Running Realisations

Over the course of lockdown, with the increased running I have found time to do, I have learned several lessons with regards to my running:

  1. Go slower-the only person I am running for is myself and this period has given me a chance to increase the length of my runs. As a result, I am not so bothered by how long it takes me as long as I make it round. I just keep plodding on like Terry the Tortoise. I let all the Henry and Hermione Hare’s race past me as for all I know they could just be going to the end of the road and back. I have also had to adopt this more relaxed pace for the sake of my knees. As soon as I speed up, my gait worsens so I am way more likely to go flying. There is an ominous relationship between my speed and number of cuts and bruises so to ensure I do have some sort of knee left I have had to slow down.

2. Change your route-In the beginning my route finished along a particularly evil stretch of road that we will call the Hellish Highway. To give you the heads up this is most definitely not a highway, but I need the creative licence for the alliteration. So, the HH is a 200 metre stretch of road covered in mammoth potholes, gravel, tree roots and down-right booby traps set up at night by the Hellish Highway Hermits (HHH). Personally, I think the HHH were out to get me making the nature of this stretch worse by the day. Now we know my running gait is pretty dodgy at the best of times so you can imagine that by the end of my run you would need a microscope to see the space between my feet and the road, I just cannot get my legs high enough. Therefore, the HH is a death trap as even a wrongly placed grain of sand would be enough to send me flying. It got to a point where my poor knees and elbows were just getting no respite (see my previous post Isolation Injuries for more insight here) so drastic action needed to be taken-my Dad issued an ultimatum. If he saw me running down the HH I would be banned from running.

No knees were hurt in the taking of this photo-image for entertainment purposes only

Therefore, I had three options:

  1. Run at 3 am when he was fast asleep and wouldn’t ever know I had broken this law of the land
  2. Walk down this final stretch of my run
  3. Change my route.

There are issues with each of these:

  1. I don’t think running at 3 am down the HH would do me or my knees any favours. I would have the additional obstacle of avoiding the HHH completing their nightly destruction work, so that option was quickly wiped off the table
  2. This just goes against my whole psyche of finally accepting I would slow my pace. If I am not going to run for the whole route, then there is no point me trying to reduce the speed. When I run, I run (even if I look like Terry the Tortoise moving through Treacle). There was no way I was going to stop running until I got all the way home.
  3. This looks like my only option. My new route is longer and goes down a pretty steep hill so I feel like I have a lot further to fall if disaster strikes but IT IS TARMACKED the whole way so feels like a Yellow Brick Road paved in gold with no HHH plotting against me. It also means I get the satisfaction of covering a longer distance.
The HHH have worked hard on this stretch

I am pleased to confirm that after a week of running this new route I have not fallen once (I know shock horror). AND my old injuries have healed enough to have no scabs left (don’t stress gang I still have some pretty intense scars hanging around).

3. What was the point in Spotify Premium- I bit the bullet and decided to pay for Spotify Premium so that I could crack out some good playlists whilst running without decimating my mobile data (also why not as I am hardly spending my money on anything else during lock down). However, I am now too scared to run with my phone in case I fall and smash it into smithereens. I have considered running with it in a running belt on my waist or arm, but I am nervous as I just never know which way my fall is going to take me. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed. Instead I have stuck with my ancient iPod Nano which I am much happier to sacrifice and have had to put up with Scouting for Girls as my running playlist (I know absolutely ridiculous but I don’t want to go spending endless sums on iTunes for music when I am already paying for premium-it’s a tricky situation).

4. Don’t waste your money on fancy gym clothes-I know you may find it hard to believe based on my previous photos, but I do have some nice active wear which are lovely and matching and make me feel like a ninja wearing them. However, previously I had saved these outfits for the gym where I know I am at no risk of falling. Out here in the wild land of lock down, the holey leggings are just getting worse as I cannot bear the thought of destroying my pretty kit. The only option is to keep wearing the dodgy stuff and put yet another hole in those disgraceful leggings, so I look like I am wearing a cheese grater. The worst part is that these leggings are not even that old (Decathlon’s finest by the way as I know you are all reading this for my fashion advice). I had a fit when I put a hole in them on the first day of wearing them. So much so that Mum went out and bought me an identical pair so that I had one pair that were intact. Now both pairs are covered in multiple holes and I have now abandoned even trying to sew them up to repair them as my efforts are futile. It doesn’t help that my sewing is also atrocious so was doing nothing to help anyway-maybe something else for me to work on during lock down.

4. I think I need new trainers-this one is painful. My current pair have only lasted 7 months and yes, I know runners should be changing their trainers more often, but I cannot believe I have already got through these ones. What makes it even worse is that the area under the heels look brand new and don’t even look like they have been worn (because my heels don’t touch the ground when I run-they have such an easy time). In contrast the area under the toes is just so sad like Dad’s bald patch. Ah well I guess it will have to happen soon otherwise what would be the point in me wearing shoes if I have destroyed all the cushioning.

So, there you go, a snippet of the factors I have accepted and lessons I have learned during lock down so that I can keep running. I hope this shows that although you may face obstacles and challenges in life, you can keep going you may just need to find your own way. Don’t let Hermione or Harry stop you from doing what you want to do.

Why can’t we be friends?

For the past 24 years and 354 days stretching (my reluctant muscles) and I have had a tough time. Yes, you are right that is a shameless plug for the fact that I have nearly been on this planet for a quarter of a century. I reckon stretching has got some weird sense of satisfaction out of being my enemy and causing me pain a bit like James Bond and Doctor No. However, over the course of lock down my mortal enemy and I have turned a corner in our relationship – maybe I am just in desperate need of friendship as I have had to put up with the same three faces (Mum, Dad & my brother). Every. Single. Day. I am learning to appreciate everything that stretching does for me and coming to terms with the fact that the pain is in actual fact for my own gain (I know that sounds odd but the sign of a good stretch is to feel the burn).

So, I am sure you are wondering what on Earth caused me to turn my nemesis into my lock down pal. Well, the truth is stretching lets me do everything I love on a daily basis so I guess I need to be grateful for that. Whether that be walking, running, cycling or playing crazy bananas. Over lock down I have increased my running in a desperate effort to escape the confines of a mad crazy house. In addition, these runs have been getting progressively longer as I uncover new routes and create new challenges for myself (yes I know my legs hate me, they let me know daily). So, the weird and wonderful thing about stretching is that it brings me back to life like Lazarus. It makes me feel slightly more human again after my poor legs have been annihilated on a run. I know that without stretching there is no way in hell I would be able to get out running the following day – my legs would just go on strike and I would have a mutiny on my hands.

Maybe it is a result of the post run endorphins which means that I am just on such a high that my delirium allows me to enjoy the process of stretching. I think it is down to the fact that I am no longer being forced into stretching and nagged constantly by physios, doctors, Mum and Dad or the stray grey cat that strolls through our garden every now and then. The stretching is now something I do completely of my own free will at a time that suits me. Also, stretching gives me more time to escape from the mayhem. I whack on the tunes (David Gray is the one – please don’t judge) with my top quality noise cancelling headphones (so I don’t hear Dad mowing the lawn or Mum blaring out BBC Radio 4) and just get moving. It is immensely satisfying for me to also find that I can hold those stretches for a little bit longer and for each day to be a little less painful than the last.

So, there you go we have come through some tricky times, but our friendship is now the strongest it has ever been, so I guess that is one positive to come out of these strange times. I hope this shows, for those of you struggling with your stretches or other treatment currently, that it is not purely there to cause you pain. I completely understand that this is hard to believe – trust me I have been there with many an angry tantrum at being forced through my stretches before school. Despite this, I am grateful for everything that my stretches allow me to do and I hope that this post helps you to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and fingers crossed one day you may feel the same.

I ran a marathon

Just kidding, it only took me the whole of last week to complete. But in a shocking turn of events I only fell once. I know what you are all thinking, I must be the new Paula Radcliffe! Also, holey leggings are the latest running chic (in case you didn’t know) which may or may not have been caused by my latest fall.

Isolation Injuries

I have been using the time saved by not having to commute in exploring the beautiful countryside around my home (my one bit of outdoor exercise a day) by running a number of different routes. The positive is that I have been really enjoying my running, the fresh air and beautiful scenery. The downside is that my running came to an abrupt halt as I managed to inflict multiple injuries far too quickly.

These injuries are two fold: Firstly my left foot has been a nuisance for quite some time now (we just don’t seem to be on the same wavelength). This is due to the way I run which means I am putting a lot more impact through my joints and in particular my left foot as this is my weaker side.

Secondly my falls: My gait and balance get worse the faster I move. This means that when running my feet don’t clear the ground as much as they do when walking so I am much more likely to trip (even over my own feet!) My legs just don’t seem to see the dodgy pothole, tree root or even minor undulation in the ground and the next thing I know, BAM! Wait how did I get here-now I can just see a very interesting looking ant clambering over that pebble. Up I get and off I go. Once I have finished my run and am back home, I have a chance to inspect the damage. For some reason I just don’t recognise that a cut or bruise is going to take a considerable time to heal. I somehow think I am The Hulk (who according to Google has the best healing powers-apparently his healing power increases with his strength so the angrier he becomes, the stronger he gets and the faster he heals, maybe I just need to have a shouting match at the end of my run to help my wounds sort themselves out!).

One particular example from the Easter weekend, I had almost finished my longest run ever and was 100 meters from home (so close and yet so far), it was a very bumpy, potholed and just generally dodgy road. The whole way down the road I had the same mantra in my head “Don’t fall, don’t fall you are so close and have made it so far staying upright”. Then of course the next thing I know, I have completely face-planted and am completely horizontal among the gravel. Excellent! Once I make it back, I have a quick inspection and find I have impressively managed to cut up both my hands and elbows, right hip and thigh and both my knees. I know its entirely my own fault for choosing the worst possible road to finish my run on when I am completely shattered, so bound to go flying but I wanted to make sure that I ran for the whole route to make it my furthest run to date. I may be useless at competing with any other runners as I am so slow but I am definitely my own fiercest competitor (or enemy I guess!) Really I think my left leg feels a bit left out, I like symmetry but maybe they are just waiting for next time. I was impressed that I managed to achieve these wounds without disrupting any previous healing scabs I had from my run the previous week so I guess that is a positive.

Stage 1: First round of injuries from an extremely unhelpful tree root

Over the coming weeks I have now had an ongoing fascination with how the cuts and bruises are healing and the different stages I am going through. I was particularly proud of the bruise on my thigh, some great colours were going on there. So we are now three weeks since that fateful day and my knees are still nicely scabbed (although my knees are permanently scarred so not too fussed there). The bruising on my thigh has finished much to my disappointment although there are still a few scars hanging around there.

So due to these two-fold injuries, I have had to find different ways to keep myself entertained. This has been a challenge as I get very frustrated when I cannot do the exercise that I want to. It frustrates me that others can run 10 km daily without any issues and the one time I manage it I am wiped out for weeks. I just haven’t quite managed to pace myself and recognise my limits but its a work in progress. I have had to make do with cycling and stretching but it doesn’t compare to those post-run endorphins! Last weekend I decided to paint and write cards for my friends and family to cheer them up during this crazy time. I felt like I had started my own personal post office but it was a very therapeutic way to spend a sunny weekend. I know they look like they were painted by a four year old and I am definitely no Picasso but it is the thought that counts right? So there you go, some positives to the current situation and a chance to give my body a break! I can hear my legs saying thank you!

I hope this shows that through this tricky time, the simple things such as sticking some paint on paper can bring a smile to your own and many others faces. Also take this as my personal warning to listen to your own body and don’t feel pressured to do a marathon run unless you want to end up with a quarry’s worth of gravel stuck in your right elbow! I think I need to adhere to my own advice here but I am working on it!

Mirror mirror on the wall who is the maddest runner of them all?

So before all this lock down madness at a physio appointment which feels like aeons ago now, the physio asked me to run on a treadmill. Little did I know at the time that Dad snuck up behind me like Daniel Craig as James Bond (he wishes) and grabbed this wonderful footage of my backside (apologies in advance for the fashion disaster-the cycling shorts were for the phyiso’s benefit-okay I think I am just making it sound worse and digging myself a deep hole!) It was a real shock for me to watch back as I have never been able to properly see myself running. My left foot hardly lifts off the floor, I reckon I desperately need to get onto Aladdin’s magic carpet to try to clear the ground! I look like a massively lopsided string puppet-like a three legged lonely goat in Sound of Music who has fallen off the hillside. I really had no idea it was so obvious and am unaware of it as I am running Also spot the rogue hole my right shoe (and that is meant to be my good side-wow, you really let the team down!)

This video really showed me how much more effort is required for me to run with this awkward gait- I now understand why people like to stare when I run (or wobble past them!) It is crystal clear why even the slightest bump (which would only be noticed by an ant) can send me flying. I hope this shows you that regardless of what others may think or say, and the obstacles you face in life (quite literally in my case) none of this should not stop you from doing what you enjoy in whatever shape or form that takes.

Staying sane in lock down

Something to make you all laugh over the Easter Weekend. 2 minutes of me
looking like a graceful gazelle obviously. This is what I have been keeping
myself sane with through these crazy times we are currently facing as I can no
longer go to the gym. Running outside the garden is just far too high risk as I
will go flying on those lethal gravel paths. This is what I get up to every
morning at 7:30 am and yes I am fully aware that I look like a delusional
Dalmatian but this routine is what is getting me through at the moment. The joy
of the super sped up version (40 minutes down to 2-technology is a dream) is
that no one needs to see my beautiful facial expressions or hear the very
interesting noises I seem to create.

The checking of my phone and rolling around on the mat between exercises is me resetting the one minute timer for each move so I can stop the annoying alarm which is waking up our neighbours. So let’s just use this as a chance to get into my head for a bit whilst I am just knackering myself for your entertainment.

Running: 3-2-1: off she goes at the pace of a greyhound, oh no I meant a
tortoise-has she decided to run all the way to John O’Groats?-oh no hang on she
is not yet at the end of the garden-sorry team we could be here a while.

V-jumps: are your feet even moving? I think she was just having a nap.

Reverse crunches: well those legs are as straight as a plate of jelly on a Lilo-at
least the arms are doing a little better.

Mountain climbers: considering this is sped up a gazillion times, I don’t
think I am going to make it up Everest any time soon.

Sprints and tuck jumps: I didn’t plan this well for filming as I cannot
fully appreciate the crazy heights I managed to achieve in my tuck jumps (only
joking, I think an ant could jump higher than me!)

Weighted lunges: Wow-I look like I have been hitting the triple G and T’s I
don’t think I could wobble more if I tried.

Running: I will just disappear for a quick (or actually rather long snooze)-you
are welcome to as well you won’t miss much as I still wont be at the bottom of
the garden yet.

Weighted lunges: nope I lied, my left side is even worse-don’t know why I
even bother to be honest-I spend as much time lunging as I do stumbling all
over the shop.

Burpees: God knows what is going on there-its arms and legs a kimbo-I blame
the intense heat.

Flutter kicks: okay siesta time-my legs are definitely not moving (thanks
super speed you are not doing me any favours) but also I just cannot straighten
those legs-maybe I need to spend some time in traction.

Jumping lunges: okay, these are vile but o crikey I really screwed those
out-anyone want to give me a hand (although to be honest I think I am past
help).

Snatches: okay so the plan is to squat pick up the weight and bring it
straight above my head as fast as possible-don’t know what happened there as
the knees are not even bending-maybe I am just trying to stretch my back.

Running: where has she gone-hope you enjoy watching the empty garden-at
least there is some nice sunshine to keep you entertained-these running siestas
just keep getting longer-I think I would have been faster walking by this point.

Spotty dogs: that is the epitomy of delusional dalmatian.

Single leg crunch: please can someone help a girl get straight legs-how
difficult is it?

Explosion jacks: I really need to invest in some new hair ties-my stray
locks are driving me mad.

Press ups: I don’t think I can really call them that though-I mean my arms
are not even bending.

Star jumps: definitely cannot coordinate my arms and legs.

Criss cross: so much for the straight legs.

Squat jumps: so much for a squat-looks like a back exercise to me.

Plank and plank walk: absolutely shattered and past help-don’t even know
what is going on here.

So there you have it-well done to anyone who made it through the whole two
minutes-I am knackered and heading for another nap: Tuesday morning at 7:30am (we have a bank holiday to enjoy first) who is joining me?

Also, the one bonus of working from home during this time is all the extra hours in my day to do my all time favourite activity-stretch (I know gold star for me, my physio would be proud). Here are a few photos of me in pain in some interesting positions to cheer you up. Please ignore my dodgy looking right leg-it got attached by a tree root whilst I was out running yesterday-there is your health and safety warning- stay home, stay safe and stick to circuits team-your legs will thank you later (although maybe not after the jumping lunges.

Comparison

This is something that I have touched on in other posts but wanted to give you the chance to go a little further into the wonderful world of my brain. The reason for this is because this is something I still struggle with every day. Just thought I would take you through a few examples

Walking: At schoolI would get frustrated that I was so much slower than my friends and hated the fact that my walking looked so different to everyone else. I just wanted to look the same as everyone else. This also was never helped as it was the same questions that came up in my consultations with my neurologist “are you keeping up with everyone when you walk?”, “do you fall over often?”. It made me think that the one fall I had on a Tuesday afternoon meant I was definitely going to end up having the dreaded Botox. I got wound up at the fact that it would take so much more effort for me to walk fast to keep up with my friends when others didn’t have to think twice. Today, I have learnt to accept that my walking is different but I still find myself getting worked up at the fact that other people walk faster than me (Badger Man, I have you in my sights!) The issue I find is that as I try to speed up I then end up tripping more often so the cycle of doom continues as I then get frustrated that I tripped. It is a vicious circle that I cannot escape. By frustrated, I mean that I will be pleased as punch if I make it around a country walk with my family with clean knees and blood free limbs!

Team Sports: This has really got my goat from day 1. I always felt so self-conscious during every school sports lesson. It is a combination of anger that people will not pass me the ball during netball as they know I will drop it (I am basically just like an octopus in a frenzy having had a bath in melted butter whenever a ball is involved), with terror at the thought that I will ruin it for the rest of my team and to top it off anger with myself for not getting more involved. It was a powerful (spiked) cocktail of emotions to go through whilst everyone else was just enjoying their favourite lesson of the week. Today, I really feel that am missing out on a big social occasion. This is in part due to the fact that hockey is such a huge part of my Dad’s and brothers lives. I can see how much they relish the friendship groups they have gained through a weekly team sport (and, to be honest, the many pints of beer that come with it!) I feel that I really missed out on this through university and today. I now really enjoy fitness and feel like I would enjoy the social side of team sport. However my brain is having a battle (I am thinking swords, bows and arrows, the whole shebang and no knight in shining armour can save this situation) as the idea of any competition terrifies me. I would love the chance to experience sport with others like me but this is not as accessible as fully able bodied sport on a regular basis, even in Central London. The result now, is that sport has become a very individual sport for me so I don’t have to go through all the mental battles I put up with at school.

So I know this post may not me my most cheerful (a bit like the weather at the moment) but I hope it gives a little insight into the thought processes that I have over two pretty everyday activities. Despite these battles, I really love walking today, got stuck into team sports at school and now enjoy fitness as I have discovered what works for me. Hopefully I haven’t put you all off reading my posts now you know that my head is a dangerous place to be!

People’s Perception

Over the years I have come to realise that there are a wide range of people out there who will feel they have something to say about my cerebral palsy (CP). I personally have no problem with people asking about my CP as long as they are interested and engaged in what I have to say. I am excited when people are interested because I often forget that there is anything different about me ( I only remember when I catch a glimpse of myself in shop windows  as I walk along looking like a pigeon wearing stilettos). I am amazed that people want to hear my side of the story and learn more about my experiences. However, having said that I would much rather someone ask what is wrong rather than just continue to stare at me and make me feel like I am a complete looney (I was never any good at staring competitions). I thought I would take you through just a few of the different encounters I have had related to my CP.

Positives

Can I offer you a lift?: When travelling alone in the Far East (in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) after I left school, I would be offered lifts from local Thai people on their mopeds whilst I was walking from the bus station to my hostel. At the time I didn’t think this was anything to do with my CP and would more often than not say I was happy walking. When I had further to go I would take up this offer. This was definitely not the best life choice I have made and I didn’t mention this to my parents until I was safely back in the UK but I now believe that the locals (who were some of the friendliest people I have met) felt that they could help me out as I was lugging two ridiculous backpacks around and wobbling from side to side making very slow progress. I also appreciate that I was extremely luck that all of these encounters ended with me arriving safe and sound. So there you go-free trips abroad when lugging rucksacks-always a bonus

Taxi Please!: Whilst at University I was entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (something that I never really felt I deserved but took up all the same). As part of this I was given free taxis to take me from my Halls of Residence to the camps (a half hour walk downhill). However, more often than not I would use these taxis to take myself and my friends back from nights out saving us a long journey back on the bus or an expensive late night taxi!

Negatives

Phil the Form: Whilst on a family holiday we had the chance to go on a two day trek in the jungle in Borneo. However, Phil who was leading the trek had different ideas about me taking part with my CP. He was an Ex-Army corporal or something running outdoor camps and activities. He said that he had worked with other disabled children and would only let me take part if my parents signed a form to say that they would take responsibility for anything that happened to me-hence the name Phil the Form. It is also worth mentioning that we happened to be spending this part of our holiday by gatecrashing my brother’s school hockey tour so were with a load of teenage boys-just so you know the vibe I was dealing with here.  He had a number of terms and conditions about me joining the trek:

  • He made a major song and dance (not a tuneful one) of fact that he had to change the route for everyone involved so that it was suitable for me-making it shorter and easier and blah blah blah.
  •  I was not allowed to carry any rucksack and that Dad and everyone else would have to carry all my supplies for the trek (he was also happy to announce that to everyone else on the trek too-cheers pal).

So he decided that he was able to lay down the law on all this despite the fact that myself and my parents tried to convince him that I would be perfectly fine doing the normal trek. He didn’t seem to care about the fact that my parents and I knew more about my condition than he ever could. He seemed to decide he was the all-knowing Lord of All when it came to my abilities and legs.

Karma did its trick:  In my first week of uni at Bristol, we were walking between lectures in different buildings. I was walking next to my friend another student walked past me and asked “Why are you walking weirdly?” I begin to answer him and he just continues to walk past me not caring at all about anything I had to say. Now as I said earlier, I really don’t mind people asking as long as they are happy to respect my answer and listen to what I have to say so I wasn’t impressed with his response but I just carried on with my day, life is too short for me to be bothered by people like him. Despite this, upon walking into our lecture the following day, my friend and I were thrilled to see that he had a whacker of a black eye due to a disaster on the squash court. My friend and I were stifling our giggles at the back of the room, karma worked its magic!

Sounding like a broken record: Throughout school I would constantly be asked why I was wearing strange things on my legs. I understand that we were only about 10 at the time but my major frustration was the repetition especially when the same people would ask me day after day. I am pretty sure they didn’t have issues with their short term memory?

Sorry but she is not my doppelganger: Whilst at secondary school one of my best friends had a problem with her legs which was not cerebral palsy but it also affected her walking gait. The teachers would constantly get us confused even though we look nothing alike and even our walking was completely different. As much as my friend and I tried to explain it was a losing battle-this continued throughout our time at school-you would have thought that by the end of our 7 years together they would have figured out whos’s who… maybe they need a trip to Specsavers?

So there you go a whistle-stop tour through some of the encounters I have had with people having something to say about the way I walk. Ah well, I guess the negatives are a price to pay for the bonuses I get. Anyway, as they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I have learnt over my 24 years that people who have enough time and energy to be rude about the way I walk are just not worth it. As far as I am concerned they can continue with their day and I hope it improves from them feeling the need to bring others down-frankly I have bigger fish to fry.

Barry’s Bootcamp

Last weekend I was invited along to join a charity gym class at Barry’s Bootcamp. It is one of those classes that I have heard loads of people feeling very proud of themselves for completing so I was excited to see what all the hype was about. So how did it go… Did I survive? Well I loved the class and felt amazing afterwards, but I did have about 20 very near crashes.

Barry’s Bootcamp is a running based class (so I know I am already in trouble; I love running but my body really doesn’t) mixed up with a series of floor-based exercises.

The class has a club vibe (as you probably know I don’t have particularly good associations with clubbing) but this type of club is much more up my street. The darkness and loud music mean you are forced to work hard as you can just focus on yourself without worrying how ridiculous you look, and the loud music provides some much-needed motivation.

So, first things first, everyone is assigned a treadmill and told by the lovely instructors to get moving. The walking pace we kicked off at was almost a slow jog for me so a good start. Thankfully the running sections were short, the idea being you push yourselves for a short period. After a warm-up set on the treadmill we moved onto the floor for a series of plank and mountain climber exercises. Thankfully the floor in this club was much nicer than your usual nightclub and on this occasion everyone is meant to be on the floor! The floor was super springy which I was thankful for as it helped absorb the impact that has been causing my foot so many issues. I always have problems when doing a plank because my legs are tight, I automatically come too far up onto my toes and put all the weight through my arms, this means I quickly collapse like a plate of jelly.

So warm up done and we are back onto the treadmills. This is where my problems really began. One thing I am very grateful for is the fact that these treadmills are space age. They make my running so much smoother and work miracles by absorbing a huge amount of the impact. I think this is definitely the way forward for my treadmill running. However, unfortunately although I may have felt I was running on clouds I had bigger problems coming my way. This set involved 3 x3 minute runs. Each one faster and at a higher incline. The result of this was that I wanted to push myself and stick to the speeds and incline as told by the instructor (seriously, you would have thought that after 24 years I would have learned my own limits… Maybe not). Anyway, the result was that I crashed approximately every 20 seconds. Thankfully I reacted quickly enough to grab the rails and get myself back upright without flying off the end of the treadmill. I did manage to give my friend on the next-door treadmill a heart attack each time I tripped (definitely not what she needed whilst sprinting, sorry Liv). During my crashes I also managed to completely forget the existence of the safety cord but hey ho I am still standing (just!). I just was not ready for the changes in speed and incline, the sudden uphill was just unexpected even though I was the one to adjust my own treadmill!

Next up more strength exercises. This time to my delight squats with Dumbbells. This was a challenge because as my leg muscles are tighter and I cannot flex so much at my ankles. As I can’t flex at my ankles I cannot get as low in my squats (this was a realisation I only had a few days ago and my mind was blown). So, I am a giant towering above everyone else with their ridiculously low squats (I reckon they were all secretly Elastigirl from the Incredibles -how else can they get so low). Add to the Giant a pair of Dumbbells and my balance went flying off the end of one of those speedy treadmills. So, I ended up being a crushed giant on that plate of jelly I created earlier.

Despite having moaned about all my struggles, I really enjoyed the class. The atmosphere was amazing and the instructor very friendly and motivating (best of all despite mentioning my CP to her, no special treatment was given, or exemptions were made, I just paced it as I wanted). I also feel proud of how I did and think back 5 years, this is not a class I would have survived. I hope this shows that it is good to pursue things you enjoy even if others may think otherwise. I have been told previously that running is not the one for me. Despite this and the issues I have had, I really enjoy it and manage to keep doing it (maybe I just need to listen to my body a bit more and recognise my limits!) Ah well, I am still in one piece so all good.

Winter Running

The photo says it all really… I must be mad although the grin on my face says otherwise. Shout out to the giant puddles, super muddy tracks and that perfectly located rock which had a lot of fun with my elbow. Just keeps the running exciting which I am clearly thrilled about (as was Mum since I decided to wear her trainers!)

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