Tracey Roxburgh: Beetroot face and the shakes


Tuesday, November 17
I am sitting down and yet I can still feel my legs shaking.
My arms are also shaking and even my fingers are having difficulty obeying the most basic of instructions.
This does not bode at all well for tomorrow.
Or the day after that.
And it’s not making me feel confident about the 10km jaunt I’m supposed to do this weekend.
I’ve been remiss in my updates largely because over the last couple of weeks life’s kind of got in the way.
It’s all been a bit of a blur really … and while I have tried to be good, sometimes I’ve been unsuccessful in that endeavour, which leads immediately to feelings of guilt.
But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple of months it’s not to beat myself up over what I did (or didn’t do) yesterday.
Instead, I’m trying just to do better today.
Hence the full body shaking.
This morning it took everything I had to visit Haylee at the gymnasium, largely because I find myself under the weather (another reason I’m not feeling so confident about the upcoming 10km jaunt).
I really wanted to stay in bed, but instead I decided physical exertion would be good for me.
Oddly enough, the entire time I was at the gymnasium it felt like I was being tortured.
The last few weeks have seen Leea and I slowly but surely coming to grips with kicking and hitting Haylee … it really does scare me how much I enjoy being being physically violent.
I’m not any good at it, but hitting something (or in our case, someone) is a most excellent form of stress relief.
So, this morning I was all ready for more punching and kicking … instead we were told it was time to shock our bodies again.
Apparently we will do this by metabolic training.
Here’s what I can tell you about metabolic training: it made my eyes roll back in my head, several times; it made my leg muscles, quite literally, give out on me which was the primary reason I fell up the stairs (something which seems to be happening all too often) and, ultimately, it has turned this into one of the longest days of my life.
There were a couple of moments this morning where I was about to ask for a bucket and at one point there was water actually leaking from my eyeballs.
And, oddly, I loved it.
At least I loved it after it was done because while I was being forced to experience entirely new levels of pain I wanted, more than anything else, to chuck a tanty two-year-old styles in the middle of the gym.
I resisted the urge.

Wednesday, November 18
I woke today feeling like my weight had tripled overnight, such was the effort it took to move, with cotton wool for brains, unable to breathe through my nose (which also made it difficult to swallow), with a scratchy throat, and sore ears.
And then I tried to get out of bed.
Every muscle in my body screamed for mercy – even muscles I didn’t think I used yesterday ache and I couldn’t work out whether it was from the sickness that’s latched on to me in record time, or because of yesterday’s torture session.
A bath was called for … but I lacked the energy to have one, or the ability to get in (or out) of it.
I am suddenly very worried about how I will manage to move 1km, let alone 10, on Saturday.

Thursday, November 19
I am wide awake. The problem with this is that I’ve not yet been to sleep. And I need to be up in exactly three hours.
My brain is going like the clappers and with every minute I’m not asleep I’m stressing about how little sleep I’m going to get before I have to get up.
So, I try Greg Dorn’s meditation tips.
Deep, slow breathing thinking about nothing but, well, breathing.
And then counting while breathing and thinking about nothing but the numbers.
3.55am: It’s not working.
I decide if my brain’s going to insist on being so recalcitrant, I shall stay awake until it’s time to get up.
6.15am: My brain loves to disobey me, so the old reverse psychology trick worked and it finally ceased its insubordination, allowing me to enjoy just over two hours of shut eye before visiting the gym.
While I don’t feel rested, the multiple hot toddies consumed yesterday have worked wonders to largely banish my sickness.
But I have grave fears this is going to be a long and painful day, particularly given I’m on my own with Haylee today.
7.15am: There are not enough bad adjectives to accurately describe this pain. I’m currently on a machine that makes me essentially do squats while kind of lying down (this particular torture device is called a leg press).
The weight Haylee is making my legs push up is such that my eyes start crossing involuntarily.
To encourage me she says it’s not any different to me standing up from a seated position on a daily basis … she lies.
The equivalent would be me crouched on my haunches, holding another me AND a small child and standing up almost straight, and then squatting back down and repeating it. Twenty times.
That would probably be physically impossible for me to do, even on a good day.
And today’s not a good day.
At the exact moment my legs started to shake uncontrollably it was time to walk from one end of the gym to the other, holding the equivalent weight of a slightly larger small child, in a lunging fashion.
It made the leg press machine feel relaxing.
After 40 of those – which ended with many, many bad words coming from my mouth, there were jumping lunges, just to finish me off.
Then Haylee made me do it all again.
Next it was the same kind of torture for the upper body department. My arms hurt that much by the end they nearly gave out while I was trying to push myself up off the ground, causing me to narrowly avoid a facial plant.
And, to finish me off, there was punching and kicking.
I ask Haylee if all of this is going to make me feel better or worse tomorrow.
She says my legs might feel “heavy” … I don’t like the sound of that.
11am: I’m walking like my legs are made from wood and all of the muscles in them feel like they could snap at any given moment.
Ruh roh.

Friday, November 20
What miracle is this?
My legs are actually better – they don’t even feel “heavy” and my (highly unattractive) cowboy walk has disappeared.
In light of the 10km tomorrow, I’m confident the relief will be short-lived.
Before I leave work my colleagues wish me luck.
My response: I don’t need luck … I need a miracle.

Saturday, November 21
I haven’t slept, mostly because I was petrified I would sleep through my alarm and miss the running.
Strangely I actually feel quite excited.
7.30am: Most of my fellow Revivers are with me and 1500 others at the start line of the 10km (one is actually at the start line of the half marathon … she’s a machine). There is loud music, which is making me very happy, and I can smell coffee, which is making me want to drink it.
I’m still quite excited.
8am: I’m not excited any more.
I’m running – well, that’s probably a really loose term for the manner in which I’m moving.
It’s a jogging-type motion, but I feel like I’m not moving very quickly at all.
And I’m puffed already.
The problem with that is I haven’t yet moved 2km.
8.15am: I would like this to be over now, please.
Unfortunately, I still have a LONG way to go.
I’m plodding along and keep turning up my music to drown out my gasps for oxygen.
While I would very much like to stop and have a wee sit down for a while, I keep moving because I made a pact with Leea … it doesn’t matter how slow we go, we’re not going to stop.
Some time later: I can smell the finish line.
I can’t see it though because there’s a niggly wee hill to get up first.
It’s actually a stretch to call it a hill, but at this point it feels like Everest.
I don’t know the time: I’ve finished.
My face looks like a beetroot (and beetroot is, apparently, the new black) and my entire body is shaking.
But I’m smiling.
I’m smiling even more when I see Leea and Haylee cross the finish line hand-in-hand – not only is it the first time Leea’s ever run 10km, she kept the pact as well and didn’t stop once … legend.
And when I look around everyone, including my fellow Revivers, is smiling – it’s funny to think only a few months ago most of us wouldn’t have thought it possible to do what we did today.
Haylee did what she does best: caught us all in a moment of weakness.
While feeling a bit euphoric and (in my case) a bit spacey while sipping on bubbles provided by Haylee (we totally earned it) she says she’d like us to do the half marathon next year.
I heard someone say “why not?” … and then I realised the someone was me.

Sunday, November 22.
Um, ow.
The cowboy walk is back.
My hips hurt, the insides and outsides of both of my knees hurt.
My calf muscles hurt.
My saddle bag region hurts and my thighs hurt.
So basically, the entire lower half of my body has seized … Still feels good though.
And, having marinated on the idea of moving in a forwardly direction for 21km next year, I think maybe, just maybe, I might do it.
Because why not?