Tub on the Run


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Four things that have made me smile in 2016

I cannot believe it was August since I last blogged (definitely not winning awards for regular blogging over here!). It’s been a pretty mad half to the end of the year, and there were things that I really wanted to blog about at the time, but then got swept up in something else. I’d like to say that it has been all really great stuff, but that hasn’t been the case, and I feel like I am literally burning out to the end of the year, but not in that “let’s go out with a bang” kind of way.

But, not to continue the rough bits through to the New Year, I thought I’d do a highlights post – not a year in review as such, but just four things that I’ve really enjoyed (I promise I enjoyed more than 4 things in 2016).

Crochet

As I mentioned above, this has been a bit of a difficult year for one reason and another, and I’ve found myself getting anxious and feeling low. As a way to try and distract myself, I decided to learn crochet. First up was a completely random blanket, which I’m still working on. Then I decided to give granny square a go. Over 100 granny squares later, I combined them all into a blanket and gave it to my gran for her birthday.  Meanwhile, as part of getting ready for Blogtacular, I added a load of new blogs of Blogtacular attendees to my blog list, and came across Crafts from the Cwtch, and got reading about the Scheepjes crochet-along. I found a UK stockist and got cracking on the Dance in the Rain blanket for myself. I hadn’t finished it before I decided to by the Dance in the Sea colourway and make that for Mum for Christmas. I finished Mum’s waaaaay ahead of mine (at least I have something to do in the New Year).

As if that wasn’t enough, and I can’t even remember how I got onto this, but I decided to make my sister some Pokemon, as she was Pokemon mad as a kid.

 

Color Run

Charlie from The Runner Beans had a giveaway of two tickets to a Color Run (yes, spelt the American way!). I put in for it, doing my usual “it’s going to be fine, I’ll have repeated Couch to 5k by then”, asked my sister if she’d like to make a weekend of it, and promptly forgot all about it. Needless to say I didn’t get my bum in gear and do any running before the run in September.

Thankfully – who cares! It was an absolutely brilliant weekend. I drove to my sister’s house in Hampshire, got changed and then she kindly drove to Brighton.  We navigated the park and ride system and made our way to the seafront. With the exception of one rather large ramp, it was a flat course, and one, I am proud to say, I ran a reasonable portion of and didn’t come in at my 5k worst time.

It was great fun, and I was proud to have come away with the colour quantity I did – my sister did pretty well on the colour front too (and is much fitter than me, so would have totally kicked my ass on the running front if she hadn’t stayed with me). After that, we drove home, car protected with towels, looking a right sight as we stopped for a snack and loo break. We headed to town for dinner (Mexican) and cocktails and then dragged our (my) weary beings back to her house and to bed.  Definitely a highlight!

Whole 100

Given that this has been the subject of this blog for the majority of 2016, I’ll keep this bit short. I’m super chuffed with the results I had, and I need to do some significant work in 2017 to restart the pace on this and keep momentum going – 2017 is going to be a great year and I want to be able to embrace it with less of me!

Bee Photo

You know you’re getting older when you really enjoy Countryfile. Not only do I enjoy the programme, I always love the photography section, and I’d kind of been attempting to take hovering bee shots.  In a week off at the beginning of September, Matt and I got some more use from our National Trust membership and visited Monatcute House in Somerset. It was the set of various scenes in Wolf Hall, and is absolutely stunning – if you get the chance to go, do! Not only is the house an architectural marvel, the gardens are gorgeous. I’d wandered the gardens trying to get good shots, and I think it was that “trying too hard” problem. So, off we went for lunch, and while I was in the queue, a bee just appeared, and I opportunistically snapped. I’m really pleased with the result.

(I appreciate that this is a bit of a daft thing to be pleased with, but indulge me!).

Those were a few things that have made me smile over the last year – there are plenty more, but I thought I’d keep it short. I’m definitely looking forward to welcoming 2017 in, and ringing some of the changes.

Did you have a nice Christmas?

 

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Janathon anyone?

An email landed in my inbox this morning to say that Janathon is 5 years old in 2015.  Janathon being the annual event where you exercise and blog every day.  In January.  Janathon.

I did reasonably well in Janathon last year until the final push, and I actually look back on my new year of 2014 rather fondly, despite the truly atrocious weather that we had.  I got to grips with my yoga, and running was going reasonably well too.

This has got me thinking… Shall I sign up again?  I appear to have better Janathon success over Juneathons (the summer equivalent), and it would tie in nicely with my intended gym return.  Not only would the exercise help, but I haven’t been blogging too much lately.  It isn’t for a lack of things going on either (and I promise I will get to blogging about them soon).  Janathon might be the injection I need into writing AND exercising again.  There is really only one truly difficult bit, and that is keeping momentum.  I also struggle to keep up with my blog reading during this time.  Things are easier now that you can tweet or Facebook about your activities though.  Janathon is still a thought, but quite possible.

One thing I am not signing up for though is Jantastic.  I think it’s a really good idea, especially if you’re running properly (i.e. regularly) now, and I like the idea of a team, but I felt bad letting my team down when I petered out.

Are you a Janathoner or a Jantastic (or both)?


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Scoring a B+ this week

Now, I’m not quite “all over it”, but I’ve done pretty well this week I think.  Headline news is that I am 4lbs down on my weigh in last week, which is really great.  It’s not been the strictest of weeks, but it’s a dramatic improvement on the weeks that have gone before.  Anyway, we have a #TransformationTuesday in the making…

Transformation Tuesday in the making

Ignore the lovely face – it was very bright out on our walk today, and I should have remembered my sunglasses.  I am hoping that in a month or so I will be able to post another picture with some noticeable progress.  Every journey starts somewhere right?!

How has this week been different?

Food wise, we haven’t really planned too much.  Luckily there have still been a couple of frozen meals from a batch cooking marathon I did a couple of weeks ago.  A quick nip to Tesco to get some fresh veggies and milk, and we were away!  One day I was incredibly late home, so we ordered takeaway, but other than that, we’ve been sensible.  Breakfast has consisted of porridge, lunch has been soup or leftovers, and teas have been mostly freezer food.  We’re actually beginning to use up some of the stuff in the cupboard that we’ve had for ages.

Favourite food thing this week: Stur squash.  Beki, who blogs over at Miss Wheezy, wrote a post about Stur this week.  They are doing free samples, so I thought I would give it a go, especially as I saw they have a peach iced tea flavour.  My sample arrived really quickly, and it tastes exactly how I expected it to!  Win!

Ooh.. I lied a bit.  I have two favourite things – the second is Christmas pudding Nakd bars!  They’re… well… Christmas puddingy without the calories of a Christmas pud!

Next up – exercise!  I have a plan, and that plan has worked quite nicely this week.  Of the 7 days, I completed 5, which I think is a good start.  For the runs, I haven’t actually run as I don’t want to kill my knees off, so I’ve walked the distances.  Matt joined me for kettlebells at the start of the week, and also came out on my long “run” today.  I don’t think he’ll be joining me for kettlebells again – he doesn’t quite get that feeling of joy that I get from lobbing weights around.  It’s probably not helped by a muscle twinge that he has been having in his shoulder either.

I’ve struggled a bit with yoga too.  My wrist strength is noticeably poorer than it has been in the past, which makes any poses like downward dog, or even cat/cows intense.  I can’t hold the poses for too long.  I always thought that this was a problem only I really experienced (again, I don’t think the weight helps), but it seems I am not alone, and Ekhart Yoga have even posted a video to help build that strength.

I’m hoping that over the coming weeks and months, completing this video regularly will help me to progress more comfortably in my yoga.

Favourite exercise this week:  My walk with Matt today.  It was nice to get out in the fresh air, and he got to play with his camera too.  Win all round!

Sunday walks

Next week, I’m hoping to have eaten a little more into the cupboards and freezer, and then next weekend batch cook a few more meals and also make some soups.  Exercise wise, I plan to start some gentle (read: super slow) running.

How has your week been?

 

 


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Autumn plans

Autumn Background

I have plans!  This is a 100% improvement on my bimble through the summer months, but this time, I have something to aim for – the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k on 7th December 2014.

In honour of being ready to beat my PB that I set last year, I have made my beeline for Hal Higdon’s website, specifically the Novice 10k plan.  It’s an 8 week plan designed to get you from barely runner to 10k competent.  I’ve combined this with a yoga plan and the reintroduction of kettlebells.  Behold… the plan….

The plan!

I really like the three runs per week, the variety, and the rest.  I’m not good with plans that have more than three days of running, I get bored.  However, I’ve synced this to my diary and moved some workouts around as I need to, but I’ve decided that this is an entirely achievable plan.

Yesterday being Week 1 Day 1, I moved the coffee table out of the way in the living room, plugged my ipod into the stereo, donned my Too Fat to Run vest top and started lobbing a kettlebell about.  Matt had said that he wanted to try kettlebells with me, a decision that I think he might be quietly regretting now.  I’m not sure how long we worked out for, but it was long enough for the Med veg to roast.  Anyway, Russian twists and static lunges didn’t kill me off so…

Monday done

Gold star and a smiley face for me!  Shortly followed by tea.

Today’s activity is a two and a half mile run.  I haven’t run for ages, so it’ll be a walk interspersed with some slightly quicker lumbering.  I don’t want to take it too quickly as I have had some knee twinges lately, which I suspect are due to my weight, so I don’t want to risk injury.

Do you work out or run with a plan?

 


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The joy of Timehop

I’ve only recently got on the Timehop wagon, and I’ve found it quite amusing to see what random drivel I have posted to various social media accounts over the last few years.  Actually, some of it is quite terrifying.  I had to smile when this one popped up this morning:

Timehop Commando Challenge

About 6 months before, in roughly March/April 2010, I thought that 10k wasn’t too far.  And I thought that an obstacle course sounded fun.  Combining these, I also thought it would be a great idea to rope my manager and work friend into doing it.  After all, it was for charity.  So we entered the Commando Challenge.  This was a long, long time before I’d heard of Spartan races or Tough Mudders.  The Commando Challenge is made up of approximately 3 miles of the Royal Marine’s commando course, sandwiched between two 1.5 mile runs.

In typical Tub style, I was overenthusiastic to start off with, went hell for leather on a training plan, got bored, wandered back to the sofa and waited for the event to come around, hoping all the while that someone other than me would pull out.  My manager had the sense to do so, but with a steep entry fee and a stubborn work friend, I didn’t get the chance to drop out, and she roped her sister into making our team up to 3 (you needed a minimum number of 3 in a team, and you couldn’t enter on an individual basis).

I was up bright and early, and was welcomed by a cool and bright autumn morning.  Matt and I drove and parked up at Bicton Arena where everything started and finished.  My team mates joined us and we went to pay our sponsorship money in and retrieve our number.  After a brief warm up, we were off.

I couldn’t run very far, and found the hilly terrain hard going.  I know the area well, so I’m not sure why I was surprised at how hard it was.

Learning point: wear proper running shoes (you’ll regret it later if you don’t!).

Then came the obstacle course.  I’d always wondered why marines are so short.  Most that I had ever come across were shorter than me (at 5 ft 8).  As I crawled through the smartie tubes (corrugated metal tubes that are covered with soil), it became very clear why – I struggled getting through them, so anyone taller definitely would have had issues.

Learning point: wear knee pads.

Next up was “Peter’s Pool”.  I have no idea why the pool is named after Peter, or who Peter is, but I could only deduce that maybe he was overly fond of ice baths.  This was a wade through waist deep cold water.  While it was refreshing for a moment, coming out of the other side was just plain mean – frozen legs trying to run up a loose gravel hill.  Peters Pool was followed by the Sheep Dip.  Two marines standing in the water, one of either side of a low concrete bridge – one to push you under, one to pull you through.

Sheep Dip Collage

Learning point: wear trousers that will stay up, or have a strategically placed marine in the event of a photo opportunity. 

Slipping uphill

I remember slipping and sliding up the bog, a couple more tunnels and a mud slide before being released back on to the road for the final 3k slog back to base and over the finish line.  The last kilometre was painful for my knees and even worse in my hips and I did think at one point that I was going to have to call for someone to tow me over the line!

Learning Point: Smile at photographers – don’t bare your teeth…

Home straight

I was so glad to get to the end.  I was last back from our team, coming in at just over 2 and a half hours.  I could almost die when I remember the time it took!  This is why I rarely refer to it as my first 10k, as I don’t think that 2 and a half hours counts as a run.

Finished

I was so relieved to get home!  It took me four long showers to get all the mud and foliage out.  I then proceeded to sleep for the rest of the afternoon!  It was at this point that I decided “never again”.  I no longer get swept up in tales of Tough Mudders or Spartan challenges when I see glowing reviews on blogs or Twitter.  I’m glad I completed it, but I have no desire to do it ever again.

Obstacle races – yay or nay?


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Plans for the autumn

Standing on the brink of autumn, waiting for the weather to return to more Tub-friendly conditions (i.e. cooler nights), I’ve started to reflect a little on the summer and what I need to put in place for the autumn.  It hasn’t escaped my notice that I have been more “Tub”, and again, less “on the run” lately.

Summer hasn’t really seen a massive amount of progress, aside from my Whole 30 experience.  I’ve done virtually no exercise, and I feel a bit sad that I haven’t been to a parkrun and made the most of the outdoors.  I also feel a bit sad that I can vividly remember saying in my Slimming World group at my birthday weigh in last year, that I was not going to be as heavy for my 2014 weigh in as I was for my 2013 weigh in.  Instead, I’m about 2 stone heavier than this time last year.  However, not to be all doom and gloom about it (let’s face it – that doesn’t get you anywhere!), one big thing that I took away from Whole 30 was that if I want to do it (whatever task “it” is), I can do it.  There have been so many times that I have started off with the best of intentions, sticking rigidly to whatever plan it is, only to stop half way through, but I didn’t do that with Whole 30 at all, and I am actually relieved that I can complete something.  I now need to apply that elsewhere, to my autumn plans.

Also, my Garmin is a year old.  Out of interest, I looked to see how many miles I managed to clock up since I got it, and I have clocked a rather pathetic 59.5 miles, with my best month being January (ah Janathon, you did me proud!).

So this leads me on to consider what I need to change to really live up to my promise to myself that this is my last fat summer.

Christmas Cracker 10k

I am all signed up for the Weston Athletics Club’s Christmas Cracker 10k which takes place on 7th December 2014.  I loved this last year, and I knew that I was going to sign up again this year.  This year though, I now have a time to beat.  In order for me to beat this time, I actually need to do some work, which includes getting right back on to Couch to 5k.  Enduring the music, but keeping my eye on the prize of actually getting back to running and beating my PB.

I am third in from the right

I am third in from the right

Kettlebells

While I may not have actually been doing much in the way of exercise, I have been reading quite a bit about it.  I also follow a lot of inspirational people on Instagram and Twitter, and one theme that is beginning to stand out, and make a lot of sense to me, is that cardio is no longer king.  It seems that one of the most effective ways to shift weight by exercise is actually to include weight training.  I would love to try my hand at Cross Fit, and while there is a box close to me, I don’t have the money for it at the moment (it is incredibly expensive, and more than double my previous gym membership).  Casting my mind back to when I used to belong to the gym, I used to enjoy my kettlebell classes, and I snagged a bargain some time ago in getting a set.

Yoga

As work is usually my number one excuse for not exercising, I need to make a commitment to something that helps me to cope.  Yoga is that thing for me.

In terms of frequency, I plan to run three times a week, and do a kettlebell workout twice a week.  I will tag yoga on to the end of other workouts, but take a bit more of a relaxed approach.

20140103_173536_Richtone(HDR)

Food

I had planned to do another Whole 30 in September, but I don’t have a clear diary to facilitate that.  I am away for work in early September, plus a couple of social events that include eating.  Instead, Matt and I have decided to stick to a paleo approach about 90% of the time, which will allow us the flexibility to a) get rid of non-paleo food in the house (I’m not throwing it out!), and b) maintain a semblance of a social life.  That doesn’t mean that every week we can have 10% off plan regardless, it means that we can take a view and get a balance.  I would definitely like to do a full Whole 30 again in the future, it’s just a case of finding the right time that will lend itself to the best success.

Whole30 Cottage Pie Ingredients

 

How was your summer?  Do you have any plans for the autumn?


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Sibling Pride

I have wanted to whoop and squee in the run up to this, but I am SO proud of my little sister!  She rocks!

Why does she rock?

Not long after I started Couch to 5k, so did P.  She successfully completed it, and, unlike me, stuck with it.  She then ran a sub-30 minute 5k not too long after completing c25K.  I won’t lie – I am completely envious of her speed.

After a bit of an injury where a trail run somewhat damaged her knees (but not her running spirit), once the scabs had healed, she headed back out again.

Ouch!!

Then came a suggested post on facebook for Run Highclere in aid of Parkinsons UK.  Highclere Castle, for those (like myself) that don’t know, is where Downton Abbey is filmed.  She had just finished a challenge of doing a month of no snacking, and wanted a new challenge, so she signed up, set up her Just Giving page and got training.

Today was scheduled to be the day, but sadly P was informed that because of the adverse weather conditions, the ground was not suitable to run on.  Very disappointing, but it can’t be helped.  Not to be put off, and not to let down the people who had kindly donated, P went out for her 10k run as planned today, and recorded an amazing 1 hour 11 minute début!  I am so chuffed for her, not only for her time, but also for raising the money that she has (over £100)!  She’s also said that if and when Run Highclere is rescheduled, she’s going to run it and try to beat her time for today!  Fantastic!

So I’m all “beam, beam, beam, proud, proud, proud”!

Now P… PLEASE go and buy some proper running shoes!! 🙂

(And apologies – this feeble post really doesn’t get across just how proud I am!)