A week of exercise, dead rats and lost keys

Mon 22 – Sun 28 April 2019

The 4th week of my 18 week sabbatical and I really feel like I am getting used to not being at work now. It no longer feels like I am just on leave, rather that I am doing something totally different to normal. And there is no jetting off to exotic places, rather a lovely rhythm has come with a new everyday life focused on doing the things I enjoy especially exercise. 🙂

Dead rats

I am not a superstitious person at all. To me coincidences are exactly that and the reason they stick in our minds is because they are so unexpected. But I did have the strange experience of seeing a dead rat on two separate occasions last week (one carried by a black cat!). Plus on my jog-run route there was a pigeon literally torn apart. Is the universe trying to tell me something? LOL 🙂

Lost keys

A set of keys not too dissimilar to those I thought I had lost. From pixabay.com

The other bit of real drama last week was me losing my keys on Sunday morning. Lost them on the way to the gym. Real panic and sense of loss not because of the security risk (how would anyone know where I live?) but more the hassle of getting replacements. Dave traced some of my steps and found nothing.

Homer does doh

But after the gym I thought I would just check again with the coffee shop I had popped into on the way. That really was the only place they could have come out of my pocket. I had checked there before and they said nothing had been handed in. But I phoned them again and they had them! Someone must have handed them in. I would say ‘that will teach me’ but I’m not 100% sure what it could teach me.

Health and Efficiency

Exercise and weight loss

Weight scales

So I think the main thing about last week was that I finally started to do all the exercise I had planned to when I started my sabbatical. And I am feeling better for it plus I am beginning slowly on a trend of losing weight, hovering just under 14 stone. Can I be down to 13 stone by the time I return to work in August? That really is a BAG: Big Audacious Goal.

One of the main things I am learning is the ability to re-profile when I need to feed myself. I have never been a big breakfast fan. Rather I prefer to get up, do something and then eat. So I find I can often skip breakfast or merge it into lunch. I know all that stuff about breakfast is the most important meal of the day, etc but I enjoy eating at night and not so much in the morning when I am already full of energy.

Jog-run

a form of exercise

A change to the usual procedure in that my weekend jog-run was ruled out due to the London Marathon. Basically the route I normally run is completely messed up by this. So I did something completely out of character and went for a midweek run. Last Wednesday – up at 5.30 am for a very early coffee then out to run before everywhere got too busy (I still feel too self-conscious if too many people can see me running). Though surprising amount of people out around Green Park even at 6.30 am.

Not a bad time – just under 1 hour & 6 mins. An improvement of about 45 seconds on the week before and all kilometre stretches under 7 mins though only just for some. Proof that it is good to do things out of the ordinary. Now perhaps one day I could go running in the middle of the day around a new course – Hyde Park / Kensington Garden? It would be busy with people which will challenge my self-consciousness when I exercise.

Gym

range of dumbells

I am making the most of my gym now it is back in action though I feel sad it is a bit smaller after the redevelopment. 🙁 Indeed, I have fallen into my old routine so easily of getting up early and going to the gym with coffee on the way to ‘warm me up’. Gym four times last week: Mon, Thurs, Sat, Sun.

I always try to do 100 calories on the step machine and then work on various parts of my body depending on what I feel needs working. It is great to have the gym back and lovely to relax in the jacuzzi / spa pool afterwards (if it is not being cleaned).

Yoga

woman doing tree pose

Tuesday morning it was over to east London (where I saw the cat with a rat) for my 1:1 yoga session with Nacho – details on his business can be found here. It is a good workout and I am getting a bit better at some stretches. But I’m still old and male with almost stereotypical problems like very tight hamstrings.

One thing I have realised is that I enjoy the breathing side of exercising and feel that is a key way to get more control of your body.

Pilates

People on pilates Reformer machines. From pxhere.com

So as promised last week, I booked into do another pilates session based on the introductory course I completed. But I am trying a different place and this one does all the exercises on the specially designed pilates Reformer machine rather than freestanding as with the intro class.

There’s advantage to both and it was good to be able to isolate and work on specific parts of the body as pilates intended. Class was Friday afternoon and I have a second beginner’s class on Monday. I actually think I may need to do more than 2 beginner classes to feel totally OK with the machine and ready to do a full exercise class.

Books and Reading

‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr

My reading book last week. One of those books I have had lying about and been meaning to read for ages. Widely applauded and justifiably so. It really is an epic covering WW2 – sort of similar to ‘The English Patient’ or ‘Band of Brothers’. This is the story of a blind French girl and a genius German soldier. It all reaches a crescendo when they meet. But this is no happy story that leaves us on a high – it’s more complex than that.

There is a mystical element that is veined through the book though that doesn’t really come to anything in the end. All a bit of a modern fairy tale and deeply unrealistic in parts (though also bleakly true in other bits). But still a wonderful soaring experience that, for me, is the reason for making time to read and stick with a book. Highly recommended.

Velvet Page book club

Velvet page

It is my LGBT book club next Thurs at Waterstones in Piccadilly and I intend to go. Thus I am reading the book for that night which ‘Drapetomania’ by John R Gordon. It’s long, wordy and quite ‘epic’. But it is also very good and a horrible but necessary reminder on how awful slavery was (and still is). Brilliant that we have the author coming. 🙂

Personal Development

After the previous blog lamenting lost opportunities around pushing my PD goals, I think last week was slightly better but also ameliorated by the corresponding gains around getting more grip on my physical improvement. The latter is very important as one gets older and you feel control of your body slipping away.

Some progress on languages. I especially like using the Drops app targeting Spanish vocabulary in particular. Though still use the DuoLingo app as well to practice other languages. And I’ve still been watching the YouTube film on Node.js which really is making little sense. 🙁 However, also doing exercises on Free Code Camp learning more about what can be done with CSS i.e. animation.

The Week Ahead

  • Up to my mother-in-law’s for her birthday. OK but quiet where she lives.
  • Velvet Page on Thurs to discuss ‘Drapetomania’
  • Start (and finish?) a new reading book
  • Planning to do a jog-run on Thurs morning if the weather is OK
  • No yoga this week but another pilates session and a massage pencilled in
  • 2 or 3 gym sessions but will be pushed up into the end of the week / next weekend
  • Push on with my daily dose of languages learning and coding practice as well as keeping the emails under control

And Finally…

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