The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
#OperationMOVE

When my bloggy friend Kate over at Kate Says Stuff blogged about her plans for #OperationMOVE I was excited, eager and committed. Kate’s intentions were to motivate herself, and us, to get moving during the months of Spring with the initial commitment of deciding how many minutes were were going to MOVE during September.

This was back in August when I had just got back from my sister’s wedding in South Africa and was recovering from nasty bronchitis which kept me from exercising for a week. I had already signed up for the 9km Sydney Bridge run on the 16th September and was very keen to up my levels of activity because I really wanted to beat last year’s time for this run. The Bridge run last year was my first official run and I had been training for a few months before running the race. I really enjoyed the run despite the unseasonal hot weather and was honestly was a little disappointed with my time of 1h06mins. I really wanted to run it in less than an hour. But I was proud of myself for starting something and seeing it through and so I signed up for the 10km Run4Fun race around the Olympic Park at Homebush and carried on training. The 10km was a better race for me until the last kilometre when my knee conked out. I really thought I had bust my knee, one moment I was running comfortably, the next my knee gave way and I was wracked with excruitiating pain. I limped home, the last km took me 9 minutes and I was so relieved to run into the Olympic Stadium and finish that race.

I did carry on running off and on over the summer but the hot weather made it harder to run earlier and earlier and so come January I was keen to get moving again. While dealing with all the stress of the new house I certainly didn’t run as much as I was hoping but I did imagine running a lot more when we moved because the area around the new house is just better for running, less huge hills, more nice roads. All the while I continued with my weekly bootcamp session with my personal trainer and this year she added an extra weeknight class which I eagerly signed on for. Thanks to the combination of extreme stress and more exercise I managed to lose the last 5kgs that had been bothering me after I lost a fair bit of weight last year and suddenly I was seeing numbers on the scale that I hadn’t seen in the 8 years since we were married. Stress is not an ideal way to lose weight but slowly as the stress has lifted I have managed to maintain my weightloss, even losing another kilo before we went to South Africa and I was a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. I was fitter, stronger, happier, thinner, just generally in a much better place, I am even thinking about getting a surgery done, I have seen pictures of a tummy tuck before and after Sydney and they look amazing.

Unfortunately this winter has been a tough one for me healthwise. It makes sense really considering due to stress and renovations my nutrition was far from perfect and I came down with a horrible virus then pharangitis and then lastly bronchitis with a secondary bacterial infection. Then it got worse, I hurt my back. For a few weeks before going to South Africa I had been aware of pain in my lower back. It never seemed to coincide with any particular activity and I thought at various points it might be our bed, my old running shoes, strained muscles from coughing. I went and saw my Chiro who did some deep tissue acupuncture to try and ease the muscles which were incredibly tense around the bottom of my spine. She did some adjustments which definitely helped but the pain was still there. While we were away in South Africa I was not aware of any pain in my back at all despite being quite worried that my back would hurt while flying due to extended periods of sitting.

The opposite was true, it appeared a rest did me the world of good and I came back to Australia and hit the wall. I got so sick with bronchitis that I genuinely couldn’t remember feeling that ill. I had a high fever, chills, aches, vomiting and all combined with the agony of a sore throat and hideous cough. I took another week off running and bootcamp and then eased back into it with a gentle 5km run on the Tuesday. Last weekend I went back to bootcamp and a few hours later I knew I was in trouble. My back started to seize up, the muscles clearly going into spasm but we had a super busy day, two birthday parties, one of which I was photographing and the last rugby homegame of the season to attend. By the time I limped home that night my back was in absolute agony, totally spasmed, the muscles twitching and excruitiating. I took some good drugs, stuck on an ibuprofen patch and felt desperately sorry for myself. I couldn’t believe that I could hurt so much just from doing my regular bootcamp session which I have done a hundred times.

Over the next two days I iced and used heat on my back and took ibuprofen for the pain which was pretty intense so I decided to use some CBD oils from sites as KarmaCBDOils online to help reduce pain. I managed to get a physio appointment with my personal trainer’s physio on her recommendation and the news wasn’t great. The muscles in my lumbar spine (lower back) are in spasm and it could be caused by any number of other things that aren’t working correctly. My hip flexor muscles are overactive and my pelvis is out of alignment signifigantly. In addition to the mess in my lower back, pelvis and hip area, my right ankle is not working properly and my glutes, quads and hamstrings are also over working which all point towards my core being weak. When the core muscles aren’t properly engaged, all the other big muscles nearby have to work harder to hold the spine in place and then any twisting, jarring or repetition can cause a muscle spasm.

I do like this physio though, one of his first questions to me was “what are my goals?” and rather than answering “eradicating my back pain” my goal is to run the 9km bridge run next weekend as best I can, train hard for the 10km in November and then work towards running a half marathon in May next year. He is optimistic that I will be running well in November and be able to train well for the half, but he is not so sure about next weekend. So we work. I was told to rest for the week after my Tuesday session and I went back yesterday for an hour’s torture session where he massaged my tight muscles into submission which was one of the more painful treatments I have ever had! He also did a lot of work on trying to activate the muscles in and around the pelvis to start working again, taking the pressure off my hip flexors and releasing some of the tension around my hips. All very painful but the results were immediate. Photos of me before and after the session show my shoulders have aligned and my left hip which sits about two inches below my right hip is now even. Walking away from the session the pain in my back was still there but there is also a looseness in my pelvis which just feels, well, better. He also managed to get my right ankle rotating the full amount and walking now feels different. Also better.

So. Light walking this weekend and another hours session on Tuesday and then we can make a decision about the run on the weekend. He wants me to be able to not only run this weekend, but get stronger and fitter so I can achieve both these short term goals and my long term goal. And that is where I am on #OperationMOVE. I had initially committed to 844 minutes of MOVE time in September which I calculated at two hourly sessions of bootcamp a week plus two 5km runs per week plus the 9km bridge run. Of course as it stands I have only achieved 60 minutes so far in September instead of the 196 minutes I had set out to achieve. This week I managed even less. No bootcamp and no running. No minutes.

I am struggling with it all to be honest. I am finding myself thinking about food in an unhealthy way for the first time in months and I am restless and irritable. I have had so much sleep over the last few weeks that I am not even tired in the evenings and so have not been sleeping that well, struggling to fall asleep and waking frequently. I miss being so tired in the evening after an early morning run that I take myself off to bed at 8:30. Now I just wait. Wait to see if my body is going to recover, wait to see if starting some gentle running makes my back pain worse, waiting to see if I can run for longer than 5kms because I haven’t run further than that in weeks and its nearly half again in distance that I have to run on the weekend. I keep trying to tell myself that these things happen for a reason and that instead of feeling let down by my body, I should listen to my body, take the time to nurture it, practice being self-aware, spend the time that I would have been running, meditating or just being present in the moment. But its hard, I am desperately motivated to run, exercise, keep moving and right now the opposite is necessary. I hope I can be kind enough to myself to give my recovery a chance and take it slow when I start training again. All very hard for someone who is notoriously tough on herself.

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5 Responses to #OperationMOVE

  1. Sarah says:

    Whoa Sarah! That is a lot of illness/injury you’re dealing with there. Look after yourself. x

  2. Lucy says:

    Oh love, I feel your pain 🙁 I’ve had ankle / knee problems galore and whilst pregnancy has got in the way of doing anything about it I have a slight sense of dread for that first run out as I don’t want to discover that its all still there and then be told I can’t do what I want! Someone has recommended a ‘wobble board’ for use at home to strengthen up the core – not sure if you’ve thought about this? also would a swiss ball be any good for you to mobilise the pelvis & hips (the thought occurred to me as I used it lots when in later stages of pregnancy and I had terrible pelvic pain – turns out because baby was back to back and effectively jambed against my pelvis and coccyx!) I completely understand how upsetting it is to feel so invigorated at having reached a huge goal and then feel as though you’ve had someone kick you backwards. You’ll get back there, that you will my sweet. Keep smiling & cut yourself a bit of slack hey?

    Big hugs xxxx

  3. del says:

    Oh Sarah, poor you. Please be kind to yourself and let your body recover properly so that you can get into action safely, knowing that you can just keep on running rather than limp along.

    I had grand plans to sign up for OperationMOVE but procrastinated way too much and ran out of time. Probably a good thing, I don’t have the time or energy to add something new to the to-do list this month. Hopefully I will join in next month.

    Tace care, xo.

  4. Oh Sarah you know you have all my sympathy. Back pain is horrendous. My pelvis is so far out of whack that one of my legs is actually shorter than the other and I overcompensate, so while I am driven to run I need to listen to my body really carefully as well. Do not want to end up in hospital again!!

    Your physio sounds great though, and your determination is nothing short of inspirational!

    xox

  5. margie says:

    So get to work on the core Sarah. I had back problems and needed to consider an op but chose exercise as an alternative. It took me 7 months but I now have a strong core and no back pain at all. I continue to go to Pilates at least 2 x a week. It is essential and don’t put it off or else your problems will just
    return. Here endeth the lesson from aunty marg

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