April 27: Monday Runday … or Runday Monday?

Mondays have been run days for the past few weeks, with mixed results, so I’ve decided to rename Monday as Runday Monday, or Monday Runday. Which one do you like best?

Either way, I’ll continue to run every Monday, mixing between 4km and 5km paths for now, and who knows, maybe I’ll be on track to meet my goal of 8km by the end of the year – if I can curb that head-splitting pain in my ears enough to actually run.

It’s cool and windy here today and I’m nervous about heading out (because of what happened last time in these conditions). I’ll wait until this afternoon, when I’m completely hydrated and feeling warmed up. Hopefully the wind will have died down a bit too.

So to keep you amused until I’ve exercised, here is a new series I’m starting (please excuse my immaturity) called

Funny German words as heard by a native English speaker

#1: der Dudelsack

The bagpipes. When I first heard it, my brain spelled it doodlesack, which takes on a whole different meaning. *crying right now* Try saying it loudly five times without smiling or laughing.

#2: Wankdorf Stadium

Where Bern’s top-tier football team plays its home games. Try saying that loudly once without smirking. Visitors see the signs and ask, “Is that real?” But the best part? The name of Bern’s football team. 🙂 Oh you’re going to love this … Young Boys. Young Boys play at Wankdorf. Nearly four years here and that never gets old. 🙂

Ok, enough college humour, how did the run go? Well, I wish it took me as little time as it did to tell those gags!

Inspired by yesterday’s London Marathon, and the efforts of my friend Ellie (read her hilarious training routine here. She did it in four hours and 23 minutes! Go Ellie!) I thought I’d tackle the 5km circuit (yes, how big of me – she runs 42km, I do five).

This circuit has no Big Ben views or wandering tourists, but a short steep incline after 700m, then it’s relatively flat for the second kilometre, with a slight decline during the third, then a slight incline on the fourth, then a slight decline on the fifth. And guess what … I got a stitch at the bottom of the third, and top of the fifth (sounds like a baseball game) … right after the declines. So I had to walk for about 500m total, to get rid of that bitchy stitchy. Here are some tips for pesky stitches.

It seems my cardio fitness is really suffering at the moment – too much yoga and not enough prolonged sweating, perhaps? Maybe I need more Jillian Michaels when the weather’s crappy, and running more than once a week when the weather’s good? Hmmm … On a positive note (there’s always a positive), I didn’t get the pain in my ears. The wind was warmer than expected, so I think that made a big difference.

fitfor15in15

Who cares really, but here’s today’s run!

I walked the first minute or so as a warm up, then jogged, shuffled and walked my way through the rest. Tick, but not a big one. Huni, Liliane’s friend, was in her garden again, but I didn’t stop this time. She shouted out “Hop! Hop!” (which means Go! Go! in Swiss German) as I waved on my way past.

  • Physically Fit: 4.5km run, 500m walk
  • Mentally Fit: Listening to more of Cary Elwes book about The Princess Bride movie
  • Nutritionally Fit: Fifth day of fasting on the 5:2 Diet – 500 calories. Breakfast smoothie 280 calories (37g raspberries – 20 calories; 300ml coconut water – 72 calories; 80g strawberries – 26 calories; 182g banana – 162 calories (whoa, I had no idea the banana would be so much until it was already in!). Dinner 220 calories – mixed salad with tuna, sniff of olive oil
  • Minimalism: I went through my t-shirts to see if any could be turfed, but kept them all

So, another Runday Monday, or Monday Runday, is done and dusted. It’s time to get serious about cardio fitness. Despite Ellie saying she’d never do it again, maybe, just maybe, I’ll run a marathon one day too.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Getting Started by Nat Gauld

This is the first guest post in a new series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. Since meeting Nat Gauld in 1991, she has gone from an enthusiastic participant to a fully accredited fitness instructor with more than 10 years teaching experience. Take it away Nat!

Getting Started by Nat Gauld (RPM, Body Balance, Body Pump and Pilates instructor and lover of chocolate)

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Nat Gauld, in full swing, teaching her Body Balance class.

The hardest part of exercise is the same as the hardest part of writing a blog. Getting started. That first word. That first step. If you have the motivation to get out of bed and put on your gym shoes, you have cleared the biggest hurdle.

Having a goal is the key – doesn’t have to be a huge one. It can be: I want to do a 5km fun run; I want to wear that dress I spent too much money on two years ago; I want to have energy to play with my kids; I want to eat Tim Tams (an Australian chocolate biscuit) or I want to feel better about myself.

I don’t follow the theory that it is best to start an exercise program with a friend or family member – then you are not only responsible for your motivation but theirs. If they don’t want to go to the gym or go for a walk, that’s a way-too-easy escape clause for you and you don’t need it. Don’t let them lead you down the easy road out and don’t take on guilt when you want to exercise and they don’t. Once you have a routine, encourage friends to join you and you’ll make friends doing group fitness anyway!!! Group exercise is proven to have lots of benefits – social, as well as physical.

Set yourself a realistic goal, especially if you are starting from scratch – 15 to 20 minutes of any cardio is a great beginning. Case in point – this blog! And most of all don’t set foot on scales – they are your enemy. Your weight can fluctuate widely due to water or food consumption, hormones or once you start turning fat into muscle. Use your clothes to judge your progress and your recovery time – as you get fitter you will feel better faster and your clothes will start to loosen.

The first six weeks are the hardest but once you are in a routine it can become a great lifetime habit. Exercise will make you feel good – I find it a great stress reliever. I exercise in the morning before work because then it is done for the day. It doesn’t matter if your plans change during the day and you need to work late or go play – the job is done.

And remember to reward yourself for your commitment! Be it a beverage or something yummy – or even buying new gym gear!!! It doesn’t matter what you wear to exercise but new gear can be a motivator and a reward. You don’t need to look the part when you start though – go for comfort when working out. Thankfully the days of lurid G-strings over Lycra leotards are long gone. I must confess to wearing them back in the Darwin days, when we worked together, but Ange was way more sensible and more the T-shirt and shorts person! Shelling out for expensive gear is not a motivator when starting off, so wait until you’re hooked!

And reward yourself with a day off when you need it – especially if you are unwell or really tired.
Exercise is actually fun and once you start you won’t want to stop.

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Nat, instructing an RPM cycling class, believes exercising should be fun … and leads by example!

On the right path to a good morning routine

Plenty of big-name bloggers and health experts talk about the benefits of a regular morning routine. Stick ‘morning routine’ into a search engine and away you go!

Courtney Carver from be more with less steered me towards the idea that being more productive and ‘intentional’ in the mornings would make a massive difference to the day. Because I’m not working over here, it’s been hard to find a motivating reason to get out of bed early. The lure of “just a few more minutes” (especially when it’s cold!) can easily become a few more hours, as I trawl through email, Whatsapp and Viber messages, blogs, books, Facebook, Instagram and the news on my phone. Oh and play card games. How slack is that?

This morning I still read some Facebook posts and email, but when it got to a certain point I knew I’d had enough, because I was looking forward to the meditation and stretching habit I’m trying to form.

The whole morning plan is now becoming clearer to me, and I’m devising a routine that maximises … ummm … my time? My energy? My renewed desire to have everything just so?!

Wake up, enjoy a few minutes of being awake and look out the window, get out of bed, go downstairs and turn on the kettle, go to the loo, when back in the kitchen cut some lemon slices and put them in a mug, come back upstairs and do 10 minutes of meditation on the floor, followed by five minutes of stretching, go back downstairs and pour the boiled water into the mug, bring it back upstairs, and enjoy the warm lemon water while writing/studying/responding to emails etc. This way I’m sitting at my desk waaay earlier in the day, which surely can only mean productivity ensues?!?!

Drinking warm lemon water in the morning is another new habit for 2015 and today was the first time I’ve done it in a long time. If I can follow the plan above Following the plan above will make it second nature before too long. The benefits of warm water with lemon as your first drink of the day have also been touted a gazillion times. Good for your liver and so on.

Meditation this morning felt easier than yesterday – sure I still fiddled and fidgeted and couldn’t get comfortable, cross-legged, for what seemed like ages. Must keep an eye on slouching too – you should sit straight and tall, but I found myself shrinking on occasions. My mind wandered to all sorts of fun and urgent things too, but as soon as I realised that, I refocused on my breath going across my top lip.

Stretching included some new ideas today, and some new goals. Currently, when I sit with spread legs and lean forward holding my elbows, my arms, when at their limit, are between 15-20 centimetres off the floor. My aim is to get my elbows on the floor. Bring it on! This old dog is relearning some old tricks.

The second goal is to be able to keep each shoulder on the floor when I do a horizontal bent-leg twist, you know the one where you bring one knee up and then lower it, bent, across your other leg to the floor, and turn your head in the opposite direction to look at your outstretched hand? Well, my shoulders pop up really high, and when I lie my left knee over my right leg, I can’t even touch the floor with the knee and hand at the same time. It’s either the knee on the floor and the hand in the air, or the hand on the floor and the knee hovering. Bring it on! Another new goal.

Last but not least, the final goal I thought about today, while I was supposed to be focusing on my breath, is how to get the neighbour’s cat out of our roof!!! The damned thing spends a helluvalotta time up there and makes a racket!

Wishing you a great day.

p.s I’m going to a yoga class tonight with my friend Iva. This will be my first group-exercise class this year, and we’ll see how it goes! By the time I get home, I may not be awake enough to write about it, so just letting you know you could receive two emails tomorrow. But rest assured (!) … I am exercising today. fitfor15in15!