The first 5km 

It’s the morning of the 5km rainbow run in Barry Island for Ty Hafan, and I’m nervous as hell. I keep having to run to the loo, and I’m putting off slipping into my running gear. Instead I’m procrastinating by putting laundry on and writing this. 

I’m still quite a long way off running 5km in one go without stopping to walk, but I’m not going to let it stop me trying. I’ve done Park Run twice now and walked a lot less the second time. I can see and feel improvements with every run, and there have been many runs thanks to #OutRunMay for Macmillan Cancer Care. I set out to see how far I can run in just one month, and to be honest I didn’t think it’d be far. I’ve surprised even myself with how often I can run, even if I’m not running far each time. I’ve gone out before 7am almost every morning this month so far, and I’m actually really enjoying it. Ok, so I don’t actually enjoy the actual running at the time. It’s the afterglow that I love. I crawl through my front door as Trev and the kids are just getting up, and the smug feeling of doing over half of my FitBit step goal before most people wake up stays with me all day. To top it all off, I’ve raised quite a bit of cash for the charity too (you can click here to sponsor me if you want to!).

I find being a beginner hard. I know that seems a bit silly, but it’s the truth. When I’m on my second lap at Park Run and I see the fastest runners leaving the park because they’ve already finished, I find it disheartening. I should find it inspiring, because if I keep going I can be one of them one day. But I don’t. It puts me off. Talk of 10km races and half marathons don’t make me want to keep going. They make me want to hide. I’ve spent a lot of my evenings recently reading stories of overweight exercise-haters (just like me) starting off unable to run up the stairs and going on to run marathons. I like stories that start where I am. Right at the very very beginning. They remind me that we all start somewhere, and that being a beginner is ok. That’s the lesson I need to learn. It’s absolutely fine to be a beginner. It’s more than fine. It’s great! It’s way better than sitting in the sofa eating biscuits. I’ve been reading ‘No Run Intended’ and ‘Run Intended’ by Hannah Phillips (Hannah the Runner) and she’s really inspired me. She’s just down the road too, so the locations of some of her runs are familiar. Somehow this helps me relate to her. She replied to my tweet about today’s run on Twitter, and I feel like I’ve been encouraged by an actual running hero! 

So, here goes. My lift will be here soon. At 1:30 this afternoon I’ll be doing my first (not including Race For Life in 2013 because that was a disaster) race while being covered in powder paint. It’s also on the beach which means running in sand. Oh wow. I’m so nervous. Wish me luck! 

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A diary of January’s happy things – part one 

Tuesday 3rd January 

Today, after owning her scooter for over a year but showing little interest in it, Iris asked to take it out and after a little lesson from me she mastered it! Then on the way home we smashed up an icy puddle which is one of the joys of winter when you’re wild and two! 

Thursday 5th January 

Last night both Iris and Astrid were asleep just after 6pm, and I was pretty convinced that they’d be up again at 10 and stay up half th night after such an early night. Nope. Trevor and I watched several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (we’ve almost caught up!) and I did loads of my knitting. Astrid woke a couple of times but was back to sleep pretty quickly, and they both slept until 6am! I feel like a new person! Tonight they were both asleep by 7:30. Having some time in the evening is so nice! 

Saturday 7th January 

Today has been pretty good all round really. It began with the little ones waking up at 5:30, but Trevor took them downstairs and left me to go back to sleep. I slept until 9! Lovely! Then once he’d walked the dog, he took them both out for most of the day. I love those two little stinkers so very much, but it’s very rare that I’m not with them. Having a breather and some silence is really soothing, and I needed it badly. I started off the day by trying out the new Zumba DVD Trevor came home with a few weeks ago. It’s got a twenty minute quick workout on it, so I gave that a go. It’s fast and really great fun! I’m not the most coordinated person ever so I doubt I was doing exactly what the instructors were doing, but I gave it my best shot. After a shower and polishing of the leftovers from last night’s super healthy pasta I set to work on decluttering and tidying upstairs. Not the most relaxing way to spend a rare day off, I know, but I am so set in getting this house in order and I know I won’t relax until I do. Trying to do it with the kids around is a hundred times harder, and actually I quite enjoy it. There’s still quite a bit of junk hiding under the bed and in the tops of our wardrobes, but the bits you can see without really looking now look really great! I’m chuffed with my progress! 

When Trevor and the kiddos returned, I had just about finished off what I wanted to get done today. The little ones were both asleep pretty early and I even got some knitting done. I started a jumper for Trevor when I was pregnant with Iris, so over two and a half years ago! I didn’t anticipate knitting being really difficult to do once you have babies, so it sat untouched for a long time. I did have a moment of panic this evening, that almost turned into an outpouring of anxiety about everything and anything. It started with the realisation that I’ve got a hall booked for a party for Astrid next weekend, but I’ve done nothing else to get ready for it. Before I knew it, I was stressed about everything. I, including it here because I managed to successfully get a handle on it, and I’ve come up to bed without getting upset or angry and taking it out in Trevor. It’s a small win, but it’s still a win. I’m writing this in the dark in my lovely reading chair that was piled high with junk this morning, and listening to my girls snore. 

Monday 9th January

Oh. My. Word. Roller derby is just awesome. 

I’ve had a fab day. Roller derby was just the perfect finish to a day spent hanging out with my girls and my mum. 

Roller Derby – fresh meat

 

Monday 9th January 2017 

So trying something new wasn’t strictly one of my New Years resolutions, but I’ve been meaning to look into the local roller derby club for quite some time. I know a couple of people who go and who rave about it, so when they advertised a ‘fresh meat’ night I just had to. 

Man, I feel good. I’m lying in the bath soaking my sore muscles and soaking away the sweat. I’m fairly sure I’m going to have a rather large bruise on my right buttock from a pretty spectacular fall, but I really don’t care. I had SO MUCH FUN. 

The club meet after bedtime, and both the little ones were asleep before I went out. Trev’s had a night to himself watching films, and the kids don’t even know I went anywhere so there’s no guilt. It’s win win, for everybody! But especially me. 

I haven’t really got anything going on that’s just for me, unless you count knitting. But mainly I do that while watching Grey’s Anatomy, chatting to Trevor and keeping an eye on sleeping babies on a video monitor. It’s not really all that relaxing. 

And actually, I didn’t really want relaxing. I wanted fun. 

It’s really physically hard work, and uses muscles I haven’t used in quite a long time, but so much fun that you don’t really realise. I’m addicted already and can’t wait for next week! I might even take the step kids to the clubs recreational skate session before that, if they fancy it. 

We mostly just skated, and got the hang of staying upright. With a little bit of stopping safely and falling safely thrown in. Just the basics. To be honest, I thought I’d spend more time on the deck than on my feet so when I only fell a handful of times (not including the deliberate ones for practise) I was pretty chuffed with myself. 

I finished the session sweaty, sore and tired. I’m way too pumped up to sleep though! I’ve found a thing! 

The pre-pregnancy jeans project 

Astrid is almost 5 months old, and I’m not planning to have anymore babies. The time has come. I need to start looking after myself. 

All of my life I have believed I am fat. Apart from the summer of 2013. In a relationship that had been over for a long time really, and feeling desperately unhappy, I hit the gym. I ran too. I exercised every single day and I ate a balanced diet avoiding junk food. I wasn’t the slimmest I’d ever been, but I was the healthiest. I was toned, full of energy, and I felt good. 

Despite the unhappy relationship, I was filled with confidence. I went to Barcelona and wore a tiny bikini for the first time ever. I wore short shorts and slinky dresses. 

I had a lot of migraines that summer, and then a seizure, and a CT scan, and suddenly I realised life had to change. I finally left. 

Soon after, I met Trevor and got pregnant. 

Now it’s 2016, and I’m about 3 stone heavier, sleep deprived, and I can’t walk up the stairs without getting out of breath. 

Ideally, I’d like to get back into the jeans I was wearing in 2013. I’d also quite like to replicate that healthy confident feeling! 

Today is the start. 

There won’t be any obsessing over calories or excessive weighing of foods. Just healthier meals, and a lot less junk. Combined with exercise whenever I can. It’s not easy while looking after a baby and a toddler! 

I’ll hopefully manage a little update on how I’m getting on every week. 

Wish me luck! 

Baby Weight Diaries #7

It hasn’t been a brilliant week. I dared to mention how sleep has improved for Iris and us, and I think I should have kept it to myself. Iris is up to her old tricks. I haven’t slept in 2 days, so to be fair this isn’t a bad weight loss.

I could have tried harder though, I’ll be honest. I don’t feel like exercising. I’m bloody tired. I may go to Kangoo Jump again tonight, but I also might not. I might just go to bed instead.

I’m longing to run, but by the time Trev is home to have Iris it’s really dark. I just don’t feel safe. Roll on the lighter evenings. In the meantime I’m going to work hard on a nap routine for the babe so that I can get the workout DVDs out and get sweaty at home.

Fingers crossed for more sleep and more weight lost next week.

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Weight lost this week: 1.2lb

Total weight loss: 4.2lb

Weight still to lose: 48.6lb

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*images cropped from screenshots of the Happy Scale App*

#BloggingToJogging

Kangoo Jump

2015/01/img_6620.jpg Oh yes I did. I did an exercise class wearing those scary looking shoes!

On arrival at the YMCA, the first thing I noticed was a bunch of terrified looking women sitting around waiting for a Zumba class to finish, clutching at their New Years resolutions while trying not to run straight back out of the door. I felt the same. In fact I was so nervous I went for a wee three times before it started. This may also have been partly down to leaving Iris for the longest time ever yet, and also being very nervous about that. Luckily Trev understood and text me lots of pictures and messages

I’d forgotten water, of course, so I was worried I’d be late as I nipped into a shop to grab a bottle. But I wasn’t late in the end, and arrived before anybody had even started putting their shoe spring thingies on. I was a bit worried I’d break the clips. They seemed a bit flimsy. I was right to be worried, the instructor later told us that they do break quite easily. Assuming these boots were the same as the roller skates I used to hire for roller disco as a kid, I did them up as tight as I could manage. I was glad I’d been pre-warned to wear long socks, because the boots do come up high and dig in a little bit. I’d chosen to sit on the floor while I changed my footwear. Stupid idea. There is no easy way to get back up!

The first section was a warm up, but my participation was fairly limited. I was a bit wobbly, and mainly focussing on not returning to my previous position on the floor. I got the hang of it much quicker than I expected though, and really loved the sensation of springing all over the place. There were a few times throughout the class that I lost the coordination required or just couldn’t keep up, but I just enjoyed happily bouncing around in my own happy little way. It was FUN. I’ve found lots of exercise unexpectedly fun over the years. In fact I got quite hooked on 6am spinning classes a couple of years ago. Not just the after glow feeling either. The actual hurty part. But Kangoo Jump is different. It’s not even like exercise if you stop following the instructor. I’m fairly sure I was still burning a lot of calories. Maybe not the 1000 per hour they claim is possible, but definitely quite a few. I could tell from all the sweat. I did have to stop a number of times and loosen my boots because my toes had gone numb and my feet were throbbing. Lesson learnt for next time.

About quarter of the way in I decided I’d mastered the staying upright part, and so it was probably time to concentrate a bit harder and try to actually follow the class. There were a lot of high kicks and high knees, and short routines to remember. Nothing too long or difficult to memorise though. These bits were actually ok. The hardest parts were jumping straight up with both feet together. It looks so easy and fun, but I could feel it really working my core and couldn’t keep up the pace for long. Returning to a jog briefly seemed to help, but I’d rather have kept going! All those muscles affected by baby-growing were really feeling the strain.

Once all of the bouncing was done and we were all out of breath and incredibly sweaty, the instructor pulled out some mats and asked us to get on the floor. Everybody seemed slightly puzzled. How? I did it the only way I could see possible. I just chucked myself down. I let my knees go and kind of collapsed. It was a long way down. Around this time another class member went to use the toilet, and the instructor warned her that the seat would be around 6 inches lower than she’d expect it to be. She came back to report that she’d fallen onto the loo, and we all had a giggle. The floor section of the class was really quite hard. Those boots apparently weigh about 4lb each, but when weight is on the ends of your legs it feels like so much more. There were a lot of crunches and leg raises, and one move that involved lying flat on your back with your legs in the air and spread wide open. The instructor referred to it as his ’50 Shades of Grey’ move. I wasn’t sure if that was funny or just a bit creepy. I couldn’t do all of the leg raises. My thighs were fighting it, and I guess I’ll just build that strength back up with each class. I couldn’t see the sense in hurting myself so just did as much as I could possibly manage.

A quick change back into trainers (after struggling to get up off the floor yet again) and it was cool down and stretch time. This bit was fairly standard, the same cool down stretches done at every class and on every exercise DVD I’ve ever used. It felt bizarre to move around without a bounce for a while, and I also felt strangely short.

Annoyingly I found that I’d missed my last bus home and had to spend £9 on a taxi, but it was worth it. It really was a great class, and I’ll definitely go as often as I can.

This morning I have absolutely no aches and pains anywhere. Actually the instructor told us we wouldn’t, as the bouncy boots take the impact out of the movements, meaning you’re burning lots of calories but put far less strain on your joints and muscles. A bit like swimming I guess. I regularly get sharp pains in my knees when I run, but I had no pain at all with Kangoo Jump. See you next week funny bouncy shoes!

*I wasn’t asked to write this or compensated in any way. I paid for my class and just felt like sharing the experience with you.*

#BloggingToJogging

Baby Weight Diaries #6

It’s been a funny week. Not funny in a good way. However, I’ve been pretty good. I’ve eaten well, avoided snacks, and even done some exercise. I’ve been for my first run of the year, which was spoilt a bit by a big scary Rottweiler chasing poor Seb. It was muddy and wet though, and I kind of like running in those conditions. I’ve only managed just the one run, because I hate to run in the dark and I can’t run til Trev is home. Once the evenings are lighter I’ll start the ‘Couch to 5k’ app up again. In the meantime I’ll just run when I can. I also downloaded an app called ‘Seven’ that has 7 minutes workouts and works on the theory that 7 minutes a day is all you really need to be fit and healthy. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I do know that it’s easier to snatch 7 minutes than to go to the gym. It’s a good app too. It may have only been 7 minutes long, but last night’s workout left me feeling like I’d worked most of my body.

I’m actually surprised my weight loss isn’t more, because I feel slimmer. I’ve lost that bloated feeling, and I feel lighter on my feet. My jeans aren’t so tight either.

Tonight I’m off to a Kangoo Jump class, assuming Iris and the tooth breaking through her gum can manage without me for a bit. Kangoo Jump involves wearing boots with bouncy things on the bottom and, I assume, jumping all over the place. The instructor claims it burns 1000 calories per hour! I’m trying to find the chest strap for my Garmin GPS/heart rate monitor watch so that I can measure how many I actually burn.

So. This week.

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Weight lost this week: 3lb

Total weight loss: 3lb

Weight still to lose: 49.8lb

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I’ve started from scratch with the Happy Scale app, and reset it to 0lb lost, so my statistics will just be for 2015 now. I’ve changed my weight loss into just 10 milestones this time. They’re small enough. 20 tiny ones wasn’t really working out for me.

*images cropped from screenshots of the Happy Scale App*