Zombies Run!

I’ve never been a fan of helicopters, but ever since mine was shot out of the sky into a world that is overcome by hoards of the undead, I have a real dislike of them. Thinking I was doing the world a favour by swopping in with supplies on my chopper, it was a bit of a shock to be unexpectedly blown out of the sky – as I’m sure you can quite imagine. By some stroke of luck I found myself guided via radio link by those who are currently battling to survive in this undead world. They guided me through the deserted lands and past the swarms of Zombies that wished to eat my brains. And now they’ve decided I run sufficiently well enough that I could be of use to the town gathering supplies and creating diversions, in exchange for the safety of Abel Township – the only sanctuary from the undead world. Things aren’t looking great though, and the more I learn about this land, the more I realise we are all doomed.

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OK. So none of that actually happened. Unless, of course, you’ve downloaded and used the Zombies Run app by Six to Start available in the App Store and for Android. This app combines the usual features of a running app (recording pace, distance and all the usual stats using GPS) with the wonderful art of storytelling. And let me tell you – it’s good! I’m not one into Zombie films or anything like that, so I approached the app somewhat reluctantly thinking it’d fail to capture my imagination. I was wrong. It does capture my imagination, and in turn I manage to escape capture of the Zombies.

So, how does it work? Well the story is independent of your run, so in theory you could sit at home and listen to it on the sofa – although I can’t imagine that’d be very effective. But it does mean you can run/walk at your own pace and the story will progress just the same.

Each mission (so far for me anyway) lasts approximately 30 minutes and continues you on your story, where you have landed in Abel Township and are attempting to survive the Zombie Apocolypse. You have the option to turn on ‘chases’ which requires you to up your pace for a short time whilst being chased by Zombies. Don’t worry though, if you get caught you just lose any supplies you’ve picked up in the mission, you don’t die or turn into a Zombie. Or you can just turn chases off.

Completing missions and collecting supplies means you can improve your base camp, which is a typical setup of a lot of gaming apps (collect things and spend it on improving something). I’m not really into that so I haven’t played around with my base camp as yet.

If you don’t complete a mission (perhaps you weren’t going on a 30min run today) the app just pauses the story and you pick up for next time. Equally, if you want to run further then after each mission you tune in to Radio Abel. Which, in itself is entertaining enough without your surrounding missions. Naturally, you can listen to your own music or podcasts for the majority of the time, the volume just dips for the app to cut in to give you updates. Any Radio Abel runs also allow you to collect supplies for your Base Camp if you don’t feel like completing a mission.

This app definitely adds some entertainment and distraction to runs and so if that’s what you’re looking for I would absolutely recommend it. There’s also the option of training plans, which I haven’t tried as yet as they are for improving your 5k/10k/half marathon, so there’s lots of uses for it for all abilities. I can absolutely see myself getting into those training plans in the future though.

Anyway, if you excuse me, I have a hoard of Zombies banging at the window and I really need to get out there and collect some much needed supplies.

Ahhh! Zombies, run!

Made it to 5k!

Today was the day.

I knew it would be a good day when I dropped a bottle of wine earlier from shoulder height onto a hard floor and it didn’t smash. Luck was on my side.

So, when I decided on the spare of the moment to go for a run today it was with the intention of ‘now or never’. I knew a route that was roughly 5k (or 3 miles if you prefer) which simply required me to make a decision after about a mile in – do I keep going? Or do my usual shorter route?

For whatever reason today I kept going. And it wasn’t because I was feeling good. On the contrary, I felt pretty bad and the muggy air was unhelpful.

I have run 5k before, a number of years ago, but I still consider this a massive success for where I am right now in life (i.e. I’ve actually had to put precious time aside to get fit – outrageous!).

Those that have followed me for a while will know that this started with the NHS Choices Couch to 5k app, and I didn’t actually say that my aim was 5k until a few weeks in (because I have a tendency to go all out for something for a short while and then become disinterested quickly). At week 7 I completed the 25min runs and decided I needed a new adventure, and so downloaded the Zombies Run app. My running dropped off for a while after then, and I do wonder if I’d continued with Couch to 5k I might have got there more quickly. But life happened and the running didn’t.

But today it did happen. So if it’s running you’re doing, or something else you’re working towards that seems like a long slog – just keep going. Definitely slow and steady wins the race (I won’t be breaking any records any time soon!) but it feels wonderful to have achieved an aim!

Now to get to a 30min 5k before moving on to the next challenge….!

Hi July!

Another quiet month on the blog – whoops, sorry about that! I made the absolute biggest of all no no’s and over promised and under-delivered. It should always be the other way around, so I’ll set no expectations for this month and hopefully I won’t let myself down!

I was so looking forward to June because I had plenty of plans and lots going on, so it’s not a surprise that it flew past in a flash!

Monthly Verse ~ Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

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I’ve been trying to read my way through Psalms, and this well known verse jumped out at me as I endeavour to make more time for God and the Bible in my life. I know I feel better and more grounded when I spend some time reading the Bible, so why can it feel so difficult? That’s why this was my verse to focus on in June, reminding me what I want to be focusing myself on.

 

Happy moments ~ There are fewer this month, not because I had a sad month, but because I was so busy having lots of wonderful and happy moments that I didn’t quite jot them all down quickly enough! Completed a 25min run; Camping with Cubs; Campfires; Friendship; Sleeping for a solid 10 hours; Postcard; Really sunny days; Annual leave; Climbing Snowdon

Task Tracking ~ 30 days in June. Up before 9am – 28 times (I KNOW, WOW!), blog – 3 times, Run – 5 times, Read Bible – 12 times, Bed by 11pm – 17.

There’s lots of improvement to be had there. My least amount of sleep was 5 hours on 10th June (hello Cub Camp!) and the most amount of sleep was 10 hours on the 12th June (again, hello post-cub camp!)


About Today ~ I started this last month to remind myself of what was happening each day (essentially a very short diary!), but I had so much stuff this month that took up chunks of time it lost it’s way a little. So here’s a quick summary.

3rd June – Second Guest Blog for Break A Leg was written.

9th-11th – Cub Camp 😀 The best thing about being a Cub leader is Cub camp. Yes it’s exhausting, a bit stressful and a big drain on the sleep but it is fantastic fun and a lovely way to spend a weekend getting to know the Cub Scouts more and have some adventure! It also is wonderful to spend time with our leadership team, who are all fantastic human beings.

17th June – went to the bride to be’s dress fitting and spend the afternoon/evening with Sarah, one of my most favourite people and her family.

24th June – Wedding day! Not mine, but a friends. Was honoured to be their bridesmaid (even if I did have to wear a dress) and very glad I went to the dress fitting or else I’d have been clueless on how to lace up a wedding dress!


26th June – Climbed Snowdon. I’m so proud of us for doing this, but also so shocked at how unfit we are!


Running ~ It’s still happening, but progress has slowed somewhat! And I owe the blog a review of Zombie’s Run, the app I’m now using. I never quite made my 5k target, but I’m not too far off being able to do it (infact I think I probably could, but just need to make myself accountable for it. This month is 5k month, ok? You’re responsible now for making me go). So, keep your eyes peeled for Zombie Run post and a celebratory 5k post!

Thanks for catching up with me. Hopefully there’ll be some more posts in July for you!

Climbing Snowdon

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This week we were on an adventure! We decided to use our annual leave to explore Snowdonia (and for me this was the first time in Wales) and climb up Snowdon. As everyone had already told me, North Wales is beautiful and there was lots of amazing scenery to take in, especially whilst we climbed Snowdon.

We took the Llanberis path up to Snowdon which is known as the easier (if not the easiest) of the routes up. We aren’t hill walkers, infact it’s hard enough to find a hill to walk up in Suffolk, so this was plenty of exercise for our little legs! The Llanberis path is easy to navigate (the pathway is always easy to see) and relatively easy to climb. It does have its steep parts, but it’s not so steep that you’ll need to be on your hands and knees at any point.

We started at 9.30am which I think was probably a little ahead of everyone else, as they all seemed to catch us up when we stopped for a break at Halfway House.

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One of the steepest points in the route is probably the road leading the Llanberis path, but at least it’s tarmac, so it’s easy on the feet. Eventually, after a steady steep climb you reach the official signpost and start of the Llanberis path route.

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From here on it’s mainly slate and stony paths. It was along this first part of the path that we met some runners. And wow are there a lot of people running up Snowdon! And in the most part we saw them running up whilst we were walking up and then whilst we were still walking up, they came sprinting down.

Everyone walking up and down was very friendly, and those that had walked it before told you what to expect next and when you could see the peak etc, which was nice and added to a good atmosphere.

The track is fairly samey for the first half of the walk, and reasonably flat. You cross under a small railway bridge (the photo at the top of this post is from that point) and even though it’s only halfway you still feel fairly high up, and views are incredible.

Continue along this easy path for a little way and you come to Halfway House. I didn’t know what to expect here, but turns out it’s a nice little stop off. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, snacks and a slush puppie machine. There’s also a toilet which is very important for someone like me who has such a small bladder. We refuelled here with a bottle of Lucozade Sport. At this point we were both hot and sweaty. Turns out we’d picked the best day to go up during our stay, and there was even a hint of sunshine as we made our way up.

Halfway House is halfway between sea level and the peak of Snowdon and over halfway in terms of distance. However, because it gets steeper time-wise it’s not quite halfway.  Just past leaving Halfway House you come across this:

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I’m not sure what it is, or why people leave money in it, but it seems interesting!

Continuing along this path for a little way it quickly steepens into a natural looking staircase made up of stoney chalky rock. And it is hard work for the unfit folk of Suffolk to get up. But at the top you are rewarded with crossing under the railway bridge once more, which sort of marks the beginning of the end of the climb in my eyes. After this it’s one more very steep climb and then it’s relatively easy walk to the top.

 

On our last little bit of climb the cloud really came in very quickly and we quickly lost visibility. Which isn’t unusual and was quite amazing to see how fast you can lose sight where you are. It was also at this point where the peak finally came into view and we realised that we were almost there!

 

It felt quite an achivement to finally get to the top (even if loads of people do it every year!) although we were both a hot and sweaty mess. When you get to the top there’s a cafe and visitors centre (so if you need a souvenir, go for your life) there’s also some hot food and of course the all important toilets. We’d brought some good up with us so we sat and had a little picnic, with accompanying seagull at the top with this view:

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I think you’ll agree that as picnic views go it’s unrivalled. We also got very lucky with the weather when we got to the top with a lot of the cloud clearing and leaving us with amazing views.

Sadly, what goes up must come down and physically coming down is really hard on your joints (knees and ankles especially) but it did take us about half the time of going up in total. We opted to come down the same route as we went up purely for convenience sake (it saved catching a bus at the other end – I know, we’re lazy) and we’re not quite adventurous enough yet to have tried a different route.

I hope you kept up with all that and feel like you’ve climbed Snowdon with us. If you want a real experience of climbing with us we did some very amateur filming (or I did) which you can see by clicking below:

 https://youtu.be/o6ytthz3sRY

C25k: Week 6

3700 steps.

3700 steps in my 25min run this week. And I felt every single one of them.

They do say that you’ll have that one run (or runs) where you wonder what on earth your doing, why your doing it and what the point of coninuing is. Week 6 Day 3 was my run for that.

The feeling began during my 5 minute warm up walk, where I had a stitch (yes a stitch, on a walk after a glass of water…) so I knew I wasn’t in for a fun time. Fortunately, by the time I started running it had subsided through all sorts of weird and wonderful attempts at alleviating it. The NHS choices C25k app suggests breathing in whilst pushing your stomach out. Have you tried that? It’s ridiculously difficult and you feel stupid. Try it now, I dare you. It seemed to work though, so I’ll definitely hold on to that tip for the future.

Once I’d started my 25min run, the usual first 5 minutes dragged as all I could think about was how far I had to go. This is quite normal for me during all the plans, to overthink what I’m doing, how fast I’m going, what route I’m doing, and how long until the plan ends. Unfortunately, whereas I usually distract myself and drift into some sort of mind blanking exercise, this time I didn’t and what followed was 20 minutes of constant time checking (to the point where I’m thinking of removing my watch next run – but I do love checking my stats after), heaving breathing and spending every other step wishing the run to end. The consequence of this was that I stopped at 17minutes and did a one minute walk, which I am disappointed about as I know that I can run 20mins without stopping. But on this day my mind wasn’t playing the game with my body and the break was very welcomed. The plan now continues with 3 more 25min runs for the next week, so I’m hoping that I’ll see through to the end all 3 of them, if not I may return to the week 6 interval plans for a bit and see how I go.

In contrast Days 1 and 2 of the plan went very well. Day 1 was a 5min run/3min walk/8min run/3min walk/5min run which was a generally nice plan. It was at this point that I realised that my fitness has really increased because the 3min walks were proving to be ample time to recover from the runs and a 5min run wasn’t very taxing at all. Day 2 was 10 min run/3 min walk/10min run which again was quite comfortable for me. Perhaps this is why I went into false hope into Day 3, as I managed Days 1 and 2 with no problems at all.

Anyway, we’ll see what Week 7 has in store and if I can crack the 25min runs. I can’t believe how quickly the plan seems to be going and how noticeable the improvement in my fitness is (especially recovery after runs, which hardly seems to take any time at all anymore). I’ve set myself a challenge of trying to run 25miles this month over the course of the plans, which should be do-able if I complete all runs left in the C25k plan in a timely fashion. If I’m able to stick to the plan without repeating any areas then I’m due to complete on 22nd June with a 5k run in, hopefully, 30 mins.

Thanks for reading, race you all to next week! 🙂

Hey June

After a quiet month on the blog, I thought I’d continue from last month and jot down what I’ve been upto and what’s been going on in the quiet month of May. Heads-up, the majority of this month has just been working as I have plenty going on in June, so thought I’d better get my head down!

Monthly Verse ~ As I said last month, I try and pick a Bible verse that I return to

throughout the month to focus on. This month was Proverbs 3:5-6.

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A BIG verse, which is easier to say than to actually put into action.

Happy moments ~ A selection from the list of things that happened in the month that made me smile: Being motivated to run; time spent taking photos; Blue hair; coffee and chats; JANET’S OUTSIDE!; TV review writing; sorting the garden; the weather; Turkish food is yum!

I’m glad I keep a note of these things because I quickly forget what’s happened in a month, and it’s lovely to get to the end of it and see what has happened and gone on 🙂

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Look who I found 😀

Task tracking ~ I mixed up the tasks that I tracked this month, and to be honest they didn’t really work out all that well and I was bad at keeping up with them, however out of the 31 days in May I: Was up by 9am on 24 days (and you all thought I was lazy, I’m very proud of that, especially given that I work all sort of hours) Was in bed by 11pm on 10 days (not so proud of that one) and blogged 4 times (terrible effort).

In with task tracking this month I took a note of sleep (because who doesn’t love sleep), the most sleep I got was 10 hours on 17th – 18th May. The least amount of sleep I got was 4 hours on the 16th – 17th May (that explains the 10 hours then!)

About Today ~ I tasked myself to write one sentence each day about my day, which turns out to be an excellent way of revisiting what happened when. And although most days not much happened, I can see a few stand-out days to share with you:

5th May – Went to see Northanger Abbey at the theatre.

10th May – Went for a walk on a chilly evening and got some lovely moon shots (you can see them at the end of this post)

18th May – best day ever! Met up with Nicky, but saw Janet out of the window in Costa (I don’t think anyone will truly understand how amazing this was!)

19th May – Dyed my hair blue for Forget-Me-Not-Friday (Dementia Awareness) at work (and wore the best t-shirt in the world)

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23rd May – The largest spider I have ever seen (quite literally the size of a dinner plate) paid us a visit.

25th May – Spent the afternoon in Orford and my guest blog for Break a Leg was published.

Running ~ I’m still going! Having just completed week 6 this morning. If I continue at my current pace I shall complete the programme on the 22nd June (handy as I we go away just afterwards), so if I complete a June round-up I should be boasting of having completed the C25k plan! I’ll be blogging at the end of each week of runs (so Week 6 blog is imminent) so you can keep up with my progress here if interested, or if you’re doing the plan yourself.

Finally, I’ll leave you with my moon shots from earlier in the month. Thanks for reading 😀

C25K: W5D3

Couch to 5k: Week 5 Day 3

I did it!

There is no way at the start of this process I could have imagined running for 20mins non stop as I remember struggling with the early on weeks of 90 sec and 2 min intervals.

Week 5 is really daunting and the plans definitely up the intensity. For a start, they are no longer 3 of the same plan for the week – starting with 5min runs with walking, then 8 min runs with walking and then BAM a 20min run. My first reaction to this (when I scrolled ahead in the plan a number of weeks ago) was “there is no way I can go from running a solid 8mins to running a solid 20mins overnight”. I guess I was wrong.

Not including warm up and cool down walks I covered 1.73 miles (running at a pace of 11.36/mile), which is just over half the distance of 5k (3 miles). It’ll be interesting to see if, in 3 weeks, I can build to the required distance AND achieve 5k in 30mins, which I know I’ve been able to do in the past.

The most difficult part of the 20min run was actually at about 5mins in, where it was more of a mental battle than anything else. At that point I was thinking about how much I still had to go and that I was tiring. Of course, I wasn’t really tiring – it’s definitely a mental thing. The 10min-15min band of time was by far the easiest. Having reached 10mins I was really happy as the most I’d run so far in the plans was 8 minutes. I considered that I’d got half way and to back up now would be foolish. From that 10min high I breezed through until 15mins and then from then on it was just a countdown to 20mins. The last minute seemed like a long one!

So, if you’re trying out the couch to 5k app and are dreading this run, as I was, I’d just say that you can do it. You’ve just got to have a bit of trust in the app (it’s got you this far hasn’t it?) and in yourself. And as with any of it, if you can’t complete it you just repeat the week. There’s no race to finish the app in the 8 weeks, do it at your own pace to build your fitness.

Good luck to anyone doing Couch to 5k plans at the moment!

Oh, and here’s a running buddy I picked up on my warm-up walk: