Do I really have to? My resistance to going to the local pool

 

Okay, here’s a question. What do you think is the BIGGEST challenge in swim training? You might think its gaining a feel for the water, or perhaps bi-lateral breathing, or maybe even getting a training plan together. Nope, no, got that sorted, nooooo. Its even simpler than that. For me, the biggest challenge I face is actually getting to the pool and getting into the water.

I was part of a swim relay and swam the English Channel in 2014 and I get very excited and want to jump in water when near a large stretch of it (perhaps I was a labrador in a previous life). I’ve done a few other marathon swims over the years and really, really loved them so you may think its really odd that I can’t herd myself into the pool. Its even more worrying when you realise that you’ve got to get in the water as you’ve signed up for two marathon swims in the summer.

Like any of the swimmers I’m lucky enough to have made friends with over recent years, I suffer from a local pool – lovely though it is – that doesn’t seem to really care about the people that use its facilities. It wants to be seen to accommodate the public at large, but it doesn’t really seem to accommodate the folks who want to swim. One of my best friends who happens to be one of the best swimmers I have ever seen, was told off at her local pool for going too fast.

I’ve laughed out loud at the Facebook post a friend of mine posted after a particularly ridiculous Swim Rage incident. Like him, I have ended up in the pool reception, dripping water everywhere clothed only in hat and cossie ranting because of the behaviour of other swimmers and the abject lack of discipline asserted by the lump of blubber – more commonly known as a life guard – slumped in its high chair doing nothing to keep the pool safe. I’ve commiserated with other friends who’ve bemoaned the fact that their pool has banned the use of fins and I’ve also been abused myself. I was punched – on purpose – by a man because I swam past him. We have all experienced other pool users who seem to regard people who wear swimming hats as weirdos whose sole use in a pool is to be the butt of abuse.

This is all on top of feeling a little bit shy. I don’t belong to a club and swim on my own. It can be incredibly intimidating when there are lots of other people around – and then there are the ‘swimmers’ – you know who you are, people – who want to hog a lane all to themselves and splash and thrash and tutt when you join their lane. Then they bust their guts to overtake you – only to fail on some occasions – and then just make life plain awkward when all you want to do is peacefully do your own thing.

Now that I have got myself into a stew and raked up all my hurt feelings, I’ve got to get back in the water…. Maybe my New Year’s Resolution should be to grow a pair….

Rebel, Rebel – The art of yoga rebellion

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Do you ever wish you could press a pause button and stop everything from happening around you so that you can go quietly into a melt down and come out the other side? My life has been a complete whirr for the last year. Organising a wedding, dealing with family health issues and balancing life with a job has made me super grouchy. Not having time to myself makes me a deeply unpleasant person to be around. I’m feeling very Ordinary…

I feel a lot less Ordinary when I get out and about, do some exercise, and generally get moving. I feel just like this quote:

“If it doesn’t sweat, jiggle, or pant, it’s not alive.”

I haven’t sweated, jiggled or panted properly for a few months and I actually don’t feel alive – at all. As usual I’ve entered some events this year and rather than do the usual DNS due to PPP and allowing everyone else’s priorities to overtake my own, with the end result of feeling like an abject failure, I’ve decided that I’m going to put myself first.

I recently discovered a website called Asana Rebel (http://www.asanarebel.com). I love yoga and have come to have a huge respect for it. Some years ago I went on a wonderful spa break in Morocco and learned yoga. I had never done it properly before and had poked fun at the ‘yoga types’. I had always thought it was for people who have only a passing acquaintance with personal hygiene, hairdressers and dentists and who exist solely on a diet of stinging nettles, tofu and lentils. Previous attempts at attending yoga classes at the gym with my friends ended up in uncontrolled sniggering, tourettes moments and having to leave the class early. On Retreat, where I actually paid attention, Oh, how wrong I was! The other women were normal like me and trying it out for many of the same reasons that I was. I found that it did amazing things. Not just for my body, but for my soul, my emotions and my brain. It actually gave me a place to breathe, take time out and gave me an inner resilience to take with me for the day. I even managed to continue my yoga practice everyday for a whole year. Then, one day, I simply stopped. Fast forward umpty tump years where I am struggling to get some inner peace and personal space.

“The traditional approach to an unknown risk is avoidance.”

As much as I can truly despise Facebook sometimes, I saw a link to Asana Rebel (http://www.asanarebel.com).  I usually take ages to make a decision – especially if I’m going to commit to something. If its a commitment, I might circle it a few times like a hunter stalking its prey, carefully considering the costs of an attack and whether its actually worth risking a bloody nose. If its a purchase, I might visit the targeted shop several times to look at, feel and prod the item I wish to purchase. Probably, I give the shop assistants an uneasy feeling as they see that creepy lady again, stroking their products. I think that what I’m saying is that I usually procrastinate and sit on the fence until it becomes way too uncomfortable and then I make a rash decision forgetting any of the sensible considerations I’ve already made. Anyway, in this case, Asana Rebel came along just at point when I needed it and I didn’t even blink before pressing the ‘Get the App’ button and enrolled for the New Year class.

You can sign up for lots of different courses, they have Fatburner courses, Strength Courses, Core courses, Inner peace and wellbeing – all sorts and you can just pick the one that suits you. You adjust the App to the number of times each week you think you can manage and press GO. The classes are loaded for your plan and you just go ahead and take them. You can’t jump about though, each class loads and can only be taken once the previous class has been taken. The App records all of your sessions and you can record how you feel each time using free text boxes and emojis. There are also Tips from the Coach each week. The instruction itself is very clear. The video has an amazing Yogi demonstrating each move and doing the session with you – usually she will demonstrate moves before you do them yourself. The instructor has a lovely clear and calm voice that is easy to follow as you go through each pose. Now, there are loads of these types of Apps and Websites out there and we have to find the one we like and suits us if we’re going to stick with anything. I really like this site. SO much so that I’ve signed up for the 8 week Fatburner I series doing three sessions each week. Its not your ‘traditional’ yoga, so be warned. You won’t start each session with sun salutations. Thats not what this team is about. Its about making yoga relevant and effective for you.

I’m hooked. I’m three sessions into the Fatburner and have the whole of March and April to go. Its certainly not for the faint hearted and the poses so far really target strength as well. I can’t remember the last time I worked my triceps muscles properly, but my goodness, the old bingo wings are getting a good working over now!

Together with doing other aerobic exercise and chucking about some kettle bells combined with eating simply, not only am I looking forwards to seeing how this course can help me achieve some positive physical changes but also to how I will feel inside at the end of this journey. I’m a Yoga Rebel!

 

 

A Little Bit of What You Like….

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”

I love this quote from the great Orson Wells. Whilst this post looks like its going off at a tangent from the whole intention of the blog, its not really. Whilst adventures (successful, failed, dreamed about and too scary to even try), diets and hanging onto my (in)sanity by my fingernails are key topics for my blog, we all need to eat. Most of the time its food to fuel the day, or training, or weight loss, but you can’t spend your entire life with your stomach thinking that your throat has been cut.

I love cooking. Not for myself, ( I do a great line in toasted crumpets with various sweet or savoury toppings if its just for me), but for my family. I’m enjoying experimenting with recipes that follow the new trend of preparing healthy food that is championed by chefs and cooks such as Dale Pinnock, Madeleine Shaw and Deliciously Ella. I can’t say I like every recipe. I followed the Deliciously Ella recipe for sweet potato brownies religiously but when I tasted one it tasted like a baked mud pie. It was truly revolting. BUT…. this one… this recipe from Madeleine Shaw is AMAZING.

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These little beauties are gluten free raspberry and pistachio chocolate brownies. They were so simple to make using buckwheat flour, coconut sugar, three eggs, butter, Green and Blacks dark chocolate and of course raspberries and pistachios and that is basically it. They smell heavenly as they are cooking and fill the downstairs of your house with the most delicious aroma. They are firm on top but the middle is a little bit gooey and with a little bit of madagascan vanilla cream ( or a lot of it if you’re my mother in law) they are just a little bit of what you like to do you good every so often…

Back on it with a veggie smoothie for breakfast today care of the NutriBullet.