Christmas and New Year Round-Up and 2014 Targets!

So the festive season is over for another year and it’s time to get back to work and normality.

I had a fantastic time over Christmas. We were aiming to travel down to stay with my family in Portsmouth on the evening of the 23rd, but unfortunately the weather put paid to that. It just wasn’t safe to be driving and everyone agreed we made the right decision to get up early on Christmas Eve and drive the 3 and a half hours then. Our little Corsa was stuffed to the brim with our presents, with a bit of space for 2 small suitcases and our slightly carsick gerbil, Skippy.

We got to Portsmouth in time to go out for lunch with my parents and then spent most of the rest of the day watching Friday Night Dinner. My Dad always reads us ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas just before bed on Christmas Eve, and despite me and my sisters all being in our mid-20s, we still gathered round! My middle sister, Jen was round at my best friend’s flat with their boyfriends, so we had them all on Skype too 🙂

Christmas Day came and went in aflurry of wrapping paper and non-stop noms. We were still eating turkey and gammon way for days! Here’s a pic of me with my two favourite presents.

Dinosaur and Alistair

My youngest sister, Anna, made me a Christmas dinosaur jumper which I absolutely love! I’d sent a picture to my family of a similar one I’d seen online with a shark on, but didn’t think any more of it! And hiding under the tree (yes, our tree topper is Darth Vader), you can just make out Alistair – Rob bought me a Kindle Paperwhite but decided to wrap it up like a penguin! Trying to unwrap it with Anna doing a non-stop commentary of pain from Alistair’s point of view was awful, but what a great idea!

We spent the rest of the week seeing friends and my side of the family and after spending New Year’s Eve being soundly beaten by my parents at Cards Against Humanity, we travelled back on New Year’s Day. We stopped off at Rob’s parents in Birmingham as we hadn’t had a chance to see them over the holidays, and to pick up Rob’s birthday presents as his birthday’s on the 2nd! We spent that day having a nice walk along the Trent before heading into a pub for a massive burger for lunch, then another pub on the way back.

Rob’s parents came up to see us on Saturday and we took them to Homemade in Nottingham city centre, where they do absolutely delicious sandwiches and cakes! I thought I was going for a light option with a goats’ cheese and roasted pepper sandwich, but it was absolutely huge!

We both went back to work on Friday and it’s been relatively quiet for me so far, which is good in that it’s a slow introduction back into work, and bad because with freelancing if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid!

I started back up with yoga on Monday, then did a yoga video as recommended by Ashley on Tuesday.

It was a bit tougher than I’m used to, but that’s got to be a good thing. I’m currently doing Hatha yoga, but my teacher’s planning on starting a Yoga Flow class which I really want to do! Which leads me on to my 2014 fitness targets:

  • Re-join a gym – Rob and I are planning on doing this as soon as I get rid of a cough I’ve been carrying around for weeks which makes it difficult for me to breathe (damn you, asthma!). I’m too much of a wuss to run outdoors in the cold, and I really need to get my fitness back up. I feel like I’ve been ill or injured since September, but I hope that if I can find a gap where I’m well, starting to exercise more will improve my immune system. As will being around other people and their germs more frequently – the perils of working from home!
  • Increase yoga practice – Try to do two sessions per week, either as a class or by following a YouTube video.
  • Run a 10k – Hopefully this will be in the summer at the Portsmouth Race for Life.
  • Get a FitBit – or something of that ilk! I love looking up stats, and if they help me get fitter then that can only be a good thing.
  • Blog more – This will be directly influenced by the other targets – the more I do, the more I’ll have to say! I also want to write posts on stuff other than fitness, it’s just about getting the time and motivation!

I think that’s enough for now, hopefully I can post a “Back to the Gym” blog before too long! What are your goals for 2014?

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Back in the Groove

I feel like I’m finally getting back into running.

After that god-awful run the other week, I picked up a cheap armband for my phone and downloaded Runkeeper. I’m a bit of a stat nerd and after just 3 runs with it, I’m considering purchasing the full version. £13.99 for a year isn’t that big of a deal for me. You can program it to run a certain distance, intervals or time, and it tells you all different stats as you’re running along.

We haven’t done any more really early runs like the one I wrote about before. Rob hasn’t got the motivation at the moment, but I’m sure he will once the 5K gets a bit closer. I went out on my own to just do a 20 minute run a few days after the run-of-death, just to prove to myself I could do it. And I did. I felt so much better – I paced myself a lot better, had some music I knew and could just zone out to and my asthma didn’t play up quite as badly. I still felt a bit sick, though. I think this time I drank too much water, so I’ve now started drinking less beforehand and got a little running bottle to bring with me. My hands are too small to handle a 500ml one, but luckily the 300ml one is just right. I seriously have tiny hands. My family refer to them as my “paws”.

Rob then came out with me on Saturday morning for another 20 minutes. I kept us at a slower pace again and felt even better than last time. Also got Rob to carry the water bottle for the second half of the run, so that was a bonus! Rob’s running with his iPod shuffle so it was me calling the times out for him. At the end he’d thought I’d stopped for a break rather than because we’d finished, so he’s probably in pretty good shape from all the cycling he does.

Which brings me to today. I woke up feeling pretty good, so I thought I’d try 30 minutes for the first time since I finished Couch to 5K. The weather was cool but not too cold, the wind wasn’t too brisk and my lungs weren’t too grumpy. I stopped for a total of about 4 seconds when I choked a bit, and when a dog was trying to sniff my butt, but I completed it and felt so much better about my running. Looking at Runkeeper, I’m keeping my pace really steady and my aim for the 5K of about 35 minutes seems doable. I reckon having more people to chase might spur me on to go a bit faster too, plus I’ve got a couple more weeks of training left.

We’re spending the Bank Holiday in Wales, and I’m not sure whether I fancy running up the hills, but I might get another run in before we leave. We’re doing Go Ape on Sunday though, so that’ll need a bit of fitness!

Happy running!

Couch to 5k – Starting Week 2

The day after I wrote my last C25K post, I had my annual asthma review. On the good side, my preventer inhaler has gone down a step so I’ll be taking less steroids. On the bad side, I had a pretty bad reaction to the pneumonia vaccine I was given.

I was alright for the early part of the day, but by the evening my normally high pain threshold had disintegrated and I was curled up in tears on the sofa. By the following morning when I was due to run again, my arm was so sore I couldn’t lift it and I ended up spending half the day in bed because I felt so rough. Most of my upper arm was swollen and red, and there was no way I could run.

I had the jab on Thursday morning and it was Sunday before I could move my arm and get running again. I went down to visit my friends and family about 3 hours away in Portsmouth for the weekend and had dragged my gym bag with me to make sure I’d go. It was nice to run in a different place for a change of scenery, but the wind was pretty strong which didn’t help! Having an inhaler with me that wasn’t eight months out of date did though! Not sure how I didn’t notice that one.

Yesterday I started week two, which takes you from running 60 seconds and walking for 90 to running for 90 and walking for two minutes.

Despite the beautiful weather we had at the weekend, it chucked it down yesterday. If I wasn’t doing C25K, there’s no way I would have gone out. The benefit of the programme to me is that it really does give you the motivation to carry on. If you miss a day, it makes it harder to progress and you could end up having to start over as I’ve seen a few people do. Although I was soaked, the path where I run was covered in slugs and my normally straightened hair had gone back to its natural frizzy ways, I’m glad I did it. My legs were feeling heavy by the end which was probably a combination of wearing soaked clothes and not having run intervals like that since I went to the gym!

Hope the weather picks up this week!