Category Archives: keep fit

Where I’ve been and where I’m going

You may be surprised to hear, in view of my woeful inability to make regular posts to this blog that I actually achieved pretty much all of my goals in 2016. Let me rephrase that, I achieved almost all of the exercise related goals but fell down miserably on the weight targets… but then once you miss one weight milestone it can be difficult to get back on track unless you make them flexible…

The only exercise goal I did not achieve was the ambition to cycle to the train station regularly but failure here was down to circumstances (dropping the Boy off with his grandparents) not being compatible with the train timetable. Hopefully this year the Boy will start being more organised and will be able to walk to the bus stop on his own after having remembered to lock the front door !

I am a Wolf Runner, a Metric Centurion and a Warwickshire Triathlete, I have the medals to prove it and at some point there will be a blog post on here and photographic evidence too.

I have achieved part of the purpose of this blog. In 2016 I got fitter and I think a little bit healthier. The weight has gone down but I hit a plateau and just can’t seem to get past the 11 stone barrier and since the summer I have yoyo-ed between 11 and 11 stone 7lbs.

Part of the problem I think is I lost focus. The idea of the challenges was to find something to keep me incentivised to exercise but I found that instead of exercising to get fit and lose weight I was training to the challenge… and collecting a fine crop of medals although exceedingly gratifying was not the point.  It also failed to impress the Boy or get him enthused about the idea of being outside.

The Man on the other hand is very keen on the idea of cycling to work and after one expensive false start of buying the wrong bike now has quite a sporty roadbike/hybrid… The garage is suffering from N+1++ a number of our bikes are recondition/rebuilds which makes me quite happy. The Raleigh Candice is finished save for some new bar tape, the Boy has a reconditioned Trek as a temporary bike and we have promised him a new bike when he is a little taller (he is growing like a weed at the moment).

So I am going to make things easier on myself this year. The only target is to lose 1lb a week and to weigh at least 1 stone less this time next year…

There are some fun challenges along the way such as a run from Lands End to John O Groats (no, not really…I have a living to earn) plus a walk from the Shire to Rivendell and then either to  the Mines of Moria or Mount Doom…

There will be photos.. there will be retrospective blog posts about last year… there will be bike related musings… after all there are now 6 bikes in the garage (only 2 belong to me) and there will be some thoughts on eating (as if I genuinely want to get down to 10 stone I will have to address what I eat as well as what I do)… in short, there will be a lot more blogging than last year… although that’s not going to be difficult !

Advertisements

It’s not how far you have to go that is the problem…

… but knowing that you have to cycle back!

I thought I would bring things up-to-date here and tell you about how I am getting on with at least some of my plans for this year… it does mean that this blog becomes slightly out of sequence as I will go back and cover some of the things I have done in the last 6 months at some point…

About 12 months ago I took my first ever selfie to commemorate my first bike ride in a couple of years… this is how I looked after managing 4.5 miles in about 35-40 minutes – (I managed to walk/run the same distance 11 months later in just over 60 minutes and felt less tired which just shows how unfit I was).

This is I think my 4th ever selfie taken 12 months later and shortly after I arrived at work one Friday…2015-05-10 09.49.06

I had just cycled from home to work some 25 odd miles in 2 hours 45 minutes… not completely representative of my state as this is some 10 minutes later after I’d changed and sat down to have a coffee…i20160527_091718

I had been too distracted to take a photo immediately I arrived as I was having trouble working out how my new D lock worked…

And this is how I looked some 8 hours later after I had repeated the journey back… still look quite happy and not as tired out as the first picture…

20160527_192033_1

I was tired though but exhilarated…

I think I was lucky that Google maps sent me along quite a green and pleasant route, there were lots of country roads and quiet backroads through parts of towns (Warwick, Kenilworth)…my Mum thinks country roads are more dangerous as cars hurtle down them at speed but I think I would rather take my chances with them than some of the busier town roads… certainly the bit of the journey when I was actually in Solihull was dirty, dustier and noisier.. the air just tasted different and not in a nice way…

The journey back was the more stressful as it was rush hour out of Solihull and a Friday night at that so it started early… going to work it was almost as if I was the only person on the road for a lot of it as I started early (6am) in order to reach work at a reasonable time.

Very grateful to the Man, the Boy and my parents for helping out and covering the usual Friday morning drop off arrangements for the Boy which usually prevent me from being able to set out so early…

The Ups and downs of the Heart Rate Monitor

My Fitbit is one of those that monitors your heart rate… how accurate this is god only knows but whether it is accurate or not I think there are benefits of being able to see how your heart rate changes during activity and during periods of sloth.

I felt quite chuffed when I first got my Fitbit to discover that my resting heart rate was actually quite good…it was between 57-64 bpm. Not bad I thought for a fat girl who has only really been exercising since the summer and only taking a real interest in being healthier since October (so 3 months at that time).

I started to get quite alarmed therefore when I noticed an upward trend in my resting bpm from about the end of January. Pretty much every day from the end of January until the end of February I saw a daily increase in the resting level… and then it plummeted back to early January levels.

It was only when it started to go up again that I realised what the trigger was… stress… and some of the things that go hand in hand with stress. It was at the end of January that things started to get stressful at work as I started to prepare for the Court case at the end of January…

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post as I got busier and more stressed my exercise went out of the window. I drank more coffee (caffeinated), cut back on the amount of water I drank (because I didn’t have time to leave my desk to get it), started missing lunch and not going for a walk or a run as I was working through.

It also coincided with the end of dry January and my intake of red wine went up quite a lot too…

Up and up it went until the date of the court case… and then 2 days after it dropped…

Googling later it revealed that yes stress, alcohol and not drinking enough water can dramatically affect your resting heart rate…

So there you are then… lesson learned… or perhaps not as since the end of April I’ve been dealing with a Judicial Review… once again diet and exercise have gone out the window and my resting heart rate has gone up.

I’m not going to let it happen a third time.

 

Pressing the Reset Button

It’s been awhile…I didn’t mean to be away for so long… it’s just when things get busy it’s hard to keep all the balls in the air…

When you are part of a family, yes you have a right from time to time to do what you want to do but you also owe certain obligations to that family, to pull your weight, do your share of the chores and make sure the household functions… kinda like society in miniature !

I try not to let my keep fit/health goals impinge too much on family life… I also try very hard not to let work interfere with family life or family intrude into the work sphere…

…and when things get busy or stressful then something has to “give”…

I think I have mentioned before that I’m a lawyer. Well before I went “in-house” I used to be a high street litigation lawyer; mostly personal injury and debt action but also breach of contracts, general disputes and occasionally a repossession.

We don’t tend to do much civil litigation ourselves at work (except judicial reviews), mostly disputes get farmed out to external solicitors but occasionally for small claims court stuff or possession claims I have to revive my litigation skills.

Anyway as I got to the end of the Couch25k my work life suddenly started to get busy. This was the end of January. I had started preparing for the court hearing due at the end of February of the case I’d started last October to remove some trespassers from our land. Trespass cases are meant to be over and done within about 10 days of issuing… not this one though as at the hearing last November our case was adjourned for a longer hearing…

Suddenly out of nowhere a firm of solicitors started writing to me claiming they were acting on behalf of one of the Defendants who had somehow managed to get Legal Aid

After that it all got very complicated and very very busy. I had so many things that needed to be resolved. And well, the one rule in my job is that litigation comes first. You have to meet the Court imposed deadlines, no excuses.

I also found that I couldn’t run or cycle or do any activity which would mean I would spend long periods of time inside my own head because I’d start to think and worry and fret about things… I guess the answer would have been to find someone to run with… instead I reduced my activity to spin class only

So yes pretty much the diet, exercise and trying to be health took a bit of a nose dive… I managed to do just about enough to mean that when I did my first 5k run at the beginning of March it wasn’t a complete disaster and I managed to avoid piling on loads of weight… it’s just it wasn’t coming off very quickly…

We were back in Court at the end of February which solved many things but we have still ended up with yet another court date (July) and a long list of directions which has meant me being busy for most of March and April but it hasn’t been quite so bad…

… and then just when I thought things were getting back to normal I ended up with a judicial review to deal with on another matter…

I will try and catch up over the next few weeks PLUS I finally have some updates on what is happening with the Raleigh Candice I was meant to be rebuildingV

Decision Time

If you are a long distance commuter by car you either spend a lot of time listening to the radio or a lot of time thinking. Sometimes both. Therefore after about 10 years of travelling up and down the M40 I like to think that I probably know myself quite well having spent rather a lot of time inside my own head.

For example I know that if given the choice between exercise and staying in the warm on the sofa I will choose the sofa everytime… unless someone gives me a really good reason as to why I should go out.

I also know that if you give me a timetable or programme and say “it’s your job to follow these instructions” I know that I will do so, and being pigheaded and stubborn I will keep going until the programme is either complete or pretty much complete.

Do not EVER give me free will over whether to do or not do exercise because it just won’t happen.

This is why, having completed the C25K I now have a bit of a problem. According to the plan and goals for 2016 I have decided by June to have completed both the Matt Roberts Fat Loss programme and the Bike your Butt Off book with the cycling being first up.

But the BYBO programme does not include running and I know, because I can’t see a reason to run that this means that I won’t take a step outside in running shoes for the next 12 weeks…which will be a bit of a problem for me later in the year when I have to run.

So I am contemplating swapping the 2 programmes around. But I have procrastinated and wasted a week by not doing anything. So instead, for reasons I will explain another day, I have decided to take a weeks holiday from most activities apart from the Spin classes which I enjoy.

The other main decision I have to take is whether to enter the Bristol Night Ride or not.  Having originally decided to do it on my own I was then quite pleased when a colleague said he thought he might do it too.  I then got used to the idea of having company, someone who would be there in case of mechanical break down. So it came as a bit of a blow when on Monday he said he might not after all and would decide one way or the other by the end of April.

It’s alright for him. He could easily cycle 60 miles and not notice it but if I want to do this I need to start training and building up my mileage and my informal plan has me completing a 10 mile ride by the end of January. So I have about 2 days to make a decision.

Here’s hoping next week will be more certain…

 My Partner in Crime

They say it is easier to lose weight if you have a fitness buddy. Someone who either is exercising with you and is there to bolster your resolve or someone who knows what you are planning on doing and can keep you on track…

I guess I have Mrs 54… she is there for at least one of my weekly runs and she does keep me going when we are struggling to complete our snails pace 5ks…

But it would appear that I have more than one “cheer leader” on my side.

The Man was not happy when I posted my list of challenges up on Facebook on New Year’s Day… which is why I quickly took it down again.  He considered that I was “trying to kill myself”… he may be right. It is quite a list for someone who has only just climbed off the sofa and… and… well he lives with me, he has hill walked with me and he has seen what happens when my batteries go flat… I come to a grinding halt and just have to go to bed to sleep until I have recovered…and it just happens, without any warning.

He is also a little worried that I might be campaigning to get the rest of the family exercising… there is a set of children books that we used to read to the Boy when he was small about a family of elephants called The Large Family and one day Mrs Large decides they all need to get fit so she has them all involved in a fitness regime “there is a sardine and some grated carrot for tea followed by a nice healthy run round the park…”  It ends happily (with cake) and one of the children saying “I think Elephants are meant to be big Mum”

Anyway, the Man has slowly, bit by bit come round to the idea. It started with “We need to sit down tonight and work out our commitments for the year; we need to put the dates of what we both want to do onto the calendar…”

Slightly later after a trip to the sales he hands me a book he has picked up called “The running log”… “It’s so you can keep track of what you have done whilst you train for your events…”

And finally he bought me a FitBit… I had asked for a simple pedometer as a replacement for a Christmas present that went back to the shop, one that would clip on to my bra as I was fed up of my cheap pedometer which pinged off everytime I went to the toilet…

When he asked about them it turned out that the shop in question had pretty much sold out of the pedometer FitBits due to “New Years resolutions… everyone wants to get fit after Christmas”… We “only have 2 left” said the girl in the shop “this one which is purple and quite small and…”

“I’ll take it” said the Man. “Purple is my wife’s favourite colour and she has incredibly small wrists…” he considered it to be serendipity.

So that was that. I became a slave to the FitBit and late night walks to bring my step count up to 10,000… but if the other week was anything to go by I would say it is working as I do seem to have broke through the plateau… Finally.

Week  5 Day 3

I haven’t written much about the C25k as to be honest one session has been much like another involving much procrastination and self negotiation to get me to put my trainers on and get out the door.

Each time I complete a session I am elated that I manage to run for that number of minutes followed by a day or 2 of despair as I contemplate the next session and wondering how I am going to run for even that miniscule extra amount of time…

Yes, the increases do seem small to someone who is not trying to go from a standstill to running in 9 weeks but believe me each extra minute seem an impossible task when you are in the process of trying to achieve.

An example of the difference of perception both a seasoned runner and a non runner can have compared to a learner is the conversation I had with 2 colleagues who run. They don’t run at work because they find the terrain around the office flat dull and boring “What do you mean flat?” I exclaimed “I can tell you exactly where each incline starts and finishes and how steep it is!”

Week 5 Day 3 however is in a different league of increase. Whereas most days you get a couple of extra minutes W5D3 goes from a longest run of 8 minutes straight up to 20… it is, according to the internet where most people falter.

I expected to be amongst the fallen. At the start of Week 5 I seriously expected that I would still be trying to complete W5D3 well into the New Year and as a result kept putting the first attempt off.  I was meant to make the attempt on Christmas Day. Well. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so decided to run after we were kicked out of work on Christmas Eve…however I managed to find other urgent things that needed to be done… like wrapping. Christmas Day I contemplated my trainers… for about 30 seconds. Boxing Day  I woke up early, stared very hard at my trainers but decided that there was far too much preparation needed for dinner  (This was 7.30am, dinner was at 2pm…)

It was not until latish on the Sunday morning that myself and Mrs 54 managed to guilt each other out of the house and down the road as part of a dog walk. Both agreed we would just give it our best shot and that there was no shame in failure… and maybe to improve our chances we would walk for longer than 5 minutes so that we didn’t set off on the hill…

And you know what, despite the rain, we kept going…and even, due to a glitch in the App, ran for 25 minutes… so next week should be a breeze.

You cannot believe the sense of euphoria that enveloped us. We kept stopping and grinning at each other not being able to believe that we had managed it on the very first attempt… albeit an attempt that was probably slower than if we had been going at our normal dog walking speed…

Of course after that we started googling races under the delusion that we were now runners and basically the next stop was the London Marathon.

Didn’t last for long though as Week 6 Day 1 then kicked my sorry bottom because despite the longest session being only 8 minutes it wore me out… I also used Strava to time the run and measure distance. Boy was that an eye opener (Yes, if I had walked the whole 2.7 miles it would have been quicker than the run/walk!)