Dumbbells in the gym

Feet and legs in action

Life is busy and I’m quite tired. I’d say the misery of the past summer is probably getting to me, while I need to keep focused on a lot of things, and lately I’ve felt emotionally drained in a way. Not at all like I did back in June (not even close) but everything has been very intense.

Next week, my in-laws are coming to visit and they’re staying for 10 days. That will be a nice break with all sorts of fun – there will certainly be road trips, walks, good food, pub visits, music, and overall good family time involved. And shortly after they leave, we’re going to Italy!

This week has been good and I continue to make progress with strength, balance, and walking. I work hard with my PT program and make sure I don’t miss a day. I do most exercises daily but some of them I do several times a day, such as slow knee lift walking, ankle mobility (knee over toes) and single leg balance.

Monday

Gym day, and today I was in the office for a while. I haven’t been there since May because of the stairs, but now part of my rehab is step-downs – basically to teach the left foot to walk down stairs properly!

The gym session had some exercises that I haven’t done for a long time – now when I can finally stand up again for my lifting, lots of these are coming back to my program and I’m loving it.

  • Squats! (bodyweight only)
  • Step-ups
  • Dumbbell row, 15 kgs
  • Dumbbell chest press, 10 kgs
  • Press-ups
  • Good mornings, 20 kg barbell
  • Shoulder shrugs, 8 kg dumbbells
  • Lateral raise, 5 kg dumbbells

Tuesday

I need to practise walking and get my feet used to being loaded through walking. But who needs to go out for a walk when you can accumulate almost 8000 steps by simply prepping for the husband’s birthday celebration? I had planned to make Italian style meatballs that my husband really likes, but I had also invited some music friends to come over in the evening – nothing fancy, just a cup of tea or a drop of whiskey and a good jam session (it’s bluegrass people). I wanted to offer something cake-like but simple so decided to bake apple muffins and at the same time try a new recipe with oat flour, extra protein, and just enough sugar to make them taste good.

We had a brilliant evening, just too bad that I totally forgot about the muffins! So now we have them for when my in-laws come over.

In the middle of all the baking and whatnot, I took a break to get some cycling done, and did the last half (or third, possibly) done of a nice Italian route along the Abruzzo coast. I’ve realised now that I love cycling in the afternoon. I have so much more energy and oomph than I do in the morning! This ride was probably my fastest ever and I felt I got into a nice flow.

Wednesday

It’s getting cold here!! Or, should I say maybe that we’re getting into normal weather for mid-September in Ireland. I wouldn’t mind those 20C (68F) for a while longer though!

It was gym day and since I need to ramp up my walking, I went into town earlier to get some walking done. Our town is not big so I just started tracking a walk on my watch and then walked around town but had no idea what kind of distance I would get to. You may remember my 2.1 km walk on Saturday and how my feet felt like shredded to pieces afterwards. Today I started feeling sore around my big toes (as usual) but nothing too bad. When I came to the gym and checked the distance of the walk, it was 2.29 km!! That’s good progress – yes, longer than what my physio talked about but I still felt quite good. Big yay!

The walk was humbling though – I realised how much walking still does NOT come naturally, I have to focus all the time on walking properly, put equal weight on both legs and whatnot. After a while I started being able to relax more and everything felt better.

This is not the prettiest part of town but as you can see, the perfect, flat, easy pavement for people who are getting used to walking after an injury!

Then it was time for the gym. And a lovely, challenging session! My trainer is excited about giving me more than resistance bands for legs. I’m doing bodyweight squats at home, and in the gym I get some good variations to challenge legs and feet just enough to complement what I do at home.

  • “Mini Bulgarian squats” 😀
  • Squats with overhead press, 3 kg dumbbells
  • Flyes, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Tricep pullovers, one dumbbell 15 kgs
  • Upright row with wide grip, 15 kg bar
  • Renegade row, 6 kg dumbbells
  • Overhead shoulder press with bar, 15 kgs
  • Seated bent-over row, 5 kg dumbbells

Yes, yes, yes to Bulgarian split squats! Well, of course not full-on Bulgarian split squats yet. But this was a wonderful challenge that went so much better than I thought it would. The foot of my not-squatting leg was placed on a low step-up board. I expected to be quite wobbly but I was surprised with how well it went! The left leg behaved nicely even with keeping balance and I actually felt quite strong and stable with it. Almost stronger than on the right leg! I’m not sure though if it was because I did this with bent toes (as in push-up position) rather than as in standard Bulgarian squats, and the left big toe is still quite sore which makes it more difficult.

And what’s not to love with overhead presses? Even with only 3 kgs if there’s a squat involved. The overhead shoulder press then with the bar was really hard and I could only do like 6-7 reps in each set. But it was the first time I did them standing up, and even before the injury I haven’t done these much with the bar.

Today I also managed to find the right technique with the Renegade row – to engage the core properly for keeping the balance instead of wiggling on my feet. The toes didn’t complain too much either this time.

Thursday

I didn’t feel great today. My throat was sore and I felt extremely tired. I couldn’t figure out if the sore throat felt like a cold or what I get if I’ve had acid reflux, and then there was the influence of much worsened weather, with much lower temperatures, heavy rain and dark skies. I took it very easy.

Friday

I felt much better and went to the gym day as usual on a Friday. This was a kick-ass, empowering, mighty good session. Today some old friends were back in the program – carefully but still….

  • Lunges – anything but straightforward. But an important exercise for my balance and toes!
  • Deadlifts – with hex bar and super light weight. I LOVED it!
  • Inclined flyes, 9 kgs
  • Barbell chest press, 30 kgs
  • Dumbbell row, 15 kgs
  • Parachutes
  • Upright row, barbell 17,5 kgs
  • Forward raise, 5 kg dumbbells

Some of the leg work is perhaps a bit before time in my rehab program but my trainer is a competent physical therapist (which in Ireland is not the same as a physiotherapist but the competencies can overlap in some areas), and at this stage of rehab, his competence in strength & conditioning is a very good complement to my base PT program. Doing these leg exercises again was hard but I absolutely loved it. It’s another milestone passed, although it will take a long time before I’m back to where I was pre-injury. After 4+ months of none to very little load, I have to build back leg strength from zero, and there’s no way around that. But I’m happy as long as I can do the work!

Saturday

I had planned to go for a walk this morning, in my area. I’ve been avoiding the lanes around here because it’s such a hilly area, but I realised that one of my previous running routes is actually quite flat and some of it should work fine for a walk. We’ve had some really nasty weather at the end of the week, but today it was dry and even some sunshine in the morning. So I braved the strong winds and went out.

This walk was 2.25 km and again, my feet didn’t complain too much. I got some good company too!

In the evening we had our last gig in the small pub in town. I wasn’t at all up to it! It was getting cold and I wanted to stay home and put the fire on. I also expected the pub to be empty since Ireland was playing against Tonga in the Rugby World Cup. But there’s also the guitar festival going on in town with plenty of events, and there was a good crowd in the pub already when we arrived. We had a great night, with several friends joining us. My singing wasn’t at all in good form but after I while I decided to ignore and just enjoy myself.

Sunday

Today will be a slow day of rest and recharging. But physiotherapy, deadbugs and some hip mobility has been done.

I hope you are doing well! Is it getting cold where you are? Do you enjoy the autumn or dread it? I actually quite like the autumn, as it can be lovely here, but after a quite warm period it’s almost a shock when it gets colder so suddenly – especially in our kind of house it’s VERY noticeable and we’ve already put the heating on.

Thanks Deborah and Kim for hosting the Weekly Rundown linkup!

24 responses to “Feet and legs in action”

  1. Deborah Brooks avatar

    I feel emotionally tired sometimes lately too. Looks like you had some great workouts this week. I also like Bulgarian split squats. I have way less energy in the afternoons but I do like to go for walks just to keep moving. Sounds like you have some fun things to look forward to the next few weeks. Fall is my favorite season 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Afternoon walks are so refreshing and give a nice boost of energy! I think cycling is too boring to me to do it in the morning. But perhaps that makes it a good activity for the endurance challenge. It’s a nice way to start the day but I’ve noticed such a difference in energy levels when I do it in the afternoon. I might try a bike ride tomorrow morning. Perhaps after my coffee.
      I’m really looking forward to our holidays and family time!

  2. Wendy avatar

    Yesterday I did some home strength training and I tried to do renegade rows, but my wrists weren’t having it! I’ve been having an RA flare for about 2 weeks now, so I’m chalking it up to that. They are so challenging! Nice work getting them done.

    I love fall! I just don’t like what comes after, lol

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, renegade rows are quite hard – the first time I did one was when I had to balance on one foot. That was almost impossible! Now when I can use both it’s much easier and when I managed to engage the core properly it made all the difference. I’m sorry you’re still in your RA flare. I sometimes have wrist pain that affects my ability to do things like push-ups or dips from bench, but nothing serious, probably just strained muscles.
      And I couldn’t agree more about what comes after fall!!

  3. Jessie avatar

    Gorgeous photos Susanne. That green!!

    Yay for an upcoming Italy trip! Where will you be visiting? Have a marvelous time!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I agree, the green!! I love where I live!
      We have a place in Abruzzo (25-ish km from Pescara) that we discovered 10 years ago, we rent an apartment on a farm and it’s become like our second home, the owners are dear friends by now. We haven’t been there for 5 years and miss it so much. We usually just drive around in the area, it’s stunning with lots of places to see and experience. I hope to post some photos while we’re there and maybe manage to post some rundown posts too.

  4. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    Can you bake for my birthday?? Lol

    You live in a beautiful place… keep sharing those photos.

    Glad to hear your walking is improving.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I’d love to bake for you! But I’d make sure to actually bring the cake to the party, lol!
      Now that I’m out and about again, there will be photos. It’s a very photogenic area here.

  5. Michelle avatar

    Sounds like you have some great plans coming up! I love Fall, just wish it wasn’t followed by the bitter cold of winter.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I’ll have some good times in the next few weeks I’m sure! And I’m nodding in agreement about the winter… although our winter usually isn’t particularly cold compared to many other places.

  6. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    I think I say this every week, but congrats on all that progress! I love that you talk about the tough workouts, but that you LOVE them 😉 That’s a stellar attitude!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Ah, thanks Kim! Yes, something happened with me after my knee mishap last year, that I wanted to challenge myself and not shy away from doing hard things (which I’ve always done in the past) but just do the work to try to reach my goals. And thanks for keeping up the encouragement each week!

  7. Jenny avatar

    Sounds like your feet and legs are doing really well! You had some great workouts, and are making good progress with your foot.
    I don’t think I’d like your cold weather, but the photo of your walk looks beautiful! Enjoy the visit with your in-laws- I hope htey like the muffins. I’m making an apple cake today but it’s not going to be quite as healthy as your muffins!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, legs and feet are generally doing quite well but my toes are still sore and those lunges were NOT straightforward to do! But I could do them somewhat anyway and I need to move and use those toes to get them back to normal. Otherwise my biggest limitation is the ankle mobility and some angry calves from all those heel raises, but I’m getting there.
      Nope, Ireland’s climate is like another world compared to Florida! But like we say, if we didn’t have rain and this temperate climate, Ireland wouldn’t be so green either.
      Enjoy your apple cake!

  8. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    You are doing great! I know it seems slow, but you’ll get to the point where everything just feels normal. LOL about the forgotten muffins! I will admit I was relieved when my parents & inlaws could no longer visit . . . so good for you for enjoying them.

    Spring is my favorite season — Summer, when it’s nice is great, too, but that’s kind of rare lately. This Summer the weather was pretty bad. I do love Fall, too, but Winter — let’s just say I didn’t choose to live here. Well, I did, but it wasn’t like I said “let’s move back to NY!”. Nope, not at all!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Spring is a wonderful time! I think I love all seasons except winter, they are all nice in their own way. Winter is just too… miserable. But I know I’m very blessed here with mostly green winters and quite mild temperatures compared to what I’m used to (from Sweden) so I’m thankful for that.
      Yes, there’s definitely improvement… but with walking it’s painfully slow. Still improvements though. Thanks for your encouragement! I can’t wait to walk without thinking of HOW.

  9. Catrina avatar

    Your very disciplined with your PT exercises. I have to do some exercises for my Achilles for the rest of my life to prevent another setback. It’s fine – it just becomes a part of your daily life!
    That pavement looks perfect for someone learning to walk again!
    What kind of line of business are you in? Did you work from home until now? And are your in-laws from Sweden, too?

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, my attitude is that if I don’t put in the work to do my PT, I won’t get the progress I want either or at least not as fast as I want. I can’t wait to get back to my normal activities! I’m quite back there now but need to get my feet used to walking longer distances. With my quite intense PT program I’m quite certain I’ll be much stronger in both feet and lower legs than I’ve ever ben before!
      My career is a bit complicated, lol. I was a nurse before we moved to Ireland, but working conditions went downhill so bad and with no hope of ever seeing any improvement, and I eventually left my profession. When we moved here I planned to find something tech/online work related I could do – I really struggled with it but then during the pandemic I started studying graphic design. I’ve been doing it for free and at a hobby level for a long time but never thought of it as a career before I started diving into some Udemy courses. Last year I did a diploma course at UCD and now I’m trying to build confidence and experience with different practice projects, and I’m building an online shop with designs on t-shirts and more, and hopefully soon I can sell my services to small businesses. My husband has his own IT business and has an office in town and I used to work there on my gym days but had to stop when my injury got worse in April. Now we’re planning to build a home office for him because the office in town is too large and too expensive.
      And yes, my in-laws are also from Sweden!

  10. Coco avatar

    I wasn’t sure if the visit from ILs was going to add to your woes — glad you are looking forward to it. 🙂

    LOL on forgetting to serve the muffins — they look delicious!

    So how did you manage with the stairs at work? It’s different to have to do things in a “real” environment, but obviously that’s the goal of rehab.

    1. Susanne avatar

      My in-laws are super cool people and I love hanging out with them! But I know it’s not the case for everyone!

      It went quite well to get down the stairs. I had actually practised already with taking the stairs instead of the lift after the music session on the Thursday before. It’s a lot about teaching my brain that it won’t hurt the foot, rather than the actual movement. The thing with building back confidence has been almost half of the rehab work.

  11. Maria avatar

    Your roads look so inviting. I would love to ride my bike there! Have a wonderful new week!

    1. Susanne avatar

      There are some stunning areas here for cycling! My husband did a good bit of cycling during the summer, about 40 km during the weekends. Lots of hills though so you’d get sone good training done!

  12. Jenn avatar

    Look at those cows!

    It sounds like things are going well for you, and I’m so glad to hear it. I think this is the time of year for illness, so I hope you take care of yourself!

    No cold for us yet. It’s been more tolerable in the morning, but that’s the best we can hope for.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Jenn, I feel much better now after allowing myself to have some time off. But illness season is definitely coming.

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