Hello Again!

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A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday.  I’m edging ever closer to THAT birthday.  I had a wonderful time, but realised a couple of days later that, after helping to build a reeeeally big fence, that my knees were not the happy bunnies they should have been.  It’s almost as though the little devil on one shoulder of my knees (bear with me!) was saying “Ha! You’re now only one year away from 50, and I’m not going to allow you to do this fun stuff any more. PING!” That ping being the sound of my knees surrendering to a massive fib.

When I went to the doctor’s last time to have my medication checked (so if anyone were to jokingly say to me ‘check your dosage’, they wouldn’t get any response, so, er, nerrr…) she was delighted to hear that I was running and promptly asked me whether my knees/back/other joints were ok. I’d said yes.  They were – at the time.  I’m going back next week, and I’m not sure how to say that I am having a few problems with my knees – but not because of the running!

So, yes, of course, next week is a big week for me… I may be able to drop off the citalopram altogether.  I may have to find a drum roll app for my phone…

I went for a run today for the first time in a couple of weeks.  I’ve been doing some bits of yoga here and there: on reflection I should have done a lot more, a lot more regularly. I’ve been doing all the magnesium oil and Pernaton and a body gelée to help them and they were at the point where they weren’t complaining at points where I had been expecting them to. I took it easy. The plan was: 5 minutes walking – 8 minutes running – 5 minutes walking – 8 minutes running – 5 minutes walking.

What actually happened was this:

5 minutes walking – 7 minutes running – 1 minute ‘What-the-heck?!’ – 2 minutes hobbling – 3 minutes walking – 8 minutes footslogging/hobbling/walking – 5 minutes walking/muttering.

Thanks (sarcasm) to all those office workers who crossed from their side of the path to mine specifically to walk into me.

But funnily enough, it wasn’t the knee that I was expecting to give me jip.  No, that one waited until I tried to take the first of a few steps up from the river path and then went ‘gurrrrghhh’ on me.  But only for a moment.

That was about half an hour ago. They’re throbbing a little now.  Time for some magnesium oil… I’ll wait a couple of days, and then I’ll do another walk/run, with shorter bursts of running.

Any suggestions and advice would be gratefully received!!

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Tahini, tahini, all the way…

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Okay, so last week I graduated from the Couch to 5K program. In the second half of the week, I tried to do one of the Couch to 5K+ podcasts. One question I have to ask is –

Does it ever get easier?

This new podcast is intended to get you running with a bit more rhythm, a bit more speed. I just thought I’d try it out to see how I got on. I knew after that, I would probably go back to Week Nine of the original program and stick at that for a little while – just to get my strength and stamina up.

It was tough, I will admit that. But… That doesn’t mean I didn’t do it! Yes, I did it. Again, I did have the old ‘life flashing in front of the eyes‘ thing a little bit but it didn’t actually stop me. What it did make me realise was that I am taking an unfair view of my own progress. I’ve heard it said that in order to be constantly at the cutting edge of one’s own progress, it will always seem hard. So with that in mind, I decided to go back to the drawing board just a little bit.

Today I decided to give myself a pat on the back and go back to one of the earlier podcasts so I could see just how far I have actually come. So I went back to Week Four which is the first week that features longer blocks of running, and by that I mean blocks of five minutes and three minutes.
I knew if I went back to Week One it would be a bit too simple. And I didn’t feel like I wanted to waste half an hour. Does that sound bad?!

The results? Better pace, better speed, plus I found myself really looking forward to the running segments. So much so, in fact, that I (on the spur of the moment) decided to change the half hour programme slightly and add a HIIT component to it. That is High Intensity Interval Training. Now people who are good at this stuff and do it all the time Will know exactly what HIIT is but I didn’t when I first came across it hence why I’ve explained it out.

As Week Four alternates sections of walking and running I upped the intensity slightly by sprinting (or at least trying to!) for the last 30 seconds of each running block. This was quite easy to do, timing-wise: I just waited for Laura to say “You’ve got one minute left” then I waited a little bit and I went for it!

Oh, and why the tahini?

So glad you asked! Tahini is a great source of magnesium, and boy do my muscles need it afterwards! I’ve put a good dollop of this in my pre-running “Milkshake” and I find it really helps to stop my calves from disowning me.
My conclusions? I am a really happy bunny! It’s proved to me today how far I have come as a runner. Laura said last week that apparently I can actually call myself a runner now.   I’m quite pleased with that, especially as I have never been able to give myself any label that had anything to do with any sport!

Another thing I’ve learned this week when sprinting make sure you are wearing the correct, er, underwear. Yes, I’m talking the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder! I’m no skinny Minnie (and never will be) so Newton’s laws have a few things to say about my running. And while I didn’t exactly give myself a blackeye today, I realise that (as a goth) that to be truly effective, running bras need to be a bit like a corset: you need to be able to pack it all in! I mean, you don’t buy them just to be comfy, you buy them to keep those puppies battened down!

As I’m now on alternate days doses of 10mg Citalopram, and my oh my, is it helping…
Anyway, I now look forward to being a “runner”!

So for any new runners out there, just remember this: it’s not about how far you’ve run, it’s about how far you’ve come.

A light at the end of the tunnel…

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…and it’s not the 7:42 to Reading.

Great news. I’m on the last week of the Couch to 5K program.

This week I will be running for 30 minutes without stopping. Admittedly, I’m not doing 5K yet but that will come!

Another good thing is that I’ve now started working two days a week at my favourite place and I love it.

I’m really getting back into studying my nutrition course and that’s going well.  It’s getting to the fun part where I actually have to start doing advisory type assignments – doing meal plans etc…

As for the running I will be dropping down to twice a week but running for longer hopefully further. I will crack this 5K.  I will however be supplementing all this busy-ness with a good long bike ride at the weekend. I’m at the stage now where I can’t not be active…

At least today I did break through that elusive 4km mark – even though it did involve 30 minutes of running + 10 minutes of walking.  Still, considering 8 weeks ago I was struggling to run for 1 minute without my life flashing in front of my eyes, I think I’ve done quite well!  And if I can do it, anyone can.  I mean, seriously, anyone can!

I went to the doctors today… I can now drop down to 10 mg Citalopram every other day, which is wonderful. The biggest surprise was when she asked me if I minded there being another doctor in there. It was a doctor that was just coming back from maternity leave and was finding her feet again. Lo and behold it was the very same doctor that saw me when I had my breakdown last year. So we greeted each other, I asked her about the baby and my doctor commented that obviously when we knew each other.

Only the last time the newly returned doctor saw me, I was a crumbling scrap of barely-there humanity; less than half a knock away from ending it all. My doctor complimented me on my progress, saying that the reason I have made such a good recovery is that I’ve been proactive. I’ve sought help; I’ve had counselling; I’m doing the exercise.

I’m fighting back.

So to speak.

Apparently there is a trend among some people to be quite submissive (that’s not quite the word I want) to depression and that they do seek help but they take the tablets and accept that this is their fate. They are still feeling powerless and continue to take medication because they feel there is no other way out.

Actually that kind of sounds like depression itself to me but…

There is always a choice.

It can be done!

One heck of a week!

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WARNING: for those of a sensitive disposition who choose to be offended by anything and everything, today’s post contains scenes of shameless self publicising.

It really has been an incredible week. So much has happened. On Tuesday, my first published book, “Our Little Miracle” appeared on Amazon. Here’s the link… http://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Little-Miracle-Thérésa-Hedges-ebook/dp/B00XK1AIDK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431691790&sr=8-1&keywords=our+little+miracle

Ebook_Cover_HR

Right, that’s the shameless self publicity over and done with!

I celebrated with a rather large bowl of ice cream (’cause that’s how I roll) which led to the inevitable ice cream toothache. Unfortunately, the wretched toothache turned into a face-ache that lasted the entire night, right through to the morning and well into the next day. The only respite I got from it was from taking some paracetamol, which I hate doing. I would get at the most two hours relief from it: the first hour it would be dying down as the tablets kicked in, then two hours of pseudo-relief and then in the final hour it wound itself back up again as the tablets were wearing off.  This actually continued into the next day as well which meant that the most I was only getting three hours sleep. I decided to go and see the dentist.

However, in the midst of this dental drama, I went to see my doctor to see how I was getting on with coming off the Citalopram. She was very pleased with my progress and suggested that I can now go down to 10 mg each day. Hurray!! She was also extremely pleased with how I’m getting on with the running and the exercise (more about that in a minute).

There was one amusing misunderstanding when she asked me how I was getting on with the weight loss side of things and was I having any problems and I said yes, I was still having a problem with not drinking enough. She looked at me extremely perplexed. “How do you mean?” she asked me and I replied to that of the eight glasses of water a day I was supposed to drink, I was managing about four or five but at least now I was getting closer to the eight recommended. She sighed with relief “Oh!” She replied “I thought you meant alcohol! I knew that couldn’t be right, as I know you don’t drink!” But we had a little bit of a chuckle about that.

And then she weighed me. That was the bit I was actually dreading. It turns out my weight hasn’t changed over the past month which, actually, it’s a good thing as at least it’s not going up any more. The doctor said that I may not appear to be losing weight because quite simply I’m losing fat and gaining muscle because of all the aerobic exercise I’m doing. That’s a relief!

Another good bit of news I had while I was about the diabetes test I had last time. I have spent a quite anxious month waiting for the result. I got the results. I’m not diabetic! I gave a loud sigh of relief and said ‘Thank God’ (and I wasn’t blaspheming). I guess I kind of suspected that I wasn’t,  but it is a fear that hangs over the family. Thankfully I have managed to dodge that particular genetic bullet. She said “Oh dear, you were worrying about it were are you? I would have phoned you if there had been a problem.” I said I know but it was just nice to hear her say it out loud!

On to the dentist. I have a lovely dentist. I haven’t had to have anything done for three whole years but this visit was different. Luckily I phoned for an appointment and got one at less than two hours later. I was so relieved and I got there and found that the problem had been a wisdom tooth.

I didn’t even know I had any wisdom teeth! Not because of my general lack of wisdom, but simply because I have a very small mouth (contrary to popular opinion). I was just very glad to have this raging pain dealt with once and for all. As much as I hate injections, I was actually really, really looking forward to this particular one. And as soon as they gave me the injection I said to the doctor the dentist actually I’m good now thank you very much!

Luckily he knows my sense of humour as well as I know his and the drilling started. Part of the problem with the wisdom tooth is that, because of the lack of space, it hadn’t come out fully so was still half in my jaw which explains why I had this excruciating pain in my jaw because I suppose the problem went right up into my jaw. I now have a temporary filling containing lovely, lovely clove oil.

I’m going back after the weekend to get the permanent one put in. Now this may seem quite irrelevant to a general rant about antidepressants but bear with me. I did look into this and I’m not saying at all that’s medication causes bad teeth. Obviously not! No! But previously I had been using an amazing home-made toothpaste which all the time I had been using it had been completely foxing my dentist. He kept complaining jovially that my teeth are too good and what the heck was I doing that he had nothing to do!

It is an amazing toothpaste. Here is the recipe for it

http://shazzie.com/blog/how-to-make-toothpaste/

it’s made by the lovely Shazzie Love. Seriously, you have to try this – it’s great stuff and cheaper than you’d think.

Of course, during the depression, if I wasn’t that fond of leaving the house I certainly wasn’t going to have the motivation to make my own toothpaste. And that I think is possibly where the problem started. I’ve done a little bit of research, and it seems that Citalopram and other SSRI medications can cause dryness of the mouth (I now finally know the meaning of the American phrase cotton mouth or cotton wool mouth) Couple that with my lack of drinking (water!), and you have less saliva to wash away all those nasty little bacteria which lead to dental cavities. As I’ve said the tablets themselves do not not not cause dental cavities. But the combination of the lessened amount of saliva plus the er, slide in personal hygiene which I’m sure a few people have experienced will lead to problems with your gnashers.

And so now, I’m back on that particular case. I will just say to anybody on medication for depression please please please drink water, chew gum, use this toothpaste, anything to look after your teeth. I realise now this could have been avoided. if you’re in this situation, please avoid it if you can.
Anyway, one light note about all this is that obviously the dentist had to ask me if I was on any medication. I told him that I was on Citalopram. He had obviously heard of it and seemed very surprised. “You’re the last person I would be expecting to be on antidepressants!” he said.

And don’t forget the embarrassingly hilarious after-effects of the injection… It’s as close as a non-drinker ever gets to drunk dialling!

One such message I sent to the hubby was (sic)

“It’s raining and I’ve got av pretty pink hooid!”

And it sort of continued in that vein.  Luckily I never sent the final message, which was to tell him that I was home and was about to start preparing for the dinner we were having with friends that evening. Or, as I put it…

“Im home an I’m going to sstart cutting thinggs up. like a pirate. ah-ah-arrr” 

And then, of course, there is today. The final day of week five of Couch to 5K. Today is the day I had to do a serious run.

And I did it!

20 minutes running without stopping. Just like Laura the lady on the App says by week five you’re building on a lot of work so everything has led up to this points – being able to run that little bit longer. I was so pleased, no, scratch that, overjoyed that I think my eyes started sweating too.

So there you go, that’s my week. The week in which I did I became a published writer, became a more accomplished runner, and which I got the motivation to start making my own toothpaste again.

Have a great weekend everybody!

I know I will!

Born this way

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My calves have disowned me.

No, I’m not a dairy farmer with mutinous livestock.

I’ve just had my second run this week from Week 3 of the Couch to 5K app. And now I’m feeling it.  Mind you, it didn’t stop me from tagging a little extra run at the end, if only to keep the offending muscles moving. And you can’t beat a bit of Lady Gaga as you’re trotting along for some self-affirmation.  Oh, and it sets pace beautifully too. Normally I’d say ‘my morning run’ but today it was more of a lunchtime one because this morning has lived up to its traditional weather – April showers.

Of course, you have to understand that I was only waiting for the rain to slacken off so as not to get my iPhone wet – ahem – but it didn’t look like it was going to so I thought, what the heck – am I a man or a mogwai?

Neither.

Ah. Didn’t really think that one though, did I?

Now it could be because yesterday was a 20mg day, or that my body is finally getting used to this 20mg/10mg regime, but I’m actually starting to feel some of the old me coming back. Ah. another statement I didn’t think through.  Not the old, scared-of-everything, permanently anxious me, but the good bits that existed in the old me, before the breakdown killed them off, the medication buried them and the therapy laid them to rest. RIP uncertainty, unnecessary guilt, low self-esteem and fear.

I’m keeping the good bits.

Long live passion, creativity, wit, humour, eccentricity, love, intelligence and compassion.

It’s what I like to call the Pix’n’Mix personality.  I know that this mercurial thing is just part of who I am, part of my DNA. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to have that emotional clear-out.

Bad stuff – going, going, gone!

Good stuff – well, come on in! Make yourself at home!

So what if I can’t run 5K yet?  There’s lots of things I can’t do – yet.

And that ‘yet‘ is a very important part of the equation.

Use It Up And Wear It Out

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Started with Week Three of the Couch to 5K program today. Oh boy, it was tough. I mean, running three minutes? A whole three minutes? Actually, it wasn’t that bad, so clearly the past two weeks have paid off.

The 20/10 medication regime continues. The hubby asked me this morning whether it was a ‘10 day or a 20 day’. I told him 10. He said “I better wear my cycling helmet tonight then!” I assure you he was wildly exaggerating!

Anyway today was a really good day for a run. It was cool; it was sunny; it was quiet. Admittedly, there were a few pedestrians and cyclists going by. I tried to make a point of smiling and saying good morning to the pedestrians: most of which looked in shock that a “runner” was speaking to them. Or perhaps, more likely, they were surprised that I still had enough breath left to form words!

And in case you’re interested, here is my playlist, which I have on my iPhone. It lasts for 99 minutes, I get lots of variation when I put it on shuffle. I mean, who wouldn’t feel like giving it a wiggle when you listen to Groove Armada’s ‘I See You Baby (Shaking Dat Ass)’. Joyful stuff!

Go West – Village People

Armand Van Helden – Koochy

Barbra Streisand – Duck Sauce

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

Rhythm Is A Dancer – Snap!

Strict Machine – Goldfrapp

Celebration – Kool & The Gang

Hung Up – Madonna

Cry for You – September

Let’s Groove    – Earth, Wind & Fire

Funkytown – Lipps Inc.

Use it Up And Wear It Out – Odyssey

God Is A Dj – Faithless

Some Girls – Rachel Stevens

SOS – Rihanna

Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory

No Limit    – 2 Unlimited

Ride On Time    – Black Box

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO

Now You’re Gone – Basshunter

You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – Sylvester

Word Up – Cameo

Searchin’ – Hazell Dean

No egg-scuses

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It has been a very funny week. I have had a number of firsts for quite a few things. Last week as I carried on with the Couch to 5K I had one of my own fatty must run moments. I was trudging along the river path and at one point I got sort of stuck behind a very beautiful, very young (and very slim) girl and her Testosterone-Boy boyfriend (you know the type, as soon as the sun comes out; he whips off his T-shirt and flings it nonchalantly over his shoulder. Well, the sun came out and yup, off came the T-shirt and over the shoulder it went). I noticed her looking back at me a few times. It got to the point when I just knew she was going to say something.

Well, she did say something as I went trotting on behind her. They took a turn and went up to bridge over the river. I carried on trotting along and I suddenly heard a voice boom out at me.

“Go on girl! You got this! You can do it! You f***ing keep at it! Keep going!” and then as I had my thanked her and just heard her say to her boyfriend “Aw bless her.”.  I was actually really touched by her comments. I thought it was so sweet of her.

One first of the week was in the kitchen. For most of my life, I have wanted to learn how to make a Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon Meringue Pie. So does my husband. So I made one. But not just any Lemon Meringue. Oh no. This one was gluten free, (using the same delicious pastry recipe I formulated for mince pies last year.) And it was also vegan. Oh yes, you read that right.

Vegan

Meringue

Made without eggs.  I came across this miraculous recipe on Facebook (duckface issues and endless photos and insults aside, it does have its uses!). There is a group that people join to freely document their successes and disasters in the field of making meringues. It was delicious. Plus I knew it was ‘clean’ to eat too.

Another sort of first up was that yesterday I went to the natural food show up in London. There is the first hurdle… London. I haven’t ventured very far since my little episode of last year and in fact just over a year ago, it would have been difficult to get me out of my bedroom, let alone the flat. So for me to go up to London on my own and put myself in a situation where I was talking to dozens and dozens of strangers is nothing short of miraculous for me. But I managed it. Admittedly, I did have a slight panic when I emerged from the train at Waterloo to see all the crowds buzzing past me but I soon overcame that.

In short, I schmoozed with the best of them and found myself doing something that I have not done previously. I was shaking everyone’s hand, telling them what pleasure it was to meet them and it was amazing how friendly people were in return even though they knew I wasn’t going to be buying anything from them. However, that did not stop people from loading me up with the goodies and today as I’m walking around, I am definitely feeling the after-effects!

So I had a number of firsts at the show. Most notable amongst these was trying reishi mushroom tea for the first time.

It tasted like a cross between soup and tea, but not in a bad way. As in, not in the way you’d expect, either. It tasted not so much like tea that you thought ‘this soup tastes weird’ and not so much like mushrooms that you thought ‘oh my goodness this tea is rank!’

It was a great experience for me. It showed me how far I have come not only in the past year and recovering, but also how much different the new me is from the Old me.

Another exciting bit of news came when I was housebound earlier this morning. Well,  not housebound but I was an indoor kitty for a little while the plumber came to check the boiler. What I didn’t know is that he is a runner. And he told me that in the nearby park there is a 5K run every Saturday anyone can just join in. So now, thanks to him, I have a goal for my running. I will do that 5K run.

And in other news…

Oh yes, I’m on the first week of my new medication cut – strops likely! I’m alternating between 20 mg and 10 mg of the Citalopram and that seems to be going really well (ish) – the hubby asks me every morning whether it’s a ‘ten day or a twenty day’ – hence that ‘ish’.

So, all in all, it’s been a really good week. This is the kind of week I want to hold onto… This is the kind of week that I will re-read when I have an iffy moment. Good weeks are possible. And are becoming more and more possible.

I love it!