Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Christmas time, don’t let the (kettle)bells end   Leave a comment

Christmas time, don’t let the (kettle)bells end

Yet another cold. This one made up mainly of pointless coughing and spluttering. Another reason to dislike this time of year. Come on January! Though that will only get rid of the Christmas crap aspect.

Skipped off to track merrily with Des on Monday which meant I did his usual 3 mile hilly warm up around the streets of Withdean. It was not so cold so we managed this without sliding to our deaths on frosty patches. The actual session consisted of 8 x 800 split into 2 x (600tempo, 200fast, 400t, 400f, 200t, 600f) with an 800 to do with what you will at the end. 1 minute rest between reps. I started off in my normal group but midway round the first 800 warm up Bob split the group in half so I found myself with Chris, Des and a new man. This was completely fine as Chris is the dream pacer so I knew if I stuck with her the session would turn out perfectly. In this case it didn’t quite as there was a bit of watch discrepancy between Chris’s watch and the new man’s Garmin. I have just realised I was wearing a watch so could have adjudicated but I didn’t think of that at the time as mine was buried up my sleeve. Anyway, who cares? I stuck with Chris and all was well. No idea really of our times but it didn’t feel particularly strenuous. Nice to take it easy now and again. I was only really at track for the mulled wine afterwards which I duly drank a bit of and then buggered off home.

On Tuesday it was off to Core & Stretch as usual. It seemed particularly corey this time, or perhaps I was just doing it better than usual after not having killed myself at track. I do not have any visible abs of steel though alas. Kettlebells in the evening (which I haven’t been to for two weeks – tsk) was being covered by Neil which meant I could do everything with much lighter weights than usual as he doesn’t know which I usually use. Oh tut, what a slacker. I noticed that using the lighter weights meant no blisters which was a bonus. As Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are Tuesdays I shan’t be kettlebelling again until the 8th of January so my blisters may have turned into nice fat calluses by then. I must gird my loins for the influx of new year’s resolutioners and try and remain calm as they will be gone by February.

As I have been full of cold I have yet to smash it (ie myself) in the gym so this too will happen in January when it is full of newbies. Though I am going back to long runs as I feel they are necessary not just to help my running but more crucially to keep me sane. I have definitely noticed myself going downhill in a state-of-mind sense recently and I’m sure some of the blame lies on my not having done any long runs for 5 weeks. Thus I shall be going back to Wednesday evening runs, but not today due to ridiculous coughing pointlessness. I told you I am a contrary sort and change my mind all the time with regards to what I should/need/want to be doing. It seems though that long running needs to be a permanent feature if I want to avoid slipping back into the lowest and worst forms of depression/anxiety and general wrongness. Bugger. I DON’T LIKE IT! *sulks* Luckily I have a lot of runs and races planned for the “festive” season so I will be forced out into the fresh air which can only help my dismal current mental state. That and MINCE PIES.

Kettlebells, Bexhill and a lunatic cat   Leave a comment

On Thursday I went to a new class as I swapped my cat day to Friday. It was a class taken by Jenny (of Core & Stretch) called Kettlebell Conditioning. It was hardcore! Excellent 80s music and much swinging of kettlebells interspersed with exercises like press ups, squats and lunges. It was a rather busy class too so me and a man had to share the kettlebells of the right weight as there seems to be a lack of 12kgs. Anyway it was a good but knackering class. My thought that it wouldn’t be too hard pre-Bexhill was plain WRONG! I could hardly lift my arms for the rest of the day and even lifting my phone up was somewhat tricky. On Friday I had sideways-lungers-groin and my arms were pretty battered especially my inner elbows and upper forearms. Oopsy!As Saturday dawned in a rainswept and sodden form I dragged myself off to volunteer at parkrun. We did get rained on a few times but it wasn’t as bad as the lakes I had cycled through to get there suggested. In the afternoon it was off to Bexhill for the next instalment of the league cross countries. I usually like Bexhill so had been quite looking forward to it. It was quite warm but rather windy and very muddy and slippery. I discovered after about 200 metres up the first hill that I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Bugger. It seemed particularly leg-sapping and horrible. Perhaps this was in some part due to the kettlebell class on Thursday. It was definitely due to my lack of long runs. So once more I have decided I must go back to Wednesday runs. Ho hum. What a contrary git I am. I blame the festive season. Anyway I got to the end but was slightly annoyed at my mediocre performance even though I know I am not cut out for muddy cross country terrain.


Near the beginning of the race when I was still ahead of some people!

Near the beginning of the race when I was still ahead of some people!


The team! I am hiding as usual.

(Some of) The team! I am hiding as usual.

Amazingly the weather held so I stayed to watch the men’s race. In some sort of old fashioned sexism they have to run 8k (we ran 5k) unfortunately for them. After spectating I ate some of Lydia’s delicious courgette cake. Very tasty! In the evening it was the Arena christmas meal where I did yet more eating. This morning when I unpacked my Bexhill bag I discovered my cat rolling about chewing, biting and generally going mental on my tracksuit bottoms that had been in the bottom of the bag (unworn). Perhaps Bexhill is founded on an old catnip mine?  

Shorty burned out after her mad chewing and rolling spree.

Shorty burned out after her mad chewing and rolling spree.

On a boring note I am still not feeling it running (or anything) wise but that’s the festive season for you! Or for me at least. Roll on 2013…

Spookathontastic!   5 comments

Having not done anything on Tuesday or Wednesday morning I thought I might be OK on Wednesday evening. I was not. Slow and generally a bit feeble. Another 7.5 miles for the book. Thus I felt maybe Thursday would be better as Wednesday was not. Wrong. Perhaps this meant I was still not fully well. Slumped around HovePark and moseyed up and down some hills. Did nothing on Friday or Saturday (didn’t even help at parkrun having woken up on the dot of 9 – oops – but probably good for my health).

Today (Sunday) was the charity spookathon at my gym (Alive, Castle Street, Brighton). Six back to back classes to raise money for LostCatsBrighton (where I work) and The Martlets. I couldn’t bring myself to do zumba or yoga but psyched myself up for four classes, a long day and plenty of cakes to keep me going. I started with the spin/circuit combination class which was good.

Still Alive in the first class…












Lots of people there and a good variety of exercises. As I hadn’t done anything proper since Monday I felt quite strong and got stuck in. Not long after I realised I still had three more classes to go and had already used up most of my strength. Oh dear. Never mind! Onwards. I refuelled with a tasty chocolate brownie and a banana. An hour later (after fitting in a bit of food shopping – tres excitment) I made my way in to the 80’s step class. Having never done step before I knew I would find it very hard as it involves coordination and concentration. I was so right! It was really really hard and complicated and I was getting all the steps wrong left, right and centre. It was without doubt the hardest but most fun I have done for ages. So funny! Thankfully there were plenty of people equally uncoordinated and getting themselves confused and tied in knots. I spent a good proportion of the time laughing and standing on my step bemusedly trying to work out how the heck those who were good at it were keeping up and getting the steps right. The trick was to focus on one person who was doing it right’s feet and copy their footsteps whilst not listening to Toby’s instructions or looking in the mirror as that just caused further confusion and falling about. It was without doubt the most fun I have had for ages and also really really hard! My legs and abs were wibbling like crazy by about 20 minutes in. Probably not helped by already having done one class and surviving on brownies in the interim. If this class were to be brought back I would sooooo do it. Even if only because it was so funny being so useless. This is the reason I don’t do this sort of class but in this case it just made me happy. Maybe because there were many others equally useless? Also I think I had become somewhat hysterical with lack of food and tiredness. I was already shaking, with dead quads and arms and this was only class two.

As I moved on to kettlebells (having scoffed another brownie in about 30 seconds) I was really feeling it. Quivery muscles, general shakiness. On the upside this had made me somewhat hysterical so I alternately laughed and died my way through. We finished with a (more gentle than usual as Jenny was also dead) Core & Stretch class. I was still laughing, shaking and fuelled on yet another brownie. But oh so knackered. Downward dogging, which I always hate, was an impossibility so I generally lay in child’s pose. Finally the  spookathon was over and I fuelled up on a vegan flapjack and wibbled home on my bike with legs o’ jelly.

All in all it was an excellent day which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it was a killer. God knows what state I’ll be in tomorrow but a superb time was had so no complaints.

Goodness gracious I think this might be the first wholly positive post I have ever written! Hoopla!

A short post! Mr. A. Mazing   2 comments

The Goodwood results are now up! I was pleased to discover I ran a pb for the course by 31 seconds (21.13 for 2.92 hilly, muddy, twisty turny miles) and was first scorer for the second Arena team (6th ladies team overall). This bodes well for the future (except Plumpton) as hopefully I will feel much better than I did on Saturday next time I race. Speaking of ill I have been trying to be sensible (you know how good I am at that) so have only done track since Saturday.

The session was 12 x 400 split into 3 x 400 with 100 jog between each 400, with 2 minutes rest between sets. The night was extremely muggy and mild so we were all sweaty as heck before we even started running. Perhaps I sweated out some of the ill? Anyway our times averaged 1.29 with a range from 1.24 – 1.33. I think this is acceptable for 12 reps. We had a good group of 5 who worked on the fast bits and recovered on the recovery bits, sticking together as a group throughout. As it should be. Altogether I enjoyed the session and didn’t feel too bad after Saturday though I was still feeling a bit stuffed up in the sinuses with a bit of earache and dizziness (what was that about being sensible?). I did manage to do nothing on Tuesday however, helped by the fact there is a Charity Spookathon (raising money for LostCatsBrighton where I work) at my gym on Sunday which means I can do my Tuesday classes then instead so I haven’t technically missed anything. So the next thing on my agenda is the seafront 6 this evening.

I think having the cold of doom disguised the antidepressant withdrawal symptoms as I am feeling a little queasy again but I must remember it hasn’t even been a month since I stopped taking them so it is still early days. In general though I feel much better in the mind, calmer, with no intrusive obsessional thoughts or constant negative self deprecating narrative running through my mind making it hard to do anything. Yippee!

“Best swing in the class”   Leave a comment

Phew, back to Wednesday already! So much to tell you about. So, as is customary I shall begin with Monday. The day was filthy in the way of weather and I’d been soaked whilst at the cats resulting in having to borrow someone’s clothes (not the ones they were wearing – that would just shift the problem) whilst mine “do not tumble dry” were in the tumble drier. However by some freak of nature it wasn’t raining when we got to track though it was infernally windy. We started off with 3 x 800m @ 3.15 pace. The first in lane one, the second in lane 3 and the third starting 20 metres back from the finish line but still in lane 1. We then did 2 x 400m, in lane one then lane 3 @ 1.28 and 1.26. Following this a flat out 400 which I failed to do in any way flat out @ 1.21. To finish we split into pairs for 5 x 400m paarlauf. I joined two other girls (who were a group above me in the earlier part of the session) to make a 3 as on the short stuff I felt I could stick with them pace wise. Also a standstill recovery works for me. The 400s were run in around 1.22 (except for the last one where I totally died) so I was pleased as this is only 2 seconds slower than my supposed 400m pace for the first lap of an 800m and I don’t usually precede an 800m race with many 800s and 400s! Over all I felt I had run acceptably especially in the cold and windy conditions. I must try and remember that I would never before have thought I would join the speedy girls for any part of the session so I should take confidence from this. I am also trying to remember that I got a good result in my V02/oxygen efficiency test and am often told I have a good running style thus I must be more positive that I will one day reach what I feel is the correct level of ability. At the moment I am still very much hampered by my lack of belief in myself. This WILL change (rrraaahhhh… positivity)!

On Tuesday I went to Core & Stretch in the morning and then had acupuncture in the afternoon to attempt to loosen off some of my stiff parts (ie everything). The man told me I must must must stretch but of course I never will. Tsk. Why can’t I do something I know will help me? Anyway the acupuncture was splendid on my shoulders and neck and I am now able to turn my head fully in both directions (not like an owl) and can put my chin on my chest all of which I haven’t been able to do for many months. I then took my newly unstiff self to kettlebells where I found myself going for the 20kg on the double arm swing. It was quite tricky to get it started but once it was swinging it was OK, though stopping was a bit dicey! This meant I then had to use the 16kg for the single arm swing. Crikey it’s quite heavy. Any swing-based things I am OK at but I still find it hard with the overhead press single arm things as my inflexible-yet-too-flexible shoulders make me feel very unstable physically (not mentally for once) so stuck with the 9kg on these. Managed to squat with 18kg too which is fine as my legs are quite strong though usually pretty knackered from all the running without inflicting this on the poor things too! Matt told me I had the best swing in the class which was nice but naturally my swing became worse when he said that due to my not-very-good-at-taking-complimentsness (another thing to work on). All in all this was one of my more successful classes though I did still conk out a little towards the end. Inevitable I feel after Monday sessions.

Sorry, I told you this was going to be a long one! Today I went to spin and it was being covered by a different man and was a completely different style to the usual. I must say I prefered this class even though it involved a 22 minute and 6 second “climb” section that nearly killed us all. Thankfully I noted that the others were as red-faced and dripping as I. It was hardcore! This mammoth climb was only a relatively small piece of the class as a whole, though the emphasis was on climbs and climb sprints the whole was through. The session was a solid 50 minutes and by the end I was unsure if my legs would ever work again let along propel me home into the massive headwind. The discovery of this class has left me in a quandary. His normal slot is a Friday at 10am which means if I do his class I will noy have a full day off during the week which I’m not sure is a good idea. Of course it would give me Wednesday mornings off but perhaps I should be having a full day of nothing? I think I will do Wednesday’s class when I have a weekend race (like this week) but do the Friday one otherwise. A good compromise perhaps? Suppose the only way to find out is to try it. I do feel that my recent focus on things other than running is going well though. If I can pull my good running out of the bag on race day then it shall be a roaring success! Roll on Saturday to test this.

Here is me doing a lunge! OK, this is just a silly picture my friend made for me but after the success of the random kitten photo in my last post I thought I’d sling it in!

The FIRE in a feeble sandwich   Leave a comment

After my terribly feeble attempt at spin on Wednesday morning I wasn’t feeling confident of a good run in the evening. The prospect of 7 miles, most of it in darkness was in no way appealing but I dragged myself out regardless and man am I glad I did. I was on FIRE! I think this was a culmination of a few factors. One – I had been pretty cack at both my Tuesday gym glasses and the morning’s spin so was not too knackered. Two – I was expecting to be crap so had placed no pressure on myself. Three – I decided that I would make the run an interval session Steve style. In other words I would run fast for shortish stretches then wait for the rest of the group to catch up so I could give them directions and send them on without them stopping. I know I am much better at shorter bursts with stand-still recovery inbetween but usually choose to try and run at a consistent speed with no rest and thus get annoyed with myself when I am inevitably not very good at it! I positively sped up the Cabbage Patch (a long off-road drag up you guessed it…) waited at the top, send the rest of the group off then hurtled past them to the next place I had told them I would be to send them onwards again. I don’t know what was going on but I felt so fast and easy and full of running. Even when a husky stuck its head in my crotch I was undetered (when I usually have a great dog fear), even when its chavtastic smoking owners appeared out of the dark and failed to call it off. This amazingly good running streak continued for the whole 6 mile duration of the run. The others in my group asked me what drugs I was on or if I was an impostor. I can’t explain what happened but it was brilliant! The next thing is for this to happen during a race when it would actually be useful. I must remember not to work too hard in training next Thursday as my next race is Goodwood xc relays on Saturday so I must try and replicate as far as possible the Wednesday mindset and cane the race. I was not surprised to find on Thursday evening that I had absolutely nothing to give at Hove Park intervals so I just trotted round treating it as a recovery run. Naturally I did get angry with myself for being so utterly useless but only to a minimal extent.

All in all a good few days in body and mind. I must remain convinced that coming off antidepressants is the right thing to do. There have been some bad times but I must remember that this is a symptom of withdrawal and not the depression returning. The main thing I have noticed is that I can’t sleep well without the tablets but hopefully this will also settle down once I’ve been clean for a while.

I did no exercise on Friday, Saturday or Sunday so hopefully my body will thank me and we can have an excellent track session tomorrow (if the forecast gale has moved on).

Gratuitous (and irrelevant) kitten photo

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