Fi's Mutterings

Disney, running, swimming, living with disability, challenges…


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Walking, lots of walking

This past weekend, the sun finally shone and was warm enough for me to take off my hoodie and agree to go for a long walk on Sunday with my husband and son.  It was lovely.

We took a picnic and walked from home down to the river.  We then walked along the river path to Bishopthorpe and then on towards Acaster Malbis.  We stopped short of Acaster Malbis and crossed over the bridge to have our lunch.

After lunch we walked from Naburn to Fulford where we stopped off at the Designer Outlet so I could go to the loo, before carrying on to Milennium Bridge to get an ice cream from the Two Hoots ice cream boat.  The queue was really long, we waited 30 minutes, but it was worth the wait for a blueberry ice cream – yum! (the photos of ice cream and the ice cream boat are from Friday when it wasn’t as busy)

I actually remembered to start, and stop, my Garmin for our walk and, in total, we walked 18km in 3 hours 32 minutes!  No wonder my feet were sore!

In other news, Adam and I ran/walked at parkrun for the 3rd week in a row 🙂  This week I beat him, mainly because he decided he’d had enough after 3.5km and decided to walk while I kept running.  I finished in 34:10 which is the fastest time since coming back so I’m happy with that.  We also increased the running interval to 2 minutes 30 seconds.  We won’t be at parkrun next week due to another commitment and the horses are using the racecourse the week after but we’ll be back at York parkrun for their 200th event on 28th May 😀


Happy Birthday, Becky!

I was getting bored with just putting the days in the titles of these round-up posts so thought I’d be a little different today.  Except, today isn’t Becky’s birthday that was yesterday.  As this post is the round-up of how I got on with my challenges yesterday, I thought I could get away with wishing Becky “Happy Birthday” again.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t be with her for her birthday.  I would have loved to have been there for her and to have seen her face when she opened her card and present.  Maybe I’ll organise my time better next year so we can get down south.

So on to my round-up.

It was Day 7 of the Clean 9.  I’ll be so glad when it is over and I can eat a sandwich!  However, I have learned a few things this week.  I do not need to have a snack pack of biscuits while watching tv in the evenings.  I do not need a packet of wotsits or other savoury snacks with my lunch, a sandwich will be fine.  My dinners are actually, usually, the recommended 600 calories or less.  By recommended, I mean the amount of calories set by the Clean 9 (and many other meal replacement programmes) as being the amount you should be eating for dinner.

It was also day 7 of the Skinny Jeans challenge and I smashed the 30 minutes of cardio requirement with a walk to town (and back again) to get College supplies for Adam.  That was a first!  In all his years of education, I have never had to buy Adam back to school supplies as all equipment was supplied by the school.  When Adam went to his enrolment meeting at College last week he came home with a list of stuff needed for his course.  So we went shopping for an academic diary (found for £1 in Poundland 😀 ), highlighters and calculator (also Poundland), a USB stick, extra wide file dividers and pad of paper (Rymans using my business account to get 10% off 🙂 ).  We also had to buy an apron for cooking.  Where do you get an apron suitable for a young man?!?  Fortunately, we have Barnitts!  Barnitts is a fab old-fashioned hardware store which also happens to have a cook shop and a work wear department, which includes catering, so we found a nice plain navy catering apron for about half the price of the girly ones we saw everywhere else.  Adam also needed 2 lever arch files (already have those for business so gave him a couple), plastic pockets (of course we have those!), pens, pencils, coloured pencils, pencil sharpener and eraser (already had all those too).

We also bought Adam a new phone which he can put his photos on.  This was at the suggestion of one of the student advisers at College who suggested that it might be easier for Adam to talk to someone about his family and his hobbies etc if he could show them pictures.  Fab idea!  When we got home, I put the numbers he might need into it and asked if he’d like to phone Becky to wish her a “Happy Birthday”, so we did.  We also downloaded the BBC weather app as he is obsessed with weather!  I have, however, turned off the data so that he can only connect to the internet when he is connected to wi-fi as it is a pay as you go phone.

After all that walking, I got my 2,500 lifetime miles award from SparkPeople.  This is for the miles which I have actually remembered to record on SP since 2008.  As I can go for weeks without logging any of my exercise on there I have done a lot more.  I got the last award for 2,000 miles last September and I know I’ve done an average of at least 75 miles per month.  Still, it’s nice to get an award.  I’ll have to remember to log my miles more often 🙂


100 Happy Days – Day 5

I must say, it’s quite hard to think of “happy” today.  The weather is horrible!  Anyway, I thought of a couple of things.

1. I’m glad I decided to walk rather than drive to work even though the weather forecast wasn’t exactly brilliant – heavy rain for the time I leave work, lovely.  However, if I’d driven I’d have got stuck in traffic.  I walked in to town quicker than all of the cars I passed.  The only one I walked past who then went past me was a taxi which was in the bus/taxi lane.

2.  It was the Farmer’s Market today.  I love looking round the Farmer’s Market and sampling, and buying, the local produce.

3.  I bought some biscuits from the Sawley Kitchen and it’s just as well I did because when I got home I realised that I’d left my keys on my desk at work – not a happy moment – so I had some lovely biscuits to eat while I waited for my son to come home 🙂

4.  I’m very happy that I trusted my son to have a house key to take to school.


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Virtual Walk update and other stuff

We have finished 2013 and what a great year it was for running, swimming and general exercise/fitness for me.  It was a year for PBs and getting my son out of the house and running with me 🙂

First though, let me update you on my virtual walk from York to Walt Disney World.  I forgot to post an update for November so this is for both November and December.  I completed 142.95 km in November and 160.69 km in December for a total of 5,075.77 km completed with 1,806.23 km left to go.  I have completed an average of 6.91 km/day and 48.38 km/week during the past 2 years of my challenge.  If I want to finish my walk before the end of the 101 in 1,001 challenge I need to complete an average of 6.86 km/day or 48.04 km/week between now and mid-September.

Since arriving in North America, I have travelled through Canada into the USA, through Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  In November and December I continued my journey from Clinton, MA through Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.  I am currently in Jersey City, NY, I think.

I completed the Swimathon (5,000m swim) for the I don’t know how many-th time, but I have definitely done the Swimathon every year since 2006 or so and I did 2 or 3 before that.  So, does that make it about 10 or 11?  I do remember my first Swimathon back in 1991, it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 200 lengths.  My fastest time in the past 6 years or so was 1 hour 52 minutes, until this year.  My first PB of the year came in the pool: 1 hour 43 minutes, a whole 9 minutes faster than my previous best!  Whoop!

Next up was the Race for Life.  Didn’t expect to get a PB on this one as I hadn’t really trained for it.  My fastest Race for Life time was somewhere around the 37 minute mark so quite slow really.  I finished in 36 minutes 44 seconds.  Not bad, I guess but I really wanted to break through the 35 minute mark.  Never mind, it would come.

At the beginning of August I completed my 5th 10K run, and my 5th Run for All.  My training had gone really well and I knew that I could get under 1 hour 12 minutes for a new PB.  It didn’t happen as I decided to keep a friend of mine company on her first 10K run.  She did really well and we finished in 1:15:10.  This year we’re going to get under 1:15:00 and get her a new PB.  My son is also entered for this year’s York 10K, should be fun 😀

The week after the 10K, my friend got married and decided that she would try to get as many people as possible to run the parkrun with her the day before her wedding (she got married on a Sunday).  So, I signed up and went along.  After the amount of training I’d put in for the 10K I wanted to see how fast I could go.  Another PB, this time another huge one: 33:15 – 2:30 off my previous best 🙂  I have now completed 13 parkruns and got myself another PB for Christmas: 31:59.

Finally, as I had held back for my friend at the York 10K, I decided to enter the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield at the end of September.  As I hadn’t done much running due to the Summer holidays I wasn’t aiming to run it all but I did want to try to get a PB.  I settled on intervals of run:walk of 5:1 and finished in 1:09:50.  Yet another PB!  It would have been faster except I needed to use the loo half way round, just think how fast I could have gone if I hadn’t had to stop.

I have already entered the Swimathon, York 10K and a runDisney 5K next year and am considering entering the Great Yorkshire Run again.  I wanted to enter the Leeds Half Marathon but I need to wait and see if my husband will be at home to look after my son first.  My son can, and is, run the 10K with me but I think that the half marathon might be pushing it a bit.  Can I get more PBs this year?  Only time will tell.


London: Day 1

Earlier this year, we realised that we wouldn’t be able to have a family holiday this year as I can’t go away during Easter and Summer holidays and my husband’s rotations mean he is away for the half term holidays. Our compromise? Going away for the 3 teacher training days between the end of my holiday scheme and my son going back to school. We decided to go to London so that we could go to London Zoo, again, and visit the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. As we got the train at 11 am and arrived in London at 1 pm, we also made the most of the afternoon and went to the London Transport Museum too.

My boy playing Uno while waiting for his tea to cool.We left home on Sunday morning just before 10 am to walk down to the bus stop to get the bus to the station. We only had a small case between the 3 of us and backpacks/bum bags for the train and the price of 2 single tickets plus a concessionary bus pass = less than a taxi. Also, being a Sunday the bus was fairly empty. We made it to the station in plenty of time and found the platform to wait for the train. I’ve decided I love Grand Central trains, they offer free wi-fi to all of their passengers 🙂 Their cups of tea are cheaper than East Coast Mainline too (I discovered this when we came home as my son’s tea cost £1.50 on our trip to London and a coffee and tea for my husband and son on the way back cost nearly £4!)

We arrived in London just after 1 pm and walked down to the hotel.  We fully expected to have to just leave our bags and check in to the room later so we were pleasantly surprised when the lady on the reception said that the room was ready so we could go straight in.  We stayed at the same hotel as we stayed in last year as although it can get a bit noisy, it is within spitting distance of Kings Cross and St Pancras stations after all, it is clean and reasonably priced with a full English breakfast included.  This trip, we were in a room on the ground floor and, whilst it was nice not to have to carry the suitcase up the narrow, winding staircases, I don’t want to be on the ground floor again.  Anyway, I digress, we took our bags into the room and then left for our first walk across London.

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We walk a lot when we are in London.  I even know how much because I wear a pedometer and for the 3 days we walked in London it didn’t register less than 21,500 steps!  That’s got to help my virtual walk doesn’t it?  I like walking in London.  What I particularly like now is that every 300m they have the Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations with information maps on the sides (if my son could ride a bike I’d hire them).  They have 2 maps, one showing a 15 minute walk radius and the other showing a 5 minute walk radius so it’s easy to find out where you are and whether or not you are going in the right direction – love it!  It’s so much easier than trying to read one of the large fold out maps although I used one of those too.

First on the agenda for this trip?  The London Transport Museum.  My husband and son have been there before but I hadn’t so this was new for me.

DSCF0855Another thing which was new for me on this trip was actually asking if organisations offered a concession price for disabilities.  London Transport Museum surpassed my expectations, not only did my son get in for the concession price I also got in free as his carer.  Nice one LTM.  Also, another bonus is that the ticket is valid for a year so if my husband wants to take my son back

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within the next year, say while I’m working over Easter or Summer holidays next year, they don’t have to pay as my son’s ticket will allow my husband in as the carer.  If we all 
want to go again, my husband has his ticket and I’ll go in as the carer.  I’m not a great lover of vehicles but I did enjoy the LTM 

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especially the RouteDSCF0880master and LM buses which I remember from when I was at school.  My husband had to sit in the cab of a bus, for old times sake 😉

After the LTM, we walked for what seemed like miles, just wandering and looking around until eventually we decided that we should look for somewhere to eat.  When we couldn’t find the restaurant we wanted we decided to go to the kebab shop near Kings Cross which my husband had tried last year.  My son and I had burger and chips which was OK but nothing to write home about.

After a lot of walking and knowing we were going to be doing a lot more on Monday thanks to London Zoo, we just relaxed for the evening in the hotel.


One month down…

So we have waved goodbye to January and I have completed nearly 4 weeks of exercise planning and, in most cases, doing.  Here is my review of the month.

My goal was to concentrate on my fitness and get back in to good habits/attend the gym regularly.  For the most part I set my goals for the week and reviewed them on a weekly basis with a blog for each week – Week 1; Week 2; Week 3.  I have been keeping a record of all my exercise on both dailymile.com and SparkPeople.com.  According to SparkPeople, I completed over 1,000 minutes of exercise in January, that’s over 16 hours!  According to Daily Mile, I have completed over 16 hours of exercise in the past 4 weeks however, these figures do not include the first week in January but do include this week.

January training - daily mile

As a breakdown, I spent the following time on the following activities:

Running – 5k 101 training plan – 1 hour 26 minutes; 10.06km at an average pace of 8m 32s /km
Swimming – using swimfit.com’s Get Toned programme – 41 minutes; 1.75km
Gym/PT sessions – 3 hours
Karate training – 4.5 hours
Walking – I record these when I walk to work as it is 3 miles each way, I only record the walk to work and not the walk home – 16 hours 19 minutes; 34.84km

I have only lost 1/4lb this month and my body fat percentage has stayed the same.  However, my bust/chest has gone down by 1/4″, my waist is down 3/4″ and my thighs are down 1/4″.  Everything else has stayed the same 😀

I am pleased with my progress so far as the goal was to get back into regular exercise after slacking for a good couple of months.  I’m also enjoying my training sessions which is half the battle.

Goal for February?  Get back on track with nutrition as well as exercise.  First goal – drink more water!


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Back to Fitness – Week 1

It was back to school for my son this week which meant I was back in the gym for the first time in a couple of months. I’d let things slide in November and December between our surprise Disney trip for my son and getting ready for Christmas but I am determined to get back in the swing of things over the next few months.

I have, once again, signed up for the Swimathon (5,000m challenge) at the end of April and the Run for All 10k in York at the beginning of August. When registration opens, I will also be entering the Race for Life during the Summer. So, hopefully training for these events will keep me on track especially as I am now a member of a gym and, unless it snows and I can’t get to the gym, I can’t use the weather as an excuse for not getting my training runs in.

So, on to my review of the past week. I had planned to exercise Monday to Friday and then have Saturday and Sunday off. However, that didn’t quite pan out. I went swimming on Monday for the first time since I finished the Swimathon last April! It wasn’t bad – 22 lengths in 13 minutes. I am following swimfit.com’s Get Toned programme and Monday was session 1.

On Tuesday I had a 1 hour training session with a personal trainer. Fantastic! Thank you to my husband who bought me 10 PT sessions for Christmas. The downside to having a PT session as my first session back in the gym? I really ached on Wednesday.

Wednesday started with a walk to work (5km) and a walk home. I then went to a karate training session which, as the first session back after Christmas was a “fitness” session which included a lot of press-ups and crunches as well as the usual strikes, blocks and kicks. We also went through about 9 different katas. Loved the session but ached even more afterwards and getting into some of the low stances with muscles which were already aching from Tuesday’s training was not easy.

I was back in the gym on Thursday and started with a couch to 5k run. I have decided to try the 5k 101 programme and completed week 1 day 1. As I will only be running 1 or 2 days each week it is going to take me longer than 8 weeks to finish the programme but I am hoping that the swimming, karate and PT sessions will help in the long run. As swimming is my first event that is what I will be doing twice a week rather than the running. After the Swimathon, running will take priority although will probably only be twice a week as my karate training is always on a Wednesday and if I not to carry on with PT sessions I have to do those on either Tuesday or Thursday. After my run, I went through some strength training exercises with my husband.

I was hoping to go swimming on Friday but my shoulders were so sore I could hardly rotate them for front crawl so decided to walk to work, and back, instead.

All in all, a good first week. My plan for next week is for more of the same with PT on Thursday instead of Tuesday. Not sure how I’ll manage as the forecast is for snow tonight and tomorrow which means I’ll be walking to work rather than driving so won’t get to the swimming pool. Oh well, we’ll see.


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Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions

A new challenge from Daily Post which, as I posted the blog which would have been today’s daily prompt yesterday, I need to be able to complete my week-long post a day challenge.  So, here I am taking part in the writing challenge.

2013 is almost upon us, so what better time to make half-hearted promises to ourselves about things we’ll fail to do within a couple of weeks, because they weren’t all that important anyway? Only this year. This year is different. In this week’s writing challenge, we’re going to get resolute with our resolutions. Yes indeed, it’s time to… resolve! 

You can read more about the Writing Challenge here

I haven’t written New Year’s Resolutions for a long time but I do write my goals for the year after reviewing the goals I set for the previous year.

I couldn’t find a blog for last year’s goals, I slipped up there so can’t review them but I do know that I started the year weighing in at 10st 12lbs (152lbs) on 31 December 2011 but went up to 11 st 1lb (155lbs) in February 2012.  So at my current weight of 11st (154lbs) I am 2lbs heavier than I started last year but 1lb lighter than my heaviest weight through the year.  However, my body measurements are the same now as they were at the end of 2011 so I must have done something right.

I also participated in the York 10k Run for All for the 4th year but did not get a PB as my training was very hit and miss due to not being a member of a gym and the weather being an absolute wash out for most of the summer leading up to my 10k.

I swam the Swimathon 5k and maintained my average time of around 1 hour 50 minutes.

Now, on to my goals for the coming year.

  • End 2013 lighter than I started.  I don’t need to aim for a goal weight, if I can lose enough during the year that I end the year at 10st 13.75lbs then I’ll be very happy.  I’m always heavier at the end of the year due to all the Christmas chocolate, biscuits and cake!  I really should set a goal to be lighter in September than I was last September as that is my lightest time of year.
  • Complete the York 10k Run for All in a time of 1 hour 15 minutes or less
  • Complete the Swimathon in under 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Complete the Race for Life (5k) in under 35 minutes

Plan to achieve goals:

  • I aim to lose 1lb a month as this allows me to have a higher calorie allowance. I have found that if I aim to lose more than this and restrict my calorie allowance to less than this I go off track a lot quicker.
  • Cardio exercise – 250-300 minutes per week to include swimming,running, walking to work and karate.
  • Follow the 10k training programme on http://www.myasics.co.uk for the Run for All 10k or find an alternative programme which works for me.
  • Follow the Fitness training programmes on http://www.swimfit.com for the swimming.
  • Follow a couch to 5k training programme for the Race for Life.
  • Strength training – follow training programme devised by the trainer in the gym after discussion of my goals.
  • I will also be more active on my teams on SparkPeople (especially those I am leader/co-leader of) so that I can give/receive support.
  • I will blog about my diet/fitness goals/achievements at least once a week either on this blog or on SparkPeople, with a link to the blog on my other blogs.

Here’s wishing everyone a fantastic 2013. May you all achieve what you set out to achieve and may all your dreams come true.


Best laid plans…

I had a plan for today.  It was a busy day so I needed a plan to get through it.  The plan was something like this:

7am – get up, get the boy up, get dressed and downstairs to make breakfast and lunches before 7.15am
7.15am – make breakfast and lunches and be ready to sit down eating breakfast by 7.30am
7.45am – get the boy back upstairs to clean teeth etc and ready for the school bus which is due at 7.55am
8am – go out for my 10k training (only a 30 minute interval session today).  Come home via the butchers
8.45am – get showered and dressed ready to leave the house again by 9.30am
9.30am – hopefully be on my way in to town (walking) to my bookkeeping course (I have my exam in 6 weeks!)
10.30am – bookkeeping course.  Aim to finish at least 2 lessons before leaving at 2pm to walk home

Now, that shouldn’t have been hard except the man had a phone call from the electrician last night asking if it was OK for him to come and do some electric work that we wanted doing tomorrow (being this morning). Sure, says the man, what time will you be here? About 8.30am, says the electrician. Crap! If I go for my run, I need to use the bathroom for a shower when I get back. Not a problem you might think except one of the jobs we wanted doing was a new light in the loft and the access is on the landing (which is very small, you can’t get round the ladder) so I wouldn’t have access to the bedroom, let alone the bathroom!

So, no run for me this morning. I did, however, get up at 6.30am instead of 7am and was ahead of myself until the boy got his bus to school. I also caught up on my work in the hour I had at home instead of running, hence the time for blogging instead of working. I did walk in to town and home again so still got my exercise in too.

I have an extra run on the training plan this week (on Sunday) anyway so today’s run shouldn’t be missed. I’ll also add an extra walk in tomorrow and walk to Tesco instead of having a “rest” day.


Step in to Summer – Week 2

I am sat at work on a break and to save myself reaching for a chocolate bar I thought I’d write my weekly overview blog.

Week 2 was even better than week 1. I set a goal of logging all my nutrition and doing a minimum of 300 minutes of exercise. I logged every day and even stayed in calorie range for most of them. I did 3 Race for Life training sessions, a couple of long walks and 3 strength training sessions for a total of 365 minutes!

As a result I lost 1.75 lbs on my weigh in on Friday. Whoop!