May 18: Monday Runday – 4km

I didn’t think I’d be able to do Monday Runday today, because of that pain in my right butt cheek, which has been … well … A RIGHT PAIN IN THE ARSE!

But after reading in the hammock and finishing off the rest of the lawnmowing in the furthest part of the front lawn, I was itching to do more. Because I was covered in grass clippings and grotty already, I thought, c’mon, why not go for a run and test out the injury?

Worried the 5km would be too far, I did the 4km loop and surprisingly, it went ok. It wasn’t a record-breaking time, at 28 minutes, but that included some jumping of muddy puddles on the trail path through the forest and stopping for three photos. I didn’t have to walk at any stage because of pain, so I’m happy! Six hours later the bum/thigh is still happy too.

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A last glimpse of the fields before heading into the woods

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A cool trail path, literally and figuratively

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Nice to see hay bales near home after so many on the recent Swiss Camino

It was about 24 degrees today. Lovely! Still haven’t taken photos of the new garden plants. Maybe I’m not that inspired by them? I’ve gone for a different planterbox filling  – no geraniums this year! How very un-Swiss! Maybe that’s why I’m not feeling the love?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

May 9: Cheering on the Bern GP runners … too late!

We had great intentions of leaving this morning for the start of our Swiss Camino trip, then realised why rush? We have plenty of time and Leo needed a day of nothing to wind down after some serious flooding problems he had to solve at work.

So we thought we’d head into town and cheer on the runners in the 34th Annual Bern Grand Prix, “the prettiest 10 mile race in the world.” Well, it probably wasn’t so pretty this year, because they had to change the route with the Aare river flooding/overflowing.

We didn’t know anyone running, but thought it might be nice to add some photos of the event to the blog. Here’s the photo we got.

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The end of the Bern GP (running race) at the Bundeshaus. We missed it all!

By the time we actually headed into town we were a little late. They were deflating the finish line. Oh well, maybe next year!

We wandered around the city and had a late lunch at the markets in front of the Bundeshaus. My lunch consisted of some of these …

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Two raspberry macaroons and two strawberry and pistachios … oh wait, one is already in my mouth!

Plus some Mexican taco thingies. No photo of those – nowhere near as pretty! How about some peonies instead …

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Amazing peonies for sale in the food and flower market in front of the Bundeshaus

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The main street of Bern. There are many ornate water fountains dotted around the city

I didn’t end up writing any more Travelling Light stories as promised, but will do a post-walk debrief summary of the gear I took. Too much? Too little? I’ll have to wait and see!

Wishing you a wonderful day. Maybe it’s Mother’s Day where you are? If so, wishing you a marvellous Mother’s Day too. Have a peonie! xx

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.

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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.

April 20: 5km run, walk, run, shuffle, walk, run … argh!

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The first tulips of the season from the self-pick farm. The stems were quite short but I wanted some colour

Today was a beautiful day and the wind was cool and strong – not enough to stop me going for a run. Well, that’s what I thought as I was leaving the house!

After last Monday’s effort, where I felt I could run my best time on the 4km track, I started off on the 5km loop and within 800m had an ice-cream headache. Mine comes inside my ears and it feels like both ear drums will explode. The wind was cool and fierce and before I knew it, I had to walk. That’s the first time I’ve ever had to walk this year. Couldn’t even manage a shuffle in some parts. I’ve been told it could be because I’m dehydrated but I thought I had that covered today. 😦

While it was disappointing, and slow, it was still good to be outdoors, taking in all this:

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Leaving our property and heading into the woods

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I stopped running about here. Windy!

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Nice view of the Alps

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Soon this will all be yellow rape seed

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Clouds and sunshine … and wind!

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Even walked most of the downhill

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Empty animal houses on the homeward stretch

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The cows were back in the sunshine at my favourite property

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The Alps and cows again

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A study in cow

I spent a lot of time on the computer today, listening to the Tibetan bells and ocean sounds, setting up a Google+ account for fitfor15in15. I wonder if it will be worth the trouble?! My friend Kate from The Outdoor Diaries helped out. Thanks Kate!

  • Physically Fit: 5km walk/run
  • Mentally Fit: Setting up Google+ for the blog. It still needs a lot of work and I need to learn more!
  • Nutritionally Fit: Third fasting day on the 5:2 Diet – 500 calories
  • Minimalism: Avoiding the Icebreaker website. I love their gear!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

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I didn’t plant this tulip in my garden! The wind must have brought it here

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Same goes for these two!

April 13: 4km run, 40 minute walk and day one of the 5:2 Diet

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Sunshine, garden lights and purple blooms

What a glorious day! Best day of spring so far. A light, warm breeze, 20 degrees Celsius and plenty of sunshine – perfect conditions for a run.

Because I’ve been eating like a queen the past week, I decided to do the 4km circuit rather than the new 5km track, to ease myself back into the running swing. It all felt good – I was powering through the course and did the second kilometre in under 6 minutes which is a first for me. I actually felt like I was running today, rather than shuffling.

Then at 2.5km, I saw a friend of Liliane and Rene’s in her garden with her grandchildren, so stopped for a decent chat.

Then at the 3km mark, the cows from my favourite farmhouse were being taken from the sheds into the little field across the road, so I watched and waited as they made their way into the sunshine.

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Achtung! Cows crossing

Thinking I was home and hosed for a good sprint to the finish, I ran into the neighbour from the big farmhouse who has two small children. She was pushing them in a pram, so I walked the final 500m with them.

Even though it was a stop-start run, it was still great to be outside and I’m happy with the way I was feeling. Maybe another day this week I’ll try the circuit again and see what time I can manage. Today, I would have been on track for my best time, I think.

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How’s that for a view? Taken on the run home

Once home, I put on a wider brimmed hat and walked down to the local supermarket to buy some dinner things. That round trip is 40 minutes. I waved to a friendly farmer and felt my toodles (wobbly fat on the upper arm) swing in the breeze, but I’m pretty confident there’s less than the beginning of the year!

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This friendly farmer gave a wave, so I gave him a doubly enthusiastic one back, toodles and all!

Today is the first day of the 5:2 Diet. I’ve been planning it in my head for a little while. So far so good.

  • Breakfast – a medium grapefruit – 80 calories
  • Lunch – a boiled egg, 50g – 78 calories
  • Two cups of peppermint tea – 0 calories
  • After-run snack – vanilla protein powder in a 200ml glass of milk – 71 calories and 136 calories respectively (the milk needed to be used. Normally I don’t drink cows milk but didn’t want to waste it!)

That totals 365 calories. Dinner is going to be a mixed salad:

  • 100g lettuce leaves – 7 calories
  • Two medium tomatoes – 44 calories
  • Half a cucumber – 32 calories
  • A spring onion – 12 calories
  • Two small carrots – 41 calories

That totals 136 calories (no dressing – a teaspoon of olive oil has 40 calories!), for a grand total of 501 calories. So that’s that! If you can see anything wrong with my calculations, please let me know – being a novice calorie counter means I’m bound to make some mistakes. But hopefully not.

I was dreading the whole calorie counting rubbish but found an excellent service on Google. We have a small set of kitchen scales which made the measurements very easy. In Google search, I typed in “how many calories in a tomato” etc and this came up – how convenient! You can put in any food and it will tell you. My friend Bec also sent me a list of veggies and calories she compiled when she did the 5:2 Diet a while ago, which is a great help.

So there you go. Hopefully I can make it through another few episodes of “The Killing” tonight without getting the munchies, because there’s nothing left for today (that milk was a doozy!). How many calories are in 100g of oil-popped popcorn? The whole day’s allowance! Damn. Maybe tomorrow 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 30: 30-minute HIIT workout

Have you seen today’s guest contribution from Sal Book? She proves you can change a ‘never never’ attitude to a ‘let’s do this’ attitude with time and patience. What an inspirational transformation! If you didn’t see it, read about Sal’s memorable story here.

Her enthusiasm for running made me want to go for a run today. (Actually, I first read her story on the bus home from the city last week, and if it hadn’t been for a pair of boots and some heavy bags, I would have jumped off and tried to sprint home!) Unfortunately, it’s going to be raining here for the foreseeable future, so another 5km run in the forest remains a carrot at the end of the donkey’s string. Yes, I am the donkey.

It’s been a cruisy few days in the fitfor15in15 exercise stakes, so I thought I’d go a bit harder on core today with another workout from Fitness Blender. This 30 minute total body workout, which is also called Intense at Home HIIT Cardio and Abs Workout – Abs on Fire, requires no equipment and lived up to it’s name.

I couldn’t complete some of the exercises as fast or as well as the trainer, Daniel, which is no surprise really, but I laughed out loud when he piped up at one stage with “This is a bad idea.” I couldn’t agree more – we were both sweating like maniacs at the end! He definitely made it a tough workout. To paraphrase an Alicia Keys song … “My abs are on fiiiyyyyerrrrr!”

With it blowing a gale outside – the wind was so strong it uprooted our flagpole – I spent a lot of time on the computer today. My 52 Books Challenge for 2015 is running behind schedule, but finally I’ve written another review. Last week I finished The Lotus Eaters by Marianne MacDonald in three hours – if only all books were that easy – and you can read more about it here if you fancy.

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The view is clear without the fallen flagpole with the Aussie flag. It is fixable!

Judy mentioned in a comment on my diet/food dilemma post about the 5:2 diet. Have you heard about it? If not, you can read more about it on the official website here, on the BBC Good Food website or in Marie Claire’s ‘definitive guide’ on the pros and cons, including some recipes for the two fasting days. The main crux of the plan is you eat normally for five days and have a reduced calorie intake for two non-consecutive days per week, like a form of fasting.

I had heard about it before but hadn’t done much research. For someone who has a phobia about cooking a different meal every night, this could be the perfect solution. Maybe April is a good time to start? Luckily, Leo made a risotto for dinner last night and we have enough for tonight as well – the perfect lead in to a new idea to shift a few pesky wobbly bits. Would you be interested in joining me?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

No More Rules by Sal Book

This is the fifth guest post in a new fitfor15in15 series designed to show the pleasant impact that feeling fit, in all its forms, can have on your life. Sal Book’s life-changing light bulb moment came several years ago when she broke a self-imposed rule and took on a challenge. The balance she’s now found makes for a wonderful, inspiring and totally relatable story. Take it away Sal!

No More Rules by Sal Book (FOX8 Design Director for Foxtel in Sydney, Australia, and lover of baking)

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Sal and her boys after a half marathon in Sydney, September 2014

No running policy. No running whatsoever. Too many bits that wiggle. It hurts. Don’t run for buses. Maybe run for your life if necessary. I lived by a ‘no running policy’ that I joked about a lot. It was up there with my ‘don’t wear swimwear in front of work colleagues’ and ‘don’t live in share houses with couples’ list of rules to live by. Because in my 20s, I thought I knew everything.

I nearly broke that lifelong no running policy. Almost. I made some wonderful little humans and before long, I was running around after them 24/7/365. I wasn’t physically running, but there were definitely a lot of bits that wiggled. As a busy mum, working full time and chasing after kidlets, my 162cm body broke through and beyond the 100kg barrier. I had a moment of shock one day, watching the Biggest Loser and stuffing my face (as you do), when one of the contestants weighed in lighter than me. Yikes! It was time to ditch the wiggle.

I bought a very cheap cross trainer and off I went – weight watcher-ing everything I ate by day, cross training by night. My husband was wonderfully supportive and helped me find the time I needed for exercise. Most importantly, he listened to all my bitching about food. I love food and it was hard. Kilos slowly peeled away and 18 months later I was 30kg lighter. But the lifelong no running policy was still intact. In my mind, a cross trainer wasn’t running, so all was good.

I work in a creative industry and have found that most creatives are an inspired and positive bunch of people who enjoy the lustre of crazy ideas. Two of my colleagues were mad enough to sign up for this thing called Tough Mudder. They started a campaign to enlist anyone and everyone on their team. I was 30kg lighter, feeling great and tempted by the idea to just do something out of the ordinary. My friend knew I was a country girl at heart and wasn’t afraid of a bit of dirt, so he kept pushing me to give it a go. I had to tell him about the no running policy but he persisted and I’m ever so grateful he did.

The event was months away and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I figured that it if I could endure over 24 hours of labour pains, to squeeze out a human being, then surely I could take on this measly Mudder business. One unexpected perk from childbirth was the feeling of empowerment. The most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime is give birth to my sons. After they arrived in my life, I was surprised by an unforeseen drive that was born inside of me, especially to feel ownership of my body again. I felt like I could do anything. Take on any challenge. So I decided to do the Tough Mudder. I was going to own it. Go the whole 21km with obstacle courses. I signed up. I was scared. Damn it! I better start running or something.

The no running policy was abolished. Training was hard. I had a lot of support from friends and family. My sister ran with me, my team ran with me. My Mudder goal was to be able to run 7km without stopping and push myself with strength training on the side. Everyone around me helped a great deal, but ultimately the person who had to push me the most was me.

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This popular waterside path in Sydney, called The Bay Run, is one of Sal’s favourite runs

Running was a whole world outside my comfort zone. All those wiggly bits did hurt. Running with a D-cup does suck. Every time I had a running session, I never actually wanted to run. I would procrastinate, taking forever to get out of bed, find my gear, put my shoes on. I would force myself to run, and found that I always felt amazing afterwards.

Hiding inside that little moment after the run is the addiction. You don’t see it or feel it coming. The mind says no, but after you finish, the body says yes. It feels amazing … after you’ve run your first ever full kilometre without stopping … after you’ve run your first 5km … after your first ever racing event … after your first ever PB … after every PB … Eating. After. Running (my personal favourite).

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A leap of faith! Sal flying high in the Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder was difficult and incredible. Mission impossible was to attempt every obstacle. I succeeded all but one and I was grateful for my run training. For those moments between the obstacles, it didn’t feel hard. My body was able to cope and keep up with my team.

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What’s not to love about this photo?!

All the winter running had really prepared me for the cold, thick mud. I finished and it was surreal. I felt invincible. But the very next week I stopped running. It was all done and dusted. I didn’t realise that I had ignited a spark.

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Mission: Accomplished!

After Tough Mudder, I spotted an advertisement for the San Francisco Half Marathon. The thought of running across the Golden Gate Bridge was enough to turn that spark into a desire to find that invincible feeling again. It didn’t take much pestering to convince my husband that we should take a family holiday to the States. Much like me, he is a man who loves experiences and before we knew it, we had booked flights for the family to America and both of us were signed up for the half marathon.

I ran 21km in 2h 26mins. I ran 18 of those kilometres grinning like an idiot, oblivious to the hurt, feeling mesmerised by where I was and where my running had taken me. I couldn’t believe I was running on the road of the Golden Gate Bridge. The last 3km did actually hurt, especially on some of the hills as we headed back into the city, but I still loved it.

My husband and I had walked across the Golden Gate on our honeymoon 11 years earlier, so to run across it was very special. He was behind me on the course, but I worked out that we would cross paths as I came back for the return leg of the bridge. I texted him to keep an eye out. We found each other, a quick kiss in the middle of all the runners and then off again.

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Running across the Golden Gate Bridge was a proud and memorable achievement

One thing I love most about life, is that you never know what is ahead of you. The first time I walked that bridge with my husband, I never imagined a decade later we would be running a half marathon across it. These are the things that make me smile in life. Running continues to make me smile in life.

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Sal chasing Minions in the iconic Sydney City to Surf race

It’s almost my three-year ‘runniversary’ and running is just a part of who I am now. I am a busy mum and to fit everything in, I run to work. I’m solving a transport and time issue all in one. On my long run days, I get to feel a little bit ‘bad ass’ by watching the sun rise while I’m out. If I run to work, for the rest of the day I enjoy a lovely ‘I don’t care if the Zombie Apocalypse happens’ sort of feeling – if the zombies come, well at least I can run fast enough! If work gets a bit stressful, somehow it feels easier to cruise through the problems and find solutions.

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Peace and beauty on an early morning run to work

I get a lot of support from my husband. Running is something that requires time, but we try our best to give that to each other. I think it’s important for parents to have time for themselves. When I’m running, there are no phone calls, no emails, no mummy, no dramas. It’s just me. I also get a lot of support from my running group. Last year I joined Running Mums Australia, not expecting the positive change it would bring to my running. It’s a virtual running group on Facebook with over 9000 members. All of them just mums who like to run. Some are champion runners, some are just starting out, some do ultra marathons, others enjoy 5km events. All of these women are connected by their desire to run. It’s a place to share run stories and seek advice. RMA has definitely helped me maintain my running mojo and I’m very proud to be a part of that group.

My new rule is to stop making rules. They only hold you back.

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Crossing the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge by foot isn’t something you can do every day. But it was possible for Sal, once she broke ‘the rules’

March 23: Sprint training

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Clouds over the Alps but a great day to be outdoors

I’ve never done sprint training before, but have often thought how inviting and perfect that long stretch of grass is in our garden. So today, I donned the sneakers and went about giving myself an earache and nearly twisting an ankle.

The ‘track”, which is about 80m long, isn’t flat at all, with lots of holes and divots, from who knows what, making it harder than running on a road or flat track. I suppose it could be like trail running but without the rocks and roots to bring you undone. The grass was quite soft too, from yesterday’s rain, which possibly made it a bit harder. (Can you tell I’m looking for any excuse? I’m appalled by how hard it was!)

With the timer on my MapMyRun app going, it took me, on average, about one minute to walk the 80m, at a very leisurely pace, and then 20 seconds to run back. I did this for 17 minutes, which means I sprinted 12 times. I haven’t sprinted like that – full-on, flat out running as fast as possible – since, well, most likely, primary school. Ahh, fitfor15in15 is stretching my boundaries!

Afterwards I felt a bit woozy; I still feel a bit odd more than half an hour later. I must have looked an absolute treat too, sprinting and wobbling all over the place, trying not to roll an ankle but focussed on making it to the end. And of course, like any kid in a running race, I had to touch the road before turning around, and touch the caravan at the other end to make it feel legit.

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I walked from here to the bitumen road just before the white building …

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… and then ran from this spot back to the caravan underneath the trees

Now that I know it can be done, I’ll definitely do it again. I was aiming for 20 minutes, but had to stop – it felt like both middle ears were going to explode. Does anyone ever feel that pain after hard-ish exercise? I’ll try for 20 minutes next time and hopefully up the walking pace a bit too.

Do you do sprint training? Do you have any tips for a novice?

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 19: A new running path and distance

Wow, my calf muscles were sore this morning! I could hardly walk when I got out of bed! Yesterday’s Badass Yoga, with lots of downward dog stretches, really got my legs working. So I thought I’d put them to the test again with a … wait for it … drumroll … 5km run.

To date, I’d only ever jogged the same 4km path through the forest (a grand total of four times this year! Woo hoo!). This time I wanted to try 5km, so shuffled along my normal walking path towards Möriswil, then instead of going through the village on the bitumen road (which I like to do when walking so I can visit the miniature horses), I took an earlier forest road and didn’t see a soul the entire time. I used to listen to music when jogging, but lately, I’ve really enjoyed just listening to the peace and quiet, and all the birds, too.

The idea of running 5km today came from my friend Bec, who lives just outside Melbourne in Australia. She commented on a previous post, mentioning her fitness goals for 2015, then asked what mine were. I’d never actually written them down before, or thought about them much, other than wanting to feel fitfor15in15. So for the first time, I now have a proper list of fitness goals for 2015. I want to be able to:

  1. Do 2 minutes of plank
  2. Leave my elbows on the floor while lying on my legs or stretching out between my legs
  3. Do the splits comfortably again
  4. Fit into the strapless dress I bought after the Camino
  5. Have toned/slimmer arms
  6. Jog 8km (I’m not a runner though, so that could be unrealistic!)
  7. Improve my balance, especially on one leg doing yoga moves

I might add a few more down the track, but for now, that’s pretty good.

And my time running today was pretty good too, I think, finishing the 5km in 32 minutes 46 seconds. I walked for the first two minutes as a warm up, then had a mix of reasonably steady up and down gradients which saw me faster in the third kilometre (I’d like to think I was in the zone, but really, there was more downward gradient running than in the other sections). Now that I know this path is exactly 5km from door to door, I may have run my last 4km on the old track. There are no photos from the new path because I didn’t want to take any pauses, but I can tell you my head was as red as a tomato when I got home.

Thank you Bec, for encouraging me to write down my goals. Written goals are achieved more than those that aren’t, so it was about time I put them on paper. If I want to run 8km by the end of the year, it was time to up the ante, and seeing that inspired me to attempt my first 5km run in many, many years.

On a nervous note, right now, as I’m typing, a group of people who are interested in buying Liliane and Rene’s property – the big farm house, our Stoekli and the land – are wandering around the place. It’s incredibly sad thinking we may not be living here for much longer. The property has been on the market for two years (things don’t move fast here in Switzerland!) and this group have been here a few times before, so I think they’re getting serious. Rene and Liliane have had enough of the responsibility of maintaining everything and would like something smaller that they can lock up and leave easily for when Liliane retires.

Leo and I have often talked about what we’d do if we had the money to buy here. We’d turn some of the apartments into holiday rentals and set up a country B&B. It would be perfect, with all the grass and pool, for families and people who want to get away from it all. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re the ones who will eventually be getting away from it all – by moving! But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, we’ll just keep enjoying what we have, which is pretty darn special.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 12: 4km run and a bathroom cupboard cleanup

The tried and tested 4km path through the forest was stomped on again by me today. This was only my fourth run/shuffle this year, which I’m finding hard to believe! The previous ones were January 10, February 13 and February 20. The weather and a sore foot have played some part in this, of course, but I really thought I would have done more by now.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m improving! Using the MapMyRun app on my phone, I can see I’ve done 31:15 (fell over), 26:15 (must have had a tailwind), 29:32 and today’s effort was 27:19. A bit all over the place really. And I do like to stop for the odd photo or two.

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There was an incredibly cold wind today, which made this blue-sky run not as much fun as it looks like it should be

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The sun lead me along the path

But, it’s done and it was good to be outside, even if the headwind was freezing and it felt like I was on the verge of getting an ice cream headache the entire way.

This morning, I was motivated to get out of bed early and tackle the bathroom cabinets. For some reason, I really felt the need to declutter. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason for this (or a mental one!). The thought of “the mess” in one of the cupboards was making me cringe. There isn’t really all that much stuff in there, but then again, there is … know what I mean?!

Old things went that hadn’t been used in ages. I held them and asked the Marie Kondo question, “Does it spark joy?” In some cases, it was more like, “Could that make me sick?” A red lipstick (how long should you keep them for before they go off?), green eye shadow (what was I thinking? Haven’t worn it once in three years), a makeup bag, an old mascara (which was a great size for travelling but it’s a few years old now and it says to keep for six months on the packaging), two makeup brushes and some penicillin tablets past their use-by date (for tonsillitis which flares up now and then). I thanked them all for their efforts and in the bin they went.

Then, to top off my OCDness, I made a list of every item of mine in the bathroom, everything, using the Evernote app, and sorted them into groups such as Creams – Face; Creams – Body; Nails, hands and feet; Cleansers; Perfumes; Oils; Face; Eyes; Lips; Sunscreens … you get the idea. There are now 16 different lists within the “Bathroom Supplies” notebook. I know, I know … I need a job.

At least I now know the names of everything I use for when they need replacing. If they get replaced. In an ideal world, I’d just use soap, moisturiser and a toothbrush, but I’m not quite that minimalistic (yet!). And I don’t think my sensitive skin would love me for it either. Most of the lists aren’t extensive. I have two perfumes, four oils, and five sunscreens all in various states of emptiness. But I do have seven lipsticks (mattes and glosses) and six lip balms … hmmm …

Some things were simplified. I love tiny ziplock plastic bags for travelling (about 7cm x 8cm) and had several made-up with cotton buds (must clean my ears to get the water out after washing my hair), headache tablets, penicillin tablets, toothpick things, the occasional band-aid or Compeed plaster (a must on all long walks), hayfever tablets … oh the list goes on.

Rather than the four or five I seemed to have in various states of use, I now have one, and only one, ready to go in my travel toiletry bag. Which is just a small waterproof makeup bag really. Lots of people swear by the ones you can hang, but for me they’re too bulky. The bag is now ready for any spur of the moment weekend trips, and will oggle me longingly with a desire for adventure every time I open the lower cupboard.

Does your skin go crazy in winter? I get a shocking case of winter itch which sometimes prevents me from getting to sleep. It seems to happen most, when my skin is warm but dry, while lying on the couch or in bed. Thankfully, a good chemist recommended a body cream at the start of the year and it’s hardly been an issue this year. I didn’t take it to Strasbourg and whadiyaknow, after three days I was covered in tiny, red, itchy bumps. It’s starting to go away now thanks to this …

fitfor15in15

This stuff is the best winter-itch cream. Life saver!

What other wafflings can I bore you with from today? Umm … I watched another Miss Marple, I searched the internet for jobs (nothing!), I read, I ran, I ate … oh yes, and how I ate!! For some reason, I have a hunger today that can not be satiated. After the run, I immediately had a glass of water, four small round slices of a baguette with soft cheese, salmon and cucumber, then an apple, then a cup of tea, then a few spoons of yoghurt with protein powder and fresh raspberries, two small easter bunny chocolates (5cm high), then (yes … and then!) four rice cakes with honey drizzled over the top … and I still can’t wait for dinner!

Just writing about it is making me hungry. I’m off to warm up two of these little beauties, which we had fresh last night with a salad. They were delicious.

Wishing you a wonderful day.