2018 in review

For 2018 I set myself the target of 2000 self propelled miles. That could include bike, run, walk, ski, swim… anything that didn’t have an engine.
By March I was well on track to achieve the goal for the year, although I was struggling with concentration, energy levels, unexplained weight gain, crazy emotions (towards the end of 2017 I had to pull over and sob for 5 minutes after a moorhen ran out in front of the car and I clipped it), and much more. In April I finally had some tests done to try to understand why I wasn’t right. Turned out my cortisol (the stress hormone) levels were, to put it politely, a bit skewed (that’s the most polite way I can put it!!). This was my body’s way of saying “NO MORE STRESS”. The technical term is Adrenal Fatigue.
Now, you’ll read everywhere that exercise helps reduce stress. Well, yes it does. If you’re inactive then moving more definitely helps, however there’s a tipping point beyond which exercise, in particular cardiovascular exercise, adds to the stress. For the 4 years leading up to this diagnosis I had been training for various Ironman triathlons, I had been training 6 days a week. I had also had a 6 month stint in a job that I found beyond stressful. Suddenly the stress (and therefore Adrenal Fatigue) made a lot of sense. Finally I had to take a good look at what I was doing.
I had to pare back life. No more cardio exercise, no evening clients, factor in time for naps, avoid stress wherever possible. To be honest, by the time I got those tests done, I had been running on empty for a good year or more. Maybe two. So none of these changes were hard to adapt to, they were welcome.
However, I still had my 2000 mile target quietly in the back of my mind, so I carried on tracking my walking miles. I started exercising purely for enjoyment. To that end I went in the river with friends, I tried aerial hoops and silks. Towards the end of the year I started doing powerlifting. I can’t lift particularly heavy stuff yet, but 2019 will see me deadlift 100kg and more. I’m VERY excited about that.
Back to the miles, though. My last “proper” run was a half marathon on 8th April. Since then I have run 4 more times. Each time giving it a go to see how my energy levels fare afterwards. The first 3 times gave me a big NO. The 4th was today, so we’ll see!
And the total…. 1796.3 miles. Not bad for someone who has to schedule naps into her week and who at one point was only functioning for 3 days in every 7.
And for 2019? Well the goal is still 2000 miles. I am starting to get better, or at least I’m starting to manage life better, so I hope that might be achievable. But more importantly I’ll deadlift 100kg. And heavier.
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One thought on “2018 in review

  1. I’m sure No More Stess must be a good idea. And listening to your body.
    My goals will be to continue to take 5000+ steps 3 or 4 days a week, to keep doing the exercises I’ve learnt from you and the physios, stretching and Pilates; + swimming, using my new exercise bike and gradually increasing the time I can manage (10 minutes at the moment). Plus scheduling naps and ‘flat time’ on my bed when I need it.
    I can’t imagine being able to lift anything like 100kg!! Remarkable goal!

  2. Emily naps have always been a part of day! In Tignes they were power naps but since working as a PT they are actually part of my afternoon schedule and can sometimes be a good 90+ minutes! I do get up most mornings around 5am but I could not work in the evening if I didn’t nap in the afternoon! Naps rule! ?Good luck with the power lifting that’s very impressive! ?????? X

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