High-Fiving Palm Trees

Running, and other aspect of my life.

Crabs and Seagulls

The fat-busting continues.  I have religiously done all the prescribed workouts, and I AM getting better at them.  Some exercises continue to defeat me though.

Back extensions:  To do these you lie face down on the floor and then either lift your arms and chest off the ground or lift your legs off the ground.   Well I can barely move.  You try it!

In her instructional video Julia Buckley bows her back upwards in an alarming and unnatural fashion, and one’s first thought is “Phone an Exorcist, the woman’s been possessed!”

If however, anyone walked in on me attempting these moves they’d be more likely to think that I’d overdone the exercise, collapsed and was lying on the floor just twitching.  Their first thought would be “Paramedic!” rather than Paranormal.

I’ve been quite alarmed at my lack of bendiness, and so I decided to try to do a ‘Crab’.  Not being a follower of the Kama Sutra, this is a position my body has not been in since I was about 10 years old.

As I recalled, I used to lie on my back, feet on floor, and hands on floor behind my head and…… LIFT.  Nothing! No movement.  My spindly arms do not have the strength to lift my upper body. Something needs to be done.

To this end, we also use weights.  I started with 2kg dumbbells which was difficult, but 2 weeks in I was proud to move up to 2.5kg dumbbells.  I was devastated then to read a query on our secret Facebook page from another participant who is currently lifting 12.5 kg and needs a heavier set of weights because that’s too easy!

So, I have another goal.

By the end of this torture programme, my back needs to be bendy enough, and my arms strong enough to do a Crab!

In the meantime and on the very positive side, I’ve lost half an inch from my bust, my waist and my hips since I started, and although I haven’t lost much weight, that’s fine because I’m building muscle instead.  Even I can see that I look slimmer round the middle, the muffin top is shrinking which is excellent, I really hate that bit!!

Last week, I went to Brighton with Mum and her Ladies Lunch Club.  We went on a Coach!  I have only been to Brighton once about 20 years ago, so I was looking forward to the trip.

After we arrived Mum and I went on the Brighton Ferris Wheel.  It was a lovely sunny day and we could see for miles and there was an interesting commentary giving facts about Brighton.  So, after finding out all we needed to know, we set off for a spot of shopping.

Something a visitor needs to know about Brighton which was not mentioned on the commentary is that along the pavement part of the promenade, between the sea wall, and the road, there is a painted-on bike lane.

Reasonably, the cyclists whizz up and down this as they’re allowed to do and stay safe from the traffic.

However, if you are a pedestrian and new to Brighton, and you are walking down the Prom on the pavement looking around you and at the sea, you do not know or see the painted cycle lane and so you innocently step onto it, in front of a cyclist on a racing bike sprinting down the Prom.  If you are lucky like my mother, you have your darling daughter at your side, who yanks you out of harm’s way with a whisker to spare.  If you are not, there must be accidents daily.  It is not well thought out.

Another thing that visitors to Brighton need to know is that it is wise to always carry and use an umbrella even on the sunniest of days.

As we were crossing the main road, at a Pelican crossing something that must have been the size of a flaming Pelican pooped on me from out of the sky!!! My audience was three lanes of static traffic.

People say it is lucky if a bird poops on you. Idiots!

The only lucky thing about this was that I was wearing a leather jacket and I had wet wipes in my bag.

Poor Mum was given the task of wiping me down whilst I demanded that she check scrupulously that nothing had gone in my hair.

After this we finally hit the shops! Brighton has good shops.  They also have a little area called The Lanes, which does actually comprise lots of little lanes with tiny boutiques and cafes.  It’s not quite as quaint as I remember, but we found a fab little seafood restaurant for a snack as we hadn’t had breakfast and treated ourselves to Avocado with Prawns – Mum, and Crab – me, and of course a glass of crisp white wine to recover from the Pelican incident.   (Someone said it might have been a Seagull, but a Seagull must be entirely filled with poop to pour that much out of the sky!)

Looking at the shops, many of them were second-hand jewellery shops.  I have a particular aversion to second-hand jewellery.

To my mind, there can only be 5 reasons why jewellery has been sold and none of them are good.

1)   A broken engagement

2)   Divorce

3)   Death

4)   Someone is in such a bad way financially that they have to sell their jewellery because they need the money

5)   It’s been stolen.

So as far as I’m concerned, unless it’s been passed down in the family. second-hand jewellery comes with bad luck and I don’t want any of it.

We did find a fab Kitchen gadgets shop called Steamer and spent probably an hour in there browsing the gadgets and yes, buying stuff we didn’t know we needed.  I have secretly assimilated it into my kitchen at home without Mike noticing and giving me the “For Christ’s sake haven’t you got enough crap?” lecture.

We also found a super dress shop called Dollydagger selling retro 50’s dresses. They had the most beautiful red polka dot dress in the window which I don’t think I could get away with, but was a very cheery thing to see.

Afternoon Tea at The Grand Hotel finished the afternoon before we got on the coach for home.

An added bonus was that there were so many roadworks on the M25 on the way down, that the coach driver decided to go the other way round on the way back so we had a complete tour of the M25 thrown in for free. What Luck!

Slightly less lucky was that the junction for the M1 was closed due to an accident and the air ambulance being called.

I discovered later that this was because the idiot known as George Michael had fallen out of the passenger door of the car that he was travelling in and landed in the middle lane of the motorway in rush hour traffic.

How do you do that??????

I’m typing this on the plane on the way down to Alicante.  (No, not online)  We’ve left Buster at home with Frances his dog-sitter and are taking another week or so in the sun and to try to deal with our increasingly irritating, business interests in Spain.

As I’m typing this we’re actually just going over the Pyrenees.  It’s quite fascinating to see the weather down below change from one side of the mountains to the other.  It was cloudy down below when we were over France, now I can see down to the snow-capped mountains and looking ahead into Spain it’s just plain clear blue sky!




So I cooked the Quinoa…….

Well then what are you supposed to do with it???

I didn’t think this out.

In my bid for healthy-eating to go with my Fat-busting course, I purchased Quinoa for the first time today.

Knowing that Mike would no more eat Quinoa than dance the Hornpipe, I bought him some Mussels.  We also had fresh Asparagus from the garden to eat.  I steamed the Asparagus, and did the Mussels in a white wine sauce and put the Quinoa on to boil.

We had the Asparagus for starters.  Mine with a little smear of butter, Mike’s was more like Butter with some asparagus in the way.

I put his Mussels in a bowl and served them with a slice of home-made bread.

Then I drained the Quinoa. I hadn’t really thought about what to do with it, so I quickly looked online for recipes and almost all of them seem to call for pomegranate seeds or feta cheese.  Not sure why.  I had neither, so I improvised with a couple of tomatoes chopped up with olive oil and salt.

It wasn’t very nice.

Must add Pomegranates and Feta cheese to my shopping list.

Any Quinoa recipes gratefully received.

The fat-busting progresses. Yesterday I had to do a Total Body Blast. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. It all looks so easy on paper – just do it each exercise for 30 seconds then have a lovely rest for 60 seconds. Bah!

You try it. Burpees?? I don’t think I’ve ever done a Burpee before, let alone done them for 30 seconds which let me tell you is a very long time!  I did not look like Julia does in her instructional videos, all long lean and bouncy.  I looked a like a crawling toad.

The only mirror in the room is at waist height, and so doing the standing up exercises, which require a bit of jumping around, allows me an alarming view of my midriff – tummy and thighs – flobbling about and forcing me to carry on beyond what I feel I can do in a desperate effort to make   it    go    away!!!!!

Today’s workout was another horror, also easy on paper and shockingly punishing when put into action.  Agains sets and repetition.

It’s amazing how quickly you work up a sweat doing what seem to be gentle exercises.

I am fortunate though to have a training partner who is keen to give me a rub down in between sets. Or should I say a lick-down…

Yes Buster Ivory does love a work-out.  He gets thrillingly excited as soon as I start.  He rolls around on the floor “helping”  and if I have to do press-ups,  well that clearly is me doing a dog-style play-bow and inviting him to leap at me and batter me with his front legs.

In between sets while I am collapsed on the floor, he licks me all over to get rid of the sweat ln the style of a boxing trainer.  Well, not exactly in the style of a boxing trainer as I don’t think I ever saw Terry Lawless licking Frank Bruno.

I’ve got hayfever! I get it every year very early usually starting in March.  It even started in March this year with snow everywhere. It then gets worse for the rest of the Summer and usually fades away in October.  I’ve tried the usual good ideas, like eating local honey, fo example and they don’t work!  The only things that help a little are CHEMICALS, having worked my way through Zirtek, Piriton, Clarityn, all the usual suspects, the only thing that works for me now is Neoclarityn/Desloratidine. Sadly this year, even that is failing me, and my eyes are streaming even as I type this.

The fact that Oilseed Rape is one of my worst triggers, and there’s a flipping great field of the stuff right next to our garden is NOT helping. Grrrrrr!


My Training Partner



Yesterday was fab.  I absolutely loved marshalling at the Marathon. Unusually for a Bank Holiday Monday the weather was very warm and sunny, even at 08.00 when we had to meet up to be issued with our equipment and our positions on the course.

This was in complete contrast with last year’s race when it rained so much that parts of the course were flooded, it also snowed, and people were being taken off the course with hypothermia.

I was stationed relatively early in the race at 8.75 miles, but as the runners started to come past red-faced and drenched in sweat it was clear to see that hypothermia was not going to be a problem this year; no-one was going to have an easy time of it for completely the opposite reason.  The lead runner came past me at about 55 mins and was way ahead of the pack and did in fact win the race.  The last girl to pass me was  at about 2hrs 10 minutes but was still gamely pushing on.  In a field of nearly 2200 runners, there were over 100 DNFs and I should imagine that a lot of them were due to the warm weather.

Look out for Milton Keynes Marathon Day next year, there’ll probably be a plague of locusts.

Everybody was so good-natured.  Lots of runners actually bothered to gasp out “Thank you marshall.” which I thought was exceptionally nice of them as I was just standing there clapping, they were doing all the hard work.

I’ll definitely volunteer again.

So…The fat-busting!

That started yesterday as well.  When I arrived home, Mike was in the garden lying in the sun with a beer.  it was v. tempting to just join him, but instead, I headed up to the spare room which I have commandeered as my temporary workout area and did the first workout of the course.  It was an upper body workout with weights.

My arms are really my weakest thing, they’re like cooked spaghetti, so I just started with 2kg weights. Julia stresses that the workouts are supposed to be difficult and if they’re not then you should be doing more. At first, I thought I’d chosen weights that were a little too easy, but by the end of the session my arms were shaking and I couldn’t hold anything.

(Fortunately, by the time I’d got changed and went down to the garden, i was able to clutch hold of a glass of Prosecco without spilling a drop!)

We also had to do ab crunches which I can usually do quite easily, but today I can really notice the ache, which is I think because I actually concentrated on what I was doing instead of just knocking out as many crunches as possible, I made each one count.

Buster enjoyed doing the workout with me.  I had to hold a particular pose which involved my arm being stretched out  in front of me at dog height, so after high-fiving me a couple of times,  he helpfully positioned himself under my hand in order that I could fuss him while I worked.

He rolled around on his back while I was doing the crunches, didn’t really get the hang of the proper exercise, but showed willing.

My arms seemed OK this morning until I started to do the ironing, by the time I’d finished the pile It felt like I’d done a whole new workout.

Furnace…… That was today’s workout, which is short sharp bursts of intense exercise  interspersed with rest periods. I did it on the treadmill, which is in the conservatory, which was already like a furnace before I started.    After opening all the doors to let some air in, I did the workout and it was actually good to be running again and listening to my running music.

Achilles was fine doing the running so I’m going to do some proper stretches on it now and see if I can keep it at bay.

I haven’t looked to see what tomorrow’s torture  workout session consists of.  I think I’ll leave it as a lovely surprise…..IMG_5390


Don’t ask me why…..

I have a busy day tomorrow.  

Firstly, I am going to be a marshall at the Milton Keynes Marathon. This will be my first experience of marshalling.  

I get a t-shirt and a hi-vis jacket, plus a baguette a bottle of water, and a recyclable bag!

A (t)wit (you know who you are xxx)  asked if as a marshall I get a gun!  I would quite like to have had a gun.  It would certainly motivate some of the slower runners to up their game, but no, no guns are being issued tomorrow.

I have to report at 08.00 to be allocated my position.  All know at the moment it that it will be somewhere between miles 1 and 9.  I’d really like to have been somewhere in the last few miles where runners need lots of support and encouragement, but as tomorrow is predicted to be the warmest day of the year so far, I think they’ll need cheers and claps all the way round. 

The race starts at 10.00 and I’m really looking forward to being on the other side of the fence and helping rather than running.

The other thing I’m doing tomorrow is starting a 12 week fat busting course!!!

Before everyone starts, I know that I’m not the fattest person in the world, but I’m doing this so I don’t BECOME the fattest person in the world! 

Underneath the clothes there is a layer of flab that is not pretty and I want it gone. I’m dress size 12, and I want to be 10. 

I haven’t been able to run much since Christmas when I mucked my Achilles tendon up in a shopping-related incident, and the tone that I had has disappeared under what I think of as a layer of Pork Belly! My jeans are all uncomfortably tight, and Summer is nearly upon us.

OK I’m 52, but frankly I’m just not prepared to give in and go middle-aged. I still want to have the choice of buying my clothes in Top-Shop and Jane Norman, as well as John Lewis and House of Fraser.

I WILL still wear bikinis and not one-piece swimsuits. 

If this means a bit of hard work, then so what?  I trained for and ran a MARATHON!  I can do ANYTHING!!!

(Am I convincing you yet? Am I convincing myself…..?) 

Yesterday I had to have a set of “before” pictures taken, wearing a bikini.  It is a shocking sight.  You can see the outline of where my body ought to be, but shrouded in a coat of lard.  As the coat does not have buttons or a zip, the only way of taking it off is going to be melting it with hard work and exercise.

I’m not doing it on my own.  I have signed up with Julia Buckley for her 12-week fitness programme. 

So far it looks great.  We have our own secret Facebook page that no-one else is allowed on, where all the people who have done the course before are being very helpful and encouraging. Julia has set us all up with private Dropbox folders where she has put the instructions for everything that we have to do, and where we have to upload our ‘before pictures’. I’m v. enthusiastic about all the Facebooking and Admin. One small problem will be the actual exercising…….





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