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Finding Gimpy

Challenge two: Spinning

This blog is overdue. Seventeen days overdue. March was a thing, right?

SO. Let’s cast our minds back. My challenge for March was to spin. Yup, get over the fear and onto a spin bike. Being firmly in the knowledge that the countdown has well and truly begun for Ride the Night, I figured spinning would aid some “training cheating” if there ever was such a thing. Turns out, no surprises, there isn’t.

Before March, I’d been to one spin class (don’t get your hopes up, this figure hasn’t exactly rapidly grown). I do know my way around a bike, my favorite ‘what you don’t know about me’ fact I peddle in those wonderful team building games we all know and love is that I was once the Welsh Cross County Champion. Once. For like 12 months. When I was ten, maybe eleven. But still, IT COUNTS, IT COUNTS DAMN IT. I still have the calve muscles to prove it.

I also infamously once cycled the Lake Vyrnwy bikeathon on a raging hangover, the type you get when you are young and foolish when it comes to your drink choices. It also coincided with the end of my six month chemotherapy treatment. My mother recalls that I went very silent and refused to speak to her other than to sporadically shout “I’M GOING TO TELL THE ST JOHNS PEOPLE THAT YOU MADE ME DO THIS AFTER CHEMO AND YOU’LL BE THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD”. I didn’t, though I was tempted.

So you’d probably think a spin class is a walk in the park. It wasn’t, isn’t and never will be. I can’t complain about the spin-aholics, though I maintain that it is weird to own SPDs (shoes that clip to your bike, largely worn by masochists, myself included) that don’t have any mud on them. It was the instructor who was a bit of a, well, let’s just say, dick? Put simply, no one deserves in their VERY FIRST SPIN CLASS to have the instructor point at their eyes, then at your eyes, then at your little turny weight adding wheel thing, Meet the Fockers stylee.

BUT. In March I did, true to my word go to a spin class. I’ve since changed gyms so after a very nervous telephone conversation with a gym instructor who assured me that “no, the Instructor won’t look at you in the eyes if you prefer that he didn’t” and “no, you won’t die” off I headed. And the class was great. The group were super friendly, the instructor was fantastic and even went as far as to check that I wasn’t actually dying, generally making the 45 minutes bearable.

And I have not once been back. I feel awful, the instructor was so good than I even went to hunt him down after the class to tell him how good he was. I bet he thinks I was lying. Well, Mister Instructor, if you’re reading this I wasn’t.

I’ve been extraordinarily busy. Like really busy. Not the type of busy where you think “she’s totally being dramatic, she can’t have been that busy”, but like proper, balls to the wall busy. BUT, having grabbed myself a new qualification and landed a new job, times are a-changing. Mister Instructor, I will be back.

For those of you who are counting, you may have realised that leaves me less than 6 weeks to train for my little bike ride. One week of which I am on holibobs, aka. soaking myself in so much sangria that spinning talk is a long distant memory. But I’ll do it. I know I will do it. Why? Because while I am not the fittest and not well prepared (you could argue, at all prepared), I am stubborn and I am determined and I am strong and I am also apparently a sucker for punishment.

Challenge one: Vegetables

I’ll kick off with a clear statement: I love animals. In fact I have one crawling on me as I (attempt to) type . One handed, obviously, the other trying very hard to hold the offending and OH SO ADORABLE kitten down.

I’m wearing pyjamas covered in little rabbits. My socks have horses on. 100% of my (two, very tiny, very artful, in case Granddad is reading) tattoos are animals. People ask me if I plan to fill my life with cats instead of children and also remind me that they are “not people”.

Update: the kitten has decided she’d like to be cradled like a baby. That’s ironic.

I’m a very firm believer that you can take great comfort from animals when shit goes down. I fondly recall the ongoing pains of my poor father, who having spent the best part of a grand on new fridges and dishwashers and special lettuce for my chemotherapy-destroyed immune system, would often find me in bed asleep with my cat Dukes curled up under my arm having a wash with his scummy little cat tongue.

I also recall a story that’s funny now, but maybe wasn’t at the time for my poor mother. Her nerves were somewhat shot after I’d had a general anaesthetic to biopsy an intruding and terribly unwanted lump under my arm. I’d already been given a provisional diagnosis of Lymphoma, with the extremely comforting parting words of “if it’s not that, it’s something much more serious” from a doctor who probably just shouldn’t be on the bad news team, so we were all understandably a little fragile.

Mum had taken me home and agreed to let me shower on the provision I kept the bathroom door open and was swift. Just like an episode of Holby City, ten minutes later I started screaming.

I’m good with animals. I like animals. I want them to like me. I am less good with unexpected animals. Especially rodents. No one likes a surprise mouse unless it’s of the sugar variety.

My precious Dukes had obviously sensed something was up, kindly ran out as soon as the opportunity came to him and caught me a big juicy mouse to cheer me up. Where best to hide it for me? In my slipper. Which I put on straight after my shower. And when my slipper started moving and squeaking I screamed my head off. The cats were shut out for days*.

* disclaimer: my mother possibly loves the animals more than I do, therefore they were probably shut out for a maxmimum of an hour until she forgave them

So moral of the story, I love animals. But not enough to stop eating them it would seem.

NOW I HAVE DISTRACTED YOU WITH MY RAMBLINGS I’LL CONFESS VERY QUICKLY AND THEN WON’T FEEL SAD AND EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THE WILL POWER OF A GNAT I MIGHT HAVE CRACKED ONCE OR TWICE OR MAYBE EVEN FIVE TIMES BUT I DID REALLY TRY AND I WILL HAVE ANOTHER GO I WILL I WILL I WILL

I’ll do another month. Promise. Just not this month. Maybe not the next. A month. I will.

Finding Gimpy: What it’s all about

I’m going to take a stab in the dark and attempt to guess your first thought as you stumbled across my ramblings: Gimpy?! WT actual F?

I’ll start with a bit of background info about my new blog – Finding Gimpy. Firstly I love to write. You may have read my previous blog over at gingerwheels about a charity bike ride I did a few years ago in Africa. I LOVED writing that blog. I like to think I have a book inside me. In fact, should I ever hit up Slimming World again (we had a brief fling, September 2014, it didn’t end well) I’m going to claim there’s a small library in there. And yes, indeed, my healthy weight is actually 18 stone. Because, you know, the books, the shelves, the free computers. 

Secondly I’m about to embark on a new charity challenge. This year I will be running the Cardiff Half, completing the Welsh three peaks, cycling Ride The Night, going veggie, going sober and any other challenges you lovely lot would like to throw at me (I am being serious – comment below unless your challenge is horrible, in which case, you can address it to ‘The Taff’ and throw it in the river). This is twofold; to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and Women V Cancer, and because I “like a challenge”. I do. Yes I do. YES I DO*

*I suspect I don’t, I suspect I am just stubborn.  

This year is a big year for me. Not only is it my last year before the big 3-0 when I assume I have to start pretending to be a fully functioning adult, it’s also the ten year anniversary of my diagnosis. For those of you know don’t know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in November 2007. And yeah, it’s kind of a big thing to go through.

A cancer diagnosis is a horrible thing. No matter your age or circumstances, it’s a fully loaded kick that’s forgotten about your teeth and is going for your vital organs instead. It put me, my family and friends in some awful circumstances when I should have been having the best years of my life (2nd year of uni, bitching friends, Cardiff drinking scene, you work out my priorities). But, and deep breath, I also have a collection of hilarious stories as well. And I want to write about them. 

And my first will be to introduce Gimpy, at long last I hear you cry! As I mentioned earlier, I am stubborn. Really stubborn, too stubborn. Shortly after I finished my treatment I got the idea in my head that I wanted to run the London marathon. My mother claims this was after watching Run, Fat Boy, Run (she actually did, she was directly quoted in the local paper). I continue to deny this story. 

So, with two friends who are wonderful, amazing, and perhaps equally as stubborn as I am, we signed up to run the marathon with charity places for Leukaemia CARE. And… It. Was. Horrible.

Turns out 20 year old me didn’t like running. I “trained” as in I religiously went to the gym and cross trained and rowed and did the leg squeezy machine thing. But did I run? HELL NO. Enter the day of the London Marathon when to date the longest I’ve run is a mile. It. Was. Horrible. 

7 hours and 20 minutes later, with no warm up or cool down, I was a broken women. Literally. I pulled every muscle in my body and moved like a mummy. I’d finished 10 minutes behind Katie Price who infamously destroyed her foot half way around.

When I returned to Cardiff I was spoiled rotten – I was chaufered 50 metres to the pub, friends collected essay results for me, I was cooked for and so on. Including one friend. One special friend. One friend who did go and get the ten library books I’d requested, and did make me poached eggs, and did listen to me whinge whilst reminding me about the stretches she’d recommended. And then she got her revenge (I suspect the library books broke her), she nicknamed me Gimpy. And it stuck.

Welcome to Finding Gimpy. 

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