I know, I’m boring, but hey this is my stage…LOL!
The last year has seen so many changes in people’s lives. Drastic changes. Whilst some have been for the worst, mine have certainly been for the better. In February 2020, at my last endocrinology appointment…one which was meant to be followed up after six months (FML) my HBa1c was sitting at 86. I was a mess. The endo granted me access to Libre Freestyle, but with everything in the diabetes world I would have to wait until June. It always seems like, “You’re basically dying, you really need this kit. You can have it in four months.” I mean, imagine?
In April 2020, I hit a tragic realisation after laying on the sofa with my daughter, binging on Twillight movies and a packet of biscuits which almost cost me my life. I always have had a flair for being dramatic, but honestly, my ketones were at 8 and my respiratory system begun to shut down, meaning I struggled to take a breath. All my own fault and my denial almost killed me. Luckily, I injected a shit load of insulin, drank a fuck ton of water and my ketones dropped back to normal and saved me a trip to the last place on earth anyone wanted to go last April and even now…the hospital.
In June I finally got my eager hands on the Libre and what I saw was astonishing. I only had to look at a carb and my blood sugar would go off the scale. That’s when I started researching how to combat the post prandial spikes. In July I found a group on Facebook called Diabetes and the low carb life. It has been a godsend. It’s such a lovely group, filled with likeminded people and completely geared toward improving diabetic outcomes rather than anything else.
Sorry for the long winded intro, I’m getting to the point, I swear. Sarah, the group founder posted pictures of a fitness game she played called Nintendo RingFit played on a Switch. My son has a Switch and the game looked amazing. Getting hold of one was like trying to find rocking horse shit, but where there’s a will, there’s a way! I started playing it at the end of July 2020 and the results were out of this world. I felt amazing, sore, but a whole lot fitter and stronger.
As it was summer, I started walking the 5k circuit around my home. I’d do this to combat high blood sugar rather than taking an adjustment dose whenever I could and found the walk would lower me by approx. 3 mmol/L the same as what 1 unit of Novorapid is meant to do for me. I say meant, because Diabetes is a little twat and for me personally, things never seem to work the way they’re meant to. As summer drew to a close, I spotted a full sized treadmill in the garage, my boyfriend is basically Steptoe LOL! I ordered the bloody thing inside with the hope of being able to walk without freezing my tits off during the winter months.
At the beginning of September 2020 the diabetic nurse from my GP surgery called me and let me know my a1c had dropped from 86 to 58. Considering the short amount of time I’d had the libre, been low carbing and introduced exercise into the mix, I was incredibly happy with that result. I do believe it’s lower now, possibly 49 or 50.
I can’t recall where things changed, but Sarah started posting videos following running. My go to response was always ‘Well done. But, fuck that shit.’ Sometimes, ‘I only run if someone is chasing me.’ You get the picture. I was never going to be down with the running crowd.
Another member of the group, Donna, also posted her running results and to this day I’m in awe of her. It’s like, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like Donna!’
But, there was no way I was ever going to do it. No, just not for me.
I continued to watch Sarah’s videos, mainly because she’s so funny and inspirational as a person. In her, I saw something, a spark in the eyes on her sweaty, beet coloured face. I don’t know exactly what it was, but along with the Ninja Foodies, Lucy Locket Loves merchandise, waffle makers, RingFit and other shit the group forces you to buy…I wanted me some of that, only it was something which couldn’t be bought.
In December 2020 I made a reluctant decision to at least give Couch to 5k a bash having weighed up the benefits vs the risk. Lucy, how was there any risk? I hear you cry. Well, to be perfectly honest, when I was nineteen years old I had a tragic accident on a treadmill. At the time I was in the RAF and my accident resulted in the gym getting shut down, pending an investigation and likely whilst they cleaned the vast majority of my skin off the belt. Despite the fact I had lumps of flesh missing from the majority of the right side of my body, including my face, people found this extremely hysterical (including the duty doctor who was nigh on pissing herself laughing whilst spraying me with iodine) or were livid that I had singlehandedly taken their gym away from them due to my inability to tie my fucking shoelaces correctly.
This incident wasn’t the end of running for me in my younger years. In my early twenties, I had a boyfriend who was into running and I’d regularly roll out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday morning and run 10k in a organised event with basically zero training or effort and definitely without a treadmill in sight. The joy of being twenty-one, I guess. When we split I quickly gave up running.
Those were the risks. So, I considered the benefits. I do not hide that I smoke like a chimney and whilst my fear of catching COVID-19 and dying from it had somewhat diminished with the lowering of my a1c and overall improvement to my health, there’s always more effort to put in. Before you start, I know it doesn’t always work that way, but it certainly wouldn’t do me any harm. There’s plenty of literature to support how running improves heart and lung function as well as mental health.
The first six weeks of C25k were in all honesty, utter hell on earth. In order to prevent myself from talking myself out of carrying on with it, I’d signed up to complete a 50 mile challenge when I started C25k through Pacer, namely the Laugaveur trail. I mean, the medal glows in the freakin’ dark…I needed it. It took me six weeks to complete the 50 miles and win the medal. It was then everything fell into place, I’d been suffering with extreme pain in my calves and found a quick and simple stretch meaning it almost isn’t there any longer. This meant I was running the 5k inside the time given by the programme and everything about me began to crave the rush of endorphins running gives me.
I completed c25k at the beginning of February 2021. The day I finished, my boyfriend started. I wonder if he saw in my eyes the spark I once saw in Sarah’s? When I finished the Laugaveur challenge, I signed up to MedalMad and then to Virtual Fitness so I always have reasons to run and a medal/challenge to complete. Virtual Fitness also does Workout Wednesday which gives me a reason to carry on doing RingFit for an hour a week as well.
I can honestly say, hands down and undoubtedly at the age of 39 years old, I am the fittest and healthiest I have ever been. I even have abs for the first ever time, and I don’t even give a shit how vain I sound I am massively proud of them!
A few weeks ago someone asked me if I enjoyed running and my answer was honest, “No. But, I love finishing it.” It’s the truth.
My new found obsession with pushing myself further saw me sign up to another challenge the other day. Donna posted about the Easter virtual run for Roy Castle’s Lung Cancer Foundation in Diabetes and the low carb life. I clicked on the website and was frankly astonished with what I found there. I mean, do you know over 5,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer annually that have NEVER smoked? Are you aware how many missed opportunities for a full recovery exist, because of the lack of awareness that lung cancer is not just a disease older smokers suffer from?
In 1997 my grandfather died of lung cancer, inevitably because of this, it is close to my heart. But, the discovery of the facts surrounding Lung Cancer astounded me. So, I’m trying to raise fifty pounds to help raise awareness and upping my game to an outdoor (less risky LOL) 10k run on Easter Sunday. I have sixteen pounds to go to reach my target, so I’d be incredibly grateful if you’d consider sponsoring me and supporting this cause. You can do so by clicking https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ltkelly which will open in a new page, so you can continue to read what my actual point is LOL. If you’d like more information about the foundation, plus education on what to look out for, head here: https://roycastle.org
Aside from touting for sponsorship, the real message I’m trying to put out is that if you’re feeling down in the dumps, stuck in a rut, sick of everything, start working on you today. My journey has started out incredibly slowly, 20 minutes RingFit a few times a week, to walking 3 miles, to running 2, then 3…you get the picture. Start today, even if all you feel you can manage is a bimble around your garden. I promise you, you will feel better. DO IT FOR YOU!