Run, Astrid, Run
Oh, hello, stranger
I’d like to pretend that I’ve been so godawfully busy that I haven’t had a chance to get near a computer, hence no blog updates.
The truth? I got lazy. Sorry about that. I’m terrible at this consistent blogging thing.
So what HAVE I been up to?
This is THE big thing in my life right now. Next week, in fact, I am running my first ever 5k race (want to sponsor me?) I wouldn’t say I’ve taken to it like a duck to water – it is a serious struggle for me, having spent the majority of my life so far sitting down. But after Christmas, when I weighed in at no less than 13 stone, I knew something had to change.
I started running. OK, I started jogging, got out of breath after about a minute, walked, jogged, walked, then shuffled home. Next time, it was better, and it’s slowly getting better and better. It has been HARD, but RunKeeper is incredibly helpful in tracking my progress (and reminding me that I AM making progress).
Oh, and what else? FITOCRACY. Omfg. I discovered this social network entirely by chance – someone I follow on Twitter made one aside comment about it, I had a look, and the rest is history. Now I’m a premium member* – and I NEVER buy premium membership. For anything.
Fitocracy combines my favourite thing (gaining points for doing something, questing and levelling up) with one of my least favourite things (sweating). You can log everything: it links to RunKeeper, so I can automatically log my runs, walks and cycle rides for points. But arguably even better: it has an exhaustive list of weight-lifts and bodyweight exercises, most of which I have never even heard of (Fire Hydrants? Lizard Push Ups? Pendlay Rows? LOLwut?), meaning you can accurately track your progress in non-cardio exercises (and trust me, my lifts have come along in LEAPS and BOUNDS. I can deadlift half my bodyweight!) Oh, and those weirdly named exercises: trust me, curiosity will get the better of you, and you will rapidly expand your repertoire.
But most importantly: the community is massively supportive. Every time you log a workout, post an update, reach a milestone, complete a quest, there are troops of fellow Fitocrats giving you “props” (like a Facebook “like”) and commenting with “excellent! Keep it up!” and the like. They are SUCH a boost.
So now I run 3 miles about 3 times a week, as well as lifting weights, and, thanks to my new birthday present from Ben, the odd cycle ride (we managed 25 miles to the coast and back last week).
Which leads us nicely into…
2. Getting to know my local area
Particular in and around my town. Running and cycling has forced me to find new routes around town (well, mainly Ben finds the routes, and I follow and admire the scenery). Especially in the summer, with the yellow fields of rapeseed and gorse, deer and bunnies all over the bleedin’ place, and of course, beer festivals in tiny villages -
3. Improving my local area
Yesterday, I did something that I haven’t done since I was about 9. I went on a litter pick. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time – I hate it when I go for a walk and I see rubbish lying by the side of the pavement. Yesterday, I finally thought “sod it”, grabbed a handful of carrier bags, my grabber, and went for a walk. I had planned on going out for about an hour, walk maybe a couple of hours around town, but I was cut short – after only 35 minutes of walking, I ran out of bags. Seriously. Such a shame that my sleepy little town in rural Suffolk boasts quite so much discarded waste. But still – improving by small but important degrees.
It was my birthday. No, I didn’t really do anything special. I don’t really make a big thing about birthdays any more (sad, I know). I even got up at 7:30 and went for a run. But I had the day off work – Ben and I had a fry up in Lowestoft, bought cake on the way home, relaxed, and went for a cycle ride.
Other cool things: my dad and my uncle both gave me Amazon money for Kindle books (eeee), Beth gave me money for Fitocracy premium membership (see the *), Ben bought me a mountain bike, and my work buddy Claire (who I taught to knit) knitted me a wicked hat, got me a mug with “Asty Pants” made, and made me some “Amaze-balls” (they had to be called this. There was no other option).
Thank you to everyone who wished me well, sent cards, all that stuff
5. Big Bang Theory
Yes, I know I’m late to the party, but it really is a rather enjoyable show. Yes, like the rest of you, I love Sheldon. But you know what? I think I like Leonard more. Even when Sheldon comes out with lines like this:
“My mind is going into it PRE-BLOWN. And once a mind has been blown, it cannot be RE-BLOWN.”
Anyway, that’s it for now. Do prepare yourself for future posts about exercise. Sorry, in advance.
*Thanks to Beth, who sent me a birthday card, with cash, and a note saying “take this and use it to buy Fitocracy premium membership…and some chocolate. Or, like, fruit.” <3 Beth