It’s been a month since my last blog and boy, has my life been different!!
I got the results of my MRI scan through. I didn’t thoroughly understand what the outcome was but I did understand what I was told to do. NO RUNNING!! (and giving up on this years goal)
You can imagine how my heart sank when I heard this. I was then presented with a bundle of paperwork describing in detail what I COULD do. It went like this:
For the next month focus on aqua-jogging! No running or walking for exercise. Let pain be your guide. If you do anything that hurts, don't do it!
After a month of staying off your feet you can return to running IF you can’t walk for 45 minutes pain free, followed by a day off, then do the same on the third day. If that goes well, you can begin to run ONE MINUTE at a time. Increasing the duration by one minute every four days.
'But what about my long, therapeutic, mountainous, trail runs that I love! What about the fresh air and feeling the elements against my face!' This is what I was saying deep down but instead I just nodded and accepted my fate. Until I got into the car at least, when the flood gates opened!
So, for the past month I’ve been the model student and done everything I was advised.
I began aqua-jogging, and at first I just didn't get it. I couldn't get my heart-rate to go up and struggled to do more than 20 minutes as it felt like 20 hours! Imagine the comparison... running on beautiful trails over mountains and jogging in a pool locked in a room that still looks like exactly the same pool no matter how long you flap around for! I know where I'd rather be.
After a few sessions I discovered that you just need to really increase your cadence. I began treading water at about 120-140 rpm. This kept my heart rate up, and then I added in intervals, increasing my cadence more and exaggerating all movements, bingo, a great workout! Still the most I could cope with was 45 minutes but at least I was getting some kind of training to my poor neglected running muscles.
Another positive to draw from this whole experience is that I've begun swimming again. I find swimming pretty boring too but way more satisfying than aqua-jogging. After three weeks of swimming by myself and struggling to maintain motivation, I bit the bullet and joined a group. I swam with a triathlon club in my teens and figured this was the best type of group for me as they generally stick to the one stroke that I can do. So now, four weeks post diagnosis, I'm swimming with Queenstown Tri-Squad and making massive improvements in the water.
Nobody wants to be told to stop doing what they love. Especially when you have such big goals based around that activity. But perhaps these things happen for a reason. Obstacles are put in our paths so we learn and grow. It would be very easy to sit on my backside and moan about the fact I can't live out my passion but that would create nothing but a downwards spiral of negativity. On reflection, this last month has been great and I'll tell you why.
With all of that in mind, I am a very lucky person. And today I feel especially lucky as I am about to go out for my first walk in a month. It will only be short but it will be outside and in the fresh air.
"The best way to show my gratitude is to accept everything, even my problems, with JOY.'