Blink and You’ll Miss It

Photography as always been something I have had a very avid (but amateur!) interest in, from disposable cameras in my teens, point and click compacts through my twenties and now the more obsessional cataloguing of daily life on my iPhone.

I suspect it’s in my genes, something I picked up from my Mom. Ever the historian, she documented our lives from toddlers to teens, just like she does her beloved WW2 heroines on whom she is writing her doctorate. Perhaps with less of an academic flair, I’m hoping to capture more of my life in London, building up the bones of a history in the making.

Spending a few moments going through old snaps from school (short skirts, bad hair, too much make up) or that once in a lifetime holiday to Cuba (smoking cigars, waterfall jumping, huge lizards!) brings it all back and fills in the gaps where memory fails. I love the idea of having a great collection to sift through when I’m 90 and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.

Plus, with social media becoming more visual (pics or it didn’t happen!) and being able to slap filters on everything, arrange, collage, highlight and caption – I wanted to up my game and make sure the pictures I did take were more quality over quantity – in the midst of retro cups of coffee. So this starts with a proper camera and actually learn some of the science behind it. Cue R buying me a beautiful Canon for my birthday and my journey into becoming a junior paparazzi lookalike begins.

Coincidently, my first tentative steps testing out my new camera kit coincided with a running injury which meant I had to give up my space in the Colour Run. And what better way to make the most of a shit situation then to go and support the RDC runners and get all snap happy – and there was powder paint to boot.

Here are a few of the best bits:

Rose Tinted Chippy and Danielle 

Jason and Danielle 
Lizzy and Cory Smash Up the British 10K
Laura goes for he Group Hug

War Paint

Start Line of the Colour Run 

These are obviously baby steps, nothing to grand, arty or special from a skill set perspective. But at the very least they capture a brilliant summer’s day in London, supporting a group of people who literally keep me up and running.

As I’ll be expanding on the photography vibes, I’ve started a new blog, Blink and You’ll Miss it  here. Do check it out – would love to hear your thoughts but please note is still very much a work in progress. No whizzy html skills here yet! There will be less running and probably more random pics of the sky looking all pretty. And me being obscure and hispterish. Laughs come free.

Jim Murphy: Muscle Talk Championships

Meet Jim Murphy. The man who has single handedly turned around my entire diet (leading to my weight dropping nearly 20 pounds!), and even inspired my other half to give up the pastry and hit the gym (he’s down 12 pounds). Jim has also been a huge help in managing my ITB injuries, both last year post Royal Parks, and this year when it reoccurred. With a mix of his ferocious sports massage and general aura of positivity he got me back up and running in no time. A tremendous inspiration and a great motivator.

Jim Murphy with his baby daughter

When Jim let us know he was competing in the Muscle Talk 2013 championships, Rory and I jumped at the chance to attend and offer our support. Having never been to a full on Body Building convention, we thought it would be a brilliant first time introduction to the fitness elite at their finest, and in all their self tanned glory.

And, well. WOW. On all sorts of levels. I am all muscled OUT. Diamond encrusted bikinis, blinding white teeth, and lots and lots of tanned, look-like-they’re-sculpted-from-rock muscles. It’s spectacular stuff. And with 8 judges to boot, no small amount of pressure on each contestant.

I couldn’t help thinking the whole way through, that just those few minutes up on stage under searing hot lights, cannot do justice to the sheer amount of determination that goes into fuelling and building these bodies. It’s testament to a dedication and discipline that strikes me like a bolt from the blue maybe once a year, when I’ve OD’ed on berocca. Certainly not every bleeding day for months and months. And no chocolate. Its impressive stuff.

But you have to see it to believe it. Here are a few of my best snaps from the day.

FLEX ! HOLD ! DON’T FORGET YOUR HAMSTRINGS (a few choice phrases from the supporters today)

Also, comforted by the fact the blokes wear less clothing than the women. And these ladies WORK OUT.

Ladies Physique Round 1

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Winner Women’s Physique 

JIM! Over 90kgs Category

Professional Champ

Men’s Physique

Climbing the Walls

Over the past month or so, my friend Christina and I have taken to the ropes and started climbing the walls. Many walls. Walls that are very very high. I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to say yes in the first place, I am terrified of heights. Given I’ve jumped out of a plane, a tad odd. But that feels totally surreal and, as it was a tandem, I had little influence of what happened. So you kind of have to just go with it!

Climbing is a different story. You tie your own knots, or you’re belaying for your climbing partner –  so it’s pretty imperative you know what you’re doing with the rope – you know, to stop yourself or your partner plummeting to the floor. The height thing is VERY real. You’re only a few storeys up, so you can see the floor and it looks very far away and very very hard. It’s you and the rope and a few small blocks on a wall, and with my fear of heights, very sweaty palms.

I must be honest, I still find it totally totally scary. I’m enjoying it, but I’m not yet all that comfortable on the rope, although I’ve done the test falling, actually missing a hold when you don’t intend to, or slipping is completely terrifying. I’m sure the more I do it the less nervous and anxious I’ll be. Which is one of the reasons I am doing it. Literally confronting pretty visceral fear, and climbing through it.

Today, our third private lesson, we climbed in the Horseshoe which is more structured, but with no incline and slightly harder routes. Each route is graded on difficulty (lower the number the easier the climb). I’m still tackling grade 3 or just grabbing whatever I can get my hands on –  literally! What I have really noticed is that is much more of a head sport rather than a brute physical strength sport. Sure, strength and flexibility will help, but its the strategy of getting up and over and thinking what goes where and at what angle, that really uses the grey matter. And that’s why I am enjoying it.

I had my first taste of proper fear of being stuck today. I managed to get half way up and just couldn’t figure out where to go without falling, and my right leg, (which is currently running injured) was shaking like crazy. I very nearly threw in the towel. I remembered a trick I have picked up from running. Breathe, don’t panic, just breathe. And found the next move. Its hugely rewarding to get to the top. I’m sure this is good for my head, and the adrenalin is pretty cool too.

The next stop is Stina and I passing the competence test and actually climbing on our own without the instructors and building our confidence on the more challenging  routes.

Smashed it!
Hanging around