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It is done 2011 May 4 20:04

Posted by diamond in : Random , 2 comments

Yesterday myself and noirin got divorced. It took 8 months of seperation before we finally saw a divorce lawyer, but only 3 weeks to actually get a court date and all the paperwork in order. As for the court hearing itself, it went as well as it could. By the end i was monosyllabic.

During the last hour as my wife, noirin made me look at pictures of shoes, and promise to never be in charge of a power plant. It was a glimpse into what we’d shared.

The marriage is over. This is not a cause for celebration, nor is it a cause for regret. It is simply necessary, it is what it is.

It is what it is.

Running, depression & energy 2011 April 24 18:15

Posted by diamond in : Health , 2 comments

To the surprise of everyone (well ok, me), i’ve actually kept up the c25k program i started back in march. It starts out with intervals of run 60s, walk 90s, and repeat for 20 mins. Week 5 is the real killer. Up till that point the longest you’ve ran is 5 mins. Week 5 day 1 involves 3 runs of 5 mins, day 2 kicks it up a big notch up to 2 runs of 8 mins, but day 3 is the one that terrified me. Run 20 minutes. I’ve never run that long in my life. And today i finished week 5. I may have lifted my arms and screamed “FUCK YES!” in the gym *kof*.

My theory about keeping the barrier to exercise to the absolute minimum appears to have paid off. I’ve had about 2.5 weeks of breaks from the training, 10 days because i’d hurt my back, and another week because i was away. Apart from that i’ve been running on schedule. My physio gave me some warmup exercises to do before, and some stretches to do after, which have prevented the back injury from becoming an issue. My routine is:

  1. warmup exercises for my back
  2. walk at 6kmph for 5 minutes as a general warmup
  3. run at 9.5kmph, walk at 5.5kmph, following the c25k intervals
  4. cooldown walk at 5kmph
  5. stretches for my hamstrings and back

Now onto more general health stuff that i’ve been meaning to write about for a long time.

I’ve been tired for the last 10 years. For a very long time i believed the issue was a problem with my bladder preventing me from sleeping properly, i saw urologists for 9 years and was even diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis in ireland. Eventually the specialists said that though my bladder was behaving abnormally, that there was nothing functionally wrong with it. I saw a sleep specialist last year, they did a sleep study where i was hooked up to about 18 different sensors. I slept really badly that night, felt utterly exhausted after it, and yet the actual results showed that my sleep was perfectly normal. My theory for the previous 9 years was therefore out the window. The only remaining explanation was the depression, which has always struck me as a very hand-wavy cop-out of a diagnosis. But after chewing it over for close to a year, i finally understand.

If you sit down and study hard for an exam, at the end of the day you’ll be exhausted even though you haven’t been doing any physical labour. A brain that’s trying to process lots of stuff sucks vast amounts of energy. And the cause of my depression is that my subconscious has spent the last decade trying to resolve an issue it can’t cope with, the conflict between my human nature and my religious beliefs (this is not something i’m going to go into here). This is why i’m so exhausted all the time, it’s going round and round in circles, from the moment i wake up till the moment i fall asleep. This is why my memory is so awful, this is why my concentration is so distracted, this is why i have trouble thinking clearly, because a large part of my brain is totally occupied with this huge issue and keeps disrupting normal operation. This is why when i wake up at around 06:00 i immediately get stressed and find it nearly impossible to fall back to sleep even though i’m not consciously thinking about anything stressful.

I never thought i’d actually get to a place where all of this made sense. I never thought it could actually be understood in any rational way. So despite the fact that it’s still a massive issue to tackle, it’s an incredible relief to finally have a handle on the situation.

A close shave 2011 March 17 22:19

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The high point of my weekend 2011 March 16 22:53

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There are 4 of us, in a bar. We played DnD earlier, and the drinking had started rather early in the afternoon. Gergely is trying to explain something, and decides to go with an analogy. He turns to me:

Gergely: Imagine this. You sign up to do some gay porn because you need the money. But then you find yourself south of the border, in mexico. You’ve been kidnapped to take part in a snuff movie. You’re tied up, fully naked, and a full biker gang with blades is about to start on you. What do you do? Go.
Me: … Eep?

Exercise 2011 March 7 17:11

Posted by diamond in : Health , 1 comment so far

Until a year ago, i was playing table tennis for about 40mins every day during the week. It finally got to the point though where i was just too tired after playing, i’d be unable to focus for the rest of the day. Some combination of depression, medication and sleep patterns were sapping all my energy. So i stopped playing. And i started taking the bus to work most days (instead of the 12min walk). These were efforts to try and conserve the minimal amount of energy i had. Of course, you can see where this is going.

Fast forward to late last year. Walking made me tired, climbing a few flights of stairs wiped me out. I was hurting my back myself frequently just with daily life. After some thought, i realised this really sucked. I have enough going on in my life to be exhausted by minor things, to always be worried about pulling unused muscles. I started going to see a physio for my back. The first 5-6 sessions were just electrotherapy, to get the muscles in my lower back to relax enough that we could start doing stretches/exercises.

I’ve been seeing the physio once a week for the last 3 months, and it’s definitely helping. I’m no longer afraid i’ll put my back out just tying my shoelaces. My back is still tired a lot, my core muscles still have a long way to go, but progress. She also said to walk more, as it helps relax things, so i do. I now walk to/from work, and to/from phsysio. This isn’t a lot of walking, but it actually helps. I take the stairs for the 5 flights up to my desk in work. At the beginning, i was feeling shaky afterwards. Now, it’s mostly fine.

Which brings to the latest and greatest. I’ve started the couch to 5k program. It’s designed to get couch-potatoes like me from zero to running 5k after 9 weeks. I tried it once before, but i pushed myself too hard, and never got past the first day. Glen’s comment on that attempt stuck with me though:

People always make this mistake at the start. It’s possibly not such a big deal when running on a treadmill but positively detrimental if running on the streets. The early part of the program is all about conditioning. Even if you know you can run faster, you shouldn’t. your muscles and tendons aren’t used to the strain/impact. You have to build up their strength as well as your cardiovascular stamina.

I always intended to start again, and with that piece of advice under my belt, i knew that i had to resist the temptation to bite off more than i could chew. So last monday, i went to the gym, and did the first day. I set my walking speed to 5.5kmph, and running to 9.5kmph (vastly slower than the 6.5/13 i tried the first time). And it was fine. I didn’t collapse like i feared. In a bold move, i then completed the first week, and as of today have started on the second week.

It’s going well. The pace seems fine so far, i know it’s going to get tougher later so i don’t want to be struggling at the moment. I’m actually enjoying it, looking forward to it. I’m able to do it in work during the day, and still have enough energy after to get work done, which has always been the roadblock. My weight is stable at around 82kg at the moment, i’m hoping that as i run more, it’ll start to bring that down.

I put off talking publicly about this for the first few days for fear that it would turn out like last time. On the flip side, i’m hoping that writing this will help encourage me to continue 🙂 Here’s to improving health.