Life Sparkles

Running, Again

Yes and once again, the mood attacked me to start running again. You may remember I shocked everyone who knew me, none more so than my parents and himself, that I completed Couch to 5K (C25K) in 2016 and also completed the 5K Race for Life for Cancer Research in a very respectable 38 minutes and then I didn’t run again. Until last year. As lockdown descended three of my cousins and myself started C25K, completed it and then continued to go running until around September when the weather really changed. We are fair-weather runners.

During the Winter I kept fit by going for walks and working out with Lucy Wyndham Read Great workouts, all abilities and various lengths of workouts. I really enjoy doing my Lucy’s. This year I decided once again to download the C25K app and get running. The thought of the longer runs filled me with dread. Positive thinking I thought, you’ve done this before, you can do it again. The positive thought was also the negative one, I was going to have to do the long runs again. I have to say though, I felt stronger and fitter this year working my way through the nine weeks and was just delighted with myself that I completed the training.

Like a complete beetroot when I get home after the thirty minutes, I ache and I feel great for getting out there and doing it. Like walking, your mind wanders, your thought process is clear, solutions to issues are mulled over and for me, thoughts on what I want to do and what I need to do to manifest my life and my dreams. Most times I was up and out in the morning for the training and now the runs. It’s quieter and I can feel a tad self conscious as I’m not fast at all, just steady. A few times I went out mid evening once the rush hour had passed. On a beautiful evening or an early morning, the sheer exhilaration that I’m out running, getting fitter and helping my body just feels so good.

I used the NHS C25K app and I’m now using the NHS C25K Stepping Stones podcast which is for graduates of the C25K training plan. You do need to build up week by week and not go straight to the longer runs or you do run the risk of hurting yourself. I’m hoping that I can keep the running up this time. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate getting out of the door to do it and love it when I’m in my stride and that feel good factor when in return.

In other news, I did the shopping…well there was a special offer at the supermarket and you know all those memes we see that say “I run because I love chocolate, pizza and wine”, yep, that’s me.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Let’s Start Again…Diet and Exercise

I have lost count of the times this year I have “started” to be healthy. Eat the right food, drink plenty of water, exercise. I start off so well with great intentions and then whoops…there goes that chocolate bar…oh dear, did I really just eat that cupcake…are those unattended biscuits I see on the plate?

Picture via Pinterest 

Being the main carer it is important that I keep myself healthy in order to look after my parents. However, being the main carer also means that generally I don’t sit down and eat meals, I tend to grab what I can and eat on the go either at home or when I get to the office in the afternoon’s, everything is rushed, or at least appears to be.

I love fruit and vegetables and I do eat a lot of them. I love fish and chips, Indian food and pizza and I do try to keep those delights for treat nights. I need to try harder.

I love walking, I re-started running a few weeks ago as strangely I really enjoyed it when I started running for the first time in January this year. It was a huge achievement for me to run 5k for Cancer Research in June. I am very surprised at how quickly I lost the fitness I had gained and I really want to re-gain it.

I have become more conscious of how what we eat affects our bodies and how exercise affects our hearts and brains. Everywhere you look there are articles about eating healthy, moving more, getting fresh air and protecting ourselves from the onset of diseases in later life.

Picture via Pinterest 

I have 14 pounds to lose, just one stone. My clothes are tight, I can’t get into some of my favourite dresses and as for my jeans…let’s not go there!! Although I’m not stressing about this I know I’ll feel better when the excess weight has gone. As I get older I notice the fat distribution area has changed, it is predominantly the tummy area which can be the worst area to carry fat, health wise.

So, once again, I’m starting to get healthy. Time to eat healthier, fresh, non-processed foods. To move more, to walk more, to build up the running, to dance even if it is just around my bedroom. To leave the chocolate, cupcakes and the fish and chips to treat days and to look after my body, my mind and my wellbeing. I want to be as fit and healthy as I can to care for my parents, they are depending on me. I want to be as fit and healthy as I can for me, for my later life and I’m thinking I need to start preparing now. I know there is no guarantee that I will be fit and healthy in my older years but at least I’ll have done what I can to try…if I can just stick to my healthy plan…bring on the willpower!!

Picture via Pinterest

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

Life Sparkles

Challenges, Choices, Changes.

Over the past two weeks I have had many thoughts about things I want to blog about but time was against me. I just couldn’t seem to get a few minutes to write anything down. My caring responsibilities were increased and out of thirteen nights, I have had eight that I didn’t get to lie down in bed to sleep. Events that I had planned both at home and outside of home were either cancelled or just did not turn out as planned, but such is life.

I’m a positive person, I can always pick myself up but I think lack of sleep affected me and I just could not get that sparkle ignited. Being in the house for three weeks with very little movement into the outside world did not help either. The last three weeks have proved to me that life is full of challenges, changes and choices. I already knew this of course but sometimes these things just hit you from nowhere and really make you think.

Caring for two elderly parents, working, studying, looking after the home and making time for me is full of challenges. I’m choosing to see these as opportunities. Opportunities for better care for my parents, opportunities to change my working life and follow some dreams. These opportunities will mean I have to make some choices and make some changes. I’m ready for that. It is scary. It is also exciting. 

Today I got my running shoes on and went for a small run. I have ran only once since I completed the Couch to 5k race six weeks ago. It felt good. I felt I had energy today, the first time in weeks. 

My Guitar arrived last week, it is beautiful. I have located a music school nearby who I will contact about lessons.

I have found through my caring role that it is very important for me to look after myself too and to do things that make me happy. This is a huge benefit to my parents as it means I am not totally stressed out all the time. A little selfish me time is important for everyone.

I have asked at work if I can work three days a week and they have agreed to a three month trial which starts this week. This will of course reduce my income but the balance of this is additional time with my parents, time to do things with them, for them and for me too!

Challenges, choices and changes…sometimes you just have to jump in.

Picture via Pinterest. 

Life Sparkles

Race for Life!

It has been a while since I found some time to update my blog.  Like everyone, life has its busy times; home, work, study, hobbies it has been a very busy period all in all.

Thankfully the studies are over for now.  The exam was pants (don’t ask), three more weeks until the results, I am expecting a re-sit on this one.  I take heart that the majority of people on the course also felt the same over the questions set. Fingers crossed I might just have done enough to get through.

Life continues very much the same on the home front, we have good days and not so good days.  We have great days and some terrible days but such is life and you just have to get on with it.  I can be very tired for days and other days full of energy. On the whole, things have been much easier of late, I’ve put this down to the long Summer days and the lovely bright days, even if we aren’t getting what you would call long, hot, Summer days…I still live in hope for some of those during July and August.

I am pleased to report that I completed the 9 week Couch to 5K podcast and I cannot express how pleased I am with myself that I can run for 30 minutes.  What an achievement when in February I couldn’t run for 30 seconds.  Yesterday I completed the 5K Race for Life for Cancer Research.  I am so proud of my medal.  It was a fabulous experience, 2284 women, all in various states of Pink either walking or running 5K.  A minute of silence was held before the race started and it was very emotional, I could feel tears in my eyes thinking about the reasons we were all there, raising money for such a worthwhile cause. Really, is there any family untouched by Cancer of some sort?

I intend to keep up the running, I do have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is an effort to get ready to go out after a day at work and it is an even bigger effort to start running whilst you are out there.  But you know, once you get going, you feel so good, the music plays from the iPod, the wind blows, the sun may shine, it may even rain on you but that feeling of wellbeing, freedom in the mind, exhaustion and yes a few aches, is unbeatable.  Sometimes you just need that half hour to escape the real world.

Here are a couple of pictures of me from the Race for Life yesterday.


Thank you for reading my Blog. I hope to be updating it on a much more regular basis from now on 🙂


Life Sparkles

Pick yourself up and keep going!

As you know, I started running this year. You also know how surprised everyone was that I did this. Me? Running? Totally unheard of. I loved it and hated it at the same time. Because I was following the “Couch to 5k” podcast I was regimented, eager for the walk/run day to arrive. Hating that it rained too heavy for me to venture out. Loving that feeling of achievement, freedom and rosy red cheeks because it was icy cold outside but I had gone out there and tried.

I complete each week of the programme twice to ensure I have the stamina to progress to the next week of walking/running. At Easter I felt so good about my progress, I signed up to take part in the Cancer Research UK “Race for Life”, the 5k race. I was about to start week 5 of “Couch to 5k” which would start me training to run for twenty minutes and then…then I fell over in the city whilst walking to work. Crash. Straight down on my knees. I almost passed out with the pain. Three lovely gentlemen came to my aid and helped me up and made sure I was ok. 

As I struggled to the office, I was shook up, embarrassed, sore and feeling sorry for myself. I thought I was going to cry so I rang himself who once he knew I was ok, made me laugh. Then it hit me, I couldn’t continue on my walk/run until these knees healed.

That was a month ago, I have finally made it out for one walk/run where my knees held up to the session without adverse reactions. I plan to go again today. My fitness level has dropped, to be expected I suppose but I am determined to complete the programme and complete the race. 

I noticed that whilst I was regularly on my walk/run, I lost the craving for sweet things, I was feeling better in myself in many ways, health wise, less anxiety, able to cope better and I ate healthier. However, the past month I feel I have eaten my body weight in chocolate and biscuits!!

Currently there are 64 days to my race, 41 days to my module exam and 8 days to submit an assignment. Alongside work, home and parent care. Life is never boring and as the song says “The heat is on”.

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

Pictures via Pinterest.

Life Sparkles

Running? Me?!! Yes I do…

No-one is more surprised than I am that I have started to run. Seriously, even as I write this I cannot believe I’m writing about running! For a while, on and off, I’ve been trying to think of, investigate, decide to take part in, an exercise that will make me feel good, benefit my health and body and not cost a fortune. Running has crossed my mind and was immediately dismissed. Apart from running for the train or bus, I don’t run. I hated sports at school which involved running and I have kept my distance from all running activities since. 

I love walking, I really enjoy getting out in the fresh air, walking up hill and down dell, (down dell is preferable, always huffing and puffing uphill). Even a walk around the block seems to clear my mind and put things into perspective. I love my weekly Zumba class. It took some time but now I can hop and jump about to the moves quite well. 

Due to home circumstances I haven’t done much Country Walking for well over a year. That middle age spread appeared to be just not shifting and those of you who read my blog know that even though I’m fruity smoothie breakfast girl for the past six weeks, I find it very difficult to stay away from the biscuits and chocolates.  The fruit smoothies have already made me feel less sluggish, I have more energy in the morning and I actually look forward to getting up and making them.

Running has kept flirting with my thoughts…it was on emails, tweets and even suggested pages on my FB newsfeed. One email I received had a link to the NHS “Couch to 5k” app and website. The app aims to get you off the couch and running 5k in 9 weeks. I kept going back to it and then I took the plunge, I downloaded it to my iPod and went out and had a go.

You start with a 5 minute brisk walk followed by 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking and so it continues for 20 minutes ending with a warm down 5 minute walk. The first 60 second run was awful…I struggled, I panted, I wondered what the hell I was doing…I managed 30 seconds of it…but I kept going. Same happened with the second and third bouts of 60 seconds running but by the fourth time, I did it!! And the fifth, sixth to the end. I ran for five minutes! Not only had I achieved that, I enjoyed it!!!

My muscles ached where I’d never ached before but I found myself looking forward to the next session. (You have a rest day inbetween). The third time out I managed to run the whole 8 minutes. I have now completed the 8 minute run three times and will do the last day of week one again tomorrow before I move on to week two and slightly increased running time. It might take me longer than 9 weeks but I am determined to get there.

I am slow, I get out of breath and sometimes I wonder if the passengers in the passing cars feel sorry for me. However, one quote runs through my mind…

Picture via Pinterest 

And this quote keeps me going. I have such a sense of achievement, I’m enjoying it, I feel good and breathlessness is decreasing. I shall take it slow but I will get there.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎