Day 2 Tenerife

Day 2 was a day full of Fs and some exercise and sunbathing and nap…

– Food (eggs three ways for breakfast, and the rest… lunch and ice cream, then steak and apple strudel for dinner… )

– Fun in the pool and at the show in the theatre.

– Family – all day and into the evening. 😎☀️👍🏻

And I even got a wee nap, 30 lengths, a 45 min Strength workout and an episode of Chernobyl on the iPhone / Sky go app. 👍🏻

I’m loving the ice cream (and the food in general) here, no surprise there then…

The weather is about 24’C with a bit of a warm wind… sunnier day one, with a bit more cloud today, but still good

We had a nice dinner out tonight and this pic was snapped…

It’s nice to be away with family – I’m enjoying being away with them and having a good time. I nearly got thrown in the pool fully dressed tonight by my lovely brother, but luckily he didn’t.

Waterpark tomorrow. 👍🏻

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Everything’s not so awesome again

You might not know this about me, or maybe you might… but around seven years ago, I went through a bit of a tough time… the end of February 2012…

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I probably went through a bit of a hypomanic or manic phase. I was full of life and enthusiasm, thought I was full of good ideas, probably over training, over thinking too much and not sleeping much.

I’m usually a positive and optimistic person, and maybe this feeds into it a little, believe the best in people, in life and the world. And maybe this happens with lots of people, they struggle with life, but don’t let it show. But that’s where I was at, and it took a lot for me to learn how to get over it.

Here’s what it is – ‘Hypomania and mania are periods of over-active and excited behaviour that have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.’ – see more here:

I felt amazing for a while, but then after not very long, I burned out and crashed. Then followed weeks and months of recovery. I had to learn the basics again, and I had to lean on those around me.

– – – See the link at the bottom of the page to see what it was like for me. – – –

Then I worked to learn what the triggers might have been and how to get a real balance in life… between stress and relaxation, training and rest, work and play. I battled with insomnia, and when I didn’t sleep it tended to make things worse.

Looking back on my life, it probably happened in 1999 when I was blown away in New York and my colleagues noticed a rather eccentric side to me then. Ups and downs… the make up of life. Talking helped, and over time I got better insight into how to get a balance and get better.

Recently life has been a bit unsettled. I’ve been between jobs and trying to find my place, and continue my career. I’ve applied for a few jobs in the last couple of months, all in the BBC, and I havent secured one yet. There’s still hope yet, but the whole thing took its toll on me.

It’s just one part of my life, and maybe it shouldn’t be so big, but to move from one role where I loved it so much, to not knowing what would happen. It all took over and I struggled to let it go when it was all so important to me. I was trying really hard, and trying to get a balance… and not let it all get to me.

Then I noticed a few weeks ago that the symptoms were back, overthinking, not sleeping, talking too much, to too many people. Then at a low point, about two weeks ago, I felt totally and utterly helpless, out of control and I wanted the world to swallow me up. I wanted to disappear or run away. But I didn’t.

I leant on others close to me, and I knew it was time for me to reach out for some counselling through my work. It should help me talk things through and get my head straight for the challenges that might lie ahead at work – get me in the right place to succeed.

I took time out with friends and remembered what was important. I rested, took time out and when I’d lost motivation to train in the last week or so, I didn’t force it, or feel guilty, I just took a break from it and tried not to be glum about it. It’s not the end of the world.

And now I look forward to some more holidays where I can totally switch off from it all and just live and have fun with family. And in June I’ll refocus on training, rest, fun and work.

Anyway, it’s mental health awareness week next week, and my first counselling session too. A lot of people know about depression and the black dog, but maybe people don’t tend to know about the invisible struggle some people have when mania takes over, and then the crash that can cripple as the burn out happens.

I’ve managed to get back on track with, plenty rest, time out and fun, and with a strong support network to help me through.

Exercise as usual has helped to make me feel good, but I’m now always conscious not to overdo it. Hence why I always place a strong importance on rest. Fun with friends, plenty of sleep and looking after myself.

I thought I’d share my story with you – ‘Everything is Awesome?’

It’s a bit of a long read, but hopefully and informative and positive / inspiring one. If you want to know more about it, click the top link in this blog.

Everything is awesome. I just need to open my eyes, relax, let the magic happen, and take it all in. Life is good.

It’s ok not to be ok, but I prefer to be ok.

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Wk18 into Wk19 & 20

Two weeks ago (Wc 29 April) I didn’t get into the Garagym to do any strength sessions but I did run 23.5 miles over 4 runs I was away at the end of the week, so had some travel time and Thursday to Sunday away from home.

Running in Inverness was nice… nice and scenic and even the hills didn’t put me off. I didn’t mean to do 10k on Sunday, but was enjoying it and it ended up being 10k on Sunday, a run that was almost exactly the same as the day before (30 secs faster).

Running in random and unexpected hailstorms was fun, as was finding new trails and breathing in the fresh Highland air.

Here’s what I did… (and I have to admit that I missed the gym):

Mon: 4.3M
Tue: 5M Run = 70M for April
Wed: Rest
Thu: Travel / Inverness / Rest
Fri: Rest / 3M Walk
Sat: 10k Run
Sun: 10k Run / Travel

And with a busy and challenging time at work, last week I took the foot off the gas a bit with my training. Sometimes this happens when you just need to focus on other bits of your life. And it so happened work took over a bit, and I felt like I needed a wee break from training.

This was all ahead of some time off that ok getting, so I’ll get my training back up and running during my time off. Here’s what I did / am doing this last week:

Wk19 – wc 6 May
Mon: Rest
Tue: 4M coaching
Wed: Quick Strength / movement
Thu: Rest & lie in
Fri: Run wi DMc
Sat: Rest / Run wi Fit Girl
Sun: Squat Strength 5

Sleep hasn’t been ideal, waking at 2 a couple of mornings but if I’m lying for more than 30 mins I get up and do something to take my mind off it. No point in getting annoyed.

My nutrition has been ok, but not quite as focused since I’ve not been training as much, but to be honest I need the headspace for other things and the odd bit of chocolate has been good.

I’m not depriving myself of chocolate, rather trying to eat certain things with more protein which has been keeping me fuller for longer and also somehow making me not crave chocolate / mars bars as much. That being said I enjoyed the easter egg or two, and probably burned them of running.

I’m eating what I want including this breakfast, and I’ll see what the outcome of that and less training is soon.

Now I go into some weeks of holidays, so I instead of having a weekly plan I’ll try to alternate running with strength training, and aim for 75 miles running in May. All ahead of the 10k I’m doing at the start of June.

Wk20 – wc 13 May
Mon: 4M Run
Tue: Full Body Strength
Wed: off / rest
Thu: 6M incl 4M tempo
Fri: Full body strength
Sat: off travel away
Sun: 5M Run

Life is all about getting a balance – for me that’s between work, training, sleep, eating, socialising / family time, spending time with the mrs. I’m looking forward to a wee break from work so I’ll be able to spend more time on what is maybe the more important things in life – mostly people and making memories.

I had a really nice time with my friends (and their babies) last weekend and whilst I know I need to sort some things out at work, I know that it’s really important to keep talking with friends and keep those ties active outside of work too.

I reconnected with a few people from my childhood who I haven’t seen for a while and it was so nice to catch up and be and for me to hopefully help male a difference for them too. I’ll maybe make some plans to go visiting some close friends in the next few months, remember what’s really important.

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10 years aff it

Last weekend marked 10 years since I stopped drinking alcohol. As a very all or nothing person, I realised in 2009 after my best friends 30th birthday that is over indulged too much again, and made a conscious decision then to give it up for good.

I did it partially for health reasons (if I got drunk on a night, I’d find it hard to get up early to run or train), partially as I didn’t seem to know when to stop – and I didn’t like the person that ‘drunk Lorn’ was, and partially as I knew it wasn’t good for me.

I used to drink more or less every Friday and Saturday night. More out of habit than anything else. Moderately most of the time, but then every 6 weeks or so I’d go on an all day binge session – and that’s what many seemed to do.

Then I’d either get myself into sticky situations, make a fool of myself or offend someone with my drunk chat, or ended up sick / hungover for days. It wasn’t big and it wasn’t clever. The final straw came when I was so sick the day after my friends 30th – I was sick 8 times (and maybe had alcohol poisoning?), and felt sick for a few days after it. Enough was enough. I was done with it.

Now the benefits I’ve got from removing alcohol from my life seem endless. At the start it was a bit of a struggle, changing my habits and getting across to people that I don’t drink, but now everyone seems to accept it as a part of me. A part of the fit and healthy Lorn.

Now after I made not drinking a habit, for the last 9-10 years of my life, not drinking has become a part of me. And I’ve become sort of stubborn to not go back on it. I’ve resisted peer pressure, and people saying ‘just the one?!’ as I know I don’t want it to be a part of my life.

I saw how it became a destructive part of other people’s lives and I don’t need that type of self inflicted challenge in my life.

In my experience, benefits of not drinking alcohol include:
1. Waking up fresh after a night out.
2. Able to stay on track with my training and fitness.
3. More money to spend on holidays, trainers and other things.
4. Able to maintain my weight better without empty alcohol calories and the extra calories eaten on hangovers.
5. Better health overall – I’m never punishing my body with giving it alcohol to process and my body is much healthier because of it.
6. Able to connect better with people, either those who are drinking or not. When you’re sober it’s easier to listen and chat and engage with others (and remember what was said!)
7. Able to be there for friends (looking out for them when they drink, or driving them home on occasion).
8. Able to remember nights out and what happened.
9. Improved sleep (although this is still a bit of a challenge for me and my overactive brain)
10. Apparently it makes you look and feel younger and healthier too / better skin etc (than if I’d kept drinking the way I was).
11. Watching others get drunk / be hungover and repeatedly being relieved that it’s not me.

The main reason I don’t drink is that it doesn’t sit well with me trying to be as healthy as I can… but the fact that I don’t spend money on it (or the hangovers) is a great benefit for me, as is the knowledge that I won’t be tempted to overdo it and end up being in a bad place with it.

I also celebrated my friends 40th birthday this weekend, and there probably was less drinking there than there used to be. I didn’t want to make a fuss of not drinking and it being my 10th anniversary, as what was more important was celebrating her birthday. But it felt like quite a big deal to me, even though not drinking is just normal for me, and part of who I am.

I wasn’t ever an alcoholic, but realised that drinking alcohol wasn’t good for me. I was also conscious that my Mum and her generation of our family all seemed to struggle with it.

I can honestly say that giving it up was the best thing I ever did. But I wouldn’t ever think or say that others should give it up, unless they want to and they think they could get some or all of the benefits from not drinking.

So if you want to lose weight or find it easier to maintain weight, or you want to save money or feel better / healthier, you could maybe try to come off of for either a bit (a month or three or a year) or forever… but you don’t have to. And maybe you’re better at keeping your intake low (unlike I seemed to be!)

Here’s some tips / information on how to give up, should you wish to:

Giving up alcohol really has changed my life for the better, and I can honestly say that drinking alcohol isn’t something I’m going to ever do again.

All or nothing, and for this one, I choose nothing – and I feel a lot better for it. Cheers!

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Wk17 into Wk18 & results

It feels a bit like everything with my training is just ticking along nicely and I’m getting a good balance between training, fuelling, rest and fun.

I’m being motivated with my running by running with others, and whilst I’m maybe not doing as much running as I have done in previous Aprils, I’m focusing more on Strength training and getting a good balance between training, rest and work.

I’m working 11-7 most days at work, so it means that I’m easily able to get a session or run in before work. I haven’t been sleeping too well, due to some changes at work… but that should all calm down by next week hopefully. And I’m looking forward to some time out next weekend with friends, before some holidays in May, so that should all be fine.

My lunchtime runs will be on the back burner for a bit because of the shifts, but I’ll be able to run first thing on Tuesdays instead.

Here’s what I did last week:

Wk17 – wc 22 Apr
Mon: 45 min easy run wi DMc
Tue: Squat Strength 3
Wed: Rest / 1hr Walk
Thu: Deadlift Strength 4
Fri: 4.3M wi Twinnie
Sat: 4.5M wi FG
Sun: Clean n Press Strength 4 + 5M Run wi DMc

I’ve been helping a friend from work by going out running with her. She has good chat and we enjoy the runs together. She benefits from my amazing chat (ha!) and some routes I tale her on…and I benefit from having some company and chat to run with.

She’s going to do a 10k in May, so has been building up to that. We ran on Monday together and I’ll run with her on Sunday to see if I can help her push her pace a bit, maybe over 3 miles out of 5 miles, or 4 miles out of 6.2. We’ll see what she’s up for. She’s come on a lot with her fitness and running since the start of the year and I like her determination and competitiveness she has with herself.

Next week, my plan is below, with a trip to Inverness for my best friends 40th birthday…

Wk18 – wc 29 Apr

Mon: Squat Strength 4 + 3.5M
Tue: 7M Run = 70M for April
Wed: Deadlift Strength 5
Thu: Travel / Inverness / Rest
Fri: 10k TT Run
Sat: 4M easy Run / Travel
Sun: Clean n Press Strength 5

Friday is a bit of an anniversary for me too… as it was my friend’s 30th birthday when I drank so much, and ended up so sick the next day, that it was then that I decided to give up booze for ever (and now I’m just being stubborn about it, and not drinking – although I do believe it’s the right choice for me). I’m looking forward to seeing her and her family anyway and having a nice bit of time out (and I’ll get some running in Inverness I’m too).

She now has two young twin boys, a very nice supportive group of friends and family (and Holly the cat), so it’ll be nice to visit her and celebrate her turning 40. I have a nice surprise for her too… so I’m looking forward to seeing her face when she opens it.

Back to running I’ve been a little surprised at how few miles I’ve got in this month, by Sunday it’ll be about 60 miles… but it’s because a. I’m not training for a marathon like I usually am at this time of the year and b. Because I took a bit of time out / rest over Easter.

I looked back at previous Aprils and I’ve run anything from 80-150 miles in April.

But this month I should still get to 70 miles for the month (if I get my finger out), the same as January this year.

Now heres my results for the end of a month of doing the following:

1. Regular strength sessions 2-3 a week

2. Keeping running ticking along 60 miles in 4 weeks in April (plus walking)

3. Eating more protein (about 1/3) and not being greedy / eating everything in sight – focussing on eating for fuel instead.

Now here’s the results after 4 weeks:

2 April: 139.6lbs / 18%
25.2lbs body fat / 114.4lbs other
109.5lbs lbm / 78.4% lbm
76cm / 101cm / 46% wth

27 April: 137.1lbs / 16.5%
22.6lbs body fat / 114.5lbs other
109.6lbs lbm / 79.9% lbm
72cm / 99cm / 43% wthr

In 4 weeks I’m down 2.5lbs (2.6lbs body fat)… down 4cm on my waist and 2cm on my hips. The focus on strength training is clearly working, and perhaps the change to eating more protein too. It’s been easy and not restrictive so all good.

I could have run more and could have been more active last week, but I chose to rest and enjoy some time out for Easter instead. (And I only had one Easter egg!) – a bit of ‘everything in moderation’ and some common sense happening this month.

In April I managed to squeeze in a few big meals (pizza / burger / ice cream). So I’m pleased with how it’s all going. It all feels like a good balance, not too restrictive, maintainable and getting the results I’m after.

The only thing is now, I’m likely to go in holiday mid May and eat ice cream and take some more time out, so it’s likely the results won’t last. But we’ll see. I’m keen to keep going as I have been, not put pressure on myself, enjoy my training (and my food and holidays)… so we’ll take it as it comes.

These next weeks I’ll sort myself out with my work, keep the training and food on track as I have been and take some time out again to spend time with nice friends and family.

I’m also keen to get back to writing more on here, as I’ve been a little preoccupied with other things. It’ll come soon – I’m looking forward to what the next six months or so brings. Fun, friends, family and focus for May. 🙂

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Another mystery rainbow gift

So you might remember that last month some lovely (anonymous) person sent me this mug through the post as a present. I’ve no idea who it was from but it fair warmed my heart to receive such a nice thoughtful gift.

I really wanted to know who it was from, but didn’t ever find out. But whoever it was, I’m very grateful. 🙂

Then today… a wee surprise came in the post at my work. No name of who it’s from again… maybe someone different… or maybe the same person…

… but someone who knows I like rainbows and knows I’m going through a wee bit of a challenging time right now…(and knows my work zone / address).

Who sent it? Was it you? If so, please email me and let me know. I’d love to know who it’s from. 🙂

Or maybe it’s nice left anonymous. 🙂

Have a good weekend everyone. Maybe we’ll see some rainbows (or some storms).

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Garmin recommendations

Someone at work knows I have a Garmin… they probably know I’ve had quite a few… she was asking me my thoughts on what Garmin would be good for her… we didn’t get into it in too much detail, but here’s my recommendations.

Here you go Laura… 🙂 here’s the info I think you’re after…

Given I’ve had about 6 Garmin forerunners and a few activity / sleep trackers… I like to think I know about Garmins… and I’ve upgraded quite a few times since my first one in 2008. They tend to hold their value well, so it’s easy to sell an older one and upgrade to a new one.

If you’re not sure on which one to buy, I’d always recommend searching ‘DC rainmaker in depth review’ and the name of the Garmin for a full run down of the watch you’re looking at.

The good thing I like about Garmins for running and activities is the Garmin Connect app… along with the loads of data they generate and functions they have (workouts, heart rate, performance and coaching indicators). You download it from the App Store, then you can connect friends an track your activities and more.

Since 2008 I’ve had the following Garmins:

Forerunner 410 – black
Forerunner 610 – black
Forerunner 620 – white & orange
Forerunner 920xt – red & white
Forerunner 925xt – light blue
Forerunner 645 music – cerise
(Plus the Vivosmart 3 and 4)

Here’s what the numbers on the Garmin forerunners mean…

The lower the number, the more basic the forerunner / running watch it is. For example, 30 is the entry level model, then it goes up to the 900 series.

Where there’s a 0 on the end of means if you want heart rate, you need a strap with it.

Where there’s a 5 on the end, that means there’s wrist based heart rate monitoring on it (and you can use it with a strap if you want / and you can get more detailed metrics with a HRM strap).

Xt means cross training – or more specifically those forerunners are more focussed for triathletes, with longer battery life and more exercise functions.

Now here’s my recommendations for a Garmin for an everyday runner…

The Garmin forerunner 35 … a good solid GPS with wrist based heart rate monitor. At just over £100 it’s a great deal and a good looking, small, every day watch which is easy to use.

It comes in 4 colours (the strap), you can sync it to your phone for notifications. I don’t think it stores music like the 645 music and vivoactive 3 music do… but you can apparently control your music from it.

Then the next step up I’d recommend if you want a bit more out of your running watch is the Forerunner 235… the black one is about £159 and this blue one is about £166…

A wrist based heart rate monitor again (with notifications / music prompt and sync to Garmin connect), and this one has more detailed metrics including vo2 max estimate (an estimate of how well you use oxygen), coaching and workouts.

The screens can be customised in this one, and it can do audio prompts too. And you can select different front screens via the Garmin connect IQ functions.

Then here’s the running watch I’ve got… the forerunner 645 music. The 6 series does all the things that the 2 series does but it has more advanced running metrics (when paired with a HRM Run strap, like in the image at the top of this page).

It estimates lactate threshold and has performance indicators to show if it thinks you’re maintaining fitness, being unproductive, peaking or in recovery.

It stores music, and provides audio prompts – connecting via Bluetooth to headphones (like my aftershokz bone conduction headphones, or air pods) it gives you real time feedback and you can choose the language it speaks at you in. (I found the English one a bit posh, and the American one a bit cheesy, so I have an Australian lady prompting me… will we call her Charlene?)

It’s set up as more than just a running watch, with other activities, I use Strength and bike too.

I got the cerise one, and think I got £20 off it as a deal online… it is a bit steep, but I sold my 935xt for about £220 odds, and the upgrade was worth it. It’s light as a feather and gives me everything I need and more. If you want a top of the range running watch with music and you have the cash to spend, this is it.

(There’s also the Fenix for longer battery life / and the vivoactive as another music running watch).

Amazon or wiggle or start fitness are good places to look for good prices, but a google search should get you the best price for whatever watch you choose. Or if you’re going to a big city in the US you might get a good deal there or via duty free…

Remember to go with a known online shop though, and if the price is too good, it probably is. Some are shipped from Hong Kong and might not be quite right… so don’t go there.

One thing you could do is look for vouchers for 10-20% off or sign up to a newsletter for £10 off then unsubscribe. And remember to check DC rainmaker’s reviews before you buy.

In summary…

If you want a good simple GPS running watch, and don’t want to spend too much, go for the Garmin forerunner 35. (£107).

If you want a bit more of an advanced GPS running watch, go for the Garmin forerunner 235. (£159-166).

And if you want an advanced GPS running watch with everything you’ll ever need (and money is no object, go for the forerunner 645 music (£350 ish) with HRM run strap (£50-£60 or you might be able to get a ‘bundle’), and get a pair of aftershokz bone conduction headphones too. (About £90-100).

If you do more than just run, and money is no object, try the 935xt (triathlons) or the fenix (long battery life). Or if you want a nice simple Garmin with music, try the Vivoactive 3 music… or the vivoactive 3 for a more snazzy looking watch.

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