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Manchester Half Marathon 2018 medal

Manchester Half Marathon

This post is a bit late, but life has been a bit crazy recently! A couple of weeks ago, on the 14th October, I was so proud to complete my second half marathon of the year – the Manchester Half Marathon.

It was my goal to complete a half marathon this year, but I never thought I would complete TWO half marathons!

I booked onto this second half marathon in a moment of madness after the Great Manchester Run I did in May.

To be honest, as it approached, I was dreading it quite a bit.

After a tough few months following an injury to my leg in June, I felt like I hadn’t trained enough for it. I do quite a bit of running as part of my normal week, I usually go out with my run club at least once a week and I try to do Park Run most Saturday’s. But I definitely did not have the time to do as many long runs (8 miles plus), as I would have liked. In fact, I only managed to do one long run of 10 miles about two weeks beforehand and that was pretty slow with a few stops mixed in. So, you could say I felt unprepared!!

I decided to go for it anyway, with the sole aim of enjoying and completing it (and forgetting about getting a PB). If I had to stop or walk, then I would and I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

On the day of the race, the weather was absolutely terrible and this is no exaggeration! It was cold and raining very heavily. The rain didn’t stop for the whole race and afterwards I was soaked to the bone!!

Despite the rain, I found this race to be a lot easier than last time. I think it was because it was cooler – the last one I did the weather was hot and sunny which made it much harder. Also, although this race was in Manchester, the course was much flatter than the one I did in May! In fact, it was pretty much flat all the way around.

I did find myself getting caught up in it all and at some points I was running far too fast for the distance I was doing, which meant my legs felt heavier much sooner than last time. I think I burnt myself out a bit! Although, I kept a much quicker pace than last time all the way around, which meant I finished in 2.03 – a whole 5 minutes QUICKER than the one I did in May!!

Manchester Half Marathon 2018
I was so pleased to see that finish line 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I did not expect to run it so quickly. I honestly thought it would be similar or even slower to my first one, given the limited training. I was so surprised to get so close to two hours!

My next challenge will be to complete a half marathon under 2 hours.. watch this space!!! 🙂


 

South West Coast Path

Walking the South West Coast Path

Walking the South West Coast Path: My experiences

Ever since my experience of trekking the Great Wall of China last year, I have wanted to go on another trekking holiday. Not only do I love walking and hiking, I also find it helps my back whilst keeping me fit. Plus it’s a great way to relax and reflect. So this year, I decided to push myself (again!) and my friend and I took on the South West Coast path in Cornwall. Now, we didn’t walk the whole of this path, as it is 630 miles, which would take a month or two to complete.

As we only had a week, we decided to walk a section of the path (69 miles), but due to VERY bad and dangerous stormy weather (unfortunate) we had to cut some of the walks short (more on this later). Despite this, we still managed to walk around 34 miles in 4 days. And with some very challenging terrain and bad weather, I think this was pretty good going 🙂

We based ourselves in Penzance and got an apartment via Cornish Escapes (Air B n B are also very good for apartments etc). The reason we chose Penzance was because the bus links are very good from there, and this enabled us to catch a bus each morning to where we would start our walk and then catch a bus back to Penzance in the evening.

You could of course choose to stay in a different place each night, but with my back I wanted to avoid  carrying all my stuff on the walks, so this option suited us better. We loosely followed the St Ives to The Lizard route, detailed on the South West Coast Path website, but some of the walks were cut short or adapted due to the storms we had.


Day 1: Mousehole to Marazion (7.5 miles)

South West Coast Path - Day to Marazion
South West Coast Path – Mousehole to Marazion

We started with a fairly easy walk on day 1. Easy in the sense that it was mostly on the flat, walking on tarmac along the seafront. This walk was supposed to start at Lamorna and be 9.2 miles, but instead we got the bus to a place called Mousehole and started there which made it about 7.5 miles. This is because the weather was bad, with strong winds and the walk from Lamorna was across rugged cliffs, which we thought might have been a wee bit dodgy. So instead we missed this bit out and got the bus from Penzance to Mousehole (after I spent 5 minutes laughing at the name!) and started the walk from there.

I’d never been to Mousehole before – it was a cute little  place. A tiny fishing village full of charm with a pretty harbour and a few shops, pubs and restaurants.

South West Coast Path - Mousehole
South West Coast Path – Mousehole

We had a quick look around (there wasn’t much there) and then began our walk on the South West Coast Path, following the signs to Newlyn. Apparently, Newlyn is the third largest fishing harbour in Britain and was also very pretty. What I loved about walking the South West Coast path is that you come across some charming little places that you might not have seen otherwise. We carried on through Penzance and along the seafront to Marazion, passing the famous St Michael’s Mount along the way.

South West Coast Path - St Michaels Mount
South West Coast Path – St Michaels Mount

The views were amazing and we finished our walk with a well deserved cider in a local pub, before getting the bus back to Penzance and planning our day 2!


Day 2: Pendeen to Lands End (11.5 miles)

South West Coast Path Day 2
South West Coast Path Day 2

Well, this one was more challenging and the views – WOW. We got the bus to Pendeen and started there. It was definitely more remote here and it was mostly walking across the clifftops with a few rough ascents and descents.

South West Coast Path Day 2
South West Coast Path Day 2

It started with walking through an old mining district before leading around Cape Cornwall and finished at Sennen Cove, which was a lovely beach.

South West Coast Path Day 2
South West Coast Path Day 2 – Old Mining District

However, from here we walked another couple of miles to Land’s End to catch the bus, as we’d missed the last bus from Sennen Cove.


Day 3: Gurnards Head to St Ives (abandoned due to very bad weather!)

So today we started our walk in the middle of nowhere (literally!) at a famous pub called the Gurnards Head. Which I will forever remember as the pub where I dropped my phone on the concrete floor and smashed the screen (hooray!) There is literally nothing else around here, apart from the pub, which is bright yellow so you can’t miss it. Anyway, after a swift half of Cornish cider, we decided to brave the elements and begin our walk.

South West Coast Path - Gurnards Head
South West Coast Path – Gurnards Head

Even before we started, the wind was pretty strong. This section of the South West Coast path is rated as “Severe” in the Challenging stakes as it is one of the toughest sections of the entire path, due to rocky and boggy ground. It is also very remote and the path can be narrow and rough, plunging up and down the cliffs on the sea edge.

South West Coast Path - Gurnards Head
South West Coast Path – Gurnards Head

We managed to do almost 3 miles of our planned walk before the weather took a turn for the worse. The fog dropped, the wind picked up and it started raining really heavily. The winds were so strong it felt too dangerous to continue, with us climbing up and down slippy rocks right next to the rough sea. So we made the decision to turn back and head up to the nearest village which was called Zennor.

South West Coast Path - Gurnards Head
South West Coast Path – Gurnards Head before the weather turned…

There wasn’t much there apart from a church and a cafe but we took shelter in the cafe and had some lunch before deciding to get the bus to St Ives. Which would have all been fabulous if there were buses running from Zennor to St Ives. As we were now out of season, we soon realised that there were no buses. And we had no service on our phones as we were in such a remote location.

We weren’t sure what else we could apart from start walking towards St Ives, along the road. It wasn’t ideal as cars came pretty fast down this road and it was twisty and turny so potentially dangerous for us, but it was that or braving the coast path again which wasn’t really an option in the weather. Luckily as we walked along the road in heavy rain towards St Ives, a nice man stopped and gave us a lift to St Ives. He literally saved our lives that day!

Safe to say, once in St Ives we enjoyed a large, stiff drink 🙂


Day 5: Marazion to Porthleven (11.5 miles)

We had a day off from walking on day 4 – mainly as the weather was so bad! We did manage to see a couple of nice places on our day off from walking though, including Porthcurno where there is the famous outdoor theatre on the cliff. We saw a pretty beach here and spotted some dolphins which was cool, before getting drunk in a pub in Penzance. 😀

So anyway, back to day 5.. I was a tad hungover for this walk, which was not ideal as it was pretty long and challenging! This section of the South West Coast Path is actually graded as Moderate to Strenuous so yeah, it wasn’t easy.

That being said, I think it was my favourite section that we walked simply because of the stunning views. Much of this walk is through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there is a mix of terrain, including level walking, narrow paths up and down cliffs, rocky sections and sandy beaches.

We came across an amazing beach on this walk – it was our favourite one that we came across during our trip (Praa Sands). It was so chilled and hidden away from the tourists, it reminded me of some of the beaches in Sydney, Australia.

South West Coast Path Day 5 beach
South West Coast Path Day – Praa Sands

After a brief rest on this beach watching the surfers, we continued on towards Porthleven. This was quite a challenging section of the path with some tiring climbs for our now aching legs – we were so glad to see Porthleven come into view I can tell you!

South West Coast Path Day 5 porthleven
South West Coast Path Day 5… Porthleven

Porthleven is a pretty fishing village and we had a well deserved drink here followed by a beautiful seafood meal for dinner. 🙂 Perfect day!


My tips for walking the South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path - Weather
South West Coast Path – Weather
  • Take layers – if you are walking the path in the Autumn like we were, you need layers. We experienced all seasons in one walk, every day! One minute it was sunny and warm, the next it was freezing, then it was raining heavily! As a result you need to prepare for all seasons and eventualities. I took waterproofs, thin fleeces, neck warmer, a headband which covered my ears (needed due to the wind), my running t-shirts (wicking material), walking trousers (full length, waterproof and shorter ones), walking boots, walking socks, sunglasses, suncream. Yes, you need it all!
  • Don’t be afraid to turn back – if the weather is bad, it can be dangerous on some of the routes.
  • Plan your routes before you set out – make sure you can get a bus back to where you need to be. the buses run less frequently out of season.
  • Buy a weekly bus pass – if you are using the buses. You will save loads this way and you download the pass to your phone, nice and easy and allows you unlimited travel on the Kernow buses.
  • Take a map if you have one – the South West coast path is well sign posted for the most part, however there were some bits where we weren’t sure which way to go on some of the routes.

So there you have it, this was my adventure in Cornwall last week! I would love to go back when the weather is better and attempt more of this beautiful path. If you are in Cornwall/Devon I would thoroughly recommend walking parts of this path as the views are simply amazing 🙂

Louise X

September Link up with A Chronic Voice

September Link Up with A Chronic Voice

Well I cannot believe it is mid September already! I really do not know where this year is going, I wish it would slow down!

So this month I have decided to participate in a link up with A Chronic Voice – a monthly get together for anyone with a chronic condition. This involves writing around 5 topics, designed to get the creative juices flowing! This month’s prompts are below, so let’s give this a go! I’ll try and link my thoughts around these words to my year so far and my scoliosis.

  1. Reconnecting
  2. Confessing
  3. Relaxing
  4. Romanticising
  5. Sharing

Reconnecting

At the back end of last year, my relationship of 13 years suddenly ended. As a result, this year has been a huge year for me, of change and personal transformation. I used the first part of this year to reconnect with my friends, but also to reconnect with myself. I think sometimes if you are in the wrong or an unhappy relationship for some time, you risk losing yourself and I think this is what happened to me over recent years.

As I relied on my ex partner a lot, I lost my independence and confidence when I was suddenly left on my own.

Fast forward to now and I’m in a really good place. I have my own flat, I have done some amazing things so far this year, both on my own and with friends and I have met lots of new friends through doing what I love – running.  In fact, I think I have met and connected with more new people in the last year than I did in the previous 13 years of my relationship, which says a lot really!

As a result, the year of re-connecting with myself and connecting with new, like minded people has made me more confident, happier and also more comfortable doing things on my own again. I am now happy to cook a meal for myself, for example, go places on my own or drive on my own to new places. These things may not sound like big things but for me, they are huge steps forward and things I really did struggle with at the start of the year.


Confessing

My confession is that I’m often too hard on myself, in life and with my running/fitness. I compare myself to others a lot – with running it’s my race and Park Run times – and sometimes it makes me feel bad. For example, there are some really fast runners in my run club and I know some incredibly fit people and it’s sometimes easy to feel like what you are doing is not good enough, or you are unfit. But what I’ve realised recently is, it’s all relative. There are people I know who don’t do any running/exercise and tell me I’m the fittest person they know, and yet I feel really unfit compared to the fast runners at my run club. These fast runners probably also feel like they are not good enough and probably compare themselves against even quicker runners or elite athletes.

What I have been trying to do is to compare myself to MYSELF and against where I used to be, as I really have improved so much. For example I now run a 5K over 10 minutes quicker than I used to and have shaved a good minute off my 5K time this year alone. It’s so easy to forget that sometimes and be too hard on yourself.

The added factor for me, is that I do have a chronic back condition and while I don’t let it stop me, it does give me certain limitations and means, although I don’t like to admit it, I do find it difficult sometimes to keep up with and train as hard as others.


Relaxing

Running is a great stress relief for me, as when I’m doing it I don’t think about much else. It sounds crazy but I find taking part in running events such as Park Run and running with my run club incredibly therapeutic and it helps me to relax and manage my anxiety. Running is known for helping with mental health and it’s certainly helped me to get through a very difficult year.

However, I do  need to learn to relax more and be proud of and happy with everything I have achieved – in life and with my running. They say the grass is always greener and I’m always stressing about everything in life, worrying about my decisions and if I’ve done/am doing the right thing. I also tend to constantly stress about the things I haven’t done, instead of all the amazing things I HAVE done.


Romanticising

I’m not sure if it’s my personality type but I am constantly romanticising about the future. I think because of my change of circumstance last year, I’m wondering what is next? I’m not tied down at the moment and there are so many options and directions I could go in. It can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. I romanticise a lot about travel and possibly moving away somewhere abroad in the future to escape the “rat race.”


Sharing

I love sharing my journey with scoliosis online via my Instagram and of course, my blog. I think it is very important for others with scoliosis to be able to connect with others with the condition, as it can feel quite isolating. I know I felt isolated and alone when I was diagnosed as a teenager and as I didn’t know what the future held for me, it was quite a scary time. I now make it my mission to share my story and hopefully everything I have achieved post surgery will inspire those who have had or may be facing scoliosis surgery.


If you’re a blogger, why not join in on this link party? Alternatively, let me know your thoughts in the comments. How would you answer these word prompts?

Tough Mudder and Scoliosis

Running Tough Mudder with scoliosis

I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself following my scoliosis surgery, and this weekend was no exception.

Yesterday, I completed my first Tough Mudder – a 10 mile mud run with 20 obstacles that you have to see to believe! The obstacles are extreme and include electrocution, being plunged into ice-cold water, swimming/wading through freezing cold lakes, crawling through the mud under barbed wire, climbing (or being pulled!) over huge 12 foot walls – the list goes on!

With having scoliosis and a fused spine, this event was a huge challenge for me – but I don’t do things by halves.

In the lead up to the event, I felt really nervous. I wasn’t too concerned about the running side of it, as I knew that it would be very stop start with the amount of obstacles and also quite difficult to run some parts due to all the mud!

I was more concerned about the obstacles themselves and whether I could do them, as I have a distinct lack of upper body strength.  I have done Pretty Muddy before but that is much tamer in comparison and doesn’t really require any upper body strength. I was also worried about how my back would cope with all the bending, twisting, crawling and clambering! Also, I was worried about getting badly injured – falling off something and breaking my leg for example…

I do quite a lot of running anyway, I usually do Park Run on a Saturday and I run with my run club every week but I didn’t really do any specific training for this event. I was a bit concerned about this, as I had planned to follow a training plan and work on my upper body strength leading up to the event, but this fell by the wayside after I was in quite a bad (non-running related) accident a few months ago, which put my training on hold. I decided to go ahead and attempt the event despite this and I’m so glad I did.

It was tough, and very challenging. Some of the obstacles were fun, some were terrifying and some were definitely outside of my comfort zone. But sometimes you have to push yourself to grow and I’d rather look back and say – I can’t believe I did that, than I wish I did that.

Tough Mudder Obstacle
Tough Mudder Obstacle

With having had scoliosis surgery, there were a few obstacles that I couldn’t do. For example, there were a couple of electrocution ones that said not to attempt if you have excess metal in your body – so unfortunately they were a no, no for me! To be honest, I was a bit gutted as I wanted to attempt all of the obstacles – I don’t like being told I can’t do things…

There was also one bit where you had to give people piggy backs, and I just do not have the strength in my back at the moment, so I received a piggy back rather than giving one!

All of the obstacles requiring upper body strength, to be honest I struggled with and had to be pulled up by others. But after completing the event, that’s what I’ve realised. Tough Mudder is about teamwork more than anything and most of the obstacles you cannot complete without the help of others – either your own teammates or complete strangers. This is the case whether you have scoliosis (or any condition) or not. The atmosphere is fantastic – everyone works together to get your across/over the obstacles, which is amazing.

Tough Mudder Pyramid Scheme Obstacle
Tough Mudder Pyramid Scheme Obstacle

I’m glad I gave Tough Mudder a go and it is definitely one of my highlights of this year so far. It has made me more determined to work on my upper body strength at the gym and try again next year. What’s amazing is that my back coped fine and did not hurt at all, all the way through. My legs felt heavy and tired after about 8/9 miles but my back was completely fine.

Even today (the day after the event), yes I’m sore, in pain and I’m covered in cuts and bruises, but the pain is muscle pain and no different to what anyone else who completed Tough Mudder will be feeling today.

There’s no reason why having scoliosis should stop me from doing ANY of the obstacles (apart from the electro ones). A lot of it is mind over matter and yes, upper body strength definitely helps!

Next year I want to get stronger, go back fighting, try the ones I struggled with again and smash them! 😀

Tough Mudder Selfie
Tough Mudder Selfie

A bit of advice if you are doing a Tough Mudder (or similar event) for the first time…

  • Do it as a team! It is best to do an event like this as part of a team, and it helps it someone in your team is strong and can help lift you up/over things! This was a LIFESAVER in my case!!
  • Don’t panic like I did! It is supposed to be fun. Everyone is really friendly, there is a team spirit atmosphere, and everyone looks out for each other. Plus if there are obstacles you cannot do you can skip them.
  • Wear leggings that cover your knees
  • Take a change of clothes and a towel as they have showers and changing areas on site
  • Wear trail running trainers – if you wear normal gym trainers they will be ruined. Plus, you will be slipping and sliding everywhere.
  • Give things a go – put yourself outside of your comfort zone and try things that make you scared/nervous. You will feel amazing after you’ve done it trust me.

 


Have you ever taken part in an event like this? Would you ever? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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Running Tough Mudder with Scoliosis

6 month goal review

6 month goal review

So it’s July already, which means that half the year has gone… nooooo!

It always makes me panic how fast time goes, and the fact that it is now July has got me thinking about my goals I set back in January and where I’m up to with them.

I thought I’d write a quick post to sum up what I’ve achieved in the last 6 months, and what I’d like to achieve in the next 6 months. (It’s more to cheer myself up about what I have achieved and give myself some direction for the next 6 months, rather than to brag about everything I’ve done!) I generally like to have some goals to work towards, I find I work better that way and feel more motivated.


My goals for 2018 were as follows…

RUNNING

Complete a half marathon  – DONE woohooo! I completed the Great Manchester Run Half Marathon in May, in 2hr 8mins and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I have also booked another Half Marathon for October… whoops!

Do at least 10 10K races / running events  – So far this year I have completed…

So I’m over half way with this one, on target! Unfortunately, I have had to pull out of a couple of other 10k races I had planned for June (Colshaw Hall 10K) and July (Tatton Park 10K again) because of a leg injury. This injury is completely unrelated to running but was caused by a freak accident I was in a few weeks ago. It’s annoying because it has set me back but I will not let this stop me believe you me!

Improve my running speed – target 25 mins 5K by end of the year (currently around 28mins)

Hmmm, this one is ongoing! The leg injury mentioned above has set me back which I’m annoyed at, but I plan on following a training plan for my next half marathon and trying to get quicker by mixing in intervals and hill repeats etc.

Join a running club – DONE! I’m so proud of myself for this. I joined a running club in January and it’s one of the best things I’ve done this year. Check out my blog post on Running and Mental Health to find out how much this has really helped me.

Complete  a Tough Mudder – This is booked for September… ha. We will see how I get on with this, but the next few months will see my training switching over to strength so that I have half a chance of completing this!!

Go to as many park runs as I can, including trying some different ones, with the aim of reaching 50 park runs – Well, I started the year of well but recently have been slacking on the Park Run front due to my injury. So far I have been to three different Park Runs (poor show) but I have completed 24 so almost half way to my target..!

Run 1000km in 2018 – Currently on 460km so almost half way, need to step it up in July!


FITNESS / other challenges

Focus on increasing my strength – more body pump / strength work at the gym – In progress, this will become more of a focus now my half marathon has been completed. As I now need to focus on training for Tough Mudder.

Start core classes at the gym – DONE

Start Pilates classes – finally – I have been to a few Pilates and Yoga classes this year so far but haven’t been going as regularly as I’d like.

3 peaks challenge – at least climb a few more mountains as I love Snowdon – 3 peaks challenge is booked for July… eeeek!

I have also climbed several mountains this year so far, including Hellvelyn in the Lake District and Glyder Fach and Tryfan in Wales.

I would love to do another massive personal challenge like Machu Picchu – watch this space!! Still planning something like this, although may be next year due to £££.


TRAVEL

Take at least a month off for travelling – yeah, not quite sure if this will happen yet but if it does it’s likely to be towards the end of the year / early next year.

I have been to Paris and Holland twice so far this year and I am planning a trip to Barcelona later in July.


PERSONAL

Get a tattoo – something related to scoliosis and my China Challenge would be good as a reminder of what I achieved.  Still needs to be done 🙂 But I have not forgotten…

I’d like to add another personal goal relating to growing and developing this blog further. I have lots of plans and ideas but it’s time to put these into action.

I’d like to add here that I feel like I personally have grown and changed a lot over the last 6 months. I had a tough time at the end of last year, as my long term relationship of 13 years ended.

In the past 6 months, I have moved forward physically and emotionally. I have now got my own place and am doing more fun things with my friends than I used to. I’m also now more comfortable doing things on my own, for example cooking a meal for myself, shopping for food, sorting out my car MOT or just being on my own in my flat. These things may not sound like much but for me, they are huge steps forward and I feel like I am now more comfortable with myself and more confident than I have ever been before.


So there we have it, half way through 2018. I am proud of what I have achieved so far this year and I’m excited for what’s to come in the next 6 months.

BRING IT ON! 😀

Your Scoliosis Stories - Rachel's Story

Your Scoliosis Stories: Rachel’s Story

In the spirit of scoliosis awareness month, I have another amazing inspirational scoliosis story to share from one of my lovely readers 🙂

The latest story comes from Rachel, who shares her brave journey with scoliosis below. If you’d like to share your scoliosis story to be featured on this blog, please do get in touch!


Your Scoliosis Stories… Rachel’s Story

I think anyone with scoliosis will agree with me when I say that it’s unforgettable the minute you have a diagnosis. It’s like in a few small seconds, your world completely changes. I know that was the case with myself. Despite only being aged seven, I will never forget the minute I was diagnosed. I had some sort of virus and my Mum noticed that my ribs were sticking out on one side of my back, and took me to the local GP, whereby I was diagnosed with scoliosis, with an initial 58 degree curvature.

Following this, we were referred on to a specialist spinal consultant in Belfast. The options we were given weren’t particularly great. One was to wear a Boston body brace, and try to stop the curve progressing. Second option was to go down the spinal fusion route. However, due to my young age at the time and the severity of my curve, I would be receiving surgery on a six-month basis, to expand the rods. Neither option appealed to myself, nor my family.

However, when researching my condition, a family friend came across a specialist clinic in Suffolk, England, named Scoliosis SOS, which provided exercises aimed at reducing the curvature. The course was extremely intense – 6 hours of intensive physiotherapy every day, 5 days a week. Upon completion of the course, I had to complete such exercises at home for forty-five minutes every day. Around this time, I was also wearing a Boston brace, to try and stabilise my curvature. The exercises seemed to work as my curve came down to 48 degrees.

It was at Scoliosis SOS that we were put in touch with a company in Germany which makes custom-made braces. The staff were more than helpful and worked to suit me best, making me feel at ease. If something didn’t feel comfortable, all I had to do was say and they would quickly adjust it. As I progressed through puberty, I was back and forth to Germany for adjustments to existing braces and new body braces, when I had outgrown the current one.

For a while, it seemed like the exercises and body braces were working. Of course, the spinal fusion was always playing on my mind. We were warned that when I hit puberty and the growth spurt, the curvature would basically have a mind of its own and to expect it to go back up. Which it did.

I will never forget the day I was told that the spinal fusion procedure should seriously be considered, back in 2014. In the lead-up to the surgery, my curvature had risen to 82 degrees. What also sticks in my head was the pain I was in. The braces and exercises just weren’t helping me at that time, I was in constant agony. I couldn’t sleep at night, it hurt me to breathe, I couldn’t deal with the pain. In my mind, I knew that the spinal fusion procedure was the right thing to do. But something wouldn’t click. For years, I’d worked hard to avoid this. If I’m being completely honest, it felt like I’d lost my scoliosis battle, and that I was taking the easy option. What was harder to accept was that I felt like I’d let friends, family, physiotherapists, a lot of people down, and for that reason, I was too ashamed to tell people I’d made the decision to have spinal fusion surgery.

Your Scoliosis Stories Rachel Xray
Rachel’s scoliosis X-ray before surgery

For this reason, I fell into a dark patch. I felt like I had nobody to talk to, and I felt like nobody understood what I was going through. People didn’t know what it was like, nor did they realise the pain. Don’t get me wrong, people try to understand, but it’s not the same. I kept my feelings hidden, and ploughed on through. I was still in a lot of pain, but I kept going. When I think back on that time, I wish I did speak up and explain how much I was struggling. A few people have recently said to me that they admire how I dealt with everything over the years. But they don’t know what I’ve gone through, nor do they recognise the struggle it was to paint a smile on my face and tell everyone I was fine when I was in agony.

I was offered the opportunity to go to London to have my spinal fusion over there, but didn’t take the offer. It just seemed too far-fetched at the time – I was still in school and in the middle of completing my A Levels, I wanted to be as close to home as possible, among many other reasons. Several agonising months of pain followed and we were offered the opportunity to go to London again. It was now something I couldn’t turn down.

I remember meeting the surgeon and anaesthetist and it was only after that appointment that things started to feel real. This was going to happen. My life was going to change and I was going through with the spinal fusion. I honestly could not have asked for a better surgeon or anaesthetist – I will be forever indebted to the two of them.

I will also never forget being told the date of my spinal fusion. The hospital had rang my Mum and from memory, it was just over two weeks before. As much as I was dreading it, I was also excited. I had a lot to do, but strangely a part of me was looking forward to it as well.

What I also remember is the journey over. I was like a different person, I was acting like I didn’t have a care in the world. But I remember that when I got to the hospital and was going through details with a Nurse, that I broke down and said I wanted to get a flight home, also saying I’d made the wrong decision. Pre-surgery nerves more than anything!

I know a lot of people say they can’t sleep the night before their surgery, but strangely enough, I didn’t have a problem sleeping right through. One thing I hated was the 6 am wake-up call for breakfast, before fasting. I remember just waiting around, there’s not much you can do on the day. I was scared out of my mind, but when you are in the moment, you have to trust that everything will work out okay. My procedure was going to be in two stages: Stage 1 would be where they removed a rib to fuse the spine and I believe they did some metal work and then Stage 2 would be the main surgery.

I got the first procedure on a Saturday. All seemed well, I was eating fine on the Sunday. A part of me was thinking ‘why was I so worried about this?!’ But of course that faze passed. They worked close to several major organs during the surgery and they said that they had to see some movement in my bowel, which didn’t happen. They tried absolutely everything in the coming days, however it seemed like my bowel had gone into shut down. At one point, there was talk of me moving hospital, which thankfully didn’t happen in the end. My stomach swelled so badly that the Doctors and Nurses repeatedly asked if I was pregnant. On top of everything else, it wasn’t ideal.

One thing that particularly stands out in my mind was the chest drain. It was put in as a precautionary measure during the first procedure, as they work close to the lung area. They took the chest drain out on the Thursday, and I remember as soon as it came out, I didn’t feel right. The only way I can describe it is that I felt like something inside me had given up. I didn’t want to voice my concerns, as I thought this was just normal. But on the Friday afternoon, I will never forget waking up in the High Dependency Unit, and seeing my surgeon and anaesthetist by my bedside, letting me know I was going to have emergency surgery. My lung had collapsed, and I remember crying, but I wasn’t sure if it was tears of relief or tears because I was scared. I felt like I’d given up and at the time, as traumatic as it sounds, I felt like I was dying. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, I was on an oxygen mask, my stomach was still completely swollen as my bowel still wasn’t working, it was hideous. I remember coming round from the surgery and feeling much better.

This of course delayed the second part of the procedure. My bowel was still not working by the time it came to the second procedure, but they had to go ahead with it anyways. Almost as soon as I woke up from the second procedure, the Occupational Health Therapists had me up walking. Anyone who has gone through spinal fusion surgery will know that anything you do after surgery is like starting over again. Even tiny things like going to the toilet, walking, going up stairs, it’s all different and it does take time to adjust to it. The feeling of achievement when you complete the tiny things is indescribable. For example, whenever I walked up and down the Ward, I was wrecked after, but my Dad filmed it, and if I’m ever having a bad day, I watch that video, because it shows me just how far I’ve come.

Your Scoliosis Stories Rachel Xray after
Rachel’s Scoliosis X-Ray after surgery

I was in hospital for nearly a week longer than anticipated, a total of almost three weeks. When you’re there, it feels like an absolute lifetime, but everyone made me feel at ease and if there was any issue or I was uncomfortable, I spoke with a member of staff. Because my lung had collapsed, we weren’t allowed to fly back to Ireland. It involved a painful seven-hour drive (not ideal after surgery), a three-hour ferry and then another two-hour drive.

Recovery doesn’t just stop the minute you walk out of the hospital doors. To be honest, I didn’t think my recovery would end! I had to wear a body brace for six months post-surgery. The little things exhausted me whenever I got home. Even in hospital as well, I slept for most of the time. However, when thinking back to that time, you truly have to celebrate all your achievements. Whenever you dress yourself for the first time (regardless of how long it takes), if you walk further than you did the day before, if you can get yourself there and back to the toilet, sitting down yourself. There is so much you have to celebrate.

Taking a day off school when you are completing the second year of A Levels seems a crazy idea. However, I took nearly three months off. I’ll be extremely honest when I say that I didn’t want to go back, as I felt too overwhelmed. I was trying to complete work at home, but because I’d been off for so long, I was up to midnight most nights trying to catch up, do homework and revise for the upcoming exams. I have never thought about dropping out as much as I did back then. The fear of failure was a big thing for me and I didn’t want to do my exams, fail them all and have that hanging over me for the rest of my life. However, on the flip side, a part of me was more determined than ever. I had to try these exams and I didn’t want a ‘what if?’ hanging over me. If I failed, I failed. Somehow, I passed all my exams – achieving an A*, B and C.

People have asked me the date whereby I knew I was recovered. I don’t think there ever was a set date. It was a gradual process. I look back and think ‘I could do that in February and I couldn’t do it in January.’ Scoliosis and spinal fusion surgery is not an easy thing to go through, regardless of whatever age you are. A lot of people still don’t understand what scoliosis is and the impact it has.

In the past, I’ve likened scoliosis to missing somebody. The pain of missing them is extreme and it never goes away. But over time, it becomes more tolerable, and that’s exactly what scoliosis is like. It’s always going to be there, you have good and bad days. I still have my bad days, whereby I get stiff and pain. But the bad days are few and far between, and that’s what I wanted to get out of the process.

I was recently on Pinterest and saw an article which talked about how scoliosis shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams in life. At the time, you think you’re never going to get better, but you do. If anyone reads this and is worried that they won’t achieve their dream because of scoliosis, please do not think that. I’m still in a state of shock at my A Level results, after taking such a long period of time off school.

One thing I’ve pursued in the past few years is journalism. It has always been a passion of mine. In all honesty, it’s only been in the past year whereby I’ve taken it really seriously. I work extremely hard at it and the opportunities I have received make me feel like the luckiest girl. Whenever I’m doing interviews or attending events in conjunction with my journalism, I often think back to the time where I was lying in hospital. Life doesn’t stop because of your scoliosis or spinal fusion. It’s actually made me more determined to be a success.

That’s my scoliosis/spinal fusion story. To all the other scoliosis fighters out there, keep fighting. Do not let scoliosis hold you back from following your dreams in life. If you are preparing to go through spinal fusion, I don’t want to say don’t worry because a lot of people said that to me and it made me more anxious, but I can assure you that everything will work out okay. It may not seem like it at the time, but you will look back and realise that this process has made you a stronger, more resilient person, ready to face any challenge head on, ultimately changing you as a person. You’ll see who is truly there for you, lasting friendships will be forged, you will make memories that you will look back on with fondness, and more. I know that’s been the case for me anyways. I now have 2 rods, 2 hooks and 18 screws in my back, I have spinal fusion scars that I am extremely proud of.

Scars are truly something of beauty. I can definitely call myself a scoliosis fighter.


Thank you so much Rachel for sharing your story 🙂 If you would like to share your own scoliosis story to help raise awareness please do contact me!

Louise X

Top 5 UK Scoliosis Blog Feedspot

Top 5 UK Scoliosis Blog

Top 5 UK Scoliosis Blog


Just a quick post to say thank you to Feedspot for selecting my blog as one of the top 5 UK Scoliosis Blogs on the web.

I work so hard on this blog but with working full time, I don’t always have the chance to dedicate the time to it that it needs.

I have a lot ideas and awards like this make it all worthwhile and help to keep me motivated (as well as my readers of course!)

So, thanks again Feedspot!

 

UK Scoliosis Blogs

Scoliosis Awareness month

Scoliosis Awareness Month: Interview with Roslyn-Rachel

As June is scoliosis awareness month, I wanted to share some positive scoliosis stories, which will hopefully help to inspire you if you suffer with scoliosis or have had, are waiting for or recovering from scoliosis surgery.

I first “met” Roslyn Rachel via Instagram and I have to say, I find her such an inspiration to follow. She is a personal trainer and also runs FlexFitDance.com. I think she is an incredible role model for those of us with scoliosis, and personally has inspired me to be more confident and motivated to strengthen my back through exercise.

Below she talks about how her scoliosis has affected her life, the importance of fitness if you have scoliosis and her career as a personal trainer.


Firstly, I’d love to hear a little bit about you. When were you diagnosed with Scoliosis and what motivated you to start FlexFitDance.com?

I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 16, and then had the surgery when I was 18. That’s actually pretty old for a diagnosis; I’ve been told that lots of people have the surgery when they are between 14-16, but with me it went unnoticed for a long time. I had good posture from years and years of ballet lessons, so the usual tell-tale signs weren’t there! My mum noticed on holiday one year that one shoulder blade was more prominent than the other (a very common thing with scoli because of the rotation of the rib cage and the muscular imbalances). We went to the GP, who was very quick to say that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. Later that same day the GP called our home and said that she’d been googling it and that maybe I should come back in for a follow up appointment after all!

FlexFit Dance is something that I started whilst doing my qualifications to become a personal trainer. I “got into” the fitness industry after graduating from my dance degree and wanted a way to combine my love for dance, fitness and writing all in one! I talk a lot about scoliosis and the impact that it has had on my training.

 

 How did scoliosis impact your day-to-day life prior to any treatment?

 To be honest, it didn’t. Like I say, it went unnoticed for a very long time, and because I was dancing so often, I managed to correct my posture pretty much unconsciously. The body has this amazing way of adapting to any structural issues…although this often results in lots of muscular imbalances!

After diagnosis, I was strongly advised to go ahead with the surgery because of the severity of my curves (I had S shaped scoliosis which meant I had two lateral curves in my spine – one at the top, one at the bottom). The surgeon said that it would probably get worse without intervention. Even though I didn’t experience any pain prior to treatment, after I found out about it I did suffer from a loss of confidence and lots of insecurities. I was an adolescent girl who was wearing a ballet leotard on a daily basis, and all I saw in the mirror was my wonky hips and shoulders. Body image is a huge thing for teenagers as it is, and this is amplified when something like scoliosis gets shoved in your face!

 

I can see you underwent scoliosis surgery to correct your scoliosis. How did you find recovery and are you happy with the results of your treatment?

 

Gosh. That’s a big and complicated question! The decision to undergo surgery was huge for me. My surgeon was exceptionally talented at his job, but bedside manner and patient communication was not his forte! Going in to the operation I had no real idea how this was going to affect my dancing or my mobility. That was a huge deal to me but not something that western medicine is really designed to take into account. I felt a bit like I was going into it blind, but it was a gut thing – I knew I’d regret not having the op.

Having said all that, the 14 hour operation was a huge success. The curves in my spine were corrected by over 90%. It is now pretty much “straight”.

Scoliosis Awareness Month - Roslyn Rachel Scoliosis Xray
Roslyn-Rachel’s Xray

Recovery didn’t take too long. The first few days are a bit of a blur from pain medication but everything improved rapidly once I started standing and walking about again. I took my first step three days after the operation..it was tough and I felt super heavy from all that metal that is now holding my vertebrae in place!

I remember being really affected by the cold. I’d go out for a walk with my mum every day after I returned home from hospital. Not far – just down the road or to the nearby shops – but it was November and the cold weather made all my muscles seize up in a way I’d never felt before. I felt so slow at first but I suppose I got a little more confident with each step. I was back to daily life after a couple of months and even went back to my dance classes after about three to four months.

 

How does scoliosis affect your life now, post surgery?

 It doesn’t dramatically affect my life at all, if I’m honest. I’m very glad I had the surgery.

Naturally are some minor things that I cannot do in terms of my spinal mobility. When you have scoliosis surgery, your vertebrae become fused wherever they attach to the Harrington (titanium) rods. This will differ depending on the severity of the Scoli. I’m fused from my second thoracic vertebra (T2) to my third lumbar vertebra (L3). Which is quite a lot! As the majority of my vertebrae don’t have the normal gliding motion that they should, I can’t flex, laterally flex or hyperextend my spine. No ab crunches for me at the gym! There are lots of little things like that that I notice, but there’s always a solution to any problem and nothing is life-changing.

 

I can see you work as a Personal Trainer. Many people facing the prospect of spinal fusion surgery may think they’d never be able to become a PT or get into fitness. Could you shed a little light on how you managed to get into exercise post surgery?

 I actually think that getting into fitness is one of the best, most important things that you can do after having surgery of any sort. If you really get into the fitness industry, learn from reliable resources and meet knowledgeable people, it helps you to get a proper understanding of your body. Which in turn helps you to learn about your strengths, your weaknesses, what you need to work on and how – in so much more than a “I want to get fit and have abs” kind of way.

Scoliosis Awareness Month - Roslyn Rachel_mini
Roslyn-Rachel

I wasn’t actually offered any physio or personal training at all after my operation. The NHS just can’t afford that sort of thing! For a few years I just got by on what I knew from my years of dancing. Then after I graduated I met my (now long term partner!) who was a PT at my gym. He taught me so much about how the body works in a way that doctors’ cant. I found it so interesting that I decided to get into it myself and a year later I was a qualified PT!

 

Many people are scared to exercise post surgery. Have you got any fitness tips for people who have had scoliosis surgery?

 Take your time, but also don’t be afraid. You won’t jump into it right away. Like I mentioned – for the first month or so, I was struggling to walk one hundred metres down the road. It’s taken me years and years to build up the strength that I have now, but I’m so proud of it I can’t even describe.

Regardless of your specific fitness goals, people with scoliosis often have lots of little muscle imbalances – even after having the surgery. When you’re fully recovered and functioning, it’s definitely worth spending some time to strengthen the smaller, stabiliser muscles in the back, around the shoulder girdle, and in the pelvis. Learn to activate your deeper core muscles so that you have a nice, stable foundation and take some time to check in with your body and make sure everything is in alignment.

Realistically, having scoliosis, or having the surgery for scoliosis, shouldn’t hold you back at all in the long run, and going through that process will actually make you mentally stronger too.

 

Finally, what advice would you give someone suffering from scoliosis at the moment?

You’re not alone. Not in a smushy, cheesy, way. I mean seriously. You’re not alone. So many people have scoliosis. I currently do some work in a physiotherapy clinic and so many of the patients there present with scoliosis. In fact, since my own surgery, everywhere I have gone in my life, university, college, different countries that I’ve lived in, I’ve always met at least two people with a very similar story to my own. When I go anywhere I automatically look out for either the curve in the spine or that tell-tale scar at the base of the neck! When you start looking for it, you realise how common it actually is.

Which in turn means that there are so many people to talk to about it. I’m always happy to talk to anyone who is going through what I went through because when I was facing my own surgery, I felt so alone. I felt like the only person in the world who’d ever had to go through that diagnosis and that surgery.

If you don’t want to have the surgery, I’d strongly advise finding a good physiotherapist or even a highly qualified personal trainer. Get to know how your body works and no matter what happens, it won’t let you down.

 


To find out more about Roslyn-Rachel, you can follow her on Instagram or check out her website – FlexFitDance.com.

If you’d like to share your story on my blog and help to raise awareness of scoliosis please feel free to contact me!

Louise X

Half marathon

My first half marathon: Great Manchester Run

A couple of weeks ago (Sunday 20th May), I took part in a massive personal challenge – my first half marathon (The Great Manchester Run). I wanted to share this on my blog just to show that with hard work, anything is possible.


My first half marathon – training

I love to push myself and completing a half marathon was one of my goals for this year. So back in January, I signed up to the Manchester half marathon, which gave me 5 months to train. I’m the sort of person that when I set a goal, nothing stops me from achieving it. So I downloaded a half marathon training app (I used Asics, thought it was really good) and started my training. To be honest, I was already doing quite a lot of running anyway. In January I joined a run club, so I was running a couple of times a week with them and doing quite a few 10k races and Park Run to keep my fitness up. Over the next few months I was running several times a week, as well as mixing in some strength training and classes at the gym.

When it got towards April, I started trying to build the distance up a bit. I’m fine with running 6-7 miles but I’m not really used to doing any further than this. Hence why this half marathon was such a challenge for me. Over the couple of months leading up the race I used my Sunday’s as a practice for longer runs. I started with 8 miles and built up to a 10 mile run a few weeks before the race. To be honest, I really, really struggled with the 10 mile run I did in training. I felt ok in terms of my fitness, but it was my legs. They just hurt so much and I struggled to physically keep running. I now know that this was due to me not fuelling properly during the run or taking any water with me (schoolgirl error!). I’m not used to long runs so I didn’t realise I’d need some sweets or energy gels during the run.

The longer training runs knocked my confidence a bit. I had to slow right down to keep going for 10 miles and I really struggled. I also ran out of time leading up to the race so only managed to do one 10 mile run before race day – I would have liked to fit a few more in to be honest or get a bit closer to the half marathon distance. Basically, I did not feel ready for it! But I read somewhere that if you can run 8 miles, you should be able to safely complete a half marathon. So this reassured me a bit.


My first half marathon – preparing for race day

The days before the race I tried to prepare as best I could. It was going to be a hot day (typical!) for the race, so I made sure I drank lots of water in the days leading up to it and avoided alcohol. I also made sure I ate as much as I could, especially carbs like pasta.  I also toned down the running and exercise about 4 days before so that I wouldn’t be tired and have sore legs on the day of the race. The night before, I got all my kit ready and packed my back pack that I was taking. I made sure I took plenty of water, some sweets (jelly babies and Haribo) to have while I was running, some spare clothes, suncream as it was a hot day and some post race snacks. I then got an early night as I had to get up at about 5am for the journey to Manchester! But could I sleep? No way!

On the morning of the race I kept hydrated on the journey to Manchester. I was so nervous I felt sick. I have done plenty of 10k races before but I was worrying that I wouldn’t be able to finish the 13.1 mile distance, as it’s something I’d never done. I was also worrying about when to eat my sweets during the run to keep my energy up, and about how hot it was as I’m not used to running in the heat.

Luckily we arrived in Manchester with plenty of time to spare and I had time to go to the toilet (twice) as I had drank so much water! I have taken part in this event before – last year I did the 10k – and I just love it. It’s so well organised and the atmosphere is amazing. So as soon as I saw all the crowds and headed to the start area I started to feel more excited than nervous and like I could actually, maybe, do this.


During the race…

My strategy for this race was just to complete it, without stopping. I didn’t care what time I got. I just wanted to complete it, as it was my first one, to prove I could do it.  As I normally run around 9 – 9.30 min miles during races, I thought I’d be best going slower (for me) and aiming for 10 minute miles, which is what I did during training. The last thing I wanted to do was start off too fast and then burn out. I also decided I would have some sweets after about 40 minutes of running and then after about 60 minutes and so on, to avoid what happened in my training where I felt like I couldn’t physically go on after 10 miles. I had worked out that I would probably finish in around 2hr 20 mins if I went steady and this factored in possibly having to stop and/or walk a bit.

I started steady and luckily, as I was in the group that were expected to finish in over 2 hours, everyone was running at a similar, steady pace to me. This helped as I felt I was in the right group and  it meant I didn’t get caught up trying to run too fast.

My first half marathon 2

In all honesty, because I was running slower than I usually would for a shorter race – I found it quite enjoyable mostly. I just took it steady, had my sweets for energy and took all the water that was offered. It was very hot though with limited shade and I found that side of it pretty tough. I kept going and felt fine until I got to mile 10 – yep, the milestone! After mile 10 I really started to struggle, my legs hurt so much and it was a struggle to keep going. I didn’t stop though and pushed through the pain.

By mile 11/12 so many people had started to walk and some had actually collapsed at the side of the road and were receiving medical attention, which shows just how tough going it is really. I carried on pushing through the pain and when I got to mile 12 and realised I only had 1 mile left, I think adrenaline or something must have taken over! My legs were still hurting but I started to speed up again and did the final mile almost a minute quicker than the previous 2. As soon as I saw the finish line I went for it – I really don’t know how I had the energy but I just sprinted as fast as I could towards the finish line! Once over it though I could hardly walk and sort of hobbled towards where they were handing out the medals and finishers packs.


After the race…

As I was hobbling towards the meeting point I checked my watch and I just couldn’t quite believe it. I’d completed the half marathon in 2 hours 8 minutes, which I was over the moon at. I had been expecting about 2 hours 20 minutes as I thought I’d have to walk at some point. If I had been able to hold my pace between miles 10-12 then I would have probably finished around 2 hours 5 minutes. Plus if it was cooler maybe even quicker. I’m so pleased with myself it’s unbelievable. I still cannot believe that I’ve been able to train and run a half marathon, after having scoliosis surgery. It took me about a week to recover from it – my legs hurt pretty bad for at least 4 days  – but I’m so proud of myself. In fact, I have even signed up to another one at the end of the year 🙂

My first half marathon

 

 

Half marathon training – 3 weeks to go

So, at the start of this year I (stupidly) signed up to run a half marathon in May – The Great Manchester Run. I wanted to push myself and see how far I could take my running, and after running several 10k races, a half marathon seemed the next logical step. I must admit, I didn’t expect May to roll around quite so fast!

It seemed ages away when I first signed up back in December. I thought I’d have ages to train and build up my distance, but the reality is I haven’t done nearly as many longer runs as I’d like to have done by this stage and I’m starting to panic that I won’t be able to do it.

I thought I’d do a quick post to show what training I have been doing, using this last week as an example. I have been loosely following an Asics training plan for the past 12 weeks, but I must admit that I haven’t managed to do every run due to life getting in the way.

The plan generally consists of 4 runs a week, including a longer run on a Sunday. I have adapted it slightly by mixing in some intervals as well as strength training in between runs such as body pump, yoga or some weights in the gym.


Half Marathon Training – 4 weeks to go

Saturday – Park Run (3.1 miles fast)

Sunday  – 9 miles  (steady pace)

Monday – BODY PUMP (strength training)

Tuesday – REST DAY

Wednesday – Intervals (Treadmill – 3.7 miles) + strength training

Thursday – Run Club Run (5 miles – steady pace)

Friday – Gym – Strength training


Half Marathon Training – 3 weeks to go

So the plan for next week is as follows..

Saturday – Park Run (3.1 miles fast pace) – DONE!

Sunday – 9/10 mile run (steady pace)

Monday –  Body Pump / strength training

Tuesday – REST DAY

Wednesday –  3 mile jog (slow pace)

Thursday – Run club (7.5 miles – steady pace)

Friday – GYM – Strength training

Saturday – Park Run (3.1 miles – fast pace)

Sunday – 11 mile run


So that’s what I’ve been doing pretty much over the last 12 weeks, although I’ve only just started to up the distance from a couple of weeks ago.

I just hope I can do this!! If I do manage to complete this half marathon, it will be a huge achievement for me. I never thought anything like this would be possible after my scoliosis surgery. I’m so nervous about it right now.

Oh and just in case you are interested, when I do strength training at the gym this includes the below. I tend to do this in between running days or if I can’t get onto body pump. Currently aiming for twice a week.


Half Marathon Training – Strength Training

Chest Press – 3 x sets of 12

Leg Press – 3 x sets of 12

Lat Pull Down – 3 x sets of 12

Shoulder Press – 3 x sets of 12

Low Row Pulley – 3 x sets of 12

Squat Thrusts – 3 x sets of 12

Squats – 3 x sets of 12

Plank – 3 x 1 minute


I’ll update how I get on after the event.. eeeek!!! Never give up on your dreams! 🙂

Louise X

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Half Marathon Training Plan