Couch to 5K – Where Am I At Now?
That’s one of the questions I have been asked.
Did you ever finish the couch to 5K? What has happened? Couch to 5K – Where are you at now? because there has been nothing since week 4 of your Couch to 5K journey last year! I was so behind on my blogging too, in part, because I was outside enjoying my runs. I had long since completed the couch to 5k and honestly, the three days a week out jogging just became part of my weekly routine.
I have been asked to follow up on, my blogs months and months ago about my Couch to 5k Journey. But I was like I don’t want anyone to know why I stopped jogging or what happened. Nothing serious or dangerous. There would be days that I would say ok just type and then nope, I just couldn’t do it. But today is a good day. I have just come back from a jog, so here were go! Yes, I finished the couch to 5K, loved every single run, and it got me up about and at ’em with Reggie and with my running partner and her pooch, Lily. We would meet at the usual spot and then head off and mix it up with different routes, and different parks. If either one of us couldn’t make it out for whatever reason, then either one of us would head out on our own, when it was safe to do so.
So my last run was a wonderful evening in a local park. It was a fabulous evening. I recall seeing lots of other people out running. All ages, young running around creating bubbles from a little wand and container, kiddies playing football, and youths running through the park. Right up to men and women in their 80s keeping fit. And that just blows my mind, at that age looking after yourself mentally and physically. I have so much respect for everyone getting outside and being physically active.
On that last couch to 5k run, it was extremely hot. I thank my lucky stars that I was out with my running partner and wearing dark jogging tights. Towards the end of the continuous 5K gingerly jogging around the park I started to feel something wasn’t a hundred percent right. My back felt like a river of sweat, but I just put it down to the extreme heat we were experiencing (it’s July 2021). We came to the end of the run and were starting to stretch our muscles out when I realised my jogging tights were very badly stained down to my knees. Yes, I knew I was menstruating but never before like this. I was absolutely mortified and very embarrassed. So I explain to my friend what has happened and thankfully I had a running bag with a top I could sling around my waist. My friend was so kind and understanding and walked me all the way down to my car, 15 minutes away. Honestly, that felt like an age. And I was uber aware of my situation and wondering WTF at the same time. We encountered a group of young lads just sitting on a park bench 3 minutes from the car. My friend so graciously stepped in front of me knowing my upset. And I was upset because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. We said our goodbyes and I popped a picnic blanket onto the driver’s seat. Off I drove and let me tell you I couldn’t pull my car into the drive quick enough.
I bound up the stairs so quickly, as I didn’t want my children to see how upset I was. The tears started to flow when I got to my bedroom as I was in my home, a place of safety. Only natural as I’d had a shock. But I did kick myself, I’m like toughen up Andrea (honestly we can talk dreadful to ourselves a lot of the time). Even though it’s only around 8.30 pm after my shower of healing hot water soothing me physically and emotionally, I decide to just get into my PJs and wrapped in a big fluffy wintery gown. As I’m still physically shaking from the experience, I decide to make a hot water bottle and have a measure of vodka(double) to just calm down and settle myself. My children are unaware so I’m relieved about that. Then I’m sitting on my couch, feeling better with a throw underneath and over me and the hot water bottle. I love the heat, but this was a bit extreme. Then I have a chat with a friend on the phone and get up to find the remote control for the tv. That’s when I twig, oh shit, it’s just happened again. And I’m not aware. Scary. I could have been anywhere and this could have happened again. I have soaked through my pj’s, gown, and throw. I rang The Coombe Women’s Hospital. “Get down to emergency and we will see what we can do”. I ring my mom who lives next door and she takes me in. Quite upsetting for her too. But I learn some things en route to the Coombe that I hadn’t heard before. So it was reassuring. Even though I knew of course it would be OK.
Fast forward to the end of July when I got a procedure done to help me. It meant no baths, swimming, hot tubs, or jogging and no sex for 6 weeks because of the risk of infection. Which I of course stick to. After a quick visit back to my consultant I get the all-clear to resume life to its fullest again. Fantastic!
However, to my surprise, I delay going back to jogging. I make up every single excuse I can think of,” it’s too soon”, “I’m too busy”, “maybe next week”, or “our schedules are really clashing right now” (my poor running partner!). The fear of something happening again from my subconscious mind was just SOOOOOO much bigger than the reality of more than likely nothing happening and I’ll be grand. I even walked the park with Reggie and was like “oh shit, what if”. I could recall everything in so much detail, and the fear grew again. I was adding fuel. In reality, rationally, I was just fine, but my more powerful subconscious mind hadn’t realised that. It was locked in fear mode. Its job is always to protect me from (quite possibly) ever running again and most certainly not in that same park, the same route. So one day I just said this is ridiculous. You have all of these therapies and so many friends who are therapists and any one of them will help you. Just reach out and ask. Do I do that? NO. I didn’t want to ask, I didn’t want to recant what had happened. And I’m not good at asking for help sometimes. I’m quite independent. Instead, I do it myself. In my mind, I revisit the event. I Self-Haven and then distance myself from what was my own trauma. When I feel sure I can’t get the same old feelings and emotions back, I am satisfied that I can do this. I change into the same clean jogging gear and go bring Reggie for a run and take the same route. Taking it slow. My mind successfully distanced itself from what had happened and I know I am safe. And I loved it.
I wish there was so much more known about peri-menopause and menopause. That doctors and women are more educated as to what can happen. Davina McCall has done quite a bit to raise awareness, and I thank her for that. You can check out her documentary, Davina McCall: Sex, Myths, and the Menopause, and here are Dr. Louise Newson and Davina McCall, Talking Menopause with Davina McCall. For anyone wishing to connect to an Irish menopause group check out Catherine O’Keffe, Wellness Warrior.
Then life got in the way with family stuff in the New Year. Quite simply I wasn’t prioritising myself and my own needs first. I have now decided to heed my own words to clients, and “schedule it into your diary just like you would for work or for your children. And don’t cancel on yourself”. Then fate intervenes … again. I broke the smallest bone in my left foot (as it turns out, hanging the clothes out on the line is a hazard). This caused the most amount of trauma to my left leg from the knee down. It swelled and swelled and swelled and I spent several weeks sleeping on the couch downstairs and bingeing on Netflix to console myself because I couldn’t get up the stairs. My GP was amazing, Dr. Eleanor Galvin, goes above and beyond for me. I am so grateful to my children, parents, partner, and friends for calling in. Grateful for the phone calls and texts to keep me up to date on all sorts of news. Even just a dirty joke to laugh at, to bring me out of the little world that I was in, was and is greatly appreciated.
The gas thing is whilst I was on that couch I was so determined to get up and running again. Not walking. My priorities were to be back jogging and also dancing around the kitchen to tunes. My physio in St Colmcilles Hospital, wonderful efficient service from the entire injury unit, was like “you have to be walking first before you can do anything else”. And can I just say how I have a newfound respect for anyone on crutches, they are very hard going on your hands and arms. The other thing, thanks to the downloadable weight-loss audios, is that I did not have a want for chocolate or feel like I had to console myself with my old bad eating habits. I won’t lie to you, I have put on weight from being laid up. I also gave myself time off to accept where I am now with love and kindness. And that yes my shape has changed, BUT I am ok with that after living on my couch for so many weeks. I am at peace with it. And now I am ready for positive change. I didn’t do anything physical for 11 weeks in total.
So this is the first week I am back doing my couch to 5K. I started at the beginning again so as not to be foolish. I wanted to test the water with my foot and knee, to see if I could jog again because I can dance around the kitchen.
Again I am so happy I am outside and not pounding the cross trainer that was in my bedroom. For me the cross trainer was a chore, even when I could listen to tunes or watch a movie, it just wasn’t for me. So I free-cycled the cross trainer (this is a Facebook group for Rathfarnham areas but check out your local freecycle groups on Facebook). The cross-trainer found a new owner really quickly. I am happy for the person that took the cross-trainer. I am also happy for me to have done a little decluttering in my room.
For me and my mental health, it’s getting up and getting outside. I am an introvert by nature, so I am quite happy to stay indoors from one end of the day to the next – even though my friends are quite surprised when I say I am an introvert. So for me, it is extra important to make the effort and get out and about. I am prioritising myself and making “me time” during the week.
You might laugh at this but when I started day 2 just before my pal and I set off, I said to her, I am loving this because I feel slimmer already. Now realistically this isn’t the case, but the feeling is so very important here. When you feel something and then believe it, that’s where the magic happens and before you know it I will be in clothes that I want to wear for Christmas and feeling like a badass again! And I am listening to Florence and my downloadable audios in my sleep or even signing up for our free introductory audio.
And I am now starting into week 2 on the Couch to 5K, Reggie will be delighted as he will be coming with me. I know I can get out and do it now.
Would you just look at the happy head on Reggie now he has heard the news! It’s a Win, Win.,