Getting back in shape sucks. I have new respect for people who slog it out and gym, or like my mother who has started exercising for the first time in years after being a busy mother.
I have always led an incredibly active lifestyle, and been pretty fit. Every day all day I'm riding horses, grooming horses, catching horses, picking up horse shit, lifting hay bales, fixing water pipes, fences and doing all manner of jobs around the farm. If I ever wanted to get extra fit I went for a run and this was always enough.
Now it's different and I don't like it. My body is weak and I lost a lot of my natural fitness reconvering from the Mongol Derby. It's not like I got fat, but I lost a lot of weight, got sick, weak and then spent three weeks traveling around China recovering eating dumplings and noodles. I got home and was exhausted after half day on the farm. I even found lifting hay I didn't have the same strength as before. Usually this time of year I'm upping my workload and getting extra fit for the eventing season, now I'm struggling to get fit for a normal days work.
What's even more frustrating is that a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in Ger tent having just ridden 1000km revelling in how much more my body was capable of than I had thought. But that adrenalin soon wore off and my body has been in recovery ever since. My mind to, as after the excitement of navigating, being chased by dogs, galloping across the Mongolian steppes, mountains and desert going back to everyday routine is taking some mental discipline.
If it was only fitness that I had to worry about I think I would be ok. I like the burn of tired muscles, I like pushing myself just that little bit more. But days of riding through hail, heat, wind and rain, on a series of galloping ponies has taken it toll. For the first time my body is not recovering and I can't just ignore and push through, like is my usual routine.
My ankles, which swelled so badly through the derby that even rolling over in my sleep made it feel like shards of glass were being driven through them, and stayed swollen for weeks afterword, now are still not healed. Constantly they give way on me as I walk across muddy rutted paddocks. Riding I have to jam my foot in the stirrup and instead of dropping my heel I keep it raised to avoid any strain on the tendons and ligaments that feel so fragile and weak.
It's not a secret I was sick on the race. Delirious and vomiting I was definelty in the worst shape of my life when medics got to me, I never been so grateful to have a needle in my arm or to be pumped full of IV fluids. While I got over the bug, my stomach has never been the same since, for a week after the race I out ate my boyfriend at every meal. But nothing ever felt good, and stomach pains and vomiting usally followed. Even now my favourite foods make me feel like my stomachs on fire. Coffe and alcohol, spicy food, garlic and citrus all make me run for the bathroom. It's like my body is playing some cruel joke on me.
It's misery instead of a happy reunion with my favourites horse I'm sick all the time. What's happened to me. Exhaustion is definitely is taking its toll, but being weak is something I hate. I work my horses methodically, feed them, muck out stables but I'm not enjoying it I'm just tired. I feel guilty for not having the extra energy to give them all a scratch or play fetch with dog at night. The guilt makes me feel worse. I've always just pushed through and carried on working, I've never minded going to bed exhausted, I like hard work its satisfying in it own right.
I just want to wake up and be able to do my usual days work, with no weak joints, no sore tummy and the enjoyment of working horses. I know in no time ill be back to healthy and ill forget it all but for now that can't come quickly enough.
I suspect some part of me just can't get over the yearning to be back in Mongolia. A place I loved more than anything. That amazing place stirred something deep inside, and something just keeps pulling me back there. Something I can't get over no matter how sick, how hard that race was, how bad I was hurting, no matter how bad I still feel, all of it I would go through again to be in the land if horses once more
So in the mean time I keep myself busy, and plan for the next adventures, and struggle to get fit again.