Good afternoon Ferals!
It’s that time of year where we all naturally start looking back over our year, weighing up our shortfalls and wins and, in a nutshell, deciding if we’ll be celebrating or wiping the slate clean come midnight on December 31st (which is all a mirage anyway, you can wipe the slate clean whenever you damn well please). I like to take this time to reflect on the choices I made, the relationships I formed and how I looked after my body and my mental health. I actually do this quite often – I think it’s a healthy practice and not one that should be done only once a year, but for the purposes of today I will layout what didn’t go so well and what practices and habits I intend to take with me into the new year.
When I talk about my low points of this year I ask myself “did you do your best?” and my answer is usually yes – I suffered with what felt like a lot of grief this year, but I allowed myself to feel all the feels, heal and surrounded myself with people I could talk to – previous years and experiences have shown me that shutting yourself away from the world is not productive to anyone – not your friends (who really really want to help you), not your partner, not the person you are grieving and not yourself. Losing my cousin to Cystic Fibrosis earlier this year struck a very deep chord with me – one I’m not sure I’ll ever ‘get over’, but it does reinforce the ideology that I truly owe it to my body and myself to move, feel, love, run, eat well and enjoy every damn moment that I am afforded on this planet. We are promised nothing, we are owed nothing – you’ve just gotta look at what you have, collect it into a little pile and go “this sh*t is what I am alive for – thank goodness.”
Just before all of this I was in a car accident – touch wood everyone walked away relatively unscathed but it caused quite a bit of soft tissue damage to the middle section of my back – It affected my running a lot more than I would have liked and I ended up taking quite a lot of time off – usually this wouldn’t have been much of an issue, but just coming into winter meant that I ended up picking up a chest infection quite quickly which knocked my lung function right down. Now, because of the soft tissue damage to my lower back, I couldn’t do any physio on my lungs cus it hurt too much – no percussion therapy, no running, not even any yoga. During this period I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and not really managing to do much else – hopefully something I will be able to manage better in the future. Inevitably, as it always does, it worked out – my muscles eased up and I was able to start going to physio and then able to start training properly again pretty soon after that. My chest cleared up after a couple of weeks and, touch wood, my back only gets sore after a long run – hopefully, with a bunch more physio and some patience, it will disappear completely!
Goodness me that was heavy! Now, on to some fun stuff!
2018 brought a whole lot of love into my life – more than I thought was even possible! I could talk about this all day if you’d let me, so instead, I’m going to condense it down into a few highlights:
1. Affy! Of course, she’s number 1 – my love, my heart, my bestest running buddy (sorry Siobhan!). It’s hard to believe that we’ve only had her for 6 months. She has forced me to pay attention to the world a little more – every noise, every smell, every squirrel, every tiny movement – and I am so thankful for her. I can’t believe the change we’ve seen in her since we’ve had her. When we first arrived in Greece to meet her she was frozen in fear, she wouldn’t come out from under the table and she drooled everywhere cus she was so terrified. That night I cried on Jamie cus we’d just driven over 2000 miles to meet this little honey, and she couldn’t even look at us. Gradually she warmed to us and those next few days made my heart sing. We would highly encourage anyone who can to rescue rather than buy. Cheers to SO many years in the mountains with you, my little one.
2. A new job // For the same company – I am loyal to Trekitt for the foreseeable future. In June I moved off the front line of the shop floor up to the cosy marketing offices – and I feel like I’ve found my flow. My work feels fulfilling and important, and I feel like I’m PART of the conversation, rather than just looking in on it. I have a lot of plans and side projects coming up next year, all of which my coworkers are cheering me on as I train. I couldn’t wish for a better family.
3. Running // Truly the best thing to come out of this year was rediscovering my love for running. It was a deep love of mine through my teens but dropped off the radar as I got a bit older and cared way too much about what other people thought. Siobhan and I started running again at the end of July and I’m really impressed that we’ve stuck with it. You see… July is easy. July is shorts, sweaty hair, river swims, sexy sunsets, long days and glorious glorious running; but December is hard. December is dark evening runs when you’d rather be at home on the sofa, it’s shoes that never dry, its long miles in your own bubble, its cold hands, forced runs and wondering ‘what on earth am I doing?!’ – but it’s worth it knowing that next summer will be made easier by all the work I am putting in now. Plus, I am far happier after a long run and it’s helped me keep on top of my ‘winter blues’ this year (I get really down in the winter – but I don’t think that’s an uncommon thing).
4. New Friends // 2018 has brought an abundance of new people into my life – all of which have been overwhelmingly great influences on my life this year. I am one incredibly lucky young lady indeed.
5. Veganism // Yes for real! Remember that time I ate 2 T-bone steaks in a row? Probably followed up by a giant cheese board? Yea me too. I didn’t have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment like a lot of people do and I didn’t transition from meat eater-to vegetarian-to vegan like a lot of people do. I honestly don’t know what happened guys. All of my research pro-vegan actually only started happening once I’d been vegan for about a month already. I learned that I’d cut my carbon emissions in half just by going vegan and I also read tonnes of research into how dairy changes the make-up of the mucus in your body (particularly important with CF). The more I read, the more I knew I’d made the right choice. Now, I wish I could tell you that it was the easiest thing I’d ever done, but it was far from it. The first two weeks were horrendous (but probably cus I just couldn’t eat Haribo’s anymore) and I felt terrible – I spent the whole time thinking ‘I’m not doing this if I don’t start to feel better’ but low and behold I did. Way better. Like way way better than I ever had done. My recovery from exercise is faster and I have a tonne more energy. Once I got over the initial hump it’s easy! It is easy to eat out cus most places have good vegan/vegetarian options and replacement bits like Quorn vegan chicken pieces, Nut milks, Free From ‘cheese’ and Soya mince means that you can still cook your regular meals, but just ‘veganised’. I highly recommend it! That being said, over the last 3/4 months I have ‘slipped up’ and eaten a bit of meat or a bit of cheese about 4/5 times, but I don’t give myself a hard time over it, I just carry on as normal from the next meal.
In the words of Bugs Bunny, ‘That’s it, folks!’ otherwise, this will end up becoming huge! I hope you had a Merry Festive period and I wish you all the best for the New Year. Januarys first blog with be a yummy fat list of all of my planned races for next year! Yay!
Have a good weekend, Ferals!
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