Wednesday 29 May 2024

A Tough Week - W/E 28th May 2023

This week has been a tough one. It started off okay, with OH running the Half Marathon on Sunday. Work called and asked me to work, until I told them I was on two weeks leave. The dog wasn't too well today. She's really uncomfortable and struggling. We managed to medicate her which helped and I walked her down to the park where she sat in the grass and fell asleep. It felt sad, like it might be the last walk to the park that she ever did. We eventually made it back home, but we are quickly coming to the realisation that she's not going to be with us much longer.

On Monday, it was OH's birthday. He opened his presents in the morning. I'd bought him mainly consumables, as he didn't want anything much for his birthday. I had booked us tickets to go to a local cinema in the evening, to see The Fall Guy with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.

I went out and did the weekly shop as usual. LB wasn't having a good day today, so I chatted to her on the phone for quite a while whilst I was out. When I got back home, OH and I headed up to the cinema. The film was a bit silly to be honest, but I like Ryan Gosling, so I was happy watching it. It was a good distraction from everything, which we probably needed. We were going to go to a restaurant afterwards to get something to eat, but decided to just go home and eat, as we didn't want to leave the dog alone any longer than necessary.

Her deterioration came at a difficult time, as we were due to head off to a family wedding at the weekend in Yorkshire. Certain family members had an opinion, which I didn't share. I wasn't going to rush into anything for sheer convenience. Our dog has been an important member of our family and is very precious to us. We decided to play it by ear and see if she picked up through the week.

On Tuesday, I was booked into my usual class at the gym, which was good. I hadn't slept hardly at all the night before, so I had to have a nap later in the afternoon. I couldn't seem to put my mind to anything, as the dog being unwell was a bit of a curved ball that was consuming my attention/thoughts/feelings.

We got some additional sad news on Tuesday, that a friend's dog had died peacefully at home overnight. The friend in question died last year and her nephew was looking after her dog. At least she (the dog) would have someone to welcome her over the rainbow bridge. It helped me to think about that, especially if our dog passes in the near future. It was reassuring to think that our friend might be there to welcome her too.  I was grateful not to be at work whilst all of this was going on. 

Tuesday, was very wet. It rained from midday onwards for most of the day and was forecast to rain the whole of Wednesday too. 

On Wednesday, the dog seemed to rally quite well and the medication seemed to have kicked in and was helping her. She was still eating and drinking and going out into the garden. As a consequence, we decided to take her to the wedding with us, postponing any decision.

The trip up to Yorkshire was fine. The dog had a good sniff around the garden when we got to OH's parents house in the camper van and was still eating, but from Friday onwards, she started to deteriorate. We managed to get through the wedding and we took the decision to take her to the vets on Bank Holiday Monday evening. The vet said that it was most likely a brain cancer that had caused her deterioration, bless her.

We brought her body back to London the next day and she is now safely buried in her precious garden, a place that she loved to come back to, underneath where the new shed is going to be built (to keep the foxes away). She's been a fantastic little companion, who has given us endless joy and love (in her own way) for the past 11 years. It's been a priviledge to have her in our lives. We will always miss her dearly, but it was time to let her go.

RIP Tippi

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Achieving A Goal - W/E 18th May 2024

The week started with a longer shift at work on Sunday. My manager messaged on Saturday night to ask if I'd start work a couple of hours earlier on Sunday, which I was happy to do. 

I was only due to work on Sunday and Tuesday last week, so I was hoping that I could spend some time catching up on housework for the rest of the week, between runs/classes, etc. The weather was forecast to be a bit changeable too, which would mean less outdoor distractions. In the event, I was added to the rota for and extra shift on Friday night and I got very little housework done this week, as I just wasn't feeling it.

Monday, was mainly taken up with my second to last training run and then heading out to do the weekly shop, so I didn't have much time to do anything at home. I did a full 5K run on Monday, so at least I know that I can run the distance. The weather was cooler, which helped a lot. OH took Monday off from working in his office and planted out all the tomatoes and cucumbers at the allotment, then he prepared the shed base, as it will be arriving next Monday. At least he had a very productive day.

On Tuesday, it was my turn to walk the dog, before heading off to my usual class at the gym. The class went okay, save for the floor exercises, when I got struck down by an attack of vertigo and just felt dizzy and sick when lying down. It eased off after lunch, but came back the next morning. It's either vertigo or low blood sugar.  Not sure which. It did make me think twice about going out for my run on Wednesday morning, but as it was my last training run, I decided to go anyway. It's not good timing, with the race being on Saturday, I just hope it get's better as the week progresses and I'm okay on the day.

My run started off very slowly, as I wasn't feeling too good, but by half way round I was feeling a lot better and even managed to sprint (if you can call it that) towards the end. I didn't do it any faster though in spite of this, but at least I know I can comfortably run it, vertigo or no.

The rest of the day, I decided to sit in the garden and read a book that's been on my bedside for months. It was Capital by John Lanchester. It's very entertaining. I didn't quite finish it that day, but continued to read it and finished it the next day. It's the first time I've been invested in a fiction book, for a long time.

The dog wasn't well on Wednesday night. Not sure what's wrong with her, but she's quite old and has started to deteriorate lately. I decided to sleep next to her on the sofa all night, as I was worried about her. She was okay and got up later to get a drink and move around, which reassured me. It's so sad to see her markedly slowing down. It makes every walk precious.

Thursday, was a bit of nothing day. I didn't do much at all. LB called as she was having a few problems, so I chatted to her and tried to reassure her. I guess that kind of put me out of sorts for the rest of the day. I didn't go to the gym, as I didn't want to overdo it before the race on Saturday.

On Friday, I paid a visit to a new charity shop that opened on our local high street this week. It was pretty busy when I was in there with people browsing. I found a sports vest for running, a pair of paper bag pants which I later took back as I didn't like them on (they had no fitting room), some shoes to wear for work over the summer and a t-shirt for LB. I then spotted some trailing verbena in the local hardware store, which then came home with me, as I think I'm going to make a hanging basket to hang on the new shed. They're very pretty and are one of my favourite trailing plants.

I was working in the evening. I was so happy to get through this shift, as it marked the start of two weeks off work. I so need a break. There'll be plenty to do, what with going off to the family wedding and putting the shed up, not to mention housework that I haven't done yet.

I woke up excited on Saturday morning and couldn't wait to get to where the 5K was being held. There was lots of entertainment all day, such as work out classes to follow and stalls to visit. We got our bib numbers and then had a good look around before our race started.  The 5K was split into three different runs. We were doing the first run at 12 noon. I think there were more than 2500 entrants taking part in total. There were warm up exercises at the start and then we were off. It was a great atmosphere.

As expected, I was very near the back of the field. I kept running the whole 5k though and managed to beat my Personal Best by 4+ minutes. I even managed a little sprint to the finishing line, which unbeknown to me OH filmed. It was good of him to slow down to my speed and accompany me around, especially when he's a really good runner. I was happy with how I did on the day. I was hoping to get my time down to a certain level and I did. I can't ask for more. 

Here's a picture of my medal, which is so lovely to receive after all the hard work I did training for the event. It means a lot. It might not seem much to people who find running easy, but to me it was a big thing to take part in this event. Something I never really saw myself ever doing.

After the race, we had some food from the multitude of food vendors at the event. I had a breakfast wrap, which was very tasty. We then walked home. By the time we got back we'd done over 14,000 steps or 10km of walking/running.

As a consequence, I was happy to spend the rest of the day just relaxing, napping and watching a movie on Netflix.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Where Did the Week Go - W/E 11th May 2024

This week got off to a quiet start, on account of the Bank Holiday. We don't normally go anywhere or do anything out of the norm, due to traffic on the roads, etc. and anyway, OH was cycling on Saturday and Sunday, so I spent most of the weekend pottering about at home.

When he got back on Sunday, we did make a quick dash to a DIY store before it closed, to get some supplies for him to get the shed base ready, for when the shed arrives in a couple of weeks. 

On Monday, OH came with me for my Couch to 5K run. He's currently recovering from a hamstring injury and needed a slow short run. I think it was a lot slower than he expected!

Anyway, when I got back I got changed and then headed out to do the weekly shop locally. I was working later in the afternoon, so there wasn't time to go further afield.

Work was pretty busy, so passed okay. I bought a few bits for OH's birthday later this month, as there was a bigger discount than usual for staff. 

I did my usual class on Tuesday. LB came home for a few days just before I headed off, which was great. It was lovely to see her again. She had some written work to do for Uni, which she could do whilst she was at home and we were planning to do some last bits of shopping before the family wedding, which is coming up in a few weeks time.

When I got back from my class, we could catch up properly, until I had to go into work in the evening. She was busy with her Uni work anyway, so it worked out well. I was only due to work on Monday and Tuesday this week, so luckily I had the rest of the week off. 

On Wednesday, I had a chilled day. I did do an extra long run in the morning, which took 35 minutes. I needed to try to push on to prepare for the 5K, and try to get nearer the target of 5K, as I was running less than 3 km on my runs. I needed to know if I could run for longer. It didn't feel too bad actually. 

I only had 2 or 3 runs left before the event, so I decided I would extend my runs  each run, until I was covering 5K in distance. As you can probably tell, I'm a ridiculously slow runner, but I'll just be happy if I complete the run and preferably run the whole distance, regardless of how long it takes. I will, of course, be at the back of the pack and if I find I need to walk a bit I will, but I don't really care too much about that. The only person I'm running for is myself, to see if I can actually do it.

On Wednesday evening, OH and I watched Race Across the World again. We love this programme and would love to do more travelling some day, when we get the chance. LB managed to finish and submit her Uni work on Wednesday, which meant that we were free to head off shopping the following day.

We set off on our shopping trip around 10.30 am, driving to a large mall 20 miles outside of London. We'd not been to this mall for years, since LB was small, as we tend to go to a more local one that's since been built, but we specifically went here because I'd bought LB some bras online to wear at the wedding, but when she'd tried them on they didn't fit, so I needed to return them and this was the easiest place to do that and do the shopping and other things that we needed to do. 

We didn't spend that much time in the mall. I got my refund and we managed to find some bras that fitted and then we had a little look in Primark too, but didn't really find anything we wanted to buy. We then went to Supercuts and both had our hair cut. I was happy with how mine turned out and so was LB. It felt like a win to get these two things done. Anything else was a bonus.

Next, we headed to the outdoor retail park, so that LB could pay a visit to Hobbycraft to buy some yarn, as she wanted to crochet a shrug to wear over her dress for the wedding. Whilst she was in there, I did a small shop in Home Bargains next door.

We made one more stop, which was on the way home, to my absolute favourite large out of town charity shop and we both had a good mooch around. I found quite a few tops there for work, for the summer months, the gym and other occasions. I bought 8 tops and 6 books for £23, which I thought was great value. I'll do a separate post about the things I bought. There was some filming going on in the store, which created lots of activity, which was interesting.

On Friday morning, I headed out for a run after the dog walk. It was my last run of the week, so I ended up running a bit longer and virtually running 5K, well 4.75K, so at least I know I can just about do it. It was midday when I ran though and very hot. Although I tried to keep in the shade, there often wasn't much. I was a bit red faced (not from sunburn) and my legs were like jelly when I stopped running, but I felt better knowing that I was only a few metres from running the full 5K.

LB headed back to Uni in the afternoon. It had been so good to have her home again so soon. We'll next see her at the wedding. She's taking the train up to meet us in Yorkshire, as she's at Uni the week before and can't get away early. We're heading up early to pick up a camper van en route, in which we'll all be staying for the duration of the wedding. It should be fun.

On Saturday, OH was out cycling again so I took the dog out. When I got back I decided to do a bit of housework and cleaning, which felt productive. I watered and fed my houseplants and potted some of them on, which I'd been meaning to do for a while. I then spent a couple of hours pruning in the garden. There were a couple of corkscrew hazels that needed a bit of attention, as they were getting a bit overgrown. It felt good to get these under control again, although the garden didn't look much different afterwards.

OH then got out a new BBQ that we hadn't used yet and put it together and made our supper on it. Beef steaks with air fried potatoes, which was nice, before we settled down to watch Eurovision.

This week passed so quickly, I guess it does when it's filled with nice things like spending time as a family. Next week, will be all about the 5K run which takes place on Saturday. I'll be glad when it's done if I'm honest, as it has taken up a lot of my mental and physical energy lately, but I do want to enjoy the experience too. I'm looking forward to possibly running without a goal in sight, as and when I feel like it once it's done.

Sunday 5 May 2024

A Week of Better Weather (Mostly!) - W/E 4th May 2024

I thought I'd do my weekly post a little differently this week, mainly because it gets a bit repetitive. As you may have gathered, I'm a creature of habit and routine. I need a routine, it keeps me motivated, self-disciplined and sane, especially when I'm on a weight loss journey.

I was asked if I'd go into work on Sunday afternoon. I didn't really want to, as LB was home, but managed to arrange to go in for 2 pm, so I got a few hours to chat and catch up with her. She returned to halls in the afternoon whilst I was at work. It was lovely to have her home for a night. She'd had a good night out at her friend's house in our part of town, but needed to get back for Uni on Monday morning as it's too far and too busy to travel in Monday morning's rush hour.

I was also working on Monday and Tuesday evenings this week, so I had a four day stretch of working. I did get paid this week though and due to all the extra hours I'd put in, I got a nice surprise when I saw my wage slip. 

Before work on Monday, I managed to get the weekly shop done, as usual, and saved over £8 using the Lidl Plus 10% off coupon that I'd earned by spending over £250 there this month.

I continued with the Couch to 5k runs again this week (Week 5 on the app). They got ramped up again big style. Monday's run was 3 x 5 min runs, Wednesday's was 2 x 8 min runs and Friday was one 20 minute run, which sounded super daunting.  

I wore my new running trainers this week and they felt good. Nice and well cushioned. I feel like I'm starting to find my own personal dress code when running. I'm not a tight leggings and vest kind of runner. I prefer leggings with loose shorts over the top and a T-shirt. I just feel more comfortable a bit more casual and covered up. I invested in a second-hand baseball cap to help mask the sweaty, red face a little and keep the sun off my face. (When we get any!) I quite enjoy wearing it. I think this is what I'll wear when I do the actual 5K run. 

With the weather being much better this week, I was able to go out running without a sweatshirt on over the top, which meant I was a little less encumbered and I was also able to put my phone in a waist belt and leave it there.  I don't look at it much now when I'm running, I just listen out for the cues from the app and listen to my music.  The only annoying thing was the adverts between songs on YouTube. As a consequence of this, I took advantage of 3 months free premium Spotify membership and made a playlist without adverts. It should be a gamechanger. Once the free trial runs out, OH is going to purchase a family membership for all of us, as both he and LB use it a lot.

The weather didn't play ball for my final run of the week on Friday, as it rained for most of the morning. I ended up going out whilst it was still raining lightly. My trainers took the hit and are no longer sparkling white. I spent most of the run avoiding puddles and mud. I know I need to let go and let them get filthy, but I'm resisting. Anyway, I did the 20 minute run and it felt like a real landmark in my running journey. The app is so good, it is really helping to build my confidence and stamina. I never really believed I would get to this point.  Here's a picture of my trainers post run:

Could be worse!

Other exercise this week, included my usual Tuesday class, which has gone down in price again, which I'm not complaining about. It was very full again this week. It really is getting so popular. The New Age games classes started again this week, and I attended the Saturday gym session. I've actually really missed them this last month, but luckily, running has helped to fill the gap and give me a new challenge.

The weather for the most part, made a big difference this week. Experiencing the warmth from the sun when running, walking the dog and walking to classes felt wonderful, therapeutic even, after what feels like such a long, cold, wet winter.

The garden is really starting to green up now. I took the opportunity to plant my dahlia tubers into pots early in the week, as it was still a little early to put them into the ground at the allotment. Another small job done.

I was off work on Wednesday, which was bliss, so I used the time to catch up with my financials and cook up some homemade food for the dog. I also did a bit of a wardrobe sort out, taking out any items I will no longer wear and packing up some of the thicker and heavier winter clothes to make more space. This felt very satisfying to do and should make life much easier when deciding what to wear. 

I also did a sort out of my gym/running clothes. Some things, that I used at the start of my weight loss journey, are just way too big now and are taking up valuable real estate in the drawer. Some I donated and some I put into storage, just in case. As a consequence, I feel a lot more organised going forward.

I had another free day on Thursday and I decided to make it a complete rest day and not go to the gym, as I'd be going to the free gym session on the Saturday. After walking the dog in the morning, I had an early lunch and then set out to go into our local town. I needed to get a couple of bits, one of which was a sympathy card, as my dad's sister had telephoned earlier in the week to tell me that her brother had passed away. She is now the only living sibling on that side of the family, which must feel very strange for her, bless her.

It's a busy time family wise at the moment. OH's neice gets married in a few weeks, so we'll be travelling north to attend the wedding. His other sister is talking about visiting us here in London in June, and his cousin and her husband are coming over to the UK from New Zealand as I write this, so it will be nice to see them again at the wedding. 

My nephew is also getting married in Australia, on the same day as the wedding here, OH's birthday is coming up in May and we're planning a holiday to Greece in June, so it's going to be a busy couple of months, especially with the shed to build inbetween and a 5k run to train for and complete the week before the wedding (OH is doing a 5k and a half marathon).  Luckily, I'm taking a couple of weeks off work, which should help.  

I have to admit that some weeks when I'm busy with work too, I do feel quite overwhelmed, as I do like a quiet life, but it will be fun to see everyone at the wedding and once we are on holiday, we'll get a chance to relax.

Back to the shopping trip, the other thing I needed to do on Thursday, was to continue the hunt for some matching fabric for my quilt and I decided to look in a couple of local to me fabric shops on this occasion. 

I walked into town to increase my steps for the day. The first fabric shop didn't have a fabric that matched well enough, so I decided to walk on to a fabric warehouse that I last frequented when I was doing a BTech in Fashion course over 10 years ago. It was quite a walk to get there, but I quite enjoyed it.

The warehouse was big with hundreds of rolls of fabric, but again, nothing colour matched well enough. I did find a roll of black linen though, to cover the sofa seat cushion, so I bought a meter of that. It wasn't cheap at £10, but at least it will allow me to finish the sofa cover.

After not having any success in the fabric places, I changed tack and decided to visit a couple of charity shops in this part of town, before catching the bus home. I struck lucky in the first one and found a pack of two new pillowcases from Primark, that were virtually a perfect match. They cost £1 and probably provided me with almost 1 metre of fabric once cut open. They are a 60%/40% cotton/polyester blend which is okay. I was thrilled just to find something suitable that was the right colour, as I was losing hope at that point. It was great to be able to continue quilting when I got home. I'd really missed it.

Friday, was a quiet day at home. After my morning run, I chilled for a while doing some stitching on my quilt and then had lunch. I hadn't slept well the night before, so I ended up curling up on the sofa watching the last two episodes of Death Comes to Pemberley, which I enjoyed.

OH booked our forthcoming holiday to Greece today. We're going to Santorini, one of the Greek Islands. I can't wait. It looks beautiful.

Saturday, I headed back to the free gym sessions which re-started. OH was out at a cycling event all day, so I chilled at home. I met him and some cycling friends at the pub later, where we had some supper, which made a nice sociable end to the week.

I hope you had a good week.