Monthly Archives: December 2014

Taking a break

I think it’s pretty obvious that I can’t keep up with the Positive December thing, or blogging / social media in general at the moment, so I’ve decided to take a break for the rest of 2014.

I’m not training much at the moment, and I won’t be able to train at all over the Xmas & New Year period. I’ll be volunteering at Crisis at Christmas in the dead space between Xmas day & new year’s eve, on 7.45am – 4pm shifts that leave no time or energy at all for other things. And besides, my competition year is over; since I train for not much more than competing, any training sessions I do won’t be particularly exciting.

I got the national & international GBPF calendar through the post yesterday, and I have to referee at at least one national in 2015 to complete my referee probation; so I’m already planning my 2015 competition year. As I’m on holiday twice in January & March, I won’t compete again until June (London Clubs Championships) most likely. I also plan to referee at the All-England in August & possibly also the Four Nations in November. My coach would like me to go to the World Classic in Finland in June (not to referee, but for the experience), but we’ll see if I can afford it.

Hopefully by January I will have broken through this depressive episode & life will be a bit less stressful. In the meantime I’m going to have a think about my training in the first quarter of the year – I find it really really hard to be motivated to train when I don’t have a competition to run up to. It feels like, what’s the point? But maybe if I start thinking about forming my own training programs (dog knows I have enough experience now!) maybe that can make it more exciting.

So ciao for the rest of 2014. I admit I’m quite glad to see the back of it.

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Positive(ish) December days 8 & 9

OK, I admit, this is a struggle at the moment. I’m quite stressed & finding positives is tricky.

I started writing this last night but ended up just giving up & going to bed. I know that all the negatives at the moment can’t be helped, but that doesn’t make them less cross-making.

Mostly right now I’m annoyed that:

  • I feel like I haven’t been to the gym in ages; I feel tired, flabby & out of shape
  • I’m still upset that I won’t be able to lift in my club competition, even though I know that can’t be helped
  • I’m questioning why on earth I’m still working in tech, again
  • If I go to the Women Who Code event I signed up for tonight, then I won’t have a single evening at home all week

But there are positives right now, namely:

  • My mum is doing OK; and she was transferred to a hospital in London on Monday, so I was able to go see her fairly easily (sadly it’s not easy for my dad & other family to go see her in London)
  • We finished all our important work for for the year on time, and did our final deployment yesterday; so the rest of the year at work is just technical debt, which isn’t as fraught as doing deadlined project work
  • I think I will be able to go to lifting tomorrow, assuming everything goes to plan
  • If I go to the Women Who Code event tonight, maybe it’ll make me feel better about working in tech (these events usually have that effect on me)

Also, I got given this Lindor chocolate for free as I was walking out of the tube this morning, and what’s better than free chocolate?! Not much!

lol at my huge hand

lol at my huge hand

Positive December days 6 & 7

As I suspected, I didn’t have time to post at the weekend, so my positive posts are a bit delayed. I spent all of my weekend rushing about doing stuff, before finally sitting down to a bit of TV and relaxation at 5pm on Sunday. I barely kept up with social media stuff, and that is highly irregular for me.

I’m struggling to feel positive today as my gym schedules are all messed up, and I’m stressed about my mum. I was able to go to the gym on Saturday morning, though, in the early session (which is technically a weightlifting session, but they let me in anyhow). I can’t go tonight due to my work Xmas party, and I probably won’t be able to go tomorrow as I want to visit my mum in hospital.

Overall, this blog feels like it’s not about lifting any more, because I’m not lifting much! I didn’t even go to conditioning on Friday because I felt ill (I still have a stinking cold).

Hopefully things will be back to normal in January. The rest of December is looking pretty fraught for me. Wah 😦

But, this is meant to be a positive post (dammit!) so today is a twofer – I am really glad I passed my GBPF referee exam, because I did my third refereeing gig at the weekend and it was ace!

It was a British Weightlifting/IPC para-powerlifting bench press competition, which technically I am not qualified to be a referee for; but I think BWL were short of referees so myself & another guy from BGWLC stepped in. Para-powerlifting is slightly different from regular powerlifting bench press in that the athlete’s legs (if they have them) must remain on the bench, strapped down if desired; there is no “press” command given by the centre referee; and the weights can increment by 1kg, instead of the 2.5kg minimum in able-bodied benching. Otherwise it was pretty much the same.

I had a really good day overall (if you look past the 6.30am wake-up!) and I got to meet (and judge!) quite a few big names – Ali Jawad, Natalie Blake, Paul Efayena, Micky Yule; plus one of the other refs was veteran weightlifter George Manners. There were also some newer lifters, including Stephen Handley who lost both legs in Afghanistan & is being coached by the charity Help for Heroes. It really was an honour to take part.

Positive December day 5; and, the best-laid plans

Life really does have a way of throwing you curve balls, and the last 24 hours have definitely been the curviest for a while. Shortly after I finished my last post, and while I was enjoying my can of extra-fiery ginger beer, I got a call from my sister to say that our mum had been blue-lighted to hospital.

The TL;DR version is that she’s OK, but has been admitted to a cardiac ward ready to have a stent fitted. The bad news is that I’m going to be missing both of those “12 Pubs of Xmas” events I was invited to, and I will probably have to miss going to the gym on Saturday too, so I can go visit her in hospital. But that’s all small beer compared to knowing my mum is OK.

So my positive thing for today isn’t one of the ones I had planned – it’s the NHS. People can bitch & whine and moan about it all they want, but the fact remains that here in the UK you can get blue-lighted to A&E (a.k.a. the ER) and not be made bankrupt as a result.

Positive December day 4

Normally I’d be at the gym at this time on a Thursday, but I’m giving it a miss tonight thanks to yet another cold. I feel like I only just recovered from the last one! I woke up feeling a bit snotty this morning, but by 4pm I was full-on shivery (in our warm office) so I decided to just come home after work.

My plan for tonight is to have a hot bath, eat a hot curry and relax. I’m trying to stave off the guilt I feel about not going to the gym, especially as I have to miss Monday too (work Xmas party!). BUT a big part of my gym is the fact that we’re all a team, and if I were to give my team-mates a stinking cold I wouldn’t forgive myself! (I guess it’s different if you train at a gym full of strangers).

Aw yeah

Aw yeah

Tonight’s thing I’m grateful for (and I love!) is therefore cold-themed… It’s Old Jamaica extra-fiery ginger ale.

Man this stuff is great. I’m a fan of pretty much all ginger ales, but there’s something awesome about Old Jamaica. Maybe because it feels like the most honest, and the least fancypants? Also it’s only 38p a can in the supermarket (as opposed to a more than a quid for a bottle of Fentimans!)

I will be drinking plenty of this tonight, possibly with a shot or two of Woodford Reserve bourbon – because what chases a cold away better than spice and booze? Bring it on!

Positive December day 3

I did something today I haven’t done for months and went to Yoga-Lates at lunchtime. It was murderously tough. I can still just about do side planks, but all the leg raising/knee-bending/etc in the plank position was impossible, and wow do my hips hurt after some of the stretches. Plus the “easy” pose we were doing today was Crow, and lolol no I can’t do Crow (the “hard” variant was the split-leg arm balance, yeah, never).

I’m glad I went though, because I might not be able to make it to Pilates tomorrow due to meetings.

So what am I going to be positive about/grateful for today? I can’t believe I’m only on day 3 and I’m struggling to think of specifics. Actually, I can think of one and that’s that I have lots of social engagements to look forward to in December.

I’m a bit Bah Humbug about Christmas but I wont deny I enjoy some of the friends-type celebrations. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m much more myself with friends/workmates than family, and I find these celebrations so much more relaaaaxing. Just as long as the celebrations aren’t obligatory, y’hear, cos that takes all the fun out of them.

So far I have planned: two “12 Pubs of Xmas” pub crawls (on consecutive days, oh my!); Xmas lunch with friends; a boozy afternoon with my best friend; my work Xmas party (which is on a Monday, jeez that’s some crap scheduling) and a work Xmas lunch. Even though I’m missing the Xmas competition at my gym, I’m sure there will be some celebrations there too at some point. I’m also going to a Women Who Code event at an Apple Store in town, which will no doubt be very Christmassy.

Phew. This is more social engagements than I’ve had in probably the last six months!

Positive December day 2

It’s late here in London, but I’m determined not to slack off on this positivity thing because I’m gonna be positive, dammit. Ahem.

I didn’t work out today, so it’s a short one.

Every year my gym holds a Christmas competition, and every year (bar one) I’ve not been able to make it due to other commitments, or recovering from an operation. This year I thought I was going to be able to make it but…. nope. Turns out it’s going to be on a day when I’d arranged lunch with friends (months ago, so I can’t change it!)

I admit, I was gutted when I found out. But, I’m looking on the bright side: on November 22nd I qualified for the 2015 GBPF British Classic, for the third year in a row. I am insanely grateful & proud that I qualified, and with a great new total of 267.5kg (the qualification total is 245kg).

It was a long hard 3.5 year slog to qualify the first time, but this year I qualified from my opening lifts alone, which is amazing. I never ever want to take it for granted that I can qualify & compete at the British.