Karma: A double wind up

I did a post recently about my application for the London Marathon. If you want to have a look then here is the link. But in summary I didn’t get in through the public ballot but my friend (who I made apply) did. I found this all really hilarious. She knew I found this hilarious. I find it hard not to give immediate facial or text feedback. But….a big but (not my butt; rather a but but)….the plot thickens. I think she is a wind up merchant (other folk may call her a prankster)

A confession over coffee

I had coffee with a mate. It was this little birdy who tipped me the wink as to an ingenious wind up by said marathon running friend. It happened on Monday.

I told her the story of how I didn’t get into the marathon through a few fits of giggles as I still found it hilarious. So did she. A little too funny though. Once she had stopped chortling and snort laughing she said “I really have to tell you something”. with a little tap on the nose to indicate this would have to be a secret. As I am sure this exact situation has happened to many people, I think my anonymous blog fits within this category of secret…hopefully.

She calmed down and said “she [marathon friend] never got in. She found that photo on Facebook of the success magazine and sent you it to wind you up. She said to say that she was busy training for the marathon”


Yes…Exactly! The bloody cheek of it. So in reality whilst I found it funny she also thought it would be funny to give as good as she got. I think this is an example of Karma. It is a good example of a prank and I was definitely wound up from the back. But Karma is something that can continue. At the moment I know that she doesn’t know that I know. So…..

A double wind up

I waited a couple of days and on Wednesday I sent her a wee message. I mentioned in my post that I could try and get into the London Marathon through a charities. The way this works is that you apply, tell them why you think their charity is important (I think they all are!) and pledge to raise usually around £2,000.

My message went along the lines of this

“X [little birdy] said you’re training is going well. I had a message back from xxx [charity]. They asked me to submit a bit more and a plan of any fundraising events. So I got my mum’s pal to help and the team at work have also pledged to raise some dosh. I haven’t heard yet but will get the decision by next Friday. So I might get in!!! Are you up for some training. I might be a bit behind but can definitely manage a waddle”.

The response took a couple of days. Her response was interesting. Now I don’t know if she knows that I know. Or if we are at the point that she knows that I know that she knows that I know. This gets confusing.

I think she must know that I know. Only because she said she was already at 10k. Its a distance she will find not too hard but I doubt she is running at the moment as she prefers the gym and classes. So I am now waiting for the phone call promised for this weekend.

I don’t know how long I can keep this up but have a load of elaborate things planned.


The thing about Karma is that you really should try for good Karma. My wind up friend is great and this is something we will both find funny. She usually wins at the pranks. I will try my best but I also think there is another bit of karma to pay off in this situation.

So I donated a bit of cash to charity last night. The equivalent of the entry fee to the marathon. I will also put a little bit of money (not 2k certainly, but every little helps) each month to different charity things between now and the marathon. Hopefully that is my example of good karma coming out of a good wind up.

Photo by Bogdan Yukhymchuk on Unsplash : adapted by me on Canva

London Marathon Ballot: Ooh the disappointment

I didn’t get a place in the London Marathon 2020. I am so disappointed…in public. I even have a disappointment face for this. Secretly I am relieved and am inwardly doing a dance entitled ‘thank you god of running…that was a close one’.

If I was going to ever do a marathon it would be the London Marathon. I watch it every year and am always motivated to run (shuffle…waddle…jog) after. I even wrote a blog post on it back in April (here). Full of good intentions at the time. Intentions smentions…I think I did about one more run before forgetting the motivation for running.

What I did do, however, after a few (maybe more than a few) glasses of wine in April was to put my name in for the London Marathon Ballot. I also texted my, occasional 10K, friend and made her put her name in too. “It will be great” I said…”we should totally do this”.

This is from a person who doesn’t like to run. I can manage a 5 and 10k and have done these. Marathon’s seem a bit far-fetched for me. However I get that bucket list type feeling whenever I watch the London Marathon. There are loads of people who do it who have never ran before. So surely (my thoughts after wine) I could be someone who trains and then achieves it. On a serious note though I do find it inspiring and would love to be in it one day. If that reality ever strikes though I will be very scared!

I told my friends and family I had entered. There were eyebrows raised and comments such as “fingers crossed for the ballot”. They know me too well though and were hopeful that I wouldn’t get in. Hey…at least my name was in the game.

So you can only imagine my mixed feelings of disappointment and glee when this arrived through the door:

At least they called me a ‘runner’. That in itself is a life time achievement 🙂

I phoned my mum to give her the bad (cough) news. She shared in my disappointment with a wry laugh. I texted my running friend the photo above with the tagline “gutted”.

Move forward one day and this was the text reply from my friend:

Her tag line “FS”…I think she was swearing 🙂

Oops! We all knew that was coming. I actually feel a little jealous and hope she does it. She definitely will. So as a last gasp (god knows why but again I blame the wine last night) I have applied to a couple of charities. They have places you can get if you raise money for them. I doubt any will take me on. But who knows!

Next April if I am not at the sidelines watching then I am going to ban wine on the day of the London Marathon. I will probably apply anyway. It still is one of those bucket list things. If I ever get in I will (probably) give it my best shot.

Header Photo by Gesina Kunkel on Unsplash

Magazine photos: my own and my friend’s.

30 Day Health Challenge: Done!

On the 10th August I decided to start a 30 day health challenge. I didn’t expect to fail but I new I would need to focus on it if I was going to succeed. The original post, if you fancy having a read is here. I completed this on Monday (day 30) but I was still being oh so healthy so didn’t write my update due to being out at yoga after work. Yes I am clearly a changed woman. Yes it was a bloody good idea. Yes I am an achiever. Yes I will shut up…soon. But before I do here is what I did and how it all worked out.

The Aims…The Goals

When I decided to do this I had just got back to regular yoga after a few weeks break. That few weeks included lots of going out (festival time in Edinburgh) with food and wine. I knew I had to get back on it and knew I also wanted to lose a bit of weight.

So my goals were to:

  • Exercise every day for 30 days involving Yoga (3 per week), HITT (3 per week), Weights (1 or 2 per week) and a Yin Yoga session for the rest day.
  • Track my eating and stick within a calorie / macro budget.
  • Give up red wine (but have the occasional beer).

The Start

Being impulsive I started this on the Sunday (11th). I am not sure why I didn’t wait till the Monday as it would have made more sense, given my exercise goals were based on weekly targets. Which also makes no sense given I plucked for 30 days (28 would have been more sensible). Never mind. My mind was made up.

So Sunday it was. Which meant my exercise week ran Sunday to Saturday as did my weekly weigh in’s. I also finished on a Monday (yes I know this doesn’t fit neatly in either); this Monday past to be exact. The funny thing is that the start and finish didn’t really matter. The goals were the most important thing. Why wait for the ‘right’ day? Waiting just increases the potential of talking yourself out of something. Or is that just me?

The Output

  • Week 1
    • Yin on the Sunday
    • 3 HITT Sessions from YOUTUBE (15 mins each)
    • 1 weights session focusing on shoulders, chest and upper back
    • 3 Vinyassa classes (hard enough to be a bit sweaty)
    • No WINE (it weirdly wasn’t that hard)
    • Calories all within my set limit (for a deficit)
  • Week 2
    • Yin on the Monday
      3 HITT Sessions from YOUTUBE (15 mins x2 and 20 mins x1)
      1 weights session again focusing on shoulders, chest and upper back (my legs were killing me from all the yoga and HIIT)
      3 Vinyassa classes (harder this week due to the DOMS)
      No WINE (seriously…how? I don’t know!)
      Calories all within my set limit (for a deficit)
  • Week 3
    • You get the idea…same as above!
  • Week 4
    • Same again – go me! This week was the week where my muscles started to not be sooooo sore.
  • Days 29 and 30 🙂
    • A Yin class (bliss)
    • A HITT session
    • Still no wine (it was a Sunday and Monday after all)
    • Calories still within my limit.

I did have some beers and at most (festival comedy show night out) I had 4 bottles. But that was the exception. I managed to find a really low calorie (but normal) beer which only had 74 calories per bottle – Michelob Ultra Light. Just as nice as a Corona and half the calories of a good glass of Red. So the was my occasional tipple.

The HIIT sessions I did were mainly YouTUBE ones by the Body Coach (Joe Wicks). I also did some of his recipes which are freely available online and so generally followed his principles of the carby ones only after completing a HITT session (his steak and creamy mushroom sauce is my absolute favourite!).

I did aim originally to do one of my exercise sessions every day but I did have a couple of full rest days during the 30. However to make up for this I had a couple of double up days with, for example, a HITT session first thing and my weights session after work.

The Outcome

The headline one for most is probably the weight loss. In 30 days I lost 14lbs (just over 6k). So I am pretty happy with this!!! It followed the expected pattern with a big loss in the first week (6lbs) and then an average of 2-3 for each of the other ones. There was a week when the scales showed no change but I know this was just that cycle of bloating that most women will understand.

I do feel fitter. My muscles are not aching (as much) and I can feel the definition coming back. This is probably the more substantial outcome for me. I did need to lose some weight but definitely prefer to feel like I am looking better rather than focusing on a number on the scales. That dress that was starting to feel a bit too tight around my derrière has now returned to being a ‘well fitted’ work dress.

The wine thing….it was only ever about the amount of calories and reducing after that holiday type wine pattern. I am writing this with a nice glass of white wine in hand. Just the one though…I can’t fit the calories in without now feeling guilty!

Where to go from here

It wasn’t the hardest challenge but it wasn’t the easiest either. I am pleased with the results but I know that its a pattern I can continue with. So on day 32 I am still within my calories. I had spaghetti tonight but only after doing a HITT session and I will just manage the wine within my calories and macro budget. I might try this until the 90 day mark in the hope that I achieve the muscle tone I want.

Basically…it was a good idea.

Have you set aims or goals with your fitness? Have they worked out?

Shoulders back…Shoulders down

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

The more I do yoga the more I notice bad habits which affect my posture. My yoga teacher will say “shoulders down” and I will correct them. But it has felt unnatural. When you need to tuck your backside in and engage the (hidden) abs – fine. But how do I tell if my backside is sticking out too much normally (aka bad posture) when my view of it is that it is just a fat arse (it’s not really that bad…I am just being overly dramatic)?

Tight most things

I wouldn’t class myself as flexible. I have tight hamstrings, quads and shoulders. The hamstrings and quads will get there. I can see the change already in poses even as basic as Downward Dog and the fact that I can now grab my foot heading towards King Pigeon. I can’t do the splits yet, in fact I am nowhere near, but one day.

I am also getting better with the much needed back bend after a lot of help from my teacher; working to raise my chest up to bend rather than just trying to bend back (not sure that makes sense on paper but hopefully you get what I mean). My shoulders, however, are a bloody nightmare in lots of poses and I think (ok I know) this is down to bad posture.

Tight shoulders

The weird thing is that I actually quite like my shoulders. Lots of kettlebell swings, snatches and general weights over the past few years has given me ok definition in them and my upper back. This is great for any top I wear that slides over one shoulder. But the look doesn’t equate to actual strength. When I work on shoulders in the gym I always have to go pretty light. Same for chest (I clattered the bar the other day when I shoved a little too much on it). I don’t do lots of weights at the moment but my sessions now tend to focus on this area now to help with my yoga.

This area (shoulders, chest, upper back) is pretty important in loads of yoga poses. Any binds, inversions and even puppy pose work on them. So the “shoulders back and down” comment gets said a lot by my Hatha teacher. I get it. My shoulders want to raise right up to my ears every time my arms go above my head. I can’t grip my fingers together in the pose like the picture above and a lot of binds are beyond me. Even in shavasana my shoulders want to relax in a rolled position rather than flat to the ground.

For inversions you need to understand the feeling of open shoulders so that you can feel like you are wrapping them in to hug a ball without them pinching your neck. This kind of thing takes focus when your shoulders naturally just want to rise.

Bad posture

When you notice things in yoga you start to notice them generally. My relaxed position is to roll my shoulders. It is for a lot of people but it is bad posture and no one wants to end up hunch backed…right?

The problem with posture is that it gets bad over a long time. Bodies are great, they can mould themselves to whatever you need in life. The fascia (connective stuff with collagen) will set itself up in this way and so if you sit with your shoulders rolled at a desk your shoulders will eventually find this the most comfy position.

Sorting it out

Yoga is slowly doing that for me but it does need practice. Over 40 years of habit will take a while to rectify. So I am doing more and more to get comfy on good posture.

  • Shoulders back and down
    • I travel for work so in the car I have set up a good seat position and on the commute I roll my shoulders back and down (like putting your shoulder blades together). That’s a good two hours a day of practice
  • Using my yoga wheel
    • 10 minutes a day involving just being draped back over it and also doing a shoulder stretch with arms front
  • Keeping them down in movement
    • Any time I move my arms in daily tasks I am trying to focus on not hunching my shoulders up to my ears. Weirdly this takes effort.
  • Yin
    • Yin is helpful because the poses are long held and there to work the fascia.
  • Hatha
    • Hatha gives you time to correct in your poses. Tough going but worth it.

It’s all helping. I was never a hunched up person but i definitely roll my shoulders. After a few weeks I am starting to find more comfort in shoulders being back and down so it must be helping. My Hatha class today was working towards handstand. Purely focused on gaining the right posture to get to the strength in order to push up.

Sorting my posture will definitely be worth it…says me currently typing whilst keeping my shoulders back and down.

30 Day health challenge: Is this a good idea?

Photo from http://www.pexels.com

I feel like I should be on a roll with the fitness again. Since Wednesday I have done yoga 3 times, walked a lot around Edinburgh and have managed to fit in a HIIT session. However… I have eaten out twice and, being on holiday from work, have had some wine (every day eek!…just to be social of course). In fact on Thursday my long walk was interspersed with food and wine and the festival. Surely this still counts as exercise!

Maybe as a result of the annual leave wine I have consumed my thoughts have been drifting to health and fitness more seriously again. These thoughts are in no way related to a message I got from a lovely looking ex who is due to visit Edinburgh next month. Noooo…it was definitely the wine and previous lack of exercise for a couple of weeks that has spurred me on to action. I would like to feel a bit more, ermm, healthy again. Cue the fitness / health challenge goals. Cue the feeling of this might be difficult!

What to do?

There are loads and loads and bloody loads of challenges that people do. I have done some of them. 30 day leg challenge, squat challenge, 90 day Body Coach, 90 days of Insanity, 30 days of Yoga etc. etc.. Generally I never complete them. With the exception of the Insanity dvd’s. Yep I did the whole programme!…I have tried this since however and only ever get to the 4 week stage. A quick search of the internet and there are millions (only a slight exaggeration) to choose from. There are even quite relaxed ones which involve no exercise. No I don’t mean the alcohol free ones but ones where you do something for yourself each day (I assume these are inner confidence type thingy challenges).

So what should I do? Should I even do a challenge given my previous success rate with challenges? My aim – to lose a little bit of weight, tone up, get visible muscles, get more flexible, feel great, look great…this is a big list. Overall aim – to be a bit more healthy.

What I definitely won’t do

There is no point in setting out to fail. I am sure there is a saying somewhere about this but won’t attempt to write it for fear of getting it wrong :-). I am also old enough to know that I get bored too easily with just one thing so the 5k a day type challenge is not for me. I jog…slowly…so this would take too long and it is just not interesting enough to keep me going. I am happy enough to commit an hour to exercise but no more.

Food wise I can manage to manage my calories and macros if I pay attention to them. I definitely won’t be following any eating plan due to being a picky (ish) eater. This isn’t an excuse for eating some chocolate now and again – I can still do a healthy and pretty plain committed diet that will work alongside the exercise.

I definitely won’t give up having the odd drink. There are plenty of challenges out there with no alcohol involved including beer free for a year. Not for me but kudos to those who do. I have a lot of things planned in over the next month and sometimes it is just nice to do them with a glass of something.

I am starting to think that the contradiction in what I won’t do with what my aims are may be a problem. Maybe it will be but, like I said, there is no point in setting out to fail.

Get to it: My goals for the next 30 days (starting tomorrow)

I feel like I should delay the setting of these. I have goals for the year. Yoga goals which give me a whole year to work towards them. Why do a 30 day challenge? It might not work. I have a lot on. I have probably said that twice now. I am talking to myself out loud whilst writing this. Get on with it missus….here they are:

  • Exercise every day for 30 days
    • Yoga 3 times a week (moderate to difficult classes)
    • HITT 3 times a weekWeights 1-2 times a week (I can do this on my HITT days)
    • Yin yoga 1 day a week (along with a walk) for the active rest day
  • Track my eating and stick within a calorie / macro budget
    • This is the only thing that has ever worked for me food wise
    • Maybe sticking a day or two of fast days in there (no pressure on this though)
  • Give up wine (yes WINE) for 30 days
    • Red wine particularly (I like a good Malbec) but pretty much any wine
    • I will have the odd beer though. As long as I track it.
    • I can’t believe I just wrote this. Everything else will feel relatively easy in comparison to losing the ‘oh so lovely glass of red’ after a long week.

Done. I feel motivated. I am starting this tomorrow. Honestly I won’t bang on about it for the next 30 days but I might write an update at the end. Hopefully this doesn’t end up as a bad idea.