Wanting to run is one thing, being able to is another.
I needed to learn from my mistakes.
I didn’t want to mess my knee up again!
This time I was going to do it right.
This Photo was taken on my 40th birthday, weighing approx 14st. I hid it well!
I had seen quite few posts on Facebook from an old school friend who is now a PT about making sure you train your legs to run and that people should be careful about putting too much stress on legs that were not ready and my legs were certainly not ready. I still needed to get rid of any niggling doubts about my right knee as it had been hurting again.
The BUPA doctor (from my medical) suggested I see a specialist and colleague of mine recommended someone at a fancy Harley St clinic. This was a very bizarre but interesting experience as I am not one for doctors really (except A&E and that is another story). So I don’t really know what to say or how to act, I kind of just go with what they say I guess. This knee specialist suggested an MRI scan, to see if there had been any damage to the muscles or bones and I was like ok, that sounds exciting!
Not me! I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.
Now if you haven’t been for one of these, then I’ll try to explain what it’s like. You are told to lie very still on flat sheet, in a sealed in a room with a large and very loud magnet, which essentially takes a fancy picture of you, layer by layer. I was given some noise cancelling headphones to protect my ears and also to keep me from being bored, they played radio 6music to me, which was pretty cool! Then this loud machine basically scanned me for a while, it was all very strange.
A few days later, I went back to the specialist to see the results, alas I can’t find the picture as its pretty interesting seeing inside yourself. The good news is he couldn’t see any issues with my bones but suspected the pain was because my knees were not being very well supported and prescribed me some physiotherapy. Something else that sounded very weird and new also.
So 2 weeks later, I found myself at a private physio gym type place. I had a meeting with another doctor and then was sent to the gym. Now if you have read my 1st blog you will know that I have very, very, very little experience of gyms and to be honest, at this point, they kind of scared me. This one was very different, as it seemed to be a specialist sports injury place, which didn’t help my confidence. What the hell am I doing here I thought? I haven’t done any sport in a few years; I am over weight and have no idea about anything!
To cut a long story short, the physio’s were bloody awesome. They took someone with no confidence, no ability and motivated him. They taught me how to warm up, how to stretch before and after the exercise and that strength exercises on my gluts, quads and hamstrings would hopefully get me back on track. They also electrocuted me! Apparently its good for you, ok whatever! I didnt really enjoy this.
At the end of my 8 weeks here (going twice a week), I had a test to see how my leg strength had improved and it was amazing but you know what was more amazing…I had been in a gym for 8 weeks…8 WEEKS!
Being signed off after testing my leg strength
When they signed me off I decided this need to be the beginning of a new Jon. My 40th Birthday was fast approaching. Now was the time to lose the weight and learn to run again! Even though I had some confidence from this “gym” experience, going into the one that is 30secs from my front door was a whole new thing and I think it took me about two weeks to pluck up the courage to walk through the door.
When I finally walked in, I didn’t really know what to expect but it immediately confused me (so many machines, weights etc) so I decided to immediately ask for some trainer’s business cards whilst joining up. I sent out a couple of emails straight away and the first person to response was guy called Jack Gillett. After a few emails back and forth we had a meeting where the first thing he asked me is what my goals were. I said simply:
- Lose weight (about 2.5st)
- Be strong enough to run again.
We talked about my life, what I did for work, fun etc. What I ate and how I ate. I explained that we (as a family) loved cooking and didn’t really do takeaways but we (not Poppy) did LOVE red wine. He said this wasn’t too much of a problem but quickly identified 3 things I could do to make my diet better.
- Give up Coke Cola – I was probably drinking a can every day or at least 5 per week
- Change my weekday breakfasts – It was Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes at home and often a 2nd breakfast (2 to 3 times on weekdays) of a sausage or bacon roll. – He suggest either porridge or muesli instead
- Switch to salads for lunch at work at least 4 days per week – I had been eating all kinds of things and it was costing a fortune (£6-10 per day)
Ok, so number 1 was quite hard but after a few days I didn’t miss it at all and have probably only had Coke Cola (in an alcoholic drink) about 2 or 3 times in 3 years.
Loosing the sausage/bacon rolls was tough too as they are just too yummy but I found switching out the heavily sugary breakfast cereal was really good as it wasn’t filling me up and that why I was getting hungry again at 10am and thus having the 2nd breakfast!
And number 3 was a no brainer. I started just buying salads but soon switched to making my own. Yes it’s a bit of a chore at times but the money you save and the reward of a Friday burger or something else yummy is worth it!
Ok so that was the diet sorted, what about the exercise. I told Jack that I was a morning person and I would happy train at 5.30 or 6am, unfortunately he was all booked up for mornings and only had evening spots but he mentioned another PT, also called Jack (Knight) who he knew had a spot free in the mornings, so he put me in touch. We had a meeting where he went through the notes other Jack had taken and we agreed on the following:
Mondays and Wednesdays at 6am I would have strength sessions and on Saturdays I would go and do some cardio. Of course he would have to show me how to use the bike and the rower first lol.
And so, in October 2014 my Journey began for real.