The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I did some stretches and did Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app (again):

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I’d been struggling with Week 7 for the last three weeks. I almost managed to run the whole 20 minutes this time, but I stopped in the 16th minute and walked for a little while before running again. It’s still such an effort.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. I started with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 1 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 400 m (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 1 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 400 m (or to 1 km) (7.5 km/h)

I did 1 km in 8:38. I did some stretches and then did the first set of exercises:

  • Deadlifts x 12 (25-lb weights)
  • Abdominal knee in/out x 20
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat two more times

I thought the 25-lb weights would be too heavy but the only place they really felt uncomfortable was in my grip.

I had a break and then did the next set of exercises:

  • Shuttle runs x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Jumping jacks x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat for 4 minutes

Ugh, that was tedious. After some more water, I did the next set of exercises:

  • Bulgarian squats x 12 (6 on each side)
  • Butterfly situps x 10
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat two more times

After that, I did 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s of fast speed with 10 s of easy speed.

There was one more set of exercises after that:

  • Overhead tricep extensions x 12 (15-lb weight)
  • Tricep extensions x 12 (machine)
  • Wood choppers x 10 on each side (10-lb weight)
  • Rest and repeat two more times

I did some stretches after that and was done for the day.

My hamstrings were sore on Tuesday, but I was fine everywhere else. I went to the gym to do Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

And guess what? I finally did it! I ran for 20 minutes, no stops. I actually ran for 20 min 50 s as I told myself I’d stop when I got to 3 km. So – I walked the first 500 m and then ran non-stop for 2.5 km! This is quite a breakthrough for me! I was thrilled for the rest of the day.

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday. I began with a 10-minute uphill walk on the treadmill, starting with an incline of 1% and increasing it each minute until I was at 10% in the last minute.

I did some stretches and then did three sets of the following exercises:

  • Jumping jacks x 30
  • Fly press x 12 (10-lb weights)
  • Pullover tricep extensions x 12
  • Combined squat/kickback x 12 (alternating 6 on each side)

After that I did 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating 20 s at a fast speed with 10 s at an easy speed. After a break, I did three sets of the next group of exercises:

  • High knees x 20 s (with my hands pressed against the wall)
  • Lateral pulldowns x 12
  • Tricep dips x 12
  • Combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick x 12 (6 on each side)

I finished those off with another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, and finished off our session with an abs set:

  • Hanging knee raises x 10 (x 3)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 10 on each side (x 3)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10 (x 3)

I did a few stretches and went home. Pete would be travelling the following week, so I’d have the week off…

I went to a Hatha Flow class on Thursday morning. It was a different teacher and there was just one other person in the class.

I decided to take the day off on Friday. I probably should have gone to the gym, but I didn’t want to be tired that evening at my own birthday party! And of course Saturday was a write-off too.

Total distance covered this week? The 1 km on the 21st of March was my warmup in my session with Pete.

2016-03-28 11.01.30

Low point of the week? I did a lot of eating and drinking over the weekend…

High point of the week? I still managed five workouts this week, even though I skipped Friday and Saturday. And most people told me I’d lost weight when they saw me on Friday evening – I never get tired of hearing that!

Weight loss? Nice to see more of the 75 kg weights this week. I did notice, however, that my scales are probably wrong. My weight varies depending where I stand on the scales (they are really old), and sometimes my weight can go up or down by 1 kg or more in a matter of minutes. I think it’s time to treat myself to some new hi-tech scales. The Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by December this year.

2016-03-28 11.02.12

Read more updates here.


Your week ahead (27 March – 2 April 2016)

Have a great week 🙂


10 The Wheel

The Wheel – feeling a sense of destiny – using what chance offers, finding opportunity in accident, altering the present course; being at a turning point – reversing, having a change in fortune, being surprised at a turn of events; feeling movement – being swept up in new developments, getting involved, experiencing change; having a personal vision – seeing how everything connects, becoming more aware, expanding your outlook


20 Judgement

Judgement – making a judgement – having a day of reckoning, taking a stand, getting off the fence; feeling reborn – awakening to possibilities, making a fresh start, discovering joy; hearing a call – feeling drawn to a new direction, answering a need, recognising your true vocation; finding absolution – feeling cleansed and refreshed, atoning for past mistakes, feeling sins washed away


Swords 10

10 of Swords – bottoming out – having nowhere to go but up, knowing it’s darkest before dawn, being at the lowest point; feeling like a victim – bemoaning your fate, seeing life as hostile, suffering from an attack; being a martyr – putting your own interests last, being self-deprecating, feeling like a doormat


Swords 7

7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret


Swords Princess

Princess of Swords – using your mind – analysing the problem, using logic and reason; being truthful – acting honestly, exposing what is hidden; being just – acting ethically, righting a wrong; having fortitude – facing problems squarely, keeping a firm resolve


19 The Sun

The Sun – becoming enlightened – finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness – being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality – experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance – knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities


Pentacles 4

4 of Pentacles – wanting to possess – acquiring material goods, keeping what you have, hanging on to someone; maintaining control – wanting to be in charge, insisting on your own way, setting limits and rules; blocking change – wanting everything to stay the same, stagnating, holding on to the present


05 The Hierophant

The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others


Wands 7

7 of Wands – being aggressive – going after what you want, taking the offensive, making your point forcefully; being defiant – holding out against pressure, combating criticism, resisting authority; showing conviction – demonstrating strong character, knowing you are right, being firm


11 Justice

Justice – respecting justice – seeking equality, trying to do what is right, insisting on fairness; assuming responsibility – settling old accounts and debts, admitting involvement, doing what has to be done; preparing for a decision – weighing all sides of an issue, setting a course for the future, balancing all factors; understanding cause and effect – seeing how you chose your situation, accepting the results you created, recognising the action of karma, knowing that what is makes sense


Pentacles 10

10 of Pentacles – enjoying affluence – feeling financially secure, having a good run of fortune, being free from money problems; seeking permanence – looking for a solution that will last, having an orderly family life, being concerned with the long term; following convention – being conservative, taking part in traditions, proceeding according to the rules


Cups 3

3 of Cups – feeling exuberant – bursting with energy, being in the flow, dancing and singing; enjoying friendship – getting together with people you like, sharing, finding companions; valuing community – taking part in a support group, working together, discovering a common goal

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a daily card, follow me on Instagram (@nectar1269).

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2016: Week 11

I had another busy week and a whole lot of work to do. I managed to fit in a few gym and yoga sessions too…

I met a friend for coffee on Sunday afternoon. We went to The Brass at the new Citywalk extension. We sat outdoors – but we didn’t find the chairs particularly comfortable and we also had to keep swatting the flies away! I guess the weather is starting to get warmer, which brings the flies.

I had a busy Monday – with a session with Pete, a piano lesson and Arabic in the evening. I often get no real work done on a Monday (just emails and other random bits and pieces) as I’m in and out of the flat all day. I’d wanted to go to Art Night at DIFC but by the time I was done with Arabic it was late and I was knackered.

I did make it to Art Dubai on Tuesday evening though. I’d been invited to the opening and took a friend (V) with me. We got there at around 8pm (it took us an hour to get to the Madinat because of an accident on Sheikh Zayed Road) and had a look around. It was pretty busy, considering it was the Patron’s Circle opening – and people were more interested in being seen than actually looking at any art. We decided to walk through the two halls and then get some food and drinks, before heading over to the main bar. I bumped into another friend and V and I joined him and his friends for some drinks. We left just before midnight, both of us having early starts on Wednesday.

I was tired on Wednesday, and very tempted to have a nap after my session with Pete! But I had work to do, so I didn’t. I also had to finish off my Arabic homework and go to class!

I thought I’d be able to get a lot of work done on Thursday. I went to yoga in the morning and had lunch with NP at Zuma. I hadn’t seen her in months so it was great to catch up. We both ordered the business lunch – you get a miso soup, two starters and a main course for AED 130. I ordered the beef skewers and prawn gyoza for starters and the seabass for my main course. She ordered the Zuma salad and the gyoza for her starters and had the black cod for her main course. We also ordered a portion of the tuna tataki from the a la carte menu for the table (which mostly I ate).

I got home after lunch, got into my pajamas and settled down to do some work. About 30 minutes later, the doorbell rang. Some friends of ours were in town and popped in to see us before leaving that evening. They stayed until 7pm – so I got no work done. I started working after dinner and didn’t finish until 3.30am.

I was tired on Friday but carried on working for some of the day. I met up with a friend for dinner. We went to Loca at Souk al Bahar. We got a table in the bar area and ordered some drinks while it was still happy hour. She had wine, I had margaritas. We also ordered a portion of the spinach and artichoke dip to share. I later realised that there was no artichoke in it at all, it was just spinach. We both had the jalapeno prawns for our main course.

2016-03-18 20.58.24

It’s definitely my favourite thing on their menu. When we left Souk al Bahar, we got into the cab and I suggested we go to Zuma for a drink. It wasn’t even 10pm yet, but Zuma was pretty empty when we got there. We only stayed for a drink and left. It took me almost 40 minutes to get home from Zuma – there was so much traffic at that time of night!

I took it easy on Saturday and then went for a walk on the beach. We went early and caught the sun setting.

2016-03-19 17.46.45

I was home by 7.15pm. Dad and I had dinner together and another week was over.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I began the week with Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app. I’d tried to do it the week before but found it so hard – I thought it would be a good idea to get comfortable with it before moving to the next level.

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

I alternated between 6 km/h and 7.2 km/h and struggled again.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete. I started with 1 km on the treadmill – walking at 5.5 km/h for 1 min, running at 7.5 km/h for 400 metres, walking for 1 min and then running until I got to 1 km. I did it in 8:40. After some stretches, he told me I’d be doing another version of the ’30 workout’. Ugh. I think he was expecting that reaction from me! It went like this:

  • Pushups x 30
  • Lateral pulldown x 30 (wide overhand grip)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Tricep dips x 30
  • Lateral pulldown x 30 (narrow underhand grip)
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories
  • Incline pushups x 30
  • Seated low row x 30
  • Cross-trainer x 30 calories

I was supposed to do all that without official breaks. I did stop for water a couple of times though. After that, I did a different set of exercises:

  • Combined squat/kickback x 30 (alternating 15 on each side)
  • Hanging knee raises x 30
  • Combined squat/side kick x 30 (alternating 15 on each side)
  • Elbow to knee crunches x 30 (30 on each side)
  • Step ups x 30 (15 on each side, stepping on/off a stationary treadmill)
  • Butterfly situps x 30

And that was it. I did some stretches and went home.

I went back to the gym on Tuesday for Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. I struggled again and thought I might have to repeat the week again the following week! Does running ever get any easier??

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday. I’d been out at Art Dubai on Tuesday night and told him I was feeling really tired, hoping he would go easy on me – but that was not the case. I started with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run x 30 s, walk x 30 s (x 4 min)
  • Run x 3 min

Pete told me I wouldn’t be using the treadmill again after that. I did some stretches and began the first Tabata circuit:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Knee in/out x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick x 20 s (on one side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Combined side raise/bicep curl x 20 s (3-kg weights)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat (using the other leg during the combined reverse lunge/straight leg kick exercise)

I had some water and then did 4 min on the cross trainer (alternating 20 s at a fast pace and 10 s at a slower pace). I had a break and did the next Tabata circuit:

  • Mountain climbers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Crunches x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • ‘Macarena’ plank x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Scissors x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

Well, the ‘Macarena’ plank is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. In a plank position, on my hands I would have to lift one hand and touch the opposite shoulder and do the same with the other hand. I’d then have to lift the first hand and touch my hip on the same side and then do the same thing on the other side. I could actually hear the song going round in my head as I was doing it.

I had a break and did the next circuit:

  • Shuttle runs x 20 s
  • Rest x 40 s
  • Repeat for 4 min

After another break I did another Tabata circuit:

  • Pushups x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side hip raises x 20 s (on one side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side hip raises x 20 s (on the other side)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butterfly situps x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat

Oh God – I was ready to go home. I had another 4 minutes on the cross-trainer, alternating fast and slow speeds and I was finally done. I did some stretches to finish and went home.

On Thursday morning I went to a Hatha Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. They had a special offer on – 40 classes for AED 1999, valid for a year. I decided to buy it – I like going there and most of the teachers I’ve had are good.

I took the day off on Friday. I’d been working until really late on Thursday night and hadn’t slept very well that night.

On Saturday my friend and I made it to the beach for our evening walk. We started a little before 6pm – it was such a beautiful evening.

2016-03-19 17.46.45

We did our 6 km in just under an hour. And because we weren’t trying to improve on our time, I think it was easier on my knees than previous weeks.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-03-20 09.13.01

Low point of the week? I didn’t get to Day 3 of Week 7 in the 10k Runner app.

High point of the week? Doing six workouts this week, including the 1-hour walk on the beach. I also met a friend on Tuesday evening after almost three months – he told me I’d lost a lot of weight!

Weight loss? It was nice seeing 75 kg a few times this week. My Libra weight-tracking now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the end of November this year!

2016-03-20 09.13.30

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (20-26 March 2016)

Have a great week 🙂


Cups Princess

Princess of Cups – being emotional – being moved or touched, letting your feelings show, being sentimental or romantic; being intuitive – acting on a hunch, trusting your gut reaction, having a psychic experience; being intimate – starting or renewing a love affair, getting closer to someone, solidifying a friendship; being loving – forgiving yourself, forgiving someone who has hurt you, mending a broken relationship


Pentacles 7

7 of Pentacles – assessing – evaluating the status, making sure you’re on course, finding out where you stand; reaping a reward – receiving payoffs, reaching a milestone, finally seeing some results; considering a direction change – pondering alternatives, thinking about change, standing at a crossroads


Swords 3

3 of Swords – feeling heartbreak – having your feelings hurt, getting some unsettling news, being disappointed; feeling lonely – feeling lost, being separated, wandering far from home; experiencing betrayal – being let down, breaking your word, finding your trust misplaced


Wands 5

5 of Wands – disagreeing – quibbling over details, quarreling, arguing and bickering; experiencing competition – rising to the challenge, trying to outdo yourself, looking for a fight; experiencing hassles – getting annoyed by demands, needing to take care of details, being bothered by trivialities


02 The High Priestess

The High Priestess – staying non-active – withdrawing from involvement, being receptive to influence, waiting patiently; accessing the unconscious – using your intuition, trusting your inner voice, being aware of a larger reality; seeing the potential – allowing development, opening to what could be; sensing the mystery – opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious


Swords 4

4 of Swords – resting – taking a break, giving your body time to heal, taking life easy; contemplating – taking time alone to think, standing back from the situation, reviewing where you are; quietly preparing – making sure your base is secure, tying up loose ends, stabilising


18 The Moon

The Moon – feeling fear – lacking courage, being overcome by anxieties, feeling a nameless apprehension; believing illusions – deceiving yourself, experiencing distortions, chasing after a fantasy; stimulating the imagination – opening to fantasy, having vivid dreams or visions, plumbing the unconscious; feeling bewildered – losing direction and purpose, being easily distracted, feeling disoriented


14 Temperance

Temperance – being temperate – finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise; maintaining balance – recognising all sides, feeling centred and secure; experiencing health – renewing energy and vigour, flourishing; combining forces – joining with others, finding the right mix


01 The Alchemist

The Alchemist – taking action – doing what needs to be done, producing magical results; acting consciously – acknowledging your motivations, examining the known situation; concentrating – feeling centred, being totally committed; experiencing power – having vitality, feeling vigorous, being creative


Swords 8

8 of Swords – feeling restricted – feeling trapped by circumstances, experiencing few options, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused – being unsure which way to turn, not understanding what is happening, needing guidance and clarity; feeling powerless – doubting anything you do will help, looking for a white knight, avoiding responsibility


Wands 3

3 of Wands – exploring the unknown – expanding horizons, leaving the secure behind; having foresight – getting a premonition, being visionary; demonstrating leadership – assuming a responsible position, showing others the way


Cups 9

9 of Cups – having your wish fulfilled – obtaining your goal, having your dream come true; feeling satisfied – feeling pleased as punch, indulging in a little smugness; enjoying sensual pleasure – relaxing, making love, appreciating the arts

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a daily card, follow me on Instagram (@nectar1269).

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

Dubai 2016: Week 10

I had a really hectic week and struggled to find time to get any work done! I managed to squeeze in a lot of exercise, but not a whole lot of work.

After my yoga class on Sunday evening, my parents picked me up from Village Mall and we went to Markette at Box Park for dinner. They’d been there for dinner the week before and had liked it. The funny thing is: they both thought the menu was two-sided, but it actually opened so there were four sides to it – they’d missed out half the menu! We shared the calamari and shish taouk platter for starters.

2016-03-06 21.13.34

The calamari was just average, I thought. The shish taouk was very good – the chicken was tender and juicy. After that, my mum ordered a soup for her main course, my dad ordered the grilled corn and chicken salad and I ordered a galette (an open crĂŞpe, if you like) with turkey ham, cheese and two fried eggs.

2016-03-06 21.44.35

I was really full after that, not to mention sleepy after my yoga class.

Monday was busy – I had a session with Pete on Monday and a piano lesson that afternoon. I also had my Arabic class that evening! An exhausting day.

I went to an IBWG lunch at the Trade Centre Club on Tuesday afternoon. I hadn’t been in a while – I was swamped with work during the January lunch and had the flu during the February lunch so I thought I’d better make an effort for March or risk my membership lapsing. I was on a table with just three other women, but we had some interesting conversations. I was home by 3pm and then decided I’d go to a yoga class at 4pm. After that, I worked for the rest of the evening.

I woke up on Wednesday and it was pouring! It was so dark outside, I wasn’t even sure what time it was. It usually makes no difference to me when it rains as I barely leave the house, but on this particular day I had places to go. And when 5 minutes of rain leads to 5 hours of traffic, I was dreading it. I had a session with Pete in the morning, managed to do some work until about 3pm and then headed off to DIFC for my meeting at Caffe Nero. It was still drizzling by that time. At 4.30pm I went over to the Conrad as I had a schoolfriend staying there for a few days and we were meeting for coffee. I think the last time we’d met was over 10 years ago – it was nice to see her, but we only managed to spend an hour together as I had to head off to my Arabic class! Thankfully it had stopped raining by then, but there was still a lot of traffic everywhere – and there were only five of us in the class.

On Thursday afternoon, a friend came over with her baby for a little while. After she left, I went to Roberto’s for a friend’s birthday drinks. I thought I’d only join them for a bit, and I got there at 7pm, but I ended up getting home at 2am. That always happens to me!

On Friday morning I got an email from my client who had sent me the Chinese paper the week before. They wanted me to continue working on it. Were they mad? I told them that I had no idea what I was doing and that it would take too long. They told me they would increase the rate and the deadline. They also told me they’d send it to the author to check before it was published. For goodness’ sake – what good would that do? The author already thought that the garbage he’d submitted was proper English, how would he even understand what I was writing?

Anyway, I decided I’d focus on that on Saturday and spent most of Friday working on other things.

I was up early on Saturday morning as I had tickets to see Chris Cleave at the Literature Festival. When I left the house, I told myself I wasn’t going to buy any books. None. At. All. I got to the Intercontinental at Festival City shortly after 9am and had bought a book by 9.15am. I think someone should host an intervention for me. I bumped into a friend of mine who was attending the same session at 9.30am and we went in together.

2016-03-12 10.02.22

I had never read anything by Ann Cleves (but want to now) and had only read The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (and bought his latest book, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, that morning). He came across as such a lovely guy – so humble and so surprised that people would want to hear him speak about his books. They both were so interesting to listen to and made some really good points about writing about the horrors of life. Chris Cleave said that we all know what the horrors are, and we don’t always have to write about them so graphically – sometimes just referring to what’s happening ‘offstage’ is enough. He said you have to trust your readers to know what you’re talking about…

After the session, we queued up with our books for him to sign. When I got to the front, he shook my hand and thanked me for buying his books. I told him that my copy of The Other Hand had been bought in Dubai and taken to Bali and Nigeria and was finally back with me. He asked me if I’d been to Nigeria and I told him I lived there as a child. He told me he went there once for a week – he said it was fascinating but that he wouldn’t want to live there! I think a lot of people who live there feel like that too! He was really interesting to talk to – and he signed both my books.

2016-03-12 14.51.08

2016-03-12 14.51.41

He said he was running a couple of workshops that afternoon, but when I went to see if there were any tickets still available they were sold out.

I had an hour until my next session at 11.30am. My friend and I grabbed a cup of tea before separating for our respective sessions. I bumped into some other friends as well, but on the whole I got the feeling that the Festival was much quieter than in previous years.

The next session I attended was called ’14 Centuries of Arab History’. The author was John McHugo – his two books are A Concise History of the Arabs and Syria: A Recent History. The person moderating the session was Riz Khan, who used to work for the BBC and CNN – apparently he lives in Dubai now. I was disappointed by this session – it could have been so much more interesting than it was. I know that one hour isn’t a very long time, but the session was mostly questions from the audience, a bit like ‘Question Time’, so no topic was covered in any real depth.

My friend and I met up again after that and walked over to the Belgian Beer Cafe for lunch. It wasn’t too hot, so we sat outside and both ordered the fish and chips. She had another session after lunch and I came back home.

I have to say I was disappointed with the Literature Festival this year. Last year I struggled to fit in all the authors I wanted to see but this year I struggled to find anyone I really liked. After speaking to a few other people, I think that was the general consensus.

That afternoon, I had to fight to stay awake while editing the awful Chinese paper, and then I headed to the beach for my evening walk – it was really busy! I was home a little after 7pm and had dinner with my parents.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I went to the gym on Sunday morning. I started with a 5-minute warmup on the cross-trainer, did some stretches and then did Week 7 Day 1 of the 10k Runner app:

  • Warm up x 5 min
  • Run x 20 min
  • Cool down x 5 min

Week 7! How did I get here! And running for 20 minutes! I’d been dreading this ever since I peeked ahead after my last run the previous week. I warmed up at 6 km/h and began running at 7.2 km/h. I made it to 10 minutes and took the speed down to 6.8 km/h for 20-30 seconds, and once I did that I found it hard to take the speed back up again. In the second half I carried on at 7.2 km/h but reduced the speed for 15 seconds three times in those last 10 minutes. And when I got to 25 minutes, I hit the big red ‘Stop’ button instead of the ‘Cool down’ button, which was annoying! So I restarted the treadmill and walked at an easy pace for a few minutes… I have a feeling I’m going to be repeating this week because I found it soooo hard!

On Sunday evening I decided to try a Vinyasa Flow class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. The teacher is great – she said each person could go at their own place and rest at any point during the class. It wasn’t easy, and I was the sweatiest person there by the end of the class, but I enjoyed it. I think she is fast becoming my favourite teacher at the yoga studio.

I had a session with Pete on Monday. He asked what I’d done over the weekend in terms of exercise, and I told him I’d done something every day. He said that I wouldn’t be doing any running at all in the session – and to warm up I did 10 minutes on the treadmill followed by some thorough stretching.

The first set of exercises consisted of me squatting using the resistance band which was attached to the lateral pulldown machine:

  • Squats x 10
  • Side squats x 10 (with my left side facing the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Side squats x 10 (with my right side facing the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Squats x 10 (facing away from the lateral pulldown machine)
  • Combined lunge/knee raise x 10 (10 on each side, facing away from the machine)

I had to keep my core engaged throughout those exercises – I relaxed at one point during the combined lunge/knee raise and almost fell over.

I had a break and then did the next set of exercises using an 8-kg kettlebell:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Upright row x 2
  • Shoulder press x 1
  • Repeat 5 more times, no breaks
  • Butterfly situps x 20
  • Repeat all two more times, no breaks

Ugh. All that took me 8:56. I had a water break and then did the next circuit:

  • Reverse wood chopper x 10 (8-kg kettlebell)
  • Standing knee to elbow twist x 10
  • Reverse wood chopper x 10 (8-kg kettlebell, on the other side)
  • Standing knee to elbow twist x 10 (on the other side)
  • Repeat two more times, no breaks

I say ‘reverse wood chopper’ because I can’t remember the real name of the exercise. Holding the kettlebell at my right hip with both hands, I’d have to lift the kettlebell diagonally across my body so that I ended up holding it above the left side of my body. Does that make sense? I did all that in 5:30.

I had another break and then did the last set of exercises:

  • Sumo squats x 20 (15-lb weight)
  • Abductor machine x 20
  • Crunches x 10 (low arms)
  • Crunches x 10
  • Reverse crunches x 10
  • Long-arm crunches x 10
  • Rest and repeat

So by the end of the session, I’d done 116 squats. Would I be able to walk the next day?? I did some stretches and was done for the day.

I was a little sore on Tuesday but I went to the gym to do Week 7 Day 2 of the 10k Runner app. It was exactly the same as Day 1: warmup for 5 minutes, run for 20 minutes, cool down for 5 minutes. And again, I really struggled. I did the first 10 minutes at 7.2 km/h and in the second half of the run I kept reducing the speed for short periods of time.

That afternoon I went to a Hatha Yoga class at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. That afternoon, I’d suddenly developed a sharp pain in my shin, just above my ankle, and I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I thought it might have been the sandals I was wearing for lunch, but I really don’t know what it was. After yoga I went home and just took it easy for the rest of the day.

And the following morning it was much better (thank goodness). I had another session with Pete. This time my warmup consisted of 3 minutes on the cross-trainer followed by the 1-to-5 warmup:

  • Squat x 1, situp x 1, pushup x 1
  • Squat x 2, situp x 2, pushup x 2
  • Squat x 3, situp x 3, pushup x 3
  • Squat x 4, situp x 4, pushup x 4
  • Squat x 5, situp x 5, pushup x 5
  • And gradually working my way back down to 1 rep of each

I did some stretches after that and went back to the cross-trainer for 4 minutes, alternating 20 seconds sprint with 10 s easy). I then did the first set of exercises:

  • Single leg pushup x 12 (6 on one leg and then 6 on the other)
  • Overhead tricep extensions x 12 (10-lb weight)
  • Tricep extension x 12 (machine)
  • Repeat two more times

For the single leg pushup, I did these at an incline, not on the floor. I leaned on the bars of the chest press machine, raised one leg and did six pushups, then raised the other leg and did six more pushups.

I went back to the cross-trainer for another 4 minutes of alternating 20 and 10 seconds, fast and slow intervals. The second set of exercises consisted of:

  • Lateral pulldown x 12 (underhand narrow grip)
  • Bicep curls x 12 (machine)
  • Hammer curl x 12 (3-kg / 5-lb weights)
  • Repeat two more times

For the hammer curls, in the second set Pete reduced the weight to 5-lb dumbbells because I found the 3-kg weights too heavy. In the third set, I did six reps with the 3-kg weights and then Pete handed me the 5-lb dumbbells. But by that stage, even the 5-lb dumbbells seemed so heavy!

I went back to the cross-trainer for another 4 minutes, alternating fast and slow intervals. The last set of exercises was all abs:

  • Hanging knee raises x 20
  • Wood chopper x 20 (10 on each side, using the Swiss ball)
  • Prisoner bends x 20 (alternating 10 on each side)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Repeat

And then I did some stretches and went home. It was only Wednesday and I’d already done four gym sessions and two yoga classes. I was on a roll!

I went to the gym on Thursday, but when I got there the thought of running for a prolonged period of time made me want to weep. I decided I was going to have to redo Week 7 anyway so decided I’d alternate walking and running on the treadmill for 20 minutes. After a 5-minute warmup I alternated 1-2 minutes of running with 30-60 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, depending on how I was feeling. I ended with a 5-minute cool down. So at least I’d done something!

I didn’t work out on Friday and on Saturday I went to the beach for a walk. My friend couldn’t make it so it was just me – and I went earlier than the week before, at about 6pm.

Total distance covered this week?

2016-03-12 16.56.27

Low point of the week? I’ve noticed that after my walks at the beach, my knees start to ache. I don’t know whether it’s the surface of the running track or whether I should slow down a bit, but my knees ache for a couple of days afterwards.

High point of the week? Doing eight workouts this week, including the walk on the beach. I met some friends on Thursday and one of them told me I was looking ‘particularly skinny’ these days. I can tell you for a fact that I’m nowhere near skinny – and after thinking about it, I don’t really want to be skinny, just stronger and more toned.

Weight loss? I stayed fairly constant this week, apart from a huge drop on Friday morning! The Libra weight-tracking app now tells me I’ll hit my goal weight of 65 kg by the December this year. That seems doable, doesn’t it?

2016-03-12 16.56.08

Read more updates here.