Saturday, March 15, 2014

Updated dreams: marathon

Inspiration from: Pinterest


I don’t know how and when it happened that it’s March already. Almost three months since the beginning of 2014. I still remember December when I was looking forward to this new and fresh start to 2014, being thankful for all good that happened in 2013 and hoping to make 2014 even better. 

I made some goals for myself, for my career, studies, personal life and because Q1 is almost over, I thought it might be a good idea to check how are things going. You can name them however you want, it can be “goal”, “resolution”, “to-do-list” or “dream” for you. But I had one dream: to complete marathon this year. Quick update about it: it is out of my list for this year. So…

The plan was… 

…to run a marathon in Brisbane in August this year. My boyfriend had a friend at work. He was from Scotland. His wife was from Australia. They were living with their kids in France. Amazing people. After some time, they decided to move back to Australia. Guys were jogging together from time to time, they did some trial runs and before they left, his friend said: “you will come to Brisbane one day and we will do a marathon together”. Half-joking, half-serious but still sober at that time, my lovely boyfriend said “deal!”.  Fast forward, three years later, I was on the “marche populaire” in our neighbourhood with my boyfriend when we started talking about that. I don’t know, maybe too much fresh air, maybe I was too tired to pay attention to what I was saying but in the end we thought “come on, why not?!”. He called his friend the next day and he said “it’s amazing idea, let’s do that!”. It was around September/October 2013.

In the meantime…

…my lovely boyfriend started his training. My lovely myself got sick and spend October fighting with a cold for three weeks. Then I wasted November on eating antibiotic and taking steroids and when I thought that things were going to change in December, I had awful accident in the office when I fell on my knee. Another cold and antibiotics in January. All in all, I missed four months of the training. 

Reality check is…

…I started “jogging” in February. My very first jogging was on 3rd February. 1,29km in 10 minutes and 10 seconds done in five intervals: 1 minute of jogging, 1 minute of walking and again… 1 minute of jogging, 1 minute of walking. I did it but in my fourth minute of jogging I was thinking that I’m too young to die and how I was going to call the ambulance if I don’t speak French. Ok, I know, it sounds dramatic and maybe it wasn’t that bad but it was not the best experience, to say the least.
But I didn’t give up. I went for two more runs, seven intervals: 1 minute of jogging, 1 minute of walking. I did it! With burning pain in my chest, red face like fire-brigade’s car but it was done! And… I was done as well. My body not used to exercise and after such a long brake, just said “no”. I had the worst pain in my both knees I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was “taking it easy”, I was avoiding stairs, walking too fast, I was using special gel three times in a day. After one week break I was back in the game. 

It’s mid-March already and I completed 13 runs together. My work-out yesterday was 2 minutes of jogging, 1 minute of walking, repeated six times. 2,42km done. Just as a reminder, my first run was 1,29km. Still with a red face but without pain in the chest, sore muscles next day and wondering if what I feel now in my body is the first sign of heart attack/stroke/put whatever you want here.
I will do 2.5 minutes of jogging and 1 minute of walking as of next week. When I’m not jogging, I cycle on my stationary bike at home. Work-out like that takes around 30 minutes and I complete 10-11km in that time. I know I can do more but I don’t want to push myself too hard, I just want to avoid problems with my knees like I had in February. 

New update is…

…I won’t sign up for a marathon. But it doesn’t mean I gave up this project in Australia. My plan is to complete half marathon. It will be still a big challenge for me but I believe it is realistic and doable for me. I have 4,5 months for preparations. So, that’s the plan. That’s my updated dream. Thoughts, prayers and sending good karma are more than appreciated ;)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Shovel for March


March has already started and it will be crazy busy time for us. I'm already tired when I think about it! ;) 

Buy tickets to Australia – Something for completely separate post but I have to tell you it was always my dream to go there. I’m too busy right now to get excited about it but I’m sure that closer to that time I will be thrilled to bits!

Call my uncle with B-day wishes (70!)-I have ordered a small surprise for him already and I will have to call him. If you can think about a definition of “favourite uncle” and you can think about person like that in your family so… yes, my uncle is someone like that for me.

Get some cards for Easter holidays-I don’t want to leave it until last three days before Easter so I want to think about that in advance, just to be ready. 

Try to work out once a day – do you know this app for iPhone “don’t break the chain”? I have it and I have to admit it works for me. It’s nice to have an overview of what you did last month, it really keeps you going. Or at least, it keeps me going ;) Sometimes life happens and it is simply impossible to exercise every single day but I believe it’s important to try to do that as often as you can. Or at least, as often as I can ;)

Write two study cases for my studies – deadline in the end of March. With house renovation, studies, full time job it will be a real challenge, especially because it is in the same time when we will have to move out… It will be quite tough month.

Get in touch with two friends I haven’t heard in a long time – you know that feeling when you have some friends but you haven’t heard from the in a while? You know how easy it is to say “I will send her an email tomorrow, we haven’t been in touch for three months so one more day doesn’t make any difference” and you keep on repeating that for the next three months? So my goal for this month is to get in touch with two friends I think about very often but I didn’t have time to make any action to show it. Why two only? Let’s keep it realistic, this month will be busy anyway.

Order kitchen – we have a plan already and we gave ourselves deadline until Wednesday, 5th March to sort it out. It’s getting urgent as we have to inform electrician how we want to have wires done.

Decide on the company that will make floor in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway – decisions, decisions, decisions to make!

Sort out heating system – yeap. Not very exciting topic so I won’t go into details. 

Decide on the company for windows in the garage – waiting for the second quotation, just to compare prices. Garage windows are in a very bad condition. Two of them are broken, it is impossible to close the third one so this is something that has to be definitely done. First of all, for safety reasons, another reason: when the garage is cold, then it’s cold upstairs. Having proper windows in the garage will really help to keep a good temperature. I know that spring is coming but you know… 

Make sure that packing and moving out goes as smooth as it can go – I started collecting boxes and I think I will start packing some things that we don’t use (like decorations, camping equipment, etc.) in the first week. I definitely don’t want to leave it until the end of the month.

Move out – It is the last month in this place. It took me some time to get used to living in a small village in France (not speaking French) and feeling comfortable with that. We have lovely neighbours, this apartment is not that big so it’s easy to maintain. I will be missing it. It will be different to live in this new house which won’t be renovated until that time. I’m slowly falling in love with a new place but it’s not an easy love if I can say so. 

So… that’s it!. I will be craaaaazy month!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Shovel-in February


I have no clue what happened with February. I know it is a short month but how is it possible that this month is over?... 

What happened in Feb? A lot. The thing that made me the most happy person last month was a message that I passed my exams from January. I was waiting quite long to get my results. I was confident about two exams but not the third one I had from Economics. So when I got the results and I found out that I passed it and even with a better result than I thought, I was sooooooo happy! I couldn’t celebrate at all because the day after my break was over and I had to start studying again. I have to admit that after one month of having evenings for me (ok, more for house renovation than for myself) it was not as easy as I thought. I will have to update “Smart Shovel” tab soon ;)

We are renovating the house. It’s amazing project that brings a lot of satisfaction but takes energy and time as well. Because we started couple of weeks ago, it is still demolishing/breaking/removing time with a different companies coming to make quotations for us, visiting different shops, show-houses, expos, etc. to sort out different things and to find best solutions for us. Time we have already spent on searching, browsing the internet, calling, checking, making appointments, discussing is… hard to count. So how does it look right now? We removed most of the things that should be removed (floor, plaster, fake ceilings, wall tiles, wall papers, old furniture that we won’t renovate and won’t be useful). We have sorted out electrician, plasterer, heating company, we have a plan for the kitchen and this week we should make the final decision with which company we will make the kitchen. We decided on someone already who will refresh the wooden floor in the living room and in a dining room, we are waiting for estimated costs from another company that will do floor in the kitchen, bathroom and hall for us. We are kind of stuck and the progress is not that fast as we wanted it to be but I think it is still good.

What about the costs? So… this is something that is really amazing for us because in last two months of this renovation we spent… EUR406,39! I created Excel Sheet and I really keep an eye on all expenses we had. This small sum of money is because we have friends who have some professional tools and they were willing to give them to us for this renovation time. What’s more, we didn’t hire anyone to help us with that, we were doing everything on our own or with a help of our friends. It was really challenging because with full-time job and studies finding time for that can be tricky but I believe it was worth it. There are things in this project that we will definitely give to others. First of all, proper electricity and heating system. This is something that we won’t even try to do on our own. We were considering doing plastering. In this area (or I should rather say-in France) it is popular to use ready to use plaster boards if you want to have a straight wall. This is something that we don’t like. The current apartment has plaster boards everywhere and when you knock the wall you have this strange feeling you live in a paper box because it sounds like walls are empty inside. So we would like to keep the good quality of work we do in this house and to make a proper wall, not to hide the whole mess behind plaster boards like many people advised us. I know it is cheap, comfortable and fast but this is solution that we will decide on when we will be renovating garage. One of our friends recommended someone-a man from UK living in France with his family who has very nice experience with walls like that and could completely understand our expectations. What is more, the surface of all walls is quite big and we don’t have enough time to make everything on our own. This is something that can’t wait for too long because without that we can’t install the kitchen. The same problem is with the floor. Because it is not straight and we would like to have a special isolation under that, we decided to leave it for professionals. Same here, the surface is too big and we have not enough time to make. Another thing is that, we have never done something like that before. We know how critical and important it can be to have straight walls and floor so we are not thinking about taking the risk and working on that on our own.

So that’s about the house! Exciting but crazy time. 

I will post my goals for March shortly but I guess they will be related to this house mostly and starting preparations for our move out because we should do that until the end of this month! Have I mentioned before that it’s crazy time lately? 

Hope you had a wonderful February!