Tub on the Run


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Weigh in and on to Week 5

I am beginning to notice a bit of a trend with my weigh ins – I have a really good week (like last week), and then I have a less good week, like today.  I put 1lb on this week.  To be honest, with all the upheaval and the (seemingly temporary) reappearance of that black dog, I haven’t really been too focused on my food.  1lb on isn’t going to “break the bank”, and I’m confident that within a couple of weeks, I’ll be down to my new stone zone (well, it’s not technically brand new, but it’ll be new on this side of summer).

In other news, I disappear off out on my run after work this evening, and “explored” another new route.  It isn’t really new, to be honest, as I used to ride the horse around there (she is stabled there still), but I’ve never run it before.  I am pleased with myself actually, because it isn’t the flattest route in the world:

Exe View Lane

See!  Look how steep that is!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was hardly Mo Farah in terms of speed.  In fact, I may even have been able to walk faster, but importantly, I kept a semblance of running going.  That is now Week 5, Run 1 completed and ticked off my list.  Now, I think I may have to juggle the diary a little bit this week, as I would have planned to parkrun on Saturday morning, but that isn’t possible this week.  Instead, I think I may run on Sunday morning in Cyprus.  Who knows.

On a slight tangent, I was sat in one of our director’s offices this afternoon, and I was looking around his office, I spied a quote on one of his whiteboards that really struck a chord with me, and I shall leave you on that thought:

Don’t be surprised at the results you didn’t get for the work you didn’t do


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Calm(ish) on the outside, ARGHHHH on the inside

I am a week away from my holiday, and my usual pre-holiday, work related anxiety and panic is beginning to set in.  Add in to that an interesting situation whereby I could apply for a promotion, mix it in with a couple of frank conversations and a couple of realisations, and my nerves are shot to hell and I am beginning to feel overwhelmed.  Oh yeah, add in my wedding dress fitting, and I’m quite amazed that I am functioning at all.  I know they aren’t big problems, but I suffer from anxiety, and the trigger will determine how well I cope.

Normally, I find that running really helps.  I get the chance to be alone with my thoughts and work through things.  I’ve really enjoyed getting back to it this week, and I have had the opportunity to explore a couple of new routes.  I’ve also been chuffed to use my Garmin, and I’ve found the stats quite interesting.  I ran the first run of Week 5, and ran two runs from Week 4.

I ran the third run of Week 4 at parkrun this morning.  I haven’t set any records, and I haven’t set a new PB, but I was pleased with how I went.  I ran for more than Week 4’s podcast, and I’m beginning to feel a little bit more “part of it” (don’t get me wrong, parkrun is very friendly, but people are now beginning to recognise me and know my name).  Also, it was really lovely to see Sharon from Shazruns at the finish line.  It was the first time we’ve had the chance for a chat before, and I’m sure we’ll stop for a coffee in the cafe when the weather turns cooler.  Sadly, I’m not back to parkrun now until nearly the end of the month.

Unfortunately, running hasn’t really helped clear my head.  Well, maybe it has, and in which case, I’d dread to think what I’d feel like if I hadn’t run.

Anyway, one of the issues has been highlighted this week is that I have become increasingly scruffy in my work dress, therefore a shopping trip was in order.  To be honest,  I could have done without the financial expenditure right now, but I guess there would never have been a good time (financially) in the run up to the wedding.  I had a very pleasant afternoon out with my mum, nonetheless, and I now have some new work clothes.

Post shopping cuppa

My post-shopping cup of tea 🙂

I think part of the issue has been that I bought “interim” clothes while I was (am) losing weight, and I haven’t wanted to replace them until I have “deserved” new ones (by going down a size).  Frustratingly, I haven’t gone down a clothes size.  I’m still firmly in a size 20 in shirts.  Three stone, and I still haven’t gone down a dress size really.  I’ve disliked shopping for a long time.  I suspect that I will disliked it for a while longer.

As for the anxiety, I’m just going to have to work like the clappers this week, get everything in order and do a good handover.  Realistically, that is all I can do right now.   I foresee a week of late nights in the office.  Otherwise, it is just a case of dealing with individual issues rather than trying to fire fight them all at once.


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Good run and Slimmer of the Week

I was much more successful test driving the Garmin last night than I was on Saturday’s slightly disastrous (in terms of technology anyway) parkrun outing.  As I was getting ready for work, I made sure to nip into the living room to plug the Garmin in.  Result!  By the time I came home, it had roughly 10 hours’ worth of charge, so there was no way it wasn’t going to work.  I’d like to say that the ipod/podcast/user issue had been remembered and sorted (I hadn’t downloaded Week 4 of the Couch to 5k podcast at parkrun), but I completely forgot.  Instead of procrastinating further, I decided to just try my hand at Week 5 Run 1.  I reasoned that I probably ran for at least 5 minutes non-stop (just incredibly slowly) on Saturday, so 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, repeated three times probably wouldn’t kill me entirely.  Week 5 separates out into three different runs, culminating in the dreaded 20 minutes non-stop running session.  First time round, I managed it without too much difficulty.  It’ll be interesting to see how I get on this time round.  The 20 minute run will be my last run before jetting off on holiday next week.  I did download Week 4 when I got back home from Slimming World, so I’ll be finishing the next two runs on Week 4.

The run went really well.  While I don’t think I could have gone for much longer, I was really pleased that I wasn’t nearly dead at the end of the run.  I enjoyed it as I’d also gone on a brand new route which incorporated road and trail.  The trail was hard as I found I had to concentrate hard to make sure that I wasn’t likely to break my ankle on a tree root.  I feel buoyed and confident that I won’t have a problem completing Week 4.

Week 5 Run 1 03.09.13

As for the Yurbuds, I was really impressed with them.  I didn’t think that they’d actually stay put, given that they are earphones rather than headphones, but they didn’t budge.  I am chuffed with them – they’re really comfortable, I forgot I was wearing them except when I’d accidentally catch the cord, and even then they didn’t come out.  The only initial thing I’ve found is that they let quite a lot of wind noise in.  To be fair, I don’t know if that’s just because I had the volume level really low (I was running on a single track road and trails, so I wanted to be able to hear well).  The sound quality is good though, and I’m sure the wind noise will be less of an issue when I have the volume up more normally.

Après run, I remembered to pack a clean t-shirt and some body spray (I feel like I am particularly stinky after exercise at the moment – I am sure I nearly killed both myself and M off in the car on the way home from Killerton at the weekend).  The food diary challenge went well, and I took mine in for scrutinising.  I think one thing I really noticed is that I am particularly poor at getting my Health Extra A (which is mostly calcium based foods, for those non-Slimming Worlders).  In the past 7 days, I have only succeeded in eating my “A” choice twice.  I think I need to revisit the book and see what I can have, other than cheese or milk (or which varieties of cheese and milk I can have).

Food Diary Front

Food Diary Back

So, the food diary went well, and this showed on the scales with a 4.5lb loss and made me Slimmer of the Week (woo!).  Not only has it been good for my weight loss efforts, but it’s also been a good reminder from a mental perspective.  I have actually enjoyed the week, being nearly 100% on the wagon (only two days that detract from that are Saturday and Sunday, where I had too many syns, but not by excessive amounts).  I’ve eaten plenty of food, food that has been good for me.  Honestly, if every week was like this, then I’d have lost all the weight ages ago!  The strange thing is that I don’t feel especially motivated.  I feel like this is “normal”, it isn’t a battle, I’m not prowling round the house grumbling that I can’t find any biscuits, crisps, sweet things, etc.  I also don’t feel like I have been chained to the kitchen, which is how I sometimes feel, and I think makes me a bit despondent.  I’m sure the feeling will wear off, and I’ll be ninja like in my attack on unsuspecting food, but I’m enjoying the feeling right now.  What have I done differently?

  1. I have tried new foods.  I have a couple more to try too.  The variety has been nice.
  2. I have put some suitable foods on – quick easy meals for when we’re pushed for time.  I’ve also cracked out the slow cooker again (well, it is nearly autumn!).
  3. I’ve used food as a treat.  Shock… horror!!  My sister sent me this very funny cartoon on Facebook, and I was nearly in tears reading it.  Page 2, and the Bleurgh is so true!  However, if I want to reward my parkrun efforts with a homemade brownie, why shouldn’t I?  Or if I want a fry up (which is a grill up anyway) after a run, why shouldn’t I?  I am reward oriented, but I am also geared more towards immediate gratification, and sometimes, promising myself a DIY pedicure at the weekend for my good efforts just doesn’t cut it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every single time I do something, I’ll reward with food (I know I’m not a dog!), but it’s good not to limit the options.  Food is not the enemy, my lack of self-restraint/control is.

All in all, I’m pleased with both the run and the weight loss.


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Back to parkrun I went!

The results are in for parkrun this week, and I’ve truly astounded myself with a PW (a personal worst).  To be completely fair, it isn’t a true PW, as I “ran” the Race for Life at Plymouth about 10 minutes slower, but the time I recorded was:

Parkrun 31st August 2013

Despite being a PW for 2013, I am actually quite pleased with how it went.  I ran for longer than I thought I was going to be able to, and I wasn’t completely last.  In fact, I managed to overtake a couple of people (having been at the back for roughly the first kilometre or so).  With that in mind, I am pretty confident that I will be able to make it through Week 4 of the Couch to 5k plan without having to go back even further.

As you may be aware, I got a new Garmin and Yurbuds for my birthday, so I thought I’d take them out for a spin on Saturday.  Well, it was not meant to be.  In my complete ignorance, I didn’t charge my Garmin for long enough, so it stuttered into life long enough for me to sort the settings and locate a satellite before shutting down.  I did wear the HRM strap, which was I expecting to be uncomfortable, but it wasn’t.  So, note to self – remember to charge the Garmin the night before a run.  It was a comfortable watch to wear though.  The second was the Yurbuds.  I haven’t worn headphones to a parkrun before, as I quite like to just take the time out and listen to what’s going on around me.  This time was no different.  While I packed the earphones in my bag, I left my bag with M before taking them out.  D’oh!  When I got the bag back, to be fair, I didn’t have Week 4 of C25K downloaded anyway.

At the end of the run, there was a cake sale (it was for charity!), so I did indulge and buy both myself and M a homemade brownie.  It was delicious!  Obviously, I can’t do that every week, but it was VERY welcome this week.

As for the after effects of parkrun, well, I’m in excruciating agony a bit sore.  My hips started getting tight in the last mile or so, and they’re quite sore now, and going downstairs is a problem for my quads.  Otherwise, I feel pretty much ok.  I think if anything, it’s served as a bit of a lesson about why Tubs don’t stop running for two months.  Yes, it’s been two months since I last went out!  No wonder I don’t feel as fit as I was.

In other news, I have kept my food diary up to date and it’s gone quite well.  The big reveal is tomorrow, but I’ve actually quite enjoyed the challenge.  I’ve tried a couple of new things (scan bran cake, couscous pancakes, quark), and overall, my weekend eating has been much better.  The weekends are usually a really difficult time for me to keep focused and on track, but I made sure to pick some things that we really like (like BBQ pulled pork, a grill up, and snacky things).  While I went over my syns on both Saturday and Sunday, it’s much more in control than, let’s say, the weekend before.

The plan for the week ahead is to restart C25K at Week 4 (3 min run, 1.5 min walk, 5 min run, 2.5 min walk, 3 min run, 1.5 min walk, 5 min run).  I may even go somewhere new!  It may have to incorporate some hills too, as I feel I should get back into hills rather than just running on the flat.  East Devon – watch out!


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What a way to celebrate my 100th post…

I have debated whether to post this later on today or not, and I’ve decided to post now (surely my 100th post should be about nice things and fluffy bunnies and unicorns.  This is not one of those posts). 

Weigh in will go completely as I expect it to.  By that, I mean that I will have gained weight.  I can feel it without the scales telling me.  I sit here, getting increasingly frustrated at myself, feeling like a failure.  Hmm… failure’s probably not quite the right word.  Fraud is probably closer.  Here I am, on my weight loss and running blog, not really doing either.  What’s worse is that even I am beginning to notice that there is a yoyo tone to the blog, which is very much a reflection of how I feel, and I don’t like it. 

Why am I scratching my head?  Mainly because I seem to be embroiled in a battle between my good and bad weeks.  I have a great week, like last week.  I feel motivated, really focused, on plan, in control, and I just feel like I am winning at this weight loss thing.  Skip forwards a week, and my meals are completely out of whack, high calorie, high fat, high sugar snacks and meals.  My motivation has skipped off to a happy place elsewhere, and I am left here feeling empty and tired. 

Yet, ironically, I am far from empty.  I have overindulged, binged, feasted and stuffed myself.  I have stonking headaches (probably all sugar rush related), I am tired and sluggish and miserable.  Despite my best efforts to fill the void with food, it hasn’t worked.  Something else is missing, but I don’t know what.  I am bored of trying to work out what “it” is. I cannot put a finger on what happened.  On what went wrong.  Anything I come up with just feels like an excuse.

There is much moping to be done, a few frustrated tears to be shed, but something needs to change.  On reflection, I need to emulate some of the good habits I had formed when I was on my 10 week loss streak at the beginning of the year.  Between the throbs of my latest headache, I remember that some of the good habits that I’d held included:

  • Posting on my blog frequently.  I think I am currently averaging one to two posts a week.  During “the streak”, I was posting more like 4 times a week.  I think it helped to maintain my focus.
  • Food diaries.  These are always a bit hit and miss, but I was completing a diary more regularly then than I am now.  I find food diaries to be a bit of a chore sometimes, so I am thinking that perhaps the odd food diary on the blog isn’t too bad an idea – a bit of a thermometer reading of how I’m doing.
  • Running.  I was running, and I was following Couch to 5k.  I had a structure.  There were no real quibbles about what I was going to do or when I was going to go out, or even which route to run.  I was told that I had to go out (by the podcast), so out I went.  I missed the structure after C25K ended, and things all started going a bit, well, unstructured.  Tubs need a structure to work within.  Back to C25K I go (but I will keep parkrun in there).
  • Workouts.  I went to Zumba Tone.  I went spinning.  I enjoyed them both.  I am not doing either currently.  It’s time to stop wasting my gym membership and get my bum back to classes.  Three runs a week, plus one or two classes should keep my nose out of the biscuit tin.
  • Shopping.  We were so much better at shopping, making sure that we went on a certain day.  That day used to be Sunday.  We’re both so tired now, that weekends are for slobbing around.  The occasional slob-end is fine.  But this is every single weekend, and we’re in a rut.  Also, I dread to think of the amount we’ve spent on food lately – takeaways are not meant to be a lifestyle choice.

I am going to find the first couple of weeks frustrating.  I know that.  I know that this is going to be when I am more vulnerable to sliding off the wagon in a gelatinous blob, then there will be a period where it feels like second nature, and then there will be a period where it won’t take much for me to jump from the wagon voluntarily, just for “something different to do”.

 I have a few things coming up over the next few months – a weekend marshalling, my dress fitting, going to Cyprus, then two wedding celebrations one after the other, my hen weekend and a couple of weeks later, my wedding.  All are potential derailments, and things I wouldn’t have needed to consider during “the streak”.  They will be challenges, and I need to plan for them.  They’ll disrupt my exercise plans and my food, but they cannot throw me off kilter.


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Doughnut dodging disaster

Oh dear.  It’s not been a good day.  I started out being organised, but sadly it’s gone downhill somewhat.  I tripped up some stairs, then nearly got decapitated by a flying cupboard door (that had broken away from his hinge) and smashed a mug, all within the space of 5 minutes.  Then my manager wanted to sit in on my induction (I hate public speaking anyway, and hate it even more when I’m being assessed, though it wasn’t a formal assessment).  Thankfully, the post mortem debrief was levied more at my nerves and ability to speak at a million miles an hour when I am nervous.

Couple the above with a colleague’s birthday (read: plenty of cakes and doughnuts), it hasn’t been a good day for food.  I’m surprised I’ve made it down off a sugar high.  Oh wait.  I did come down.  I crashed, mid afternoon.  The future is neither bright, nor orange, for my weigh in tomorrow.

With the guilt of stuffing my face full of doughnuts, crispies, and swiss rolls, I decided it was time to get back on it.  Back to Week 1 of my 10k plan I trudge (it feels very much “You’ve eaten cake, go straight to jail outdoors and exercise, do not pass “Go”, do not collect £200).  Day 1 is a strength and stretch day.  I chose yoga.  I’ve been struggling with my post sugar trough, so yoga made sense to me.  I need to get back to more regular yoga practice.  I always feel better after it, but just don’t put enough focus on it for some reason.

Fingers crossed for light thoughts tomorrow.


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My successful camping trip

You know those weekends where they’re really good and you collapse into bed exhausted?  Yep?  I’ve had one of them.  I have split this post out, as I can appreciate not everyone will want to read my camping/marshalling ramblings.

Camping/Marshalling

For the first time in the four years I have worked where I do, I left for a week off before 9pm.  I get really paranoid that I will have left something huge and it’ll stitch up my team in my absence.  Inevitably, I never do, the company doesn’t cease to trade in my absence, and no commercial incidents happen.  Anyway, M and I left work on Friday (ok, a little bit late) and headed up to Silverstone.  We encountered all manner of weather on our way up, from gale force winds, hail, rain, sunshine, the lot.  As we got closer to Silverstone, the wind didn’t seem to be dying down.  I hate/loathe/despise putting a tent up in the dark and in the wind.  I swear that as soon as we arrived, the wind died.  Putting up the tent was actually easy.  We didn’t do too bad a job of it either.

060

A weekend of marshalling the British GTs ensued.  I love sports cars.  You can keep your silly F1 cars (though I don’t dislike single seaters as a general rule).  For me, it’s all about the wishlist cars.  I love the sound, the look, the smell (yes, the smell – nothing quite like an early morning pit walk to indulge the petrol sniffer side of me).  I won’t bore you with the details (if you really are that fussed, you can read an excellent report here).

Saturday, I collapsed into bed at 9pm, and slept until 5.30am.  I hadn’t realised quite how sunny it would be, and had neglected to put on sunscreen on Saturday (ouch).  That was soothed though, by a shot of icy cold water, courtesy of the shower that didn’t have an aimable head and spurted out cold water at such velocity as to make me scream (I’m sure the other marshals in the campsite wondered if I was having a When Harry Met Sally moment).  Another day, avec sunscreen and thankfully less wind saw the 3 hour endurance race for the GTs.

At the end of the day, the leader of the post (a “post chief”) had upgraded me, so I have now officially gone from Trainee Marshal to Track Marshal.  That doesn’t actually mean much, except I can now be left to look after Trainees and can apply to do the F1 (which I probably will do, as M wants to do it one day) and Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed (which I am much more interested in doing).  Otherwise, it will probably be business as usual, with a little bit more responsibility.

Originally, we had planned to camp at Castle Combe on the Sunday night, ready for a day of racing at Combe on the Monday, but we made the decision to stay at the local Travelodge because of a lack of electric hook up at Combe (and therefore, a lack of airbed).  Another great day marshalling.

Food, Exercise and Weigh in

I was quite pleased with myself this weekend, as normally camping is a bad food time for me.  It is definitely much easier to eat complete rubbish when you camp.  However, with a bit of thought and willpower, I made better choices.  M and I found the Tesco at Towcester, so managed a quick trip on Saturday night for supplies on Sunday.  I used my food vouchers at Silverstone for salads.  Now, while the salads weren’t exactly brilliant in their Slimming World values, they were a much better option than others available.

Eating properly last week and over the weekend saw me lose 1.5lbs at Slimming World today.  I had been on track for a better loss, but I’ll definitely accept that.  Especially seeing as my exercise over the weekend was negligible.  I am going to redo last week of my 10k plan, as I didn’t hit the runs at all.  One thing that is bothering me is that I don’t seem to be able to run for 30 minutes like I could at the end of Couch to 5k.  I am sure it’s a mental problem, and I know I have mentioned this problem before.  I definitely seemed to do better with no music on my long run last time out, so I might try podcasts or audiobooks.  I’ve also done a couple of runs on the dreadmill, and I think that’s killing a bit of the joy of running, so I’ll head back outdoors again.

I have the week off, and I am thoroughly looking forward to doing nada (well… kind of nada).


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A ’10k training plan’ plan

I am hoping it isn’t going to be too much longer that I am sans laptop of my own (I have sneaked on to M’s while he is out at the cinema).  I have realised I really do quite enjoy blogging and miss not being able to get my thoughts down and published.  Anyway.

I read an article on Run Eat Repeat the other day about training for a half marathon.  No, no.  Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind (entirely).  In Monica’s post, she talks about Hal Higdon’s training plans, so off I toddled, over to Mr Higdon’s website, and browsed the plans.  I have been thinking that it could be that I am struggling with my running as I am planless.  Couch to 5k is great in making sure that you get out for 3 days a week, and that you cannot progress to the next until the current week is complete.  Being left to amble along without any real structure is hard for me (I like boundaries and structure).  I have designs towards running an autumn 10k (maybe even a late summer one), so I thought the novice 10k plan could be the bout of structure I need.  I have shuffled around one of the days so that I can get in the right amount of gym classes.  It will also be interesting for me to take the pressure off the time limits, and look at distance instead.

I had planned to go to Zumba Tone tonight, but my partner in crime was very late, so I went home, resolving myself to some yoga instead.  I haven’t practiced yoga for roughly 18 months, and wasn’t exactly good at it at my peak.  For my “strength and stretch” session, I youtubed this:

I struggled.  I struggled a lot!  I seem to have regained the flexibility of a reinforced steel joist with little difficulty, and my muscles seem to have completely lost the ability to stretch well.  I still can’t do downward dog.  It’s just not comfortable.  I did enjoy the video though – it was challenging but in a nice way.

Food wise, this not blogging thing is really mucking things up.  I know my confessional is longer away than normal given the poorly laptop issue, and coupled with my extraordinary ability to selfsabotage around each milestone, it hasn’t been pretty.  It’s been quite tasty though.  Back on plan though.  Otherwise it’s all a mini yoyo.

I’m off to see if I can find my pendrive now though, as I had written a post for my Foodie Penpals reveal tomorrow, but I can’t find the silly thing now.


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Celebrating 3 stone gone

After a tough day at work, M and I headed out for a run before Slimming World.  M decided to do week 1 of Couch to 5k again.  I decided not to run with him, but just try to get a 20 minute run in.  I failed.  Frustratingly, I don’t know why I seem to be unable to maintain a good running pace and breathe when I go out with M.  I’m not blaming him, as it isn’t anything to do with him really.  I think it is more that there is a larger amount of pavement traffic around when we go out together.  Instead of being able to focus on the actual act of running, I’m busy dodging people, checking that I can dodge people without inadvertently knocking a cyclist down by trespassing on their cycle lane, and attempting not to sound like a horrendous wheezy steam train on my way past.  I am going to find a different route to try instead of getting all blah about it.

On to the good news…  Post-run, I headed to my Slimming World group for my weigh in.  I hit my 3 stone award exactly.  I am really pleased, and just wanted to take some time to have a quick reflection on where I am and how I feel:

  • I can walk places and hold a conversation very easily, walking at a decent pace too.
  • I can run.  I never thought I’d be able to say that.
  • I have met some lovely people and made new friends through my Slimming World group.
  • I eat plenty of food.  Nothing is banned, and I’m still learning about moderation.
  • My clothes are getting too big.
  • My mood is pretty good most of the time, and my depression seems to be lying low a lot of the time.
  • I’m probably the fittest I have ever been (in terms of cardiovascular fitness).

Another 3 stone, and I’ll be back to the weight I was when I first started going out with M back in late 2008.  Here’s hoping the next 3 stone disappear quickly (but not too quickly).

In other news, I tried to give blood today, but got turned away as they were running behind, so I will make a proper appointment for the next session.


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Tub’s Brilliant Sunday (now with added hills)

I had one of those really great weekends this weekend.  I won’t repeat my Saturday adventures, instead I shall regale you with my adventures on Sunday.

May last year I met two people at my new Slimming World group (I didn’t get my first group all that well, so I moved to a different one), and Gareth and Helen joined at roughly the same time.  Helen is my friend that I have mentioned before who has lost 5 stone (and I take a great amount of inspiration from).  Gareth and Helen are a couple, and we hit it off straight away.  We decided to do something out and away from group one day, and decided on this weekend to doing something active.  It fell in quite well with a free entry day for National Trust properties.  We decided on Castle Drogo in the Teign Valley. 

It’s an amazing house (well, castle), built in the early 1900s.  It’s got a fairly sad story with it, but the family still live in apartments at the very top of the castle apparently.  Anyway, it was built deliberately where it is, because of this:

Drogo 2013 007 Drogo 2013 009 

The views around the castle are amazing.  We went on a slightly overcast day, so you can probably imagine how beautiful it would look on a bright sunny day. 

Unfortunately the house has a leaking roof, so there is a major conservation project to put the roof to rights and do a lot of works on the window.  That means that a lot of the internal rooms have had a lot of plywood to protect the internals whilst the work is carried out.  The castle is still open and they’ve thought up some great ways to show a different story, including a tea chest replica of the castle, large replicas of postcards that one of the sons used to collect, which you could interact with.  Cue prop-wearing…

Drogo 2013 005

It’s full of great gadgets – stuff that you wouldn’t have thought was about in the 1920s – a proper shower (with a rain head and side jets), connection points for lamps (just put the lamp on a connection point and it lights), plus its own generator, using the river for electricity.  I was amazed!

After we had wandered around the house and stopped for a cup of tea (Helen and I shared a flapjack, while the boys had scones), we headed back the car to don our walking boots.  You can’t go to somewhere like that and not go for a walk.  It was a 2 mile steep descent.  I was astounded to see hoof prints on the way down – I wouldn’t ride a horse down such narrow steep paths with a nigh on sheer drop.  They were ridden horses too, as they were shod prints.  Madness! 

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At the very bottom of the valley was a hidden gem – Fingle Bridge Inn.  Set next to the Teign, it used to be a mill that also had tea rooms, and now a delightful pub with excellent food.  Helen and I chose ploughmans, M had gammon and Gareth had whitebait.  I always think the sign of a good pub is the ability to take dogs in.  The food was excellent, and definitely worth the walk.

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After finishing lunch, we started the climb back up the valley.  Climb being the operative word.  It was two miles back up hill, steep hills interspersed with the occasional flat bit.  The scenery though was breathtaking (again, quite literally – conversation was difficult on the way back up!).

However, the hill walking seems to have done something good for my bum muscles, as they’re much less tight now.  I even managed to get out for a run.  I knew that if I sat down for too long and didn’t look to move, I’d have stayed on the sofa all night.  I didn’t give myself the option, just put my running stuff on and headed out.  I bargained with myself that I would run for 25 minutes this time, as I knew I could do that.  I actually managed to run my normal route quicker, covering 3.47km in 25:01, which gives me a 5k time of about 38 minutes I think.  I was really pleased.  I felt good coming back, though my calves are really stiff and tight.  I wore flat shoes to work yesterday to try and help, but it’s not really worked.

I was thinking I was in for a successful weigh in (as in, my evening weight would follow suit of the morning results and be in the 15 stone range), but given the flapjack and then my dad’s birthday meal last night, my hopes are somewhat less now.  I’m pretty sure I’m on for a loss, but not sure if I’ll break through the barrier.  I doubt I’ll be staying for group though, as our normal consultant is poorly, and I’m not sure I like the stand ins all that much.

I’m really hoping that my laptop gets fixed soon so that I can get back to blogging properly, rather than writing on my old (non-internetable) laptop then having to post at lunchtime at work.