Sunday Strolls and Two Training Diaries

Bonjour friends! Hope you’re all well, and safe from the snow if you’re in the States! Apparently the storm is making its way across to us in the UK now…. but will be rain by the time it hits. Excellent! Wouldn’t expect anything else 🙂

Today has been a very satisfying Sunday. Started off with a nice early run; then went for a wander along Seaton Sluice beach with my beloved and finished up with a very late lunch at Ernest, a cafe-bar tucked away on an inconspicuous street in Ouseburn. We had just missed the end of their brunch menu; so I ordered the veggie chilli burger (delicious) while James opted for the chorizo and butternut squash taco. Mmmmm.

So, I fell at the first hurdle with my training diaries (zero puns) as I realised on Tuesday that I had forgotten to upload anything at all for last week! So, here is my diary for this week and the week before – neither is especially exciting in honesty though; so you haven’t missed much 🙂

W/C 11th January 

This one got off to a bit of a rocky start; as James was off work and struggling with a wisdom tooth extraction that became infected – ouch. We also had some pretty cold weather which hindered conditions underfoot, so a bit light on the running this week!

Wednesday – Tried to go out for a run; skidded to the end of my street and decided that it wasn’t worth a broken bone. Retreated back to our warm house for some ballet barre exercises and weights.

Thursday – SNOWDAY. I had booked a double at the gym – Bodycombat followed by Yogalates – however the snow brought our whole estate to a standstill; and there was no chance I’d get there in time. So, instead, I cancelled the classes and went out for a very slow 5K in our temporary winter wonderland. By 9.30 it was already turning to slush, so there was a lot of running through icy puddles, but it was very very fun 🙂

Saturday – More weights and core work at home.

Weekly mileage total: 3.1 miles

Weekly workout total: 3 sessions

W/C 17th January 

Another light week, no excuses but laziness really! Half Marathon countdown is exactly 10 weeks today (eek!) so still enough time to get back into good shape; but next week needs to see a bit of ramping up.

Wednesday: Spinning class at the gym. I haven’t been spinning for a good few months, and this session was with a new instructor who is not a fan of sitting down on the bike!! My heart was almost jumping out of my chest and I finished feeling like I might have actually died (I may be slightly prone to exaggeration when physically tired). I would hesitate to say I enjoyed it, but I definitely felt the benefit!

Friday: Barre work and weights at home. I used to do ballet in my late teens and I really miss it; so these exercises are a nice throwback to those days! There are some ballet classes running in Newcastle; I might have to carry out some further investigations….

Sunday: Long Run day. Today was about 4.5 miles around the Town Moor. It wasn’t what I’d call a ‘good’ run; but it was nice to be out – and I was back home by 10! Plus another mile and a half or so along the beach.

Weekly mileage total:  6 miles

Weekly workout total: 3 sessions

Next week, I have a wedding dress fitting (argh!) and my hair and makeup trials…. exciting! I also have no doubt these two things will give me a fresh kick up the behind and spur me on to a bit more action on the exercise front 🙂

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Cravings of the Literary Variety

For the last couple of days, I have had a very prominent craving. I am craving a book. A very specific kind of book.

We are not short of them in our house. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we have books coming out of our ears; and I am in the middle of reading quite a few. My current victim is ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller – his account of a year spent reading all the books that we all say we’ve read; or maybe sometimes even think we’ve read, but haven’t. His list includes titles like Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, Paradise Lost and 100 Years of Solitude. I would consider myself a well-read person; but I have read none of these. As much as I am enjoying his book; it is making me crave a good, solid classic…. I have to admit it’s been a while since I’ve read anything that falls under that category!

I have decided that I would like to undertake my own ‘List of Betterment‘ over the course of 2016. I have started putting together a list of both modern and older titles which I have always wanted to read; but never actually got around to reading. I will share that list with you another time; but for now I need to decide what to start with.

There has been a copy of Ulysses by James Joyce sat on my bookshelf since a ‘cultural’ trip to Dublin in 2011 (if spending the weekend in the Guinness and Jameson’s factory can be classed as cultural). It is, without a doubt, the thickest and most intimidating book I own. When I picked it up; I had visions of broadening my mind like a true intellectual on the flight back home. The reality was a stinking hangover and a very short attention span – I didn’t open it once. I got home, unpacked it and have been sneaking guilty glances at it ever since. I think, if Betterment is the aim; this is to be the first. I have to at least try. Having toyed with this idea for the last couple of days; this article then dropped into my inbox this morning. Although I can’t say I’ve taken much encouragement from it; I do think it has sealed the deal.

So if you need me any time over the next few weeks (or maybe months, who knows how it will go!) I will probably be sat in my little bookish corner trying to wade my way through this:

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Getting back on the horse: a training diary

Sunday afternoons. Made for blankets, cups of tea and roaring fires. Unfortunately, we have to brave an Ikea trip this afternoon; so that winter bliss is about to be thrown out in the freezing cold….never mind; I’ll enjoy the next few minutes while it lasts!

This week has marked my first week of getting back on the exercise horse. In just under 12 weeks; I will be walking down the aisle in what I hope will be a beautifully fitting white gown. 12 weeks today; I will be running my first half marathon in about 2 years. Unfortunately though; I bought the dress a  year ago and I haven’t trained consistently since then; so both of these images are probably a little way from being a reality!

I am not one for excessive dieting. I love food too much and I can’t function on a few hundred calories a day, especially if exercising – not to mention that it’s not a healthy or sustainable approach! What I am aiming for instead; is a more conscious attitude to what I’m putting in my mouth, combined with regular and varied exercise. I have cut out mid-week alcohol; although I am allowing myself to drink on a Friday/Saturday night. I think this in itself will have a big effect – even one week in I can feel a difference. I’ve also been keeping an eye on my carb intake, just for the first few weeks – no bread, more veggies and less potatoes and rice with my evening meals. I am actually pleasantly surprised that I’m still feeling full after tea. Chocolates are always a killer, especially this time of year – the house is overflowing with leftover chocolates and biscuits – but I am coping OK so far! I have allowed myself little bits; but again nothing excessive.

I thought it might help me to do a weekly review of my week’s exercise and how I felt – firstly; because if I write it down I will have something to look back on and compare for progress; secondly because if it’s out there in the public sphere then there are more eyes on me to know if I’m slacking! Haha. So, here is week 1:

Wednesday 

I hadn’t run since the previous weekend; so I went out on a just-under 5K loop from our house. No alcohol since the previous Saturday. This run felt good; for the first time since I’d started getting out again. Steady pace at around 9.20/mile. I even managed a sneaky sprint finish!

Thursday

I did a Bodycombat class at my gym; my first one. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; I thought it was a circuit-style class – but it’s actually martial arts inspired. Lots of punching and kicking! I was a bit nervous to begin with but soon got into the swing of it – proved by the fact that I did an upward punch so hard that I jarred my elbow and spent the rest of the day trying not to move it! I’m no karate kid, clearly 🙂 next class booked for next week.

Sunday

‘Long Run Sunday’ as it is traditionally known in our house; or used to be back when we were both training well! Today’s ‘long’ run was just over 4 miles. Not far compared to what I used to do, but relative to my current situation. The run itself was horrible – it was cold and windy, I couldn’t get my breath and had to stop 2 or 3 times. Average pace just over 10/mile.

Weekly mileage total:  7 miles

Weekly workout total: 3 sessions

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday you lovely lot! Off to Ikea…..wish me luck…..

 

There Goes 2015: A Final Month Round-Up

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Happy new year everyone! Well done, you have made it through the first 2 days back at work and have almost reached the hump 🙂

I’ve not really blogged much of late; due to a variety of different reasons and other things taking over my life! Before I start throwing myself into the habitual New Year Resolutions zone, I thought I would spend today doing a bit of a December round up; as it was quite a busy month!

We’ll start with the crappy part – right at the beginning of December; I was made redundant. It was a bit of a shock, but not completely unexpected; and all things accounted for I think it really was more of a positive thing than a negative thing to have happened. I had been with my previous company since I left university; and although I had been through some great times with them and had learnt a lot from my experience there, I was ready to move on. So, I am taking the opportunity to take stock; gather myself together and get on with finding something new and exciting and fun! This might deserve a bit of a post all of its own at some point, on the list of things I’ve written to do while I’ve got the advantage of not being in work! 🙂

Right, now that is out of the way – on to all of the December festivities that were had!

My mam, sister and I had an afternoon at Kirkley Hall at the beginning of December, for a Christmas Wreath Making Workshop. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I read this post on So You’re Getting Married in 2014, and it did not disappoint!

To start with, we were taken through how to make the mossy base and wire it to the copper ring. Watch out for the earwigs! Once that was done, we layered the foliage base using different kinds of branches and leaves. Then, finally, it was time for decoration with pine cones, cinnamon sticks and dried oranges. As the piece de resistance; a beautiful big bow and a generous spraying of glitter to finish it off. I have to admit that I was really pleased with the result; despite a couple of (almost hidden) bald patches and a few scratches where I’d lost a battle with the holly leaves! I think we’ll be making this a yearly event 🙂

That same week, I had the annual Jools Holland its-now-officially-Christmas night out with a few friends. We go along to see his show every year at City Hall, and it officially marks the beginning of our festive season! This year was spectacular as usual. I can’t get my head around how someone can play piano so well, so fast! KT Tunstall and Ruby Turner were there as guests and by the end of the night we were all up on our feet singing along. Sorry about that, unfortunate guy sat next to me. I never said I could sing…..

The following week was my ex-works Christmas party, which I had already booked and paid up for; so I went along for some food, drinks and dancing! Unfortunately, there wasn’t very much food, and the dancing was replaced by more drinks :-/ Needless to say, the day after was messy, painful and emotional; and I would rather not talk about it at all thank you very much! I spent most of the day hiding from the world; moving only to the sofa to take up this position:

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Dark times; dark times indeed.

I spent the week leading up to Christmas catching up with friends and spending some quality time with Mr Knox, in between preparing the house for a McFarlane family invasion – our first year hosting Christmas! Then, on Christmas Eve, it was time for It’s A Wonderful Life at Tyneside Cinema. One of my most favourite fixtures of the holiday season; and guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the most Ebenezer of Scrooges! At the end of the showing; everyone always claps – it’s lovely 🙂

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Christmas Day itself came and went in a blur of cooking, presents and prosecco. The best kind of days! We had a lovely relaxing time with the family. Once the parents had retreated back home and my niece was asleep; myself, James and my sister sat down for my first game of Monopoly in about 3 years. Seems I’ve become a lot more competitive since last time I played! Still didn’t win though….

We spent New Year’s Eve at home with a few friends. The plan had been to head out to a restaurant for some food and a couple of drinks; unfortunately, however, we were a bit messed around and so in the end we decided against it and braved the supermarkets instead for a feast of pulled pork, garlic bread, salad and veg. Mmmmmm!

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Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on the TV, obvs!

P.S. This is what happens when you try to get a ‘nice photo’ with my other half….sigh:

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And that, as they say, was that! Here we are in 2016; year of the wedding. Eeeek! More on that to come…..

Here’s to 2016!