Janathon 2018, Day 8 – Last minute workout

Today was initially a day of flopping, sleeping, waking up and feeling awful before starting the cycle all over again.
The only emotion I felt was guilt. It’s hard to do anything except for hide from life when all you can do is feel guilty. I’ve tried explaining it before like this: imagine that you’ve woken up knowing that you’ve done the worst thing imaginable. Perhaps you’ve murdered someone. Well, you can feel the guilt associated with it, but no matter how hard you rack your brain, you can’t remember what you did. That’s how I felt today. Except thankfully, after all these years, I can at least convince myself that it is just my head playing tricks again. But there was no way on earth I wanted to do anything other than hide (and sleep).

The turning point in the day came when my sister brought me dinner: a comforting bag of fish and chips from my local chippy. Perhaps it was the sustenance from the battered cod and calorific, but gorgeous fat ladened chips that made me feel better. But I think it had more to do with the fact that my nephew turned up too. He’s still young enough to be adorable – and I’m going to hold on to that for as long as I can. But today I was also able to teach him one of those “life lessons” that I mentioned yesterday. Today’s lesson was all about how his aunt can hold a straight face when he asks what a smear test is. The poor lad got told in full detail. I swear that he was squirming off the chair and into the wall at one point. I was having far too much fun watching him to stop talking about “women’s bits” and “cervixes” sooner.
Yes, at that age I’d have been mortified too. But if he can put up with an old lady like me talking about stuff like, that then he’s not only going to be hard to embarrass later on in life, but he’s going to be better equipped to deal with the 50% of the population who have to deal with such things.

Well, after they left I thought I’d make myself a sports bra. I’m off on holiday very soon and I really want a breathable, comfortable top to wear whilst out and about. So, I made myself a brazi with some supplex that I bought ages ago.
I’m getting a lot better at sewing. I essentially started because I was fed up of having nothing suitable to wear, especially when I went out walking. And now I have loads! Tonight I also have my first ultra-wicking, breathable 3xl sports bra, complete with power mesh to stop everything from bouncing.

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Not that I tend to bounce very often. My body isn’t particularly good at that sort of stuff. But in the summer if my niece or nephew challenge me to a hill-rolling contest I’ll be the best prepared adult on the hill.

And for some reason, sewing that calmed me down enough so that I could hop on my recumbent bike and pedal for half an hour.
Yeah Janathon – another bit of exercise that wouldn’t have been done without it.

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Last minute workout Day: 30 minutes on the recumbent bike
Steps Taken: 3,548 – no way. I’ll have to remove my vivofit next time I cycle :/
Difficulty Level: Medium

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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 and 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 😀

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 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 7 – I Accept

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Today I decided that instead of going for a walk I’d do some Yoga for Juneathon. I’ve completed a few of the “Yoga with Adriene” Youtube videos in the past and have enjoyed them. Although not enough to actually do any yoga outside of either Janathon or Juneathon.
Today I thought I’d challenge myself a little bit more than before by choosing a video that didn’t have “extreme beginner” or “complete novice” in the title. “Yoga Camp Day 1 – I Accept“, a 30 minute long session, sounded like just the job for my poor aching body. All this walking is making my knees a bit painful. Not too bad, but enough that I thought that it might be good to give them a rest today. It isn’t just Juneathon, I have managed to double my average daily step count in the last month or so. (Yippee!)

Another reason my body was aching this morning is because I’ve been trying to sew myself a new summery top. One which involves shirring. You basically get some elastic and sew rows and rows of it along your fabric so that it makes a pretty ruching effect. I’ve never tried it before and thought that I’d give it a go. But when I say “rows and rows”… oh, it’s awful! I’ve spent hours sewing these stupid rows so far. There are 30 in total. The sad thing is that I’ve only completed the front; I’ve still got to do the same on the back. And sitting in a chair sewing for hours can really make your body seize up. There’s one thing that I have as a consolation: I’m getting a lot faster as I go along, so with the back I should be able to just zip along. Hmm, yeah… right.

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Why is nothing ever plain sailing?
I’d chosen the video I was going to watch, but had forgotten about the fact that my computer speakers were still packed in a box somewhere. I normally just wander around, listening with my wireless headphones. But that isn’t really an option when you’re attempting to do the world’s most ungainly downward facing dog. They don’t seem to like me much when my head is at ridiculous angles.
But that gave me the kick up the backside that I needed to find my speakers and plug them all in. By the time I’d found the correct box and lugged everything around the house I had reached my daily step goal. So, a session of yoga has helped me to reach my 3,000 steps and have one less box to trip over in the future.

And then on to the Yoga.
Wow!
That was fantastic.
Fantastic because it was incredibly energising and the stretches were amazing. And also fantastic because of how easy it was. When I’d tried videos previously I’d enjoyed them. But everything was such a struggle. Just getting down on to the floor was a struggle. Yes, today I was hampered by my size. My stomach gets in the way all too often, as do my calves, and yes, my breasts. But bar the physical impossibilities of certain movements I was able to do everything. Except for one thing: lie flat on my back. I’ve never been able to without seizing up and then flailing about in agony trying to un-stick myself from the floor. Don’t ask me why. I’m just special I guess. When everyone else is relaxing at the end of a session I’m there, legs stuck up in the air trying not to grimace too much.

I’m going to add another Yippee! in, just so that this post ends on the happy note that I feel from today’s exercising.

“I Accept” Day: 30 minutes of Yoga
Daily Step Count: 3,153 (and counting)
Difficulty Level: Easy