Thursday, January 10, 2019

A new and very different challenge

My foot is taking forever to get better despite Mary's ministrations so my sensible head has to stay on for a while longer. The name of my woes is Plantar Fasciitis and it is notoriously hard to shift - that information cheered me up no end given what I want to do in my fund-raising challenge this year!

No point fretting though so I'm doing whatever I can to get it healed asap - more visits to Mary, calf stretches, icing the area 3 times a day then applying an anti-inflammatory gel, taking vitamin supplements with extra magnesium to aid healing, wearing cushioned orthotics in my shoes, no running and stretching out the fascias under the arch of my foot by rolling a ball around on it - I have a high instep so the recommended golf ball is too small so Mary kindly lent me this tennis ball:

Mary has  been a Massage therapist at Wimbledon each year for as long as I've known her and she's treated all the famous female players. I wonder whose hands have touched this ball?

So what's a girl to do in the interim to keep up her fitness levels? Start a tough fitness challenge, that's what! It's the Six Pack Revolution and is going to take me right out of my comfort zone for 90 days. This is not a quick-fix type of plan and during the 90 days everything I eat and drink will be chosen carefully from the menus provided plus there are lots of tough exercises to be completed.

This has been a week of preparation. I joined a private Facebook Group with like-minded people of different fitness levels and ages and Coaches who will help us on our journey. It's both exciting and daunting at the same time but sharing the ups and downs with other people will be great. Today we had to take a photo of ourselves showing all our wobbly bits and share it with the Coaches - no, I'm not going to share it on here thank you very much! Then we have to submit a photo each week to see how we're progressing. There are some amazing transformations in the before and after photos from previous groups.

It starts in earnest on Monday but we were set a pre-challenge challenge during which we had to show what our fitness looks like now so there's a base to work from. We had to do 100 Battle Rope whips, 10 press-ups, 1k run, 10 press-ups then 100 Battle Rope Upper-cuts which you'll see me doing (not very confidently!) in the video below:

I'd never even heard of Battle Ropes before but they are an important tool in this challenge so I'm going to learn to love them when I start seeing results. This is going to be one heck of a journey and I can't wait!

One of our Coaches, Dawn, shared this  motivational snippet which I love so I thought I'd share it here. It's about the power of positivity, self-belief, pushing yourself to achieve things you never even dreamt you could achieve etc:

In knitting news, I can't finish my sweater just yet as I've run out of one of the yarns I'm using and so, as the weather has suddenly got colder, I've made myself a new hat and fingerless gloves using stash yarn. The hat is made using Linen Stitch which makes a lovely snuggly fabric.  There's a simple tutorial here. The mitts are just ribbed.

The only issue with Linen Stitch is that it leaves an imprint on your forehead if you haven't got a fringe!

Tomorrow sees the start of Kate's latest knitting club and I can't wait.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Of Mice and Men

.....The best laid plans, that is!

2019 didn't start quite as I'd planned as I had to put on my sensible head and forgo my marathon on New Years Day due to a niggly pain in my right foot which I don't want to aggravate. Whilst I ran round the village delivering cards on Christmas Eve I knew that I shouldn't be running and ended up walking 4.5 miles with a slight limp.


I've been icing and resting it as much as possible whilst making sure I keep moving, which is a fine balance, and will be off to see Mary Massage Lady tomorrow in the hope that she can work her usual magic and get me running again.

Christmas is now a memory and I'm completely focused on my challenge for 2019 so being sensible and letting my foot get better is more important than risking further injury by running. Mike and I been doing lots of short walks just to keep me ticking over.

The recipients of my Christmas knitting/crochet gifts were all delighted with their presents and Jane and Malcolm sent me photos of them wearing theirs during their traditional tandem bike ride on Christmas Day:

Malcolm with his snuggly purple cowl

Jane wore her purple leg-warmers underneath her boots!

Jane and Malcolm teach yoga in our village pavilion and I go to their class each week. It's really helped with my flexibility, or rather lack of it. I chose to make their gifts using a violet purple yarn as the colour is the chakra for the head/brain and I added a tiny red bow and glass heart to Jane's leg-warmers as red symbolises energy, action, passion and strength. We work with chakras a lot in yoga.

Remember the squirrel I was delighted to see on the window feeder? I wasn't quite as delighted when i saw the damage his claws had done to the window ledge!

 I tried moving the feeder higher up the window but that only resulted in the squirrel launching itself from the flowerbed opposite and pulling the whole thing off the window. Clever Mike came to the rescue and cut a length of metal strip to fit over the ledge to protect it.

On Christmas Day the light was really beautiful with a heavy dew overnight and I wandered around the garden snapping anything that caught my eye:

Having only recently found Candlesnuff fungus for the very first time a few months ago, I was very excited to find it sprouting out all over the place. Weather conditions and the state of decay in the tree stumps must be perfect this year:

I haven't identified this fungus yet - it looked like squirty cream

This one looked as if someone had splatted emulsion pain over the bole of the tree!

The day after Boxing Day we felt the need to stretch our legs so we headed off bright and early to beautiful Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for a short walk (3 miles).

Then we headed into Rye for a well-earned coffee and cake at The Apothecary, one of our favourite coffee shops. Their gluten-free orange and sultana cake never disappoints. I've shared so many photos of Rye on my blog previously that it was hard to find anything new but I know I haven't shared this before:

The old Grammar School, built in 1636

I found someones memory of the school here.

On the ground floor is a record shop selling LPs, CDs and DVDs. Whilst the floors above are 2 apartments with a communal garden. Their entrance is via the handsome old door below and I loved the brickwork surrounding it.

On the knitting front I'm on the second sleeve of my jumper so won't bore you with any more photos until it's finished. Not long to wait until Kate's knitting club starts so I need to get all my unfinished projects completed.

I'll leave you with this sweet duck who came running up the garden the other day looking decidedly worse for wear:

She must have been very hungry as she went straight for the bread I'd thrown out for the smaller birds rather than heading to the barn for grain. Her right wing was hanging down and didn't look good at all.  I wondered whether to contact the wildlife rescue people over in Lewes but decided to give her a couple of days to see if she improved and thankfully, although she isn't flying yet, her wing looks almost normal now so I'm hoping she's going to be OK.

Good luck Mrs Duck!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Nearly there

As Christmas is looming large on the horizon I thought I'd better do a quick catch-up.

Yesterday was my last marathon of 2018. I was delighted to learn that the weather was supposed to be better than in recent days when we've had torrential rain and strong winds and indeed it was a lovely day with lots of sunshine and only a slight breeze.

It was another of Traviss and Rachels events over at Deal and I do rather like this route as the sea views are glorious and there's lots to see - dog-walkers, plenty of sea birds, cyclists and some interesting Victorian architecture. I only took a few photos of the scenery as I really wasn't feeling the running love yesterday.

Registration time

By 8:30am when we set off, the sun was out and it was very pleasant. I wasn't going to push for a time as Mike and I have only just recovered from bad colds - I had to miss the marathon I'd intended to run 2 weeks ago as for the first time since 2011 I found the cold developed fully and went straight to my chest so, as an asthmatic, running was a no-no. For poor Mike it went to his sinuses and we were both shocked at how much it took out of us.

It was an out and back route of 5.25 miles per lap which meant 5 laps for a marathon or more for an ultra. My first lap felt fine although I just ran at a pace that felt comfortable and I completed it in 55 minutes. I headed out for my 2nd lap and at the halfway point I had a major mind meltdown and decided I didn't want to continue. Yes, really! I am usually completely focused and rarely have negative thoughts so it was a bit of a shock I can tell you.

I always smile when I see this pier as I love the starkness of its architecture.

As luck would have it my favourite young man was also running and he was a lap ahead of me at the time and came alongside me for a catch-up which took my mind off quitting for a while. As we headed into base camp he refused to let me stop and cajoled me into heading out again for another lap which we jogged at a gentle pace whilst putting the world to rights. Of course, by the end of lap 3 I was over halfway and so it would have been silly to quit so off we went again but I'd decided to do a run/walk strategy and James very kindly stayed with me as he wasn't aiming for a fast time.

Chatting with him really helped take my mind off whatever it was that was getting me down and I can't thank him enough for sticking with me to the end. There was lots of hugging with fellow runners and I was delighted to see these two lovely ladies before I finished as Loulou (left) has battled all manner of horrid health problems this year and Kirsty (right) is such a kind friend and helped keep her going when things got tough.

Half of David, LouLou and Kirsty

I don't know what my time was as my Garmin battery died but it was definitely over 6 hours. Hopefully whatever gremlins got into my head will disappear before the new year as I have a marathon on 1st January to welcome in 2019.

On the knitting front I've finished all my gift knitting and am back to working on my jumper.

You had to block it aggressively to a certain circumference. I transferred the stitches onto a long blocking wire but only just managed to get them all on (hence the cork to stop any falling off).

Then the stitches were picked up, a section knit back and forth to make the back higher then the sleeve stitches were put onto holders (I just used scrap yarn). The lacy pattern was done on a single strand but then another strand was added for the first section. I used 2 strands of the yarn in the yoke held together.

I've now started the next section which has a different yarn added into the mix so I exchanged 1 strand of the yoke yarn for a strand of Kidsilk Haze in a mottled brown.

I've got several balls of this shade and thought it would be a good opportunity to use some of it.

In the section after this I'll be adding in this dark chocolate Kidsilk Haze which I think will give me the same effect as the  pattern piece.

There was much excitement the other day when my Parcel arrived for Kate's latest club, Knitting Season, which starts in January.

In other news we've got a new batch of sheepy guests. They are mostly Texels, a breed originally from the Netherlands.

Their coats are incredibly dense which makes them difficult to extract when they decide to explore the bramble patches! I've been pestering the contractor who cuts our hedges to come and cut them back but each time he's been due to come something has gone wrong and now the ground is far too wet to bring a massive tractor onto the fields.

I love the way they stand with their 2 front legs all neat and tidy!

Since our previous nextdoor neighbours have moved we are seeing more inquisitive squirrels in the garden - he used to shoot them.

It didn't take them long to discover the seed-feeder on the window.......

........and the nuts at the feed-station by the hedge

They're great time-wasters as you find yourself just standing watching their antics!

As we hurtle headlong into Christmas may I wish you all a very happy and peaceful time and for those of you who struggle at this time of year I send you extra hugs.