I dance better when I am running!

Well…not actually when I am running, that is complete madness and I should probably reword the title to avoid confusion.

But I am not going to!

What I mean is, running training makes me a better dancer. So…I have yet again restarted running.

If you have been reading this for a while you will know by now that I have an love-hate relationship with running. Actually no, that is not strictly true, it is more like a mild affinity / don’t hate too much / hate relationship to be honest…

But the one thing I can say is that in 2014/15 when I was training to run a half marathon I danced better than I feel like I dance now.

Another thing I can say is that last year when I was still doing more kickboxing and plyometric type training, I danced better than I feel like I do now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still considerably fitter than I was, but I have been concentrating too much on lifting and neglecting the cardio. I need to do both, I need to have a variety of exercises in my routine otherwise I will not be Fit Enough to Dance in a Mask and that was the point of this whole project!

So, first thing I have done is start running again. I think I mentioned it, but then I mention it a lot so I can’t remember whether it was recently or ages ago…

Yes…I could go back through some posts and have a look…shhh!

anyway…here is some running!

It has been not awful for the most part! I have started using one of the couch to 10k apps of which I have a veritable plethora from all of my different try to run attempts!

I will keep you posted because, as normal the only way for me to keep up doing stuff is to tell you all about it!!

I am going to incorporate some more cardio stuff too, possibly Insanity or Insanity Max 30 but I haven’t decided yet so I will let you know as soon as I do 😀

And no…I am not stopping lifting, that would be madness…I am just going to do both!!

Grand Scottish Ad-Van-Ture part 1

Originally posted on Red Van Travels :
Have you heard of the NC500? Well…NC stands for North Coast, and it refers to a 500 mile road route that goes around (most of) the North Coast of Scotland. It has had a lot of advertising recently and has become a “thing”. Although to quote some of the…

So, I did the thing…

You know…the thing where I had to walk, in a bra, overnight…

yeah…that thing…

OK…I sort of did the thing…

I am really annoyed and angry to tell you that I failed to finish the thing due to my stupid foot playing up and making it impossible to walk…

The foot that got plantar fasciitis…(I told you about it here) that put me on crutches last year…

Well guess what, it decided that this walk was a good time to return! I managed 13 miles, even though it started hurting in mile 2, I didn’t want to stop but I could hardly put it down 😦 I had a horrible feeling that if I carried on I would end up on crutches again. So I went to see some medics, who agreed with me…

I did wear a wonder woman bra in public, with a cape attached though, so that is a plus…and a huge step forward as I am definitely not in the “shape” I would have once said I needed to be in to wear a wonder woman bra in public!

Things I have learned from this experience:

  1. I have no idea what size bra I wear!
  2. I have finally learned to listen to my body…I am not injured but I would have been if I had carried on!
  3. Capes really do get in the way!
  4. Things wouldn’t be challenges if they were easy!

Body Positivity

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3 years of hard work…

I am not putting up that picture to show off… This is not a look at my weight loss etc post or picture…although to be completely honest it is good to remind myself how far I have come once in a while…

The whole point of this picture is it represents a fundamental change in my attitude!

When the first picture was taken I hated pictures, I wouldn’t look at the camera and I could barely look at the resulting pictures without being miserable for ages.

Now, believe it or not, I am willing to pose for photos, I mostly don’t hate them and I even have more selfies than is sensible on my phone! But this is about more than photos. It is about confidence and attitude. It is about finding the courage to stand up to the judgmental attitudes of today’s society. To stand up to the attitudes that say you have to be a certain size or shape to dress a certain way.

Even at the end of my first 365 I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing the muscle shirt in the top picture without a second top under it. I still qualified every achievement with disclaimers about needing to lose more weight, or still having lots of things I needed to change. It was almost as if I was not allowing myself to be proud of myself , I couldn’t let anyone thing I was pleased with me the way I was. After all what would happen if they thought I was still fat…I felt I had to acknowledge it before they said something!

Just in case you are new or have forgotten this was the end of my 365 project…

me 365

day 365 😀 

This was me, I was happy because dancing, I was happy because 365 days of exercise is quite a big achievement, I was happy with my progress.

The one thing I couldn’t say I was happy with was my body.

Now the end of 365 me was a differently shaped me to the now me. Partly because I have been a little less dedicated to my eating, and quite a lot because I have been doing a lot of heavy lifting… but this isn’t the point, the point is…

We are allowed to be proud of ourselves. We are allowed to like our bodies and appreciate them for what they can do!

I know what you are thinking…what changed? and when are you going to get to the point and tell me what body positivity is?

Well first things first…what changed?

Well…obviously I did…but what made me change?

The first thing was this person…

whitney-thore

Whitney Way Thore click for more info

This is Whitney Way Thore, star of a show called Whitney Fat Girl Dancing, and a dancer who works to encourage people to accept their body and not body shame others. I don’t watch her show often, but I happened to catch an interview with her and of course she was being quizzed for promoting obesity and such like. and she explained she has PCOS  which made her gain weight and that she was aware that it could be unhealthy to be overweight but then she said “Appreciate your body for what it can do.” and that if it is stopping you doing things you want to it is time for a change. That one line started to change my outlook.

Then I found Grrrl Clothing, an amazing company run by Kortney Olson  I have told you about them before here they are all about body positivity and fitness at all sizes…which quite honestly is rare in a fitness clothing company! The breakthrough really came when I found their FB group Grrrls. This group is full of amazing women who all support each other and all subscribe to the Grrrl philosophy which comes handily written on the clothing tag.

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This is important. No negativity about yourself or others. As soon as you start to do this your outlook starts to change.

How often do you look in a mirror and criticise yourself, or tell yourself that you are stupid, or tell other people that you need to lose weight or are so fat or whatever. As soon as you stop this and start to look for positives, everything changes. Not instantly…it is not magic… you can’t wipe out years/decades of social conditioning in one hit but it starts to happen. You start to appreciate what your body can do whether it is lift heavy things, run a long way, make children (I have heard this can be a good thing but I remain unconvinced :-p), or just move you around through your busy day to day lives. You start to realise that you can be and do anything you want to do at any size and that the dictates of society are quite frankly rubbish…

Society says you have to be skinny to be attractive…well no actually the thing that makes a person most attractive is confidence. Society says women shouldn’t lift weights because they might get all bulky…well, bulky is unlikely in women and anyway…why shouldn’t women be bulky if they want…

Society says working out is for weight loss and for looks…well no, working out is for health and for whatever your own personal goal is!!

Before I go on any more I am going to show you some of the awesome women in the group who have inspired me to walk around with scary bright leggings on and muscle shirts with no vest tops under them…to walk around with confidence!

These are not the only inspirational women in the group by a long way but it just shows, no matter what size, what shape, what background we come from, there is no judgement! 😀

So here’s what body positivity means to me:

Body positivity is about believing in your own self worth, about believing that I am strong and capable and worthy of confidence as I am right now! It is ok to want to work on self improvement, it is ok to still want to lose weight but the difference is I am doing it for me and for health and to be an even better me rather than as a punishment for being a bad me!

I work out because I like it.

I wouldn’t mind losing some more fat, but I am proud of myself for who I am at the moment!

I can spend three days in a row dancing and walking miles and still walk the next day! I can lift 100kg (almost…) I can ride my bike for mile and miles I can swing a kettlebell about like nobody’s business and I can do all of these things right now.

I am fit and I am healthy and I still have chocolate sometimes and that is ok!

I am still mildly terrified of posting this without the caveats I mentioned at the start. I still have the fear of people judging me for being too fat or too weak or, now after writing this, too show-y off-y…

but you know what I am posting it anyway along with these pictures of the me that I am proud of right now!

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So be who you want to be, be who you are and don’t be ashamed of it! Don’t let “society” dictate whether you wear leggings or shorts or vest tops or giant hats covered in peacock feathers or what ever you like because at the end of the day it is not their business…it is yours 😀

 

Is “Strong the New Skinny”

Strong, skinny, whatever you are you are awesome!!

this is perfectly said, and I promise you a body positivity post of my very own later in the week 😀

Staying healthy isnt a crime-Fitness is a lifestyle choice

So the newest saying from around the block is “strong is the new skinny” and I realize this has been going on since CrossFit became a hit and everyone figured “fuck being thin”, let’s get huge and muscular – both men and women. I just have some two cents I would like to share about this particular saying.. and maybe some of you will agree and maybe some of you will disagree and look at it differently, doesn’t matter, this is my opinion and you can either take it or walk away with your own opinion. 

 

For one, I will admit, that people have called me both, “skinny”, “lean”, “strong”, “muscular”, so I have been on both sides of this spectrum and to be honest, I don’t consider myself “skinny” by any means (sure growing up, I was), but muscular, sure.. I mean, for a female one may agree…

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A weekend of dance, walking and rain!!

This weekend started so well!!

It was Rochester sweeps festival which involves.. well… Dancing and more dancing and some waking about… all with fantastic people! So that was pretty damn awesome and is exactly what this whole fit enough to dance in a mask project was all about!!

Lovely crazy friends!



Then came Sunday… a day where I was scheduled to walk 20 miles from shoreham to south water on the (infamous) downs link path. This walk was beset with disaster from the get go…

First the path was closed then the detour (as with all good detours) left me in the middle of nowhere then a dog attacked some sheep (not my dog…I don’t have one) then it rained for the next 5 hours!

So miserable was it that I stopped after 14miles… still in the plus side I did 14 miles 🙂

Soggy but still sort of smiling…this wasn’t the end of the walk…I got wetter and less smiley! 

Optimistic and smiley at the start of the walk…

Monday involved more dancing…well a long procession and then a little bit of dancing at Hastings Jack in the Green festival… it would have been fun… but there was so much rain!! Still there was dancing and that is always good!!

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This was the view from the end of the procession…it looks nicer than it should do!

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Mythago, processing…look at the floor…so wet! (photo from Hastings Observer click for source)

Despite the weekends wet drawbacks, it has reminded me of something…I am a damn sight fitter than I used to be…I have turned into a person who can sandwich a 14 mile walk in between two days of dance without crippling myself!! this, my friends is progress!! 😀

Exploring the wilds…

Or an awesome walk in Northern Scotland…

We are currently mis grand ad-van-ture, and a couple of days ago we went in a walk…over some hills in between mountains to a beach which was inaccessible any other way (apart from the really wet way). 

The beach was Sandwood Bay and if you are ever in the area you should go on an expedition!

It was a windy cold not quite raining day in Scotland and it was totally worth it!!! The place was amazing!! 

And not only that it counted as 14km of walking training up and down some hills 😁


The pictures don’t really show the awesomeness of the whole thing… and my head is not 15tines as large as everyone else’s! 

More grand ad-van-ture news to follow 😁

More walking antics…

Well…walks anyway 😀

I managed to fit in a 20.2km walk again along the downs link path…this one went all the way to slinfold as I originally intended 🙂 I also included a detour tonsee the wey and Arun canal which may well bear some further investigation later 😀 

This one felt like hard work, for some reason all the way along, I got it done though which is what matters!


Following this I thought is would get in a faster more sociable walk… 

I headed down to Brighton and met up with my friend D who, coincidentally (ish) will be doing the marathon with me 🙂

Wa marched along the seafront from saltdean and the back to saltdean where a beverage awaited us 🙂

Walking and walking and walking like a hobbit on a mission

So…remember when I said I had signed up for a thing?

you know this thing: Moonwalk 2017

The one where I have to walk a marathon and wear a bra…

Well…I thought it was time I updated you on my training. That’s right, training…I have actually been doing some! Probably not enough, or possibly I have left it a little late as usual but still!!

I have worked out that the best way from me to walk a long way, especially if I am on my own, is for someone to drop me off a way away from home and for me to walk back. That way I don’t spent the first half of the walk thinking about turning back and attempting to make myself go further…I just have to walk until I reach my appointed pick up point 😀

My first one of these was 14.4k  from Bramley in Surrey to Rudgewick in Sussex 🙂

 

The second of these was last sunday and was 18.5 km long from Bramber in Sussex to Southwater also in sussex.

I am doing so much walking at the moment that I am beginning to feel like a hobbit! But it is quite good, these one way long walks where I have a fixed destination feel like adventures! I am even beginning to enjoy it! I suspect this is helped a lot by the lovely sunny spring weather that has been happening while I have been walking 🙂

By the way…if you feel like sponsoring me for this escapade I would be very grateful! this is the place you need to go… https://moonwalklondon2017.everydayhero.com/uk/sam-19

 

Mountain bike mayhem

It has been a while since I have told you about a new thing I have been doing, so I am going to do just that now.

OK…technically this isn’t a new thing… it is an old thing that I haven’t done for a while…

By a while I mean about 8 years…

So it totally counts as new!  especially when you take into account the shiny new toys that have had to be purchased to make it happen! In case you hadn’t guessed by the title, I got a new bike. I had a bike but it was too big for me and I was quite scared riding it… I was ok going in a level straight line but any bumps, lumps, hills, corners or other sudden change in direction caused a lot of squeaking and squawking and on one occasion crying and getting off to walk…

Consequently, once I had decided that mountain biking had the potential to be fun, and decided that it would be fun to do mountain biking with Mr Mark without being scared at him and shouting, we thought it was time for a new bike 😀

Looky look new bike 😀 I love it! It has lovely wide handle bars and is not super massive so I can actually reach the floor…yeay!!

Not all the time…I still have to lean my bike to the side a little to put my foot down when I stop, but that is ok because that no longer makes me feel like i am going to land on the floor in a heap when I do it 😀

Since getting my new bike, I am able to go up and down lumpy bits and through muddy bits without feeling like I am taking my life in my hands, so that is an improvement…

I haven’t tried it on a really hilly ride yet so I am not sure how that will be, but on the short hills I have done so far it seems ok if glad that i have a) gears and 2) strong legs from all the lifting 😀

We have been on quite  few rides now, some of them featuring my Brother in law, Sister in law and my awesome (crazy) nephews :-D, some of them featuring cake, some featuring both.

Some of them also featured my awesome comic book superhero leggings and my dubiously coloured 1980s looking mountain biking jacket, which looks odd…but is very comfortable and doesn’t end up around my middle when I am riding 😀

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