This too shall pass

This too shall pass. On inside of my left arm courtesy of the talented Shane at Alternative Ink

Some of you may recall that last summer I was training towards the Lisburn Triathlon when I sustained an injury to my right knee, ligament damage (courtesy of those lovely people in Ikea). Running was extremely painful and I ended up having some private physio to try and get me through it but in the end I had to pull out. Advice was to rest and see my GP. A subsequent x-ray and other examinations (1 of which had me doing a “duck walk” in just my boxers – still not sure this was wholly necessary) later and I was referred for NHS Physio. Finally my appointment came around last week and the news was positive. In preparation I had been out running to test my knee – my first run since last July. I wanted to be able to provide a decent assessment of how things were progressing.

Seemingly rather well was the answer. Damage appears to have healed well and despite some yelping and laughing as I was poked and prodded, the session was most worthwhile. Bio-mechanics are fascinating.

So what next? Well, having lost just about all my fitness in the space of 6 months, I had to do something. During my rest period I had been depressed at not being able to compete in the race, frustrated that I couldn’t train, made a lot of excuses for not training because I was worried about my knee. Through not training I also became less focused on diet and was putting off my return until after Christmas. Fear of my injury, lack of motivation and putting on weight had me very frustrated. My main problem as time went on was that I was making excuses. I was putting off a return. I needed to get back.

So last Monday, I set about that task, building up my running again using the C25K iPhone App, starting at week 2 as I simply couldn’t bring myself to be right back to zero. The week went well – one evening run and two freezing 6.45am runs, I had my physio appointment, I did 2 upper body gym sessions and got stuck into week 3 last night. A gym session this morning before work and things look like they have turned the corner. I’m back.

Fitness is about motivation. Most of the time it’s not to do with motivation during the activity, more just getting over the threshold and starting. It’s too easy to make excuses. If you are reading this and thinking “I’ll start next week” or “It’s too cold”. Stop it. Excuses are easy. Make a plan and start ASAP. And in case you need a little extra motivation, check out the video below.

Photos of the ISS over Belfast at Night

I had the pleasure of seeing my first ISS (International Space Station) pass during the summer. Basically you get to see the space station hurtling overhead with the sun reflecting off it’s huge solar panel wings. This makes it look like a star flying through the night sky. It is a fantastic sight which I have now seen plenty of times. The easiest way to see it is to follow Twisst on Twitter. This service allows you to tell them your location and they will send you a tweet to notify you of upcoming passes that you will be able to see. It’s free and works perfectly.

So when I was leaving work and realised that there was one coming up soon I was rather excited given that it was a very clear evening. However I soon realised I would be stuck in traffic and the chances of seeing it were slim. However, as the time approached I was nearing the outskirts of Holywood and decided to drive down to the shore for and try and capture it’s journey overhead using a long exposure shot on my camera. The results are below. Click for the full size versions. You can see the diagonal light trail of the ISS as it moved upwards from the horizon and passed over Belfast at about 6pm tonight.

ISS over Belfast
Coming into view in the middle of the image – the faint diagonal light trail (Click for large version)

ISS over Belfast
Much clearer now (Click for large version)

ISS over Belfast
Getting clearly visible (Click for large version)

ISS over Belfast
Heading off into the night (Click for large version)

By way of a comparison, here is how far the FlyBe arrival from Bristol travelled in 30 seconds!

Light trails into Belfast City Airport
(Click for large version)