T-5 Vlog

A bit of a longer one today. Getting used to talking to myself, haha!

Actually, I really wish that I’d taken video of myself talking years ago. I think it would have had a huge impact on my presentation skills when I was working in a corporate environment.

I’ve noticed that in addition to the “er”s that I have to edit out (trying not to say them is hard – I must have done it unknowingly for years), I also smack my lips together now and again as a kind of punctation mark (who does that? it’s weird!). And I lick my lips all the time. No wonder they are always dry and peeling. I’ve edited a lot of these ‘ticks’ out to save you the pain of my annoying habits.

It’s funny, because these things are things that everyone that knows me will just know as part of my character and the way I talk, but to me they really stand out as annoying and unnecessary. It’s a quite a shock when you watch yourself talking and you realise that you are nothing like you think you are in your head.

I’ll log once more before Monday, to talk about my food diary. Then it’s all systems go.

I have to admit that I am a bit worried about how hard it’s going to be. In addition to not eating all my favourite food, eating healthier requires:

i. time
ii. organisation
iii. preparation
iv. lots of trial and error, and
v. loads of motivation and persistence and resilience and other things that I struggle with

But all of these are reasons are why I am going to be working with a nutritional therapist on a weekly basis for the next three months. So it’s all under control. Right?

The Elusive Sub 30 Minute 5k

Post-parkrun today. Slow, but happy.

I know that for some people a sub-30 5k is super slow, and for others it’s fast. That’s the beauty of running – it’s all about bettering yourself, wherever you are on the continuum.

The last time I ran a sub-30 5k was 2004 (ouch!!). I am a lot older, and I’ve had three children since then. I was working towards it last year, but my sleep was so broken with a young baby that the running I was doing seemed to be damaging my joints more than making me fitter (I have osteoarthritis). I got down to 32:12 at parkrun, but had to stop as the pain in my right toe got so bad I had started to limp.

This year, things have been better. Sleep is not fully restored, but it’s at least approching the normal (broken) sleep of motherhood rather than torturous nights resembling Navy SEAL hell week.

On 18th April I did my first gentle run after a winter of horrendous joint pain. In the spring I’d changed my diet, added some supplements and cut down the sugar to reduce the pain and inflammation and it worked enough to get me out of the door again.

I’ve now been running for 7.5 weeks and I’ve built up a nice base level of fitness that means I can run (very slowly) for an hour.

This last week I’ve stepped up my training to include some hill repeats and 5k reps. I’ve loved it and I’m feeling much stronger, but when it came to parkrun today I could really feel the extra work I’ve done in my legs. Oh, and I’ve also had three dreadful nights sleep on the trot.

So, today’s parkrun time was 34:18, which is slower than I think I can run at this point, but it’s a good starting time to work up from.

After 7 long weeks I have also, finally, started to drop a little bit of weight. I was 5.5kg over my pre-baby weight to start, and I’m now 4.8kg over. It’s the first time the scales have shifted, although to be honest it’s not something I’ve been focusing on. Still, it’s good to see a move in the right direction.

When will I see a sub-30 5k again, I wonder? I am hoping before the end of the summer – I am down for a 5k race at the end of August, among others, and barring illness or injury I’m hopeful I’ll be able to do it by then.

Osteoarthritis And Hallux Rigidus

hallux rigidus

Almost three months ago, at the end of September, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I’d been suffering pain in my big toe joint on my right foot for several years, but since having baby F, it had rapidly gotten much worse, and I was also starting to get pain in my¬†left foot. My right foot by this point had gotten so bad, I kept it tucked away from everything (especially the children lest they brushed against my foot), and sometimes I couldn’t put weight on the front of my foot at all.

The consultant told me that if they were to put a camera in and take a look at the joint, “it wouldn’t look very nice at all.”

He told me I have three osteophytes, which are small bony protrusions that grow from existing bone to protect the joint by limiting movement. And limited movement is exactly what I have. I can no longer stand on my tiptoes for yoga poses, perform a correct lunge, or bend my toe upwards like I used to be able to. Osteoarthritis in this specific joint, the big toe joint, is very common and the reduced range of movement is called hallux rigidus.

I can no longer run, and sometimes, when the pain is bad, I walk with a limp just to keep the toe from bending.

My options are, firstly, cortisone injections to reduce pain and inflammation. After a year or two, I’ll be facing a chielectomy, which is an operation to remove the osteophytes. This helps some people, but not others. After that, I’m looking at fusion of the two bones either side of the joint.

Yeah, well I pretty much ran away from the hospital after he said that.

The thing is, over the last couple of months, my joint pain has gotten a whole lot worse. I now have aching and stiffness in my thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, base of spine, hips, knees, and of course, my big toes. Sometimes at the end of the day if we watch TV for an hour or two, standing back up again is a something I have to do slowly and carefully. My whole body feels worn out and stuck together. My joints crack and click in a way they’ve never done before. My hands have lost their strength and I feel weak and fragile. It is the pain in my spine that worries me the most.

Arthritis runs in every line of my family, which perhaps explains why I have it so young. I am not sharing this for pity or sympathy, but as a record of where I stand right now. I’ve been through what I guess was a grieving period, where I felt totally miserable and fed up. Now I am looking for answers. I am currently in the process of researching dietary approaches and supplements that may help. I use Voltarol gel when it gets really bad, but I won’t resort to cortisone injections yet – where will I be in ten years otherwise?

When I’ve come up with a plan (because hell-yeah I love a good plan!), I will share it and keep you updated. At the moment I feel as though I am inhabiting a 70 year old body, and I do not like it at all.