Tag Archives: New Start

Planning A Heartfelt 2014

30 Dec

A distinct lack of a blog can only mean one thing – a lack of positive topics to write about!

Following on from my last blog,  I’ll share a little of what’s happened with my heart and beyond that, how I expect things to change in 2014!

At the beginning of November, I went to see my cardiologist for a series of tests to find out what kind of condition my heart was in. I knew it was in no state for any long distance races or endurance training but there was a big question mark over how ‘gentle’ my exercising needed to be (note the change of wording, I no longer ‘train’!). I explained to the cardiologist that I had listened to what he had said previously and stuck to light exercise. This for me had meant short swims which slowly had got down to 500 – 750m. Chest pain and breathlessness had ruled out running and cycling. Even with easy short swims, I still didn’t feel great. I was feeling dizzy after any exertion which began to worry me.

I had the same set of tests as I had before, an echocardiogram and exercise tolerance test on treadmill, in which I had to stop and lie down as my blood pressure dropped. My echo looked ok, but I was asked to have an MRI to rule out anything sinister with my coronary arteries. Two attempts later and after 6 needles, a horrendous injection of Adenosine to speed up my heart, all was confirmed as normal. Lastly, I had a 24 hour tape when I had to try and bring on my symptoms whilst wired up to electrodes.

After the tests, I was left with reassuring results but a big question mark still lingering. In this situation I should be grateful that after all I have put my heart through, that it is still pumping efficiently! I am left with a series of symptoms that I am learning to live with, that aren’t particularly pleasant but could be much worse.

I was recently reading up on the five stage grief process for an NVQ assignment. By no means am I comparing my experience this year of having to stop training for Ironman and triathlon races to the grief of losing a loved one, but the process of handling a difficult situation I can relate to.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

In May I was certainly in the denial stage, when I first was told that I needed to stop the long distance stuff. I carried on training regardless, without admitting to myself or others that I was.

Anger is something I have felt at some times. I haven’t been the easiest person to live with (and for that Liam Pryer deserves a medal!).

I see my bargaining stages as the later part of November onwards, when I joined the local swim on a 6 week membership and stuck religiously to 2 short swims and 2 light gym sessions a week. This meant that if I went easy on my heart, it might get better and somehow allow me to do more!

Depression. Hmmm, well nobody likes admitting to feeling depressed, stressed, low or whatever. But there have honestly been times when I have felt so sad about having to give up something I love so much. I have missed going outside and losing myself in some empty lanes or fields, enjoying the quiet, fresh air and feeling of satisfaction. I have continued to avoid the subject of triathlon, situations and people that I associate with sport as it has just been too hard.

Acceptance. I think (*I hope*) I am there now. Others might argue that because I’m not my usual positive self but deep down I know that tri, marathons and Ironman have had their time. There will be something to fill that hole (and not marriage and babies please people!), I need to feel I am achieving great things outside a relationship, outside having fun with my friends, outside my career goals. I really am trying to fill that hole; writing a book is still going, albeit slowly!

I’ve always been one for new years resolutions, and annoyingly bug others about doing it too. After a sluggish Christmas period, I love how January gives you the feeling of a fresh start, similar to starting a new school year in September.

2014 for me means this:

  • Positively accepting I need to be nice to my heart, forever.
  • I want to be involved with triathlon and the best supporter out there.
  • Learning to feel good about myself even without the buzz of hard exercise!
  • Trying to help others appreciate the benefits of exercise.
  • Absolutely not allow any of the following: bingo wings, muffin tops, pot bellies (GYM!)

This is the recipe for my perfect 2014. Heartfelt of course.

:)

The Beginning Of The Rest Of My Life!

22 Sep

BeachNo longer will I be posting about my recovery weeks – the official 12 weeks is over! So what now? The beginning of the rest of my life.  The excitement of the future and acceptance of events in the past. My mourning for months lost, finances lost, confidence lost is slowly easing and my focus again shifts to I can do. The easiest way for me to measure success is exercise. Every day during my recovery I kept a diary of how far I walked, starting with a tiddly 7 minutes and round the block.

Today I ran 6 miles, at a slow pace (12 min/miles with a couple of walk breaks) but felt good. The distance was no problem. If any slight nagging voices came into my head about wanting to run faster, I cast them aside. Right now, I’m lucky to be running and want to enjoy the joy of getting out in the fresh air and soaking up the scenery like this morning’s run (see pic!). I am great at sticking rigidly to training plans and getting psyched up for faster times and results but now is not the time to do this. I get the odd bout of chest pain if I raise my heart rate above 150/160 or push that bit too hard. I have plenty of time to work towards my goals in triathlon and running in 2011.

Speaking of which: here is my race plan options for 2011!:

Jan / Feb – Rempstone Roast duathlon series

20th Feb Brighton half marathon (got place)

March – Either Mad March triathlon in Dorset or Bournemouth Bay half marathon

17th April London Marathon (have my beloved place!)

8th May Try a tri, Dorset  or maybe New Forest Olympic on 1st May

June – London to Brighton bike ride (have place), Bournemouth pier to pier swim, maybe Summer Sizzler tri in Dorset

July – Bournemouth Olympic, London Triathlon (have place)

August – not sure about this one. Maybe Hyde Park on 6/7th or Swanage on 14th

September is 70.3 time! Options are New Forest middle distance 25th Sept, Vitruvian. Depending on pennies there are some M-Dot events abroad (New York, Mexico, Canada, New Hampshire!!!)
Have entered pre-reg for the Great North Run as well

All very exciting.

The above plans were jotted down for this year but my heart had a ‘mechanical’, so to speak! My mind never stopped believing in my ability to achieve, hence the endless frustration and disappointing times despite good training. I have many people around me who provide great inspiration. These include my friend who ran the London marathon for the first time this year, despite injury and an age 0f 63. We run together regularly and she really keeps my spirits up. Also, a new training friend inspires me – she has taken up triathlon despite health problems. It’s great to have strong people around you. I love following stories on Twitter about people who have gone from overweight and unfit to triathletes qualifying for Kona world championships! When in the pool, on the bike or out on a run, I imagine I am Chrissie Wellington and all seems effortless and easy! Role models are amazing motivation.

Check out this for motivation:

For most people, it is difficult to make a living out of sport unless you are gifted and have the determination to work excessively hard. But everyone can use sport to improve the rest of your life. Like holidays, sporting events give you something to look forward to and work towards.