Spin, Spin Sugar. (Or, That Time I Puked After My Spin Class.)

Yep, you read that right.

Following on from yesterday's random moping, what I neglected to mention was that I'd already made my mind up to visit the gym first thing in the morning on Monday. I'd also secretly decided to try the 7am V-Cycle Spin class. I usually avoid the spinning studio at the gym like the plague because holy crap, the people in there are all so fit and healthy and beautiful, and I get tired bike riding for five minutes, let alone forty-five minutes, so how on earth could that combination possibly work!?

<deep breath>

Anyways, I pried myself upright at 6:30am and tottered along to the gym, and bit the bullet and signed my name to the timetable. I sat in the change rooms for five minutes freaking! out! and then went and found myself a nice, dark corner in the studio, where I sat free cycling for another five minutes, still freaking! out!

Fit people wandered in and found their positions, and I was already sweating away in my little corner. The instructor asked if there were any newbies in the room, so I waved my arms around and she came and adjusted my seat and bike for me, but then basically left me to my own devices for the class.

So, here's my verdict - which will quite possibly change in the future, but stands true for the time being. It's also coming from an overweight and uncoordinated non-cyclist, if that makes a difference.

Spinning HURTS.

(I know, who would've thought, right?)

I'm hurting in the most random of places. Places I didn't even know existed are hurting, and in very, very awkward spots. It hurts me to bend, sit, walk, turn my head, and brush my teeth. My thighs, oh my god, I can't even explain. But I suppose that means I was doing something right in the class, because hoo boy, am I feeling the aftermath.

The V-Cycle was tough, even though I hardly touched my resistance the whole class and focused mainly on breathing and getting the positions right. The first half of the class I felt completely out of rhythm; my speed was lower than everyone else's, my feet felt a bit numb in the pedals, and it was all out of whack. I really did doubt that I could do the whole class at the beginning. (Note to self: just because you choose the darkest corner of the room, does NOT necessarily help - in fact, I found myself trapped in by more experienced cyclists and my path to the exit was blocked! Ack!)

During the first session of climbing and cycling intervals, I could hardly lift myself off the seat, and struggled quite a bit. I found I tended to get up and climb as much as I could, and then sink back down and just cycle my way through the rest of the class until the next set of repetitions. It was hard work, despite everyone around me making it look effortless.

The speed sessions were much more enjoyable - I quite like being able to put my head down and burst into action for a few intervals. I found that much more bearable than the climbs.

Unfortunately it was during these sessions half way through the class that my nether regions started to feel the burn, and not in a good way. What starts as an irritation, turns into a dull ache, turns into a sweet Jesus, I can't sit down ever again. It got to the point where I was actually looking forward to the climbing, because at least it means I wasn't sitting down. That's when you know things are steadily going downhill.

I finished the class completely drenched in sweat, but quite pleased I had gotten through it. We cooled down at a slow cycling pace, followed by stretches, and I headed up to shower afterwards - which is when I got hit with the nausea. That wasn't pretty. I'll leave it at that. But interestingly enough, I felt fine straight after? I'm not sure if it was the intensity of the workout, the fact that it was an early morning workout on an empty stomach, or a mixture of things, but it wasn't the greatest.

The spinning certainly left me wide awake for the rest of the morning, and it wasn't until about 4pm that I started noticing the after effects. It's now 10pm, and I can hardly walk. My work colleagues assure me that it gets better, that my body (and butt!) will become accustomed to it, but the thought of doing another spin session in the next week is slightly horrifying. I think I'll wait and see how I feel, before I try it again.

I'm not sure if it's for me, but I certainly have a lot of time for people who do it constantly. It's one hell of a workout, that's for sure.


I'm in a bit of a mood today.

I have been visiting the gym three times a week for the past two months, in a pretty good routine - Aqua classes or doing my own circuits. Today I didn't feel motivated, so I skipped my class. This is the first Sunday I've stayed home in weeks, and I feel more than a little slack because of it. At the same time though, I needed a day like today to quite literally, lounge around and feel a bit sorry for myself.

I need a new gym routine.

On Tuesday last week, I woke up at 6:45 and went to the gym before work - and while I felt great afterwards, it was a real struggle to get up at that time. (Random fact of the day: I am NOT a morning person.) I wanted to go more than once in the morning that week, but unfortunately the call of a warm bed and half an hour of extra shut-eye won out, so I didn't.

Most of my gym visits are after work. I work until 6:30pm though, and by the time I've commuted home it is usually around 7:30pm. Some nights after working, I have to battle myself to go to the gym. Do I go? Do I put it off and go tomorrow? Will it be busy? How tired am I? Ugh. It's quite frustrating, this internal battle. If only I had a little more time during the week, so that visiting the gym on my way home stopped becoming a chore.

It sucks.

(I know, this post is full of whinging. Whinge, whinge. Blah.)

I'm going to try mornings again this week, and see how I fare. I also really want to try my hand at one of those spin cycle classes, even if I am completely petrified of being too unfit to handle it.

And dudes, speaking of whinging - today marks seven weeks since my engagement ring was sent away, doing whatever it is Tiffany & Co do to their diamonds when they're being resized. Seven weeks! I think I've been more than a little patient, but I'm getting antsy. And cranky. Think some speedy ring-thoughts, please.

That's The Way I Like It.

I have a love/hate relationship with getting my hair cut.

On the one hand, I love (love) having my hair shampooed, massaged and brushed. Some people pay for a full body massage; I'd pay someone to brush my hair for an hour. Really. I also love how soft my hair feels once it has been professionally cut and blow dried. Why doesn't it feel that way when I do it myself?

On the other hand, I've had some horrific hair cuts too. I don't have difficult hair to cut, really. It's straight. It's long. It's pretty boring. Yet I've had some shocking cuts, terrible layers, and scarring experiences that have left me dreading having to visit again. I may have also cried. They were tears of pure horror.

Getting your hair cut in the capital is not cheap. It's a bit of a splurge actually. I usually put off going.. but decided to do it this morning, while walking past a random salon in North London during my lunch break.

I should add that I have this irrational need to please my hairdresser, no matter where I'm going. It sounds a bit mental, but I always tend to get the same comments when I visit. 'Wow, your hair is so endy/fine/fly-away', 'Do you colour your hair? It's quite dry', and 'I think we'll need to take a good few inches off it to make it even'.

All of these comments drive me crazy. I can't help it! I have long, endy hair that splits in about three seconds. STOP REMINDING ME. I KNOW.

Today was good, though. She commented on how healthy my hair was, made me quite relaxed and once she found out I was engaged, was giving me hints and tips on how to style my hair for the wedding. (For the record, I'm still clueless.)

And the best part? It seems the remnants of my layers-from-hell are finally, years later, grown out - leaving the back of my hair all the same length. It's bliss, bliss I tell you!

You can tell Oscar is pretty darned impressed with my hair. Or just dazzled by my blinding purple pyjamas. I can't decide which.

Better Together.

This coming Monday marks Jason and my anniversary; we've been together since September 21st, 2002. I'm just going to pause for effect and let you do the math.

Right. Back to the whole anniversary thing.

Since weekday mornings are always busy, with both of us shuffling around in a whirlwind to be out the door and off to work, I decided to give him his goodie bag of presents early. We're not hugely traditional anniversary types, but since I had the best gift of all six weeks ago, I wanted to surprise the boy with a little something of his own.

It went a little something like this:

A: Can I please give you the present yet? Please, please, please. OPEN IT!
J: [Opens the bag of presents]

Edit to add: Can you tell that I'm really fun to open presents with at Christmas time?
J: [Backtracks and fishes around for the card.]
A: [Sits back smugly, waiting for him to finish reading her mushy message.]
J: We haven't been together for eight years, have we?
A: Honestly! I think I know how long we've been dating, Jason.
J: Err, no? I really don't think that it's been eight years.
A: [Starts counting backwards.]
A: Oh. Shit.
J: [Laughing smugly.]

... Oops?

Ahem, so anyway, seven years later, here we are! Heading into our eighth year (HA! EIGHT! SUCK IT, JASON!) and with so much to look forward to.

It's always better when we're together.

Make It Mine.

Today ...

I snagged a seat on all four tubes I caught.

I asked for a pay increase, based on what I thought I was worth.

I had several lengthy conversations with the cat, mostly regarding food.

I rowed 5km at the gym.

I stood up to someone bossy at work and ended up receiving an apology.

I kissed Jason in the rain, while getting completely drenched.

How was your Tuesday?

Running Up That Hill.

I've walked around for the last week in a complete daze. Maybe it's because this time last year I was returning from six weeks of travelling, so I went back to work refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. This year I've worked the entire summer, and things aren't looking to be slowing down anytime soon. We're down a few staff members, so I'm feeling the burn. Hopefully the hard work will pay off, but it's hard to say in these times. If all goes well, I may have some good news soon.

I really shouldn't complain about feeling exhausted, though.

Jason is working in IT as a contracter over here, and August marked two years in London for him. Contracting work certainly has its downsides - the uncertainty of the markets and the lack of job security, and of course, not receiving holiday or sick pay. He's been quite lucky with his contracts so far, and is okay at this stage - but he's had to work damn hard for that luxury. The last three weekends have seen him working from home as well, never able to switch off fully. And the whole time he's been in the UK, apart from public holidays, he's not had a single holiday or sick day. The man is a trouper, and I'm so proud of him.

I'm hoping that things settle down in the next few weeks, because the constant burnt out feeling is getting draining. I'm counting my blessings to have a job, one that is actually quite enjoyable most of the time. And while my salary here isn't anything to write home about (and is actually less than what I would earn teaching back home) we are still able to live comfortably, with splurges here and there too.

I guess that's why I'm home on this gorgeous Saturday night. Taking a few moments to relax with the boys, to unwind and take a breather from the working week, and to be grateful for all of the things that I do have.


Announcing an engagement certainly results in a mixed bag of emotions.

Having the whole experience happen while we're living abroad is awesome. It's a story I won't ever forget, and means the world to me, because it's something Jason and I have experienced together. In the past month, we've had a lot of support and well wishes; with cards being sent to us across the waters, lots of phone messages and texts, and of course the sweet comments and emails that have made our day.

The part that is the most difficult about being here though, is being so far away from family and friends. When it comes to celebrating the engagement and sharing the excitement? We're sort of stumped, or at least on pause for the time being. We both have made some great friends through living and working here, and they do seem legitimately pleased for us, but it's not quite the same. My work friends don't know Jason, Jason's work friends don't really know me, so the idea of holding some sort of engagement dinner freaks me out a tiny, tiny bit.

I miss my family, I miss my few good friends at home, and I can't wait to actually share it with them in person. I suppose that's one celebration that we'll still have to look forward to - when we do eventually move back home for good, but I still have this pang to celebrate it now, while things are still fresh and giddy, and exciting!

There's also been a little bit of disappointment, especially from friends who I thought would have been happy to hear the good news. I realise that this engagement is not the most important thing that is going on in people's lives, and I certainly wouldn't expect people to drop what they're doing to jump on the wedding bandwagon with me. At the end of the day though, the propsal was something pretty major for me, something that I've been hoping for, for a really long time.

There are a few people who I had hoped would have shown a little interest in the news .. when instead, there's basically been silence. No emails, no congratulations, or really just no interest in it at all.

I suppose it's a good indication of who really does want to be involved in the lead up, and who is just along for the ride. It still stings though, I'll admit. I wonder what will happen in the future.

In other friend news, it's not long now until I see Julie and Kirby, my girlfriends who are heading over to the UK for their own respective adventures. I hope I'll have the engagement ring back and resized by then, so we can go all girly and indulge in a little squee-ing. It's good for the soul. I'm also planning on persuading Kirby-photographic-genius, to take some pictures of Jason and I, if we can rope him into it, of course!

Days Go By.

It appears that I've gotten myself into a bit of a rut.

Don't get me wrong, life is grand - I'm still walking around in a post-engagement bubble, wishing we had more people here to share it with. Home is great, Oscar is a delight as always, and I am grateful for all the things I have. Lately though, and partially because of all the aforementioned things, I have become quite lazy.

The summer always drains me. I don't like the heat, and after a day at work and a stifling tube & bus ride home, the last thing I feel like doing is dragging myself to the gym. I have been doing my Aqua classes fairly regularly (and loving them, I might add!) but I still can't shake the idea of the gym being a chore. I really, really do want it to be something that I don't dread going to.

With tomorrow bringing about the start of Autumn here in London, I've decided that will be the day to get out of my rut. I'm starting off the month with our annual company staff-day, so that should focus me career-wise, and beginning the following day? I'm all about the healthy. I'm determined to start loving the gym, whether my body likes it or not.

And speaking of the body, well, that certainly needs some loving too. (Not that way, you perves.) The figure which I literally worked my ass off to get before I moved here, has long since disappeared. Sure, I could blame the dreaded Heathrow Injection, but in all fairness? It's the laziness. Back then, I was running every day, and I managed to shrink in size - my clothing size didn't change, but my shape sure did.

I want to get back to that mindset. I have a gym that is a mere five minute's walk away from my house. I have a pair of trainers, I have some daggy tracksuit pants ready to go. I even have the membership, a fully paid membership that I intend on making the most out of. All that's left is making my gym visits more of a routine, and one that lets me start seeing results.

Besides, what better way to make use of a decidedly long and still-unknown engagement period, then to lose a stack of weight? The healthy. We're getting back on track.

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