About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Friday, 21 February 2014

#Run With An Idea - Is Being fit and healthy a personal responsibility or should the government intervene?

The first of two very difficult posts which should inflame some debate amongst readers of the blogs on Run with An Idea.   So here we go - my personal point of view!

I think it's my own personal responsibility to maintain my own health & fitness.   Only I can get off the sofa and push myself to do exercise whatever form that comes in.   I am responsible for what goes into my mouth - I have the choice to eat healthily or not.   However, I do think that the government should help with advice on what is good and what is bad.  After all they have the facilities and the people to test food and prove whether something is good or bad for you.   Whether you choose to take on that advice is up to the individual.

What I find really unhelpful is when there are reports one week of what is the best thing to eat or exercise to do and then the following week the advice is that there are dangers with eating or drinking something or a certain exercise causes more problems than it helps.   It's all very confusing.   

A few years ago the NHS set up Change 4 Life

aimed at advising people on what to eat and how to exercise.   I did register in the very early days and it all seemed a bit "no shit sherlock" at the time.   I've not been on the website for ages but presumably it does help some people, and with the increase in use of social media there are now links to Twitter, Facebook and even a phone app.   The usual advice to drink more water, cut down on alcohol, eat less fat, salt and sugar and eat more fruit and veg are all there along with the eat less move more messages.   Some people do need a push in the right direction, although at the same time they could just ignore all the messages and do whatever they fancy!

My fridge is always full of fresh veg, but on the other hand there are also treats for those days when I feel like saying "sod it".   I think the NHS could provide some help with the mental side of overeating, I know from personal experience it's all very well saying don't do this or that but sometimes my inner chimp takes over and I'm on a spiral of self destruction eating all the things I shouldn't be.   I know the advice will be well don't buy it, but why should the rest of the family suffer - they can eat sensibly whereas I can't.   If we fancy a takeaway we have one, occasionally, not every day, and probably not even once a week!

With the growing problem of obesity it is all too easy for people to think that the NHS will help them - provide them with drugs to help lose weight.  However, the drugs prescribed rely on the patient following a low-fat diet.  At the extreme is stomach banding.   

In February last year The Guardian reported on the growing pressure on the NHS for obesity treatment

The paragraph from this report which stands out to me (and scares me) is this one!

Obesity costs the NHS £5.1bn a year in treatment and equipment. But the obesity report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges this week warned that on current trends, it could become so serious that "the NHS can no longer cope".

This alone is making me get off my backside and get out on the bike - right now!  Keep motivating me with images like this & I'm already taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing.

As with all Run With An Idea blog posts - head on over to the site and see what other posters are saying!  Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your point of view in the comments below - but please be kind, these are my personal thoughts.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Highs & Lows

The weekend just gone was always going to be a hectic one - Valentines Day, Danni heading off on her trip to Sweden, a massive tweetup/meal on Saturday and Brighton Half Mara supporting on Sunday.

I love Valentines Day - unfortunately this year's was ruined slightly by my gift from hubby having to be divulged a day early thanks to the phone call from UK Cycling Labs confirming our session this week.   I'm not sure whether I'm excited or dreading this but whatever happens, at least it will be a sweatfest, unless I cry like a big fat girl! Don't know exactly what we're doing either - not sure if it's an assessment or if we're cycling a route - only time will tell.

On Saturday morning we waved goodbye to 15 very excited girls on their trip to Kiruna, Sweden.

Lots of last minute lists of don't forgets and some "maybe I should pack...." Let's hope the fleecy blanket, which wasn't on the kitlist, will come in handy!   Things didn't start well, although getting on the party bus was one to behold - lots of screaming & squealing!  

Transport to Heathrow

The flight from Heathrow to Stockholm was delayed by 2 hours and then when they got there the overnight sleeper train to Boden was running late.  All a bit of a worry when they only had a 15 minute window to catch their connection to Kiruna.   Anyway, we got up Sunday morning to find a picture of a snowy view from the train on the Facebook page, with a message to say they were now on time.   Later that day came the news that they had reached their lodge at Kiruna.   Tonight was the first contact we've had since Sunday - all arrived at the Ice Hotel, safe and well so at least I can stop worrying now!

Saturday night Shaun and I headed into Brighton to have dinner with Matt and a few other runners who were doing Brighton Half the next day.   Matt came up from Devon to run the South Coast Half Mara last summer, so it was great to catch up with him if only for a couple of hours.

I got up way too early on Sunday and headed off to catch the bus at 7.15 into Brighton.   I got off a couple of stops early so that I could walk down through the "Village" and take in some of the atmosphere.  It was as it is every year absolutely buzzing.  Managed to catch up with the sports therapists and physios at Studio 57 and wish Matt, who was running as the Running Morph in his all blue suit, good luck.   Managed to spot a couple of other people too from the previous nights tweet up - including Matt and Em, it was lovely to be able to give them a hug and wish them good luck.

The plan was to meet the Bosh runners and my parents at the Steve Ovett statue before they all headed off to their respective start pens.  I'd forgotten how far down the statue is, it's a flipping long walk!   Having hugged everyone and wished them good luck I rushed off to stand with mum and dad as our initial point was on the start, we actually couldn't see a thing as the sun was really bright, so just had to hope that everyone saw the Bosh hand and heard the vuvuzela.  

I did manage to catch a glimpse of an old school friend, John, who'd contacted me on Facebook a couple of weeks beforehand.   Once all the runners had gone through the start we nipped up to Marine Parade to watch them head out to Roedean and then come back again before they headed off up to Hove.  It was great (and very emotional) to see everyone coming back down the finishing straight - hopefully I will be back running soon, I'm missing it so much.

In the meantime, cycling training should be full steam ahead from now on.  I've entered the Southdown Sportive in May.   I'm fundraising for Brain & Spine Foundation in memory of Sam, a friend who died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage in January.   I don't normally add my justgiving page to my blog but this year is exceptional - if you have some spare pennies please visit the Team Sam Smiles page and make a donation There are also plans for a London to Brighton in September.  I'm just hoping that the Dawes can come off the turbo trainer soon, I need to get myself out on the country roads cycling properly now that Cathy has given me the OK to add some hillwork.

This week has been full of highs and lows - the worst of which was on Monday, but I think it was all the excitement from the weekend - but now I know my baby is safe and well I can start to relax - and carry on with the job of sorting her room out before she gets home!

Friday, 7 February 2014

#Run With An Idea 11 "Training with your partner is a recipe for disaster"

This weeks discussion topic is just in time for Valentines Day!  

Research shows that there are benefits of exercising with your Partner
Even with different fitness levels and goals, it's good to exercise together. 

  • Safety. With someone else watching they can help with form and being there to spot you when you need it, you’ll exercise more safely than if you were alone. If you're exercising outside you have a minder on dark winter evenings!
  • Quality time. With long working hours and family responsibilities couples spend a lot of time apart. By arranging to workout/exercise together you can spend more time together.
  • A common interest. It's good to have some common interests - not just your favourite TV programme.
  • Motivation and support. Encouragement and praise from your partner is a great motivator. 
  • A deeper bond. Exercise produces chemicals in the brain that evoke feelings of happiness, reduce stress, and also increase arousal and libido. Several studies show that men and women who exercise regularly report better (and more frequent) sex with their partners.
  • Balance. In many couples, one partner tends to favor cardio (typically women) while the other tends to favor strength training (typically men). By working out together you can balance your workout program to include more of both. Let your partner teach you about the areas of fitness you’re unsure of and be open to new fitness experiences.

In the past I hated working out or exercising with my lovely hubby.   Many years ago (I can't remember how long ago now but it was after daughter was born so let's say 15 at least) I won a couple's membership for a new David Lloyd gym which was opening in Brighton.   We only actually went together a couple of times - one was a spur of the moment visit when I was at work and he was on a day off.   He rang me at work and told me to get the bus down to the Marina and he'd meet me there - he'd got all my kit.   Imagine my surprise when we'd finished in the gym and headed to the pool for a relaxing swim, jacuzzi and steam room to find that he'd actually picked up knickers and a bra instead of a my bikini!   We laugh about it now, but at the time I was mortified - luckily no-one else was in there that day!

Going to the gym is my "me-time" as is running - a time to think about things without someone asking where their shirt is or what's for tea!  

I've always tried to include him in my running training.  He's very good at sorting out running routes and is a good photographer at events and doesn't mind carrying a bag or two.   He's also very supportive during events and encouraging - at Bedgebury Trailblazer last year he popped up when I wasn't expecting to see anyone and ran a little way with me, changing over water bottles & feeding me, and then giving me a big kiss as I left him behind !

Now we're finding we're on our own more he wants to start cycling together - which is fine by me so long as I'm not going to get shouted at all the time about changing gear or sitting properly, or pedaling correctly.   In previous years when all I've had was a heavy mountain bike there has been near divorce as he's much stronger and fitter than me on a bike and liked to whizz off into the distance leaving me to plod my own way, coming back every so often to check I was still going forwards.    Up until now cycling has been his "me-time" and I am going to encourage him to go out on his own, after all he has sportives to train for and I don't - at the moment!  Now I've got my new road bike I'm feeling a little competitive, especially as I'm not running at the moment.  

So over to you, do you exercise with your other half - or is it a big no-no?  Come and join in the discussion at Run With An Idea.