West Cork

Focus on what I can do

Hi everyone, how are you? Another week has flown by and it’s time to wrap up the fitness activities. If you read my post last week, you know that I had a foot/heel/ankle injury and was generally miserable.

I started feeling better this week, and now I’m slowly picking up the bits and pieces of my crushed self-confidence to build it up again, and getting back on track with my attitude. I’m annoyed with how I let the injury get me down mentally, but I’m only human. I learned something from this and can hopefully handle a similar situation better another time by applying other strategies.

One thing I’ve realised, is that when it comes to working on your fitness, people around us are anything but supportive – except of course trainers and like-minded people (such as my husband). The normal thing is to NOT work on your fitness and I get unhelpful comments like “maybe running isn’t for you” and BS like that. From people I consider friends! It hurts me to the core and massively pisses me off. After receiving a comment like that this week, I was triggered more than ever to get back to running. I’ve made two attempts and both times it seems I’ve worked harder than my body apparently has capacity for, and if I adapt my training it should work. Like, I don’t need to go hill walking three times a week. And I need to look after my muscle better between sessions.

In my post last week, one of you said to focus on what I CAN do instead of what I can’t do. This was super helpful and something I needed to be reminded of. Thank you!

I decided to focus on strength training for a while, which only makes sense because my main goal has always been to build muscle and become stronger and more fit – running happened later and was meant to be an on-the-side activity but then I just fell in love with it. I’ll slowly get back into it but in the meantime, I’ll do more strength training at home. I came across a fun ab/core challenge that I’ll start tomorrow!

I was quite busy this week and didn’t do a lot out of the ordinary (which at the moment means work and two gym sessions), but here’s how the week went.


Physiotherapy exercises only.


Physiotherapy in the office and then to the gym. It was a good session with some increased weights (chest press especially).

  • Warm up – leg/hip extensions with resistance band
  • Lunges without weight
  • Deadlifts with hex bar, 28 kgs
  • Chestpress with 9 kg dumbbells
  • Flyes, 7 kg dumbbells
  • Dumbbell row, 12,5 kg dumbbells
  • Good mornings, barbell unknown weight – 17,5-ish? kgs
  • Bent-over reverse flyes, 5 kg dumbbells


A very low-key day. Italian class, work and physiotherapy.


I did some bodyweight strength work at home but didn’t have a lot of energy for some reason. Perhaps because of poor sleep. I did leg raises, squats, planks (standard and alternating), one-leg glute bridge, push-ups, and then the usual physiotherapy.


Physiotherapy in the office, and gym day.

  • Squats, barbell without weights
  • Lunges, 10 kg dumbbells
  • Push-ups
  • Chest press, 22,5 kg barbell
  • “The swimmer” on mat
  • Tricep pullovers with barbell
  • Shoulder front raise, 5 kg dumbbells
  • Tricep curl (standing), 3 kg dumbbells

I was especially happy with the chest press in today’s session. It was heavy and I couldn’t do all the reps on the first and second set. Then for the last set I totally focused on breathing and counting, switched off the brain for everything else, and I could do all reps although the last was just barely there. This was a good lesson that I’ll take with me for next week.


We planned to go for a walk, but instead went to look at a rowing machine and the hours just flew by so it became a quiet day fitness-wise. As for a rowing machine – we hoped to come home with one but it was sold out in the shop so we needed to get it online. It will probably arrive early next week though! We’re both really looking forward to it. My husband got a problem with a knee while out running yesterday, but he needs to continue doing cardio work. And for me it would be invaluable too for cardio work until I can run more, and for when it’s too cold and/or icy to run. We’re even thinking of buying a second one, and row together! That would be fantastic. This machine is quite small and may not fit my husband – we’ll see.

I’ve been thinking for a while of getting some cardio machine, but cycling has never been my thing and I really dislike treadmills! So a rowing machine feels like a good fit and it will work a lot on my shoulders too.

Talking about gear, the camera waist bag I ordered a long time ago finally arrived, and it’s absolutely perfect! It’s smaller than I even hoped, but I can even fit a second lens in there if it’s a small one, and there’s a back pocket for the phone if I want to bring it. And this bag will be good also when I travel and want something lightweight.


My foot is almost back to normal and I’ve been out for a fantastic walk. It was 7.81 km in total. Perhaps too long so early after the injury but I felt great and had no problems! And it was a wonderful day, 9 degrees (48F) and some wind but when I came down the hill it was calm and the sun started coming out of the fog. The temperature went up to 12C! It was absolutely wonderful and felt like spring, with birds singing, smells of nature waking up, and some bulbs starting to come up. What’s not to love?!

On the first half of the walk I felt so good that my legs were nearly itching to run. Of course I didn’t, but it was a good feeling.

Here, according to the Celtic tradition, the 1st of February marks the first day of spring. Although the weather may not always agree, I like the thought of it!

On Wednesday I’ll start the February 150k challenge! To begin with, I’ll walk in mostly flat areas, except some short hills that are unavoidable, and will do that for a week. If all feels good, I can start doing more challenging walks but will ease into it carefully, and make sure to keep my calf muscles happy. We’ve bought some foam rollers now so that will help. I won’t do any running until I’ve been doing some decent walks for a while and if everything still feels good, I’ll carefully try some running again.

During this week I’ve been looking on YouTube for fitness channels for women at 40+ and I’ve found some interesting ones for inspiration. My main thing now is to keep my chin up, not slip into self-doubt, keep my mindset, keep the jävlaranamma, keep my focus. I’ve even been distracted in the gym recently and that isn’t good. This coming week, my number one priorities are to stay focused, keep doing what I’m doing when it comes to physiotherapy (this will be ongoing work now) and walking, stay strong mentally, and 100% focus in the gym. I can do this and I can’t let my brain stop me!

How was your week? Which was your best fitness session this week? What is your top tip for keeping a healthy attitude and mood during injuries?

I’m joining Kim and Deborah in the Weekly rundown link-up.


30 responses to “Focus on what I can do”

  1. San avatar

    Don’t you love “advice” from people who are not working out? [insert eyeroll] I think between your physiotherapist and like-minded people, the advice from others should be pretty “nonexistent”. It sounds like you had a pretty good week and decided to focus on “what you can do”! That’s fantastic.
    BTW, we don’t want to hear it (I am a cardio junkie, too), but strength training is really so important for us women 40+! I am trying really hard to embrace that too.

    So excited for you about the rower.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Actually the strength training has always been number 1 to me, but then when I got back to running after the knee problem, I put a lot of effort into it because I loved the challenge of it. Running has always been something “impossible” to me in the past until I realised last year that my cardio fitness had improved so much that running was doable. I never imagined that injuries, not my breath, would stop me!
      But a total YES about 40+ women and strength training!

  2. Debbie avatar

    How cool that you’re getting a rowing machine! That will be great cardio cross training for you and will allow you to start easing gradually back into your running without feeling like you need to do too much just to get your cardio workouts in.

    As for any tips for keeping a healthy attitude during injuries… remember that even the most accomplished and well trained athletes get injuries. Keep working toward that end goal, and if necessary, slow it down a notch. Perhaps set short term goals that can be celebrated when accomplished as you work your way toward the larger goal. Good luck, we’re cheering for you!

    I hear you on being determined to prove those naysayers wrong. When I told my friends I was going to run my first marathon, two friends (one male, one female) who were both D1 collegiate scholarship swimmers in their day, told me they didn’t think I knew what I was getting myself into – basically saying that they didn’t think I could do it. Boy did I prove them wrong!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’m really excited about the rowing machine! It’ll be a great addition to my fitness routine.
      Thanks for the tip on having short term goals! I’ll think of something that will help. I certainly have them with strength training!
      And regarding accomplished athletes…. my trainer is trying to tell me that and it’s a good point.

  3. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Injuries do wreak havoc on self esteem if you are used to being active. You don’t have time for negative people or people who make you feel bad about yourself.
    Looks like you had a great week. Just keep moving forward as bet you can! We all got you here 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Deborah! And well said about negative people. I have a feeling this will be a good week!

  4. Wendy avatar

    Ugh, those unwanted unsolicited comments about fitness. Remind yourself that people who say those things are a)unfit or b)not runners. When I broke my ankle and foot last year after falling from the rope at CrossFit, so many people told me how ‘crossfit is bad’. And of course, everyone assumed I would never climb the rope again, which is not true–I’ve done it multiple times. And let’s not even start with the things people say to me about running, especially as an ‘older’ runner. People are funny, aren’t they? Glad to see you are back to feeling better and moving well.

    I don’t know if you have access to a pool, but when I was coming back from my broken ankle and foot, I rehabbed in the pool, doing pool running. I still do it once a week, subbing it in for a run. It’s a great alternative.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Definitely yes about older runners. Even if 50+ is the age group that is most increasing among runners! I’ll get there.
      I see swimming being recommended by many both as cross training and for when you have injuries. There is a pool in town but I just don’t like it there, it feels dirty and just filled with moms with their kids! Plus I’m bad at swimming so it’s hard to enjoy it, and don’t want to pay to do it. But the new rowing machine will be a good alternative.

  5. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling so much better, physically and emotionally 😉 When I get jinxed with an injury, I try to focus on the big picture…an injury is just a small (hopefully!) detour. Remembering that the injury will not last forever, and will one day be a memory is liberating. I have found that a lot of people who try to discourage others (from running, or trying new fitness activities, or setting “big” goals) are often intimidated and afraid to try such endeavors themselves.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, Kim!! What you say about injuries being temporary is something I’ll have to keep in my mind for another time. My trainer is trying to tell me this too. I’ve had injuries in the past (after working in the garden and similar) that lingered so long but that was when I wasn’t working on my fitness! Of course now injuries will get better sooner. This foot injury was quite short-lived, much more than the knee injury and I hope I can remember this!
      You’re right about the naysayers, and also, people in general are not usually in the mindset of setting big goals or goals you have to work hard for.

  6. Coco avatar

    Oh, it is so hard to stay positive when you can’t workout the way you want. Usually I whine and vent until I’m ready to get over myself. 😉 Focusing on what you can do and having other options is key.

    Rowers are a great low impact option and a really great full body workout done correctly. We learned at OrangeTheory that it’s legs, then core, then arms — not just arms like I thought.

    So interesting that Feb 1 starts spring!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh, thanks for telling me about the whining and venting!!! That makes me feel I’m not abnormal and a horrible, negative person! That’s great also what you’re telling me about the rowing machine, it definitely sounds like a good training option. I was thinking it would work on core mainly.

  7. Jenny avatar

    Whoever said “focus on what you can do” was spot on. I also remember reading somewhere that when people have a running injury they usually do too much cardio to replace their running, when instead they should be focusing on strength. So you did that right! I totally agree that the general population is 100% unhelpful when it comes to running injuries- people just have this idea that running is bad for you, so of course you’ll be injured! Grr. Believe it or not, I also got a lot of resistance when I said I was going to start going to the gym so I could lift heavier weights. People were convinced I would hurt myself. Luckily we have this blogging fitness community!
    I think your plan to do a lot of walking and then gradually transition to running is perfect. Also the rowing machine should be great! I’ve NEVER tried a rowing machine, which seems kind of crazy. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’m so happy to have found this fitness blogging community!! Thanks for all your pep about my plan with strength and easing back into walking and running. I did the first ab session this morning, very disappointing that I couldn’t do all exercises simply because I’m not strong enough in certain areas. But I got some new workout ideas and I added some other exercises so I got some good work done after all.
      What a shame you got those comments about your weightlifting! That’s truly annoying.
      You should try the rowing machine in your gym sometime – it’s a lovely warmup.

  8. Jenn avatar

    I’m so sorry you’re not feeling supported. It can be really hard and isolating but I know that’s not going to keep you down.

    I think the rower sounds perfect for your needs! Best of luck with it!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, Jenn. I may be annoyed and perhaps even feel hurt by the comments, but it’s very short-lived. These people just don’t understand and that’s it.

  9. Jessie avatar

    When I’ve had PT appointments for running injuries, my non-runner colleagues make annoying comments like why don’t you just not run for awhile? They do not understand that you have to rehab these small injuries too to be able to continue to run strong…not just the dramatic injuries need attention.

    You seem to have a good attitude and I hope this week is a better one for you!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh, that’s an annoying attitude. As if small injuries wouldn’t need to be cared for! Thank you and for this week at least the weather looks promising, and my attitude is back too!

  10. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    People who say you can’t run are not runners. Do not listen to them. Listen to you!!

    Running takes many forms… it’s running even if you walk and finish a race last.

    I broke my ankle and couldn’t run for 5 months.. boy was I depressed. But once I could, I appreciated it so much more than before. Even though it was harder and I was slower.

    Good news on the foot.

    Be patient…. you’ll get there.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Well said, Darlene. Those people just don’t understand and there’s no point in listening to them.
      I’ll get back running and when I do, I’ll love it. That good run I had two weeks ago was such a lovely experience and I want more of that. Thanks for your support.

  11. Kim G avatar

    I love that camera waist bag – the size and color are awesome!
    Not feeling supported can be such a defeating feeling. Just know that as runners, we all “get it” and support you!

    1. Susanne avatar

      That’s a wonderful camera bag even if I don’t run with it! So slick and small and no annoying shoulder straps.
      I love this running blogger community – absolutely amazing. So much inspiration and support!

  12. Michelle avatar

    It’s so good to hear you are focusing on what you can do – and no time for unsolicited advice from negative people! You will get there and on the timetable that works best for you.

    Very exciting about getting the rowing machine!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Michelle, I’m filling my head with positive thoughts now! The rowing machine came on Tuesday and is brilliant.

  13. Marcia avatar

    Yeah you cannot listen to advice from people who don’t understand running. Do your best to tune them out. Glad your foot is starting to feel better. You are wise to be patient with it. Oooh I like the idea of Feb 1 being the beginning of spring. I’ll have to pretend that’s true although it’s kind of tough with 9″ of snow on the ground! Haha! Well done on the chest press!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’ll just consider those comments as background noise! They are talking about an Arctic blast coming soon here but until that happens, I’m going to enjoy clean dry roads and the 10C that we have.

  14. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    Nice camera bag! Such a pretty color too. If I were adding another piece of equipment to our home gym it would be a rower. Such a great workout! Speaking of which, I need to start using it the gym on cross training days! Glad you are making progress on your foot. Ignore those negative comments!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I adore the camera bag! So handy. Yes, the rowing machine is brilliant – both cardio and some strength work at the same time.

  15. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    I know injuries are so frustrating, but it sounds as though you are doing all the things you need to do.

    I would love for today to be the first day of Spring! We still have snow on the ground. Still it’s been a relatively mild winter for us so far. The only bulbs I see are the indoor variety. 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      I feel very blessed indeed when I hear about everyone else having snow. Here at least snow is short-lived if it happens. Everyone here talks about more cold weather and snow, except Met Éireann and the news so I don’t know. I’m going to enjoy my walks every time I can do them.

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