I love my body. Not in a vain, narcissistic way – but with amazement at the body’s ability to cope with everything life throws at it, and just keep on giving. This moment of introspection doesn’t follow any mad achievement or record-breaking feat. It follows a trip to the physio and the news that I’ve strained my AC shoulder joint. I have so many plans for this year, the last thing I need is an injury, but my very first thought was hey that’s great, it’s the perfect opportunity to work on my legs. I grinned as I heard myself explaining to the physio that I was after knocking 20 seconds off my swim time but my arms were doing far too much work and I needed to concentrate on my kick. Now I can use a finger float in the pool and concentrate on working my legs.
As I heard my own voice speaking, I got this wave of enthusiasm as I recognised how far I have come. A couple of years ago, if I picked up an injury I’d be back on the couch and wrapping myself in cotton wool for a couple of weeks. Now I’m too busy having fun being active to even contemplate ‘taking it easy’. I’ve learned from some really great people about ‘training smart’ and training around injury, so my immediate reaction is how can I work with this? instead of just throwing in the towel. My life has really changed and I’m so grateful and happy about that.
It’s not all a bed of roses of course. I’m battling on a daily basis with losing weight. I’ve lost a half a stone since the start of the year and was absolutely flying with a strict ‘three-meals-a-day’ routine, until I had a wobble last weekend. I got back on my healthy eating horse on Monday, but again I’ve learned something new along the way.
I have to be careful about associating food with rewards, because I have been and possibly always will be, a so-called ‘comfort eater’. I confuse the signals and eat for reassurance rather than sustenance. At the weekend I decided to celebrate with a ‘treat night’ on Friday, after having a good result on the scales. My Friday ‘treat night’ steak and glass of wine (which was perfectly healthy), led to a ‘treat night’ take-away on Saturday, followed by garage garbage on Sunday. Enough!
Whatever my result when I weigh-in THIS Friday, there may or may not be a treat night – but it won’t be anything to do with food. So look out, I may be dragging one of you off for a kayak or a run or a walk at short notice 😉
Life’s a head game really isn’t it? I can only diet by getting myself ‘in the zone’ – I can only work by getting myself structured and organised – and being back at my Le Chéile Couch-to-5K reminds me that running is very much a head game too. I’ve just finished week two of the 10 week programme and I had a tough night on Monday. I felt rubbish and felt under pressure, thinking everyone else was so much faster. Then on Wednesday after a friendly pep-talk and some reassurance from the coach, I had a great run. Well, I managed to keep up, do what I was told, and wasn’t totally heaving and puffing. The difference could only have been my frame of mind, because we did exactly the same run on the same track; but this time I was focusing on MY run, instead of everyone else’s.
I’d already figured that out as I strolled towards the car, and then a final few words from one of the volunteer trainers got me thinking… He casually pointed out, that on Monday night I had deliberately started at the back of the group, because that’s obviously where I considered I should be. He suggested I start at the front next Monday. It doesn’t matter if I slip backwards as we run, but why decide I’m going to be last before I even begin? Isn’t that a seriously good life lesson to apply to anything?
Overall the New Year resolutions are ticking away nicely, a few wobbles and wavers, and a few setbacks already. But I’ve been swimming in the sea every weekend (down to 5 degrees Celcius last Sunday), I’m plugging away at the running, I’ve been having a ball writing about some super people for Sunday Business Post and Outsider Magazine, while having the craic with the girls on TV3’s Midday. These January days are often a slog for me, but having a plan reminds me that winter is just the resting ground for Spring and a whole new adventure is already forming beneath our feet, ready to burst into blooming buds of life.
Settling down in front of the fire for a brief spell of ‘couch’ time last night – my 89-year-old dad was reading the paper with one eye and watching TV with the other, when he spotted something and lazily moved to draw my attention to the screen. His hands were both tied up with the paper, so he casually lifted his left leg and pointed his toe at the telly, which hangs suspended half way up our wall. I was typing away when the movement caught my eye and I watched in amazement at his flexibility. He unfurled like a cat, reaching his foot almost as high as his shoulder, pointing at some politician on TV, and then curled back down into his cushion, totally unaware at how dumbfounded he’d left his daughter. I’m running from the pool, to the gym, to the mountain – and dad does his ‘work-out’ in the garden. I just hope I have some of those genes!
Right there is my inspiration. I’m nearly 50, he’s nearly 90. I want to live as long and be as strong as my dad. I’ll start with a good old workout tomorrow – minus the shoulder of course….