Pilates, Pictures and Progress



I think the streak I was on last time I wrote ended after about 12 or 13 days all in all – not too shabby!

I’ve been pretty busy with work lately, leaving me knackered at the end of the day and not really wanting to do much by way of physical activity, but I’m still getting at least 3 or 4 days of exercise per week.

I went to get some new gym gear the day after my last post – with only two of us in the house, we can only justify putting the washing machine on every 4 or 5 days, so I needed an extra set to keep up with the gym and yoga. I also went to Sweaty Betty to get a hairband as my fringe really gets in my face. While I was trying them on, the cashier started to tell me about the free yoga and Pilates classes they run there, all you have to do is sign up for a free membership card, so I did! The only problem was that our chat distracted me so much, I didn’t notice I’d popped out one of my earrings with the hairbands. They’re one of my favourite pairs of studs, the family I lived with in when I was on my year abroad in Germany gave them to me as a leaving present, so I was pretty upset. Luckily, I had the sense to call the store in the morning and the cashier found it while I was still on the phone. Phew!

I picked it up on the Tuesday when I went to my first Pilates class. I hadn’t done Pilates before, but I enjoyed it. It’s fairly similar in some ways to what I’ve done at yoga, just focusing more on strengthening the core and other muscle groups. I went this week too and ended up having the instructor pulling on my leg to demonstrate how we should be stretching! She also showed me how to roll onto the outside of my feet to stop my knees coming together when I bend them, always good to know!

Now on to the pictures and progress!

I did my first 5K run since September this week! Rob was out all day Saturday, so I headed to the gym and battled along on the treadmill. I ran a lot more than I walked, trying to do 800m – 1km at a time running with 100 – 200 m walking gaps in between. I ended up finishing in 37 minutes or so. Not too bad considering I’m pretty much on 2 weeks of training at the moment. After that, I headed to the pool and jacuzzi for a nice relaxing cool down. I had the entire place to myself most of the time I was there!

My other achievement of the week was this:

Headstand

I did my first headstand at yoga! I haven’t done one since I was a kid! I was so pleased with myself, I came home and made Rob take pictures of me doing it so I could show off on Facebook.

Where I also showed off this:

Sloth T-Shirt

My Nan sent me this pole dancing sloth T-shirt. I love it!

That’s all for now, planning on possibly doing another 5K tonight for Kirsten’s challenge!

 

 

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?

September/October Update

It’s been nearly a month now since my last post. The main reason for this is that I haven’t run since I did the 5k, and running has been the main focus of my blog for a while. As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I’d pulled some muscles in my chest and had been advised against running until it was healed. I think it’s better now, but as you’ll see below, a few other things have got in the way. Good news though, most of them are nice reasons!

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past month or so:

  • Working – my work’s picked up quite a lot lately and I’ve been getting longer translations to do (currently working on an app for a tourist board in Germany) as well as a few little ones to keep me entertained. I’m still really glad I gave up my regular income, but soul-destroying customer service job to join the more insecure freelancing world. I’m making more money over fewer hours in the comfort of my own home, doing something I really enjoy.
  • Holidaying – Rob and I spent the better part of a week in Berlin last month. We did so much stuff! We saw the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the TV tower, the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton (I love dinosaurs), the Zoo, toured an former airport, rented bikes and rode down said airport’s runways, went to lots of museums, saw The Wall all over the place, ate Currywurst and Burgermeister burgers, drank beer…. Here are a few of my favourite pictures:

Me and the Brandenburg Gate

Me at the Brandenburg Gate

Me and the Fernsehturm

I just can’t get enough of the TV Tower

Goat at Berlin ZooThere was a petting zoo area at Berlin Zoo where you could get animal food by using this sweet machine type thingies. This goat clearly knew what was going on and headbutted me out of the way.

  • Seeing family – Rob’s parents live about an hour away and mine live about two and a half to three hours away, so we don’t see them a lot. Rob’s sister is going out to Australia for a year soon though, so we met up with them for a meal and gin-based fun back in Birmingham a couple of weekends ago. And last weekend, my parents came up to stay with us. I think the point you realise you’re a grown up is when your parents come to stay in your house! We met up with my uncle and my two little cousins on Saturday to feed ducks and have a walk around at Attenborough Nature Reserve. We had a great time, and it coincided with mine and Rob’s eight year anniversary so we got to celebrate it with lots of people.
  • Starting yoga – I recently joined a yoga class in a nearby church hall. The woman who runs it is really nice and I really enjoy it. It’s a strange feeling coming out of there totally relaxed but buzzing. The only problem is that I keep getting foot cramp and although this is normally solved by wearing socks, they don’t give you a lot of grip on the old yoga mat (I’ve named my mat Bella, is that weird?). I’ve bought some toe socks with grippy bottoms though, so hopefully next time will be better. I couldn’t try them out this week though because:
  • I hurt my back – Lift with the knees, Leah! One day I will learn. I went to pick up our bedding and air mattress from the living room floor after my parents left and ended up severely spraining my lower back. I’ve done it before which, although making me even more stupid, means I know it shouldn’t last too long. I’ve been sitting up nice and straight at my desk and trying to keep moving, hopefully I’ll be recovered in time for yoga on Monday.
  • Had my flu jab – I’m asthmatic so I’m entitled to a free flu jab and got it this morning. Make sure you get it if you’re in one of the at-risk groups!
  • Got my new phone – My new iPhone 5S arrive yesterday! I was still using an iPhone 4 I’d had since it launched, so I figured now would be a good time to upgrade. I’m really liking the fingerprint sensor and the better camera, as well as the bigger screen size! It feels a little too big in my tiny hands at the moment, but I’m sure that will fade.

I’m hoping to get back to running at some point. I just keep hitting hurdle after hurdle at the moment, and the weather’s only going to get worse from here, giving me more of an excuse to stay inside. A hotel down the road from us has monthly memberships so we’re thinking about doing that to get access to their treadmills on rainy, cold days!

I’ll try not to leave it so long next time!

Run with Richard 5K Completed!

My first race has been and gone!

After a couple more training runs, we headed over to Victoria Embankment for 9am, with the race due to start at 10. At that point, I looked like this (apols for the squinting, it was proper bright out!):

Pre-Run

We wandered around the event village for a while, surprised how many people were there. We got interviewed and photographed by a few journalists, and we’re at the front of this group shot on the Nottingham Post’s website (that’s Rob in the green in front of me)!

Run With Richard 5K

We got a little bit caught up in the all the excitement, so when RunKeeper told me we were on 6 min/km pace after 5 minutes when we normally run just over 7, I started to slow down a bit.  I don’t think I would have been able to keep that up much longer! My aim was to finish in around 35 minutes with anything under being a bonus.

It was just after the 2km point I slowed down to a brisk walk. I’d simply taken it too hard and wasn’t coping well with it being so warm. I gestured to Rob to carry on without me. I was gutted that I’d had to walk but I realised later on in the day that I DIDN’T STOP. I kept going, I didn’t collapse in a ball and give up. I had a quick chat with a lady who told me to pour some water over my head. I kept the guy dressed as Mike from Monsters Inc firmly in my sights. I got waved on by Becky Adlington the former GB swimmer who’d come down to support the race, and the mayor, and Robin Hood (this is Nottingham after all).

When the finish line finally came into view, I got another wind and practically sprinted home. My time? 32:30. I was so impressed with myself that I’d managed to keep some semblance of that early pace up to the finish. Rob finished in 28:49. Jammy git.

Just as we left, I saw a couple of the other Olympic champions who’d come down to support Richard Whitehead – Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott, the slalom canoists. Couldn’t resist grabbing a picture, and Etienne’s medal And apols again for the massively red face, I don’t think my Flickr filters helped much!

Meeting Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott

 

The one downside of the day is that I’ve pulled some muscles in my chest that are going to put me out of running for a couple of weeks or more. It was hurting before the race but I was determined to take part. Getting my first injury is tough, especially when I was planning to start taking part in our local parkrun this week, but I’ll get over it. Rob’s gutted too as he hasn’t run without me before and says he needs the motivation of me going with him to actually get him out.

Oh well, best to let it heal now than making it worse and being out for longer. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Petting Zoo!

Petting Zoo!

As I wrote in my last C25K post, I spent last weekend in Portsmouth with my family. It was my best friend’s boyfriend’s birthday on Bank Holiday Monday so we went to the Petersfield Festival.

I don’t get to see my friends that often as we live about 3 hours apart. We spent the first couple of hours in the pub having some food and catching up. The Square Brewery does really good nachos and onion rings if you’re ever in the area!

As more and more of the birthday boy’s friends turned up, we decided to give up our seats in the pub and head into the sunshine. Despite living about 20 minutes from Petersfield for most of my life, I couldn’t remember ever having been into the town centre. I know I’ve been to their swimming centre, the Teddy Bear Museum and the Heath but the centre was brand new to me!

Our first stop was of course the petting zoo. I’d found out this was there a bit earlier in the week when I was looking for parking information and it caused the longest, most excited Facebook thread I’ve been involved with in a long time. Sadly, they didn’t have the skunk they’d promised on the website but there were plenty of other cuddly animals! As you can see, I got to hold a ferret, a rat and a snake and also won a dance-off against a parrot.

We then had a wander around the other stalls, culminating in me and Rob buying ÂŁ14 worth of olives and stuff from a very enthusiastic salesman. He gave us a mix of some kind of ginger, sun-dried tomatoes and raw garlic which sounds vile but tastes delicious. He reckoned it would last a week in the fridge, but we’ve eaten most of it in two sittings.

We had to leave relatively early as we had to drive back to Nottingham, but not before we got to see said best friend Becky perform on stage. She sang songs from her last album and a forthcoming one as well as a sea shanty duet with her friend Chris Ricketts. Becky sounded excellent as always and got lots of laughs during “Weird Nerdy Crush”. The large crowd was more attentive than I was expecting and one guy even heckled the MC at the end asking him to get her back on!

The only downer on the day was getting back to find one of our gerbils had had an abscess burst on his tummy and he was covered in blood. After a call to an out-of-hours vet, we managed to get the bleeding to stop and gave him lots of treats. We saw a vet in the morning who gave us some antibiotics we have to mix with Ribena and give to him twice a day, as well telling us to give him a little salt water bath twice a day. Luckily he seems to be pulling through, but he’s getting wise to the Ribena mix!