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.

Extreme Weather in Northern Ireland

Just when you thought the weather couldn’t get more ridiculous, the extreme snowy weather in Northern Ireland gets a dose of ridiculous thunder and lightning. Video taken in Bangor, Co. Down.

Christmas in photos

A flavour of Christmas past, enjoy. Click on any of the images for a large version.

Christmas Heart

Christmas Love

Belfast City Hall at Christmas

Belfast City Hall at Christmas

Christmas Tree Bokeh

Christmas Tree Colours

Christmas Hog Roast

Christmas Hog Roast at the Continental Market

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

When a (Playmobil) child is born

Playmobil Christmas

Playmobil Christmas

Christmas photo goodness,  courtesy of our Playmobil Nativity set.

Little Yakult Jesus

Small Nativity, originally uploaded by nico fell photography.

Looking forward to getting out the home-made nativity scene again this year. Was one of my favourite make and do sessions ever. Finding the Yakult bottle for Jesus was the icing on the cake. Tree goes up at the weekend. Can’t wait. Love getting all the decorations up.

What’s your favourite Christmas Song?

There are not enough quality Christmas songs released these days. How many modern songs are on those “Ultimate Christmas Compilation” albums? Not too many that’s for sure. So when I heard that Coldplay had released a Christmas song, I was quite intrigued. Chris Martin was just the man for these things and I figured it would be an instant classic.

What it is however, is a lower end Coldplay tune with aspirations of being a Christmas song. I hope it’s a grower cause otherwise it’s sunk. Anyway, you can decide for yourself by listening/watching below.

Whilst I admired the Rage Against the Machine campaign last year, for me, a better Christmas no.1 would have been Mumford and Sons’ Winter Winds but it just needed a more appropriately timed release and a few more sleigh bells. It feels like a Christmas song without being one. Somehow it manages to evoke that “swaying merrily in the pub” feeling that is essential. And it has that horn section. Perfect! Very festive.

My favourite Christmas song is The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping. Can’t put my finger on it, just stirs good memories and manages to be a bit different with a story of love, optimism and persistence. What’s your favourite Christmas song?