Monthly Archives: November 2015

The best laid plans…

Mostly I write my posts about a month after the event as a) I am basically lazy and b) I prefer to think my posts over and have space to decide whether what I am writing about is actually interesting or just me moaning…

This works ok most of the time but not when you end up being off work due to illness and your draft posts are 25 miles away on your work computer.

So yes, after getting to a nice place with this exercise and diet lark my plans were suddenly completely derailed by a serious chest infection that laid me low and off work for a number of days…I then went back to work (and exercise) too early and ended up being off again as I was still having trouble breathing and there was “no fuel in the tank” (spoilers: yes at the start of November I was in despair that the weight was going up rather than down but come  the end of November and the situation is much much different)

But being off has given me time to think and to plan.

I am pretty useless at following a diet and exercise plan unless I am doing it for a reason. For example I can give up alcohol quite easily but can also be easily persuaded to have a glass of wine if my abstinence is because I choose to for weight loss reasons. But tell me I am doing the Dryathlon to raise money for charity then I am steadfast in my refusal to touch a drop…

Give me a series of exercises to follow and I will find reasons not to do it but sign me up to a 6 week programme with a weekly check in then I will even drag my sick self in for the weigh in.

So I am going to set myself some targets…some are quite vague such as aim to start cycling to the station twice a week by the end of March or get down to 11.5 stone by the end of November (I failed this one incidentally because of the chest infection by 1lb !) but others are actual events… I have 3 of these in mind but I need more information about them as I have a nasty feeling that at least one of them will clash with something the Man already has tickets for…so I may have to have a rethink…

So keep your eyes out for an extra page appearing on this blog shortly setting out my goals for next year.

In other news I reached the end of the NHS weight loss programme…it was not an unqualified success but on the other hand it has lead me to changing my sluggish lifestyle for the better so it may work but with a timescale a lot longer than 12 weeks.

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Bend stretch repeat but with different results

This has been a bit of a mixed week to be honest. I had Spin Class at the start of the week and I just went for it and did my best despite the fact that I seem to have a bit of a niggle on my left leg.

I kept up pretty much but I am still not very happy at the parts of the session where we have to stand in our pedals. Standing on pedals is something I did quite a lot when cycling as a kid as Malvern where I grew up was pretty hilly but Warwickshire where we live  now has rolling countryside and most of the hills round us can be tackled sitting…

Having felt quite energised and motivated Tuesday night the following day I found myself phoning up for an impromptu day off having had an appalling nights sleep… possibly due to indigestion

I was also feeling at a low ebb. I felt paralysed and lacking in the energy to do anything. I couldn’t bring myself to knit or sew and I just felt that I was getting nowhere; the weight just wasn’t shifting no matter how hard I tried.

I felt in Limbo

Thursday it was back down to Banbury for Barre Fit and my mood was still pretty low. I felt like an elephant amongst gazelles, clumsy and uncoordinated..Probably wearing grey didn’t help things!

The Friday morning was the opposite of Wednesday. I felt tired but in a good way. The word that sprang to mind was ethereal as though my mind was free from clutter…

Not a Lights Review

I have some photos to add to this post but for some reason wordpress is not co-operating this evening

I recently purchased some new bike lights having been persuaded by a colleague that my set up was pretty poor – yes I was legal but if I ever got caught in the dark I would not necessarily be safe.

Fortunately he also had some ideas about what sort of lights would make me relatively safe without spending vast amounts…

“Of course if you decide that you like cycling in the dark then you may want to upgrade”

Colleague 3 from some weeks ago (now my Guru) favours Exposure as does colleague 2 because they have a good “burn time” i.e. generally last for around 3 hours on max power, and are both powerful and robust. They have an internal battery so no wires or additional battery packs.  However you can he says end up spending several hundred pounds on one unit which at the end of the day is just a torch!

On the rear he uses a  Cateye LD1100  which he considers “about the best there is” and since it turned out to be cheaper than he had lead me to expect I went ahead and ordered one… I don’t want to take risks on the rear light. If I am going to be hit at night I suspect it is mostly likely to be from behind because someone hasn’t realised I am there so I have a catsye which I intend to mount quite high on the bike and a small one down by the drop outs.

Because I live out in the middle of nowhere with little street lighting I’ve opted for a budget bright light the  Brite-R® Uno II CREE XM-L T6 LED which gives me a lot of light for under £20.

However I was not particularly impressed by the quality as I had only just taken it out of the box when this happened.  Also there is a lot of faff involved as the battery  is separate and has to be detached and charged up inside with its own little charger so you end up with lots of wires and cables on the bike. However it can be mounted as a head torch or as a bike light on the front.

Now the reason that this is not a lights review…I haven’t used them yet. Not quite true I did use the Catseye in the dark when we went down the Stratford Greenway recently but the Cree I have only tried by walking down the road… which isn’t really the point, if I want to do that I can just take a torch with me.

I feel a bit embarrassed. Here am I 44 years old and too scared to go for a ride in the dark…. I have had these lights for almost a month you know (a month in real time – most blog posts I write a month later, this one happens to be real time for once)

I have recently been reading the blog of Bri at Bike Like Crazy… I feel even more embarrassed. Not only does she bike at night but bikes all through the winter at all hours of the day and night and weather conditions… with minimum journeys of 10 miles and here am I too scared to take a spin round the block as it were (4 miles).

Leon of London

Leon of London

It’s Friday, the day after Barre Fit and I ache but I’m happy. What I’m not happy about is that I have a meeting in London and after a day in London I am usually ill… I think it’s being on the tube that does it, the sudden close proximity of 100’s and 100’s of different germs.

My friend Mrs LeRu doesn’t do the tube anymore. She decided on starting a new job in London that she would use the opportunity to keep fit and has started using the Boris Bikes instead of the tube to go from Paddington to Westminster.

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It’s feasible. There is a stand of bikes, in fact 2 stands of bikes near Marylebone and another just round the corner from the office. Oddly it is not fear of the traffic that holds me back (despite once acting for a man on 3 separate personal injury claims relating to being knocked off his bike in London) but fear of getting lost in the traffic… but then I guess that’s what sat nav is for… however my phone doesn’t do that sort of thing.

Instead I get my exercise from walking. If I have time I get off the tube at Charing Cross and walk up Whitehall to Westminster.

Sometimes I treat myself to a breakfast of porridge at Leon. Although in the months since I last did this I began to wonder whether actually Pret did better porridge…I put it down to the fact that they included holes in their porridge pot lids which let the steam out…

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So I was pleased to  discover that Leon were also now using the holes…the porridge was better but sorry guys still not as good as Pret… I feel like a traitor…because I love Leon…

This morning I was pleased to find an Itzu opened just by Charing Cross but they don’t do anything I want for breakfast…there was however an Itzu round the corner from the office and they did do something I wanted for lunch…

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I am also happy that walking to station at Leamington and then and down Whitehall from Charing Cross gave me my 10000 steps without trying  🙂

Called to the Barre

Thursday finds me tramping the dark mean streets of Bodicote a small village on the outskirts of Banbury. Council cuts means that there is hardly any street lights which is odd since the Council offices are located here.

It’s about 5 years possibly more since I was last here. It was for a planning appeal and we were starting to get a bit worried as the appeal was due to open and our barrister hadn’t arrived yet.  Suddenly my phone rings, it’s the barrister, she has broken down with a flat tyre and is waiting for the AA man. I head off in my car and finally find her down a little country lane that her SatNav had sent her. We agreed that I would wait for the AA man and she would take my car back to the Council Offices.  Eventually the AA man turns up and swaps the tyre over  (when you get your tyres changed at a garage they seem to super tighten the nuts which makes it very difficult to change especially if you are wearing high heels, tights and a business suit).

I now have the choice of sitting here until 4pm with the car or driving it back to Bodicote… the car is a Jaguar… this car is worth more than my annual salary… I have never been as scared in my life as I was sitting behind the wheel of that car.

I am feeling very similar now as I am about to walk into a room full of strangers… strangers who I soon discover are pretty much to a woman slim, fit and pretty. Next to them I feel like a beached whale…

But Sarah  the instructor is very nice and puts me at my ease telling me not to push myself if I don’t think I can…And then we are off… and boy is it intense.

I do my best to keep up but I am not sure my knees are up to it, all this holding of position… and then pulsing!  I thank whatever gods there are that I have been cycling regularly for the last 3-4 months otherwise I would be left far far behind.  The other problem is I don’t understand the jargon. I have vague memories from ballet lessons age 4… but I gave it up when it got serious and started talking about pile and 5th position…which is a shame as these are exactly the words Sarah has just used !

My best is not enough- these girls are fit and awesomely resilient. Towards the end I am clearly flagging but the end is a cool down and moves into some basic gym based fitness positions linked to yoga. I accidently learn what a “downward dog” being told when I am meant to be doing a plank “we are not on to downward dog yet”

At the end Sarah is reassuring that I am not as bad as I thought and that must of her ladies have been with her for several years…

And then it’s over and I am out into the dark mean streets of Bodicote once again.   At home I collapse on the sofa… but the pain that night is nothing compared to the pain the next day when I can hardly move, yet somehow I have to make my way to London for a meeting despite not being able to bend my legs without my muscles complaining.

Let’s Off Road/ the Last Waltz

The last official flight of the Vulcan took place this afternoon (debatable) over Gaydon Motor Heritage Centre… and since one of the things the Man loves more than possibly his wife and child is the last flying Vulcan nothing was going to stop him seeing it… not even the predicted traffic congestion and the fact that tickets to the actual site have been sold out for months…

We were going to see it. All of us, as a family “after all the Boy was there for its first public outing” (he was, Aged about 2.5 if I remember correctly…in 2007 when we were rebuilding the house).

And what’s more we were going by bike because we just happen to live not far from junction 12 and have easy access to bridleways and other cross country routes… a good opportunity for “the Special One” (the Man’s new bike) to get muddy and for the Boy to try some off road muddy cycling…

At least it would have been had we not managed to lose the bridle way and ended up pushing the bikes along several public footpaths and over various stiles. However a local farmer showed us the error of our ways and managed to point us back on route (and let us over a couple of his fields in order to rejoin the century way)…

The Boy was not impressed… too much horse muck/sheep muck/cow muck… too many brambles… grounds too bumpy…. Etc etc. Honestly this boy could moan for Wales (the males in the family claim to be Welsh, and not just because England haven’t got passed the group stage of the World

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All moaning was forgotten once we got the other side of the M40 and the glorious Vulcan appeared above us, swooping and waltzing and dancing across the sky…I will never cease to be amazed at how graceful such a big plane manages to be… and unfortunately I will now never see that dance again

The Boy finished his first off road bike experience with pockets full of conkers…

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A bittersweet day. Fun but sad

Finally the Gym

There is not a lot to say about my first attempt at the Gym… it passed uneventfully and, as everyone told me after last Mondays failure… there was nothing to be scared off and no one else will even notice you are there…

And that was the truth… so much so that no one noticed me struggling to work out how the stationary bike worked (for the warm up) and after wasting 10 minutes I did think of skipping the warm up but then asked someone – “it starts automatically, just pedal”

And then suddenly it was all over and I was waiting for the Boy in the corridor like most weeks

He had some exciting news, he has moved up a group… yet there appears to be no room in the Saturday or Sunday stage 5 lessons… so maybe my early morning gym sessions are over before they begin?

Sunday it was more of the same – having acquired a pair of groovy shark shaped earphones to go in my phone – because pumping Iron is dull… (I discovered that in the first 30 seconds) – I then forgot to bring them… my second session was faster than the first… but no less dull…I  ended up watching the revamped Thunderbirds which was playing with subtitles over the gyms TV…