Couch to 5k – Week 6

Before I start to discuss Week 6 of c25k, can we take a moment to acknowledge that yours truly managed to ‘run’ for 20 minutes without stopping!!!! I am so pleased that I did it as I was feeling poorly last week and was worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the 20 minute run but lo and behold it’s in the bag πŸ˜€

This week felt a bit weird as after completing a non stop 20 minutes run last week (yes I will mention that again 😜) the program tells you to go back to interval running for the first two sessions this week.  The first run is  for 5, 8 and then 8 minutes with breaks of 3 minutes in between, the second run is for 2 x 10 minute runs split with a 3 minute break.  Tomorrow’s run is back to non stop running of 25 minutes, which I’m actually looking forward to, I’m finding that I want to carry on running rather than take the walking breaks in between, which is a good sign.  I’m not sure if I’ll manage the 25 minutes tomorrow but I’m not at all daunted about it, which in itself is encouraging.

I think the next thing I need to look at is increasing my speed as even though I am ‘running’now, I’m no where near running 5k.  The program does say you will be able to either run for 30 minutes or 5k by the end of it, so it’s doing what it says on the tin but I would like to cover a greater distance as well as running for 30 minutes.  I suppose that is something I will accomplish with continued practice.  I do want to run outside eventually but at the moment I am enjoying running on the treadmill as I find the ability to see the time go by quite motivating.

Health wise, I have noticed that my resting heart rate is going down and my blood pressure has gone back to normal.  Last nights reading was around 99/76 which is ideal! A few weeks of exercise, less salt, better diet and the results are brilliant.  My chest pains have also reduced significantly (still there but not as intense or frequent) and physically I just feel so much better.  I am weighing myself once a week and the weight is going down gradually as opposed to the high peaks and troughs that I usually have.  Gradual is good as hopefully it means it stays off for good this time and isn’t the result of some faddy diet.

Xmas celebrations are around the corner but I’m not concerned about weight this time as the equation is simple, eat less and move more.  If I can manage running then anyone can and I really mean that, read through the C25k information page and download the pod casts, you don’t even have to go outside if you don’t want to.  Give it a go the only thing you have to lose is your fear of running 😊


Couch to 5k – Week 5

I can’t believe that I’m on week 5 of the c25k program, and I’m actually running! The only time I used to run was when the pizza man was knocking and my Veggie Hot One had arrived (no innuendo at all, I do actually mean pizza). Now I run because I actually want to and to be honest I was mildly panicked when I began week 5 as my treadmill had stopped functioning.  For some strange reason it wouldn’t start and I was full of worry that I wouldn’t be able to do my workout, I even contemplated actually running outside (obviously heavily disguised) just so I could carry on with my training.  I think that was a turning point for me as to actually think about running outside rather than give up, is something I’m rather proud of.  Ok, I didn’t actually do it and the treadmill did start, but hey the thought and determination were both there.

Week 5 is split into three different runs and I have completed the first one where I run for 5 minutes then walk for 3 minutes and repeat this pattern 3 times.  In the end I end up running for basically 15 minutes in total, which I managed comfortably.  I’m finding that the more I train the easier and quicker I recover.  I still remember Week 1 of this program when I struggled to run for 60 seconds and now I’m running for 5 minutes at a time!

Eating wise I have made some changes and start each morning with lemon in hot water, I have chopped up a a few lemons and have frozen them so it’s easy to just grab a pre cut slice and add some hot water.  I then have a menu planner for the week, for all of my meals.  I know on training days I can eat a few more calories than on non training days, but it isn’t calorie based.  I’m not counting every calorie in every meal but the majority of the food is good, wholesome and home cooked.  I’ve also done a menu planner for the kids and popped it on the whiteboard, “Mama Cafe”, as it’s called informs them what they’ll be having for lunch and dinner each day.  This ensures that they are prepared beforehand even if it’s a meal they may not like and it seems to be working well.  Kids are eating healthily and so are we, where possible we all try to eat the same meal as well. 

My next c25k run will need me to be able to run two 8 minute runs with a 5 minute break in between, this will be the longest I have ever run since primary school.  Then my final run this week, jumps straight to running for 20 minutes 😳 I don’t even want to think about that one at the moment!

I’m eating better, I’m exercising more and the happy endorphins are going mental πŸ˜€, enjoy the rest of your week guys.

Matters Of The Heart

Since having my chest pains a month ago, I have started the Couch to 5K (c25k) NHS program and I am now on Week 4!  I never thought I could run but it appears that it’s possible, even for an elephant like me πŸ™„.  Of course I’m doing it in the privacy of my own home on a treadmill and not out in public, I don’t think the world is ready to see my lardy arse wobbling on the pavements πŸ˜‚.

The program started off really gently and I have progressed during the last month as follows:

  • Week 1: 1 minute of running and  1.5 minutes of walking
  • Week 2: 1.5 minutes running and 2 minutes walking
  • Week 3: 1.5 minutes running, 1.5 minutes walking, 3 minutes running and 3 minutes walking.

After completing the above three weeks I really expected to struggle to do Week 4 as it moves on quite a bit:

  • Week 4: 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking, 5 minutes running, 2 minutes walking and finally another 5 minutes running.

I really didn’t think I could run for 5 minutes and the thought of doing it was quite worrying.  This session called out for the lycra to be dusted off and donned once again.  Normally I just exercise in comfortable clothes but this time I really wanted to focus on my form and be able to concentrate on the exercise rather than my hair is in my eyes or my t-shirt is flapping about.  Weirdly it helped me to focus more, even though I looked like a sausage wanting to burst out of its skin, I was suitably supported and ran much better.  For the last 5 minute run I even added on an extra two minutes so that I would be more prepared for next weeks 8 minute run!

When I say ‘run’ you have to bear in mind that I’m no Paula Radcliffe, (even though I did need a wee whilst trying to finish my last session and now totally get her ‘little incident’ in the London Marathon of 2005) running to me is probably like a fast walk to most of you.  But hey, here I am Fat at Forty and trying to put things right.

I had my cardiology appointment at the hospital this morning, I went and sat in the waiting room and even though it was totally empty the next patient came and sat right next to me.  Why do people feel the need to do that? I joked on Facebook that I’d obviously used my husband’s Lynx by mistake and now ladies were flocking to me.  Joking apart though I did find it really odd and even had difficulty moving my arm at one stage but if I’d have moved then I might have offended her so I did the English thing of pretending it was totally normal that she was practically sitting on my lap in an empty waiting room!

Anyway once I’d managed to escape my new best friend I went through to see the cardiologist who offered me a CT Scan to check my arteries but also insisted on telling me there was a possibility of radiation and it was my choice whether I went for it or not.  The doctor also suggested a treadmill test to check my blood pressure and chest pains during exercise.  I opted for the treadmill test because now I’m obviously an ‘experienced runner’ having completed a month of c25k πŸ˜‰ I told the staff that I was currently doing the c25k training at home since the chest pains started and not one of them knew what it was!  It’s a NHS tool that they should be promoting but they didn’t have any clue about it which I found quite alarming.

The nurse told me to take my top off so that she could attach all the ECG wires to me whilst I exercised.  No one had warned me that this was going to happen so I got onto the treadmill in my leggings, bra and UGGs – no supportive clothing or sports bra.  I looked awful and even said to the nurse that I hoped no one would walk in as the thought of having this put on You Tube would be mortifying.  If they had warned me in advance then I could have worn something more suitable 😩She suggested that I walk at an incline of 10 until my heart rate got to 86%, it wasn’t a problem to get there and they said I could stop whenever I wanted to but I suggested we carry on to 100%, just so that I know how far I can push myself at home now without worrying about keeling over.  The results were good and the doctor is happy that I don’t have angina, my blood pressure is a little high so it’s up to me to manage that with good diet and exercise.  So 1st November is the day that the diet starts again.  I have no weight goal in mind, I just need to get my blood pressure to normal or I will be put on medication, which I don’t want.  How the diet and my thyroid is going to work (or not) I have no idea but I have to try as now I have the all clear for angina, I don’t want to go through that again.  I know hereditary conditions can’t be avoided but I can at least try to do the best I can, I would have liked more advice from the Dr of what I should do but the internet is a brilliant place to start.  Cutting out salt, reducing stress, increased exercise, moderate drinking and eating more fruit and vegetables – it sounds so easy when it’s written down like that!


Getting It Off My Chest

chest-painI’ve always maintained that I’m overweight but not a burden to the NHS well guess who had to wait for 6 hours in A & E last week with chest pains?  πŸ˜¬

No one has said that it’s the weight and no one has told me to lose weight, they all seem to be putting it down to possible hereditary heart problems.  I had an ECG and the Troponin Test to ensure that I hadn’t had a heart attack, luckily it came back negative and I have been referred to a specialist clinic.  It looks like it could be angina but then again no one really knows at the moment, it’s a case of wait and see.  I have been given a spray (Nitromin Glyceryl Trinitrate) which I must carry around with me at all times, it’s used to help you with the onset of an angina attack.

I would like to say that the incident spurred me into action and I have done nothing but eat lettuce and exercise since.  Alas, this isn’t the case, I spent the first couple of days in shock that my risk of having a heart attack was more real than I’d ever experienced before.  I knew the family history and I knew that I could be at risk but it was all something in the back of my head to worry about ‘when I got older’.  Well it looks like I am older now and this is something I have to deal with.

Yesterday I went for my ‘You’ve turned 40 let’s check nothing has dropped off’ check at the Dr’s surgery.  All she did was check my blood pressure, I felt a bit short changed as she hadn’t done my weight or any other measurements.  She was about 20 years old and obviously thought I was some sort of geriatric.  My blood pressure was a little high and so I told her about the chest pains and A&E visit; her empathy level stayed where it was and she did absolutely nothing.  I walked out of the surgery knowing I had high blood pressure and chest pains and no further advice except see Dr next week and go A&E if it gets too bad.

I never quite understood the readings of blood pressure apart from it must 120/80, whatever that means so I searched online and found this really cool NHS Blood Pressure site.  You just add in your numbers and it tells you how good or bad your blood pressure is.  I had kept a record of my readings since the chest pains had started two weeks ago and I entered the reading they took when I went to A&E, it says I had high blood pressure! The hospital put the reading down to my being worried about the pain but surely they should have taken another reading during the 6 hours I was there?  Maybe it isn’t angina and just chest pain as a consequence of high blood pressure?  How would I know?

Having looked online I have worked out what I can do to reduce my blood pressure and it means:

  • Losing weight
  • Reducing salt in my diet
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Eating more healthily

Exercising whilst having high blood pressure can be tricky and because I still don’t know if it’s high blood pressure or angina I need to be careful.  Ideal exercise for me is walking, swimming and cycling.  I looked online and have found the Couch to 5K app (c25k).  It’s a nine week course for people who have never run before (that’ll be me πŸ™„)  I would love to go running but have always been self conscious of my size, so I have started this course but I’m doing it at home on my treadmill before I have the confidence to go outside.  I’m only on week 1 which means I walk and run at 60-90 intervals for 20 minutes which  results in a total run of 8 minutes.  I have done this twice this week now and I’m feeling good, I’m not doing any drastic changes but little steps to get myself better.
If any of you guys are going through anything similar please check with your Dr before you start exercising as I’m obviously not medically trained πŸ˜€ A great source of information is the British Heart Foundation site.