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!

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 …

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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.

February 20: A 4km run through the forest

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Sandra ready for her run. Alas we weren’t running together, only in spirit!

After seeing this photo my friend Sandra sent me this morning, I was inspired to go for a run/jog/shuffle too. The weather is amazing – all the windows are open in the house to let the fresh air in, and our jackets are hanging on the clothesline getting an airing. Sandra stepped it up a notch and ran 8km, whereas I settled on my usual 4km track. Maybe when I’m fitter, we’ll go running together?

Seems like quite a few people had the same idea to enjoy the outdoors; I came across three couples and one man out for a stroll. So sweet, seeing the oldies holding hands as they walk in the sunshine. If they’d been eating ice creams on a bench together, I probably would have burst into tears (not sure why, but that gets me every time).

Unfortunately, the icy sections in the forest still haven’t melted. I felt a bit foolish tiptoeing through the dangerous parts (it must look hilarious from a distance) so ended up walking quite a lot, for fear of doing another learner-on-roller-skates impression. Pushing off with the back foot was always the slipperiest part.

And, of course, taking photos slowed me down! I found it hard to get into any kind of rhythm but still managed the 4km in 29 minutes 32 seconds. That’ll do me I say! My third fitfor15in15 run of the year. One bad thing though – as I set off, I realised not one drop of water had passed my lips this morning. I’m making up for it now, guzzling a few litres … in a ladylike manner.

Listening to all the birds and the snow melting has filled me with the joys of spring. It’s supposed to snow again tomorrow and early next week, but today, you wouldn’t believe those weather predictions could come true. Are the seasons changing where you are? I’m feeling for all my Australian friends on the north and east coasts at the moment, suffering in the cyclones. Hope the damages aren’t too bad.

And for something totally different, the sleepy capital city of Switzerland, Bern, came alive yesterday afternoon, thanks to the visiting fans from the Everton Football Club. Their team played Young Boys last night (yes, the football team from Bern is called Young Boys; so odd) in the Europa League and in order to prepare themselves for the match, thousands of fans took over the city. Drinking beer.

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Not sure how they got up there to hang those banners, as I think it’s an office! But they did!

I was meeting my friend Pastora in our favourite bar and we ended up having a hilarious afternoon talking to some of the more refined fans from England’s north – all totally out of the ordinary and very good for the soul. (It was a sad result for Bern and a good one for Everton: 1-4.)

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Pastora with the afternoon’s entertainment – the Everton lads!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 13: Plenty of luck on a 4km run in the forest

I’m not overly superstitious, but occasionally I touch wood and avoid walking under ladders and so on. This morning, I joked with Leo that I wouldn’t leave the house for fear of something going wrong. Strange things can happen on Friday the 13th, or on any other day to be honest …

Throwing caution to the wind, I DID leave the house – to christen my new jogging/shuffling sneakers. A big risk, considering I took a tumble on my last run, and still have the scars to prove it!

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Out with the old …

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… and in with the new!

The white ones had served me well for the past six years, not that they were flogged to death or anything, but running – sorry, shuffling – in the forest over the past few years had taken its toll.

So when I saw these new ones also 50% cheaper (in a continuation of the sale where I bought my indoor sneakers), I couldn’t resist. It was time for replacements and at half price, resistance was useless.

The track through the forest was still very icy and covered in snow, despite so much of it melting in all the glorious sunshine over the past few days. Dripping water was such a comforting sound today – it means spring is coming! Normally dripping water makes me want to race to the toilet and if it’s a dripping tap, well that’s another story completely – that noise drives me mental! Ahh, misophonia … the gift that keeps on giving.

At first, I was unsure if these new shoes would provide enough support for that problem with my left foot, which has been diagnosed by a podiatrist as Metatarsalgia. New orthotic inserts/innersoles have helped a lot. The pain was crazy there for a while, and that’s another reason why I haven’t been jogging since January 10.

After testing them out on my usual 4km lollipop loop, which involved some springing from non-muddy patch to non-muddy patch, there was no pain. Happy camper. I didn’t struggle with the slow incline as much as I have in the past, and may have stretched my legs a little longer and held my head a little higher as I ran past the loggers cutting down some trees on the homeward stretch. Such an idiot! All up, the run took me 26 minutes, which included walking as a warm-up for two minutes. I’m getting fitter!

Buying the two new pairs of shoes goes against my minimalistic grain, but the foot problem made it a no-brainer. I know you’re supposed to replace sneakers quite regularly too, so six years was a good stint. And it was so nice to see that flash of colour, especially running through the snow!

Fancy going for a shuffle/jog/run? Even round the block is better than nothing. Start on a flat path and then maybe build up to an incline or two when you feel ready for another challenge. I’m not quite ready to run any further just yet (this being only my second jog – sorry, shuffle – of the year), but with these new shoes I’m looking forward to doing more.

Wishing you a great day.

P.S I cleaned my desk today too.

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Space, at last!

There’s no before photo – WAAAAY too embarrassing. It was littered with German books and German magazines and pieces of paper and dust and notebooks and, let’s face it, too much crap to go on like that. Now along with all things computer, I just have a candle and lighter (for my morning routine, done on the floor), the lamp, a little bottle of nice smellies topped with the tiny knitted hat I love, a print of an artwork by Hans Schärer called Madonna 2 (my highlight from an exhibition in Bern in 2012) and a box of tissues.

Surely, with all this space, prize-winning writing will ensue?!

Do you love your creative space? Does it inspire you?