Janathon day 14:

Double activity today! Well if you can count swimming with Mini-Ginge then it’s a double activity today. I’m sure who I do more work in the pool, but it wasn’t me who came home and had a two hour nap afterwards…

My proper activity today was a three mile run. I spent the day repeatedly looking at the Met Office app to see if the prediction had changed at all and to marvel at the fact that the wind speed was 0 until an hour before I could go out and then it whacked up to 30-odd. So I set off down the hill, feeling strong and smug in my knowledge that the route I had picked was nicely sheltered.

Have I mentioned before that I am an idiot?

I turned round and realised that not only had I been running downhill, but also that the route was not at all sheltered and I had in fact been running with the wind behind me. No wonder it felt good. The wind took it out of me a bit and I had a couple of uphill walk, but I was quite happy with my overall pace. The other weird thing is that I was actually looking forward to going out and didn’t even procastinate going out. Go me.

PS. The back/shoulders thing is much better today – thank you!

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Janathon day 13: Clunk click

Given the fact that the weather’s supposed to get worse as the week goes on, I probably should have run tonight. Unfortunately between work and home, something went twang and left me with a very clunky and painful thoracic spine and shoulders, so it was back on the mat tonight.

I started to try a guided meditation, but was distracted by my shoulders and decided to try and free them up instead. It probably wasn’t the most perfect of example of yoga practice, but I rifled through my tired brain to move from one pose to the next. When my shoulders are misbehaving, I love Eagle pose. Alright, I love a seated Eagle pose, my balancing, standing Eagle looks more like a drunk, plummeting parrot. It’s easy enough to do at your desk, but twisty enough to look like you know what you’re doing.

I think the highlight of my session was saying to (non-Yoga) Ginge – what pose should I do? He suggested child’s pose and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I hate it when he does that…

Janathon day twelve: starting yoga practice at home

I’ve not been going to my regular yoga class since I went back to work in July, but I went to a free class between Christmas and New Year (I do not tolerate the use of this Twixmas nonsense, if we’re going to call it anything it the “Festive Perineum” and oh how I wish I’d invented that phrase) and realised just how much I missed my time on the mat.

For ages I have been struggling with the concept of doing yoga at home. My problem is that if I’m going to do something, I want to do it well and if I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, I procrastinate and try to avoid it. I know that I won’t be able to do poses at home in the same way as I do in class; I tend to rush more, without my teacher prompting us to make teeny adjustments I wonder if I’ll be doing things properly and I certainly won’t do an hour and half.

Eventually it dawned on me that my home practice will not be the same as going to a class, but that’s ok. This is why I pay money to be taught by a yogi with 30-odd years practice. So I googled (still procrastinating folks) “yoga practice at home”. The first thing that I learned is that I need a sacred space in which to unfurl my mat. This is my first challenge. We live in a house with 5 rooms. At any point in time, 4 of them contain stuff belonging to Mini-Ginge. The fifth room (our bedroom) still contains all of the stuff that we removed from the spare room so that we could put Mini-Ginge in it. The incense, candles and soft music may have to wait. Unless I can fashion a candleholder out of Duplo.

The second important thing is that it doesn’t matter how long I spend on my practice. Ten minutes daily is better than an hour once a week. Excellent.

Next problem… What poses do I do? Should I be putting together flowing vinyasas? Practising postures that I struggle with? Trying to balance my poses to incorporate all the styles of movement? Well according to the internet, I may only have to do ten minutes practice, but I really should include a warm up, a forward bend, a back bend, a seated pose, a balance, a twist, some breathing work and a meditation…

So back to the procrastination. But the procrastination was good because it meant that I found this – The Beginner’s Guide to Home Yoga Practice. I have a very strong suspicion that it was written especially for me although I don’t know how she could mind read so accurately. See all those worries up there? Solved. In just one article I was reassured, taught stuff and just a little bit inspired. If you’re thinking about doing yoga at home (or you’ve started and are feeling a bit lost), go now, read it, it’s absolutely brilliant and in tribute to it, today’s Janathon was the sequence at the end (behind the sofa, using my mat bag as a belt).

Janathon day eleven: fishcakes revisited

Thank you all for your lovely comments and tweets after yesterday’s post. Today I revelled in the glorious knowledge that I didn’t have to run, until Ginge pointed out that I’d said on here that I was going to run and therefore I had to run. Arse.

The fishcakes were indeed lovely, it’s a dead easy recipe from The Food of Thailand, which is a brilliant book if you like Thai. We love Thai and Ginge is keen enough to faff about making pastes and spice blends, so this is one of our very well used cookery books (evidenced by the splashes and smears of ingredients on the more popular pages).

IMG_6455Fried fishcakes with green beans
450g firm white fish fillets
1tbsp red curry paste
1tbsp fish sauce
1 egg
50g green beans, finely sliced
5 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
Oil for deep(ish) frying

Skin and debone the fish, then roughly chop. In a food processor, mince the fish with the curry paste, fish sauce and egg until smooth. Mix with the beans and lime leaves. With wet hands, shape the fishcakes and then fry in a few centimetres of hot oil until golden.

The ones we made yesterday were done with about 300g of fish and about twice as much curry paste (we freeze batches in 2tbsp blobs). It’s not a precise science…

So that’s fishcakes. As for running, we had to nip into town so I asked Ginge to drop me off four miles from home and I braved the wind and outbreaks of rain to plod home from there. Whilst I hate the process of being chucked out at the side of the road, I love the way that every step that I take is a step towards home, especially as in this case there was a bubbly bath and some price reduced hot chicken waiting for me when I got in.

Janathon day ten: not hardcore

The official Travelling Hopefully Athon committee (Ginge and I) has convened (had a natter) and reached a conclusion. I am not hardcore.

I have had a nine day mini-runstreak, but I’ve spent the last few pondering whether I want to continue running every day and today I realised that the answer was no I don’t. My reasons are many. I don’t want to run every day only to hit that period of post-Athon relief and not run for ages. I’m horribly aware that everything is a little more achy and clunky than in previous years and I don’t want to get injured. I suspect that if I put some more effort into fewer runs then I will make better progress. Logistically I am struggling to run in the mornings so most of my running is done after work, by the time I have got home, wrangled the boy, got tea sorted with Ginge, been for a run and got back, it feels like the whole night has gone – this is rubbish. I am knackered and I know that this type of tired can be hideous for my general wellbeing and sanity. And have you seen the weather out there….?

Decision made and I felt that a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. We had a splendid afternoon, I treated myself to new books and we spent the afternoon/evening in the kitchen making Thai fishcakes, chicken satay and peanut sauce, and a pork curry that we ended up too full to eat after scarfing down the fishcakes and satay.

IMG_6435Exercise-wise, I am determined to do some yoga practice at home and have been doing a few haphazard postures most nights since the New Year. Tonight would barely count as proper practice (in front of the telly with the cricket on…) but I started in corpse pose and had a listen to my body. My body told me that I was holding a lot of tension and clunkiness in my shoulders so I did an assortment of stretches to get them less tense and clunky.

Thus, I am still on the Janathon wagon and am looking forward to a run tomorrow.