Apparently today (16th January) is the grumpiest day of the year and officially called 'Blue Monday'.. According to the news, it's to do with the build up of debt after Christmas, failed New Year resolutions and the 'back to work' blues now the euphoria of the festive break is a distant memory.
I can relate with that.. but my grumpiness is due to a realisation that this rehab process - and return to proper running - is going to be far more prolonged than I thought. I'm trying really hard to be positive, strong and motivated.. but if I'm honest it's not going well.
Everyone around me, people in my running group and even runners that I'm coaching are reporting in with tales of their wonderful mileage, great achievements and big success.. and whilst I'm thrilled for them all, deep down inside I'm feeling just a bit envious and glum.
I, perhaps naively, thought that 6 months after surgery I'd be somewhere close to being back to normal. Ha! far from it. It turns out that there are some major biomechanical imbalances developing between my right and left side. I discovered this last week after therapy and a training session in the gym on Friday and the difference in strength and flexibility is getting more and more pronounced. The right side - where the stoma is sited (right in the middle of my rectus abdominus) and where I had the previous stoma (leaving a 5 inch scar) - is significantly weaker than the left.. all through the hip, glute and quad. This is what's causing the constant discomfort in my hip and pain through my knee. SIGH! I probably shouldn't be running at all and need to spend lots of time in the gym rebuilding and on the therapists table having treatment and massage. This is always going to be a problem now apparently.. and I'll have to work on it forever. Rather like when you say to the midwife after giving birth 'when can I stop doing pelvic floor exercises'... and she say's 'err never'.
It's clearly not enough that I had to have 4 abdominal surgeries, spend a month in hospital, swap all my muscle tone for body fat, end up with a stomach that looks like the surface of the moon (with a bit of bowel sticking out of it), miss out on my Ironman that I'd trained so hard for and lose pretty much 18 months of my life to illness, surgery and recovery. Huff.
My weight gain is another bug bear.. (and one I'm not entirely comfortable blogging about). I'm now about 12lbs heavier than I was before (sshh!).. I guess going from being an athlete to a sick couch potato would do that. And believe me, it's all fat! A fellow runner pointed that out last week at a club run 'Oh your body shape is TOTALLY different now isn't it'.. he says. A very helpful observation!!! Not. But I don't feel ready to put any pressure on myself to worry about losing weight just yet. The motivation to have a flat bikini stomach has gone forever and the desire to lose a few pounds to get my 10km time down.. well that's not exactly a priority. So I'm hoping that one day soon I'll wake up and the desire to really work on the weight loss will be there.. for the moment it's done a runner.
The whole thing has been an interesting process though and taught me a lot (see I'm trying to find a positive here!) about myself and others. Like I said in my last post, it's just going to take a long time and I need to be super patient and persevere. I know deep down that I'll get there eventually.. it's just uber frustrating.
Ironically, the bag is actually the least of my concerns. All I want is to be able to run without a knackered knee, hip or leg. It's not much to ask is it? I know things could have been much much worse. And in some ways I'm lucky to be here at all. But I want more from my life than that. I want to be able to compete in running and triathlon, to take part in crazy events, to feel fit and be able to run properly and freely and to just be me again. In the meantime, I'm just going to have a moan. Thanks for listening.