A good week of fitness, but…

My last rundown post was all about positive vibes, but at the end of last week I crashed. After months of DIY-ing an injury with which I still felt lost and without guidance (“wear the boot for a few weeks” isn’t helpful enough and where is the effing physio appointment?), and on top of that an unsustainable situation with a very sick cat, I went into exhaustion mode. I was in tears half of the day last Sunday, totally drained.

After breakfast, my husband encouraged me to do some workouts like I normally do on Sundays. I went to do some hip mobility work, deadbugs, windshield wipers, and rotator cuff mobility. While I did that, my husband made a booking for me with a private physiotherapist in Cork. This is true love! He goes to the same clinic for his knee. I decided that whatever happens with the HSE physio appointment, I will still go for this private option, because they are sports focused, and for later if I decide to run again, they do running analysis.

So this week has brought very good things… but also very sad things. Let’s start with the positives.
This will be a bit long but… it’s been an eventful week.

Fitness activities this week

This week I’ve been to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I’ll continue doing that for a while. The focus this week has been fewer reps, but the usual weights, and to work on form and range of motion. It felt really good!

Monday – gym day

I decided to start tracking my weights again. It’s valuable even if I mostly do upper body. Here’s what I did in the gym:

  • Leg curls with resistance band
  • Wall squats, 3 sets of 45 secs each (I only managed 36 secs last set)
  • Chest press with barbell, 25 kg
  • Tricep pullovers, 7 kg dumbbells
  • Pushups from knees
  • Dumbbell row 12,5 kg (both knees on bench)
  • Lateral raise, 5 kg dumbbells (left knee on bench)
  • Shoulder shrugs, 10 kg dumbbells (left knee on bench)

Tuesday – physiotherapy appointment

This day I finally went to see the physiotherapist. We had a fantastic weather with maybe 22 degrees (71 F) and a lovely sunshine. In Cork it was 27 degrees! Not the best when you’re wearing a boot, but I’ll never complain about warm weather.

The PT appointment truly was one of the best things that happened to me during these 2,5 months, and I feel like a huge burden has been taken off my shoulders.

He was young (to my standards at least, am I old or what?) but very competent. The first thing he did was to let me tell my story, what had happened. I nearly burst into tears for the fact that someone was ready to take the time to listen!

After talking about my injury journey, he assessed my foot and answered ALL my questions about what is normal with a stress fracture. This is something I’ve needed for so, so long. I’ve had so many odd symtoms in my foot and didn’t know what to think of it. With nobody to answer questions, my brain has of course gone haywire. My trainer/PT at home is THE guy for soft tissue problems and everything around strengthening, conditioning, injury prevention, later stage rehab and much more, but he’s not an expert at broken bones. He’s helped me with a lot of things, but I’ve generally been very alone for a long time with my worries about the foot, and getting some more support with this was invaluable.

We talked about recovery time, and he gave me an exercise program, roughly the same ankle mobility exercises as my trainer has told me to do. He also checked my crutch height, and showed me how to walk with the boot and one crutch. Now I almost actually WALK! I’m slow and I look crooked and odd, but I get around much more safely and efficiently than before.
And the freedom, people! Being able to carry things. Take my coffee cup to the office instead of being restricted to the kitchen. I love relaxing with my morning coffee in the office, while reading and browsing on my computer and planning the day. It’s the little things!

So now I have a proper plan, I’m more mobile, and I have more support. I’m immensely grateful and can let go of most of the stress around the injury. I finally feel that I can relax and look forward. I’ll see the physio again at the end of the month.

If you read this and don’t know my story – sports injuries can be very hard but are not supposed to put your mental health totally down the drain. It happened to me because of delay in diagnosis and proper help, and a lot of problems because of that. The not knowing, the DIY-ing, the uncertainty have been heartbreaking and exhausting beyond belief. But I might be seeing the end of it now.

Wednesday – gym day

My trainer must have telepathic skills. I had lower back pain all day, and when I got to the gym, I didn’t get any leg or hip exercises but instead windshield wipers and swimmers. All movements of the lower back & hip area work wonders for my back pain. So far I haven’t experienced any problems from walking with the boot, but rather effects of sitting too much.
Here’s my Wednesday session:

  • Swimmers
  • Windshield wipers
  • Dumbbell chest press, 10 kgs
  • Tricep pullovers with one dumbbell, 15 kgs
  • Flyes, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Barbell row, 25 kgs
  • Seated shoulder press, 5 kg dumbbells
  • Bent over raise, 4 kg dumbbells


This was the most awful day since a long time. Read more at the bottom of this post.

Friday – gym day

I still felt drained, but managed to work up some energy for the gym. I did a good session, and we had good chats about all sorts of things – the other trainer had her 5-month-old puppy in the gym which was a lovely distraction! Here’s what I did – still 10 reps, working on form.

  • Side leg raises with resistance bands
  • Leg lifts (both legs) over dumbbell
  • Chestpress, 25 kg barbell
  • Flyes, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Back extensions on mat
  • Tricep pullovers with barbell, 15 kgs
  • Upright row with 8 kg dumbbells (left knee on bench)
  • Front raise, 4 kg dumbbells (left knee on bench)

This session was quite “easy” meaning I didn’t rep out on anything, some exercises were in fact quite easy, and I think he’ll give me some new challenges next week, which I’m very much looking forward to. But I’ve appreciated working on form and good range of motion, this is also important!

Saturday – rest day and relax

After the misery that was Thursday, we needed to relax and do something different so we went for a road trip to Kenmare and surroundings, in the eastern part of county Kerry (start of the famous Ring of Kerry). We had lunch and coffee in Kenmare and had a well-needed, restful day.

View from Molly Gallivan’s cottage and shop near Kenmare

Sunday – strength and mobility at home

Today I’m starting to get my oomph back and to feel more normal again. I’ve done my usual Sunday workout with rotator cuff & hip mobility, core strength, glutes and I added a dumbbell exercise mainly for biceps but that also works a bit on nerves in the wrist and elbow area. It’s like a standard bicep curl but you start with your palms of the hands facing the floor and then turn them up halfway through the exercise. I’ve done this in the gym once and it’s similar to another exercise my trainer has given me to do at home for my problematic elbows (which are much less problematic now, by the way).

The bad things

You may remember about our cat Ester disappearing and coming back being very ill. We took her home from the hospital last Saturday. She was diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney disease but was expected to be able to live well with medication for another few months, up to a year. Knowing she had a life-limiting disease, our only wish was that she would be able to live a happy and as-normal-as-possible cat life for the time she had left. But already on the Sunday, she stopped eating again and went outside to her hiding place. You could see she was miserable and like she felt something wasn’t right.
On the Tuesday I had an e-mail conversation with the vet, and she would phone me on Wednesday morning but didn’t (it turned out they had some emergencies).

When we sat outside in the evenings, Ester came out from her hiding place and sat with us, and drank some water. On the Thursday I finally had a discussion with the vet, and we managed to get Ester in during the late afternoon. They took a blood test which showed the creatinine levels had totally skyrocketed, meaning the kidney function had severely deteriorated, in only a few days.

The only worthy option for her was to let her go. Our beautiful, bossy, peculiar, with-an-attitude, fluffy girl passed away around 7 pm. I haven’t cried so much in years as I have this week. The veterinary staff was so wonderful and understanding, and despite a quite chaotic evening in the clinic, they made everything quiet and peaceful for us and showed so much respect. They made a paw print for us to take home.

So this was a very mixed week. Most of it was overshadowed by the situation with Ester. But I’ll move on and look forward now, get the foot back to normal, remember all the good times we had with Ester, and we’re planning a lot of good things for the rest of the summer.

I hope you are all doing well. I’m joining the Weekly rundown link-up with Kim and Deborah, and I hope the next few weeks will give me positive-only vibes to share.

I found these videos helpful when it comes to sports injury and mental health:

How to deal with the mental side of being injured
Six steps to help you stay motivated and focused when you’re injured

And this blog post helped me a lot before I got help for my stress fracture:

Everything I wish I knew: My stress fracture story


30 responses to “A good week of fitness, but…”

  1. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    So sorry to hear about your cat. You made the right decision… it’s so hard to see an animal suffer. Too bad they can’t talk and tell us what they really want.. Some folks keep their pets alive too long (obviously because they don’t want to lose them.)

    But I’m glad to read some good news… hope your foot and mobility continue to improve.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes… the house is empty and sad without her but seeing her sick and miserable was the hardest part.
      There’s slow improvement with the foot but at least it’s going in the right direction.

  2. Deborah Brooks avatar

    I am so glad that you found a PT to listen to you and answer your questions. It is so very frustrating when you just ca’t get the answers. Hope this really helps you move forward injury wise. So sorry to read about your cat 🙁

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Deborah. Yes, it’s been a frustrating time. Having someone to ask and who will follow up makes a huge difference.

  3. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    Oh Susanne, I am so sorry for your losing Ester. Our little fur kids mean the world (and a whole lot more) to us. I hope all your joyful and memories of better times bring you some comfort. Hugs to you! On a much happier note, I’m so glad you were able to get more guidance and support for your ongoing foot issue. I hope this leads to a more thorough healing and a much better recovery.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks so much, Kim. We have so many lovely and fun memories of Ester to look back to. And plenty of photos! She was such a personality.
      Having some proper guidance about the injury means so much. I’m hopeful I’ll get through this now and have it healed within a reasonable future. Rehab will be massive, but that’s ok. As long as I can use the foot again!

  4. Jenny avatar

    This is so sad! It’s so, so hard to lose a pet- it’s such a cruel part of life that we have to say goodbye to them. I’m glad you’re moving forward in such a positive way with the foot situation. The sadness over Ester will still be there, but working out helps so much.
    You can share positive and negative vibes (we don’t care!) but for your sake I hope this week brings you lots of good!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, Jenny! You are right about pets… the moment we have to say goodbye to them, it’s heartbreaking. A friend said to me that they leave holes in our lives. That was so spot on. Oddly, we haven’t known each other for long but we have so much in common that it’s almost ridiculous. And her cat died this week too but on the Monday. So strange!
      Everything about the injury feels so much easier now. I can relax and just do what I need to do, and someone else, more competent, is in charge. That feels good. I’m very impatient about having it healed but I’ll be ok!

  5. Wendy avatar

    I’m so sorry about Esther. It’s hard when it happens so fast, but on the other hand, she didn’t suffer needlessly. We had that happen with the dog we had before our current one–one day she was fine and the next day, she was lying moaning in her crate. She had a big tumor and there was nothing to be done. It is never easy to say goodbye to a beloved furry family member, and it sounds like she was a wonderful companion! I am glad you had so much positivity earlier in the week with the new PT.

    1. Susanne avatar

      That’s so sad about your dog! But you’re right, the important thing is that they don’t suffer. And I’m so thankful that Ester came back and we got to spend some time with her before she died, and help her end her life peacefully. That meant a lot to me.

  6. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    Oh gosh, I teared up reading about Ester. That is heartbreaking 🙁 We have had to put our cat down and I too appreciated how well the vet staff handled everything. You can tell they really care a lot about their patients. Sending hugs your way!
    Glad you got a plan with your injury! I hope you stay on the positive path!!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you had a good experience too in the midst of the misery of losing a cat.
      I feel very hopeful now about injury recovery.

  7. Coco avatar

    Gosh, what a good news/bad news week.

    I am so sorry about Ester. It is so hard to have to part with a pet, especially when it happens so much sooner than you expected. 🙁

    OTOH, I’m glad you finally had a physio appointment and it was such a good one. Sometimes having answers and a plan is all you need to shift your mindset — and the ability to sip your coffee where you want to have it should not be underrated!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, last week was a whirlwind of different emotions. You’re totally right about the PT, I knew the foot would heal eventually using the boot – but I was so alone with all the worries and questions. It made a huge difference getting some support and someone to tell me a timeframe and a plan. And being able to (somewhat) walk was a fantastic lift to my quality of life.

  8. Catrina avatar

    It’s interesting how good it feels to talk to a professional who understands exactly what we’re going through!
    I felt the same when I talked to my physio when I had my Achilles issues. Kudos to your husband for making that appointment!

    So sorry about your cat. You did the right thing – at least she didn’t have to suffer.

    1. Susanne avatar

      It makes such a difference!! I had almost lost hope that someone would actually care to listen and give all the answers. I’m glad you got some good help too with your injury.
      And thank you – I wish we still had Ester but with the circumstances, I’m thankful we could help her end her life in a peaceful way.

  9. Debbie avatar

    I’m so sorry about Ester. She was such a beautiful cat (very regal looking).

    I’m glad the physiotherapist took the time to listen to you and that you liked him. I hope that things continue to improve for you!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Debbie. Yes she was regal looking! And she definitely thought she was. 🙂

  10. Renée avatar

    I am so so so very sorry about Ester. Sweet girl. Having just lost a cat due the SAME EXACT THING (and he was 4) I totally cried whilst reading what happened. It’s not fair. But we cannot have our babies suffering. Just know. you made the right decision for her, a decision you made with love and pain in your heart.

    I was relieved to read that your PT appointment went so well. There is at least some hope there.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you so much, Renée and I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. I’ve learned now that cats’ kidneys are very sensitive. 4 years is nothing! Ester was 8 and that is also very young.
      Yes, at least some hope when it comes to my injury. I’m getting better but I still feel it more than I’d wish to.

  11. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    First, hugs on Ester. I’ve had multiple cats and one dog with kidney failure. My last dog was gone in a week like your Ester, but she was an older dog, and up until that week, for the most part, and very happy & healthy dog. It was still heart breaking. I’m so sorry.

    OTOH, I’m so happy you finally got heard and got help and have a plan that is making you hopeful! Sometimes that’s really all we need. Your husband is the best!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Judy. I didn’t know until now that kidney failure is so common in cats (and dogs). I also learned that cats can have quite bad kidneys for a long time and be quite well but that dogs get sick faster with it.
      My husband is a hero! I mostly feel upbeat and hopeful about the injury nowadays.

  12. Jenn avatar

    I am so, so very sorry about your sweet kitty. I know the pain all too well, but that doesn’t make it easier. Fly high, beautiful girl.

    Sending love and peace to you all.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you so much, Jenn!!

  13. Jessie avatar

    Oh, I’m so very sorry about Esther. How heartbreaking. You made the right choice, but ugh, it’s so so hard. I’m sorry for your loss.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, Jessie. It was hard. And it’s weird how it becomes a normal part of life to have them around. I still sort of expect her to greet us at the door!

  14. Jennifer Jones avatar

    I’m so sorry to hear about your cat, but sounds like you made the right decision. It’s a very hard decision to make. Well done on your exercise routine, even with the boot. That takes commitment.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Jennifer, and thank you – Ester was a lovely cat. It was so hard to let her go but also the only decent option when she was so sick and miserable.
      I’ve created a good fitness routine that I’ve stayed with – although in modified form because of the injury. Keeping up my training has helped me so much during this time.

  15. Anne avatar

    Susanne, this is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. It’s so unbelievably hard to lose a pet, but it’s that much harder when you think you have more time left. I hope you are finding joy again (and yes, I know, this is an old post, but oh, that sadness can linger).
    That said, you also really showed your grit (AGAIN) this week. Your ability to get up from the mat, so to speak, every time life knocks you down is amazing. 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Life is different without Ester and I miss her a lot! But some good things came with losing her – being able to practise concertina (she hated it and meowed consistently when I played it), and being able to travel with short notice. But when I see photos of her and think of her, I’m reminded of how empty the house is without a cat.
      Life knocked me down many times this summer, and when Ester got sick I felt I couldn’t handle anything more. But the worst was yet to come (next post)! I think all the good things in between helped me get up and move on, and then after reading David Goggins’ first book I’ve used his “accountability mirror” as a tool with everything in life – if I want something good in life, I’m the only one who can fix it so let’s just do it. But I’ve had a good support team around me too.

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