Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The biggest fashion crime

After my shockingly negative post yesterday (sorry people, I really do appreciate you reading my blog) I woke up this morning feeling even ropier. I am ill and I am not happy. This wasn’t what I had planned for Janathon day 25. For those of you that read my tweets, you may know that I am one of those people that are forever hot. Not hot as in irresistible but hot as in when I sit in a car, the window next to me often steams up. Attractive!
Today I have not stopped shivering despite having a temperature. I am aching, I feel nauseous, my head hurts and my skin even hurts. A hot bath later and I’m still not warm so I am now committing the ultimate fashion crime. I am sporting a rather attractive all in one adult baby-gro. I like to put pictures up on my blog but I most definitely will not be subjecting you to this monstrosity. Possibly one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen.
Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments on yesterday’s post. The messages of support really mean a lot.  I had decided that I would hit the bath and then head straight to bed tonight. Whilst shivering away in the bathtub Miss Stubborn just wouldn’t go away. My boyfriend is at the boxercise class that I should have been going to and I am jealous.  I cannot stand the thought that all of my hard work is going to go down the drain after 24 days of exercise (well, I am actually on day 26). There is no way I could handle a run tonight. The stubborn annoying tickly cough has developed into a painful, more hoarse little creature and I just feel exhausted. However, while Jon was swinging his right hook, I couldn’t resist attempting just a couple of my core-strength rug exercises.
5 x 20 second planks, 50 x sit-ups, 50 x press-ups and a selection of the Nike special drills later and I am finally hot. I can really notice that I am far weaker than normal and I haven’t pushed myself but I think this little bit of rug action means that I am still in Janathon and Miss Stubborn wins the day. I’m not setting the leader board alight but I am trying my best. Night all!

Monday, 24 January 2011

The day Janathon nearly broke me

That day was today. Time flew by at work and before I knew it the end of the day was here, well after a lot of coughing and spluttering from me. Nothing serious, just one of those pathetic dry coughs that won’t shut up. A glass of water usually does the trick but this annoying little thing was persistent and wouldn’t be calmed by water. In fact the H2O just aggravated it which meant I drunk hardly anything today.
 I headed on to the sweaty tube followed by a sweaty bus ride which I ended up standing on for over an hour due to a ridiculous traffic jam. I felt faint and a little bit nauseous (the lack of water probably didn’t help) and a 5k run was definitely not appealing. I even put out a question on Twitter to my fellow Team Bangs girls asking what I should do. The best advice was to listen to my body and take a rest. But, did I heck!  I wasn’t letting Janathon get the better of me on day 24. So even after a cheeky rest on the sofa, I got my kit on and off I went. Miss Stubborn at her absolute best.
I can honestly say that tonight’s 5k run was officially the worst run ever! The whole thing felt impossibly hard and I was hurting more than I’ve ever hurt before. My calves were so tight; they felt like they were being twisted in a vice. In fact, I was on the verge of tears most of the way round. Partly because my legs were hurting so much and probably more so that I was panicking I’ve overdone it. I’ve harped on about it enough. It’s the biggest mistake that beginner runners make and a beginner runner is what I am. I did a lot of running at the weekend and maybe Janathon is starting to take its toll. The fact that I was probably fairly dehydrated definitely would not have helped either.
I have a boxing class scheduled for tomorrow night but I am not going to let my stubbornness get the better of me. If I am really not feeling good I am going to head to the pool to do some lengths followed by a chill out in the sauna instead. Janathon was intended to help motivate my training and it has definitely done that. There are far more experienced and talented Janathoners out there than I am ever going to be and my ultimate aim is to complete the Paris Half Marathon, not to destroy myself. I am going to remember this in the remaining week of Janathon. I will power on through but with caution.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Today I went running and I saw...

9 bridges, 37 dogs, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Syon House, Deer, more deer, lots of rowers, too many runners to count, a giant cow and some kind of Santa School day trip out. You guessed it, today was the day of the mighty long run. Today was a good day for me but it left me with rather sore limbs and tootsies. I was adamant that I was going to run further than I did last week which was 7.5 miles. I set myself a target of 9.5 miles but I kept it between me and mapmyrun.com, just in case I wasn’t quite ready yet for the beastly distance planned.
My sofa was far more appealing than the long run today and I was really nervous but I decided I would just take it slow. Having my i-phone and taking snaps on my long run last Sunday was a great distraction so I decided to do the same today. Running can be boring so I set myself up a little game to count how many bridges I would run under and how many dogs I would pass. Stupid I know but it gave me something to focus on. It became a little like the memory game ‘I went to the supermarket and I bought …’
My route today took me along the Thames towpath all the way from Barnes Bridge up to Petersham and I passed a total of 8 bridges. I snapped all of them except Barnes at the start as you’ve had the pleasure of this already on a previous post. I passed Chiswick Bridge, A train bridge in Kew followed by Kew Bridge, the Bridge at Richmond Lock, a train bridge at Twickenham plus Twickenham Bridge, a mini bridge over the stream into Old Deer Park and finally Richmond Bridge. For any Bridge enthusiasts out there please find my snaps below. The route really is beautiful but it was a bit of a miserable day so the pictures don't really do it justice. If you're not into running it is also a great walking route, especially in summer.

 I saw a total of 37 dogs. There was no way I could capture them all but here are a few that whizzed past me on the towpath.  Sorry about the blurriness. It’s not easy taking pictures while running.

According to the run I mapped this morning, I was meant to leave the towpath at Richmond, head through the town centre, along the Upper Richmond Road and back towards Barnes. I was really enjoying the run though and didn’t want to run along the main road breathing in car fumes. When running, my sense of smell becomes super sensitive and I figured car fumes were not going to enhance my running pleasure.    So I carried on along the towpath towards Petersham, along the Petersham Road, past the gate I should have exited last week to avoid the fight with the mud pie and then  up the steep hill to Richmond gate. I admit I did take a little walk break halfway up the hill. Everything was hurting and running up just wasn’t an option. I am conscious that I want to train as hard as I can but without pushing too early so that I end up sustaining an injury.

If you do the Tamsin Trail, exit here unlike me.

 I headed through the gate and into the tranquil world of Richmond Park. No sooner had I entered, I was rewarded with a view of some bambi-esque deer chilling out in the ferns. So much more to appreciate in here, I knew the detour was the right move. The only down side was the sharp whipping wind in the open space. Ouch! I just ignored it and kept my arms and legs moving. I was in the zone. Although I had adapted my route I knew I had run pretty far and the endorphins were taking effect. I was buzzing!

I came across a giant cow but he was too far away to get a good picture on my phone, several more herds of deer then something that can only be described as a mirage. I am not joking and I am so glad my phone battery held out for me to take a snap just so that you can see that it’s not me going mad. Trekking across the grass was a group of people dressed top to toe in Santa outfits beards and all. They were heading towards the deer. Was it some kind of specialist Santa training school? I don’t know what it was but it made me chuckle and kept me pushing through. Take a look yourself.

The phone died shortly after so I kept my feet pounding all the way to Roehampton Gate with no micro photo breaks, down Priory Lane, past the Lawn Tennis Association, then past the Priory (Yes the celeb rehab place). I kept on, turned on to the Upper Richmond Road, left past Barnes Station and then the short journey all the way home. Phew! I wasn’t quite sure how far I had gone as I had adapted my route. A quick shower and clothing change before heading for lunch with a friend, accessorizing with a massive proud grin. When I got home Jon mapped my route for me and I couldn’t quite believe it. I had managed a total of 10.6 miles which is 17k.  I am pretty damn pleased with that!

This is today's route

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Double whammy avec a Janathon grovel

Ok, so firstly I apologise for the lack of post action yesterday but forgive me as this is a double today. This doesn’t mean that I totally failed on the Janathon front, just that my Virgin connection was having a little trouble and I had no time to sort it out.  I made a little pact to myself on 1st January that Janathon exercise can only be counted as exercise if I change into my workout clothes to commence. So even if I trotted 5k to the shops and back and didn’t break a sweat, this wouldn’t count on my logging and blogging.
I had a day off work yesterday but I had to get up early to finish something I didn’t get time to finish on Thursday. This meant I had a rubbish night’s sleep and woke on the hour every hour in a panic that I was going to sleep in. I got it done and then headed to get my hair done. Natalie Elias at the TIGI academy is officially amazing and made me the happiest girl yesterday so thank you chica. Getting your hair done is the best feeling. Fact!  Roots banished and blunt fringe back = a good day. 
New Hair

Then I headed off to the Park Plaza, Victoria to meet my friend for a bit of Spa action and a much needed massage. I naturally took my costume and planned to do a few lengths in the pool to clock up the day's Janathon exercise.  Plan scuppered when I discovered a lack of pool and even more annoyingly there was a gym yet I had no gym kit.I didn't think it was entirely appropriate to prance around in my functional yet very unattractive swimsuit. I ended up doing a few core-strength exercises in a sauna the size of my wardrobe. So after a fairly short time I gave up and opted for some chilled out book reading instead until my appointment time. My massage was amazing though and I will do a separate post on this tomorrow.
I had to head straight home after the massage to get scrubbed up for my brother’s engagement party so no time for exercise. I indulged in several alcoholic beverages last night for the first time this year but I had a great time. However, I had agreed to meet @gemmakgraham at Parkrun this morning. Hmmm!
When I got home last night I was adamant that I wasn’t crashing out of Janathon in this way, especially after somebody in real life telling me I was her inspiration.( Hello Amy. Sweet dreams if you’re about to head to bed!) Ok, she was joking but it highlighted that people are actually reading my posts and following what I am doing. The pressure is most definitely on.
While Jon prepared a random feast of food I resorted to some rug action exercise in my PJ’s. Don’t be fooled that because I wasn’t in my gym kit I wasn’t going to put any effort in. Wrong! I beasted myself repeating some of the drills that we did at the Nike class and it hurt. The plan was to do a very quick log and an even quicker blog. Virgin had other ideas, hence no post. A rubbish excuse on a pretty poor effort day in comparison to most of the others I have blogged about I know.

This morning I was tired, miserable and my body was hurting. I was planning to meet Gemma (a fellow Team Bangs girly) at the start of the run. Part of me really did want to go to see if I could knock off 2 minutes as I pledged a couple of weeks ago but the bigger portion of me wanted to stay in bed. I even texted Gemma in a cowardly attempt to cop out and said I was happy to go running later if she wasn’t up for running around a hilly, muddy park in the freezing cold. Before she had a chance to reply  I had a word with myself and did a big loud shouty growl and decided I was going to do this and do it properly. I pulled on my gear and as I ventured out into the cold Gemma replied to say she was on her way. Let’s do this Team Bangs!
It really hurt today. My shins and calf hurt and my body ached but I was determined to improve my time. I picked out a runner and I stuck with her the whole way. Halfway round I started to doubt myself. My legs were heavy and my breathing was awful! I was dehydrated (yes, bad alcohol!) and the constant water sipping wasn’t helping me to set a steady pace with my breathing.
Particular low points of the run were being caned by a 10 year old whippersnapper and an old man that was bandaged up like a mummy. High points were that I managed to stick with my chosen target. Another massive high point when I was struggling fiercely was Gemma’s smiley face and encouraging little wave.  As we neared the end of the run I was determined I wanted to overtake my nominated target. Let me just get this straight. Parkrun is a friendly social run and isn’t competitive but it always helps me to set mini targets and unbeknown to this lady she wasn mine today. I pushed myself and managed to just pull past her with about 100 uphill metres to go but could I keep up the lead? It’s a bit rubbish to make the effort to overtake somebody for all of 2 seconds to then be letf for dust at the finish.
She came back behind me and despite my loud garage track banging in my ears, I could hear her breathing heavily very close behind me. She was fighting back! It seemed I was now her target.  I pushed hard with everything that I had to the point that I thought there was a serious vomit risk. All of the speedy runners that had finished were having smug chats at the finish line but there were lots on the line supporting us through to the bitter end.   Being handed that position token is the best feeling. Actually, I correct that. Even better, is getting your email with your time. Here is my email following today’s run.

I was thrilled with this! Despite it being more than a 1 minute improvement on my personal best       (which I achieved last summer), I managed to cut over 4 minutes off my New Year’s Day parkrun time. Consider the 2 minute improvement smashed and Janathon day 22 well and truly done. I have to say, it was a good day all round for Team Bangs as Gem also got a PB. See, we really are working hard. Surely two PB’s is worth some sponsorship. Look at our proud sweaty faces. How could you not donate? www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Short and sweet

I am so tired and I really need my bed so tonight I am going to keep this short. I just wanted to check in to say that today was Janathon day 20 and I still haven’t cracked. Wahoo! Tonight I thought I was going to have a little schmooze with some of the Team Bangs girls. We did get to schmooze a little but that was after a beastly  mother of a work out. I dashed in tottering in my heels and dress from work with my running gear in my bag. Everybody else was already there so I got changed in supemarman style speed, had a little play with the app and then straight on to a class Nike style.
I will do a more detailed update when I have a little more time at the weekend but in brief we went along to a Nike training group to celebrate the launch of their new i-phone app. I have to say I was pretty impressed. It was a great workout that you could do at home or in the park with no equipment and even better it is totally free! There were some professional athletes there and they even admitted it was a challenge for them so I don’t feel as guilty that I was a full on sweaty beast.
Even though I’m totally shattered, I really enjoyed the class but Nike I do apologise for the trail of dried mud that I've probably left all over the venue. This was the remains of Sunday’s long run. Oops! Sorry!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

It all started with a tweet

This week has been a good week for me. It’s Janathon day 19, the day after boxercise and I am feeling good. I was raring to go tonight and I ran a different route. A change is as good as a rest so they say. Well, rest didn’t come in to it and I ran 6.5k. I was positively glowing when I got home. Well, I was a sweaty mess but I was still smiling.
I have a busy day planned tomorrow and after work I’m getting the chance to meet up with some of my fellow Bangs on the Run team mates in real life, not just in cyberspace. I can’t wait! I love the supportive tweets, blog comments and facebook posts but I’m really looking forward to seeing the girls in person. We can share stories using more than 140 characters, exchange tips, and I will get the chance to meet some of the team that I’m yet to meet. It’s amazing that we have all met through twitter. A year ago I barely tweeted at all and now I have to confess, I’m a little bit of a twitter addict. I’ve even managed to get my boyfriend involved and he loves it too.
I know this sounds like something from a reality TV show and I can’t quite believe I’m even saying it but I really feel like I’m on a journey. Even more excitingly, I’m actually making progress on this journey and it all started with a tweet. I feel more determined to succeed everyday and when I’m sore from exercise I feel satisfied that I’ve worked hard. I keep reading about people losing weight but I don’t seem to have got to that stage just yet despite exercising a lot. However, the tin of Mingles left over from Christmas may have something to do with that.
 I love to receive tweets and comments from people that have been inspired by me (yes, little old me that could barely run for 5 minutes a year ago).  It is such a lovely feeling and makes the sweat and tears worth it. We are training to raise money for Refuge but on top of that it feels like we are making a difference. As well as motivating and inspiring each other it seems we are having the same effect on other people in cyberspace too which is just incredible.
I don’t know about the other girls but I have received quite a few comments from people that have started exercising after reading my tweets and blog posts. Who said that modern technology makes people lazy? The power of twitter is getting people off their bums.  If you’re still on your sofa then go on, give it a go. Get up off your backside, pull on some lycra and do some exercise. It really does make you feel good. If you can’t peel yourself off your sofa then just click on this link www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun and donate some of your hard earned pennies. It will make you feel good, it will make the Team Bangs Girls smile and train even harder than they are already!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I feel like I am getting somewhere!

I had boxercise tonight and I was feeling sick with nerves beforehand. Last week I was hurting for days.  I had to rush from work to get there and of course the tubes were delayed because I was running late. I ran to my door, stripped my work clothes off and gym clothes on before running out of the door again. I got to the class in the nick time.
This week the class whizzed by and don’t get me wrong, it was tough but I found it a little easier than I did last week meaning I must actually be getting fitter. Hooray! I’m not going to speak too soon though as I will probably be hurting tomorrow and my arms are still shaking right now.
Today is Janathon day 18 and I still haven’t cracked. Another reason for me to smile! I can’t quite believe I am on my 20th day of exercise. I didn’t honestly think I had it in me.  I had a bit of a grumpy blip yesterday but I feel more determined than ever today. I have a long way to go but I will keep on until I get there. I don’t want to be the slowest chick in Paris and I want to have time to go shopping, drink wine and eat delicious treats from a patisserie. I guess I’d better keep on going. Short post tonight, as I want to catch up with My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

Monday, 17 January 2011

This is getting tough.

I am not going to lie to you, for the first time tonight I really did not want to go out for my run. I had a busy day at work with no chance for lunch and I was starving when I got in. As I found out last weekend, running after eating a meal is definitely not good. I just couldn’t do it without though so I rammed a sandwich down my throat. I then had to deal with my seriously muddy trainers souvenir from the Tamsin Trail.  
I really, really didn’t want to go and Jon had to almost kick me out of the door. Just to make it worse, I put my I-pod on and I was greeted with a battery that was as dead as a dodo. Even more reason not to go. It seems everybody is finding it tough right now. I am on Janathon day 17 and it is my 19th day of exercise. Yesterday’s run resulted in my sole starting to blister but at least my toe nails are still intact unlike some of the other Team Bangs girls.
 I could have quite easily wandered back in to my warm & cosy home to be greeted by my new book on my Kindle.  I thought about how hard the Team Bangs ladies have been working and I also thought about all of the kind people that have been supporting us in many different ways. Off I went into the rain.
 I needed to visit my Mum so I killed two birds with one stone and saved a bit of time and petrol by running there. It’s shorter than my normal route at only 3.15k but today was my recovery run so I will cut myself a little slack and it’s better than lazing on my sofa. To make up for only doing a short run tonight I then did some hoola followed by some action on my rug. You know the drill by now; planks, sit-ups, press-ups etc. I have boxercise again tomorrow and I’m a little nervous about just how sore I am going to be if last week was anything to go by so I didn’t want to push it tonight.
I have Friday off work this week and will be getting my hair done to sort my serious root situation out. My hair is shocking at the moment and it is a long time since I have let it get this bad.  I am then going off for a pampering massage with two of my best girls. I cannot wait! The massage will most definitely be welcome but what I really need right now is a good sports massage. I am going to dedicate one of my posts later this week to sports massage and the benefits. As a sports massage therapist, I have seen first-hand just how beneficial it can be and if I can help just one person it will be a worthwhile post. 
I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of the kind words of support and encouragement as well as the donations that have been made. It really does help to motiavte us so thank you.  

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Tamsin Trail

Today is Sunday and Sunday means the long run. It is only my second one as last week my leg was really playing up. According to my schedule I was aiming to run 8 miles today but I thought 7 miles was a reasonable target. Two weeks ago I managed just under 6 miles and I was conscious not to push myself too hard. The Tamsin trail is the perimeter trail around Richmond Park and it is 7.35 miles so I thought it was the ideal route.  

Sheen Gate
Pond at Sheen Gate
I took my I-phone along for the ride and took some snaps along the way. This acts as proof that I did the run and also as a mild distraction en route. Taking snaps while running is not the easiest but I gave it my best shot. I started at Sheen gate so I took a picture to show the start point.

 It was a beautiful morning and the park was full of people out being active, dog walkers, runners, cyclists, horseriders etc. I headed through the gate and turned left by the pond running toward Roehampton gate. As well as some pics of my views along the way, I also took a few ‘action’ shots of me showing just how rough and sweaty I look when I’m exercising. I was a bit disappointed that my route took me past no deer today as I stuck to the edge of the park on the trail the whole way. Well almost, but I will come on to that a little later.

Me running hard in Roehampton
The sun was shining and I felt good but I knew what lay in wait for me ahead. There is a big hill leading up from Robin Hood gate to Kingston and I knew it was going to hurt. I managed to run nearly all the way and when I got to the top I thought it was only right I took a good picture of the view behind me so I jumped up on the bench and took a snap. The hill is pretty steep and they even have a sign to encourage cyclists to dismount. My legs were seriously burning when I got to the top but running on was the only option so on I went.

Starting the climb

Still climbing. Sorry for the wobbly pic!

The view at the top of leg burning hill

I realised today that the distance between Robin Hood gate and Kingston is definitely further than I thought but I kept on going with no breaks. Little things kept me going and made me smile. The group of horses trotting past, another good song on my I-pod or Dads out with their children on their bikes, pushing them up the steep hills. Before I knew it I was running past Kingston gate. With every gate I passed I felt a little bit prouder, especially as I had taken no walking breaks.

Still going and looking more unattractive by the minute but I am past caring about that!

Running down towards Ham Gate I ran past a man that stood as a really poignant reminder of why I am pushing myself. He was really fit and athletic looking but upon closer inspection it was apparent he only had one leg. He wasn’t letting that stop him though. He was wearing a prosthetic carbon fibre foot like the kind of device that Oscar Pistorius the double-amputee sprinter wears. It reminded me that I am lucky to be fully able-bodied and it took me back to the girl that took part in the London Marathon after a lung transplant that had inspired me to challenge myself. There was nothing stopping me. I pushed on through ignoring the niggle in my calf that is trivial in comparison to the challenges that others are facing.

The pond at Ham Gate
Reaching the pond at Ham gate I got a feel good buzz as I knew I only had to pass one more gate in Richmond before I would be heading back towards Sheen. It had all gone swimmingly so far and I could see Petersham in the distance. The sandy coloured trail was heading toward the exit and I could have exited the park and run up to Richmond gate on the road but I was adamant that I wanted to stick to the trail. There was no mention on the park website that I would have to do leave the park and  didn’t want to be seen to be cheating. It clearly states that the Tamsin trail runs around the whole park. Wrong!
After a massively steep hill up a muddy track I was greeted with even more mud. I had to stop running and felt a little like I was on Total Wipeout as I clutched the branches trying to avoid falling in the path that can only be described as a mud bath. I got to a point where I had no option but to leap through the middle and I thought I was going to lose my shoe to the giant mud pie. There was no point going back, I had no choice but to push on through. I apologise now for the foul language that was coming out of my mouth. I was annoyed that the mud had interrupted my flow but it was only a minor glitch and after picking up the pace I was at Richmond Park on the home straight. This is the point where Saturday morning Parkrun starts although I was running in the opposite direction. It felt good knowing I had a downward path ahead of me that I am normally used to struggling up.   

My poor trainers

The Parkrun start
I had such an exhiliarating feeling as I headed toward the finish and I couldn’t quite believe that I had made it. This seemed like a distant target that I would never be able to reach when I started running. I need to pick the pace up but I am now confident that with some hard work I will be able to get to the finish of the Paris Half mara without collapsing in a heap. When I reached the end I thought it was only right that I documented this day with an unattractive picture of myself so I accosted a guy at Sheen Gate and asked him to take a picture showing off my post-run glow. It was a celebration after all as it is the furthest I have ever run.

In shock that I actually finished the run & feeling a bit stupid that I've actually asked a stranger to take a photo of me in this state.

I kicked off my muddy trainers and headed to the gym for a few lengths, a well-deserved sauna (I think that’s fair to say!) and a catch-up with my best friend. Bliss! The feeling of achievement was boosted with a few supportive tweets that I received so thank you ladies. If a few tweets after my run make me feel this good, imagine how good I will feel if some you make a donation. You’ve got to plug it where you can! ;) www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun

Saturday, 15 January 2011

My confession

I confess that today didn’t start quite as I had planned. I could lie but I am officially the world’s worst liar and always have a guilty conscious, so the truth it is. After writing last night’s post I carried on reading ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ on my Kindle and I just could not put it down. If you haven’t read it, you must. It takes a while to get in to but then it grabs you and just doesn’t let go. I ended up collapsing into bed at just after 3am. Not ideal, as I was due to be up at 7:30 to do parkrun as I mentioned in last night’s post.
My alarm did go off and I even got out of bed but I felt absolutely shattered. 17 days of exercise is definitely having an effect. I made a deal with myself that I would give the 5k parkrun a miss but I would definitely do my 6.5k loop after I had the chance to have a little more sleep. I went back to sleep and woke up at 10am feeling so much more refreshed and ready to go but I still had that guilty feeling  in the pit of my stomach. I pottered around, had breakfast, watched Saturday kitchen and then made a few family phone calls before pulling on my running gear.
Running along the river on a really windy day with rubbish music on your I-pod is bloody hard. The first half of my run up to Hammersmith Bridge was really tough. I crossed the river and although I was now running into the wind, which made running even tougher, my playlist had improved and a few old garage classics got me going. Although I was tired and my calf was still giving me pain I kept going and  I completed my 6.5k route in under 40 minutes. Definitely no athlete  but I'm pleased with my progress.
I’d made my mind up that I was going to have a good day after a little bit of a morning wobble so we headed to the gym. I spent 45 minutes focusing on core-strength exercises, free weights to strengthen my arms and then rolled around on a swiss ball for a bit.  I did 50 press-ups, 120 sit-ups and a few planks until I was shaking violently. I still had more left in me so I changed into my swimsuit and did 40 lengths before flopping into the sauna with an intensive hair treatment on. I was hot because I was sweating profusely in a sauna but I had that glowing, warm feeling of achievement inside. No matter how tough it is when you are training the great feeling of achievement you get when you finish cancels the bad feeling out.
Although I’m tired, I have been buzzing round the house all afternoon. Exercise, though it does hurt sometimes, definitely makes you feel good! Cleaning the kitchen and preparing dinner I was jigging round listening to Radio 1 Extra having a little party all of my own. I ran Jon a bath as he was a little worse for wear after hockey this morning and I think my hyper mode was making him dizzy.
 I’m confident that I redeemed myself today after failing miserably first thing ( So that means no need for hail Mary’s) but there is no risk of me missing parkrun next week. I have rounded up a few of the #TeamBangsontheRun ladies that live in London and we are doing the Richmond Park 5k next Saturday morning. @gemmakgraham and @alexandravasey have it in their diaries. Does anybody else fancy joining us? Check out http://www.parkrun.com/  to find out more info. It really is such a great organisation.

If you don’t want to join us in running then why not support us in another way. As you can see from my blog entries, I am really making an effort, as are the other girls in the team.  I am committed to completing the Paris Half mara and I am also committed to achieving our fundraising target of £10,000. We have raised lots of money so far and really are extremely grateful to all those that have donated but we would be even more grateful if those of you that haven’t managed to could consider making a donation. www.justgiving.com/teambangsontherun The donations, no matter how small, really help to motivate me and the rest of the TeamBangs girls. If you want to keep up with some of the other girls on the team that are training hard then check out their blogs. Both Gemma and Kaye are taking part in #Janathon and have been logging their exercise on a daily basis. http://www.kayesweeswee.blogspot.com/  and http://www.junglegg.com/  . Have a little nose and see just how well they are doing. Come on, you know want to sponsor us!
I’m off to finish my book now and as there is only 13% to go  so my Kindle tells me), there is little risk of reading until the early hours to give me an excuse to miss tomorrow’s long run. Damn!

Friday, 14 January 2011

How Friday's change.

What a week! I’ve worked hard and trained hard and was looking forward to a quiet night in with my sofa tonight… once I’d been to the gym. How times change! Friday was always the night that I would start with a few cheeky vinos at work and then continue on through the night but not at the moment, this lady is in training for the Paris Half Marathon. She is also on day 14 of Janathon and is feeling a little bit tender.
 Tomorrow is Park run day and I really want to go, especially as my leg stopped me running last weekend. I headed to the gym tonight with the intention of a gentle run and a wallowing session in the pool and sauna. My plans were scuppered when I realised that my freshly washed costume was still resting on the radiator. Up to the gym I went while Jon went to chill out in the Jacuzzi and yes I was green with envy.
I was really stroppy when I realised there was going to be no pampering reward for me tonight but I actually had a really great session and enjoyed myself. I didn’t want to run too far so instead I upped the pace and ran 3.5k in less than 20 minutes which for me is an achievement. I know it’s not fast in comparison to other runners but it’s all about me pushing myself and push myself I did.  My leg is still niggling me though and a sports massage is definitely in need.
I then went on to do a whole range of things that hurt a lot and made me pull really ugly faces; 50 press-ups, loads of sit-ups, planks, lunges, squats and various moves with free weights, all of which made me shake violently by the end. I could really feel that I have started to improve tonight and that makes me feel good. I’m crossing my fingers that my leg will hold out tomorrow now so that I can smash my Park Run time.  Just a short post tonight as I really need a rest but I promise that I will put lots of time and effort into tomorrow’s post and I will even write it before 10pm.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Swim Style

I opted for swimming tonight and it got me thinking about a condition I suffer from. I had a fair amount of time to think as I swam 80 lengths. I’m pretty pleased with that effort considering the state I have been in today. On Janathon day 13, I am certain that this is the most uncomfortable and stiff I have been so far. I even had trouble fastening the clasp on my bra and tying the belt around my waist this morning because my arms were so sore from the boxercise.
Since I joined my new gym Roko, I haven’t had a flare up of my condition which is otherwise known as swim rage. The pool at my gym is generally fairly quiet which is just how I like it and it’s great to prevent the rage. I’m sure some of you may also suffer from the condition. It can be triggered a number of ways but I find that particular swimming types are prone to setting it off.
I attended the running show at Olympia a few weeks back and sat in on a seminar by the running school which was really very interesting. The presenter talked through running techniques and different runner types. You’ve got the bouncer that travels further up with every stride than across, then you have the walker that runs at such a slow and painful speed that they could walk faster and you have the shuffler that is pretty self-explanatory. There are many more but you get the idea.
 While swimming my lengths tonight it got me thinking about categorising swimmers in the same way. At the pool you can identify a number of different swimmer types. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not a good swimmer and would identify myself in the first category but here are a few that I have come across in my time..
1.The Granny ( This is me)
You will spot this person swimming in a kind of breaststroke style but you won’t find them wearing goggles and they definitely won’t be ducking their head under water with every stroke. In fact, on many occasions the granny swimmer will have completely dry hair and maybe even a full face of make-up.
2.The splasher
This swimming type will splash you even if they are three lanes away. They splash their arms and legs against the water with such force that it must hurt.  It surely can’t be an efficient way of swimming and they can contribute to swim rage if the repeatedly splash you in the face.
3.The lurker
You don’t want to share a lane with this swimmer, especially if you know you are due a bikini wax. They will always wear goggles and you never quite know where they are as they spend most of their time gliding underwater from one side of the pool to the other. In my experience most lurkers are  male.
4.The cocky professional
This person usually looks smug as they slip into the pool in their Speedo budgie smugglers. They glide through the water like a fish and just before they reach the end of the pool they glide underwater before doing some kind of funky somersault manoeuvre. They then move off swiftly in the opposite direction before you’ve even swam half a length.  They are often seen wearing silly extension flippers on their hands to confirm their swimming status and to enable them to swim even faster. Personally, I think the hand flippers are cheating.

5. The non-swimming lane blocker
One of the most likely types to cause swim rage. Whilst you are trying hard to reach the other end of the pool, this joker will get in your way and if there are more than one of them in the pool, you can guarantee they will be chatting and giggling together exactly where you want to swim.

6. The selfish swimmer
When sharing a lane, the selfish swimmer will never move over when swimming towards you. You end up with half of your body under the lane rope going one way and scraping your shoulder against the wall the other. The selfish swimmer just keeps on going, totally oblivious to you. Definite swim rage trigger point!

7. The complete show off
Everybody knows that nobody really uses butterfly stroke. Well, everybody except this guy who takes up the whole lane and splashes as he goes. Annoying!

8. The wonky back stroker
Minding their own business, chilling out doing a bit of back stroke. Head back and eyes closed, the only problem is, they are so relaxed they are totally unaware that that they are seriously veering off course and are about to crash into you.

These are just a few swimmer styles that I have come across. Are there any other swimmer types that stick out like a sore thumb at your pool?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

13...unlucky for some.

This is my 13th blog post and it’s been a number 13 kind of day where everything that could have gone wrong has. I left my house at just after 7:00 this morning with sore arms and legs from last night’s boxing and I came hobbling home at just before 9:00 after a long day at work and delays on the tube. It was the third day in a row that the email system was not working properly at work. Do you know just how annoying it is when you can’t access your email folders? Let me tell you, it is a massive pain and slows you down hugely. In all honesty a run was the last thing on my wish list tonight but a run was on my schedule so it was a run I had to do.
My boyfriend is really sporty but he hates running. I guess the effect of me running out the door has rubbed off though as I even managed to drag him along tonight. He ran with me on my regular weekday loop which is 4.75km and it was lovely to have some company but funny to have no music to run to. I was really stiff when I started and could barely lift my arms to put my sports bra on but I pushed on through and managed my 5k. Despite this niggle in my calf that just won’t go away I am actually feeling pretty good on Janathon day 12. However, speaking as a sports massage therapist I think it’s about time I sorted out a sports massage for myself before I do myself some damage.It really is a great way to keep your body in good condition and help to prevent injuries. That’s my post for tonight because my dinner is getting cold.   

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Hit me baby one more time!

Tonight is going to be a short post because day 11 of Janathon is actually the 13th day of exercise for me and I am exhausted! I opted for trying something new tonight and went along to a Boxercise class at the gym. My hands are still shaking and I can barely type.
I knew the class was going to be hardcore and I felt sick with nerves beforehand but I was keen to do something new to mix my training up. I had a bit of a killer day at work with back to back meetings all day and would have been quite happy to collapse on the sofa when I got in from work. I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch because I’d been too busy and I stupidly hadn’t eaten breakfast either so I was starving. I came home to change into my gym gear but before I shot straight back out I shovelled down a piece of toast, a go ahead snack bar and a couple of energy jelly beans designed to be used as food on long runs. I was in need of some energy to get me through.
The boxercise class lasted an hour and I was already sweating and knackered 10 minutes into the session. Halfway through I was regretting the energy snacks and was convinced I was going to be seeing them again but I managed to keep them down and make it to the end of the class with a smile on my face even though there were a few grimaces throughout. I even managed a bit of hoola action in the lounge when I got home as I enjoyed it so much last night.
I’m used to working out alone and I really enjoyed being in a group in the boxercise class. Although it was tough I think I’m going to make it a regular part of my fitness routine. I am aching in places that I didn’t know existed right now and I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to have some difficulty with everyday tasks tomorrow. If you see a blonde girl on the Hammersmith and City or Circle line in the morning massively struggling to pick up her handbag because her arms are no longer working, it’s probably me so please offer to help me out.  I really have to go now as my eyes are closing as I am typing. See you in the same place again tomorrow to talk about Janathon day 12!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Hoola Fun

Even with a banging headache, I had every intention of heading to the gym tonight. I came in from work, exchanged my handbag for my gym bag and shot straight back out the door before I was even tempted to go anywhere near the sofa. My parents live on the way to the gym so I planned to drop a little treat off to cheer up my Mum as she’s been poorly with the flu. Leaving my bag in the car, I ran in explaining that I wasn’t going to stay but by the time the length of a football match had passed I was still there chatting away. It was now too late to go the gym. Damn! A drastic change of plan was needed to make sure I didn’t mess up on Janathon day 10.
I started doing the usual lounge rug routine of sit-ups, press-ups, a few token star jumps and lunges but it just wasn’t doing it for me tonight and then I remembered my hoola hoop. I haven’t had it out since the summer and I wasn’t entirely sure I wasn’t going to end up wrecking my lounge as I haven’t used it in here before. I bought the Hoola hoop two years ago and even did a couple of classes at the gym with it. I really liked the idea of some fun exercise but it wasn’t so fun when I met the instructor Erika and then realised that the Hoola class at 7:00 on a Tuesday morning consisted of just me and Erika. You don’t want to hear the line “Brilliant, just the two of us then. Let’s Hoola!”.
It was an hour of pure humiliation where Erika snaked her hips and I struggled to keep the hoop going. Before I’d even mastered one hoop she was throwing another round my waist.It all got pretty messy throwing hoops around in the air, over my arms and a few got flung across the hall. The arm type exercises are definitely not advisable in small living areas judging by the distance the hoop travelled. Hoola-ing did get my heart racing and despite the humiliation and giant bruises on my hips, it was pretty fun. I went to the class a few more times but it was always a private session with Erika and me, the beginner Hoola Hooper. In the end I opted for hoola-ing my way around the garden at home to avoid further humiliation when the routine’s got too complicated.  
When we moved into the flat in May, I went down on the towpath a few times to spin my hoop as we don't have a garden anymore. Me and my giant hoop got a few funny looks but I didn’t care as it got me moving which has got to be a good thing and it made me smile.
I asked my boyfriend to take some snaps mid-hoola and they are probably some of the most unflattering pictures of me I have ever seen but if they make just one more person get up off their sofa and do just a little bit of exercise this week I will be happy. Believe it or not, the shots below are the good ones. I have saved you from the others by immediately deleting.  I wouldn't put you all through that.
In case you’re interested, I didn’t wreck my lounge tonight. I stuck to keeping the hoop spinning around my waist rather than flinging over my arm to avoid the chances of any damage being caused. I think the only damage is to my street-cred after putting the photos below up on my blog.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Is it bedtime yet?

This weekend has been tiring but I have loved every minute, spending time with some of the people that I love (minus the few little episodes where my darling nieces bickered about whatever they could find to bicker about).
Yesterday was Auntie K’s PJ party with my two little nieces and after some housework the little horrors arrived. Mia (the four year old) has been counting down the days since Tuesday. My poor sister has been greeted by her every morning to be told how many days left until she was going to Auntie Karleen’s. The pressure on Jon and I to give those little girls a good time was great and children are honest little creatures. I think we did ok as Ciana ( the two year old) told her mum that Auntie Karleen is fun. Mission accomplished I think.

We started off with a lunch time feast of mini fish and chips, mini burgers and hotdogs before we embarked on a mammoth cutting and sticking session. I have been complimented via facebook on my ‘amazing cutting and sticking apparatus’ provided. Well, of course! Any excuse to buy an array of coloured feathers, glitter, wobbly eyes and furry pom poms and I’m there. Mr Maker might have a Mr Maker-mobile and a TV show but he has nothing on me. Fact!

Arts and crafts packed away and PJ’s on the next game begins. We played game after game all night and we all giggled apart from a couple of minor episodes where the girls got stroppy with each other. One minute the best of friends, the next they are declaring the classic  “you’re not coming to my party” line. In little girl speak this is pretty serious (especially as neither have a birthday for at least 3 months) but it is forgotten in minutes and before you’ve even blinked they are best cousins again.

I promised them a yummy breakfast and that is exactly what they demanded when they came bounding into our bedroom early this morning. They also reminded me how we were going to feed the ducks before their Mum’s were coming to pick them up. Moral of the story: Children remember everything that you promise!
An auntie of my word, breakfast was prepared for the two little madams and then off we went to the duck pond. As much as they loved it, I have a sneaking suspicion I may have loved it just a little bit more. Just before lunchtime, we packed their bags for the umpteenth time and off they went with their mum’s and their bag of modern artworks. I was sad to see them go but I couldn’t help but breathe an incy wincy sigh of relief. Job well done by Auntie Karleen and Uncle Jon and no cuts, bruises or tears to send them home with. Judging by how tired I felt I think this should have gone down as exercise. Talking of exercise, I gave the swim on Saturday a miss and opted for some core strength work on my lounge rug while the girls looked on and giggled. My leg was still playing up and I really don’t want to get a serious injury.

No sooner had the girls gone home, my friend Louisa was here ready for our wholesome Sunday afternoon. While the shoulder of lamb sizzled in the oven, Jon recovered on the sofa and we went off for a brisk Sunday walk to Richmond Park. I have to say, Jon is a saint. After his weekend was hi-jacked by Auntie K inviting the girls over I then go and invite my friend too. He helped out with the girls and helped cook dinner too. Thank you Jon.

What an amazing afternoon Lou and I had. I love a fresh, crisp winter’s day with bright blue sky and sparkling sunshine. We started in Richmond Park and then headed along the river to Richmond. Looking at the pictures you wouldn’t believe we were in London. It’s only when you show somebody else around that you realise how special Richmond is. No wonder the Royals used to holiday here.

We indulged in a little afternoon tea and cake at the quaint Tea Box in Richmond Town Centre. If you like your tea then this little secret find is a must-have. Every detail has been taken care of from the seriously cute teaspoons with teapot detail on the handle, the timers on the table so that you can ensure your tea is brewed to perfection, the mini tongs with hands on the end to pick up your lumps of sugar, the extremely knowledgeable staff and the treasure chest that your bill is presented to you in. Everything about Tea Box is totally adorable. www.theteabox.co.uk . If you love tea you just have to go.

A brisk walk followed as the sun set and we had to play ‘beat the gate warden’. Time flies when you’re having fun and before we knew it, there was only 20 minutes until the park gates were closing and my car was still inside. I’m normally very sensible but Louisa has this special effect on me. She leads me astray and brings out my naughty side. We got back in the nick of time and made it home to enjoy a truly indulgent Sunday roast before Lou headed back to the faraway land of North of London.

With Lou gone there was nothing for it. I had to go out and run. After skipping both Parkrun yesterday and my scheduled long run today because of my niggling calf, I was desperate to get out and pound the pavement, even with a ton of Sunday roast and tea & cake in me.  Running gear on  and away I went with a little nervous anticipation. I felt I should include a picture of me heading out. It was tought tonight and I could have quite happily lazed about on the sofa.

Observations after Janathon day 9
·         Running after a massive Sunday roast is not a good idea. I spent most of the run tonight concentrating on keeping my food down
·         Running past restaurants when you are feeling slightly queasy following an indulgent Sunday roast is also not a good idea. The normally welcoming aromas of the delicious food nearly sent me over the edge
·         Running past a blocked drain when you are breathing heavily is definitely not a good idea especially after the above two observations. I was seriously close to chundering on tonight’s run
·         Having a blog to keep note of your training is a great distraction and gives you something to think about while you are running.
·         No matter how bad you feel on your run, that feeling of achievement you get when you finish always overrides the negative emotion
·         Tomorrow must be recycling collection day in Barnes as I had to dodge a truckload of Christmas trees on the pavement
·         Judging by the size of the Christmas trees on the pavement, there are lots of people in Barnes with way more money than me. Some of the badboys that I saw could rival the Griswold family Christmas tree in ‘ National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’.
I did my run tonight and it went better than I thought. My leg was ok while running and only really played up when I stopped, so I spent longer than normal stretching then gave it a bit of R.I.C.E treatment. I managed 100 sit-ups, 50 press-ups and 4 planks held for 20 seconds. The good news is that after mapping my run properly, I am pleased to note that the route that I have been recording as 4k is actually 4.75k. Although I didn’t manage to beat my Parkrun time this weekend or accomplish my long run, I am pleased with what I have achieved and my injury  isn't getting worse. Anyway, tomorrow is a new day.