Wednesday, 19 January 2011

This is going to hurt tomorrow.

I'm trying to get back into this blogging lark I really am.
More an 2 posts a month would be a start.

I've cooked for HH and Teech (again with the Orkney Fudge Cheesecake... too good, and too easy to not make... and a stoved chicken thing that was all potato, chicken and garlic goodness).
This was before it baked in the oven for about 75mins. The delightful shine is all buttery goodness.

I then tried to run off some of the chickeny goodness by doing a 5k the next morning. It was sans dog and therefore a little bit faster; think it was just under 30min - not bad considering the magnitude of the hill. This helped to aliviate my guilt, but not my hunger, as I headed out to dinner with Meeper and Ceegar. A really lovely night of chatting, drinking (if my hangover the next morning was anything to go by WOW were those gins strong). Good to all catch-up.

After starting the running with more conviction I've had the odd twinge in my back. It was well and truly buggered when I moved house in 2008, and then moving in 2010 didn't help it any. Not sitting awkwardly (which I do all the sodding time) and yoga seem to help... so I did some yoga.

It wasn't exactly 45min of torture, but it was clear that I haven't stretched out properly in quite some time. Will try and add it into what I laughably call a 'routine' with a little more regularity. I do like it though; dynamic ashtanga yoga has a lot going for it - even if my 'practice' is more about staying moving than it is about 'the breath'. Grrr

So after creaking my way through the post yoga days, and seeing Pickle for a lovely coffee and catch-up (Valvona & Crolla's coffee was lack luster to say the least, but the lemon polenta cake was delightful); I headed out to Granny Greens. (Or as I think of it - truly the best craft group there could ever be. People are friendly, chatty, and everyone just gets on with whatever they are making.) I took 2 extra balls of wool with me and was delighted to be half way through the last by the time I headed home. The wooly made for the chg is finished, just in time to take it to Amsterdam! It should have been a scarf, it is a small blanket... possibly the largest thing I have ever made. I only hope I can fit it in my small travel case.... or maybe I'll just have to wear it, and pack my scarf... Oh god, it's huge - migrant families could use it for shelter.

But, today, and here we get to what should be the backbone of my blog, I ***WENT TO THE GYM*** The gym, that is less than 5 min walk from my house, that I had yet to frequent. Well, I went. And I paid £6.90. It was not peak time. And if you want to shower it's another £1.30... I'm only glad I live so close.

The only negative is the cost. The place is pretty great with more machines than any other gym I've ever been in... and there's even a modicum of natural light, and plenty of water machines.
I tell a lie - there's another negative, the damn machines are in Kilometres. Pah. This did make me go faster though.

So, enough waffle onto the achievement portion of the post:
5 miles (count 'em) - in 46.22 (this averages at 9.16 a mile - much more like it). And I did genuinely feel like I could probably have made it to the 10k point. Always a good feeling. But as I haven't run as far as 5miles since APRIL 2010 (*red with shame*) it would have been seriously foolish to push it any further. I used the new and shiny (and dead comfy to run on) machine on HILL setting level 5. Not massive hills - only up to about 4% - but enough to make it a proper work out for the glutes. Other machine notes: nowhere to balance the ipod to actually watch anything, but a good little cubby if I wanted it to listen to stuff. Also a great water bottle holder. (Sometimes it's the simple things that make a difference.)

Then, and here I will bore you as I need to write it down as a log, I did some of the machines.
An incredible obliques and abs machine which is going to make me scream tomorrow morning as I roll over. Kneel on a pad, rotate your body to grasp the chest pad, hold yourself in place and do weighted lower body rotations.... did 3 sets of 12 for each side. First two sets on 35Kg, last set on 40Kg. Then 3 sets of 12 (weight 19??) on the lat pull down; and 3 sets of triceps dips holding a 6kg weight. So I didn't go mental with the gym work after the run, but I tried to work out the bits of me that get ignored (anything but the legs really). Think the new Ab machine might be a real favorite though.... oh so good, feeeel the burn.

Definitely time for bed. Lovely to feel so physically knackered... but makes my typing bad.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hola 2011

So, let's start the year with a catch-up; why change the habit of a blog-time?

I'll start with xmas: It was truly incredible. Despite each setting a budget to stop there being any gift upset... the chg decided that my xmas and bday can be rolled into a big gift. So for my bday we're heading to Amsterdam for a 4 day break. Complete relaxation, and art - bloody perfect. I was a little overwhelmed.

But enough of that - the foood. We had roast Duck (thanks to Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstal's recipe, and the lovely people at Crombie's), and all of the other trimmings. Bread sauce.... yum. And then Opera from Manna House. Starters were delayed for another day - there was just so much Duck. CHG then made duck soup with roast veggies. It was incredible. Best soup ever ... more later.

The following day Smoothie, TallTales, and the assorted rugrats invited us round for xmas dinner. Whoo Hoo 2 xmas dinners. This was mini tartlets, incredible roast pork and all the trimmings (sprouts with cream & pancetta) (spiced red-cabbage); and then I'd made Orkney Fudge Cheesecake for the first time. It rocks. GO MAKE IT.

We finally managed a bit of a blending of friends. The Bailie pub quiz was the location. And we (HH, Teech. CHG, Me, Smoothie) did a mighty fine job... but were beaten by Brain Drain. All I can say is sodding Brain Drain were our nemesis from years ago, and apparently still are! The Quiz Master hasn't lost his touch though, but maybe his passion for it was lacking... possibly just the winter blues.

I also manged to see Atlantic Boy and his delightful new girlf (not that new, but when you live 1000s of miles away time is a little more flexible). A wonderful burger and beers at Holyrood 9A made us all smile. It felt, as it always does, like we see each other every week.

NEW YEAR - we packed the car, the pooch and our expectations. We were going north. To Aviemore. But not without a mini-trip to St. Andrews as my Dad had suggested it would be nice if he met the chg (and suggested it was 'on the way'.... on what atlas). All was delightful. Tea was drunk and she was v pleased to be handed the controls to THE GIANT TRAIN SET THAT RUNS ROUND THE ENTIRE BACK GARDEN (I so wish I was joking). I'm not sure I've ever been handed the controls to the train set?

We found our yurt, our host, and all things north to be truly splendid. The stove did heat the place; and as I told Teech, "Warm is a state of mind." Other friends asked if it was Glamping. I told them categorically that no, it was not. Fantastic, fun, peaceful, beautiful yes - glam, no.
All you need is plenty of planning and imagination. This is where the best ever roast duck soup came into its own. I would die happy if that was my last meal! We were glad, however, that our trip didn't coincide with the -17 C weather. Those people put in the visitors' book that they had to DEFROST the hot water bottle before managing to get the ice out so they could fill it and heat the bed. Bbbbbrrrrrrrr

We started January back in Edinburgh and climbed Arthur's Seat to the very top. And then went round the radical road, it seemed like the perfect start to the year. All that sky and view and possibility.

Due to both impending dissertation and also the incredible trip to Amsterdam the chg and I are due to be apart for 19 days this month. That sucks. However modern technology is a marvel that allows us to see each other everyday, and even have dinner together occasionally.

Since then I've fitted in 2 runs. ***attention to all those expecting a running blog***
A natty little 5k up and back on Arthur's Seat - 31.45 sllooooow, but I'll take it.
And a 4 miler - 4 whole miles, round the seat with a little detour in the Duddingston direction 40.40. Again, I need to speed up - but I'm just happy to be out again.
I was about to head out yesterday morning then I realized the small snow shower had turned everything to snow and ice, yet again. I hate running on ice and snow. I like to run without thinking about it, without worrying about tripping, falling, or generally watching my feet. I've got my fingers firmly crossed for tomorrow!

But sociability has been the watch for this month:
I've had lunch with meeper at the always lovely Urban Angel
Cinema with HH & Teech and cakes!!!!!! (But do go and see the King's Speech - as much tension and drama as the best thriller.)
And I'm off to meet Chopper for a wee bite and a quiet pint, a place where the gold dog can come too. Bliss.

Tomorrow I cook, run, work and attempt to clean the flat a wee bit... too ambitious for a Friday?