe, through my skin.

Help me Doctor! Is it Guerrillas or gorillas?
Help me Doctor! Is it Guerrillas or gorillas?

My yoga instructor once told me this “reminder” is the bone’s way of protecting me!

All the same, it’s surreal. It now survives high impact exercises – not only Guerrillas – but running too.

I had to replace my mobile phone recently due to wear and tear – that option simply isn’t as readily available when it’s one of your feet.

Good job the body heals as well as it does!

My battle against vile, flabby, passive femininity – my War on Soft – is making satisfactory progress to date.

Leave the wings where they belong
Leave the wings where they belong

However my latest concern is – now the bingo wings are on their way out courtesy of my upper-body work – am I going to bulk-up?

After all I don’t want to end looking like a gorilla!

“(Women) should lift heavier since they cannot get bigger muscles because of low testosterone levels”, says exercise physiologist and author Dr Jason Karp.

Like, phew!

Another WordPress blog CrossFit Journal has offered some reassurance this won’t happen.

Leading cross-fitter Christmas Abbott is hardly 'bulky'
Leading cross-fitter Christmas Abbott is hardly ‘bulky’

With my short, stocky stature I fear I could go that way – but if I’ve being realistic, I’ve got a very long way to go before that happens, if indeed it does.

For a start, at the moment I can’t even pull myself up whether it’s on rings dangling from the ceiling or on a bar above my head – my arms simply aren’t strong enough to carry my full body weight.

That’ll change, of course!

I'll be able to do this - one day!
I’ll be able to do this – one day!

And the majority of people in today’s class were female (don’t ask me why but the male-dominated ones tend to be more in the evenings) – and I’d say most of them don’t want to bulk-up either!

Frankly, as someone who prides themselves on being unfeminine and unladylike I’m shocked at my typically girly fear of becoming muscular, especially when I know how irrational it is, given my existing knowledge.

I reckon I need to start balancing out the cardio and reintroducing long runs.

It’s all a work in progress – but I’m on it!

My war on Soft

“Hi, is that Soft? Look – we need to talk. You and I are finished.”

soft - marshallowI detest my soft, flabbiness. Guerrilla Training is so right for me – because I know that softness will one day be gone.

And yes, I know that setting fitness goals should not be based on body shame.

It’s just that I’m a work in progress.

Meanwhile I can grunt, pump, swear and generally bash my way out of the more passive aspects of femininity – and that’s just fine by me!

I hate burpees but I hate soft even more!
I hate burpees but I hate Soft even more!

Well do I remember recoiling in self-disgust whenever a bloke I got off with remarked “You’re so soft!”

In Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Kate’s humiliation is complete when, having been “broken” by her husband, he then makes her tell her fellow women why they should be subordinate to men.

Her speech includes the following:

Why are our bodies soft, and weak, and smooth

But that our soft conditions and our hearts

Should well agree with our external parts?

Detail from The Hostile Forces, Beethoven frieze, by Klimpt
UPDATE: I still don’t want to look like this

Of course, this Shrew will not be tamed – and thinking about the above all this helps as I’m wondering “Why in God’s name am I doing these repeated burpees if the last time I tried I nearly threw up?”

Now maybe thinking about Shakespeare when I’m working out is slightly weird – so let’s include that practical Bible of my youth – good old Cosmopolitan.

In a magazine so dedicated to empowering woman, I found it somewhat bemusing to chance upon an article written by a man who really didn’t mind the fact his girlfriend had plump thighs.

In fact I’m wondering if – after the article was published – he still had a girlfriend!

Yep, it works for me!
Yup, it works for me

He luxuriated in the opulence of this poor individual’s cellulite – referring to her upper legs as “two teddy bears” he could snuggle up to in bed, and pondering over why woman’s thighs were not included as an enjoyable non-leafy snack.

So again – armed with my “no man’s going to enjoy my fat” mantra – I spring, jump, hop, star-jump – you name it – as vigorously as I can!

So now you’ve seen inside my mind as I’m working-out – and it’s not very pretty, is it?

All I will say in my defence is that my broken metatarsal – and subsequent ban from the exercise that suited me – did put me that bit nearer becoming the bingo-winged, large-breasted, soft-flabbed creature I dreaded becoming.

I can sooo relate to this
I can sooo relate to this – but I know it’ll be worth it!

I’m looking forward to running my hands down my un-teddy-bear-like thighs and feeling the solid muscle.

And I can’t wait for upper arms that don’t wobble like jelly.

Soft – you and I are so over!

The change won’t happen overnight but it will happen – now the control’s returned.

Now it’s up to me to reclaim the fitness I deserve.

Back to Blog

Just a quick post to mark my return to the Blogosphere!

The way of the Futurama - I'm on it
The way of the Futurama – I’m on it

If I’m honest, I’ve been working pretty much every day for the last month – doing stuff I love, admittedly – but it does rather tend to take over.

I’m certainly looking forward to getting back into my workout gear again.

My question is – how on earth do people manage to do it all?

I still regard myself as a relatively rooky blogger so any advice will be welcome!

woohoo
The challenge of the written word?

A lot of the time travelling with work means I live out of a rucksack.

That, in turn, leads to packing issues with the laptop – so in practice that means no laptop no blog.

The mending metatarsal sometimes reminds me of its presence as I walk down the street – as if to let me know that, this time, it’s not to blame for my lack of an exercise regime.

I'm getting there...
I’m getting there…

From an intellectual point of view my brain’s still relatively scrambled – therefore I plead guilty your honour to my current lack of sizzling creativity.

Meanwhile I’m looking forward to some glorious updates both regarding my own fitness progress and everyone else’s – so watch this space!

‘You’re Not The Ride’- My Return To Yoga

A new beginning?
A new beginning?

Standing on one leg is always going to be a challenge for someone recovering from a broken foot – and sure enough, my mending metatarsal reminded me of its presence.

Yesterday I did my first yoga class since the fracture.

I freely admit that, after a period of feeling I was medically forbidden to do any exercises that put any weight on said foot, I am still finding it difficult to get back into the routine of keeping fit.chill homie

A Chakra Balance class marked my comeback at Yogi Smith‘s.

Admittedly I do find what could be defined as the “spiritual” side of yoga more difficult than the physical.

An instructor tells me what to do with my body and I’ll have a go – and what happens after that is not for want of trying.

The class featured a meditation session on what roles the mind and body play – to me, an interesting concept in the whole idea of control – after all, isn’t that the reason you go to any class in the first place? That sense of wanting to control at least one aspect of your life?

Tree pose was always going to be a challenge!
Tree pose was always going to be a challenge!

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

I found one parallel particularly useful – that life’s fluxuations are like a theme park ride – but you’re not the ride.

My recovering metatarsal made its presence felt during Vrksasana, or “Tree” pose – standing on my left foot.

It didn’t hurt, but I could still feel it was there.

(While the visual truth of the fracture was confirmed by an X-ray a few months back, I could still see the bone’s cylindrical presence there in my mind’s eye).

After the class I told my instructor Espi – she told me that was the bone’s way of protecting me.

You can read more of Espi’s advice on yoga and recovering from injury here.

And here’s a link to her website.

I’m Back!

The time has come – and as far as the big kid in me was concerned –  it couldn’t come quick enough.

You work out for a minute at different stations
You work out at different stations

We are, however, talking more than the obligatory three months (doctor’s orders!) between fracture and weight-bearing exercise.

So Team Guerrilla was the venue for the relaunch of my life-as-someone-who-exercises-regularly.

It was the first time I’d seen myself in my workout gear in months – and my assessment was ruthless.

Keeping it real - it's early days
Keeping it real – it’s early days

As someone who still walks a lot, the legs weren’t too much of a write-off. I’ve not exactly put on weight but I’m flabbier – especially round the midrift and arms. My bust? Well let’s not go there.

The session basically consists of working-out for a minute at different stations – but even then there can be a sense of “why on earth am I doing this?”

Of course, I know why I’m doing it, (not least that fantastically happy feeling you get at the end) but with those vile soft flabby upper arms of mine it looks like I’m a long way from my goals.

Nerves? Yes! This shaky selife was taken BEFORE the class!
Nerves? Yes! This shaky selfie was taken BEFORE the class!

There was a sense, admittedly, of real anger too – regarding why I’ve almost “back to square one”.

As you know, I broke my foot trying to switch off the smoke alarm.

Clambering on to the sofa arm to reach the device (which was on the ceiling) resulted in a slip, and the fracture. Oh, and Em’s Way To Go!

In a way I have myself to blame. Taking the plunge – pscychologically – has admittedly been difficult.

So – months later – I picked up where I’d left off.

No hiding places at Guerrillas!
No hiding places at Guerrillas!

There were no surprises. I’d expected the sensation of my heart-trying-to-smash-its-way-out-through-my rib-cage and, sure enough, it welcomed me back.

More galling was just how unfit I’d become – at one point my arms couldn’t support me when previously they could whilst doing the same exericse – and I practically fell flat on my face.

But other exercises gave me that “welcome back” feeling – like declaring war on my burgeoning cleavage with the pectoral exercises, to name just one.

That sense of regaining control is fabulous. Whether it’s a coping strategy or not, a vital component of my lifestyle is back.

The foot? I could slightly feel that left fifth metatarsal as I walked back, but  that’s about it.

It was reminding me of its presence but hopefully now it knows who’s boss!

A Runner Reborn?

I’m officially allowed to exercise.

I'm heading for a new horizon
Heading for new horizons…

I apologise for my recent absence from blogging – work commitments prevented me, and – as a relatively new blogger – I’ve yet to develop the confidence to make it part of my daily routine, like brushing my teeth LOL.

So now I rise, Phoenix-like, from the “ashes” of the past three months which have passed since I broke my metatarsal.

Ouch! But the original fracture is a memory now
Ouch! But the original fracture is a memory

The swelling, throbbing, pain and limping are now memories.

Without access to a gravity-defying treadmill, and without a sufficient budget to get me into the gym or one-to-one sessions with my Guerrillas instructor Andy, I have become flabbier.

But then, this can all be eradicated! And, like most Geminis, I get very excited at the start of a new project.

Yep - it's incentives time!
Yup – it’s incentives time!

I can not begin to describe how relieved I am in the knowledge I can run again.

But do I approach it in a “couch-to-5k” way? After all, unlike blogging, I’m not a total beginner when it comes to running!

And now I’ll be looking to eat more healthily too, after all I have an incentive.

Hoping to return to my half-marathon form!
Hoping to return to my half-marathon form!

Meanwhile – I’m teetering on the brink – after all, something that’s been a part of my routine has been missing for the last few months or so.

I almost wish there was a metaphorical hand behind me to give that all-important push.

So wish me luck as I take the plunge!