My next set of travel plans

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wow!  Part of my recent feeling low was not having any trips to look forward to.  I love to travel (maybe due to the escapism of real life?) but in the last few weeks a plethora trips have firmed up making 2019 look pretty darn adventurous.

Hoping this is actually a photo of Cornwall
Our first trip is to Cornwall on southwestern coast of the England.  We are going to a wedding for the Bank Holiday weekend.  I have never been to that part of the UK and I miss being near the ocean.  Plus I am looking forward to exploring a new bit of Britain.  It seems like in the last eight years, I have been limited in the places I have visited in England because Europe and Africa are also close. This year, I hope to visit a few new corners, far and wide.  Back to Cornwall though!  All of my fingers and toes are crossed for sunshine while we are beach side.  Aside from the wedding, we have booked on to a sea life cruise to see grey seals and puffins in the wild, a SUP session (will the water be chilly?) and James is packing his bike.  I decided I can ride my bike in London anytime but I can’t sit by the sea.

A few weekends later, I find myself back in Cornwall.  Freewave Surf Academy has kindly invited me down for a weekend of surfing and yoga (#gifted).  It will be my first attempt at surfing and I am not feeling confident as I can't do a burpee or squat thrust.  I should probably start some sort of burpee challenge between now and then to ensure I succeed.  Anyone care to join me?

Marshes in the tidal zone at Love Trails 2018
In July, I am headed back to the Gower Peninsula for Love Trails Festival (and James is coming along too!).  Last year, I had the best time (the weather definitely helped) and I can't wait to do it all over again.  Once again, I am volunteering to lead a few runs.  The organizers have also marked trails to the Blue Lagoon so people can go on their own and also arranged a free shuttle bus around the peninsula to help people explore.

Somewhere between now and November, I will be joining No Boundaries (NB) for a three-day hiking tour in Italy.  A few friends and I have bought our trip credits and are waiting to hear on the possible dates.  Back in February, I went on a three-day ski trip with NB (which I still need to write up) and had a blast.  It was lovely being away with people with common interests (skiing, being in nature, and of course, wine).  Hiking will be a bit of change (aside from Kilimanjaro) in terms of an active holiday.  I have no idea how rigours it will be but I think being outdoors with my friends will make it unforgettable.

My day job is sending me a week-long training course in Maine, USA in August.  To take advantage of being stateside, James and I are spending a few days in Boston and Philly before I head to Maine.  I went to university in Boston and can’t wait to take my nephews to the New England Aquarium (where I worked part-time during uni) and dine with old friends (as in I have known them for a long time, not that they are old LOL).

View of Edinburgh beach
My mom arrives for her annual visit in September, along with her friend, Donna.  They have visited us twice now.  Each time we explore somewhere new.  Their first trip we went to Bath and the next one we did an Irish roadtrip.  This year, we are spending a few days in Edinburgh for a change of scene.  I see castle tours and whiskey tasting in our future!  If it isn’t too far, I would also like to visit Loch Ness and St. Andrews, but I need to consult with the geographer before booking anything.

Hiking on mountain tops
My big adventure for 2019 is the Orbis Challenge in October.  2018 spoiled me bit between Kilimanjaro and Jordan.  My lack of mojo at the start of this year was partly due to lacking a sense of adventure.  Just like Kilimanjaro, I saw a tweet that sparked my interest and I was quickly connected to the team.  Slowly, I am being introduced to the team and helping sort out brand sponsorship.  This is an amazing opportunity to train/travel with Dame Kelly Holmes and interact with local people in Malawi, while learning about their plight with malnutrition.  There are three spaces left if you want to join me.  We are also gathering sports kit for the local school and monetary donations for feeding the local children. (I totally get that I fund raise a lot.  What can I say?  I like helping people!)

Finally, we are dreaming of powder ski days in Colorado for Christmas.  A few ducks need to be put into a row so stay tuned for this one.  Let it snow!

Body Image: Am I normal to think I am 'skinny-fat'?

Friday, May 17, 2019

This year's theme for Mental Health Week is Body Image.  Here I share a bit about my own hang ups with my body and how my views have changed over time.

If we define 'normal' as what the majority of people do, I think it is safe to say that it is normal not to like specific parts of your body.  These views are influenced from the culture we were raised in, what we were teased about at school, what media showed us growing up and even what we see today.  Fashion trends change (look at the evolution of eyebrow trend and male facial hair) with time, as do definitions of beautiful.  Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyonce (just to name a few) each have their own unique look and style.

Often times, we as the general public forget that these famous beauties have several things going for them which is why they are famous and/or beautiful.  Genetics is a big factor, followed by time and money.  Why time and money?  Because if you had the time, you too could work out for several hours a day to achieve a strong/lean/muscular/toned (insert adjective here) body.  If you had the money, you could afford a live-in chef, a top personal trainer, and be motivated by contract requirements to look a certain why (such as how actors manipulate their appearance for roles such as super heroes or POW).
September 2017- at one of my heaviest recent weights (but also a bad angle).
Plus my tan and the clothes I am wearing are not flattering.
My motivation comes and goes.  As a fitness blogger and personal trainer, I do feel a bit of pressure to look a certain way.   My grandmother was always on a diet when I was growing up.  Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, cabbage soup- you name it, she tried it.  My shape takes after her's- apple.  However, when I told her this- she defensively declared she was not an apple shape! In the first two years of high school, I felt pretty fit because I had physical education three times a week and played recreational soccer and softball.  Plus I could do proper press ups.  My goal weight will always be 126 pounds because when I was 19 years old, I had my tonsils out and started university.  I hadn't eaten solid food for a few weeks which slimmed me right down. Having access to ice cream twice a day in the canteen meant I quickly gained the Freshman Fifteen.  When I flip through old photos from my first year out of university, I am shocked at how chubby my face looks.  I didn't even notice at the time how heavy I was and wore bikinis to the beach (which I am reluctant to do now).  When I lost a lot of weight after my ex broke up with me in 2004 (dropped down to a USA size 6), everyone was so complimentary about how 'good' I looked. And it felt good to receive compliments and be skinny.  Lately, a few people have told me I look skinny when I bump into them, but I don't believe it.  Your perception of your own body image is relative based on where you are in life (lifestyle, maturity, self-confidence), the people around you and societal pressures.

Trying to be a lifestyle blogger with black on black
For the most part, I think of myself as skinny-fat.  I thought I had made up the term, but apparently it is a medical term for dangerous visceral fat that can impact your organs from working properly.  To me, it means that 'I know I am not fat but I also know I am not skinny.'  I am usually about 135 pounds and a US size 8-10 (UK 12).  I fluctuate depending on my training, how much sleep I am getting, and of course what I am eating.  Over the past two years, I have worked with a nutritionist and got down to 125 pounds.  I am also happy with my body at 130 pounds.  But sometimes when my weight is higher than that, my BMI says I am overweight (side note- I am not really keen on BMI for various reasons.  However, I totally understand why people use is as a baseline measure as it is easy to obtain).  Do you let ratings such as BMI effect you or do you go on how your clothes fit and how you feel?  Or do you use another measure, like percent body fat?

Working on my lazy (but fabulous) bum for running
The part I like least about my body is my stomach.  I love my legs, my ankles, my boobs, my arms, and my wrists.  I like my bum too.  But in my mind, a narrow and toned stomach is the ultimate feature.  Unfortunately for me, I don't have the genes to have one naturally or the will power to eat my way to having it.  Because of this, I don't like wearing tight-fitting clothes or what I call "fabric that gives." I want to avoid looking heavier than I actually am or worse- pregnant (which I am not).  I don't enjoy clothes shopping because I only want to wear clothes that make my body look the shape I think it should even though it's not.  It took a long time for me to give up boot cut jeans and swap to the trendy skinny cut because it changed my silhouette to be bigger at my hips and waists because my ankles are skinny.  And low cut jeans?  They are my nemesis!  I need panels of fabric to keep my belly contained, especially after a burger and fries.  When I moved to the UK, all the women in the gym wore leggings, but I was self conscious about my shape to I stuck with shorts (which show off my legs) and boot cut activewear for a long time.

March 2019 on the last day I ran up until recently.
Tan is gone but looking a little more toned than the 2017 photo.
I have proven (between doing the Whole30 while marathon training and while sticking to my nutritionist's plan) that I can loose those last annoying five pounds and be skinny (well I could in my 30's).  Was I happy with how I looked?  Absolutely.  What I happy in life while avoiding certain foods and alcohol?  Sometimes.  Whole30 is very hard for anyone to accomplish, especially someone who loves sugar, sweets, and Jack Daniels as much as I do.  It also put a lot of pressure on cooking meals at home and socializing with friends.  With that said, I found black and white rules much easier for me to follow than stopping halfway through eating a candy bar.  My nutritionist would set goals for calories (based on if it was a workout or rest day) and then tell me how many grams of fats, carbs, and protein I should eat per day.  I was given the choice and flexibility to achieve that.  But I barely could stick the calories, let alone the macros.  I made incorrect choices. I couldn't control my cravings.
My weight over the last 6 months
I managed to get my weight down and stable between August and December 2018.  It was probably due to my 4x4 Challenge, which required a lot of travel and running.  Now that I can start running again and have a run challenge set for October (more on that next week), things are starting to look up.  My weight has crept up since then but I now feel I am ready to focus on making good food choices.  But I will probably always think of myself as skinny fat and wonder if other people think I don't know how to dress for my body type when they see me wearing tight fitting clothes.

August 2018. Flattering outfit and fit body.
Are you happy with your body shape?  Does your body image match how others perceive you?  What influences you the most in your judgements?

Feeling like my old self again

Monday, May 13, 2019

Did you know that it is Mental Health Awareness Week is 13-19 May?  The theme this year is Body Image, which I will talk about in another post as it is such a loaded topic.  I have been sharing a bit here and on social media the mental struggles I have been having over the last few months.  I am happy to report that I seem to be coming out on the other side.  There is still a bit of stigma around mental health and anxiety in the United Kingdom, so I wanted to share a bit about my story and what I have been doing to try and get better.  It feels a bit weird to do this as I brand myself as the "Happiness Personal Trainer."  You might think I have nothing to be sad about or that I am always smiling.  Neither of these are true.  I am just like everyone else who experiences the highs and lows of life.

The first time I was on anti-depressants was in 2005 when I didn't get into veterinary school for the second time.  It was a plan I had put in place in 2002 that involved moving back in with my mom, attending university part-time to obtain the appropriate prerequisites (like organic chemistry) and working part-time in a small animal clinic.  I also had to take standardized tests and obtain additional experiences with animals (I volunteered at the local humane society farm on the weekends).  I knew it would be a stretch to get in based on the USA vet school admissions system (too complicated to explain here) and even considered moving to North Carolina to increase my chances at different school.  In the end, it wasn't meant to be.

I really struggled with that reality.  I felt lost.  I didn't have a life plan or a sense of purpose.  All I knew is that I wanted something else with my life.  I tried to figure it all out with career counselling, therapy, and switching jobs to a medical laboratory that allowed me to move into my own place.  To help me get through an unsettling time, my doctor put me on citalopram, a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.  It is used to treat depression and panic attacks (luckily, I don't have these unless I have to get a cavity filled or go in an enclosed slide).  When I started to feel better, I went back to my doctor and obtained a plan to wean myself off of them.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010.  I was getting married and moving from a small Midwestern town in the USA to London.  Almost everything I had, I had to sell, donate, or throw away (turns out not enough of it as we had to hire an extra car to drive items for storage to my mom's).  Luckily, I was able to secure a job before we landed, but there was a lot of change going on in a small window of time.  So I decided to get back on citalopram to help me through another time of transition.

Life in London was a huge adjustment and I stayed on the medication to help me cope.  There never seemed to be a good time to come off of it.  I am 'only' on 20mg/day which my doctor says is a low dose.  A few years ago, I increased my dosage around Christmas time as I was stressing about family and holidays (as many people do).  There is too much to go into here, but I wasn't handling things well.  I went back to my doctor and we agreed to temporarily increase my dose. After a few months, things were less stressful and I went back to my original dose.

And here we are today.  For the last few months, I have been struggling mentally and emotionally.  There are a few reasons why:
  • Things at work aren't where I want them to be
  • My dog passed away unexpectedly (we knew the end was near, but there was an accident)
  • I haven't been able to do high-impact exercise (ie run) since 8 March
  • Also during that time, I have had a bad cold with stuffy nose and cough (so it was good that both happened at the same time to save me time)
  • My energy levels are low and I just feel tired, especially when I wake up. I was worried my glandular fever (mono) was back but I never had a fever.
  • In general, I tend to over-commit which brings on anxiety.  This is an on-going problem that I am working on.
I finally decided I couldn't go on like this.  A few weeks ago, I went to my doctor for blood tests and to increase my citalopram dosage.  I have also read books on mindfulness, cognitive behaviour therapy, SUMO straight-talking, had hypnotherapy, and tried CBD oil.  I also reached out to several friends back home and had some amazing catch-ups on the phone.  Even though it caused tension at home, I decided to avoid certain social situations that could have triggered additional stress.  Finally, I ate a lot of raw cookie dough.  So much so that I gained six pounds (I am sure the no exercise bit didn't help).

Slowly the tides are changing.  My cough is just about gone.  Last week, I was able to run for a few minutes at a time (not long enough to get a runner's high).  I was a bit worried before I started running as I didn't want to injure myself again, but so far so good!  At the end of last week, my husband noticed my mood was improving too.  Citalopram (much like other anti-depressants) can take a few weeks to start working.  My blood work was normal, aside from low folic acid for which I was prescribed a medication.  The doctor said if I still feel low in three months to come back and see her (thanks NHS).  On Saturday morning, my latest adventure became real because I booked my flights (more on this later in the week).  Finally, I was able to watch a very adorable puppy Saturday afternoon which brought me much joy.  I am still looking on several dog rescue websites a day but haven't found "the one" yet.  Puppy-sitting will have to do for now.

Where does leave me?  And you?

Obviously, in sharing these personal details with you, I officially have Imposter Syndrome and am worried the trolls will come out of the woodwork.  However, I felt strongly that I wanted you to know about my experience in case you or someone you know are also feeling low or sad.  I am quite open with my colleagues about my medication and happy to answer any questions that they may have.  And I want you to know that you can ask me questions too.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in needing anti-depressant medication.  I have many friends that have been on them.  Some have been able to come off and others realized that they need to stay on them.  

Depression can be genetic, it can be a chemical imbalance, caused by a stressful situation (like I have had recently), or medical problems.  It doesn't mean you are weak or a bad person.  If you are feeling depressed and thinking about harming yourself, please call 999 or Samaritans in the UK (911 or Suicide Prevention Helpline in the USA).  Ask for help.  

What have I learned over the last few months?
  • I need to run to manage my anxiety and depression levels.  Soon I will be able to do this.
  • I asked for help and I got some from friends, my family, and my doctor.  And their support helped me tremendously. 
  • Although I have enjoyed having freedom in my schedule not to be home at specific times, I really miss having a dog.  Oldland gave me a purpose, a reason to walk in the park every day, and a friend to cuddle with on the couch.
  • I needed extra medication to manage my situation.  How did I know this?  I didn't want to get out of bed (sometimes I didn't even want to shower, but I did).  I didn't want to talk to anyone.  My tolerance for other people was very low.  I just wanted to sit on the couch and watch Grey' Anatomy.   
  • Having an adventure or trip to look forward to gives my mind something to focus on and plan for.  Which makes it a good distraction technique! 

I can't say what the next few months will bring.  The medication seems to be working.  Once I am able to run regularly, I will have a good think about whether it will be time to adjust it again.  I will keep sending James links to dogs up for adoption and try to convince him that we are ready for another one.

Please feel free to email me if you would like to ask me any questions about depression or being on anti-depressants.  

Help save the planet by eating more chocolate

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

From when I was young until 2014 when I did my first Whole30.  I was a vegetarian/pescatarian.  The only meat I ate was tinned tuna.  This slowly faded out after I ride a TIME article explaining how the fish was going to be extinct within the next 50 years. The no-meat-thing stemmed from me being a picky eater rather that a righteous drive.  I was opposed to swordfish for over-fishing reasons and veal for animal welfare perspective, but seemed to be in the minority for both.
Typical Whole30 breakfast
When I started eating meat three times a day, it was a big change. I had no idea how to cook it or how to season it.  My husband has been flexitarian since we lived in USA so it caused a few problems at meal time when we wanted different things.  Although I no longer follow the Whole30, I work with a nutritionist, Shannon  who has me eating 100+g protein/day.  As much as I love protein shakes and bars, they tend to be expensive when you have multiple servings a day and seem to be full of chemicals and/or sugar.  They are handy to satisfy my sweet tooth though because of this.
Sweet tooth, say what?
My husband and I still disagree about how much meat I eat and what kind.  Normally I have chicken for lunch, which I season and grill.  However, this gets old quickly.  I will mix it up with sustainable wild salmon, Heck sausages, and the occasional ground beef or lamb.  If we eat out, I will usually get a cheeseburger (with bacon, avocado, and sweet potato fries if possible).  In a recent article, the environmental impact of eating meat is highlighted.  There are movements for Meat Free Monday and generally eating less meat.  I no longer have meat at every meal, but I do need to hit my protein targets.

The one source of protein we agree on is chocolate milk (one of the many reasons I think we knew we were suited for each other).

When I saw a tweet offering a new protein-packed chocolate for review I immediately responded for the following reasons:
  • I love chocolate
  • I need more protein
  • I like to support female entrepreneurs and small businesses
If you went to the London Marathon expo, you may have met Carole Armitage, the person behind 80 Noir Ultra.  She started 80 Noir Ultra because she has used chocolate a a way to fuel when growing up and when playing badminton for England.  She uses a specific 79.3% dark chocolate blend that she created with a Parisian chocolatier and it is been tested and endorsed by a registered nutritionist. The current available flavors are the baseline 80 Noir Ultra (7.7g protein/100g), Funky Monkey (8.6g protein/100g), Booster Bars (8.8g protein/100g), and Apple Pie (9g protein/100g).

I treated myself to a hot chocolate after being timekeeper at parkrun not too long ago and it was delicious.  I added two scoops of the pistols to 160ml of slowly microwaved semi-skimmed milk and stirred for a while to get it to melt (I don't think the milk was hot enough and I was being too lazy to heat properly on the stove top).  I have also tried Apple Pie and Funky Monkey.  My usual preference is for dark chocolate and they were all yummy.  On average, 100g of dark chocolate offers 4.9 grams protein but, as shared above, 80 Noir Ultra offers more.  When you add this to milk (3.6g protein per 100ml), it is a pretty powerful punch.

Simply put, I loved each and every sample I was given of 80 Ultra Noir.  I haven't been able to use it for a proper recovery drink as I have been injured for eight weeks but I will be happy to give it a go as soon as possible.

So it looks like, I need to be supplementing my protein intake with hot chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolate milk instead of mass produced farm animals.  That is one diet I can get on board with!

Thanks to Carole Armitage for the complimentary samples. All opinions are honest and my own.

How to evaluate your fitness levels at home

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How can you tell if your hours in the gym are making a difference?  Do you track your race finishing times in a spreadsheet? Do you keep a record of your weight sessions to monitor your progress?  It may be easy for you to keep track of your physical fitness progress without lots of fancy equipment or even a personal trainer.

In the USA, every year in physical education class we had to take part in the Presidential physical fitness test.  We would have to run a mile, do pull ups and sit ups, run shuttles, and sit and reach (for flexibility). Each year, we could see how we did compared to the last year or against our classmates.  Unfortunately, I was never very good at the tests and even failed it in 3rd grade  (I wish I could go back and re-take them now!).

Even though we aren’t still in school, there are ways you can keep track of your fitness too.  If you do circuit training, you might already keep track of your weights and reps with each workout.   Similarly, with a simple notebook, here are examples of other fitness tests you can do at home:

Take inspiration from the Presidential fitness test and every few months measure how many press ups and proper sit ups (not crunches) you can do in one minute.  Time yourself when you run a mile outside or on the treadmill.  Ok take it a step farther and work on how long you can hold a plank or wall sit.

You can also regularly check your percent body fat and Body Mass Index (BMI) (this is not part of the Presidential fitness test).  As BMI isn’t the best measure (it simply creates a relationship between your weight and height, without taking into account your body shape or muscle mass), I recommend investing in a sewing tape measure.  Body circumference measurements of your biceps, waist, hips, and thighs can be more telling if you are losing body fat or gaining muscle.  Of course, calipers are the best methodology (in terms of accuracy)  for assessing body fat and this can be done by a certified personal trainer.

Monitor your explosive power by practicing a long or a vertical jump.  Go for speed and endurance by counting how many times you can skip rope without missing a step.  Too easy? Go for burpees in a set amount of time. Still too easy? Add in box jumps at the top and press ups at the bottom, like these guys.

Open up Excel and create your own fitness test log. On the first of each month, set aside 15 min to see how fast you can run a 5K, how many press ups you can do in a set time frame, and how  your waist circumference measures up.  Make it a mini-competition with friends and create a small trophy to win which will keep it interesting.  Use this info to adapt your training regime to maximise your potential. If you need any tips, feel free to send me an email (

How to choose a gym

Friday, April 19, 2019

We are quite lucky living in London that there are hundreds of gym and fitness studios to choose from.  It is always a bit tricky though, deciding which one to commit to.  Class Pass gives people with a fear of monogamy a chance to try out lots of different studios and classes, but I think it also limits how often you can visit some studios (please correct me if I am wrong.  I have never tried it).  There are also a few apps out there of a similar nature, and the Move GB membership.  But for me, I don't have time to travel all over London and book a different class each day.

My preference is to streamline my efforts and spend my time efficiently.  Until I was training for the Ultra X Co Jordan Ultra, I didn't have a need to join a gym.  If I was teaching group exercise classes, I would get a free workout.  Plus, most gyms I worked at would allow me to use the facilities for free.

But now I need to focus on my strength training, especially if I want to maintain some fitness while being injured.  Here are a few of the things I considered when I was choosing a gym to join.
  • Location and hours- Julie Creffield, blogger and owner of Fat Girls' Guide to Running, goes to a local Crossfit Gym because it is literally across the road from her flat.  She can also bring her daughter, who will sit and read or color, which makes it a win-win for Creffield.  I knew location would be important to me too as I am always pressed for time.  If the gym wasn't somewhere between work and home, I wasn't going to be able to get there.

  • Price- This will probably be the most important factor for many people.  I know it was for me, but mostly because I have been lucky so far in London and not had this as a regular expense.  Be mindful that you will get what you pay for.  In my experience, large budget chains are not very tidy, have staff that are not engaged, and equipment that needs repair.  On the flip side, boutique studios tend to give you more 1-2-1 attention, have lush toiletries and little perks, such as free towels.  For example, 360 Athletic (near Victoria station in London) offers tailored personal training for their members by incorporating physiotherapy into training plans.  If you train for a specific sport or have strength imbalance, this will help you train more effectively.
  • Amenities- Do you want a pool, a variety of group exercise classes, or access to a personal trainer?  Ask to look at class timetables before you sign on the dotted line in case you were planning on going to yoga class and later find out that the classes are at 6am (which is when you are normally sleeping).  I didn't check the fitness schedule too closely before joining my gym and am not able to attend many classes.

  • Equipment- Does the equipment look new and taken care of?  Or is it laying about and rusty?  Do they have the free weights you want or the right kind of indoor rower?  This aspect will be more important if you are training for something specific, such as a mountainous trail ultra or Trans-Atlantic rowing expedition.
  • Staff- When you ask a member of staff a question, what is the response that you get?  Are they friendly?  Helpful? Dismissive? Do they go the extra mile?  Or is there no staff in the middle of the  night because it is a 24 hour facility? You will need to decide how important the presence of staff and their attitude is to you.  Being American, I like prompt and effective customer service and struggle to find it in the UK.

The one other thing you may want o consider before you join a gym is if any of your friends or co-workers are members too.  The accountability of meeting someone will help ensure you turn up at the gym when you agree on it.  If the gym still seems expensive, ask if they have an introductory deal.  Many gyms and studios (such as 360 Athletic and Fierce Grace Yoga's City Studio) will offer a 30 day trial at a reduced rate.

How did you choose your gym?  Did I miss anything important in my criteria?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Injury and life update

Monday, April 15, 2019

My last run was on 8th March on a roof top track in Central London with Advent Running.  That day I went to Function360 (gifted) and saw my osteopath, Emma.  She hadn't examined my Achilles before and was concerned at how swollen and tender they both were (particularly my left).  She gave me orders to rest for a week and ice every day until I saw her again the following week.  Unfortunately, the following week brought even worse news.  No high impact activities for at least four more weeks, and continue with the daily icing.  I was able to continue teaching indoor cycling, which was a Godsend.  Without an endorphin release, I started to go a little bit crazy by week 3.

You may be wondering why I didn't try swimming or some other form of no impact exercise?  I started to get a cold about the same time.  I stayed home one day to try to recover from it, yet it still lingers on.  Along with the running nose, sinus pain, and now phlemy cough, I feel tired.  The silver lining is that my injury and cold are aligned.  At least my body is efficient!

Every week, I see Emma and she examines my Achilles and decides if I need soft tissue therapy, acupuncture, and/or taping.  When I saw her last week, she said this week we can talk about starting to run again.  Then she gave the caveat of one minute on, one minute off to start with.  But I will take it!

Even though I am not allowed to run, I still need to do my strengthening and stretching exercises.  I have been doing my full physiotherapy program two to three times a week.  On my tea breaks, I pop over to the gym and do my eccentric calf raises and isometric holds.  I hope by sticking to my program that when I am able to run again, I will not have lost too much speed.  My cardiovascular system will need to catch up with my legs but I am hoping once my cold is gone, I can get into a pool (if only my hair wouldn't get wet).

Since I am injured, I have been volunteering at parkrun.  Today, I learned there is a Boston marathon in Lincolnshire that is the same weekend as THE Boston Marathon.  As the ever optimist, I am going to put it on my list for next year (even though it will be not too long after Tokyo Marathon).

I have also joined a virtual run club, as I haven't been running with my Advent Running crew as of late.  If you are looking to meet other runners from around the world, why not check out the Run Things Virtual Running Club (scroll down this page for all the info)?  These are the people behind Run Up to Christmas for Mind Charity, which tons of people in the UK do every year.  For a one-time payment of £25, you get a t-shirt and online support in a Facebook group and Strava club.  They offer additional virtual races throughout the year, so if you are motivated by race bling, definitely check them out.

Good luck to everyone running the 123rd Boston Marathon today and congrats to everyone who ran Brighton yesterday.  I hope I can stand in a starting pen for Boston in 2021 as my last WMM.  If all goes well, I will be running Tokyo in 2020.

If you are struggling with an injury, niggle, or need a sports massage (and live or work in London), give Function360 a call. Their team can handle it all and give you continuity of care.  You can get 15% off your first appointment with code #F360MM15.