Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Running, Amsterdam, Bridesmaid, Crochet

I'm blogging because the heating is on; it would seem foolish to go and walk the dog (in the cold and possible sleet) whilst it's on. So instead I'm at the kitchen table, enjoying the feeling of warmth on my back (and the dog enjoys the warmth too).

As per bloody usual, it's been a while. I'm going to start with what this blog is supposed to be about: running.

I have been going to the gym, a little haphazardly perhaps, but going nonetheless.

21st: Delightful treadmill run 4miles - 36.44 on HILL setting level 5 (495 calories)
Then the incredible waist making machine 3 sets of 12 on 40Kg
Lat Pull down on 26 (3 sets of 12)
Tricep dip - two handed with 6Kg weight.

This was a last ditch effort at health before heading off on my bday/xmas trip to Amsterdam. More on that later.

My next gym session was last night (I know, ridiculous gap):
Another lovely 4 miles (trying to make that my base level of run) - 36.51 HILL setting level 7. (526 calories)
Then again the waist making machine 42.5kg (3 sets of 12); Lat pull down 26kg x 12 then 2 sets of 12 19Kg. Bloody thing. 3 sets of 12 6Kg weight tricep dips; and finally a new addition - the weird half a gym ball thing that you put your back against and grip onto hand holds then raise your legs in the air... brilliant. Feels like a super-low stomach muscle thing. LOVE IT.

Turns out I really like the gym, and I've missed it. I like being in a place where it's ok to want to be fit and healthy. It's ok to sweat and look like shit. It's not a place where random strangers are going to yell at you in passing (not that common round Arthur's Seat, but very common elsewhere). And people watching is fun. A note to women out there - if you're doing aerobic exercise and after 5min you aren't sweating, or feeling a burn in the muscles, or having to regulate your breathing - YOU AREN'T WORKING HARD ENOUGH. Even doing weights should be a proper work out, there should be effort and sweat. I'll shut-up now.

Keep looking at the vibro-plate with interest... and many other machines. Need more time to explore the options, and work out what will be best for my 'problem areas'...
The most fun last night was watching all the men. It's a weird world of strutting, preening and pretending not to care all rolled into one. And why are super-muscle men often (and I'll say this in hushed tones so as not to offend) quite short? All v entertaining. Hair dye and spray tans ahoy.

Back to much more fun stuff:
Amsterdam was incredible. I discovered the delightful dutch profitjes which are little mini puffed up pancakes served with lots of powdered sugar and a knob of butter. Where have you been all my life? I also discovered that pickled herring is not pickled enough and is really quite slimy *shudder*.

We (CHG & me) were staying in an apartment in De Pijp, an area just outside the centre with great markets and a less touristy feel. Fantastic to have our own space and be able to chill out. As we were there for 4 days we made the most of all of it seeing: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, doing a boat tour, Rembrant's House - and doing lots and lots of walking and looking. All very relaxed. And needless to say there was some great food; a fantastic plastic tabled Malay place with the best vegetable dish I've ever tasted; and a great bistro (for my birthday meal) where I had the most incredible steak with chips and truffle mayonnaise... hmmmm, truffle mayonnaise. (That was a recommendation from an Amsterdammer - they were spot on!)

The only bad bit was leaving at the airport for our respective cities. That really sucked. But the good news is she turns up on Friday for just over 2 weeks - I can't wait. (Even if she has to write for almost all of it.)

Whilst I was enjoying the delights of Amsterdam (bloody cold by the way); golden dog was enjoying her favourite holiday spot. She was staying with RF, Dougal and Wheeler. She had the paws walked off her and I hear reports that she was also put in Dougal's jumper and had THE STOVE LIT for her when she looked a little bit cold... so yes, she was spoilt. She reacts well to being spoilt. But was still happy to come home, always sweet when she acts like she might have actually missed me!

On returning I had a few days to get back to real life before celebrating my birthday. I know, I know - dragging it out!

Five of us headed to Prestonfield House for their Afternoon Tea. The place is incredible, I've been there before and I love, love, love the decor and the atmosphere. The tea was also the best I've ever had; and a fussy group all agreed it wins hands down. Great sandwiches, great cakes, INCREDIBLE scones. The service was... really quite lacking for somewhere like that. We were brought no milk, we had to ask. The plates were never cleared which was fine as that didn't interrupt the chatting. But after serving and checking we were ok once we were not asked again... and we were there 3 hours plus. It took ages (20min) to get someones attention to get the bill (and the ladies next to us had the same problem); then the bill took so long coming that our cab was waiting for us before the bill had been presented. Poor bloody show from a place where the service should be top notch. I know it's only afternoon tea, but even so - a bit more care and attention would be great. You go somewhere like that to feel spoiled.

But the whole day was just lovely. Lots of fizz was drunk, lots of chat was had, and I got some of the most lovely, thoughtful presents. We were all also still awake at 2.30am - unheard of in these advanced years.

The next day was spent with HH doing bridesmaid duty. And it was damn fun. I think her head was spinning by the end of it... nothing like a wedding planner to ask a billion tiny questions. But also much was sorted out; and much was cemented as ideas. All v v exciting.

Monday night also saw me teaching some impromptu crochet at Granny Greens... with my skill level this was hilarious, but it seemed to work -people were crocheting, and seemed quite happy about it. Who knew I'd be the one to show them.

Right, the heating has now gone off, I think we're all caught-up. The sun is shining (temporary measure I'm sure) and I have a million small jobs to get done.

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