Rainbow Run 5km for Tŷ Hafan

My first medal!! Sort of. I’m excluding the Race For Life 2013 one because that was a disaster and I didn’t run much of it. This is my first medal as the new me. 

I had no idea what to expect. I had an inkling that some of the run was on the actual beach, and was pretty nervous about running on sand. It’s not easy to walk on! Turns out, the whole 5km is on the beach. All of it. In a kind of zig zag down to the sea and back up again, twice. It’s a boring route. It’s basically round and around the same area over and over. If it wasn’t for the paint throwing and the general atmosphere of so many people running at once, you would never choose to run that route. It was bloody hard work. Really hard. The first part was really soft, and my ankles turned over several times. One of the times was quite painful and slowed me down for a while. Then there were hard bits that weren’t too bad. But there were really wet splashy bits too! Despite being quite hard going, it was a lot of fun. There were colour stations dotted along the route, and each station had a bunch of volunteers throwing a different colour of powder paint over you. Some of them even had big paint blowing machines. It goes in your eyes and nose and mouth, and I found myself holding my breath quite a bit to avoid inhaling it!

I caught up with a couple of my friends right at the end, who usually run much faster than me but had struggled with an injury, and they started sprinting so I did too! I crossed the finish line completely exhausted and totally out of breath. The paint all over my face hid the fact that I was bright red though. I was actually mostly orange with yellow hair! 

I’d do the run again in a heartbeat. I had such a good time! We raised quite a bit for Tŷ Hafan too, which makes it all feel even better. I finished in 41:19, which is between my two Park Run times. I’m pretty pleased with it considering the sand was so hard to run on! 

We finished off our day trip with chips and a go on the waltzers! 
PS: check out this video of the run! 


#Veganuary – the end is not the end 

I can’t believe January is over already. It’s usually a month that stretches far into the future and never seems to end. I think because I had focus and started new things it didn’t feel like that this year. 

I’m starting to become obsessed with my weight and body shape again, and it’s really hard to take my mind from that and onto the important stuff. Like eating for nutrition, and eating things that actually make my body feel good. I’ve lost weight in January, but not loads. That wasn’t my main aim. In fact it wasn’t one of my aims at all. 

Eating vegan food has been pretty life changing for me. I never really cooked before. When I had to I really didn’t enjoy it. Now I’m cooking all kinds of different meals from scratch, using ingredients I have never ever used. And what’s really stunned me is that I absolutely love it. I enjoy my time in the kitchen before dinner every night, even if Astrid hates me cooking and has to be nearby eating breadsticks or I won’t get away with it. 

I’ve made pasta sauces and curries and sweet potato fries and casseroles. I’ve loved eating without feeling any guilt, and I really love knowing exactly what is in my food. I know what’s there because I put it there. 

I tried to make a pros and cons to vegan eating list the other day and I just couldn’t. There are so many pros, and the only con I can think of is that lots of restaurants and cafes make it very difficult to eat out. I rarely eat out so it’s no biggie, and I think it’s something that is slowly changing anyway. There’s also the people who insist on commenting, but as most of their comments are either dumb (like “mmm, bacon” as if that’s going to upset me) or are from people concerned about my calcium or iron intake, I can handle it. With the amount of spinach I’ve been eating I’ve got no worries! 

I barely ate any dairy or eggs anyway. I’d been veggie for years and years and years with just the odd hiccup, and I didn’t like dairy and eggs. They just taste slimy to me. I only had them as ingredients in things, like cakes and biscuits, and I’ve discovered that I can find alternatives easily for all of those things. 

With so little left to actually give up, I wasn’t expecting to feel major benefits. So I’ve been surprised to find there are so many. It has had an impact on literallly everything. 

My skin has been dry and flaky whilst also spotty for a while, and I was regularly getting great big horrible boils. Gross. My skin is clearing up rapidly, and while it’s still not brilliant it is getting there. My stomach doesn’t bloat and feel uncomfortable after eating anymore. I have totally over eaten a few times in January, but it hasn’t been as uncomfortable and horrible as it used to be. Once I’d got past the excess wind (soz -tmi!) of the first few days my digestive system seems to be working so much better. I’m not reaching for the peppermint tea to relieve tummy ache every evening. My energy levels have increased greatly. I still get very little sleep thanks to a combination of babies waking up and my own insomnia, but I’m coping with it so much better now. I think I’m less moody, although you’d have to ask Trevor to be totally sure on that one. I definitely feel less moody, and less anxious too. My mental health has definely improved and that was the biggest surprise. I guess there’s some doubt that it’s definitely eating well that has changed it, as it could also be because I quit my medication over Christmas. A friend told me today that she’d been quite concerned about me last year, and that I seem to be in a better place now. That’s good to hear. I’m glad I seem better on the outside too. 

There’s no way I’m going back. 

In fact, I think I’m going to take this further. I think my sugar addiction (I reckon most of us are addicted) is holding me back. Instead of feeling pretty good, I could be feeling amazing! I don’t think I’m ready to quit it all together, but I do plan to be more ‘sugar-aware’. When I eat sugary stuff I don’t notice when I’ve had enough and end up binging. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve had the odd bar of vegan chocolate recently, and I’ve been making myself eat it slowly and stop when I’m satisfied. I’ve found that I can leave a half eaten bar in a kitchen cupboard for days and days now. Previously I couldn’t know it was there and not eat it. 

I’m really proud of myself for completing Veganuary, and for sticking with it too. I’ve saved animals, contributed less to global warming, spent far less on food every week, learnt to cook, provided my family with healthier meals than before, lost some weight, improved my health, made big steps in improving my mental health, encouraged a friend to change her ways, and learnt to like myself a bit more. That’s not small stuff. 

The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 1}

It’s seems my timing with starting this was way off. It’s been a really tough week. Astrid has been upset, and really hard work. I haven’t made it to my dance classes, and I haven’t had a chance to exercise at home either. We have started taking the dog for a walk as a family in the evenings, which is lovely. I’m not sure it counts as exercise though, as walking at a toddler’s pace isn’t going to get my heart working! Especially as she wants to stop to examine every stone, and to count all of the horse poops. I did splash out on some very cheap workout clothes in Lidl this week though. They’ve got some really good bargain leggings! 

I haven’t lost any weight. I’m not too concerned about that. The next few weeks are more about changing my habits to healthier ones. I’ve eaten a lot less biscuits this week, and I’ve stopped sitting down once the kids are asleep with a huge bar of chocolate. Annoyingly Iris has a new hobby, and keeps asking to make cakes and biscuits. It’s been difficult to help with the baking but not eat all of the finished product! 

My challenge for the week ahead is to cook and eat some healthier meals. I’ve got a slow cooker and a spiralizer, so I’m well equipped. I just have to practise cooking while wearing a sad clingy baby. If anybody has any healthy but tasty vegetarian recipes to share please do! 

Here’s to a better week ahead. 

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.*


Baby Weight Diaries #2

Frankly I’ve had a terrible week. Iris appears to be teething at the same time as having a cold. Neither of us have slept all week, and I’m feeling exhausted and glum. I don’t know about you, but when I’m worn out and run down I eat even more than usual. And my usual is a lot. We’ve survived the week thanks to Calpol and biscuits. I got so desperate for biscuits yesterday I actually baked some. Well it was easier than getting dressed and going to the shop. IMG_5810.JPG It’s a miracle that I didn’t gain weight this week, so I’m not particularly disappointed that I didn’t lose any either. IMG_5825.PNG
Stats for the week.
Weight loss this week: 0lb
Weight loss total: 3.4lb
Weight still to lose: 41.6lb
I’m going to try harder next week, but if I’m honest with myself I know I’ll lose the willpower if I’m not getting enough sleep. I just need the calories if I’m going to be awake 24 hours a day. We’ve got the kids this weekend too, and it’s strangely much harder with them around because we like to make sure there’s nice food in the house for them. We also tend to eat out at least once. I’ll just have to focus myself and say no to pudding.

*images cropped from screenshots of the Happy Scale App*