Sunday, 20 March 2011

A slump and a grump

Hhhhhhmmmmmmmm. Prepare yourselves for a bit of a groan......

So I had a busy week at work last week. I missed a couple of gym sessions because I had to be in work early and to add insult to injury I didn't really get enough sleep at all over the last 7 days. Lack of sleep hits me *hard* and really affects my moods. So, come Friday night I was really ready for a lovely meal out with my friend Tammi. One drink turned into another and we rolled back home at around 3am Saturday morning. Whoops.

Whilst I had the best time, hangovers hit me hard and pretty much wiped me out all day yesterday. I ate, I moped, I ate, I slept, I ate and then had a couple of snacks. Result? Miserable, crappy, boring Jess. I know full well that a big night out can totally wipe me out. So, I'm cross with myself for having *that last* couple of drinks that I really didn't need.

I'm now having a minor panic about the Liverpool half Mara next Sunday. I know I was never going to be anywhere near my race fit levels, but I'm still happy to run it for the training and for the distance. I just hate the thought that I could have run it faster. However, onwards and upwards. Plus, I have already started putting together a training plan for the amazing Midnight Sun Marathon which I'm running in June. (See my new and funky widget on the right hand side of this page - I'm raising funds for Parkinson's UK. I'll write a full post about it during the week as it merits a proper introduction!).

In summary, then, I've been a grumpy cow-bag all weekend and I HATE not achieving anything during my cherished days off except for the ubiquitous washing, ironing, cooking and shopping. I really missed my long run but neither my head nor my heart was really in it. Plus my housemate is in London on a week off and I've been sat in the house sulking alone! I could easily have got out and about today but I only made it as far as the Co-op for some emergency supplies. Soooooooooooo, back on the training plan tomorrow starting with a 45 min tempo run followed by circuits at 0715h. I'll kick my sorry arse back into touch and start my week as I mean to go on!

Watch this space for a much more upbeat post in the week. Promise. :-)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

What a week!

Blimey. So much can happen in just five days. In short, I have made the following decisions since last Monday:

1. I am 100% staying in Cardiff;
2. I am not moving back to London;
3. I am staying with my fab housemate (and Landlady) when she moves house in June;
4. I am committing to nailing a kick-ass career with my current employer;
5. My Dad is stepping in to help flog my London flat; and
6. I am going to lose at least 7lb of body fat by my 30th birthday (29/3/11).

What prompted these decisions? Well, I booked Monday Tuesday and Wednesday last week off work. I planned a flat-hunting trip in Cardiff with Dad on Monday followed by an appointment with my mortgage lender (ouch!) to see whether I could afford to live on my own. In short, this started a domino-effect in decision-making which made me really focus on selling my London flat which will, in turn, increase my disposable income here in Cardiff. Plus, I am on the cusp of a promotion and I am going to NAIL it in the next few months!

The following day I decided to take some time out and went to Swansea on the train with my friend Matt from work. This was *such* a great day out - we walked from Swansea train station to Mumbles and that took us about 2.5-3 hours! Here's Matt on the beach path playing on some of the installations along the route:
And the views along the beach were absolutely gorgeous. It was a bright day, there was a slight chill in the air and the sun was shining.

And there are even some weird and wonderful sculptures to play around on too. This was my favourite one - an Eagle! But you could only really tell it was an Eagle from a certain angle. You can just about see the Eagle's head behind me here and I am sat on its 'wings':
Then I had a little play on some of the fitness installations on the running trail:
Matt and I had a brilliant day and it was just what I needed to sort out all the thoughts spinning around in my head from the previous days' flat-hunting and bank meetings. When we got to Mumbles we had lunch at Salt and a little walk around the shops. Plus in total we drank about 6 cups of coffee each and Matt was bouncing off the walls by about 3pm! We were both flagging on the train on the way home and by the time I got in I was overwhelmed by natural tiredness and fell asleep on the couch for about 2 hours. Absolutely brilliant.

On Wednesday I did my normal circuits class with Rhys at Laguna Health, Cardiff. He took this picture of the class (me, centre, looking rough as hell):

Can you breathe *and* do press-ups?!
He then took a further 25 mins after class to show me a cool Treadmill interval circuit. He found my "rest" and "sprint" pace on the treadmill (my 'Rest' = level 8, my 'Sprint' = level 16). I did 7 reps of 30 sec sprints with 60 sec rests. On the sprints, you really have to be running as fast as your legs will carry you and you shouldn't be able to run for much longer than the 30 secs. However you *should* push yourself to finish the full 30 secs and if you can't, then decrease the speed slightly. I was totally done in at the end of the 7 sets! Oh, before I forget, Rhys had an article published about his TRX training in the Western Mail this weekend so take a look if you're interested. It is pretty cool! TRX.

This weekend has been great so far too. I started it as I meant it to go on. With an absolutely butt-kicking workout. The fabulous Jo showed me how to really work my glutes, quads and core with a session of squats superset with stiff-leg deadlifts, forward lunges, step-ups and dumbbell swings. Here's Jo showing me how to squat ass to grass:
Pretty impressive form, huh? Whilst I couldn't quite get down as low with my squats, I lifted at the same weight and pushed myself as far as I could.
The difference in the form and depth of our squats is pretty clear from these pictures. It is great for me as I can really set myself clear goals on form just by looking at these photos. (Plus I can also remind myself that I want a firmer ass!) So, that workout was at around 3pm this afternoon. It is now 6.40pm and my legs are JELLY. DOMS have hit after a mere 2 hours - now *that's* a workout. Tomorrow I will be running off the DOMS on a 9-mile run. I'll post some pics as there are some nice views en route. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The hills have eyes

The weekend started as I meant it to go on. Relaxed, and a little self-indulgent. I popped into Pontypridd town on Saturday morning to pick up some bits of food as my Dad is staying tonight so he can come flat-viewing with me on Monday morning. I got a little distracted by a cut looking cafe just off the high street and stopped for a quick coffee. It was lovely to sit having a quiet coffee, watching the world go by.

And to be perfectly honest, that was about as much as I did on Saturday! I walked back home from town and totally chilled out until bedtime. I *should* have gone for a long run yesterday but I didn't. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it - I think sometimes it is ok to miss a run if you really don't feel like it (although I almost always feel better if I get out on the roads, I know that). When my motivation is waining the best thing I can do it get some sleep, get out of bed the next day and really kick my backside into touch. So that's exactly what I did.

So, as per my tweet earlier on, I pulled my finger out this morning and got running! I did my favourite 8 mile route in the Ponty hills and it was gorgeous. I still didn't make the first 2 horrific miles of deathly steep hill without having to walk, but from the top onwards, it was just glorious. With various stops to take photos and at *least* a three minute walk up the last bit of the hill, I was out on the road for 90 mins. And I loved it - the relaxed approach I took and allowing myself to take photographs and really enjoy the surroundings made all the difference. Plus, it turned out I wasn't on my own! The hills really do have eyes...

There were horses, sheep and cows too, but I only had my iPhone camera on me so the only animal photo that came out well was the one I took of the horses. My hill route also takes me down a long and windy road through the middle of rolling countryside and past a beautiful church:

Downhill from here!

It was really quiet up here and so peaceful.

After my run Dad arrived at around 2.30pm today and we headed to the local pub, The Bunch of Grapes, for some lunch. It was delish - I had roast parsnip soup followed by seabass on a bed of beetroot risotto. Dad had roast beef. I totally forgot to take any pictures of our lunch but to be honest I would have had to have been really quick as we were both quite hungry and devoured both courses quite quickly!

Tomorrow I plan to drag Dad to the gym early doors, then meet the estate agents for some viewings at 9am and 10am. Having spoken to my lovely housemate yesterday, I think it may be the case that my staying with her when she moves into her new property is the best course of action for us both. Cheaper for me in the long run and more financially suitable for her when she gets a bigger place. However, I can't rely on her to find me somewhere to live, hence the scheduled viewings for tomorrow. Just in case. I'll keep you posted!