Tag Archives: health

Bonds

Standard

I’ve been a bit absent, mainly because I had another endometriosis clean out which resulted in a couple of post-op issues. One of them, somewhat ironically given the tale I am about to tell you, was the large bruise I grew on my tummy. The problem with the excess skin I have hanging on my tummy is that, well, it’s heavy. The weight of it resulted in a pooling of blood that created a bruise that resembled the poo emoji.

20503029_10154895434000897_548155162_o

Right there, the poo emoji.

A week later, the bruising is starting to subside.

However, I wasn’t enjoying being sat on my bottom. I needed to return to some form of normal. So this week, I returned to the gym. No weights, nothing strenuous, just some walking on the treadmill. Restarting normal routines and that kind of thing. It went fine on Monday.

On Wednesday, on the way to the gym, my tummy was feeling a bit sore and crampy. I didn’t say anything in case it resulted in beloved turning the car around, but I should have spoken up, I should have I should have I should have.

But alas, I did not.

I got on my treadmill and after 10 minutes, I realised that the cramping was a signal that there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. I told beloved I’d be back in a tick. I left my phone and everything on the treadmill, and wandered across the gym to the bathrooms. And as I walked in, I was thinking about other things, more important things, more essential things, instead of checking to make sure that the stall I was about to plonk myself down in had toilet paper.

And it did not.

I will spare you the details of my bathroom activities, but the lack of toilet paper presented a significant and serious issue.

I was perched upon a porcelain throne. I was surrounded by silence. My thoughts were racing through my head. What do I do?

I poked at the toilet paper dispenser, praying for a square or a scrap or a whisper of hope.

Nothing.

I should have brought my phone and I should have said something when my tummy was sore in the car, I should have I should have I should have.

But I did not.

I considered my options.

They were not particularly generous.

I needed to keep my tights on, for the sake of decency. Same with my shirt. And the two bras. I considered my remaining options.

While things were already quite dire, I felt it would be indecent to use my undies as toilet paper. What if I decided to do squats and my tights were not squat proof?

This left me with two options.

Left sock, or right sock.

I wear Bonds socks. They come up high enough to prevent blisters, they have a soft sole, and when I mop the floors I can leave BONDS prints all over the floor.

In around 1985, there was an ad on TV for Bonds. It went like this:

As I sat there on the loo, left with a terrible decision to make, I found myself humming the ad. I sighed, resigned to the reality I was faced with. And slowly, I removed my right sock.

When I left the bathroom, I must have had guilt and shame written all over my face. As I walked out, I bumped into a friend who asked me what I was doing. I told her I’d gone to the loo, and mentioned that there was no toilet paper.

She asked me how I had gotten myself out of that particular pickle.

Again, I signed. And I looked down at my feet, sadly. Left foot snug in a Bonds sock. Right foot, naked inside my shoe.

20545319_10154903706290897_2655708251244895454_o

She laughed and told me I had to blog about this.

And so I have.

Have you ever had this happen to you? What would you have done in my situation?

Advertisements

Back to the start

Standard

The most common question I get asked is, “How did you get started?”.

Now, I know they’re not asking questions regarding how I was conceived because god knows I don’t want to discuss or imagine this. No, generally this question is asked when people see photos like this:

18057670_10154596002625897_9192018219058711497_n

Undesirable No. 1 

As an aside, people look at me fitting into one leg of my jeans or shorts or in this case, jean shorts, and comment that I’m half the size. In terms of weight loss, no. I’ve now officially lost over a third of my body weight. So I’m not half the size. Or half the person. Maybe that’s my brain being factual, or maybe it is the actual facts in answer to a statement where I have missed the point. Anything is possible. But my money would be on the latter option.

Anyway, how did I get started?

For me, the answer is this: Find a reason.

It needs to be a good one. An overarching reason. A reason that will make you tie your shoe laces and go, even when it’s cold or you’re sad or too busy or too stressed. It has to be a big reason, a reason that resonates with the core of your being and your will.

Nudging obesity related health conditions was not a big enough reason.

Being in constant pain was not a big enough reason.

Slow, unfit, hugely overweight: not big enough reasons, not for me.

Hating my body, and myself for what I’d let it become? Still not there.

Because all of these reasons, which are good reasons, weren’t enough for me to act.

For me, the big enough reason happened 14 years ago. But I didn’t turn it into a reason until July of 2015. Almost two years ago. So it took twelve years to realise the reason was there. It also took a considerable mind shift.

14 years ago, my mum died very suddenly.

She had some health issues, and was overweight.

There are things I won’t ever forget from the night she died.

It’s easy and natural to be stuck in grief.

But the thing is, I knew I was heading down a path to recreate this moment for my people. I was barrelling down the road that was going to put my people through the same thing. And when I looked at them and thought about them, I couldn’t understand why I would put them through that. For some of them, it would be the second time they would have to confront these experiences.

And so that cloak of mourning and grief had to be changed.

It became the hand on my back, pushing me forwards. It became the reminder on to the too cold too tired too hard days. It became the furnace that rose up from the pit of my belly and told me I could do this. It became the momentum behind my walking and running, the power in my weight lifting, the reason to scan my gym card or to sign up for yet another fun run.

When I hit the 50kg gone point, my aunt told me that I had realised mum’s goal.

And as my health improved, as well as my fitness, I had realised my own.

I’ve dodged a bullet, not only for myself but also for my people. And it comes down to that reason.

Essentially, my reason was love.

My reason was about changing the way that most painful moment changed my life. It took 12 years to get there, fortunately that was OK. But I don’t know how much time there was going to be to find that reason. I have no idea where I would have been today if I hadn’t started.

It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s something I know, though:

If you find a reason – and it must be a big one – then you’ve started. From there, it’s about moving. Find something you’ve enjoyed in the past. Walking? Swimming? Skipping? Set those beginning goals low. Walk to the mailbox and back each day. Walk in water if you’re sore. It’s not about speed, because you’re not racing anyone. It’s not about distance, because even marathon runners start small.

It’s just about starting.

And then remembering why you started.

18010300_1669949706351787_3208840316793851952_n

I won’t ever stop wanting my mum back. But I also know that the last thing she ever gave me was the power to save my life.

Which seems fitting, given she gave me that life in the first place.

 

On This Day

Standard

To the me on the left: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy.  I know you are uncomfortable. Everything hurts. Nothing is easy. Not walking not sitting not standing not anything. Every career path you’ve tried, you’ve struggled at because in your head you feel like everyone you know is judging you because of your size. They weren’t, but it’s hard to change a mind set, and it’s hard not to project your insecurities.

To the me in the middle: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You kept it going. The idea of being a personal trainer was still tucked away behind that head of curls and strange ideas. You were discovering, at around this point, that you enjoyed exercising. You enjoyed the fun runs, the weights, the treadmills and the spin bikes and the different things that your body was suddenly able to do.

To the me on the right: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You’re almost there now. You’ve taken that idea of being a personal trainer, completed the first part of your qualification and started the second. You’ve learned that the number on the scale isn’t overly important, what’s important is having a goal broken into micro goals, and then achieving them. You thought that losing weight would help you to be happy with yourself, and with your body. But then you discovered the joy of excess skin and chafing and random clapping. What you’ve been working for is hidden by a daily reminder of what was. What’s important though, is that it’s there. Hidden, yes. But there. You’ve worked your arse off, literally.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Those memory things on Facebook, they come up every day to remind you or taunt you or embarrass you about what you were doing on this day in previous years. The memories only go back for as long as you have been on Facebook, which proves that there is life outside of social media. Or, that there was.

It was because of the On This Day feature that I realised for the first ever time that my regime of training, walking, running, lifting and generally moving was making a difference to my body. It was 12 months ago, on this day, apparently, that I made this realisation.

It was a photo of me in my Scout uniform shirt. It was the largest size shirt that I could purchase. You can see how it fits – it was tight. And I remember seeing that photo of myself and thinking, “Hang on, my Scout shirt doesn’t fit like that anymore!”. So I put on my shirt and took a photo and compared them, side by side. It was a pretty huge moment.

Anyway, that original photo popped up in my On This Day reel today. I’m not doing Scouts anymore – I finished up last year so that I could focus more on my shifting priorities. So for shits and giggles more than anything else, I went and found my shirt and popped it on.

17887532_10154555817475897_448001924_o

The me on the left. The me in the middle. And the me on the right.

Thanks.

 

 

Still, we walk

Standard

Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

17760489_10154530465395897_908123052_n

I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

The Measure

Standard

I wanted to write a quick post mainly because The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight on Australian screens. If you’re not familiar with the show, a quick introduction: people apply/audition to be on the show based on their weight and wanting to change their lifestyle. Contestants are picked from the applications, and are then designated a group and a trainer for the group. The trainer generally yells and motivates the contestants through a variety of means. Contestants vomit, work hard, lose weight. Each week they weigh in and their weight loss is recorded. At first this is done either topless (men) or just in a sports bra (women). As they lose weight they start to wear singlets to the weigh ins. Then there’s a finale, and the person who has lost the greatest percent of their body weight wins.

The reason I want to write a blog in response to this is several-fold.

The Biggest Loser tends to encourage people to work on their fitness and lose weight. But you need to realise a couple of things.

1. You will not get the extraordinary weekly results that the contestants on The Biggest Loser get. There are several reasons why. The first is that the weigh ins are not actually weekly. I have read differing amounts of time between weigh ins, but in general they seem to be every ten days or even fortnightly. Not weekly. The second reason you will not get those same results is because the contestants are taking part in an extreme and gruelling exercise regime. We’re talking many hours in the gym per day. This is not sustainable in real life, because we have things like jobs and kids and partners and pets and washing.

2. If you are particularly well endowed in the chesticle region, you will struggle to find a sports bra that offers the required scaffolding to support the girls. Do your research, they are out there but you do need to work hard to find them. I got my first few online. They’re expensive but they are absolutely necessary.

3. Most importantly, is this: If The Biggest Loser inspires you to get moving, or even to jump on the scales and assess where things are at, remember this. There is no number on earth that will ever be an accurate measure of who you are as a human being. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on your clothing. Not even the number that represents your chronological age. You’re more than a number. You’re worth more than numerical digits that attempt to sum up your worth. I am worth no more at my weight now than I was before I started my weight loss adventure. I will always be thankful to who I was when I started, because she did the hard yards: walking into a gym for the first time. God, even just walking. You are more than a number. You are.

The Biggest Loser isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

But it always helps to remember the reality behind reality television.

 

 

Behind the keyboard

Standard

It was unexpected, by me, anyway – but the last post, It’s Not That Hard, went a little bit crazy. It resonated with many of you, and while I knew it was true for me, I tend to write things taking a bit of a punt that it might be true for other people, too. It’s kind of hard because my brain is a peculiar place. But it appears this time, I was spot on.

The problem with writing a post that results in new followers of this blog and big reactions, is that for me it creates this funny kind of pressure to follow it up really well. I guess it’s a different kind of writer’s block – performance anxiety or something. Who knows. But I decided in the end that probably the best way to follow up that post is by letting you know who is behind the keyboard for this particular blog. To prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to losing weight actually being quite hard.

This is me.

17029093_10154439987610897_64524518_n    17035915_10154439987615897_588483343_o

 

This is also me.

17078002_10154439988080897_755222043_n

17092342_10154439988075897_577336477_n

 

So yes. I do know that it is is indeed hard to lose weight. Anyone who tells you it isn’t that hard is an ignorant fool, and probably hasn’t been there. But I’ve already told you my thoughts on that one.

For me, this journey started when I fell down a flight of stairs. I completely screwed my ankle, busting bones and ligaments and tendons. I was overweight at the time, and the foot surgeon I saw said, “If you were an athlete, I’d repair it, but you’re not.”. Can anyone say arsehole?

Eventually, seven years after the initial fall, I did indeed get my ankle repaired. And after months of physio, and two more procedures, I started walking. Exactly 12 months after I took my first steps on that new ankle, I completed my first fun run. I barely ran, in fact I walked the vast majority of it and also managed to get lost on the course.

The thing is, in that seven year gap, I wasn’t able to do anything active at all. So the weight piled on. And on. And on. I also had PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian syndrome), which meant that I was exceptionally good at gaining and keeping weight. Like, National Representative good. And every single thing that I did, was hard.

I can tell you that while it wasn’t easy getting started, I knew I had to. I had a lot of motivators, but no motivation on earth is match for a reason. A Reason. Motivation can and will fall away. But I reckon if you have a Reason, a Reason for anything that you do, then you have something that will drive you through the days where you don’t want to, or it’s too hard, or you just cannot be arsed.

For me, my Reason was simple, but came from the most painful of firey furnaces. I’d say it  was like a phoenix but in reality is was more like an uncoordinated pelican that my Reason surfaced. It involved shifting of mindset and reframing of response.

My mum had died very suddenly, and the grief and aftershocks for my family and myself were, in short, heartbreaking. And I stayed stuck in grief mode.

And then one day, when I was thinking of my family and my people and my beloved, I realised that by not getting my health under some form of control, I was heading up a path that was going to force my people to go through the grief and pain of my own sudden death. Because that was the reality of where my health and my weight was.

So I changed the way I wore that blanket of grief. Tucked it into the back of my shirt and turned into some kind of mediocre superhero cape. Because it really was going to take a superhero effort to turn that ship around.

18 months later, that Reason hasn’t changed. For me, my Reason comes down to love; to an encompassing need to try to protect my people from experiencing that grief and pain of loss. Everyone is going to have a different Reason, but if you can find your Reason, then congratulations, you’re on your way.

That Reason pushes me on daily. Fuelled by love, I do my kilometres on the treadmill. I lift my weights. And now, I go to Tafe to learn how to be a personal trainer and fitness worker. Because there is a serious shortfall of people who know what this is like, first hand.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know all of that stuff. And even now it still makes me a bit wobbly to share it all again. These are painful things to think on, but it’s the reality, and if nothing else I have always, always had the mindset that if it’s painful and I have to do it, then I need to use it to help other people.

Give me a few months to finish these qualifications, and I’ll do just that.

17092152_10154439976760897_485692536_n

 

It’s not that hard

Standard

Sorry, yes it is, actually.

Today someone told me that it is not that hard to lose weight.

Someone with quite a small frame, who juggles their weight to benefit things like muscle definition.

Not someone who has battled obesity. Not someone who knows how hard it is to function with extra weight on board. Not someone who will have to make a choice every single day to stay in charge of their body.

So, in response to that particularly stupid and ignorant statement, I would like to respond with this:

It is hard.

And I want you to know that I know that it is hard, which is why I am learning to be a trainer – so that there is someone on your side who knows exactly how soul-crushingly, body-achingly hard it is.

It’s hard when you have that moment when you realise that you need to lose weight. It’s hard to realise that your weight is out of control, and that it’s collected some friends in the form of serious health conditions to keep you company.

It’s hard to recognise the depth and breadth of the changes you are going to make. It’s hard to recognise that you feel a sense of grief and loss about what your health has become.

It’s hard feeling shame, because we’re surrounded by a million different inputs every day on social media and television and in almost every interaction from the moment we put our feet on the floor in the morning – and they all tell us that we do not look the way we are meant to look or need to look.

It’s hard taking the first step into gym.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you, and you can’t keep up with what they are doing.

It’s hard going to the gym.

It’s hard to feel guilty for resting. Be it 20 minutes or a day or two days, even after 50kg gone I still feel guilty if I haven’t been “active” that day.

It’s hard knowing that as the weight comes off and your fitness improves, there is no ‘fast forward’ button in life. I remember the moment when I realised that this was going to take me a long time: I was pedalling on a bike, and in my head I was thinking about a movie or a TV show that did a flash forward on somebody at the gym. In a simple ten seconds they went from unfit and overweight, to fit and in a healthy weight range. That’s not going to happen. This is going to take time. Commitment. And a choice, every single fucking day.

And it’s hard.

Going to the gym or starting any new fitness regime is hard. Add to it, in my case, an extra 50 kilograms (and still more to go), and you tell me it’s not that hard to lose weight. Stepping on to the treadmill is hard because your knees, they’ve hurt for years. Sitting on a bike is hard because your back screams at you constantly. Weights are hard. Rowing is hard. Classes are hard. Walking is hard. Everything is hard.

It’s hard as you start enjoying the new routine of being active and regaining your fitness and health. You begin realising that there’s time, lost, that you can’t get back. It’s hard seeing old photos of yourself. It’s hard getting your head around your new body and your new shape. It’s hard working out how to respond when people tell you that you look great and that you’ve saved your life and that you must be feeling better. It’s hard when people say that they’re proud of you, like every other thing you’ve ever achieved wasn’t going to be good enough because of your size. It’s hard because if you’re lucky, there will be people who will remain steadfastly by your side – but they cannot do it for you. It’s hard because each and every hard yard is walked and run and carried out by you. It’s hard feeling lonely. It’s hard feeling pressure from yourself.

It’s not that hard, I heard someone say today.

All that says to me is that they have not had to do it.

And to be honest, I’m really glad that you think it’s not that hard to lose weight. Because you thinking that, and saying it in a public setting, sends the very loud and clear message that you have no ability to comprehend and empathise with what this is like.

And I’m also glad that I am able to comprehend it. Because it means that I can use that comprehension and empathy to help other people.

It is hard.

And don’t ever let anyone, regardless of their standing or role or qualifications, tell you that it’s simple or easy. It’s not. It’s hard. It’s bloody hard.

But if it’s worth it, it’s worth earning.

It is hard, and I am proud that I have put in 18 months of ridiculously hard work to get to this point. Still not finished, but closer today than I was yesterday.

It’s bloody hard. But yes. Yes, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

What would you do?

Standard

I’ve come up with an idea.

It’s based in that feeling. I don’t know if it’s a feeling only I get, or if other people get it too, so bear with me and I’ll flesh it out for you a bit.

You know that rising jittery feeling you get in your tummy when something you’re scared about happens? Or even looks like it might happen? What about when all paths seem to be leading to you having to compromise on things that you have avoided because they make you anxious? Are you like me, and refuse to do things because you honestly don’t think you can? Or, commit to doing something, then pull out at the last minute because it’s just too scary and confronting?

These are the things that have governed so much of my life. And at 38, I’m calling bullshit on those things. They are valid – this is not about saying you shouldn’t be scared or anxious or any of that. Because those responses are always valid. You’ll get some gurus who tell you that fear is irrational, I call bullshit on that, too. Fear is totally rational. It’s generally based in experience, or research, or gut instinct. Three things you cannot refute.

But what if it didn’t control your life. What if?

Just over 12 months ago, I made a choice to change my life. I suddenly had an ankle that wouldn’t let me down. And I had realised that unless I worked on my health – seriously worked on it, getting my weight under control and increasing my fitness – I was signing up my family to the heartache of another sudden death.

So, I made a choice. And it was a choice. I had two options: keep going how I was, convinced that my body wasn’t able to do anything to help me and to continue to be lost in grief; or just test out what my body could do, and turn that grief for my mum into a motivator.

15033565_10154120825845897_1096678475_n.jpg

It was not easy. It. Was. Not. Easy. Not at first. But slowly, it became routine. Get up, go to the gym, walk slowly on a treadmill. Or get up, get my shoes on, and walk slowly around the block. I started where I was, probably at less than where I was, so convinced was I that I couldn’t do anything. But the thing is, I started.

Which leads me to now.

Throughout this experience, the biggest thing that has held me back has been fear. Even now, when I know I can do all sorts of stuff. It’s almost like a habit, to doubt myself and come up with reasons to be scared.

But imagine what we could do if we removed fear from the equation.

14971707_10154120825865897_996410014_o.jpg

I have deemed this November to be NO FEAR NOVEMBER. I’ve challenged myself to turn off that fear reaction. Because ultimately, I still have those doubts about what I can do and how far I can push myself.

#NofearNovember is about doing things anyway, until I find out that I can’t do them.

We’re 9 days in to November, and so far?

I’ve gone to a different class at the gym, with an instructor I don’t know, and been totally fine.

I changed plans and rescheduled stuff, and been totally fine.

I organised a confronting Christmas gift for beloved (big shout out to Style By Divine and Pearl Davies), and been totally fine.

On Saturday I’m taking on my first Park Run. And I’ll be totally fine.

The thing is, I’m still scared doing these things. But I guess there comes a time when you have to again, make a choice. Be stopped in your tracks by fear, and regret the fuck out of the things you don’t do.

Or.

Do them until you find out that you can’t.

#nofearnovember

Are you in? Use the hashtag and show me what you’re going to take on. Or, search it on your social media to see what I’m up to.

A HUGE thanks to Josephine, Suzi and Alice who have all gotten behind me with the Variety Fun Run – you can still donate, the link is here!

 

Two

Standard

Two years ago, I was waiting.

The surgeon was running late.

I got a call from my sister, who was quite worried about things.

Beloved was by my side, the queen of my army of supporters.

And we waited.

Finally, I got wheeled off to surgery.

Drifted off to sleep, and woke up with a brand new ankle.

The original injury happened around seven years earlier: I’d fallen down a flight of stairs, severing the ligaments that support my ankle and gravelling off the end of one of the bones. The surgeon I had to see at the time looked at my body, looked at the xrays, and said (and I’ll never ever forget this) “If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not”.

So, for the next seven years, I broke my ankle. Again and again. Or twisted it. Or sprained it. And it got worse and worse.

Then I saw another surgeon.

This man, he became one of my heroes.

He took one look at my ankle, gave it a tug and watched how that pull had no end point except for when my skin got too tight.

He told me how he would fix it, and when.

On surgery day, he was running late.

So two years ago, I was waiting.

14695428_10154044390690897_5685774699666320078_n.jpg

I didn’t know it then, but that surgery saved my life. It certainly altered the path of my life. It took another surgery on my calf, a procedure on my Achilles and a shit load of physio to get me walking correctly again.

Exactly twelve months after I took my first steps, I did my first fun run. The Variety Santa Fun Run, raising money for the Variety children’s charity. I got slightly lost on the course and did an extra kilometre, but I did it.

Since then, I’ve done at least one fun run a month. I’m not sure on what the final tally is, but I’ve collected a swag of finisher medals and shirts and bibs.

14658368_10154044899640897_977637589_n

So far this year, according to the app I use, I’ve clocked up almost 800km. Just me and that repaired foot. And I still, still, get that buzz of joy every single time I start.

It’s not until you’ve been unable to do something for so long that you realise how much you love it. Love the freedom that being functional offers. Love the sense of achievement that one step after another brings. It’s been hard though. Realising that the barrier that I had for so many years no longer exists.

It’s so hard to explain, the fullness of the emotions that surround this day. Grief, for the years spent just… unable. The joy at these new days – and yes, even after two years, they’re still new days. The sheer amount of time I lost, not able to do stuff. The things I avoided. But now, the almost daily surprises I get when I do something that I couldn’t do. Or when I jump on and off beloved’s truck tray, then realise that I stuck the landing.

I stick the landings now.

In November, I’ll be back where I started with these fun runs. To finish off the year of fun runs, I’m taking on the Variety Fun Run again. I’d love it if you could throw in a buck or two, to help Variety help kids in need. Here’s the link for my profile.

It’s funny. It’s joyful, but it really is a sense of sadness about those years spent thinking that the first surgeon was correct; that I didn’t need or deserve surgery because of my body shape.

Well. I’ve fucking shown him.

But I know, without doubt, that I couldn’t have done it without that new surgeon, beloved and my beautiful army of supporters.

Thank you.

 

Dashing

Standard

It’s taken a week to write this post, I’m not too sure what the hold up was about – I had a ripper of an earache, things went slightly batshit busy, and any time I had to sit and write turned into time to sit and do nothing. But here it is.

On Sunday, I did the Dungog Dash with beloved and my sister.

This year has been the year of the fun run/walk. It started back in December, with the Santa Fun Run, and will end at the same event this year. I basically decided to pick the thing that was scariest, then do it over and over again until I convinced myself that I could. And it worked, and more than that, I’ve discovered that I love it.

Dungog was slightly different to the events I’ve done so far, it turns out. What attracted me to this event was a) it was helping out a community that was devastated by an East Coast Low last year, and b) it was open for dogs to participate. We didn’t take our furries, but I got to see SO MANY DOGS. Heart warmer, right there.

The problem was that I got slightly confused and registered beloved and myself as dogs. It was going to be a very long 6km on our hands and knees, but I was more concerned with the bum sniffing that seems to be the standard way dogs greet each other. It was an easy fix but we were slightly worried about completing the course when there were so many trees that needed to be weed upon.

13873004_10153877150110897_150135794744025361_n

Ready to go. Completely not dogs.

So the other thing about the Dungog Dash is that it’s cross country. I had absolutely NO IDEA it was a cross country event. Until now I had always done walks and runs that were on clear pathways – a lasting caution from the ankle reconstruction. But, onwards we go.

The first hill was enormous. But the dogs could do it, which meant I could do it too. With beloved beside me and my sister powering on ahead, we climbed that first hill. And it went on and on and on.

13872955_10153876837550897_5673489602438504400_n

The first hill.

What could have been a challenge too great turned out to be a beautiful morning walking through some amazing scenery. And with every single step, I realised that I wasn’t having to second guess where my feet went. I was able to walk and leap and run and jump and climb and skid and just do it without having to think about safer ways to do things. I am never ever taking the ability to move and do stuff for granted, not ever. It’s not a perfect ankle but I can do more than I have been able to do in years and years. And I love it.

All was well until we started going down the last hill. By this stage lots of people had gone before us, so the track through the grass and mud was well worn. I was having a panic because this part of the track wasn’t clearly marked, and as I do when I am in panic mode, I turned my ears off.

If I had turned them on, I would have heard beloved tell me to watch where I put my feet at the bottom of the hill.

If I had listened to her, I would have avoided this:

13876472_10153876837590897_1477185079488564620_n

Mud butt

Truthfully, that landing on my arse knocked the panic out of me and as I jumped to my feet, I looked at beloved who was trying desperately not to laugh. I took her hand and together we walked to the finish line.

The Dungog Dash was brilliant. Beloved and my sister loved it, too.

Even though it was more than I thought I could do. Even though panic set in. Even though it pushed my understanding of what my ankle could do. Even though it took two washes to get the mud out of my tights.

It was brilliant.