Out I went for my first long distance run since my most recent Marathon, which was in part for training but also largely because I wanted to put my body to the test having worked so hard on strengthening areas critical for knee support. My body answered the call as the pain for a few days following was almost too much to continue training. Finally I gave in (before my knees did) and went to a great knee specialist Dr Gary French, who examined each knee only to find that I had developed what he called “Runners Knees”. As a result of the body’s need for repair I had developed a build up of cartilage on the knee, which would sometimes cause discomfort, and the rest of the pain was due to the weakness in my stomach from carrying children.
Being such a small unit, during pregnancy I would develop up to a four-finger width separation in my abdominal wall (Diastasis Recti), which resulted in the need for allot of training and strengthening after child birth. With a weakened stomach it also meant that my Tibia Band wasn’t functioning properly – with each thigh pulling on the knee and causing a great deal of discomfort. Despite these roadblocks I wasn’t about to be stopped and with a balance of stretching and swimming in between training I have seen a huge difference in both my strength and comfort levels. An amazing sports tape called Titanium Phiten has also dramatically decreased the pain. The long and short of it is that I just need to manage injury, accept the pain and break through it. As the cliché goes, no pain – no gain!
Four months to go and I’m training five days a week, which between work & family requires my balancing act to be spot on. During weeks where I have my children I wake up at 6:30am to do the morning breakfast, school lunches and school drop off then it’s straight to work. I usually work until 4pm to leave and pick up the kids by 5pm, although with the joys of traffic I would be lucky to make it by 5:30pm. Then it’s home, dinner, homework, bath time, playtime and story time before both are off to sleep (usually by around 7:30pm).
But – no sleep for me! On goes the gas mask for at least 45 mins on the X-Trainer at high level, where I utilise a hill program to partially simulate what is waiting for me on Everest. I manage to smash out at least 11km in this time. I always make sure the level is set high because as my trainer Scottie from Specforce always says, “Everest isn’t flat Mel”. The man must be good at what he does because anytime the voice in my head starts pulling me back, his voice comes in even louder saying, “Come on Mel, faster, push harder, you’ve got this!” Being a part of Specforce Fitness never leaves you, it’s just awesome. Once the mask comes off and the heart rate normalises it’s off for a quick shower, prep for the next day and then logon to work from 9pm-10:30pm in order to make up my afternoon hours. Eventually I slide into bed by about 11pm before Ground Hog Day begins again at 6:30am.
It’s only when you write out what you do each day that you really get a shock at how much you can fit into a day or week! Everyone has their own busy life to lead and even if there are fewer items on your list we can all end up just as tired as each other at the end of the day. No matter how many balls you are juggling, I take my hat off to anyone who manages to balance kids, work and training. As an interesting exercise I decided to break down one of my weeks into its individual parts. It looked a little like this:
- 28 books read
- 2 kids birthday parities attended
- 2 trips to pool with the girls
- 3 loads of washing
- 2 open homes (As selling my house)
- 40 hours of work (7.5 of which are between 9pm&10:30pm)
- 5 school drop offs/pick ups
- 8 hours stuck in traffic to get to work
- 55km on the X-Trainer with a Gas Mask
- 28km of running
- 2km of swimming
- 1 session of yoga at home with the kids
When you really put your mind to it it’s quite incredible what you can achieve in seven days. I also keep in the back of my mind that with each passing month, the number of balls I am juggling is only going to increase – especially as the event draws near. Despite all of the things rotating around the nucleus of my life I do know one thing, the kids are and have always been at the centre and nothing will take away from the time I spend with my angels. My mission (and yes I do chose to accept it) is to succeed in my preparations for Everest but as with any of life’s missions, one must have their priorities in check and family is always number one.
As the hour hand creeps slowly on and the days grow shorter & colder I’m nervously excited about what’s coming…