Juneathon 2017, Day 19 – Tesco

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Swansea’s City Centre 24 hour Tesco

It was another swelteringly hot day today. Last night my bedroom reached 29.9°C and I slept badly even though I had a couple of fans blasting towards the bed. I refused to do any exercise until 9pm when things had cooled off a bit.

For Juneathon today I walked to Tescos and back, a distance of 1.5 miles. I did also nip in to get myself some food for tonight and tomorrow.

Tesco Day: 1.5 mile walk
Steps Taken: 7,711
Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 18 – A Day of two parts

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Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles


Early this morning, after leaving the Hawaiian themed party, I decided to wander up to the geocache I maintain in the castle grounds. Quite a few people have found it since my last visit and it was time to check on it. That, and when I passed the taxi office it was heaving with people who’d just been expelled from all of Mumbles’ pubs. I thought that by the time I’d visited the cache I’d be able to at least get to sit down in the office.

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Sharpening the pencil

So it was that I found myself at 0030hrs sitting in the dark, on a grassy hill sharpening a pencil with my penknife. The rest of the cache was in good order except for the fact that it looks as if some blighter has nabbed the bag to put trackables in. (Trackables are small items with unique tracking codes that move from geocache to geocache and are “logged in” online. Some trackables move thousands of miles in the time that they’re out in the wild.) So at some point in the near future I’m going to have to traipse back up the hill with a replacement bag.

And yes, by the time I arrived back at the taxi rank everyone else had gone and I was able to get a taxi within 5 minutes.
That was the first part of the day.

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A bit of crocheting

It was scorching today. It was easily the hottest day of the year. Even the Old Trout headed out for a bit of sun. Apparently that didn’t go too well, as she went to lie down and promptly broke her sunbed. *snigger*

Part two of today’s Juneathon exercising involved not walking anywhere in the heat. Instead, I first completed a 5 minute “bed stretch” and then realised that my new garden has a couple of rather solid, and quite shallow, steps.

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Just in case you don’t know what a step is

I waited until about 9pm and then started stepping. I lasted for roughly 15 minutes. At first I was going too fast as I was moving along to “Uptown Funk”. That got my heart racing and I collapsed afterwards. But a few slower songs ensured that I was able to continue for what I consider to be a really good amount of time.

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Sweaty and happy

A Day of Two Parts: Short walk to Oystermouth castle, bed stretch, 15 minutes of stepping
Steps Taken: 7,182
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Juneathon 2017, Day 17 – Hawaiian Party

You know what isn’t great when it comes to Juneathon? Trying to fit it in around other things. Especially if those other things aren’t compatible in the least with exercising. And so it was with an activity I had planned for today: drinking.

The pool lads had invited me to go to a Hawaiian themed party with them. In fact, it was a party thrown in honour of our illustrious leader’s 50th birthday. When I say “leader” – this relates to the Mumbles Pool league. “He” being the organiser behind the whole endeavour. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t play pool. I’m useless at it. But I have for the past few years been heading along to support one of the Mumbles’ Pool teams. It’s an unusual arrangement. But hey, life would be boring if we all followed the same path, right?!

I was a little dubious about whether or not they were pulling my leg about the supposed theme of the evening. Our pool organiser does generally sport flamboyant Hawaiian shirts, but that didn’t mean that I wouldn’t look like a right plonker if I turned up for the night and was the only one wearing a Hawaiian shirt. So I decided to hedge my bets and find something that wouldn’t necessarily look out of place even if no one else was dressed up. It’s hard enough to find anything that’ll fit me (I’m a UK size 26) let alone with an Hawaiian theme, so I resorted to trawling the internet for some suitable fabric and making myself a dress. In the end (at 5am on Saturday morning) I had something suitable to wear for Saturday night’s party.

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Shirred flamingo dress

Perhaps they don’t have flamingoes in Hawaii, but when our dear pool leader saw me he seemed incredibly nonplussed. I felt rather downcast. A couple of the pool team members were greeted with delight and given a tea-bag because they were wearing Hawaiian themed tops. No such honour was bestowed upon me. I was quite upset. Perhaps the flamingoes aren’t quite right, but the palm trees… I found fabric that had palm trees plastered all over it. I then made a dress and… well, I’ve never felt so forlornly in need of a tea-bag in my entire life! (I don’t drink tea). What an injustice!

I don’t know what the tea-bags signified. Probably just that our delightful (and Hawaiian shirt clad) leader was suitably impressed with their attempts to follow in his footsteps. All I know is that everyone else seemed to have a tea-bag except for me. Had I known that I would have been discriminated against I might have also made a suitable placard. Admittedly I really can’t work out if the sign needed to say something like “Tea-bags for all!”, “Flamingoes for Hawaii!” or “Big women can’t find Hawaiian shirts to fit them, you moron!”.

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They’re happy, because they both received tea-bags 

You might be wondering what all of this has to do with exercising for Juneathon. It’s just a long-winded way of saying that I didn’t really do anything extra today. I’d showered and set my hair early and couldn’t face messing that up. So, apart from a bed stretch I didn’t do any extra exercising for Juneathon.

But I did have a great night out (even if I didn’t get a tea-bag).

Hawaiian Party Day: Bed Stretch. Walk to bus, then to the pub.
Steps Taken: 9,279
Difficulty Level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 16 – Constitution Hill

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Constitution Hill in Swansea is said to be the world’s steepest inhabited cobbled road. It’s roughly 300m in length and the cobbled section averages 18% in gradient. It’s been included in numerous cycle races because of how difficult it is to climb and ride along. And today I walked down it.
You read that right, I walked down Constitution Hill for my Juneathon exercise.

Let me begin at the point where this daring idea all started: I’d enticed my niece and nephew (My two dear sprats) down to my house after school with the promise of strawberries and tinned milk. But by the time we’d finished the strawberries and played a couple of board games it was getting rather late. Not only did I not want them to walk home alone, I also thought that taking them home would be a good bit of exercise as they live up Constitution Hill. (Well, very near to it)

So, my idea had been to walk both up and down the hill, with those two in tow on the way up. Leaving me to then make my way back down again as slowly as I needed to. There was one flaw in this plan. Being a doting aunt, I also told them that they could buy themselves some sweets for the way home. To be honest, this wasn’t an entirely selfless gesture. I thought that if they had sweets to eat as I puffed and panted up they hill they wouldn’t be taking quite as much notice of how long they were having to wait around. So, we went sweet shopping. And then we started making our way to their house.

We lost Constitution Hill entirely!
In fact, I think that all 3 of us might have been just a little bit lost at one point. (I’ve not walked from my new house to their new house before. There’s a rather large hill that gets in the way.)
A pang of terror entered my heart when the eldest sprat (who is one of the most navigationally challenged people I know) cried out “I know where we are!” and started to point up a long, winding road. Did I dare believe him, this boy who seems to forget the direction of the sea once he’s walked barely 30m from it?! Oh, the angst!
And then I thought: He’s got a phone. If we get too lost I can call a taxi. After all, how lost can we get?

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Playing “I Spy”

Strangely enough we didn’t get lost at all.
I was able to hand them over to their mother safely without any bruises, broken legs, or tantrums having befallen them. Before I left, I sneakily used her wifi to check where the darned Hill was. And so, I found myself walking down it.
Not all of the way down. That might have killed me.
Let’s say “most” of the way down. And I didn’t do too badly at all. The last time I tried to walk down part of the Hill my knees buckled and it took a few days before I could walk properly again. Today I just felt as if it was a reasonable workout.

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Looking down Constitution Hill

You can’t mention Swansea’s Constitution Hill without also mentioning the most iconic film featuring the city: Twin Town. In that film, released just over 20 years ago in April 1997 the opening scene involves a car hurtling down the hill. I have no idea why that happens. I’ve never seen the film. It just seems to be something everyone talks about if you mention it.

Constitution Hill Day: A walk up and then down
Steps Taken: 6,643
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 14 – Walk into town and back

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Castle Square, Swansea

I had my first house inspection today for my new house. It always freaks me out. I spend far too much time trying to make the place tidy, just for them to spend two seconds taking a look around. I was mentally exhausted by the time the woman had come and gone, so I flopped back into bed.

4 hours later I awoke to find myself in a puddle of drool. Not the best way to wake up. But I had at least had a very deep sleep and was ready for a bit of exercise.
First came some bed stretches. Today I waved my arms about to Kayne West’s “Stronger.” before I limped quickly to the toilet. I’d allowed for roughly 3 minutes of body movement before getting up, not 5 minutes. A small difference, but a large error if you’ve just emerged from a deep sleep.

And then I went out for a walk. Making my way tonight along beside all of the people heading out for a night out. First heading towards the City Centre and then back again.
At one point I passed the city centre gym which being a 24hr affair might be something that I could take advantage of, especially in the winter months when I won’t necessarily want to be wandering around in driving rain at midnight. I used to enjoy going to the gym when I was less ill.
As I walked along I tried working out if it would be possible. I know that particular gym isn’t too expensive. I can certainly get to it, and as I’ve already said as a 24hr gym it would be great for my night owl tendencies. I’ve been researching where I can buy breathable, athletic fabrics from recently and I’m pretty certain that I could whip up a sports top, shorts and bra that wouldn’t look out of place. I was getting quite excited. And then I thought: footwear.

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resting a while

😦
Footwear!
I’d have to find some form of shoes to fit my feet 😦

I have very wide feet. I actually have large bones. Yes, I know that this is a “thing” that is flung about in order to explain away or make excuses for someone who is overweight. I’m doing no such thing. I’ve mentioned in other posts how heavy I am and the fact that I’m morbidly obese. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I have large bones, which make my feet wide no matter how much I weigh. Add the fact that they’re now also puffy from excess weight and, well, buying shoes that don’t explode is nigh on impossible.

You can tell if you’ve got large or small bones by measuring the circumference of your wrist. This is the one place on the body that generally doesn’t have any fat.

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I’m 5’4″ and have a wrist circumference of 7.25″
I am far from being petite.

Right, back to the topic of exploding shoes: Getting anything wide enough for my feet is nigh on impossible. Which is why I live in sandals for as long as I can throughout the year.
Yes, you can buy extra wide shoes. But have you ever looked at them?! I’ve tried to buy some, really I have. But I admit it: I’m a footwear snob. I want footwear with Vibram type soles that have good grip. I want footbeds that hug my feet and offer support. I want to wear walking boots or approach shoes when doing the activities that warrant using them. When at the gym I want to be able to wear appropriate trainers that are built for people who are trying to exercise. But I can’t find anything!
If you think I’m overreacting, try searching for a woman’s size 39-40 (UK size 6) trainer in at least a 4EE width, (avoiding baby blue or light pink if at all possible). See if it is actually available in Britain and in stock. And then, when you have found one, take a good look at it and answer honestly if you’d be seen dead wearing it. If so, then well done, you are not a shoe snob.

But, having said all of that, if the trainers were only for the gym and I hid them in my bag so that regular people didn’t see me walking about in them… perhaps that would be okay. Perhaps this Cinderella could go to the Gym after all 😀

Walk into town and back day: Bed stretch, Walk into town and back
Steps Taken: 11,227
Difficulty level: intermediate

Juneathon 2017, Day 13 – A rest day

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My tree, in my garden

My Juneathon goal for today was to complete my daily step goal of 3,000 steps. Having reached that, I’m content for the day just to carry on without doing anything else.

Yesterday I had an uneven heart rate for 4 or 5 hours. It is quite debilitating whilst it’s happening. It also makes me feel awful the next day. I had very little sleep and then woke up with painfully aching legs and a massive headache.

I contented myself today with catching up on sleep and pottering about slowly doing bits and pieces around the house whilst raising my step count. I didn’t get to go out in the garden for very long, but when I did it raised my spirits quite a bit.

A Rest Day: Pottered about
Steps taken: 3,104
Difficulty level: Intermediate