Juneathon 2017, Day 30 (Part 2) – I did it!

I did it!

I completed the whole of Juneathon. That means that every day in June I both exercised and blogged about exercising.

I was hoping to finish Juneathon off with some spectacular feat. I hadn’t worked out what it would be, but I really wanted to see this month off with a congratulatory pat on the back. I suppose I did really. I might not have walked very far on the last day of June, but it was by far the hardest day of the month to complete. Mentally I was in full “nope” mode. I felt so upset by the world and so distraught and scared that moving out of bed, even to go to the toilet was nigh on impossible. So the fact that I pushed myself to complete 3,000 steps is something I think I can be proud of.

I really love Janathon and Juneathon. This year there don’t seem to be many people taking part and even fewer who stayed the course. One thing I enjoy is that fact that the achievement is entirely personal. Some participants complain if they only complete a 3 mile walk, but for me that is a great day and I can reflect that in my blog posts.
It gives me a big health boost to exercise every day for a month. But it is also one heck of an energy drain. I don’t have enough energy to do anything else. Life doesn’t continue around the exercise. What you see me write about is generally all I’ve done. Essentially, if I continued blogging throughout the year nothing else would ever get done.

So, I’ll say goodbye for now.
And I’ll talk to you again in January x

Total Steps: 233,126
Daily Average number of steps: 7,771
Minutes Swimming: Lots πŸ™‚
Yoga: 40 minutes
Dancing & Stepping: 20 minutes
Stretching: 30 minutes
Dumbbell lifts: 400

Juneathon 2017, Day 29 – Dentist Day

 

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Today I visited the dentist for the first time in over three years.

I’m not particularly scared of going to the dentist, but my inability to walk easily and bouts of agoraphobia meant that I just never got around to going. Plus, although I qualify for free dental care on the NHS due to my low income, I was having to pay for it, because trying to get an NHS dentist is nearly impossible. (I waited for 6 years in Inverness before I got wind of a practise that had an availability.) This time it was my sister who tripped over the NHS slots and grabbed one for me.

I very nearly didn’t get there. Mentally during the last few days I’ve been in the doldrums. Not feeling really bad, but not quite right either. I’m always amazed at how being in a poor mental state can make everything physically more difficult too. My legs ache more, my body just niggles at me. And that was what it was like today: I virtually crawled out of the door to walk to the bus stop.

But, I did get to the dentist. And it was a relatively pain free experience.
I had a bit of a panic attack trying to get into the building as I’d never been before. But having scouted it all out beforehand using Street View on Google Earth I knew exactly where I was going and which door I had to enter. On the first pass, as I said, I lucked out. I didn’t have quite enough “bravery” momentum to get me through the door and I carried on walking instead. But I got in on the second try.

One of the worst things for me is that dentists invariably will tell you off for your poor dental hygiene. This is especially bad for someone dealing with my mental health issues because I’m paranoid that if I don’t do things correctly then someone will come along and kill me. Don’t ask me who, I’ve no idea. My brain is totally bonkers. Actually, I’m glad that it’s never formulated a massive conspiracy theory as to the precise nature of the people that are going to come and kill me, because then it would be far harder for me to dismiss it.
Normally I don’t have to put up with that little voice screaming at me to “be good”. Normally… unless I get stressed. And dentists stress everybody out, right?

But this dentist was lovely. I mentioned that I had mental health issues and his posture changed, ever so slightly. I thought “uh oh, here we go. He’s either going to talk to me as if I’m an imbecile, or his eyes are going to flit warily between myself and the door the whole time.” But I was pleasantly surprised. He told me clearly what he was going to do and why and not once did he castigate me for not brushing often enough.

Upon emerging I was very happy. I have a tooth that needs filling. But more importantly I wasn’t scared of returning.
I was unfortunately worn out from the whole encounter. So why I then decided to walk home is a bit of a mystery. Because it’s good for me I suppose.
I enjoyed the walk. But it took aeons because my legs felt like lead and my brain had gone just a little bit off kilter from the whole “dentist” thing.

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In the dunes

I even took a short detour into the dunes. I haven’t been along this little boardwalk before.

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Looking over to Mumbles

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Swansea’s tallest building

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Hmm…

It took me a little while to work out why there were loudspeakers strung along the beach. At first I thought that they may have been left over from last week’s half marathon. And then I remembered that it’s the Airshow on Saturday and Sunday. If all goes well with the weather we’ll be treated with displays by the Red Arrows and a variety of other magnificent flying machines. For today though, we’ve got a line of speakers on the sand playing tinny music.

Not a bad day at all πŸ™‚

Dentist Day: 3 mile walk home
Steps Taken: 11,210
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Juneathon 2017, Day 28 – To streak or not to streak

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That building near my house; it’s just so creepy.

I couldn’t get myself to exercise today. So instead of trying too hard I decided to do some sewing instead.

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It was a quick top to make. But all told it took about 5 hours from printing off the pattern to finishing. It’s the “Free Spirit Tank” by Patterns for Pirates, one of the new wave of independent clothing pattern designers.

Years ago you’d buy a pattern from one of the “Big 4”: Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick and McCalls. In the little packet that you’d buy would be a massive sheet of paper with the pattern printed on it and a not so massive sheet with instructions. The massive pattern sheet was the flimsiest paper imaginable. Think tissue paper. So, one wrong move and the pattern could be torn to shreds. And the instructions assumed that you had the competence of a sewing god. Which I am not. Add to that the fact that I’ve never been in the size range of most of the patterns and you have a recipe for disaster.

And then I tripped over this new wave of pattern designers. They’re much more my cup of tea (even though I don’t like tea) (although I do periodically enjoy iced-tea, so I suppose that counts). Anyway, they’re far more user friendly for the beginner like myself andΒ some of them realise that we large ladies would like to have clothing that fits too.
Gone are the days when I would be tearing my hair out trying to work out the vaguest of instructions. Instead, because the patterns I buy are downloadable PDF files, brevity isn’t an issue. You’re walked through each step with photos and clear instructions. And if you still can’t figure out what to do then there are Facebook groups where you’re free to ask as many questions as you need. Or, in my case, to spend hours lusting after other peoples’ designs.

The top I made takes some people half an hour. It took me 5. It takes others that long as well. My brain just can’t handle doing the whole thing in one go and I have to take time out to sit, chill and try not to worry too much. That’s how it goes. As long as I have something nice at the end, I don’t care. My brain and I are used to one another’s foibles.

Oh, and boy did I get something nice when I finished.
It doesn’t look like much on the hangar, but when it’s on it looks stunning.

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I suppose I did do some rolling around on the floor when I taped the pattern together, and then again when I cut the material out.

I must have done more moving about than by this time yesterday because I’d reached nearly 2,500 steps. And that then spurred me on to reach my daily step goal. I’ve hit an unprecedented streak of 61 days. I wasn’t going to let a mere 500 steps break that. So I decided that the streak must go on and that I had to head outside for 250 steps and then walk back.
It worked! The streak is still going πŸ˜€

And now I’m away to lift some dumbbells before midnight.

To streak or not to streak Day: Reached daily step goal, 200 dumbbell lifts
Step Count: 3,423
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Juneathon 2017, Day 15 – A Crochet Day

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African Flower Hexagons

As it was a nice day today I went out in the garden and did a little crochet. The photo above shows the five hexagons that I completed. So far I’ve made 33 of them. I’m hoping to have enough patience to make 225 and to make a square blanket. I don’t really know what size it’ll be; it doesn’t matter.
I started crocheting in earnest about 3 years ago when my muscles started to deteriorate. It gave me something that I was able to accomplish without too much mental or physical effort. And today I grabbed my crochet and headed outside because mentally I was incapable of anything else. After making a fair few of these little flowers I know precisely what I’m doing and how many stitches to make. As the hook flows through the work my mind is able to relax and forget about all of the things that are niggling away at me. The dark thoughts are banished into the dark recesses of my brain as if by magic. It feels good to crochet. And on a sunny day like today, crocheting in my safe little back garden is one of the best remedies for my mental illness that I can think of.

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A wee fellow enjoying one of my poppies

Unfortunately, even after enjoying a very relaxing couple of hours in the garden, my schizophrenia was still having far too much fun inside my head.

Doing exercise for Juneathon is fine when I’m feeling well mentally, but it’s virtually impossible on days like these when my brain is trying to shut me down and the horrible thoughts are like a thick, dank fog hovering around my head:
“You’re useless! You’re fat! Nobody likes you! You’re dirty! You smell! Your family hates you! You don’t have any friends! What you wrote yesterday about shoes: that was stupid! You’re so stupid. You can’t even manage to put plates in the dishwasher! Other people don’t need a dishwasher. They wash things. They do things. They’re not lazy. You’re so lazy! You’re an embarrassment. No wonder no one ever wants to talk to you. Why would they ever want to talk to you? …”
On and on and on…

The last thing I wanted to do was to go out for a walk. But I couldn’t face anything else either. Walking will often drive the thoughts away, just as crocheting does. I suppose it’s the meditative, calm state that I get into when I’m doing either activity. Unfortunately dancing, yoga, lifting weight etc. just don’t have the same effect.

So, I compromised: today would have to just be a day when I reached my step goal and felt satisfied with it. But, I thought I’d try to do one better and go outside in order to reach my goal.
It took one walk up my street and then down a neighbouring street to reach 3,000 steps, whereupon I sighed with relief and scurried home.

A Crochet day: met daily step count
Steps Taken: 3,682
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Juneathon 2017, Day 8 – Election Day

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Outside Mumbles’ Polling Station

I did it!
I’m incredibly proud of myself today, because I voted.
It took one heck of a push to get myself outside and walking to the bus. I was just so highly stressed about the whole thing.
I’ve had a postal vote ever since I’ve been allowed one. But for that last few years, no matter how many times I sent my form in I never seemed to be signed up for the postal vote. And so it was with this snap election: along came my voting card as opposed to a postal ballot. And because I hadn’t updated my details since my move, I had to head to Mumbles once again in order to cast my vote. That probably made it easier in a way, because I know Mumbles well and have often been inside the village hall. It wasn’t as nerve wracking as entering a new place would have been. And Mumbles isn’t a bad place to go to. After all, look at the view from the polling station of Oystermouth castle.

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Caswell Bay

And afterwards I took the opportunity to do something else I’m rather proud of: I went for a walk to a couple of geocaches that I haven’t been to for quite some time. They’re ones that I look after with my family, but that I haven’t been physically able to get to for a couple of years.

And look: I walked far enough that I can actually show you on a map:

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A map of my walk

I am so flipping chuffed!

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Arachnophobia

I’m probably not going to make too much sense in this blog because I have not only worn myself out, I’m also on a natural high from finally being able to get out and go for a walk away from level pavements.

Arachnophobia is the first of two geocaches that we maintain in Bishop Woods. It’s a night cache. You get to the starting coordinates and then at night with a torch you follow the reflective strips that we’ve placed in a trail around the woods until you finally get to the cache. And in this case: the spiders’ lair. It’s holding up well considering.

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A good place for a quick rest


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Onwards and Upwards!

Just look at how uneven that path is!
And did my knees complain? No they did not. (Well, perhaps just a little)
As I was slowly making my way uphill, a woman passed me with her dogs saying “It’s a long way up isn’t it?” – probably thinking from my sweat smeared face that I was having a rough time of it. But I was just grinning from ear to ear when I replied “Yes. Yes it is isn’t it?”. To think that 6 months ago I was still having difficulty crossing a room!

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Why am I walking inside a bush?

The path to the next cache had me a little stumped. It was all rather more overgrowth than when I was last here and I found myself engulfed in foliage for a good 15m. I knew the path was beneath my feet, but as to where the dratted sky had gone? Well, that was a bit of a mystery.

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The Bishop Woods cache

Thankfully I emerged in the right place. I did my little bit of maintenance: wiped the box clean, topped up the swag, replaced the log and unstuck a couple of slugs using the underside as a meeting place.

And, with my jobs done for the day I wandered off to find my way home.
What a fantastic day!

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A foxglove

Election Day: A walk around Bishop Woods
Steps Taken: 13,366
Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 6 – How tall am I?

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Creepy building near my house

I’ve felt very weepy all day.
That’s what missing a couple of days of antidepressants does to you.

Today’s Juneathon exercise wasn’t completely impeded by my low mood, but it did make things harder.
First came the “morning stretch” routine where I sit up in bed and wave my arms meaningfully to a song. Today it was Kanye West’s “Stronger”. And I swear that if all of that jiggling about hadn’t made me desperately need to go to the toilet I would have laid back down and curled up under the covers for the rest of the day.

Then I decided that I’d go for a walk.
That seems reasonable doesn’t it? Somewhere nice like down to the beach? No! Today of all days, when I was feeling so low, I decided to register with a new doctor. I am a fool.
Strangely it went well enough. I plucked up the courage to go through the door and ask the receptionist for the relevant forms to fill in. My brain was just about able to fill them in before turning into its usual pile of anxiety ridden mush. All good. Another job sorted.

But no. Life is never that simple is it? Apparently I also needed to weigh myself on some fancy machine in the corner of the waiting room. One which would also do my blood pressure and check my height.
At this point my brain was screaming “Get. Out. Of. Here. As. Fast. As. You. Can!” but my body slowly moved towards the machine. There was no getting away from it, in order to become a member of this General Practise I would have to interact with the “machine”, just like everyone else in the room watching me had done. I sat down opposite it to prepare myself (and generally check the thing over). And then… I went and did its bidding.

Apparently I’m 163cm/5’3″ tall.
I don’t think I’ve ever known that before. I know roughly how tall I am, but have answered anywhere from 5’2″ to 5’4″. The problem comes from nearly always being measured in footwear and trying to then remove them from the equation (this thing made me take my sandals off – a true despot). It sounds like a simple calculation. But it can all be a bit confusing. For instance, in my walking boots I know where the sole ends, but at what height does the footbed stop? And what about my heel inserts? Anyway, it was good to finally find out how tall I am. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from here. The Old Trout is a shining example of this. She used to be a good inch or so taller than me, but now she’s shrivelled down to nose level.

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My Stats

Oh, and don’t take any notice of the blood pressure readings. Like I said, I was rather stressed πŸ˜‰

After that I headed swiftly out of the door and walked around town for a while to raise my step count.

P.S. MyΒ normal weight is not between 49.2kg and 66.2kg although I’d love that it was.

How tall am I Day: Morning Stretch, Walk around town
Step Count: 7,307
Difficulty Level: Medium