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Feeling good

Feeling good

So this week we have spent four nights in the Lake District, hoping to do some tough hill walking for the first two days and something less arduous for the third. In anticipation, hubby did all the planning and all I had to do was turn up. He felt it was a holiday and I felt it was a training camp. It turned out to be both.

So here are the things I learnt (well, those that are relevant to the Coast to Coast!) :

  1. I felt physically OK in terms of fitness. Hell, we walked up Helvellyn – 3000 feet and I didn’t crumble.  I felt mentally OK in terms of capability. Unfortunately I twisted my knee which made downhill bloody hard going. But am hoping it’s nothing serious. It was helped using hubby’s knee support and Nurofen. Luckily his torn cartilage didn’t play up enough to need the support himself. But we might need to think about carrying a spare….
  2. I felt absolutely fine the following morning – in complete contrast to the previous Lake District escapade. Probably because I did a bit of stretching when we’d finished.
  3. The terrain is really hard going. All those bloody rocks and stones. It’s as if the walking isn’t bad enough, there’s the hills themselves but on top of that is the terrain. The South Downs and Chilterns are just not a remote substitute or training ground. Everything underfoot is uneven and we were doing it in perfect conditions. Given rain the slipperiness would be really tricky.
  4. The weather can be mental – baking sun in April meant we should have had protection that can’t be sweated off. And some kind of headband to keep the sweat out of my face. My little towelling wristband was a godsend.
  5. Even Shellac got destroyed scrambling up rocks. No nail varnish on the Coast to Coast!
  6. Testing out socks gave me a blister on the final day. They were ones without liners so I think I’m going to stick to sock liners.
  7. Look before you leap – obvious but equally applies to cutting what I thought was a toenail that was pressing in to me. Transpires I cut the top off a blister with nail clippers..
  8. Compeed is way better than the generic alternatives from the likes of Superdrug.
  9. I got too hot in my Craghopper long trousers which up to now have been my favourites. They’re only going to be worn if it is unseasonably cold in June.
  10. My new Berghaus long sleeve stripy top and Jack Wolfskin jacket were great. But think I need a top with a collar to stop rucksack rubbing as when I didn’t have the jacket on I could feel it a the base of my neck. Ah a retail opportunity…
  11. And the Lakes own gin, Bedrock, has convinced me it is the drink for me. Ah, another retail opportunity…
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Training update 2

April 1, 2015

So I’m half way through my Personal Training  – the Coast to Coast walk starts in just under ten weeks. We have our first serious test next week with three days walking in the Lakes (hubby’s knees permitting). And I’m ready for it. I continue to feel stronger and fitter despite continuing to go out and get lashed. And despite being unable to get past chips on a menu. But I’m still drinking the water and not drinking alcohol unless I’m socialising (and yes, weekends at home count as socialising). So I’ve cut down on that front. And I continue to do PT twice a week and hopefully they are getting harder as I’m getting fitter. Still enjoying the outside fresh air and feel better all day. Then this weekend just gone I felt great. No, really great. I suddenly actually felt fit again. Yes, I’m still purple in class and sweat more than anyone I know, but I feel stronger. Still not light on my feet or agile, but definitely stronger. And mentally more prepared!

And I’ve lost a stone. It’s bloody hard work – the ‘making healthier choices/thinking about what I’m eating’ –  much harder than the physical stuff . Probably because the physical stuff at the moment lasts an hour or perhaps two whereas I’m constantly thinking about food! And living with an incredible cook whose baked goods I find really hard to resist. And going out a lot. But getting there. Getting there. Fingers crossed.

Taken ten days ago

Taken ten days ago

People watching

February 2, 2013

I love observing others. Can’t help it. Find it really interesting. I make up lives and backstories for people I sit opposite on trains. I imagine the lives of fellow diners that I don’t know. But I also appreciate watching the physicality of others. I try to do step classes regularly. Not been so good the last six months since my injuries and haven’t got completely back in to it, but noetheless I go often enough to see the same people time and again. And considering we are all allegedly doing the same class, with the same instructor to the same music, it is amazing how individual people can make it look. Today I took a flying tumble arse over tit, but that isn’t usually the way the individuality manifests itself!

I love the whole group exercise thing. And it gives me a chance to watch others (when I’m not too busy falling over). There’s a woman whose body mechanics fascinate me. She reminds me of a marionette. Her trunk doesn’t move at all – her movement is solely limbs – from the hips down and bent elbows pistoning back and forth. She’s very good, on the beat and foot perfect but the stock still head neck and trunk are disconcerting. Then there’s the woman who in my life story for her is Spanish. I have no idea if she is – I have never heard her speak or spoken to her. It’s just she looks Spanish to me and she adds a flamboyance to kicks that reminds me of a Paso Doble or somesuch dance.
There’s a bloke and a woman who expend about 3 calories the whole class. I can’t understand it. They don’t look like they put any effort in, but they come time and again so I assume they are getting something out of it. The woman has a face like a slapped arse and looks really pissed off the whole time. Bizarre.
Then there are people who don’t step in time to the music. How do they do that? I have no technique and an ability to make everything look like a huge effort, but the one thing I have is rhythm. And it’s the only thing that drags me through a class sometimes because it’s like dancing. The music carries you. So how they do it without a musical bone in their bodies I don’t know.

Then there are the people who are simply inspiring and energising to watch. With an assuredness of where their body is in space and a positive attack to everything they do. They jump higher, kick further, turn more and just appear to bounce. I was watching one of them the other day. She was in a different position in the class to usual and  she was in front of me the whole time. It was lovely to watch that spring in her step.

I’d better stop now before I write about the people I do know and they think I’m a bit creepy and weird watching them in class……………

So last night I went to celebrate the birthday of one of the gym instructors. You can see her working in this clip from CNN World at Work fitness instructor

Obviously I was virtually double everyone’s age but when has that ever stopped me? The gym has been a great way to meet an entirely new set of people, not connected with work or the children. And we see each other in lycra most of the time so it’s a pleasure to see everyone glammed up and ready to party.

Struck lucky that one of the other members is pregnant and so was driving there and I got a lift in her fabulous Mercedes We arrived in style. Unfortunately the ride home wasn’t quite so sophisticated as the bloody car broke down so we were driven home in the back of the tow truck. But I digress. The evening was lovely ; one of her friends had put together a great video montage and her brothers gave beautiful tributes to her.

I , on the other hand, delivered the inevitable Ode

Ode on the Occasion of Shiv’s Surprise Birthday Bash

And so we all are gathered now,

This last Saturday of June

Not quite the actual date of course,

But fear not it’s coming soon!

All of us here, yes everyone

Has come to raise a glass

Or two, and toast a rarity

A Kiwi who’s got class.

I know I take the piss with her

She still cannot say “L”

But I love her Kiwi attitude

And it has served her well.

She puts in effort, learns her stuff

Technically it’s mastered

But sometimes I think that Les Mills guy’s

A complete and utter bastard

She motivates, inspires

Encourages and cajoles

To do her utmost to ensure

We reach our chosen goals

Her classes? They make legends

Be it Step, Pump or Attack

But don’t piss her off or piss about

She’ll send you to the back!

Shiv takes our fitness seriously

Will never let us rest,

And we are so lucky to have met her

She’s way up there -she’s the best.

So here’s a toast to you at thirty

Christ I wish that age were mine

Keep doing what you’re doing

And life will be just fine

Yes Shiv, we’re here for you tonight

To wish you love and luck

Although it don’t seem like you need it

Looking fab and fit as fuck

Fit in every sense

I have a love/hate relationship with fitness. I love being fit, but I hate the actual process of getting there. So it is that I have tried going to the gym to do treadmills, rowing machines etc but I ended up simply cheating and not doing very much at all as the slightest hint of pain or real effort and I’m out of there. Pathetic. I love partying  and dancing so when I found aerobics classes I suddenly realised this was going to be the closest way for me to get fit doing something I enjoyed. The nearest I get to clubbing at my age. Music makes a huge difference and can increase or decrease my energy levels, as can the instructor. It amazes me when doing pre-choreographed classes how different they can be when the instuctor changes yet the moves, the music and everything else stays the same. I enjoy the whole ‘team’ feeling of a class. I don’t want to be the one doing the least hence it makes me work harder. However, it will not surprise you to know I get pretty hacked off with people in class who put no bloody effort in at all. They are the fitness equivalent of ‘mood hoovers’ as they seem to suck the energy out of the room and negate the symbiotic principle of group exercise where together we are stronger and help each other do more.

Am just back from a class I really enjoyed despite the fact the instructor had no mike and the aircon was broken and the reason  for my pleasure was that the instructor still maintained really high energy and was able to cue the class using hand signals and moving round the room to ensure everyone still got a great workout. Quite inspirational watching her. I love seeing people at the top of their game, whatever their job is. Plus one of my classmates swapped places with me two thirds of the way through as the aircon where she was positioned actually came on and she thought I needed it more than her. How lovely was that? And it did make a huge difference to me as I boil like a beetroot even with aircon. People can be so kind.

Top Ten Tips to Make Yourself Popular at the Gym(or not)

  1. When using the equipment, do try to make as much noise as possible. Grunts and squeals are particularly welcomed by your fellow members
  2. Don’t wipe your sweat off any equipment so that the next person has the opportunity of doing  this as a pre-exercise warm up
  3. Do offer tips on technique to your fellow members, especially if you are completely unqualified
  4. Do not be inhibited to let your body function naturally while in the gym or studio. New odours can distract from the pain of the exercise routine.
  5. When attending classes do not arrive on time, but burst in late and move straight to your favourite spot even if someone else is already in it. In the unlikely event that the person does not immediately defer to your greater importance, stand your ground and make it impossible for them to exercise.
  6. If you do bump in to someone in class never ever admit that it was your fault or apologise, but glare furiously at them for being in the way.
  7. If you see tension between class participants or are involved yourself launch straight in with something like ‘There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM, but there’s a ‘U’ in C*NT’. This should effectively defuse the situation.
  8. If you are in the front of the class do try to distract the instructor and other participants by stopping frequently, checking your phone and taking water breaks. An alternative strategy is simply to put no effort in at all and dismiss the class as useless  at the end
  9. If the class is choreographed, simply ignore this and do your own thing as it will entertain those behind you and they will appreciate having to concentrate particularly hard to remember the routine.  Another particularly effective move is to stop suddenly in the middle of a packed aerobics class and watch the domino effect of people bumping in to each other. Everyone finds it hilarious
  10. Never thank the instructor at the end, it will only encourage them and make them feel they have done a worthwhile job which is likely to make them complacent and stop them trying harder.

The title of this post is a Michael Jordan quote

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