Tag Archives: yoga

Michael Finnegan


That’s me at the moment. Michael Finnegan, begin again.

All that work I put into getting fitter – GONE.  Hello, Square One, my old friend.

I mean, I have been walking a lot, and briskly too, to get my allotted amount of exercise per day, but as I said before, the bronchitis and lack of efficient breathing ability kind of poleaxed me.   As a result, I had a couple of weepy days last week.  I’d like to say that I do the exercise because I just love it! But we all know that’s only partly true.  Okay, It’s as true as somebody sticking their head around the door and shouting ‘true!’ into the room before vanishing quickly.

The main reason I want to do this is fear… Fear of going downhill again.  And trust me, that’s a place I never, ever want to go again. Ever. Well, you get the idea.  And if rigorous exercise every day can help prevent it, then sign me up, pal.

Of course there is another, annoying reason… Remember me saying about the weight I’ve put on?  Well, I’m hoping to ditch that along the way too. It’s not nice when bending forward in a yoga pose and your stomach gets in the way. It heads for my spine and decides to squash into my diaphragm and – hello! – breathing problems and hilarity ensue.

So I decided to start gently again with the run. When I can keep going for more than a minute at a time, then I’ll pick up the Strava app again, but for now I’m using the “Couch to 5K” app.  Excellent.  A kind, non-patronising voice talks you through the entire session, and it even allows you to play a playlist en route – it quietens the music down when she needs to speak.  I’m only on the first week at the moment, so I’m at the ‘couch’ end of the spectrum.  Actually, today was the first day, so I’m more at the ‘plumping the cushions’ stage.

Funny, but the old me would have been horrified to be out, in public, in daylight, running. But it’s amazing what having your entire personality deconstructed can do for you. Hey, dog-walkers! Lovely day! Hi there, runners! Going great guns there! How’s it hanging, cyclists? Lovely day, isn’t it! They’re on their own journey, just as I am.  And we’re all at different points. And that’s just fine.

The old me would have run on the spot for months indoors first.  This is how it would have worked back then.  Or rather, these would have been my perceptions..

I go running – everyone stares at me in horror.

I wear my proper running gear – “Does she think she can run or something? She looks ridiculous.”

I don’t wear my proper running gear – “What does she think she looks like?”

I run slowly – “Look at that heffalump.”

I run fast – “Is Greggs having a sale on doughnuts, love?”

You see, the way my little brain was working before, you can clearly tell that there was no way I was going to win.

The depression has done me a favour, in a weird way..

I don’t care what people think.  I don’t actually know what they’re thinking, but I assume they have their own little dramas going on in their heads. They are probably no more horrified at me (or even noticing me!) than I am envious of the trotters than skim past me effortlessly.  We’re all on the same path. Paranoia can be awfully ego-centric, n’est-ce pas?

“Yes, I’m RUNNING!  Whoop!   Fresh air!”



I thought I’d cracked it.  I thought I was done with it.

But no.

The insomnia is back with a vengeance. And because of this, I can’t cut down my dosage, just yet.

Bizarrely, I’m watching what I eat, how much exercise I do… Ah, well, thereby hangs a tale.  I got bronchitis a few weeks back, and that’s slowed me right down.  In fact, if I were going any slower, I would actually be in reverse.  Come to think of it, I think I may well be in reverse.

Has anyone else had major weight gain problems with medication?  I’ve put on over 2 stones (about 30 pounds) in the past year, and even though now I’m working off more than I’m eating, I’m still gaining weight!! How??!

I have started exercising again – slowly. Too much of anything – even laughing – and I go into a coughing fit.  Now there’s another delight I’d like some feedback on.  I’ve had a tickly cough, off and on, since I started the tablets.  Of course now it’s gone turbo because of the bronchitis. I am not so much a funk machine as a gunk machine – not impressive when you’re trying to survive even one song on Wii Just Dance.

Ah, the Wii, my friend. My buddy. My harshest critic at the moment.  I was doing some yoga on it the other day and it said “Now return to your original position.”

So, the next day, I did.

Curled up in bed.

I was going to get up, but somehow I just passed out again.  Not helping the insomnia!  Actually, the other day I only got 3 hours sleep (thanks, students!) but got up at ‘a reasonable time’, thinking that getting up early on 3 hours sleep would somehow kickstart my system, and that by bed time, I’d be so tired that I wouldn’t so much fall asleep as fall unconscious.


I was still wide awake at 4am and starting to resemble that twitchy little rodent in the Ice Age movies.

And heartburn?  What the heck?! I’ve been good.  Honest. I’ve not eaten late, or too much (I don’t think) but I go to bed and suddenly I feel like I’ve been gargling lava.  Apparently it’s to do with the cough. You cough, you get all GERDy. You get all GERDy, some of it slips down the wrong way and you get an irritated larynx. You get an irritated larynx, you start getting a tickly cough.  Stop me if you think you can guess what comes next…

I also did as the doctor advised me and stayed off the chocolate. I looked into this. Apparently it’s something to do with anxiety levels. Luckily, I’ve been fine.  I’ve not been craving it or anything.  So clearly I’m not addicted to the stuff, thank goodness.  And then, with it being Easter, I did indulge a little bit, with half a bar of some dark plain chocolate with orange and almonds.  Very nice.  But I don’t think I should ever eat much (ordinary) chocolate again. I couldn’t find the ultra-thin package in the freezer and threw something of a wobble as a result. The hubby gave me a play-by-play. It seems it was the kind of strop a 4-year-old throws at a supermarket checkout… I’m fairly sure he embellished for effect… Hm.

I have however been having a bit of raw chocolate at the weekends which hasn’t had any effect on me at all.  I think I know where this is going.  There’s a difference between raw cacao and ordinary cocoa.  The raw stuff is way gentler. It’s getting easier to find these days too.  Just ask in the nearest health store.

If you want a quick recipe, here you go…

3 tabs coconut oil, 2 tabs RAW cacao powder, 1 tab coconut sugar (powdered). If you want to swap 1 tab cache for milk powder, go ahead (I’m allergic).

Another quick recipe – the oddly named Cocochocofudgies

1/2 block Creamed coconut
6-8 dates, soaked (no need to soak if they’re fresh, obviously!)
Aprox. 2 heaped tablespoons raw cacao or carob

Melt the creamed coconut in a bowl in a pan of warm (not boiling). It doesn’t take much, to be honest. In fact, if it’s a hot day where you are, that’ll probably be enough!

Put the dates in the blender and whizz till smooth. Add the melted creamed coconut, mix thoroughly and then add the cacao till you have the right choccy taste for you. It varies. The amount of cacao depends on how much of a chocoholic you are!

Spread onto a tray, about 1/2″/1cm thick and mark lightly into squares. Put in the fridge to set. That’ll be the coconut doing that…

Beware – this is very moreish!

Hmm… Feeling peckish now…

How long?!


I can’t believe it’s been THREE YEARS since I last posted anything. So what happened?  Midlife crisis? Alien Abduction? Nah.  Like most things of mine, I just put this blog somewhere really, really safe.  And again, like most things, I only found it again when looking for something else altogether.

Anyway, I thought it was once again time to put pen to paper. Er, finger to keyboard. Er… key clicks to screen? Oh, whatever. And after my mindquake last year, or psynami if you prefer, I thought perhaps it was time to restart verbally rambling as well. Oh yes, as well. I’m doing even more walking now, and just exercise in general.It’s all part of having a healthy mind as well as a healthy body, and I just didn’t appreciate that until recently.

For example, for pretty much all of last year I did no running and very, very little yoga, so it’s no surprise that I ended last year like a creaky clockwork toy – that had lost its key.  I had been doing a lot more walking, more than the usual A to B to C functional walks, but I needed to step things up a notch.

I’ve never been a brilliant runner anyway, so now that I have a gym just at the end of my road, I’ve decided to start river-path running instead. Hee hee. I remember my ‘proudest’ ‘achievement’ in Grammar School was not coming last (out of 60 girls) in the cross country run.  And the only reason that happened was because no. 60 had the flu that day….

So, after signing up to Julie Creffield’s inspiring blog at http://toofattorun.co.uk/ I decided the time had come. So last Monday, after downloading the superb Strava app on my iPhone (yes! I finally got one!), I took the plunge. Thankfully not literally, although that river path can get a bit narrow and slippery in places!  The app tracks where you’ve run, how long it took, compares it to previous runs and lots more things that running-savvy people would understand (what the heck is a split-pace? It sounds painful).

My goal is eventually to be able to run 5km without stopping and, preferably, without collapsing in a heap. My short-term goal is to be able to run to Ladymead and back without stopping , and I’m giving myself till the end of February to accomplish this. It’s probably about 2km in total. I’ll have to check.

Anyway, last Monday, my reminder to shift my backside ran out loud and clear. I got my gear on (I thought I at least wanted to vaguely look like I was meant to be there, and not just running away from something), and off I trotted.  And yes, that’s about as good as it got. Trotting. I decided I would go almost as far as I could and then turn around and come back which, in theory, would be as far as I could go.

It turned out “As far as I could go’ was a mere 300 metres, and even then my life was flashing in front of my eyes. My lungs were threatening to disown me, too.  So that was my baseline. I gave it a day (I did something else on Tuesday and Thursday) then on Wednesday I managed to stretch that to 500m. On Friday, I stretched that to 700m, followed it up with a 1.6km walk and then finished with another 700m.

Big mistake.

While my chest didn’t feel like an incendiary device had just gone off, the legs were a teensy bit achy.

Until the next day.

I then spent the next 24 hours walking around like the Bride of Frankenstein, and making the same squealy noises whenever I tried to do something my legs muscles had banned. Luckily the following day – yesterday – I was fine again. In fact, today, I actually was able to make 1km without stopping, so that’s this week’s baseline. So – so much for recovery time increasing with age… Or perhaps mine actually has increased – but to 48 hours.  I’m just blessed with accelerated healing.

Something tells me I’m going to need it over the next few weeks!!