Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Survival of the Mind

I am not sure where to start as so much to write about this time round. From updating on my 30 day Paleo food challenge, and an All Day BootCamp I participated in, a recent hospital check up, and a fitness challenge in conjunction with the 30 days of paleo.

Phew deep breathe and let me begin.....

Me, "I wish I could be like everyone else" to Lisa (fitness instructor at EBC), "..you are, you work to your body's max ability". Just feeling a little down when partaking in a recent all day bootcamp event and seeing everyone run faster and way ahead of me, and able to breath and run continuously. On Sunday, 24th February I took part in a challenge at Bentwaters R.A.F to test my mind and fitness.
Essex BootCamp all Day event 9am-4pm
I know, I have done many crazy things but not endured a day of full on fitness. I have been very excited leading up to the build up of this, and also anxious as to how my body will cope for the whole day. I am NOT a quitter as most people know, yet, I also need to be sensible and listen to my body when enough is enough. On the morning on arrival to say I was crapping myself an understatement! Massive thanks to Mike and Judit who collected me at 7am (there is no way I could have driven home after, due to complete exhaustion - so was very grateful). Alarm was set for 6am, but, I had little sleep and woke up to delightful bags under my eyes and continued my morning with porridge and decaf coffee (real coffee once the road trip began).

I wasn't going to pay attention to the paleo/eat clean today, as was more concerned I got enough calories in me and for my health. Thankfully, the instructors were encouraging this too, and I tasted a flapjack being passed around in the morning.

The first part of the morning was a timed mile circuit...hahahahaha...I was thinking how long have you got? When, James (EBC instructor/director) said for me to start the opposite way and as soon as I see someone to run back again. Phew. Stop start stop start, breathing, breathing, start and beamed smile of relief as I saw Mike and then turned back to finish. Followed by a minute of press ups, sit ups, and maybe something else (can't remember now), to see how many we could do in a minute. Think I did 20 press ups, and 17 sit ups in a minute - not much compared to other people - but working to my ability.

Then team tasks running up/down bunkers and doing more exercises, OMG, running hard enough for me - but even when roads steep, but, an upright bunker...........yer yer I was a red faced flushed almost tango-ed puffed up Jussie! Also adding to this, carrying logs and doing various exercises with these to.

V-sit a killer 

running with Lisa EBC instructor

Two teams were split into carrying equipment:- tyres, sandbags, heavy ruck sacks and cans weighing heaven only knows and other bits to carry a distance and assemble and fire at a landmark. Then repeat, repeat, repeat......oh lalalala. Then next task, being covered in camouflage make-up  some ladies had Glynn (instructor/director) with his fingers over their faces..why not mine, hahahaha.......perhaps not me thinks ;) Then hiding in the woods and it was commented upon that I would be like a beacon, but, I wasn't found first! I laid down on the ground behind some bushes and when I was finally noticed I definitely was camouflaged up as my hair resembled a twig/leaf/nettled/leaf head which I pulled all the pieces out to become Red......

Whilst one team were finding some of us in the woods, the other group were doing a stretcher run task. Thankfully I had a couple of goes lying down whilst being transported with other people carrying me - I closed my eyes and shouted words of encouragement. RED is my nickname in bootcamp as in Red Fraggle from Fraggle Rock

Now...NO laughing with comparison please!! Hey, I said no...........damn you people, trust me to be compared to a stuffed puppet and perhaps a slightly mad one too!!

LUNCH time consisted of beef, veggies, potatoes and a little bit of apple strudel/custard with a fruit/nut bar I made added in. Being seated, I began to feel my body sink, but, still the endurance course to do. Changed my socks to seal skinz as aware we were going through a pond and will get wet!! Re-filled my water bottle, changed my top, bit of deodorant and time to rock n roll. Well, not quite.... get shouted out like in the military and line up and follow orders. I daren't be cheeky this day or speak as knew punishment would follow, it happens also at bootcamp but bit more banter at the hour long sessions. Today, was stricter for a purpose to be a mind set and keep going, not to give up, and at some point in the day the challenge will be when you want to give up - but the power of the mind keeps you going....Survival of the Mind. Boom!

The afternoon was filled with an endurance obstacle course, and initially being showed round the route. It felt like a work out to jog (in my case walk) and try a few of the obstacles, I was actually tired now and puff running on low reserves, and knew I needed stop and rest before the actual get go.

never fear the handsome men are here ;)

fell over as charged through the tyres

It was a timed event, but, I cut mine short after the 'pond' scenario.......
I was amazed I was still going, albeit at my own pace, and far far behind everyone else, and taking lots deep breathes and breather breaks when required. Determination to keep going - my mind staying strong and focused. Even though, my mind IS strong - I do have to listen to my body too. 
So the last challenge being walking through a chest deep ice cold pond. It was asked how I would cope if my lungs/me went into shock doing this. I said, I don't know until I try! Geesh, I am crazy - I just thought don't hesitate and I went straight in and the more I walked in and felt the cold go into my lungs..sheer horror filled me next. It is almost impossible to describe, but, I suddenly felt that I couldn't breathe as the cold tightened my lungs and unable to restrict. Panic and fear and a sense of helplessness, and hearing Glynn telling me to keep going. I knew I had to do this otherwise things would have got a lot worse. The element of the mind came in and I thought I must keep moving before collapsing or anything. The state of panic and gasping to breathe afterwards made me hysterical with tears, and trying to breathe and feeling freezing cold - not a pretty site. Thankfully, another instructor (Johnny) walked back with me the rest of the way (cutting the final distance short). I cried the whole way back and with lactic acid build up in my legs too - hobbling, crying, cold, frizzy hair - so glamorous eh ;)

BUT, I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another achievement - thank you very much. I would perhaps consider this type of day event again, but, NO way through that pond (unless summer time). Not worth putting me at a risk again. No regrets doing it now, as I like to throw myself in at the deep end...literally! lol x

And as always a MASSIVE thanks to James and Glynn, and to all the instructors who are excellent at what they do, and supportive working with me. xx

So now an update with the Paleo food 30 day challenge which has ended now. If you are unsure what I am talking about, my previous blog mentions what this is and why etc. I am quite proud how I managed to keep this going (minus my birthday blip - but I did bootcamp 4 times the following week to make up for it). I haven't missed cheese, crisps, coleslaw, all the sauces that I added to food mayo/ketchup/mustard/pickles/salad cream - you name it - I had it and I used it. After the 30 days, I did have a binge and ate everything that I wasn't allowed during this period, and surprisingly to me, I felt like a food snob. Ohhhh, I don't like that, ewww that tastes nasty. Amazing to think how much difference there is from fresh foods to how processed/convenience foods taste. I even bought 2 packet of what used to be my favourite crisps (onion rings and kettle crisps cheddar flavour), and I couldn't be more repulsed! I am shocked if I am honest, and actually really have enjoyed the challenge. 

Moving forward, I realise I will not be able to keep this up 100% but would like to try and adapt elements of this into my lifestyle. I have stocked up on coconut oil, almond nut butter and will cook more now too from scratch (time allowing).

Here are some more photos of the sort of foods I made and ate in this duration (more examples on my previous diary entry)
Fruit and Nut bar - no sugar 

lamb chop, parsnip chips, spinach, guacamole

pork goujons coated in mixed seeds/coconut/piri piri seasoning

homemade burgers,sweet potato mash,beansprouts/salad
sweet potato rosti's with onion/red pepper, burger, egg, veggies

Throughout this month, my shape has changed and an inch sometimes more have gone from various parts of my body, totally 7 inches of fat gone! WOW!
The Paleo 30 day challenge also involved a fitness test at the start of the month, and one to be completed after the duration. I am gutted, that I missed this due to my body not feeling 100%. There is NO point pushing, when simply I cannot. I do have to listen to my body and how I feel inside (lungs). I only hope that my time would have improved and that I would have been able to knock some minutes off. 

And now the final part of my journal, that of my check up at the infamous Harefield Hospital (my 2nd home).
I joined Essex Boot Camp around Oct/Nov time last year, and I have really pushed beyond even my own limitations - through sheer determination and an attitude to keep going. Some sessions, I have really struggled, and even my breathing has been an issue (some tears - not in the eyes of the instructors). But, stubbornness to keep striving and keep going keeps me motivated. I would like to see improvements from my results at hospital, but, I guess if no changes, I will feel deflated - but, also I know that if this IS the case, it will NOT stop me from continuing!

But, I was amazed when all tests completed and seeing my doctor in the afternoon, to a WoW, your lung function is amazing/high...or something to that effect and a big smile on her face telling me the news. My FEV1 which measures the forced expiratory volume in the first second has been the highest ever since my transplant! It is the volume of air that can be forced out in one second after taking a breath, an important measure of pulmonary function. I am supposed to do a daily spirometry reading myself and if a 10% decrease could be signs of an infection/rejection. My FEV1 over the years has averaged at about 1.80/1.90. Today it was 229! Last year, there have been small increases in-between each visit 1.80, 2.04, 2.08 (November 2012). But, my Doctor couldn't believe at the increase today of about 8%! I guess the, 'wow' in respect that this is NOT common after all these years to have a significant increase from 180 to 229!

We talked about my breathing issues too, and I queried why if my lung capacity has increased why I still struggle, then OB was talked about again. A new condition I was diagnosed with, Obliterative Bronchitis which is a progressive disease and over time closes down the airways making it difficult to breathe. At the time of diagnosis, medication was discussed to slow down the progression and I didn't want to (I take enough meds as it is) and hoped exercise would help, and it has! Obviously, if it gets to the stage and I do start to notice a decline I will happily take more pills. But, I have found a remedy that works for me for the short term, to keep exercising to keep my lungs working.

Then, the question was asked....'what am I doing?' I said, 'bootcamp'. My doctor's face looked aghast and her mouth dropped, silence followed...... and I'm sure in that silence she was saying to herself, WTF, OMG, what a crazy mo - fo!!! But, no words did appear and finally nervous and approving laughter filled the room, and then she told me to keep going :)

So there you have it!!! Finally, I celebrated my 40th Birthday in February, and above shows me acting all 'my age' ;)

Please keep smiling, and keep striving - even when you feel the odds are against you. I will never give up or quit, and always a fighter. Lots of love to you all with happy sprinkles ontop. xxx