Rants and Raves #20

My passport has not yet arrived…

Edited to add: I was literally about to post this (I wrote it yesterday) when an update occurred! 

Basically I got to work, got a text from the passport people to say it would arrive “within a few days” and panicked. People at work suggested I rang them, which I did. The passport person informed me it would arrive today and that I might need to sign for it (though it’s unlikely) so I quickly left the office to come back home to work from home. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to have such a lovely and caring place of work to allow me to do this. No arrival as of yet!

Rant turned into a rave: Before knowing the above, I’d decided to focus on the positives of the outcome of not going to Iceland if my passport didn’t arrive in time. I could do a half marathon that’s part of our club league on Sunday (Solent half marathon). I’ve done it before but a couple of years ago and it’s nice and scenic, quite small and I can just use it to “womble” round as my last long run before the marathon. I can also use the extra weekend to get more stuff sorted for the move. I can go to parkrun on Saturday. It won’t be all doom and gloom (though it will royally suck). BUT FINGER’S CROSSED!

Rave: Getting into the Boston marathon 2016!

Boston marathon 2016 acceptance email

The Boston marathon is a bucket list race for me. It’s part of the World Marathon Majors, of which I’ve already done Berlin. I was going to run London next year (I deferred my GFA place from last year) but when I got a Boston qualifier in the Liverpool marathon I suddenly thought I could apply and just go. Yes it’s an expensive race in itself (just over £150!) and then the flights and accommodation…it makes it a costly affair. But I thought “sod it”. I’m the master of my own destiny, as they say, and at this point in my life I need to make selfish decisions while I can. I qualified by over 11 minutes which meant I was almost guaranteed a place as I could enter in the second wave of registrations (it’s a stepped registration process with the faster runners getting places first). I night not qualify again, they might change their qualifying times, I might get injured (could still happen)…best to do it now! Anyway I’m hugely excited. My mum is likely to come with me and support which will be fantastic. We’ll probably make it into a 8-9 day holiday to make the most of being there as well.

Rant: Having limited furniture! I gave away my sofa to the British Heart Foundation (so handy, a great way to get rid of furniture still in good condition) and sold my dining table and chairs.

Moving house

Handy having a bean bag!

This has left me with nowhere to eat dinner or work. When I worked from home on Monday it became clear someone else had noticed a change and wasn’t too happy with just having a blanket to sit on (he doesn’t use his bed for some reason).

Moving house Alfie

And speaking of Alfie, I found this old photo of him:

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What a mess! He looks ridiculous. I can’t believe we ever let his fur get so long and scruffy haha.

Rave: A last coffee with my mum in my house before I move (well, I think so anyway!).

Coffee with mum

My parents came back from their holiday in Antigua at the weekend and my mum popped over after work one evening to show off her tan to catch up. For some reason she didn’t want to sit on my bean bag and opted for the floor instead 😉 You can’t beat a coffee and a catch up with your mum.

Rant: I cleaned my oven and fridge. Neither were particularly awful but they were a pain. I can only hope my flat has a clean oven and fridge but I can’t be certain. I just think it’s polite to leave things nice. I’m such a clean freak I’ll probably get someone in to give the flat a deep clean anyway though (it won’t cost much as the place is tiny, I just hate the thought of using a bathroom someone else has used). With my current house it was great because it was a new build so everything was brand new. To be fair though the flat is fairly new and it can’t be as bad as the house we lived in during university…*shudders*.

Rave: One good thing about moving is that I won’t miss the cats on my road. SO MANY CATS. That said, I think I have a soft spot for the grumpy-looking one.

Grumpy cat

Rant: I dropped my favourite glass salad bowl on the floor (it’s probably more accurate to call it a mixing bowl, but I don’t bake and eat salads a lot more…). Sad times. A glass shard hit the top of my foot and caused a nasty gash. There ensued the race against time of trying to staunch the blood while keeping Alfie out of the way of the glass and trying to stop him licking my foot (gross, I know). Nothing serious but it bled a lot. And FYI, blister plasters do not work on cuts.

Rave: Though when Ben first got this ENORMOUS tub of protein powder I was aghast. But now I’m using protein powder (after my morning gym sessions and after my runs at work) it’s very handy he’s leaving it behind.

Protein powder

It’s not the greatest protein powder in the world for sure, but it’ll do for now! I still like my soya one though. It’s just like chocolate milk.

Rant: Running has been tough. I have to say though that I will take “tough” over niggly or injured any day. But I just feel tired, lethargic and demotivated. I still love running and enjoy it but it just feels so much harder. I know I’m close to burning out so I just need to get to the marathon (not long now) and then take a break. No more marathons this year! It just feels depressing to compare similar runs from before Liverpool (when my training was going so well) to now…

Matched runs Strava

(Follow me on Strava if you want!)

My usual 6 mile route was better than last week but still not as great as previously, and it feels it as well. But peaks and troughs happen and I’m just grateful to not be injured. So I’ll stop moaning.

What’s your next holiday?

Do you use protein powder? Do you have a favourite brand or type of protein (whey, hemp, soy, etc.)?

Would you ever spend a lot of money (relatively speaking) on a race?

Just keep breathing

I am so glad it’s Friday. This week has been rather stressful to say the least. I’ll admit I’ve struggled quite a bit. I’m sorry to sound so moany and pathetic, I just need to rant.

Mostly it is my own fault really. Planning a holiday around a time I knew I’d potentially be leaving and near my marathon date was probably not my best idea. At the time though, when it was all going to plan and my friend was coming with me, it seemed like a great escape.

Having finally found out the moving date (a few days before my marathon), this week has been spent sorting out all those things you can’t do much about until you have said date…Internet, gas, electric, water. Not to mention the solicitors only informing us now (despite hassling for weeks) that the man buying our house didn’t want our furniture. I’m taking barely any furniture with me so I’ve then had to try and sell, donate or just give away stuff as quickly as possible.

Ben has been helping as well, obviously, but he’s leaving to work and live in Switzerland very soon and so his time is limited. My emotions are everywhere. I’m happy for him and want him to do well and find what he’s been looking for, but I can’t say I’m not sad. Everything is changing so quickly and I can’t catch my breath.

To add to this was finding my passport in the washing machine after a full cycle. That’s a small complication that I wasn’t prepared for. I took a risk and decided to apply via the postal reapplication system, being reassured by several people that passports were getting processed quickly as it was outside the holiday season and I had a solid 2.5 weeks.

*Sighs* In true Anna form I decided to use photos that weren’t the specified month-old and risked it with using photos I already had (saving cost and time, I believed). They were only a few months old so I didn’t think it would be an issue. Apparently it is. I received a letter to say I needed to send new photos from this month.

So yesterday I scrambled about getting new photos and sending them off ASAP. I’d hoped I could go to London to sort this in person (something I initially wanted to avoid) but since I’ve started the postal process there’s nothing I can do now apparently. Just sit and wait and hope that by Thursday next week I get my passport back. Otherwise, I can’t go to Iceland. I’ll lose a chunk of money but my biggest grievance is losing a holiday and the escape.

My parents, who have always been such a rock to me, are away on holiday at the moment. I know it’s pathetic but it’s been such a struggle with all this and not having them here for advice or just a hug. I know I’m 27 but I’m not embarrassed that my parents are an important part of my life. I won’t lie, there might have been a FaceTime conversation with them where I was just in tears, up to my limit.

But I’ve got great friends around me. When I thought I’d have to go to London on Saturday my university friends, who were supposed to be coming down to see me on that day, were so lovely. Instead of being annoyed, they were there for me, suggesting meeting in London instead or trying to help me in any way. Thankfully they can still come and I cannot wait to see them tomorrow.

Through all this (I appreciate that “all this” isn’t that big a deal compared to other people’s problems) I still have a marathon to run. But running has been my saviour. After an awful day yesterday, an eight mile run just cleared my head and calmed my nerves. If I was injured I’m not sure how I’d be coping. I have the Bath Two Tunnels half marathon on Sunday which I’m using as a training run and pacing a friend which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve just got to focus on the good and fun stuff, stop whining and just GET ON WITH IT.

Sorry for my lengthy rant…

How has your week been?

How do you deal with stress?

Who’s your “rock” when times are tough? I couldn’t be more grateful for my friends and family right now.

Rants and Raves #16

This week honestly has been going on forever. It is just dragging by. Saying that though I don’t want things to speed up either. I’m a big believer in enjoying every day – whether you’re at work or not. There’s no point just living for the weekend as that’s only two days after all!

I have a few rants and raves for this jolly Thursday anyway…

Rave: First and foremost, this is the biggest rave I’ve had in a while. Alfie got a haircut. This is him beforehand:

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All cute and scruffy. Malting everywhere but rather rugged and handsome.

Then after three hours at the groomers (his hair was gently pulled out – as is the way of Westies. I hasten to add that it’s painless, it just comes out very easily) he turned into this:IMG_2609 Honestly, when I first saw him I couldn’t stop laughing. Like proper belly-ache laughter. He just looks so naked!! He doesn’t look like Alfie at all. But he is adorable. He looks like a puppy again. He’s so small!

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I couldn’t stop cuddling him. I also found it funny that the groomer asked if I wanted his eyebrows and beard doing (I said leave them). How cute.

Rant: Trying not to get too stressed or sad about house moving stuff. There’s so much to sort, pack, give to charity, sell…I feel exhausted just thinking about it. Sorting through certain items as well is hard and I’ve just sort of grown a thick skin and have to get on with it. Sentimental items are not being kept and I’ve just got to move on. My flat is going to be my space, my world and my new life. My new start.

On a more amusing note, I took some Xbox and PS3 games to Game to sell. A massive stack of them. Some of them were even special editions.

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And the money I got back? £23. Wow. Split that in half and it’s time to go shopping! Ha.

Raves: I ran after work on Tuesday night around Basingstoke [AKA Amazingstoke ;-)] and did my standard hilly route. Well, there really is no other route to be honest as Basingstoke is just hilly in general. I got to the usual really nasty hill (12% incline for over 0.2miles) during the first mile and really went for it. I’m keenly aware that there’s a Strava segment for that hill and I’ve been trying to whittle down my time for it. I actually don’t know specifically where the segment  ends so I just power up the entire thing and then keep powering even when I’m over the hill. It’s good practice anyway but it is HARD work.

(The blue line is my pace)

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And I beat my PB by six seconds! I’m third on the leader board and that’s probably where I’ll stay as the ladies above me are amazing (1:34 compared to my 1:48. I mean wow). Anyway 4ish miles in the bank with a good load of hills.

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Speaking of hills, I’m mentally preparing myself for Cheddar Gorge marathon in just over TWO WEEKS. As I did Cheddar Gorge half marathon I have the elevation data handy (it’s two laps of the half). For fun and games I decided to compare it to my most recent hilly half marathon (Stansted Slog).

Elevation

They both look tough but I can’t work out which is worse. I’m thinking maybe Stansted as there are more sharp inclines, whereas there are a lot more long inclines for Cheddar and generally a nice bit of downhill from miles eight onwards. Who knows. Well I will soon find out!

Rant: I stayed at my parents house over the weekend and when I got back from my long run I was freezing so had a cup of tea, a shower and then finally had breakfast. By this point it was almost 11am and I was ready to eat. Like the standard idiot I am I was rushing and being too quick and as I got the porridge out of the microwave it slipped from my hands and was thrown all over the floor. My parents thankfully saw the funny side as they’re used to my clumsiness but I was devastated: my breakfast!! Why am I so incapable of not dropping things all over the floor? When it had cooled down my parents let the dogs eat it (gross). They gobbled it up within seconds! (Obviously I cleaned the floor afterwards as well though – and the fridge door…).

Rave: I’m really enjoying reading the New Rules of Lifting for Women. Cathy brought it to my attention and I’m really grateful.

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She questioned why I was doing 30 repetitions of strength training exercises like squats and deadlifts, explaining that doing less reps at a higher weight would be more beneficial in terms of building strength. After having a read and doing some more research of my own, I found that interestingly the more reps you do the more muscle hypertrophy you’ll achieve (i.e. making your muscles bigger aesthetically but not necessarily corresponding to actual strength increases).

It’s like I’ve seen the light. I’m not sure I’m going to follow the plan to a T in the book but I’ve dropped my reps and increased the weight I’m lifting. And I’m finding it a lot more enjoyable. It is hard obviously, but mentally it’s easier to think “OK only 8 reps (or 15 as you start with in Stage 1) to go” rather than 20 or 30. And you get a great burn!

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It does mean venturing and staying in the male-dominated weight section though. Most of the time I would pop there, grab my dumbbells (because apparently outside this area 10+kg dumbbells don’t exist. And on that note, I can’t believe there are even 1kg dumbbells available). But at 5.30am it’s hardly heaving. Plus no one really cares because people are doing their own thing – it’s all just a mindset.

And a last rave: I saw this and thought, yes 100%.

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What are your recent rants and raves?

Have you ever moved house? Any tips on packing/sorting/not imploding with stress?

How do you strength train? High reps/lows reps?