Superfit @ 50: no more ultra-running for a while …..!?

It has been a while since my last post during which I mentioned that my Lyme’s disease seemed to be causing a problem with my right hip. A visit to the doctor followed by an x-ray revealed that the cartilage in my hip was thin with that my left hip looking a little better; the doctor’s prognosis being that I have osteoarthritis in the right hip which will require a hip replacement at some point. This was causing the pain and discomfort and as you can imagine, for those of us who love trail running and ultra-running, the news came as a bit of a shock, no more ultra-running!? At least for the foreseeable future.

My physio says that Lyme’s can set-off an auto-immune response which has probably shortened the life of the hip. Having consistently been around a stone over my ideal running weight for the last 15 years in which I have been an ultra-runner, you can understand the underlying cause behind the wear and tear! Interestingly though, since my seizure in June, I have benefitted from an increased awareness of the fragility and precious nature of life which has helped my to up my game in terms of what I am giving and achieving each day. This heightened focus has meant I have had more frequent long fasts which has helped my drop 3kgs over the last four months.

NEW CHAPTER

The doctor has referred me to a specialist and in the meantime, advised me to either dramatically reduce my weekly mileage or stop the running altogether and to try and focus my energies on cycling and/or swimming. I am as determined as ever to be the best possible version of me and to this end, to continue my drive to be as fit and sharp as possible Super Fit @ 50, so that I can get the very best out of each day by giving my best to those around me. So, my plan is as follows …..

RUNNING

At the time of writing I am on day 339 of my run-streak which I plan to continue beyond the magic one year. I get-up fairly early each morning and will start the day with a 20 minute row on my WaterRower followed by a 3 mile run around the town. My physio suggested I stick to running on the flat for the time being as it is the rotation in the hip which is causing the discomfort. I have been averaging five rows and 22 miles running a week under this new regime (down from 60 miles running each week pre-seizure in June). 

SWIMMING IN THE SEA

One of the massive benefits from ultra-running was being out in nature during all four seasons and whatever the weather and this is something which I will really miss. However, we live in a town called Clevedon which is on the Bristol Channel and there is a local group of people who swim in the sea beside the local pier, every day of the year! And I remembered this article from the BBC “Sea swimming is ‘amazing’ for mental health and menopause so I plan to swim in the sea for once a week for 20 minutes a go to enjoy the mental health benefits of being immersed in cold, salty sea water. There is also this interesting article on the subject from ITV. As soon as this latest lockdown is over, I will reach out to the group to see whether someone is happy to buddy-up with me as due to my epilepsy diagnosis, I should not swim on my own. I will let you know how I progress in a future post!

CYCLING

Whilst I enjoy swimming, it must be said that I am not a natural road cyclist. Cars, trucks, potholes all seem too much to me, it is just not my thing. Sorry to any of you ardent cyclists! So, in The New Year I plan to invest in a spin-bike and to target an hour-long HIIT session 3X each week. 

ADDED BONUS

The shock of being told to stop ultra-running knocked me out that Monday evening, I was at an absolute loss. But once I had the bones of a new plan (as outlined here), I felt back to my positive self once again and excited about this new chapter in my life and health journey. After all, once you hit your fifties it’s normal to experience a few health hiccups right!?

As I put this new plan in to action there is another takeaway to consider. It is much easier to adapt and change a plan to suit your changing circumstances than to feel lost, not having a plan or sense of direction or purpose. So, although the ultra-running news came as a bit of a shock, my purpose is to be the best possible version of me and to help those around me to be the best version of themselves. Replacing ultra-running with other terrific exercises and experiences then did not seem nearly so difficult. So please do share your experiences of finding your purpose or do get in touch if you need any help or support.

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