Celebrating all the Wins!

The last couple of weeks have been full of adventure, and I’m really enjoying getting things ‘under my belt’. I’m learning that the ‘having a go’ bit is where the real juice is, and whilst it’s lovely to achieve a goal, it’s the process of getting there that’s the real win for me.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I took my grade 8 Musical Theatre exam on 01 April. That was my first official #OldDogNewTricks adventure – and the results are in! *Drum roll* *Trumpets* *Dry ice* I actually got a Distinction, the top grade possible – and I was wearing my dressing gown in the exam too πŸ˜‰ (that’s the Mikado Effect πŸ˜‰ ). I’ll receive more detail about each element of the exam in due course, but in the meantime, I’m celebrating ‘the win’ πŸ™‚ .

You’ll also remember that I competed in the CrossFit Open for the very first time during February and March. CrossFit is helping me to prepare physically for my sprinting, powerlifting and swimming adventures. There were lots of things I couldn’t do during the Open (like handstand press-ups and double unders – where the rope passes twice beneath your feet between skips – and muscle ups), but there were lots of things I could (that I couldn’t do when I started CrossFit). I’m so glad I took part: it helped me to raise my game and I got to know other competing athletes at our box (gym) much better.

Here are my rankings for the CrossFit Open 2019, Female Masters (50-54). There’s another Open in October this year (due to a change in the way the Open will work in the future), so I’m going to give that a shot too. Who knows? I may be able to do handstand press-ups by then!

Emboldened by my experience of the Open, I recently gave weighted pull ups a go for the very first time – and I did it! Okay, I only managed to carry an extra 6kg, but I was thrilled with that. Here’s what a weighted pull up is – and how to do one. (And this experience really reminded me of the importance of just giving things a go because you never know what’s in you until you try something).

That’s all for now. In the meantime, I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Making the Connection

Before I started this project, all my best ‘big thoughts’ and light bulb moments arrived during my long Sunday runs. I think it was something to do with the repetitive, rhythmic and ‘mindless’ nature of the beast. The right hypnotic conditions were present for my unconscious mind to talk to me direct, mano a mano.

Since the long Sunday runs no longer exist, my unconscious mind has been finding new ways to get its foot in the door. My dreams are changing: there are new dreamscapes for me to explore. My twice-weekly recovery swims are full of whispers from ‘the other side’ (although, when the pool is busy, the whisper becomes inaudible as I have to focus so much on avoiding collisions!). Today while I was between hill reps (this is a very short recovery interval of about 45 seconds), my unconscious mind decided it would have to keep with the programme and use the short downtime to have a wee chat πŸ˜‰ .

‘Do you know what’s really in it for you?’ it asked. I was too busy catching my breath to answer, but I was keen to listen: it had my attention because it was a ‘surprise attack’ .Β  I’m now used to the ‘flow voice’, encouraging me to keep going or to push. I’m used to the ‘direct command’. What I’m not used to (during a sprint session) is the conversational approach that I usually associate with my long run.

‘Connection is in it for you. And you’re learning something, but you don’t know what it is yet,’ it said. I turned and ran another repetition, so hard that I could only hear my heart beating – everything else went quiet, including the chat-voice of my unconscious mind.

On my recovery jog I expected to hear the voice again, but I didn’t. Instead I began to think about in how many different ways #OldDogNewTricks is helping me to connect at a deep, joyful and honest level with all sorts of people from all walks of life. I’m really enjoying meeting (face to actual face, old skool style!) people who are passionate about what they do, who are inspiring to be around and from whom I can learn all sorts of things. I’m really enjoying honouring my own instinct to reach out and connect in my own way.

As for the learning? I love following the threads of enquiry that my reading is throwing up. Matt Fitzgerald’sΒ How Bad Do You Want It? had such an impact on me that I wrote to him to let him know. He wrote back! It was lovely to experience that moment of connection πŸ™‚ .

I’ve also joined an online community of active women who are exploring sports nutrition and performance – and, as a result, I’m experimenting with a whole new range of ideas and concepts to support my sprinting and powerlifting adventures. I’m learning from the CrossFit coaches and from other athletes at my box (gym). And I’m learning more about my own edges, beliefs and drivers: I feel I’m getting closer to the core of myself. I’m learning all this,and more, but I don’t think that’s THE learning. Even typing this blog, I can sense something really big … it’s close … but I can’t see it yet. The hairs are standing on end on my arms …

Whatever it is that’s driving the energy for my adventures, I’m getting closer to it – and I think it’s letting me get closer. I think that’s an important distinction: it’s letting me. I think it may have been waiting for me for a while now πŸ˜‰ . I’ll keep you posted as I discover more.

In the meantime, I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Upping my Game!

In today’s video-blog I share some of things I’m doing to improve my performance and optimise my adventure experiences! In the video I

  • Talk about my recent musical theatre exam and the notion of ‘faking it’.
  • Review 3 books: The Rise of Superman (Kotler), Over the Edge (Bane) andΒ How Bad Do You Want It? (Fitzgerald).
  • Talk about my current experiment with the sports supplement, creatine monohydrate.

Below the video you’ll find details of the books I mention (click on the cover image and it’ll take you straight to Amazon) and The Rise of Superman YouTube video. You can find out more about creatine monohydrate here and here.Β 






I’m just going outside and may be some time πŸ™‚ (Oh, and if you missed the beginning of my #OldDogNewTricks adventure series, you can read more about what I’m up to here. )


Adventure 1 is Just Days Away!

I’ve spent all my free time preparing for my musical theatre exam this week because I recently had details of the exam confirmed! It’s happening on Monday 1st April, and I’m (more or less) all set πŸ™‚

I’ve learned all my lines for the songs, I’ve learned a short piece of libretto to go with one of the songs, I’ve got my costumes sorted, made my programme and made copious notes about each song (the examiner will ask me questions about my programme, some of its challenges and the background to each piece).

I’ve a second rehearsal with my accompanist on Saturday morning and will spend the rest of the weekend rehearsing. I’ll let you know how I get on next week!

In the meantime, I’m just going outside and may be some time πŸ™‚


Feeding the Beast

Today I’m talking a little bit about how I’m eating to support my adventure goals. My training schedule is intense and that means that I’ve had to work hard to make my nutrition work for me πŸ™‚ . It might also surprise you to know that I also have to fuel up for my musical theatre lessons: they are very physical indeed! I treat those singing lessons just like any other workout – and if I’m not well fuelled, I just don’t have the energy to support my voice.

In the video-blog I describe a typical day’s eating and mention some of my favourite ‘finds’. The recipes I talk about are listed below the video (with either full recipe details or a link to a recipe). If you think my eyes look a bit weird, don’t worry! I’m just out of the pool and my goggle-marks take ages to fade πŸ™‚ .

Just so you know, I also don’t drink alcohol, I aim for 6-8 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, and I avoid processed foods. I make my own scones, wheaten loaf and bread as often as I can. I’ve been following a phytoestrogen-rich way of eating to support my menopausal and post-menopausal experience for a while now (I can recommend The Natural Menopause Cookbook)Β and I am pleased to say that I’ve weathered the whole transition without a single hot flush, headache or any weight gain whatsoever. My diet is usually largely vegetarian, but (at the moment) I do eat red meat once or twice a week, oily fish twice a week and white fish once a week. I only eat whole grains too (so wholewheat pasta, wholemeal spelt bread, brown rice etc.). Oh, and I take filter coffee by the bucketful πŸ˜‰ .

Soak a cup of oats and a tsp of oat bran in water overnight. In the morning add three handfuls of frozen berries (I like a mix of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) to the saucepan, along with extra water if required. When the porridge starts to bubble, serve with a handful of chopped nuts (I like Brazil nuts best of all with porridge) and a heaped tsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds. Add a shake of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey and you are good to go! (Honestly, this is my favourite meal of the day πŸ™‚ .)

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup
This recipe from the BBC GoodFood website is completely reliable and freezes really well. I eat it with a sandwich/wholewheat baguette. It works really well with a melted blue cheese and rocket sandwich! Also good with an egg or ham sandwich.

Protein Shake
I blend the following and drink immediately. By the way, I like a very thick shake. If you prefer ‘thin’, add milk! 1 banana, 1 slice of pineapple, 1 tbsp of natural yoghurt, 1 heaped tsp of nut butter, 1 scoop of protein powder (I sue egg white protein or whey isolate). When blended, sprinkle on some cinnamon and enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream
Peel a banana and freeze for 3-4 hours. Remove from freezer and blend with a tsp of nut butter. Eat! (It tastes much better than it looks πŸ™‚ )


Wholemeal Wheaten Bread
This recipe is really reliable. I replace all the white flour with wholemeal spelt (makes it denser but I prefer it this way) and I replace the sugar with a tsp of honey. Don’t skimp on the salt! This loaf is beautiful topped with peanut butter and banana. Also works well with cheese and honey, and homemade lemon curd and butter.

In case you were curious about the fifth and final heat for the CrossFit Open (which I’m completing tonight), here are the details:


And here’s what a thruster looks like!

Right. I think I need a little lie-down before 19.5, tonight’s CrossFit heat. And maybe a wee piece of wheaten bread πŸ˜‰ .

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Going with the Flow

Today I’m video-blogging for a change! In the video-blog I talk about some of the unusual things that have been happening over the last two weeks:

  1. Experiencing a sentient landscape.
  2. Hearing my flow voice.

I’ve popped details of the books I mention, along with info about the CrossFit Open heats and Olympic lifting sessions, below the video-blog.

Alan Garner’s Thursbitch Every inch of this book is breathtaking: from the vivid language (which you need to tune your ear to, but the effort is well worth it) to the awe-inspiring depiction of a sentient landscape (a landscape that has a presence and that can feel yours); and from the interweaving of ancient rites and echoes from the past with a shifting and uncertain present to the gradual melting of boundaries in the liminal space that is the Thursbitch valley.Β 


Steven Kotler’s The Rise of SupermanΒ This is all about what ‘flow’ is and how to create conditions to access it (even when you’re not an adventure sports junkie πŸ™‚ ). I’m about halfway through and just getting onto the ‘how to’ bit. I’d say you need to be prepared to wade through a lot of stuff about men doing daredevil stuff (and couched in sports-technical terms) to get to the real juice, but it is worth sticking with. (Shame more women don’t get a mention. In fact, no women mentioned so far ….)

Here’s what I’ve been learning in the Olympic lifting technique sessions over the last 2 weeks (clean and jerk):

And here are the last two heats I’ve completed in the CrossFit Open 2019. For 19.3 I managed all the lunges and box step-ups but couldn’t manage a single handstand press-up (even though I had plenty of time!). For 19.4 I managed 4 rounds plus 6 pull-ups (so 16 pull-ups in total). The pull-ups were the limiting factor for me 😦 .



I’m just going outside and may be some time πŸ™‚


Beyond the Boundary

At the end of last week I posted a blog about how my identity at any given point in time may be affecting, and driving, my adventures. I talked about becoming consciously aware of things that were stacking the deck in my favour and things that probably weren’t.

It was clear to me that I had some work to do around clearing up an old memory of feeling humiliated on the sports field – and that the part of me that was stuck as a teenager on a school sports day in the early 1980s needed some kind of liberation if I was to stand any chance of reaching my full potential as a strength athlete.

One thing that’s becoming increasing clear to me is this: my adventures are creating the context for rapid change and transformation. In the very week I realised I’ve been operating from the identity of ‘tiny, weak, sporting failure’ when I’m lifting weights, I had the opportunity to break through the boundary lines keeping that identity ‘safe’ and in place.

Last Friday I competed in the second heat of the CrossFit Open. I chose the scaled option because I’d only recently recorded a 40kg 1RM clean (lifting the bar for one repetition, only because that’s the most you can manage in one go πŸ™‚ ) and had 30kg as my 3RM (the most I could lift 3 times) for a clean . The clean was only a part of the most challenging lift in the workout. Here’s what a clean looks like:

Here’s the second CrossFit Open 2019 heat workout – and you can see it involves something called a squat clean. A squat clean is a clean plus a full squat #DoesWhatItSaysOnTheTin.

Normally in a workout involving multiple reps for this lift, I’d take a 20kg (44 lb)Β  bar. So you can see that the opening weight was already more than I’d usually lift – and that the second weight (35kg – 95lb) was, well, more than 3 repetitions and more than my 3RM personal record! (55lb = 25kg, 75lb = 35kg, 95lb = 43kg).

Here’s what a squat clean looks like:

I managed to get through the 25kg squat cleans, and it wasn’t easy! When I got to the 35kg squat cleans I was in new territory. On paper, I was in the land of the impossible – and my only aim was to get through the set before the 8 minutes were up. Honestly, I thought that’s as far as I could hope for.

Well, I did it and earned myself another 4 minutes and the chance to squat clean 43kg. (I weigh 56kg, by the way. So I’d be squat-cleaning 77% of my own bodyweight.) At this stage the other competitors and our coach were standing around me, shouting encouragement. I picked up the bar but failed to get it up to my shoulders. I was going to stop at this point because I’d already got much further than I thought I would – and I genuinely believed that 43kg was impossible.

However, something very strange happened when I dropped the bar after the first failed attempt. Everyone was still shouting encouragement, saying things like ‘Plenty of time’ and ‘Take another go at it.’ In my head everything felt like it was shutting down, going very quiet. I remember swearing at the other competitors in a light-hearted way at this point but also feeling that I was really somewhere else – cut off from things, in ‘the void’. Then there was just a prickly, electric ‘head- silence’ (best words I can find for this at the moment) and all I could hear was our coach, Richard, saying ‘Pick up the bar’. So you know what I did? I bloody well picked it up, didn’t I? πŸ™‚ And I completed the lift. And every time I put it down, Richard said ‘Pick it up.’ and I did – 3 times!

Even though I got timed out at 12 minutes, I didn’t care. Something happened after I’d failed, after I’d tried really hard but not succeeded. Something switched off inside me and allowed me across the old boundary line, the old line that said ‘This is as far as you’re ever going to get, you “tiny, weak, sporting failure”.’ I’d say the first failure at the lift was me bumping up against the boundary and that bumping up against it (actually making an honest attempt at it) was enough to destabilise it so that the next lift was possible. Weirder still, every time I squat-cleaned that 43kg bar it felt lighter!

I’m curious about what happened last Friday night. Conditions for an altered state of consciousness were perfect. I’d say I was definitely in some kind of trance when I failed at the 43kg lift, and that I was probably open to suggestion in the hypnotic sense. I’d also say that maybe ‘flow’ was beginning (I’ll talk about that more in a separate post) – and I wonder what would have happened if I’d had more time to lift. Anyway, whatever happened last Friday was the beginning of something BIG that carried over into Saturday!

On Saturday morning I went along to an Olympic weightlifting technique session at CrossFit Causeway. The session was run by lifting coach, Damien Ledger and we were going to work on our snatch technique. Now, I don’t mind a power snatch at all. In fact, it’s one of my favourite lifts:

But I’ve always found a full snatch troublesome – even with an empty bar I found it impossible to get down into the full squat position. Here’s what a full snatch looks like, demonstrated by Sukanya Srisurat, the current world record-holder for the snatch in my weight category (58kg):

Damien’s a brilliant coach, very straight forward and very direct in his approach. We started off with drills using a stick, then using an empty bar. When we got onto the empty bar, more weird things started to happen. I could feel an incredible fizzing energy in my body, but I didn’t know what it was. I thought I ought to say something, but I couldn’t find the words for it. I wondered if it might be adrenaline because I was getting ready to do something my mind-body usually ‘refused’ to do.

Eventually, I managed to do the full move with the empty bar and actually enjoyed it – but the strange feeling was getting stronger. When Damien told us to load the bar up (I took wooden plates, the lightest option), the feeling ramped up even further.

Just adding another 4 kgs to the bar seemed to make the lift impossible. I could get it over my head but I kept bailing out of the squat. I watched as the other two athletes, whipped up that bar, dropped beneath it into a full squat and stood up. Damien said, ‘It’s a confidence issue. We’ll just wait for you to get one snatch.’ And you know what I did? I went and did 3 full snatches and I was delighted! And you know what else happened? The minute I dropped into the first full squat, that strange feeling disappeared.

When I was driving home, I got the insight about the feeling: it was fear. And that fear had probably been sitting there outside of my conscious awareness, doing its thing, for quite a few years!

So, that’s me now: I’m on the other side of the boundary line. I’ve had an undeniable experience of me doing something physical that I thought was impossible and I’ve had an undeniable experience of my fear ‘leaving the building’. Now fearless and in new territory, I wonder how much more of me there is to discover and how much more there is to learn. I wonder who I’m becoming.

Here’s what I know right now:

1. Possibility lies on the other side of the boundary line.
2. Failure is sometimes the first stage of success.
3. When fear shows up, you just have to show fear what you’re really made of.
4. I’m no longer aΒ  ‘tiny, weak, sporting failure’. (Right now I’m in the space between where I was and where I might be. I’ll let you know when I discover more about who I’m becoming and where I’m landing πŸ˜‰ ).
5. Being a post-menopausal woman doesn’t need to be a ‘boundary condition’. Being in your 50s doesn’t need to be a boundary condition. Whatever your age,Β  it’s really worth exploring the edges of yourself : if you bump up against any boundaries, you’ll know exactly where to push a little, knowing that the full possibility of who you are lies just on the other side.

I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Tales of the Unexpected #2

Since my last post, I’ve been to my weekly musical theatre lesson, trained in the pool, completed another powerlifting session and been out sprint training. Since my last post, I’ve also added some new questions to my original list and the answers are eye-opening (and heart-and-mind-opening too πŸ™‚ )

My new list of questions is:

  1. How old do you feel right now?
  2. What makes you say that?
  3. Who or what are you being when you’re doing this?
  4. Where are you really when you’re doing this?

When I’m adventuring, I ask these questions and I wait for an answer to pop into my head, which usually comes in the form of an image (in NLP we call this an IR or an internal representation).

Question 3 is what you might call an ‘identity enquiry’. The more expansive your identity (compare ‘I’m just a mum’, a restricted identity, with ‘I can grow human beings in my own body’, an expansive identity), the more ‘freedom to move’ in life you might experience. So, let’s say your body is physically capable of lifting a certain weight, but at an identity level you see yourself as ‘just a wee scrawny thing’, your identity is likely to trump your capability. This means you may fail at the lift, even though youΒ  have the ability to do it. In short, an expansive identity stacks the deck in your favour! (You can find more info on the significance of identity and the NLP Logical Levels model here and here.)

Question 4 might give me more clues about the motivation behind each of my adventures. The answers to this question might also let me know if I’m ‘trapped’ somewhere in my personal history.

So, what do I know now that I didn’t know a few days ago? *Spoiler Alert* MY MIND IS BLOWN! Here’s what came up for me:

Musical Theatre / Performing
1. I’m 16 years old (the year ‘the Call to Adventure‘ was probably at its loudest).
2. I can see myself in my school uniform, wearing a mulberry-coloured jumper. I wore that in my final year of secondary school.
3. I’m the universe. (Now that’s what I call expansive!) In fact, I’m the multiverse. I’m everything at once. I’m old. I’m young. I’m at the beginning, the middle and the end of all possibilities – all at the same time. I’m swirling galaxies all about me … riding supernovae …. #SuperCool #OutOfThisWorld No wonder I feel so alive when I’m singing or storytelling or performing!
4. I’m really in a tiny church on the outskirts of Coventry. It’s a hot afternoon. I’m performing a recorder solo (that was ‘my instrument’) – treble. I’m playing Bononcini followed by Telemann. It’s all in a minor key. I love minor keys. My body is in the church, but I’ve played myself out of my body and into deep space! The memory is vivid now. I was reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while rehearsals were going on. It was my last school concert. In fact, it was the very last time I played solo recorder in concert. It was the very last time I let ‘The Call’ tempt me. #ShouldHaveFollowedIt. I can’t find what I was playing, but it would have been something like this:

1. I’m not me, but who I am being is in their late teens / early 20s.
2. (See the next answer. #CuriouserAndCuriouser)
3. I’m being my father or the part of me that is my father.
4. I’mΒ really doing rather well in a muddyΒ  cross-country race. I’m running like the wind. (My dad narrowly missed securing a GB vest. He went on to become a very talented long-distance runner and was also very difficult to keep up with on the football pitch. Now in his 70s, he’s still really physically active and in rude health). I think it’s a perfect memory to be ‘trapped’ in for my sprinting adventure – even if it isn’t exactly my own!

1. I’m a teenager.
2. I can see my Adidas trainers! They’re white with green stripes. #SuperTrendy
3. I’m being a total failure, even though I’m trying really hard. I’m tiny and everyone else is big. I’m weak and everyone else is strong and powerful.
4. I’m really on the school sports field. It’s sports day. I’ve volunteered to do the events that no one else will because I want to help out Streather, my house. (We’re not a sporty house at all. Raison is the sporty house and Bennel is the clever house. We’re the ‘misfit’ house.) I fail on the first attempt at the high jump (I collapse UNDER the bar), come last in the long jump, and nearly drop the shot on my foot. I feel humiliated and I decide that the sports field is not for me. #TrueStory (This is really good information. I’m finding the powerlifting the hardest and I’ve no doubt the younger me could do with a bit of help breaking out of this memory!)

1. I’m 12 or 13.
2. I have the haircut I had then – a Purdey cut.
3. An Olympic hopeful. (Yep! You read that right).
4. I’m really poolside with David Wilkie (Olympic breaststroker). ‘ had my picture taken with him at the Pingles in Nuneaton. He toured schools in the late 70s and early 80s, inspiring children to take up swimming as a sport. (So I’m not trapped in that humiliating butterfly experience I’ve mentioned before; I’m actually at the beginning of a BIG dream. Just happens that the dream got ‘cut down’ before I really got going. The energy is still there though. And I’m going to use it! In fact, it’s probably what I feel when I’m doing my recovery sessions in the pool right now: it’s a feeling of alignment, of purpose and of drive – even though I’m just swimming for recovery!)

(And just out of interest) Writing
1. I’m as old as time itself.
2. I’m watching the universe get made. (I get to see the best things!)
3. I’m the Song of all Things. (I feel very emotional writing those words – and I have used those words in one of my new stories). Good to have such an expansive writing identity! I LOVE it πŸ™‚
4. I’mΒ really at the very beginning of time, watching the moon get hung in the sky. (Really. I was actually there.) I’m seeing the beginning of every story that will ever get told.

So it looks like I’m mostly stacking the deck in my favour, although I have a little work to do for my powerlifting adventure!I’m also beginning to see some of the ‘why’ behind this year’s adventures. I’m going to let the insights settle – and see what comes up next. And you? What answers come up for you when you ask these questions about your daily work, your passions, your interests – and even the things you don’t really enjoy?Β 

I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Tales of the Unexpected #1

My Tales of the Unexpected posts are things I’ve noticed that have taken me by surprise.Β  Because my adventures are all about challenging what it means to be a post-menopausal woman in her 50s, and about challenging the narrative that often goes with this stage in life (‘in decline’, ‘the Bagpuss years’ – actually, that’s not part of the standard narrative, but it captures it well πŸ™‚ , ‘past your sell-by date’, ‘old’), I’ve started to ask myself the following questions both when I’m adventuring and when I’m engaging with everyday life:

  1. How old do you feel right now?

  2. What makes you say that?

It’s a very long time since I’ve trained in a gym, and a CrossFit gym (called a ‘box’) isn’t really like a regular gym. First of all, there are no mirrors (and for most members, as far as I can tell, the ‘body beautiful’ is not the primary aim)! Secondly, boxes are very community oriented: the focus isn’t on who you can beat, but rather on how you can support the development of yourself and others. If you’re in competition with anyone, it’s only yourself. Thirdly, when you train in a CrossFit box, you’re all in it together: you all do the same workout no matter how old you are or how fit you are. That workout can be scaled so that everyone can do it; scaling is a great leveller. Everyone can ‘be on the pitch’. Everyone gets to play. No one is left on the bench. It kind of makes biological age irrelevant.

When I asked myself how old I feel in the CrossFit box, the answer was surprising but also familiar. When I was a lot younger, I used to feel ‘out of time’ when I was training and when I was in good physical condition. Feeling ‘ageless’ is in the same bracket, for me, as ‘out of time’. When I’m not in good physical condition, I often use the phrase ‘I feel mortal again.’ I know lots of athletes who get the whole mortal thing!

I think it’s really healthy to be in an environment where all ages can mix and build strong connections. I love that I don’t get treated differently to younger athletes. I love that I go to the gym and can focus on training – and I’m encouraged to train hard and to train intelligently and to try new things- and that no one is ‘minding the gap’.

I wonder what the psychosomatic impact might be of experiencing myself as ‘ageless’, ‘out of time’? Somehow, I think it’s going to help my adventures …. Somehow, I think unexpected things are bound to happen … And somehow, I think my Bagpuss years are not upon me quite yet!

I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT πŸ™‚

Hopping Mad

It’s been an eventful week in the Big Adventure House! I had my first sprint coaching session on Tuesday. Powerlifting has powered right down (it was a de-load week, which means that I still lifted but the weight was cut to give me some rest). Wednesday’s singing lesson focused on keeping the energy up (Gilbert & Sullivan doesn’t half take it out of you). Lots of improvements came in the pool (an unintended, but very welcome, consequence of doing two recovery sessions in the pool a week); and I completed my first heat in the CrossFit Open 2019. The CrossFit competition is not part of my official adventure schedule, but CrossFit forms an important part of my training regime, so I thought I’d give it a whirl (and I think it’s going to help me up my game πŸ˜‰ ).

400/800m Training
(Background image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.)Β  My first coaching session with Richard focused on some of the drills I need to do to help with speed, balance and power. There was quite a bit of jumping, a fair old bit of hopping and a load of leaning πŸ˜‰ . By the end of the session, my body had picked up the basics, and I’ve added the following drills to my current running sessions:

3 x 20m flys (falling into a lean and then sprinting as fast as I can)
5 x 10m jumps (leaning from the ankles, pulling from the belly button forwards)
5 x hops (R leg)
5 x hops (L leg)

I’m not sure what the neighbours make of all my hopping and jumping (there was actually a bit of curtain-twitching this morning), but I can tell you what I make of it: it’s harder than it looks (and my buttocks and hamstrings are working like they’ve never worked before!).

I think there’s something to learn from the lean itself. It’s not just about the clear psychological parallel (we’re all probably au fait with BrenΓ© Brown’s notion of leaning into vulnerability and her books such as ‘Daring Greatly’ by now). It’s also about what happens inside your body when you lean from the very bottom of you (your ankles). When you lean like this, everything feels ‘joined up’ and you can literally feel the core of yourself ‘waking up’ and working for you. And it’s not just your physical core. It feels like you’re bringing your whole self to the lean: to the EDGE. I’m still unpacking what this means, but this is where I’m at with it right now.

In the Pool
I won’t be tackling the butterfly until July, but I’m already in the pool twice a week to help with recovery from running and powerlifting (it really helps with mobility and flexibility). At the moment, I can’t do more than two strokes of butterfly before The Big Sink kicks in πŸ˜‰ It’s not part of my swimming sessions because I can’t see much recovering going on while I’m doing anything to do with the fly! Instead I’m doing a 1600m easy session twice a week (crawl and breaststroke), incorporating some intervals mid-session.

I’ve been going to the pool twice a week since 31 December, and this week something really changed for me. This week I put in a little more effort and got a much greater return (there’s a life lesson right there!). I put the joined-upness of the ‘sprinting lean’ into practice, creating tension in my body all the way down to my ankles, keeping my ankles and feet as relaxed as possible, and kicking from the hips. It made such a difference!

As I gave more to each stroke, the water seemed to give something back to me. I’m not sure if this is what they mean by developing a ‘feel’ for the water, but I certainly have begun to experience it as a living thing that I am working with – something I’m in an active and dynamic relationship with. I noticed how the increase in power (thanks to my hips and thanks to the tension) helped to create a ‘breathing hollow’. I smiled every time I came up for breath. It was like the water was saying ‘That’s right!’

The swimming adventure is still in its early days, but I think I’m going to get a huge amount out of it. I look forward to each swim: it feels like a complete treat!

The CrossFit Open 2019
Every Friday for 5 weeks I’ll be competing in the CrossFit Open heats. People from all around the world do the same workout and post their results to a leader board. I’ve only been doing CrossFit since last September – and there are plenty of things that I still can’t do – but I’m taking part because I think it’ll help me to push myself a little further.

Last Friday was the first heat. We had 15 minutes to throw a medicine ball (prescribed – or RX – standard for women aged 50-54 was 14lbs) up to a 9ft line from a squat position 19 times, and then row for 19 calories. At the end of each throw-row sequence, we repeated the sequence until the 15 minutes was up. The final score was the number of ball throws added to the number of rowed calories.

Normally I throw a 10lb-ball for wall balls, but on Friday I gave the 14-lb ball a whirl: I upped my game. I’m not saying it was necessarily a good move! Because I wasn’t used to the weight of it, I threw it vertically (without hitting the wall) a few times (so that’s a lot of effort for a ‘no throw’). It also smashed me in the face a few times. Also not great πŸ˜‰ . But now I’ve thrownΒ  14lb-ball up against a wall 95 times in one session, well, I just might stick with that weight of ball!

6 of us from Causeway CrossFit completed the heat on Friday. It was a great atmosphere and lovely to be supported, and support, other athletes. There’s something really powerful about spending time with people who are giving it everything they’ve got!

At the moment, I’m 27th in the UK in my category (women, 50-54). That will change as more people complete the heat and submit their results (which has to be done by Monday night). By Monday night I could be much further down the board, but for now I’m enjoying being 27th πŸ™‚ . As the heats wear on it’ll be more and more likely that there will be things I just can’t do or have to adapt (‘scale’): that’s all part of it. I’m going to give it my best shot, though. (On the other hand, if there’s any hopping or leaning in the upcoming heats, I’ll be grand πŸ˜‰ ).

By the way, if you’re new to my blog, you can find out more about my #OldDogNewTricks adventure project (what I’m doing and why I’m doing it) here.

I’m just going outside and may be some time.
JT πŸ™‚