Heck, it’s been a while! My last update came at the very start of this year, covering Autumn of 2022. I think we all say this, but I don’t know where the time has even gone.
I did mention in my last update that I’d had some health issues which I’d fill you in on at a later date… and well, now seems like as good a time as any.
So pop the kettle on, make a cuppa and let’s catch up?!
Health & Hormones
This might be a lot longer than I anticipate so I’m gonna start by using a caption from an Instagram post I shared back in January to keep it brief.
It was way back in Feb’20 when I first started feeling “not quite right”. I’d had some sort of flu in Dec ’19, and I just wasn’t shaking it off. I remember I was due to go to my first ever Triathlon Training Camp at the end of Feb, so I went along to my GP who did some blood work. My results came back, showed I was fighting an infection… then we know what happened in March 2020, right?!
I did these blood tests every few months and my results never changed. I got referred to Haematology & after 1-2 years they discharged me saying I had ‘Ethnic Neutropenia’ (basically I’m Black and like BMI, the guidelines used in medicine were created from a cohort of white men).
Fast forward through these years and I racked up a list of non-specific symptoms inc weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety & brain fog. So by the end of ’22, these symptoms were literally unbearable. I was struggling to work, and part of my work is physical movement. I just knew that I couldn’t start a new year with more of the same on the horizon.
I reached out to a Women’s Health Nutritionist & through her, did some hormone testing (a DUTCH+ test). The results highlighted issues around cortisol & DHEA, whilst other blood test results showed issues with thyroid function. I requested an Endocrinology referral from my GP, so while I wait, I’m working with my Nutritionist to support my body as best I can.
This has been though a supplementation protocol, making changes to my diet and a lot of self-care. None of which has been cheap.
As it happens, I just moments ago got my appointment letter for (NHS) Endocrinology, which will be another 4 months wait.
The Zoe Nutritional Study
Meanwhile, I’ve been trying my best to understand and look after my body as best I can. I completed a Whole30 at the start of the year and then completed 75 days of The Six Pack Revolution. In July, I also started the process of taking part in the Zoe Study.
The Zoe Study is a “groundbreaking” research project exploring the relationship between diet, gut bacteria, and health. The aim is to identify patterns and correlations between specific foods, microbiome composition, and health outcomes to provide personalised nutrition recommendations based on individuals’ unique profiles.
I believe gut health plays a large role in our overall health – it’s why I started taking Symprove permanently around 6 months ago, having tried it for a couple of 12 week blocks. I feel like it’s contributed to improvements in my health and my skin.
Talking of things hitting “rock bottom” at the end of 2022, that was also when my contract with adidas runners came to an end. You can read the full story through my ko-fi membership. This was a significant blow to me both mentally and financially.
Financially, because over the course of 2022 I had signed an exclusive contract with the brand, which cut off many other income streams for me to work with brands through content on my blog and on social media. I was given less than two weeks notice that my contract wouldn’t be renewed for 2023, so it was impossible to start the year in a strong financial position.
Have I recovered from that yet?! I would say no. With having to focus on my health, I’ve had to just ‘survive’ rather than thrive this year. Thankfully, as my health slowly improves, I feel like I am able to give more to my work both physically and mentally.
Continuing Professional Development
Over the past few years, I’ve focused my work on women and how we can train with our female physiology, rather than against it. That, in addition to my own health issues, and following the journey of some of my clients, spurred me on to seek more knowledge in the area of women’s health, starting with a Menopause Coaching Specialist Certification.
I’m only around 8 chapters in so far, but it’s been very interesting and insightful. I’m excited to put this knowledge into action to support my work as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor.
A little further down the line, I’m keen to gain more knowledge in Strength & Conditioning, as well as Mobility.
Due to everything above, running has kinda taken a back seat over the past 6 months. However, I did have some amazing experiences in the pipeworks which I saved all my energy for.
Earlier in the year, I jumped at the chance to take part in the Mont Blanc 10km in Chamonix. I was over there for a few short days, but absolutely loved my time there and especially loved the event itself. I think trail running solidified a special place in my heart in those few short days.
Around a month before Chamonix, I ran my first ever trail event here in the UK – Black To The Trails (10km) – organised by Black Trail Runners. This was the perfect event and opportunity to see where my running fitness was at (as I hadn’t really run otherwise in 2023) and test out my outfit / gear for Chamonix.
As much as I love running, it is a stress on my body so I’m keeping it to a minimum whilst I work on my health and feel more like ‘myself’ again.
In the cycling front, there have been a lot of exciting things and updates over the past 7 months.
I’ve been lucky enough to get the chance to cycle in Switzerland, take part in my first official gravel event in Finland and try my hand at a (beginners) crit race. Just before all of that, I also got to celebrate New Bike Day with a 2023 EnviLiv (named Eudaimonia the Empowered) – Liv’s signature aero road bike.
The weather hasn’t been the most ideal for riding outdoors but I have managed to give her a good spin at a 10 mile time trial and hopefully Summer will actually arrive so we can have a spin on my local Essex lanes.
Meanwhile, I used the artwork I commissioned from Tegan Phillips to add to the mugs and create cycling caps and a whole range of stickers which you can purchase through my ko-fi store.
Last but not least, I decided not to take part in RideLondon this year so I made sure I was on the sidelines cheering as many people as I possibly could while they took on up to 100 miles. With such glorious weather (for those not riding), I had the best day out there on the route.
- I got the opportunity to write another piece for issue three of the official parkrun magazine on strength training. You can pick up a free copy from your local event or pay postage and have one shipped directly from the parkrun website.
- When issue four of the parkrun magazine comes out, you might spot a feature in there too!
- Last year (I think) I “modelled” as a runner to feature in the book Yoga for Runners which hit shelves in April 2023.
- December 2022, I featured on the Period Story podcast with host, Le’Nise Brothers.
What’s Coming Up?
Work/Business wise, I don’t have too much planned or coming up in the near future to be honest. But I’ve got lots of personal things like trying to sell my property, looking after my health, holidays, birthdays etc.
July was the 11 year anniversary of creating this blog, but I didn’t really get an opportunity to celebrate.
So, I’m gonna keep on working on my new menopause specialist qualification, work hard to get my finances back on track and enjoy the rest of 2023 as best I can!
Wishing you health and happiness in abundance.
Any exciting plans coming up over the next few months?!
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