Wednesday, 29 January 2014

And so it begins

Well I am now signed up to do the Spartan Sprint! Although having a slight issue getting the team set up but am sure we'll get there.

It is not until September 21st so I have plenty of time but I have a lot to do. The challenges are actually not phasing me too much - yes they are going to be tough. However, the thought of running 5k (I know it is really not far) makes me want to cry a little.

So I am starting gradually, I will do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This may be anything from Insanity to a brisk walk, dancing with C (which is more of a workout than you would think, there are a lot of lifts involved) to, gulp, going for a run. But I will do it. Everyday.

Everyone struggles to get motivated to exercise, there is always something better to do, like I don't know, waiting for facebook to update. however, it is extra tough when you are already hurting, the sofa seems like a far better option. After all when you ache all over why would you want to add to it? But, really what is the alternative? Yes sitting on the sofa is and immediate relief but in the long run being fitter and stronger can only be beneficial. So, for now I will be doing my 30 mins a day, by March when I am in the habit and it is, hopefully, second nature, I will start regularly running. yes, me running. Remind me again why I am doing this?

There is no point in getting into the regular exercise habit if I do not eat right. Now overall my diet is not that bad. I don't drink alcohol, mostly drink water, cook most of our meals from scratch, watch sugar and fat intake. I'll not lie sometimes this just means watching chocolate go from packet into mouth :-)

One of the reasons I am doing this crazy race is to show C that you can do anything you set your mind to and to be a positive role model to her. It occurred to me the other day that we do a lot of moaning about advertising aimed at kids and the amount of junk that is sold solely with kids in mind. While I agree there is way too much rubbish out there marketed at kids, actually we are more influential than we know. C helps us decide what to have for dinner when we plan meals and when it is just me & her she gets to pick dinner. Her choice for the past few weeks (except tonight when she went fro haggis) has been salmon, boiled egg, veg and a wee dollop of mayo. This came about because I had it one night when she'd already eaten. As I have been thinking about it if I eat chocolate or MrF has a packet of crisps she will ask for them, but if just asked what she wants she will go for fruit 9 times out of 10.

So as much as I owe it to myself to eat a healthy, balanced (I'm all for the occasional treat) diet, I owe it to my daughter to show her that I make healthy choices.

Linking up with the lovely Autismmumma and #wobbleswednesday

Monday, 27 January 2014

Flexibility over determination

I should know all about flexibility right? I mean after all that is the one big advantage to being hypermobile, flexibility is my thing. However, I have realised I need to apply this flexibility to my training not just to being able to put my leg behind my head!

Today was my day to really get back on to the training, I started the workout DVD Insanity at the start of January and did a week of it, I would go so far as to say I really enjoyed it. But then I had a flair up and was out of action for two weeks.

If I'm going to be a Spartan I need to train, and I need to train pretty hard but there is a fine balance because overdoing it will just mean weeks, potentially months, off training.

So today when I started Insanity and had popped my ankle and my hip (went straight back in so no drama) before the warm up had finished, I had a decision to make. Carry on and run the risk of injury, stop and have a wee seat on the sofa or do an alternative, lower impact workout.

It took a fair bit of effort not to be engulfed in the sofa's comfort but I went for the lower impact workout. Step in Davina McCall! The thing I love best about her workouts is the amount of time devoted to stretching. I find it makes a huge difference to being able to walk the next day :-)

The moral of the story is while I would love to have a really structured workout plan to get me where I am going, the reality is that just isn't going to work. I would need to miss a session and then get demotivated. I will be flexible and do what I can when I can, I have the luxury of time so can build up slowly. Doing the best workout for me is more important than doing the hardest workout for me.

Friday, 24 January 2014


Well first off I want to say thank you for all of the messages of encouragement and support - it really means a lot.

Something occurred to me last night and a quick poll - with the husband and lovely MFPers - confirmed it.

Not everyone is in pain every day! Well obviously, you may think. But I genuinely only thought of it like that yesterday. We just assume what we are is normal don't we? (doesn't everyone dance round Asda? Oh OK maybe I have a lot to work on!) The last day I can remember having no pain was when I was pregnant so a good 5 and a half years ago. Being pregnant rocked - my body loved it. I was quite scared as I'd a fair bit of hip pain since my teens and figured a big old baby may make it worse. But it was amazing, I had so much less pain being pregnant.

To be honest this is a fairly hard post to write, I am really not looking for sympathy. As I have said I am happy with my lot and I really am pretty lucky. But the whole point of this is to raise awareness of HEDS (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) so I guess I need to 'fess up and be pretty honest.

Today walking C to school my toe dislocated and on the way home one on the other foot did the same, it's fine they went in when I got home but unless I told people they had no idea. I think when being in pain is the norm you don't really show it to the outside world.

I have a scale of 1-10 for pain. Pain is pretty objective, what is agony for one person is mild discomfort for another. I think I have a fairly high pain threshold, I did the whole birth thing with no drugs (not choice just ran out of time) and it was fine.

 So here are my definitions:

1- A wee niggle, barely noticeable
2 - A wee niggle that is a bit more annoying
3 - Need to stretch a lot to try and move the pain
4 - That achy feeling you get when you have flu and everything hurts
5 - Every joint throbs constantly - you are not really sure where hurts, just everything
6 - A cup of tea is required, along with a hot water bottle, feel a bit sick with the pain
7 - Jings that really hurt, it is a struggle to move and to sit still
8 - Strong painkillers required to function
9 - Uncontrollable screaming in agony
10 - Passed out!!!

I hover between 3 and 6 most days, a 3 is a really good day, I can conquer the world on a 3 day! There are then spikes of pain if things pop out. I can usually judge how a day will go on if I can squeeze the shower gel out with one hand or if it has to be a more complex two handed manoeuvre!

Now as I've said it was only yesterday it registered that this is not normal. It's fine and I manage it without too much moaning although the husband may disagree on that. But it just sometimes makes things a bit of an extra effort. To get up and dance with C when I've just found a comfy spot. But there is no way I will not join in just because something is a wee bit sore. Even if it means collapsing with a hot water bottle once she has gone to bed.

Exercise is essential to me, I know that, but it still takes that little extra push to get off the sofa, ignore the creaks and clicks and just do it!

So again thank you for your support it really does help.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


So where to start, I am a pretty normal 35 year old working Mum. I'm a little pudgier and a little squishier than I'd like. I don't have enough hours in the day or cash in bank but on the whole I'm fairly happy with my lot.

I also consider myself to be very lucky, I have a lovely husband (don't tell him I said that though) and a gorgeous daughter (C) who means the world to me.

I am also not in a wheelchair. This may seem like a strange thing to say, but at 17 I was told there was a good chance I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30. So I am very grateful that I can still run around after C. I was also very lucky to be diagnosed with EDS Hybermobility fairly quickly, after a couple of years of my GP dismissing my chronic pain as growing pains. I was also very lucky to be referred straight away to a great physio who encouraged me to build my strength and use exercise to manage my condition as best as I can. I am also very lucky that I do not have it as bad as a lot of people and have a lot of good days that make me forget the bad days.

So I hear you all ask, what on earth am I talking about?

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, sounds fancy huh? There is a bit of variation in terms of symptoms and severity between people but this is the general gist:

* Hypermobility with the joints having a wider range of movement than usual.
* Loose, unstable joints that can lead to dislocations and subluxations.
* Joint pain and fatigue.
* Easy bruising.
* Gastrointestinal dysfunction.
* POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) causing fast heart rate, dizziness and fainting.
* Mitral valve prolapse, a heart valve abnormality which is usually only mild in HEDS.
* Uterine, rectal or bladder prolapse.
* Urinary dysfunction.
* Varicose veins.

Please visit for more information (I have pinched this from there, I'm sure they will not mind!)

I am pretty sure C has it as well, although she has not been officially diagnosed as yet. She is a big part of why I am doing this. Yeah it sucks, especially the tiredness (oh and the pain!) but it is also pretty cool to still be able to do the splits at 35 right? I want her to think she can do anything, not to be afraid, to be strong and healthy. In the world that we live in which is so obsessed about being skinny to know that skinny isn't important. That being happy, healthy, fit, kind, energetic and brave is what is important.

So here I am about to sign up to the spartan sprint (a 5k obstacle course), I hope to raise some awareness, hopefully raise some money but most of all I want to show myself I can do it. It will be a slow process getting fit and strong enough, I hope you will stick with me through the next 8 months - I am going to be totally honest about it, but I will try very hard not to moan when I can't train because my knee has popped out!

Thanks for reading and remember just because someone doesn't look ill doesn't mean they are not in pain.