…and my body!
I have found the fit me again! At last! I know it’s early days still but I have started running again. I have had a big mental block about it, I think because for so long any exercise I have done (other than riding and Pilates) has brought about a setback – either an infection/cold or just a crushing fatigue. This was even to the point that whenever I was trying to run in my dreams, I just couldn’t do it; although I desperately needed to run, my body just wouldn’t respond, my legs wouldn’t move fast enough or I’d trip over my own feet.
However, recently, thanks to building things up slowly with Pilates and riding, I have been feeling fitter and healthier than I have in a long, long time. I can now take Archie out for a hack for 45mins to an hour and a good 90-95% of that time is trot-work, not just ‘bimbling’ but working on an outline, impulsion and strength… a good workout for me and the horse. I’ve also been wearing the pedometer again and am mostly hitting my goal of averaging between 7-10k steps a day (just over 8,600/day for Feb/Mar/Apr) with my highest step count being 21,312! And I didn’t have a setback either.
Another turning point was when we had to call out the vet to one of our ewes who was having difficulty lambing: I had to run from the far end of the fields to the house to get the field gate key. OK, so I only managed to run the length of one of the fields but I didn’t die, my hips didn’t give me hell and I didn’t suffer a setback over the next few days. Watershed moment in ditching my fears that exercise will knock me back down as it has so often before. I’ve even been able to run in my dreams and imagining myself working out on a cross-trainer has become an excellent tool to stop my brain spinning when it won’t switch off (although I think I can safely say that I will not be taking up spinning any time soon, if ever)!
I’ve bought myself a cross trainer so I can start out doing short stints without over-doing it, then building up my times by increments, still remembering my ‘phasing’ so I avoid setbacks. I started doing some interval training for running today (probably managed about 5-minutes running out of my 25 minute dog walk but, hay, it’s more than I’ve done in ages!) and I’m feeling energised rather than knackered.
I’m hopeful that I will soon be re-claiming my body from the clutches of CFS for good. I’m looking forward to fitting back into all the fabulous clothes I used to wear that I could never quite bring myself to throw away.
Having CFS can steal your body identity. I keep forgetting that before I developed glandular fever (and subsequently CFS), I used to ride at least once and often twice a day, regularly cycle and run just for the fun of it, go (jive) dancing 2-3 times a week and all this whilst working shifts of either 6am-2pm or 2-10pm. I used to be fit.
After 13 years of being told by various doctors that there was nothing wrong with me other than being over weight and un-fit (with the sub-text of “lazy” running through it all), you start to believe them. Even to the point that when you regularly have to climb three flights of stairs to your office (no lift) and it gets increasingly difficult you still don’t realise that it is not just a case of doing more exercise and getting fit; if that was the case it would become easier the more often you did it.
Although I wouldn’t ever want to get to the point that I was – where I could barely get out of bed and some days even thought of calling a taxi to get me the last couple of hundred yards home or be in tears at the thought of walking that far – and I hope that nobody else has to be in that situation before they get treatment, but I am glad that the eventual outcome was the diagnosis of CFS as it has enabled me to manage the condition and get to the point I am now, where I can see a way back to being as fit as I was at 17 before it all started.