Couch 2 5k Graduate

So it may be noticeable that I stopped writing about my running progress over the last month, basically I failed a run.

This was two days before our trip to Alton Towers and the run was doomed from the start. I made the error of wearing jogging bottoms for my run and got hot very quickly. I also realised 5 minutes in that I hadn’t had a glass of water before I left and started to feel panicked. The final straw was realising that I hadn’t yet printed the Alton Towers tickets and our printer had broken the day before. I still remember trying to push myself through the run in the park, the baggy jogging bottoms dragging me back, my throat sore, my mind panicking about how I would get the tickets printed. The last thing I wanted to be doing was running for another 20 minutes. I failed this run.

To be honest I cannot remember what I did during this run, I think I would’ve completed the podcast but spent much of the time walking. I hated that feeling walking back home with ‘Laura’ in my ears congratulating me on a long run.

I didn’t want to write about it at the time (in fact I’m not enjoying writing about it now) but I was scared by all the negative thoughts I was having. I had failed. Would I have the energy to try it again? I didn’t want those negative comments on my blog.

It was hard getting back into it, not that I left it too long. I’ve never put the jogging bottoms on since and I am more conscious about having a drink of water before leaving.

But now I sit here after completing Week 9 Run 3, officially a couch 2 5k graduate! It has taken longer than I’d hoped. With my current work pattern I start earlier and finish later and this only leaves me two days that I can run, Tuesday mornings and Friday evenings. But I’ll keep going with these until I can figure out another time slot.

So my last three runs have been great. I tried a run in the country parkĀ  but decided I prefer the roads better. I have been sticking to the same route and this really helps compare my runs. This morning was definitely my fastest. I find the first 5 minutes fine, the following 10 minutes is the biggest struggle but once I break the 20 minute mark it does start to get easier again. This may be due to the hill I run between 10-15 minutes but I feel I’m getting quicker at this point too.

My fitness is far better than when I started, I used to breath heavy during my five minute warm up but now I can walk briskly without losing my breath. My recovery after a run is much better than it was too. Thinking back to how I felt after a run in Week 1 compared to how I feel after a run now it is hard to believe I am running more now! The most difficult part for me is still the breathing. Does everyone breath heavy when they run? With my headphones in I don’t notice it but wonder how I come across to those I pass.

I have lost some weight over the weeks. Weight loss was never a motivation for me but I do wish I’d weighed myself before I started. Generally though I was around 9 stone and my weight lingers around 8.5 now so it has done something.

Has it improved my mind? It is hard to tell. I still have down days but recently I realised that one of my triggers is getting something wrong. Much like failing that run a few weeks ago. This brings my mood down and my anxiety up. But actually I think it has helped. My overall mood is better than it was. And it makes me feel good to know I’ve started something and improved.

The next step? Keeping up the runs. Improving my speed. And getting to 5k officially. I have been looking at my runs using Google Maps and my run this morning was 4.5k. I know where I need to run to reach 5k so that is my next goal.

I hope someone reads this and decides to take up couch 2 5k. It is an incredible series of podcasts. They took me from a complete novice runner to 30 minutes. Week 1 consists of intervals of 1 minute running and 1.5 walking for a total of 8 minutes running. I felt so proud to complete those runs and each week gave you a sense of satisfaction. Please read up more on them here:

Couch25k
So now I’m off to download the three 5k+ podcasts that the NHS offers and fiddle with my ipod to make some playlists of my own. Good luck everyone! If I can do it, anyone can!

(And if you’re interested, the printer had a maintenance option that should be done every couple of months. We never used it so once we found this – with James’ help – the printer was fine, we printed our tickets, and you can read my blog below for the awesome time we had!)

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Dollhouse Season 1 and 2 Review

Everyone is talking the end of Breaking Bad, Season 4 of Walking Dead and here I am reviewing a drama that ended almost 4 years ago. I never heard about this one, and as with all newly discovered, already cancelled TV shows I’ve sat and watched all 26 episodes in a couple of weeks.

I didn’t expect much for this at first and it was originally something to watch while James was out. But after 5 episodes I had to admit to James that I’d been watching this amazing programme without him! He didn’t care. As I did when first hearing about it, he wasn’t that thrilled to sit down and watch. So he has seen nothing but I plan to re-watch again with him tied down to the sofa.

So, I’ll try to keep this review a spoiler free as possible.

Introduction:

We are quickly introduced to the world of the Dollhouse through the eyes of new recruit Boyd. He is assigned an ‘Active’ or ‘Doll’ to become the carer of while she is out on missions. This Active is Echo, the proposed main character of the series. Through her first mission and first treatment we see how the dollhouse works. We see the people in charge of this particular dollhouse and the few employees who play a part in the series. Characters are established but focus is on Echo. We are also introduced to the sub plot of Paul Ballard, and FBI agent trying to find the dollhouse. For a sci-fi show that uses lots of impossible (unless I hear otherwise!) technology it introduces its world to the viewer with ease.

Characters:

The overuse of Echo at the start of the series can be a put off. The show has such great supporting characters in dolls Sierra and Victor, and dollhouse staff Topher, Boyd and Adele that we really don’t need to see Echo all the time. I love seeing Sierra and Victor pop up in Echo’s missions that they never needed to be just Echo. You may notice no mention of FBI agent Paul. That is because the character is not interesting in the slightest and he could’ve just been killed a few episodes in and I would be happy.

One off episodes:

I think I may be the minority who enjoyed the early episodes one off mission stories. In these episodes we see Echo, sometimes supported by Sierra and/or Victor, being imprinted with a certain personality to complete a specified mission. They added little to the story arch but could be quite fun. These personalities that we met early on should’ve been referenced more in the second season in my opinion.

The full story arch:

I hope I don’t spoil it for you by saying the main story arch is the dollhouse technology being abused by powerful people. It is the obvious step forward. This could be a little confusing at times and a little predictable, and it was hard keeping track of who was on which side and especially why! By the end of Season 2 this is the story of each episode and there was little relief in other sub plots. But the story Joss Whedon had needed to be told, and with plenty of twists and shocks it was great fun.

The end:

Which one? There are shocks in the last few episodes that were entertaining. But so much more could’ve been done. The show was cancelled after the second season so we lose out on so much potential. But the ending we got? The end of ‘The Hollow Men’ was a bit abrupt, followed by the end of ‘Epitaph 2’ which gave no ideas on where the characters will move on to. I felt we left these characters behind too quickly.

I am so gutted this story is over. There was so much potential for this show. But the show did suffer from a difficult protagonist. A girl who changes persona is a hard character to get behind as we don’t know her as a person, so why was I cheering on Sierra? The Echo character and what she became were too unlikeable, and with Paul Ballard playing a bigger part as the series went on it became hard to watch. But the show is also filled with some fabulous fun characters that make up for that.

Please give this show a watch, and make it past episode 5 for the real fun to begin. Honestly I gasped at so many episodes I didn’t know TV still made shock moments like these.