rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
The ongoing return to work
Two more 4-day weeks at work have gone quite well - this is the Tue+Thu afternoons off model.  I have got quite a lot done, some of it urgent and important, without getting especially stressed.  I'm not as fast or as good as I'm "used" to being [as in, pre-cancer], but I'm being good enough, I think.   I have another two 4-day weeks booked, next week with Friday off, and the following week with Monday off.  This will let me find out which pattern is easier. 

I expect I will book another run of 4-day weeks after that though.  I'm still spending large chunks of my weekend days in bed, and rather more of my weekday evenings falling asleep early or sleepily hitting refresh on things without getting either OU study or Duolingo done, or even much reading.  I am really fed up of slow-motion OU essay crises, but I'm in the middle of another one, basically because I was too tired to study for too much of the last fortnight month.  Also, I use the app Regularly to track various self-care and housework tasks (which all need doing at some point - we're not talking make-work here) and I'm in the red on an awful lot there. 

So I'm regarding that as great honking warning signs that I'm running too close to my limits.  I plan to keep on doing 4-day weeks until I get my study hours back where they should be, and my Regularly dashboard back to mostly yellow and green.  I have enough leave left, together with things already booked, to do this until September, so I may as well take advantage.


Physical fitness
I had my second session of beginner's T'ai Chi today, and I'm really enjoying it.  It feels very gentle but focused; I've learned I can do it in a comfortable tunic and leggings, which is what I wear a lot of the time at the moment, and it's gentle enough I don't need to change.

I'm managing the cycling to work via nursery, and walking home via school okay at the moment.  I still get out of breath but no longer as boiling hot; I think I'm gradually getting faster, and it's becoming more routine.  On Monday I cycled to the hospital and back from work for an appointment, and on Wednesday from nursery to Hills Road and back on top of everything else, and wasn't completely flattened as a result.  Even so, like work, I think I'm doing enough right now, and shouldn't look to add anything else until study/Regularly tasks are under control.


Medical
Monday's test was a bone marrow sample.  It was moderately painful and I needed longer to recover before I felt able to go back to work than I would have predicted.  On the good side, they told me they got a good sample without apparently having to work too hard for it, unlike certain of the previous samples I've had taken.  I see the consultant on 10th May (it got moved back, I think because my test was later than originally planned) and as far as I know I won't hear anything before then.  All the external evidence is reassuring though.


... and this has taken me long enough to write and I need to do another chapter of study before I fall asleep.
rmc28: (silly)
(It is currently a few degrees above freezing when I cycle to work)
  1. Help! It is freezing cold and I can see my breath in the air! Put on coat, gloves, hat-with-earflaps, and still feel shivery!
  2. Hmm, I seem to be warming up, better take the coat off at the next traffic lights.
  3. My hands are a bit hot, perhaps I should take my gloves off.
  4. Ow! My hands are too cold! Put the gloves back on again.
  5. My head's a bit warm, the hat can come off.
  6. My hands are sweaty! Take the gloves off again.
  7. Still cold, but my hands are ok. 
  8. Actually my hands are strangely warm.
  9. Help! I am suddenly Boiling Hot all over and there isn't anything else I can decently (or easily) take off!
  10. Slow down for remaining journey in hopes of cooling down before arrival.
I have stopped even bothering with the coat, and I am doing much better on the days when I wear a long-sleeved running top for the commute and change into something more work-appropriate on arrival.  Shivery at first, but keeps stages 9-10 fairly minimal.  I need to find better gloves.  (Thinner? Easier to remove?  Maybe I need lightweight mittens or something.)

I didn't use to overheat so much.  I'm hoping it'll pass as I regain fitness, or cycling to work in summer will be no fun.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I woke up this morning with no voice, thanks to the ongoing cold.  In theory I am avoiding talking, but that's going about as well in practice as you might guess if you've ever met me.

Louise arrived last night, and we both spent a good chunk of today wrapping presents, which was very pleasant, especially for not being at midnight on Christmas Eve. (have I mentioned I default to deadline-driven?)

I went out a couple of times today - in the morning to get some shopping done, and in the evening to collect Charles from his holiday childcare, and I've managed to rack up 10k steps on my fitbit for the first time since we were in Bristol the week before I got diagnosed with cancer.  That has cheered me immensely.

Now I'm resting in my room; drifting up from downstairs are the sounds of Tony and his mother attempting to put away the vast Christmas supermarket delivery.
rmc28: (silly)
There is a letting agent whose sign I pass on my commute, called Let's Rent Cambridge.  Every time I see the sign, I find myself thinking "what, all of Cambridge?"

Tony was 40 earlier this week and we had a meal at the Cambridge Smokehouse, where the Eraina used to be.  This is a great restaurant if you like meat with your meat and some meat, and I love the "ping a light for service" approach.

I have a new fitness-monitoring-wristband thing (Fitbit Flex for those that care), and my slow overfull waddle back from the Smokehouse was classed by it as "intense activity".  I slightly fear what it will make of my running, when I next manage it.

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I know I'm days behind on this, but there was a wee bit of furore on a LibDemVoice article, where Jo Swinson used the launch of some size-16 mannequins to promote the government body confidence campaign and there were a number of commenters who were very concerned that this might mean fat women think it's ok to be fat.

If feeling miserable and ashamed of my body achieved anything, I'd have been toned and slender long ago. So I've tried to give up body-hatred and focus on what I can do. My body has grown two enormous babies, and fed each of them for years. I rack up 10,000+ steps a day on my pedometer, and I cycle-commute around north Cambridge every weekday. At the end of September last year, 12 weeks post-partum, I took up running with Couch-to-5k, and after a couple of gaps this year (flu in February, and the hot summer), I've re-established a habit of running three times a week and am dreaming of running a marathon next year.

Twice a week I run in my lunch hour at work. I am a fat woman and my running gear does nothing to hide this, because it is comfortable and functional. I've been enjoying seeing some of my friends making Clovember posts, and so today I snapped a couple of photos of me in my running gear before I set out. Photos and numbers are behind the cut.

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I lost my pedometer on Tuesday, and haven't been able to find it.  It prompted me to look at pedometer apps for the phone and I've been playing with RunKeeper.  It uses the GPS to measure where I actually walk/run/cycle and how fast I do so, so is quite fun for discrete sets of exercise.  It also helpfully draws a map for me of where I've been, and allows me to label my usual routes and attach each day or week's iteration of them, so I can see how my performance changes over time.

I think I'll keep using it to measure specific 'walks' that I do, but I do like the way the pedometer captures all the little movements around home and office, so another (cheap) one is on its way.  In the mean time, I'm going to use the RunKeeper measurements and my memory of what the pedometer racks up in similar days to estimate the step counts I "should" have achieved.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Jonny got a Wii this week, and found me a bargain Wii Fit while he was at it. It is surprisingly fun and social and even Charles loves some of the games. I am finding it useful for exercising the parts that powerwalking does not reach.

I had a mild migraine throughout Thursday and Friday, which was very tedious, but it seems to have eased off. My brain annoys me sometimes.

We are down to 1 small nappy load a week now, which is a nice reduction in housework, enough to make me chill out a bit about getting rid of that last nappy-a-day. Charles will do it when he's ready, as he has everything else.

Today I had to get the cats to the vet for annual jabs at 9:30, so we are all up and dressed now. It's sunny, and Charles has emptied the laundry into a basket for me to hang out; then he's going to play in his house while I build "a surprise" i.e. the rest of the climbing frame, with Tony's help where needed.

Plan for the weekend:
Finish the climbing frame and get it pegged down in its permanent location
Restring the clothes lines to avoid it
Move the rotary line to be visible from the kitchen window (so we don't forget it's there!)
Powerwalk 10 miles
Deliver some leaflets
Read at least one library book
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I've had a bit of a nasty cold the last couple of days - bad enough I left work at lunchtime yesterday and didn't go in today. Determined resting seems to be helping, though I have a butterfly attention span. So what better to do than post a random set of stuff.

Indi is doing well after his operation. We managed to keep him in the recommended 2 days, by some miracle, probably helped by him obviously feeling very sorry for himself and lethargic. He's more back to normal now, and although I've stopped catching him and shoving pills down him daily, he's still very wary around me. Charles was particularly gentle and sweet with him, and seems to finally be developing some impulse control around tails. Stitches out tomorrow, but then it's vaccination time for both pusses.

Charles is being a darling. I decided he was wittier than me so made a Twitter account to post his short gems to. We have established a regular library day and he is very keen on borrowing DVDs of his favourite things (e.g. Thomas, Postman Pat). I have decided the best thing about this is that they go back after a week before I want to smash them due to repetition. (Double-pity that we are missing today due to my lurgy - luckily we can renew everything online, his and mine both). He frequently "reads" his favourite stories, and also engages in lengthy complicated storytelling/play with his toys that we delight in listening to.

Recently he had a sudden breakthrough around jigsaws, partly driven by enjoying doing a large 40-piece one he got for Christmas. And we've been playing a bit with numbers, counting, and a flipchart book I got him ages ago and he's finally interested in. He has the hang of phone calls now, and will happily talk to his various relatives, as well as making a lot of "play" phone calls both at home and at his childminder's.

Potty training is creeping along slowly. He is (usually) dry at night, but less confident and reliable in the day. If he asks for a nappy I will put one on but we are trying for more and more nappy-free days. His childminder is helping us with this.

Other things:

* We did a day trip to Leeds last month to meet up with my mother and based it around the Royal Armouries. I picked it primarily as an indoor thing we could get to easily from the rail station. It is in fact a fascinating place, both in layout and exhibit contents, and we all happily got lost in it for hours. Literally - at one point Mum and (I and Charles) were in the same room for at least 20 minutes and didn't see each other until I rang to ask where she was.

* I saw Nation broadcast from the National Theatre to the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. It was an impressive adaptation and the broadcast tech worked well for me as well. Will do again (much easier and cheaper than going to London).

* We have booked two trips in the next few months: a holiday with Louise in La Charronniere in April, and the tenth anniversary AFP Gamesmeet. Both by train, and we get a double-decker TGV down to Poitiers. I can't wait to see what Charles makes of that - he goes nuts enough about double-decker buses.

* And of course we have DWCon to look forward to in August.

* I have begun training for the London MoonWalk in mid-May. Unlike training for the half-marathon last summer, this time I am counting calories so I don't just eat more with the additional exercise and end up fatter overall. I fell back very easily into the habit considering it's been four years - in fact too easily, and gave myself migraines by trying to undereat more than my target in the first couple of weeks. I have given myself a stern talking-to and think I'm more stable now.

* I've been listening to a lot of podcasts while walking, and have been enjoying A History of the World in 100 Objects (though the incidental music is a bit annoying). It's just the right length for getting to work.
rmc28: (glowy)
I've had a headache all week that won't quite die: it gets better when I'm lying in bed and worse when I'm walking around. It's nothing like my experience of migraine and it's not even particularly debilitating, though it is distracting. Neither paracetamol nor ibuprofen do a thing for it.

A very nice friendly doctor checked me out yesterday and eliminated swathes of scary things I don't have and thinks it's most likely a tension headache, caused by stresses mental and physical (e.g. having had flu 2 weeks ago and a full-time job and a small child). I am instructed to sleep more and rest more and go easy on myself. Try codeine to see if works any better than the NSAIDs (which I haven't yet but might this evening). And go back if it hasn't gone away in 10 more days.

So I have continued getting the bus where possible and walking slower-than-usual (which means I need a coat) and slacking off on the housework. I do feel much more myself this week though, which is great.

More general health and fitness )
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I am very overweight. My initial attempts to lose my pregnancy weight just sputtered out after a while: regular hard exercise has been a hard thing to make time for in the post-baby world. Since last October I have been slowly trying to "get my act together" generally: eating better, sleeping better, and exercising.

My weekday routine includes 4 miles a day of walking, but I kept being tempted to take the bus some of the time, and the walking was not a very challenging pace. Other activities (ballet, swimming) were hard habits to establish and tended to unestablish very easily. When we went on holiday in June, I had time to think out clearly what I'd been feeling fuzzily for a while: I needed a challenge, and I needed exercise I could do when it suited me.

I thought about running for a while but I'm very paranoid about my knees, and my ankles like to twist at the mildest provocation. Then I was reminded of the "London MoonWalk" and I've always enjoyed walking, so I decided to give power-walking a go.

I realised that next year's MoonWalk was too far away to effectively get me moving right now, so I settled on the Bristol half-marathon, which gave me 10 weeks to train. I've followed a power-walking training plan more-or-less faithfully, apart from 3 weeks in the middle when I kept getting summer colds. Until this week I wasn't really sure I could do the walk in the time required (the race is primarily for runners, and timed accordingly), but checking over the final information this week, I reckon I can complete the race before they stop guaranteeing support. So we're off to Bristol tomorrow and I'm racing on Sunday. Hopefully Tony will manage to take some photographic evidence which I can upload on our way home.

In the mean time, I've lost no weight at all (if anything, I've gained 0.5-1kg), but I've had to start wearing belts with some of my trousers, and I'm keeping up with Tony much more easily when out and about. I've mostly-established a habit of regular high-heart-rate exercise, and will be working towards the full marathon next year.

(And if you want to sponsor me for Sunday, you're very welcome.)
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Exercise has not been going very well in the last month, although in general my organisation has been improved and my Inbox occasionally reaches Zero. Hard to get too many habits established at once.

Today was the first day of the new ballet term. I don't think I've been to ballet since the Great Norovirus Plague, because the habit got thoroughly disrupted then and hadn't been sufficiently bedded in beforehand. There have been classes all summer, run on a "we'll set the level when we see who comes" which was just a bit worrying for me in case I turned up to a class full of really good people apart from me. Just enough to make it easy to find an excuse every day not to go.

Recently I've been updating the big family wall calendar I bought for the house and started by writing in all the Saturday and Monday ballet classes that were not already ruled out by existing commitments, and today I got Tony up in time to look after Charles so I could make it to class.

Ballet makes me happy. Also tired and slightly achy but I generally feel happier when exercised, and ballet works brain and body together. It probably helped that there were two genuine real beginners there so a) I didn't feel completely rubbish and b) there was more explanation for their benefit. There were also four very good people taking the class as extra practice. I realised today that apart from the extra money they bring, they are also useful extra models of How To Do It, so they benefit the class and the teacher as well as themselves.

I will be going again on Monday and the following Monday, but not next Saturday as we're committed elsewhere. I don't think I'll ever be able to make it every Saturday or every Monday, but hopefully a good percentage of each is possible. This is what I hoped to do last term and never quite had the commitment to do so. Having it written on the wall planner makes it that bit harder to wimp out.

Now to work out a weekly family-swim schedule, as it was so much fun at DWCon.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Sunday: took Charles to the rec for >1 hour
Monday: mowed lawn (bit pathetic, wasn't anywhere near 30 min, but did get me out of breath)

Tuesday: spent HOURS taking part in silly "corporate team bonding" games on inflatable torture devices in the rain. I did mostly enjoy the games, especially the last one which involved climbing and thus I was able to be vaguely competent (unlike certain other games - good thing I don't feel overly attached to my dignity). My team came 2nd! I have a pretty rosette, which Charles already broke the safety pin off.

No idea about tomorrow, but I have an Exercise Menu on a card in my diary now. Picking something is much easier than being creative, especially when I'm tired. I already worked this out about food, which is why we try to have supplies of ping in the fridge/freezer.

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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