Olympic inspiration

Hello again! Oh dear, it’s been rather a long time since I last posted. I haven’t quite got over the reluctance to run I reported in my last post, but you’ll be pleased to know I am getting there. Since I last wrote in mid-July, I’ve been on a grand total of 7 runs, none of them very fast, and none more than 10k…

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Evidence that I have been running, exhibit A! Arrow Valley parkrun #IAmTeamGB © Nick Haynes

But in the last two or three weeks I’ve definitely got some of my mojo back after being super-inspired by the amazing Team GB athletes at the Rio Olympics! My hubby Tom and I watch a lot of sport on TV anyway, whether it’s rugby, football, cricket, or more recently cycling – but we were absolutely addicted to watching the Olympics, so much so that when we finally had to admit defeat and go to bed, we still set an alarm for stupid o’clock in the morning to watch Usain Bolt and Mo Farah run their gold medal races!

IMAG0285My Olympics highlight was definitely the track cycling. Tom’s been pretty into watching the major classic road races on TV for the past couple of years, so in the lead-up to the Olympics we watched the Tour de France highlights pretty much every night, but track cycling is a completely different kettle of fish. At the start of the Olympic events I had almost no clue what was going on, but I think I’ve got a handle on it now (sort of), and boy is it exciting! I thought I might have a heart attack during Laura Trott’s Omnium points race! What a woman (#girlcrush)!

Runners in red, white and blue for the #IAmTeamGB sports day at Arrow Valley parkrun © Karl Hanks

Runners in red, white and blue for the #IAmTeamGB sports day at Arrow Valley parkrun © Karl Hanks

Sadly, I don’t have a bike (yet…watch this space!) so there was the slight problem of a lack of suitable vehicle to give output to the awesome inspiration provided by the Olympic cycling! Nevertheless, I have managed to get off my bum for a few runs recently, including yesterday’s “I Am Team GB” themed parkrun, and I even played a game of badminton for the first time since school! Well, when I say “played”, I mean Becky and I played two against one with Tom (who still won). Never mind – I got sweaty and ached like mad the next day so I must have had a pretty good workout! I’m definitely keen to play again!

Another exciting sporting development is that I have started to learn how to swim! I mean, I *can* already swim, and actually I can swim quite far when I want to, I just don’t swim very well. I had operations on my ears when I was a kid, which meant that when we had swimming lessons at school I wasn’t allowed to put my head underwater. As an adult I’ve kind of taught myself to do “head under” breast stroke, rather than the “head up” granny stroke, but whenever I’ve had a go at freestyle I end up whirling my arms around and kicking my legs like a mad thing and get absolutely knackered after a length or two.

So, me, my friend Ruth and a couple of her friends Sharon and Helen, who are also running folks, had a lesson last Monday with a triathlon coach called Mark. We spent 20 minutes or so on dry land, learning the correct arm technique for front crawl, then about half an hour in the pool to practice what we’d learned. We used a ‘pull buoy’ – a float that you put between your legs so we  could just focus on the arms.  I definitely feel that I made progress in that one session, so I went to the pool again on Wednesday to try it all out, and again this morning with Ruth and Helen. I still have some work to do on technique but this morning I managed quite a few lengths without the pull buoy so, er, triathlon here I come?! (Once I’ve got a bike…)

Finally, sorry about the lack of sweaty selfies – I lost my phone recently (boo) and the old phone I’ve been using in the meantime has a really naff camera. I’m getting a new phone after the bank holiday and it has quite a whizzy camera apparently, so you’ll soon be able to see my sweaty face again, lucky people!

5×50 Day 2: Yoga cop out

The bank holiday has gone so fast! :-/ Still, we did have a lovely evening with friends last night and consequently I was a little bit “tired” again today (am I sounding like an alcoholic?!) so I didn’t run.

But, I couldn’t skip out on the 5×50 Challenge – especially seeing as it’s only day 2! – so I did a 30 minute yoga video while waiting for my dinner to cook. It was quite a gentle stretchy one, so maybe a bit of a cop-out, but I really do need to stretch more often so I’m OK with it! And I did run 16 bloody miles yesterday!

3 mile run = 596.6/1000 = 403.4 miles to go!

2015-09-10 20.55.48Today’s 3 mile run was a ‘netball sandwich’, where I ran 1.5 miles to netball training, played netball, then ran 1.5 miles home again.

As you might know, I am doing this 1000 mile challenge in aid of a charity called CALM. CALM stands for ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’, and it’s a charity that aims to provide help and support for men struggling with stress and mental health issues, and to provide services for people who have been bereaved by suicide. It is particularly poignant to mention this today, because it happens to be World Suicide Prevention Day.

Suicide is not the nicest subject to talk about, but in a way, that’s kind of the point of the CALM charity. Because it’s not nice to talk about, we don’t talk about it, or the underlying problems that might lead someone to do it, and then it comes as a huge shock when someone does decide to take their own life.

It was a huge shock when my own Granddad committed suicide in January, but when I think about it, perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Granddad was the classic ‘grumpy old git’ – always moaning about this, that and the other, and when he wasn’t complaining he used to tell the same stories over and over again about the time he spent in the Army.

The thing is, he only ever told us the good stories, the ones about girlfriends in Germany, or visiting the city of Petra, or boyish japes in the NAAFI. I’ll never know the full extent of the awful things he must have seen and no doubt done during his service during the Suez Crisis, but I’m positive that his bottling up of all those dark memories can’t have been good for his mental state.

Suicide is a particular problem in men. Above cancer, heart disease, drug use and road traffic accidents, it is in fact suicide that is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 50 in the UK. What’s more, of all suicides in this country, 78% of them are men. But just as you can take measures to protect yourself against heart disease and car crashes, suicide is also preventable.

I’m sure it’s very different for service personnel now, but back in my Granddad’s day, men were expected to ‘get on with it’ and ‘man up’. Perhaps many men today think they’re expected to do the same, but when they find they can’t, there seems to be only one option… I don’t know, I’m not an expert, but I do know that services like the helplines, events and the information that CALM puts out are absolutely vital in the quest to reduce the number of needless deaths by suicide in the UK.

Thanks for bearing with this blog post and sorry it was a bit heavier than usual! If you would like to support CALM’s work financially, then please consider donating a little something to the charity via my JustGiving page, here: https://www.justgiving.com/LisarunningforCALM. If not, that’s absolutely fine – it isn’t all about money – but I hope instead that I have raised a little more awareness about suicide in men and the work of CALM. For more information, please check out www.thecalmzone.net.

Blogilates day

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m going to make a concerted effort this August to get my weight and fitness levels back on track after a summer of knee injuries and business trips (which inevitably means an insurmountable challenge for my willpower when it comes to eating and drinking!). I’ve put on about 6lbs from my ‘happy weight’ and I feel a bit flabby at the moment so I’m going to gradually build up my running again and also do some cross training to strengthen up.

So today I did day 1 of the Blogilates calendar for August (password to access the calendar is ‘goodvibesonly’ if you don’t want to sign up for the newsletter!), plus one of the workouts from day 2 (since I’m starting the calendar a little late, I’m going to incorporate the day 2 workouts over the next few days to catch up!). Today’s videos were all about the thighs – I’m going to be sore tomorrow!!

HIIT my Abs Hard!

8 Min Bikini Thighs Workout

Intense Inner Thigh Challenge

I Really Like You Squat Challenge

And today’s bonus video….6 Mins to a Sexy Little Waist

Netball match

I’ve been plagued with pain in my left knee recently, which seems to get better after a few days rest, but then when I try running again it starts hurting again 😦 I’ve rested completely for over a week since the 10K Race for Life – haven’t even been to netball training – and my knee feels OK again, so I thought I’d give tonight’s netball match a go. Plus we were short on players so I was needed!

We lost – as usual! – but it was a fun game and I played GK so wasn’t running around too much – I covered about 1.75km in total. Happy to report post-match my knee feels absolutely fine 🙂

Netball match

This wasn't a selfie from today (I forgot to take one today, sorry!) - it was from before a wedding reception I went on Saturday, and I quite liked it, so here it is.

This wasn’t a selfie from today (I forgot to take one today, sorry!) – it was from before a wedding reception I went on Saturday, and I quite liked it, so here it is.

Hello, it’s been a few days since I posted! I’m still resting my knee from running, and now that Juneathon is over, I don’t *have* to exercise every day, so, um, I haven’t… For the remainder of my trip to Prague I also ate ALL the food so I do feel like a bit of a heffer at the moment! Time to get back on it!

I played in a netball match tonight for what felt like the first time in absolutely ages. We lost – abysmally! – but I did get player of the match, so I was very happy with that!! My knee seemed to hold up OK, although since I am goalkeeper I don’t do too much running around. Still, I can’t feel it twingeing, so *maybe* I’ll try a short run tomorrow…I should have done at least 500 miles by the end of June so at 505.3 I’m slightly behind schedule with my 1000 mile challenge – need to get back on track soon! I have a 10km run on Sunday so hopefully I’ll be OK for that!

Juneathon Day 28: Wandering around Prague

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Selfie on the Charles Bridge

I flew to Prague this afternoon to attend a conference, where I’m exhibiting for one of my freelance clients. I’ve never been to Prague before, so I made sure to arrive a little bit early so I could see some of the city, not just the inside of a windowless, air-conditioned congress hotel!

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Beautiful Prague

By the time I landed at Prague airport, collected my luggage, bought public transport tickets and navigated buses and metros to get to my hotel, I’d already walked a fair way – hefting a roll-up exhibition banner over my shoulder and dragging a very heavy suitcase full of leaflets across Prague’s cobbled streets was exercise enough on its own!

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First taste of Czech beer (not ever, just while on Czech soil!)

I checked into my hotel, grabbed a map from reception and headed straight back out the door again, keen to see as much as possible! I wandered and wandered for several hours, stopping to take photos, and grab a my first taste of Czech beer on Czech soil too, of course! All in all I walked about 5 miles, so I think I earned that beer!

Juneathon Day 26: Blogilates again

2015-06-26 17.05.24So I’m marking A-level exams right now. Ugh. I do it every year – it’s boring as heck but it’s pretty good money that – as a self-employed person – I don’t have to pitch and schmooze to win. I was given 355 scripts to mark at the beginning of June, and am supposed to have finished them by tomorrow…but I still have 92 scripts to mark…eek.

Consequently, because I had so much work to do and couldn’t spare the time to leave the house, my Juneathon exercise today was another half-hour Blogilates video. I actually had a phase last year where I did these every day, and I think I might get back into them because I’m so weak and inflexible!

Juneathon Day 25: Another Blogilates video

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Blogilates in my netball kit!

Though my knee still isn’t quite runnable, it is starting to feel much better (I can get down the stairs without wincing now), so I thought I would test it out by going to netball training tonight. Unfortunately, when it was time to leave the house, could I find my house keys???

Tom goes mad at me for “losing” my keys, well for “losing” anything really, as it happens quite a lot. And of course I never actually lose anything, I just forget where I last put it. To make matters worse, I’m not very good at looking for things either – Tom calls it “having a Lisa look”…

Tom was out at cricket nets this evening, and I remember him saying to me as he went out of the door that he was taking my car, so when I couldn’t find my car/house keys I assumed he must’ve accidentally taken both my set of keys and his. I exasperatedly upturned all the usual places but my keys never surfaced. By this time, it was already 7.15pm (netball starts at 7pm for an hour) so I gave up on the idea and put a Blogilates video on for my Juneathon activity instead.

Then when I got out of the shower, I found my keys on the window sill….d’oh….

Juneathon Day 24: Blogilates workout

2015-06-24 21.48.54It’s so frustrating that I can’t run at the moment! I’ve just done an indoor Blogilates workout on YouTube when I could be outside in the lovely fresh air. Bah humbug.

I was going to swim again today, but I’m snowed under with work so thought I would do a quick half hour YouTube workout downstairs instead of having to drive to the pool and faff about with getting changed, getting dried etc. Found a 25 min video I hadn’t done before – it wasn’t too tough compared to some of the other Blogilates vids I’ve done, but I have a feeling I will feel my abs in the morning!

Speaking of Blogilates, you may have noticed that the Blogilates Stretch Project has fallen by the way side…oops. But doing this video today – and reading how my runner’s knee may have been caused by too-tight hamstrings – means I am determined to get more flexible!!