Month: May 2011

My beautiful certificate

I received a certificate from the college where I took my Chinese course, but much more valuable to me is this one, which I received by email from the delightful Todd Lange, he of the RunningMate 5k101 programme, from which I have recently graduated. I have pasted in my pseudonym over my real name, but otherwise this is what it looks like:

Isn’t that wonderful. I am so proud. I am going to put it on my wall.

Sewed on Sunday

Did some sewing yesterday, as planned, earning 1 Sewing point. Here is where I am up to with that pink outfit I was working on last time.

That kept me busy until well into the evening. I am such a beginner at sewing, I really need to work on building up my skills. I regularly stall the machine. By ‘stall’, I mean that when I am sewing there is a sudden mechanical snapping sound and the upper thread breaks. I then have to rethread the machine. Sometimes after that happens I also have difficulty getting the needle threading mechanism to work and in fact repeated failure to get it working again is normally what causes me to give up and put the machine away until next time. I don’t know why the machine stalls, I think sometimes it is because I am not moving the fabric through smartly enough; the machine keeps sewing on top of stitches it’s just made and gets all tangled up. All of that makes for very slow, untidy progress and requires a good amount of patience on my part.

Another thing that requires a lot of patience is the fact that I constantly make beginner’s mistakes like underestimating the amount of fabric I will need to do things. Eg, yesterday I needed some slightly wider bias tape to trim the bolero top so I laboriously made some and stitched it on, all around the neck and curvy hem. Then I realised that it was still far too narrow. I realised this because I had totally failed to capture the main fabric inside the bias tape as I sewed. It was a meatless sandwich. It looked all right until I looked at it a bit hard, and then it basically fell right off. Gah! Hours of work just fell off. So I had to go back to my fabric and make some even wider bias tape which as of now I have not attached to the top.

So, it was definitely two steps forward and one step back yesterday and all I can really say about that is that I will have to keep trying. It is the only way I am going to get better at it.

In other news,  it is a good job I did not plan to have a big Bank Holiday weekend of video gaming as my PC promptly died on Sunday morning and needs its power supply replacing. Today, I have failed to do any Chinese. I went for a run this morning and I must have pushed myself harder than usual because I’ve been exhausted ever since. Went for a two-hour nap this afternoon, after the PC repair guy left with an air of defeat, and I am still knackered. So I am going to give up now. It is past 8pm and I am not suddenly going to have a big burst of energy this late in the day, it is not meant to be, is it. Maybe we’ll do some Chinese tomorrow. I am reading knitting magazines and waiting for it to be time to go to bed.

How I earned today’s achievement point

  • Wash all the dishes & clean the kitchen counters.
  • Hoover and mop the kitchen floor.
  • Put away laundry.
  • 45 mins general-purpose tidying-up in the living room.
  • Dust, hoover & mop the living room.
  • Domestic paperwork, bills and filing.
  • Tidy & hoover bedroom & hall.

That’s good enough for today. The bathroom can wait. Must get back into Flylady’s daily routine so I don’t forget things like cleaning the doors.

1 Home point.

Lazy

Meh. I am being lazy.

I am not being lazy about exercise, I continue to run on alternate days and on non-running days I do a 50-minute home workout that involves strength exercises such as squats, lunges, press-ups, crunches, planks, etc etc. All things that make your muscles hurt. That means I’m doing some form of exercise every single morning now and that is very good indeed. Every morning after exercising I look in the mirror to see if I can see firm abs appearing yet.

That is mornings taken care of. In the evenings, though, I am being lazy. I drink and play video games. I do not do any housework or domestic paperwork and I haven’t done any Chinese for a week. Bad Gloria.

Never mind. I am telling myself that I am exercising vigorously and I am very busy at work and therefore I’m allowed to slack off in the evenings once in a while, as long as it doesn’t go on too long. I only just found out yesterday that it is another bank holiday this weekend. Woo hoo! I love surprise bank holidays. So I am going to use those three days to really get my shit together and score some achievement points. In the meantime, I’m having another evening of lazy blah.

RunningMate Week 8: 30 minutes of triumph & victory

Yes! Yes! I have reached the eighth and final level of Todd Lange’s ‘learn to run 5k’ programme, also known as 5k101.

I went to the park and ran for 30 consecutive minutes without any walking breaks. It wasn’t even that desperately hard.

I am so pleased and proud. I feel I can do anything now. I don’t need to listen to the training podcasts any more now that I’m not doing intervals, I will just buy a cheap digital watch and listen to any music I want while I run for half an hour. I can start working on my speed and cutting down the time it takes me to do a lap of the park. Finally, I am going to let myself start looking forward to losing all of my surplus flab.

I have actually done all right already, I don’t weigh myself but the tape measure says I have lost an inch and a half off the fattest part of my tum, which makes me very happy. There is a way to go still but it is definitely an improvement. Nice as this is, it has taken me two months to get there because when I began this running programme at the end of March I had no stamina. None. I could barely run for two minutes without using up all my energy, and you can’t expect to shift loads of flab if you are only doing tiny little runs. So all this time I have been patiently building up my stamina and endurance. Now, at last, I can run for a majestic 30 minutes and that is Proper Exercise by anybody’s standards. This is where the fat loss really begins. I am going to continue to run on a strict schedule, doing my resistance exercises in between and let’s see how slim I can become by the end of August when my big race is. It is almost exactly three months away. Three months of worthwhile running lies ahead of me. I am excited. I am not going to get the tape measure out again until then, when I shall rejoice in my reduced girth.

Hooray! I ran for 30 minutes today!! 

Work out with Jordan, 33 weeks in

Didn’t I say I was going to review trashy celebrity workout DVDs?  I have just watched and performed The Jordan Workout, and very funny it is too.  It is mostly exercise but there is quite a long food and diet section as well. “Real chocolate tastes horrible” says Jordan.

General remarks

Jordan is funny, she has zero presenting skills and is completely wooden and insincere. Near the beginning of the video she claims never to have dieted or done any kind of exercise prior to meeting her current nutrionist and trainer, but then later on she’s evidently forgotten saying any of this and remarks that she’s “done all diets”. Hmm. If you are interested, the diet she promotes on this DVD involves this quite nice bloke showing her how to shove loads of fruit and veg through a juicer.  “Your mouth is a blender!” says Diet Guy, raising the question of why you wouldn’t just shove the fruit and veg in your mouth instead. You have the juice for breakfast and lunch. Jordan acts surprised that the juice tastes of fruit and veg. Duh.

Jordan’s workout room is pink and looks like a teenager’s bedroom.

Warm up

Jordan’s fitness trainer takes her and us through a workout that is quite upper-body focused, lots of boxing-style punches, which are quite fun. Jordan appears not to make much effort in this section but her trainer is trying a bit harder.

Cardio

More punches and pretend skipping. The skipping is laugh out loud funny.  You see, neither of them has a skipping rope, so they are just bouncing up and down on their tiptoes, flapping their hands at elbow height. This is almost the sort of thing you would expect Jordan to do, but her trainer is really big and beefy and the effect is highly camp, especially in such a sparkly pink room.

Resistance

This section is actually quite good, although not very long. There are squats and lunges for your legs and glutes. Then press ups, different kinds. Then abs: two kinds of plank, a couple of isometric holds and some crunches. Jordan is stronger than she looks.

Stretch

Meh. Nothing to write home about. Hamstrings, arms, the usual routine.

Conclusions

Funny. Inadvertently so, most of the time. Jordan keeps saying the wrong thing. She says things like “Eww, this juice looks horrible but it tastes all right – well unless you don’t put the avocado in, then it’s more bitter”. Perhaps the best line, though, goes to the nutritionist. He is talking about bread, which Jordan is more enthusiastic about, and Diet Guy says “White bread right, cockroaches will only eat white bread when they are desperate”, at which Jordan understandably looks bewildered and peeved, in a rare moment of sincerity.

Bewildered and peeved is how you might feel if you bought this DVD. 

Comedy: 7/10.   Not recommended for actual fitness & dieting.