Sunday, 26 February 2017

Couch to 5k Week Two

Week Two 20.2.17

Steps 3209  km 2.57  cal. 242  time 25m

This is it!  Well, a bit closer to it, anyway.  I wake up, make toast with marmalade (they sell Oxford thick cut in LeClerc these days) and a cup of tea for me, coffee for Al.  He reads my latest draft of my latest book and licks his finger to pick up crumbs that have fallen inside his dressing gown.  I read poetry sent by a friend and feel that the past is beautiful but sad and that toast is delicious.

I decide I’m fed up with writing ruling my life.  I determine to do something spectacular that won’t involve thinking about characters and plots from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep.

In the meantime, my corn is not hurting, the sun is shining and it’s day one of week two.

Forgot to wash my leggings – they’ll have to do as they are.   Best not think about it.

Very unglamourous pre-run pic - deal with it!

Remembering to do my warm up this time I go into a fast walk with Billy still singing about his little dancer.  After five minutes I break into a run (fast jog).  Week two is 90 seconds running and 60 seconds walking, alternating for 20 minutes. 

The sun is hot.  The day is shiny.  It’s the kind of day that makes you want to cartwheel across the garden, or do a back flip.  I don’t. I could, but I don’t.

I couldn’t really.

Billy dies down and The Black Eyed Peas take over.  My Humps is a particular favourite of mine, even though the girl singing is a terrible minx.  I like the rhythm and get into the beat, happy that my lovely lady lumps are strapped inside a sports bra I bought in 1985.  It’s also where I keep my MP3 player.

I feel alive and energised as Will I Am (I presume) tells me to Pump It.  There are various people hating on each other, but I concentrate on shaking my ass, because, as you probably already know, this joint is fizzlin’.

It’s actually very warm inside my cardigan by now – that must mean calories are flying off my body in all directions.  I check my time.  One minute remaining. So soon!

In the kitchen I do my stretches (skimpily) and wonder when my son will get out of bed (it’s holiday time here).  I’m pleased he didn’t see me running.  He has a grin that can make you doubt your very existence in a world where anyone over 30 who makes an effort to exercise is largely a figure of fun.  Although, he admits that, as parents, we are the best.  Thanks.

So, I’m done for today.  Looking forward to Wednesday already. 

See you then?

Week Two 22.2.17

Steps 3209  km 2.57  cal. 242  time 25m

Toast and marmalade routine (almost empty jar sends panic waves through my confused morning head).  I do psychological spreading.

Watch BBC news.  New day, new topic: Interview technique insights - What kind of biscuit would you be?  How do your enemies see you?  Hmm…  Dog and with their eyes.

Flip over to Lorraine for some social skills training. Currently, cloying enthusiasm is being lavished on new Internet sensation girl.  Al throws his head back and utters his usual ‘who gives a ****?’  I wonder vaguely what kind of biscuit Lorraine would be. 

For Al I choose a Bath Oliver.

Slipping on leggings and tee shirt, I’m almost overcome by the fresh aroma of too much Lenor in the rinse cycle.

Trainers are still green.

The sky is white.  It’s warm.  I spot my first yellow daffodil.  The birds have eaten all Al’s fat ball (love how that sounds).

Warm up: check.  Music: check.  Counter thingy: check.

There is literally no one about but me.  I feel good. 

First song is one I shouldn’t like (probably not the target audience), but I do.  Black Eyed Peas’ Where is the Love?  I jog in time to the beat (bit slow) and let my soul gravitate to the love.  I soak up the political message y’all.

Next up is Cold Play.  Some dirge from the Parachutes album.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I love Cold Play.  But there is a time and a place.  Given that there is no handy sword to fall on in the garden, I break my self-imposed rule and skip forward to something with more of a pulse.

The Cult.  She Sells Sanctuary.  I’ll admit a button is pushed.  Ian Astbury dances in a white New Romantics ensemble, then in black leather.  Which is more alluring?  I can’t decide.  I replay my personal fantasy.  I may have missed a crucial walking/running change-over.  What a song!  What a sexually charged three minutes!  I need a more sensitive and comprehensive calories counter.  Surely?

Like all good things, the fire in my eyes is extinguished too soon and I’m handed a helping of conventional good advice delivered by boys with fresh faces.  Enjoy the Silence.  Will do, Depeche Mode.

Time has passed very quickly.  I’ve hardly had time to look around and take note.  The music has taken me back in time to places and people I like to re-visit on a regular basis.  Only now do I notice the cat-shaped fur ball watching me from the garden wall, the new shoots on the clematis, the wet towel on my sun lounger and the mysterious green bottle top next to the dead geraniums.

Inside for stretches.

My son is watching the latest episode of Walking Dead with his friend who slept over.  It might seem a bit tame after the film they watched last night (Blair Witch – the new one).  Sweet.

A la prochaine x 

Same day, after lunch. Sun! This is why I came to France.

Week Two 24.2.17

Didn’t do my run.  Instead, went for a short break with my Al and my son to Angers.  Copious amounts of walking, sitting and eating.  Fab place to visit.  Back to the drill on Monday.  Curiously, no feelings of guilt or shame – not for missing the run, anyway.

A lundi x

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Couch to 5K

Good morning and bonjour!

Don’t really know how any of this happened, but here I am starting something that lasts nine weeks.  Quite a slice of commitment for someone who’s cut out alcohol and hasn’t had a drink for three days, four hours and sixteen minutes.

I came across the Couch to 5k site and I’m actually going to do some running.

Last time I did some running I went straight for the burn and ended up with shin splints and a twisted ankle.  This time I’m doing it carefully.

So, how’s it going? 

Week One 13.2.17
Steps 2994  km 2.32  cal. 215  time 24m

Timing a little skimpy.  One minute short for some reason.  But first run completed.  I’m using my garden, which is not big enough, but is private.  Five minutes fast walking followed by 60 seconds running and 90 seconds fast walking for twenty minutes.

I have proper shoes and a hair band.  Couldn’t find my sports leggings, so I’m wearing loose jeans with a belt to keep them up.

How do I feel?

A little smug, not much fitter yet, no racing heart or terminal asthma. Happy to be on top of the challenge.

Week one 15.2.17
Steps 3102  km 2.44  cal. 228  time 25m

Breakfast with Arnold Bennet, in bed.  V. decadent.  Husband beginning first read of my new DCI Alice Candy story.  Trade off is toast and coffee brought to him, oh, and his glasses.  Wouldn’t let me take a pic.

Sunny outside but dew has made my feet wet.  Had music this time – much better.  Started off with Flock of Seagulls, trying not to think of The Slaughter of the Lambs.  On to Abba – beautiful but fairly depressing nostalgia.  What can a person who grew up with the 80s do?

Still on the 60 secs running, 90 secs walking.  Not enough time to get into it, but the reason I’m doing this by degrees is to avoid injury.  I have to remember.  No going for it.  Not yet.

Only problem today, apart from the wet feet, was my almost irresistible desire to sing along with Super Trouper.  In a small French village, with the mayor and his chickens living next door on the other side of my garden wall, who knows what the consequences might be.  Watch this space.

Pleased with myself.

Week one 17.2.17
Steps 3106  km 2.46  cal. 230  time 25m

Woke up to summer mist.  Bacon sandwich tasted brilliant – had to be done because the fridge freezer is  in danger of collapse and so an eating frenzy of perishables is inevitable – what’s that you say? Bacon keeps?  I say, No it doesn’t.  Not in our house.  So, to be specific, we have freezer power, but the fridge is warming up nicely. 

Not yet poisoned, I made another search for my lycra leggings and found them this time in a bag of summer clothes.  Persistence pays off.

Forgetting to do the warm up yet again, I begin with the five-minute fast walking around the garden then launch into the 60 sec. Running, 90 sec walking regime for twenty minutes in the knowledge that the next time I challenge myself the timings will be reversed.  I feel I am ready for the next stage.

I determined at the start (for no particular reason) that I would not skip any songs on my MP3.  Listening to Abba still (they made a lot of songs, didn’t they?) I’m taken by the simplicity of the lyrics and also by trying to work out which of the girls is singing which tunes.  I thought I knew, but now I’m not so sure.  Not that it matters. 

As I lumber round the garden (my husband’s words), I decide it would be fun to write a series of quick reads, each with the title of an Abba song.  I listen to the lyrics of Take a Chance on Me and decide that I would rather stick needles in my eyes than build a plot around such a door mat of a protagonist.  Harsh, but true.  Sorry, Abba ladies.

Passing by the early snails, I have a moment of  clarity. Abba blares on. Resolute and coolly superior, I decide that I should probably get on with one of the five or six started but not finished works in progress on my laptop, instead of wandering off the beaten track, as it were, in search of popular cliché and unrealistic romance (after all, who wants to make money writing?) – I also decide I want to travel the world, learn to sing, and fix the fridge myself.

It’s truly summer-like when I finish running. The mist has floated away. As I walk back to the house, passing pretty spring flowers and noticing that my trainers have turned green with grass cuttings, Idle Billy (as I like to call him), is singing about his rendez-vous with a little dancer, who apparently came dancing to his door and proceeded to kick up a hell of a racket.  I pause Billy in mid more, more, more chorus, leaving him on tenterhooks until my next run.

No injuries, aches or pains.  Just a casual kind of smugness and a feeling of limbering up for the next level.

Next week I’ll sort out some pics.  A bientôt.