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

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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:

*** Guest Blog by Chloe Buckles*** Neighbours ‘Ramsay Street’ Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 15 May 2017

I was asked to write the Ramsay Street Round up for Break a Leg – a great honour! It’s the first time I’ve been asked to write anything (other than an essay!) and as you all know how much I love those Ramsay Street residents I was more than happy to oblige!

You can find my review below.

Theatre & Music

Message from Helen: As you may or may not know – I’ve been on my holidays recently so I have been in desperate need of help to keep up with my favourite soap, Neighbours. Luckily, I have a rather gifted young writer in my circle who is a super-fan of the show and was happy to lend a hand to her mate! So without further ado, here’s Chloe Buckles and her guest blog…

It’s been a tough week on Ramsay Street, with broken hearts, mentions of divorce and horrible first-boyfriends to contend with.

Here are the highlights…

Sonya’s downward spiral continues ~  Things have gone from bad to worse for Sonya this week. After being unable to ignore Tim Collins’ sly digs at her she’s unable to resist the temptation of downing a bottle or two. Unfortunately, this time, it’s in front of her friends, fellow council members and…

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Couch to 5k

This is the story of a girl who is terrible at motivating herself to continuously do anything. Who ‘flip flops’ from one idea to the next. Who goes 100% full steam into something one week, and has forgotten all about it the next week. That’s basically me. 100% enthusiasm, or 0% enthusiasm and getting in between is quite difficult.

So, to have reached the dizzy heights of week 5 of Couch to 5k is actually a much bigger deal than it seems. And for the most part, I’ve kept a lot of this off social media, simply because I know I’m a ‘flip flopper’ (it’s my new phrase, stolen from Neighbours of course!). But after 5 weeks I feel like it’s becoming normal and I’m really pleased with the progress I’m making.


Couch to 5k is a programme designed to help couch potatoes, or those that haven’t done a lot of running before, to slowly build their stamina up to run 5k (or 3 miles if you prefer). There are various apps you can get to take you through it. I have chosen the NHS choices one, it’s very ‘no frills’ so if you want an app that monitors your runs a bit more, or talks to you a bit more I’d probably shop elsewhere. So far (upto week 5) the app uses a combination of walking and running, slowly replacing walking minutes with running minutes. It’s very gradual but just hard enough to make it feel as though it’s doing you some good. When I look back and think about how ‘bad’ I felt even at week 2, I can’t believe how quickly my fitness has inproved.

For me, I think it’s also built confidence. Because it’s gradual it’s a case of just adding a little bit extra each week, with the knowledge that you completed runs the previous before and so it’s much more of a mental challenge than anythig else.

So, my next run is the ever frightening solid ’20 min run’ – a far cry from the nice run/walk programmes that I’ve been doing currently. However, so far, I’ve really noticed how much my fitness has improved in the last 4 weeks, and that’s plenty of reward in itself.

Hopefully I’ll be back here in 4 weeks telling you I’ve gone out and run 5k! See you then!

Oh, hey May!

Whoa guys, where did that April go?! April’s been a pretty good month for me and I thought I’d give myself a bit of a roundup of it. Starting with the fact that I started a journal, so I can now look back on what happened in the month – hooray!

My hope in starting a journal was somewhere to put everything together, instead of having a diary and various bits of paper and relying on my memory to remember the stuff I have to do. I also wanted one to be able to track what I’ve done and anything else that interests me. So, without further ado, here’s what April looked like:

Verse of the Month ~ I decided at the start of each month to pick a Bible verse that would over-arch the month and I’d attempt to remember revisit it every time I opened my notebook. April’s verse I chose was Galatians 6:10 “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.”

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Happy moments ~ When something especially nice happened (however small) I’ve jotted it down. This months moments were: Recognition and appreciation for hard work; Seeing my cousin; The boiler is fixed!; Thinking about all the things I love; Lunch out with James; First run of the year; Easter egg hunt with the inlaws; The perfect shower; God hitting me over the head with his Word; Early and productive mornings; When a plan comes together (that sounds far more evil than it should!); My lovely, comfy and amazing bed after a long day.

Task tracking ~ I tracked a few things that I wanted to know how well I was doing on. Here’s how I got on (30 days in April, for reference!). Blog posts published: 10 ; More than 6 hours sleep: 22 ; Read something from the Bible: 26 ; Spent more than 15mins tidying up: 15 ;  Made an effort to contact someone I’m not in regular touch with: 10

Dream Log ~ Possibly the favourite thing I’ve done. When I’ve remembered a dream I’ve written a quick sentence about it and how it made me feel. I think this is definitely one of those things you have to really think about because our brains, most of the time, just disregard our dreams as unimportant. There’s no doubt I missed quite a few because I simply forgot, but here’s what I had:

Took part in a play on stage ~ Couldn’t remember the emotion for this one. Probably awful!

Had to read aloud a long poem on a beach, but I couldn’t see it properly and the tide was coming in nearer and nearer ~ Terrified!

Owned a cafe and gave out free muffins ~ Happy 🙂 Although I’ve forgotten all about this dream until just now!

One of those hideous dreams where you’re naked ~ Eurgh!

Time of the month ~ No emotion here, but I dreamt it the day before, so thank you body for warning me. I’m very impressed.

Had to perform a song on stage infront of a room full of people. I didn’t know the words and the CD player broke ~ panicked

Got a job as a teacher and liked it ~ proud

That was it for April’s dreams. Most of them are ‘bad’ dreams, not so much the nightmarish kind, but certainly ones that play on things that make me nervous. I’m guessing that’s the way of my brain dealing with stuff I don’t like. I found keeping a log pretty fascinating, and I’ll definitely keep doing that and hopefully get better at recalling them.

Returned to Social Media ~ So, on the 11th April the biggest thing that happened was that I returned to social media after 30 days away. This is a challenge I’d 100% recommend doing to anyone and was really worthwhile. You can read how I got on here. Once returning I came up with a few ‘tasks’ for myself which I’m still looking to complete/grow on and I’ll let you know when I think I’ve managed it! I am definitely spending less time on social media now, afterwards and I’m also enjoying it a lot more. I’ve absolutely stopped pointlessly scrolling, especially through Facebook. So I’m really pleased with that.

Running ~ I started running in the last couple of weeks, using the C25k app. I’m not going to blow this out of proportion because I know that, at just under 2 weeks in, it’s all quite easy at the moment. But, fingers crossed that my motivation continues and I’m hoping that if I do a ‘May’ round up I’ll be telling you that I’m nearly at the end of the C25k programme 😀

So, I shall leave you with a couple of quotes that I stumbled across this month that I liked. Thanks for reading 🙂

“Be prepared, work hard and hope for a little luck. Recognise that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have.” – Ed Bradley

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham.