Running Up That Hill… I Wish Kate!

“I’ll be running up that road, be running up that hill – with no problem,” sang Kate Bush.

I won’t lie Kate. It is a problem. And quite frankly, I’d make a deal with God over the extortionate amount I’m currently shelling out to Amazon in supplements.

But here’s the thing Kate. It wasn’t always a problem. Take lockdown. Four or five time a week – boshing out 8km without breaking a sweat. Ok… so there was a fair bit of sweat but it didn’t require me two days of recovery.

And now, two years later and I am struggling. Struggling to put the miles in. Struggling with the bounce back. And even struggling with the enjoyment.

So what it the cause? Much googling. A trip to the GP. And still I have no answer. But there are a few potential explanations I currently leaning towards.

Covid malaise

March. Runs half marathon. Runs half marathon very slowly but a half marathon is still run. And the promise is made that never again shall I be crazy enough to sign up for one. Royal Parks 2013 – 1 hour 54 minutes. Hampton Court 2022 – 2 hours 35. Think I’d actually have been faster if I’d walked it.

April. Gets covid.

May. Usual hill route is akin to scaling Everest. Can barely walk up, let alone contemplate any notion of speed. Breath is hard to come by. Running can do one.

June. Breathing gets easier. Manages a 5km. With a grimace. But mainly focused on holiday and dealing with chicken pox child

July. Ate a lot of birthday cake.

August. Ate a lot of Devon.

September. Back to running 7km but need oxygen tent and a margarita afterwards.

Well, maybe not oxygen. Today was the first day I actually felt like I enjoyed it and did a non-stop run. But it does beg the question: is my lack of energy related to the virus? Is this like a really bad viral hangover that takes more than a nurofen, a box set and McDonalds to get over?

Getting On a Bit

I’m 45. Let’s face it. I’m no spring chicken. And with age comes that wonderful next phase of life.

Menopause.

I’ve had to ask myself, am I turning the page on my fertility and entering a new chapter? The answer? Who knows. I’ve been pumped up on hormones for most of my adult life and thanks to the contraceptive injection you’d be more lucky to pick winning lottery numbers than be able to tell me where in my cycle I am.

But with all the current press and discussion around peri-menopause, I couldn’t help but have a good, old google session. My insanely bad memory (introduce yourself to me and I can guarantee by the time we’ve finished chatting that I’ll have forgotten your name). My fatigue. My painful joints. The flat feeling that has dominated the year. It was worth a conversation with the GP.

And how lucky am I that I got to sit face to face with a woman who really listened, who asked questions and who wanted to explore all possibilities. She did make me chuckle with her alternative diagnosis. “Karen, it could well be peri-menopause but it could also be that you’re a mum of a five year old.” Let’s hear it for the reality of child rearing and the perpetual state of exhaustion the physical and mental load of mumming can leave us in.

We’ve had one round of bloods which has rules out any other nasties causing my lack of vavavoom. Once the depo injection is out of my system, then we’ll go again to check my hormone levels. It would explain the aching ankles and knees, if my oestrogen supplies are waning. With it playing a role in reducing inflammation, the relentless pounding of the forest and treadmill need all the oestrogen I can get.

Sadly, I can’t neck a shot of hormones with my morning coffee so I’ve delved in to the world of supplements. It’s my naive and basic understanding that I need all the B Vits and then glucosamine for my aches bones. Gone are the days when it’s like necking horse tranquillisers and I’ve a tasty little selection of gummies on the go now.

Can I clarify that the joint gummies are for bone health. I told another mum who thought I was in to some crazy, class-A shizzle! Not that kind of joint!

Nutrition – 0g

The last consideration is my diet.

Lockdown was a fest of home cooking and no alcohol. Yep. You heard me. Very very little booze. I’ve never been one to drink at home. Chris has a pint in the pub once a week. But lockdown saw an end to that. He’d never share a bottle of wine with me so there seemed little point in opening one.

Added to the equation was my amazing journey with Noom. Healthy habits were formed. Conscious, mindful eating was the name of the lockdown game. Orders were put in to Sainsbury’s and if it wasn’t delivered, I couldn’t eat it.

But with freedom came meals out, drinks at the pub and the inevitable scoffing anything in sight to recover. But mostly – Harry’s snacks have undone my good habits.

They say you can’t out-train a poor diet. They weren’t joking. I have no shame in heading to Matalan for bigger knickers but I do feel bad that my body is sluggish, my blood pressure is high and I could happily exist on fizzy cola bottles.

The laws of input and output suggest changes need to be made. I know what to do. Noom is once again my go-to tracker and educator in unpicking the poor habits. Now just to wean me off the sugar addiction once more…

Running and Maybe Walking Up That Hill

So Kate, there’s my problems. And whilst I haven’t found the root of them, my path is clear. Be kind to myself. I’m at a strange transitional point in life. It’s been a bonkers few years. So if I can’t run up the hill, walk it.

I’ll make a deal with god. I’ll keep up the exercise, be it running walking, cycling or whatever feels good. I’ll try to fuel my body with more than kitkats. And I’ll accept my limitations.

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