New eating and exercise routine but back to Brighton

Sun 11 – Sat 17 Jan 2015

My key reflection on last week was how quickly everything is back to normal, it’s like the Christmas and New Year break never happened. There are things I still want to achieve and I need to hold those goals central to what I do rather than just let ordinariness take over like weeds take over a garden that is not looked after.

I reported before that I have started to develop migraines – a pain over one eye that sits there for a couple of days. I don’t know what triggers them and it is only in the last year that they have started. On Thursday, I did my informal volunteering and went to stay overnight in Brighton visiting some friends I am keeping an eye on. My headache started on the train down and drifted off but then I awoke in the middle of Friday night with a bad one. It’s not good when it wakes you up is it? The headache lasted all day until I got back to London when I had a sleep for an hour and a half.

Abnormal Saturday
Partly as a result of the headache / migraine, I went to bed early on Friday night, by about 9.30 – a bit of reading then sleep. My sleep was bad. I think the snooze may have contributed to that but also my brain was whirring as usual. A thousand things went through my head like something within me thinking that simply by planning and projecting so I could change my life. When I properly awoke on Saturday morning I did not feel like either going to the gym or for a run – totally out of place for my normal routine. However I did do a lot of walking during the day instead (in the cold!) and so I must have burned up some calories that way. Walking does help me to relax and control how I feel.

Health and fitness
Apart from the migraine / headaches, my health has been good last week and on Monday I went to the Clear Ear Clinic to get my ears cleared of wax. It’s a problem I have always had making me deaf at times. The only option used to be syringing but the NHS is reluctant to do this now. Apparently it contributes to hearing loss in the long-term (but what about if you can’t hear anything now?) Clear Ear is a private service (£80) but it is a modern safe way of removing wax by using a small vacuum. In terms of exercise, it has not been a bad week though not a classic. I did my jog-run on the previous Sunday achieving 26.23 mins, 4.43 km, 5.57 pace, 326 cals – pretty similar to the week before. I got a session in with Sara on Monday and did a good all-round gym session on Thursday.

Goodbye physio – the legacy
Last Monday, I saw the physio I have been seeing for a while. Together we have sorted out my dodgy knee which is so much better primarily through working on a range of exercises to build up my thighs and core. But as the knee has improved so my Achilles has got worse. That is really bugging me as I want to get back to regular jogs and runs which I enjoy. I’m doing once a week but more often would be nice. We’ve started doing more calf exercises (and stretching) but last time I had an Achilles injury it took a prolonged period of rest. I decided this was my last session with the physio, I need time to see if I can sort things out myself. The physio was good giving me advice for the future particularly suggesting shorter gym sessions with more concentrated heavy weight workouts (one set of 6-9 reps each exercise), more rest to build muscle, and more concentration on diet. Good advice but I think this will also be influenced by other things such as working out why I eat too much and eat crap? Weight was still 13-7, the new norm. And during the week I did try to eat sensibly and small.

Work – trying to understand each other and exhaustion
Work days last week were Tues and Wed. On Wed we had a half-day of team-building. This was based on identifying what sort of people we each are and how we can best react together. I was a thinking introvert who based my decisions on sensing. All very Myers-Briggs and pseudo-scientific but it was important in making us aware of how we like to work and how we need to consider other people’s perspectives in getting things done. I do notice that when I am at work I am on the go non-stop – e-mails, conversations, phonecalls, reports, forward-planning, office politics, etc. After a day at work I am completely exhausted.

Brighton again to see people I care about
Fri was taken as leave so I could go to Brighton. I visited my mate James who is living with cancer on Thurs afternoon. He’s in the period after having radioactive isotopes inserted into his body to destroy the tumours. It’s now a waiting time with a big scan at the end of Jan followed by finding out in Feb if the cancer has gone or if he will be living with it or if it’s the ‘T list’ (T for terminal). Later, I treated myself to a massage with one of my favourites masseurs though neither he nor I were in good form. He’s had a cold and I fell asleep during the massage so missing out on experiencing all the benefits. After that I met an old friend for dinner. Great to see him and we touched on the old times which actually made me so glad that they were over and there were some people I don’t have to deal with any more. My big regret is that it took so long to get my life sorted out.

Bob and Brian
Friday morning I worked through my headache and went off to see Bob first of all in his nursing home. He looked really well and it was too wet and cold to go out so we just stayed in and chatted. I told him I was going to on holiday soon and he lamented how he would probably never go abroad again. I then met up with Brian who is having treatment on his legs and so is still fairly restricted in his mobility. He worries about his dog and he also was saddened by the idea that he might never go abroad again – he actually lived several years in Spain. He’s also got an unfortunate dispute going on with one of the other residents in his shared housing. Is this what our old age is going to be like and will anybody keep an eye on us?

Reading is probably my favourite past-time. Three books to tell you about this week. First of all I completed a book started the week before, ‘Quilt’ by Nicholas Royle. Good in parts and an interesting story, the reaction of someone to their father’s death. But it’s weirdly inter-mixed with a commentary on rays (the animals though I initially that the sections on rays were about rays of light!) Ultimately over-literary and pretentious, with at one spot 20 pages of single words representing each letter of alphabet and an afterword that didn’t add anything. The other two books were much better. Barry Unsworth is an acclaimed author I have never read before. ‘Morality Play’ was very evocative of the medieval period and an interesting attempt to create a murder-mystery thriller set in the middle ages. A bit of a novella and pretty implausible but still a good read. I am currently on ‘The Sound of Things Falling Apart’ by Juan Gabriel Vasquez. I picked it up for 50p in the charity shop and I like Spanish / Latin American writing – this is set in Colombia. A well written and clever book, more details in next week’s blog when I have finished it.

Art and an old friend
Other things worth giving to the world via my blog. The previous Sunday after my jog-run I visited the Courtauld Gallery and particularly the Egon Schiele exhibition. £8.50 entrance but a great gallery. The Schiele exhibition was very busy with visitors and he’s an amazing painter but who only lived for thirty years dying of the Spanish Influenza in 1918. This meant his shocking naked pictures really never had time to mature into a greater art form. And on Tuesday night I had a meeting with my old friend Chris. We had not seen each other for about 5 years but we fell into conversation easily looking to the future rather than reminiscing about the past. I think it will be interesting to grow old with friends. Saw Dave at the weekends and on Wednesday night, with mum in between who is still in a lot of pain with her blood clot.

Another little downer
Only other thing to note was that I had another down period mid-week (perhaps this links to my migraine after and then funny mood on Saturday?). I get these on and off; the best thing to do is to ride them out. Analysing these temporary downs, they are caused by a combination of anxiety, panic, catastrophisation, and weather. Also supporting QPR makes life harder…

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