Snow boarding japan Yamagata

Honeymoon, Travel


So firstly if you are just reading this post I should let you know that in March 2020 I honeymoone in Japan. This was at the start of Covid 19 when it was just called the Corona virus and the British government said it was safe to go! So off we flew with the air hostess wearing masks and gloves.

Which felt a bit alien to us…. not any more.

We felt pretty safe in Japan as everything was clean, 60% of people were wearing masks and Japan was quiet. We didn’t face many crowds and the whole world was just getting on with it. Italy had not yet shut down and all the horrific deaths had just been reporting China and the cruise ship off Japan.

It felt safe and quiet.


Really, really quite.


Restaurants where half empty, bars, shops it was really tough to see. Zao Onsen was half closed down due to the lack of tourism and they were suffering for it.


Some places were really busy and others were just not.


Snowboarding

We stepped off the bus into crisp cold air and the town was white with snow. We had 3 nights booked and we were excited for this part of our trip.

We went to Zao Onsen to do two days snowboarding up in the beautiful mountains. The trees look like they are made of glass it definitely felt like we were in Narnia . It was too warm to see the famous Zao Onsen snow monsters but we could see there out lines and it was still filled with magic.


We got to see a different side of Japan and in many ways we were really lucky. We definitely lucked out with Snowboarding.


I should tell you that because of all the onsens the whole town smelled like eggs, stinky eggs. You soon get used to it but it did permeate everywhere.


Hotel Matsukaneya Anex

Our hotel was pretty much empty, the owners were amazing and attentive. They picked us up from the station, advised us where to go for food and dropped us back at the station. We had two onsens to choose from and the food was pretty great two. I am going to do a review of all the hotels we stayed in. This on was defiantly brilliant, great budget hotel full of character and wonderful people.

The room was large and the heating was on so it was nice and cosy! We stayed in a traditional futon in the floor which was comfortable enough and we spent our evenings in the Onsen and watching movies on my Amazon Tablet ( the only time I used it!) plus I got to wear the robe to dinner which I loved!

Our hotel was a short walk to a main rope way (gondola) and we went straight to the top of the mountain. Like most of my trips I have no confidence on my first slope but we had no one with us. It was icy cold. My hair froze in its place and matted together. It was so cold but like all boarding trips, when its that cold you keep on moving.


When we went boarding in Le Deuce Alps, we had a lot of blizzards and wind. In japan we had less but still some moments when the slope whited out and you could see nothing. I had to hunker down in fear of being blown off the mountain (that was never going to happen).


The slopes were great wide and flat and unlike any mountain I have ever been on they were filled with trees from top to bottom! It was really stunning and I loved it. We celebrated our 11 years together on the mountain which was pretty special. Definitely an anniversary to remember.

Safety first


I would love to tell you that this was the first snowboarding trip without tears but that would be a big fat lie.


In Japan they have chairlifts that don’t have a safety. You just sit in them. As someone with a fear of heights I found this unbearable. I hate chairlifts generally, and will happily do my best to avoid them. We took a wrong turn down the most beautiful slope only for the fear to take hold of me. I was angry, blaming Gavin for taking me this way knowing there was a chairlift at the end. I cried the whole way and begged him not to move so much. He decided to take a photo of me in this moment. ( charming)


This would have been fine if we didn’t take anther wrong turn and end up at the same bloody chair lift again. I could not believe it. Gavin looked sheepishly at me and looked like he was prepared to walk back up the hill but I whizzed past him and got on the terrible thing again. I didn’t cry this time but I was scared.


It was horrible.


We rented our boards so we dropped them off at the rental place every night to save us from having to carry them. We soaked our tired bodies in the natural onsens. I really miss the Onsens! And had dinner at the ryokan.

Apres ski

There wasnt any apres ski at all. Everything was pretty much closed. So we went to a little cafe bar every day, I had hot sake and Gavin had local beers ( Japan beer is excellent) and we treated ourselves to a bowl of chips. The food was good here, very french and Gavin craved Ramen every day! But we weren’t here for long.

I am not sure whether Japan has good apres ski, when we come back it will be interesting to see! Renting our gear was easy but it was expensive but it was our honeymoon and we wanted to treat ourselves.

Summary

Like all of our trip so far Yamagata was beautiful and wonderful. We wish there had been more to do but with the current Covid crisis we were also great full for everything we got to experience.

The slopes were beautiful and empty, they felt very blue/ green on a french scale. Icy patchy and some blizzard weather but on the whole pretty great!

I would love to go snowboarding again but next time I am back I want to discover more or Japan, explore further up from Yamagata.

Have you been skiing/ snowboarding in Japan?

What did you think?

Hotel Matsukaneya Anex ホテル松金屋アネックス

After the Marathon

Fitness, running

This was my first half marathon so do excuse me for the drama that is about to entail.

So as I crossed that finish line and spent up all of my reserves I saw Gavin. Standing in front of me with a can of Coke in one hand and Frank our frenchie in the other.

I was so exhausted.

Physically

Mentally

Not sure I was functioning probably.

The finish

When I finished there were helpers holding out bananas medals and water.

I think there were also sweets but I had already eaten too many and needed sustenance.

I took the banana and said that I needed a wee. I hadn’t gone on the run but I was really afraid I would never get up again.

I had no faith in my legs any more, they were like jelly and I couldn’t trust them!

But they still held me up. Gav took a picture of me on the podium

And I struggled to get up and even more to get down. I have never been this tired in my life.

Ever

I was happy that I had done it but I had no want to ever do it again. 10K yes nothing any further!

Then we sat down and waited for Jacqui to finish. She is almost 60 and said she would walk it but ended up jogging most of it.

The whole team was brilliant I was proud of us all.

It was another hours wait but it gave me time to rest.

I took of my shoes and feared the blisters and bruises that were fewer than I imagined. Two tiny blisters and one black toe. Not bad for a 2 day old pair of trainers. They looked after my feet well.

When jacqui joined us we all joked and laughed and then went for lunch.

We were all starving but when it came to eating we all stumbled.

Our legs and bodies where aching and we struggled to stand up with our muscles so taught.

I had a pint of doombar and was feeling sleepy.

I threw a jumper on to keep warm and just wanted to sleep.

Heading home

When we got in I ran a bath and Gav watched me get in in case needed help getting in and out. I had a drink, watched @annaedit on YouTube and let the water get cold.

I had put Epsom salts in the bath to soothe my muscles and struggled to lower myself down.

I also kept my medal with me!

I was shattered so put on a movie and rested till bed time.

Recovery

My feet were sore but not painful.

My toe went a bit black so I will probably loose a nail.

But no other injuries,

Movement was hard and for two days I had still legs and struggled with stairs.

When I mean struggled I mean I was afraid I would fall down the stairs. I had to psych myself up every time I went up stairs. Long distances were also a no no.

I had no speed and no power.

But after day 4 I felt human again. There is a park run next Saturday so I may try that out and see if I have improved at all!

My medal is at work where it shall remain.

I don’t want to run that far again but I am already looking up 10Ks for next year. A half marathon will need some actual training I think!

lessons learned!

Fitness update three weeks since I joined the gym, getting up early

body confidence, confidence, Fitness, weight loss

So I thought if you are not too bored of this newbieish gym goer then you may like to read this.

I am actually on my fourth week now and I am loving it. I am loving the feeling of improving my body. Every time I go I push myself and improve. The results are immediate in so far as the next time I go I can do it. When people say that fitness is all in your head they mean it. Because every time I think I can’t do it, the next visit I can!

I recently watch Jamie Genevieve fitness vlog and she said this gem of wisdom

” No one ever regrets going to the gym”

And she is right. I feel good when I leave the gym. I have energy that lasts me till about 3.30 and then I flag a little. My body looks better.

I feel better!

I still have work to do and a few more patches of skin to tone but I am happy about my body. I just need to keep it up.

Early mornings

I love my bed so much, so getting up early, like 5.45am is pretty god damn early.

I look like crap but yesterday even the sun wanted to go back to bed!!

But I have found that I need a gym buddy! I miss Jon laughing at me and introducing me to new exercises and machines. I asked Gav if he would join again but he doesn’t fancy it!

So I aim to go 3-4 times a week and so far I have done it! But I have to go early. Yesterday I came home and had a quick run around the park with Frank and he loved it!

I have to get up

I have to go

But when I get there I love it and it’s worth it. Most of the time I say I am definitely going the next morning. Then that morning I decide whether or not to hit the snooze button.

So this is my little update for my gym fitness. I hate getting up early but the benifits are paying of. I need the motivation of the gym and the support of my gym buddies. I have also started running back from the gym. Not a massive distance but I will lengthen it each week.

There is a park run on Saturday and I should really see if I can do it.

But we will see!

Don’t get stuck in a fitness rut: Gym tips I still need to listen to!

Advice, body confidence, Fitness, Uncategorised, weight loss

I used to go to the gym 3 times a week which looking back wasn’t great but something is definitely better than nothing!

But I was stuck in a rut!

When they ask to introduce you say yes!

I never went upstairs and I never really explored the machines when I should have. Gyms always ask you if you want a walk through and actually you should take them up on that offer!

I should have walked round and learned about all the machines.

I also should have walked round and understood that I need more than a few exercises to see results!

Don’t get stuck in a rut

This is what Jon taught me. He said when you come to the gym there will always be a certain amount of people who are there all the time but you never see a difference in them.

This is because they don’t change up their routine enough. They get stuck in a fitness rut of comfortable exercise and can’t get out of it.

Now there is no harm in this. Maintaining your weight and fitness is important but unless they change up there routines and add different elements to it there body it going to stay the same.

I am a hundred percent guilty of this. I am definitely a creature of habit. I like the running, rowing and bikes. I may through in a different machine if I am feeling brave like the CrossFit or step machine but most of the time that it’s.

Plus I run home.

So my muscles are doing the same thing all the time which means although they are getting stronger and I mean a bit more toned I haven’t seen that much difference.

I didn’t want muscled arms so I stayed away from weights.

Now I want to introduce them into my routine. On Monday I did bicep curls and upped my weights each time. This will help work on my arms and bingo wings which I do need.

You need to do a bit of everything if you want to see improvements.

I am still working on a fitness plan that I can follow without being a slave to it!

Preparation is key

Pack your bag the night before! If I don’t do this I waste 5-10 minutes every morning when I could be at the gym. I have forgotten my locker key, towel (twice) shoes, you name it.

My skincare and shower bag now live permanently in my bag so I have to get them out on weekends.

When it’s hot it’s easy as I can just pack a dress! But as it’s a little cooler this week I have to focus on outfits.

If you are showering at home the. This doesn’t apply to you but I go straight to the gym then to work! Preparation is key to this and here is where I really need to listen to my own advice. I need to plan my outfits and check I have my towel with me!

Gym tips

I can’t give you any real fitness advice because I am just starting out and it would be wrong to do so! So if someone talks about your fitness at the gym listen to them. Ask for advice book a PT everyso often.

Keep it fresh!

Also you don’t want it to become boring! You need to challenge yourself! Up your game each time. But mostly you need to do this for the right reasons. You need to do this for you, not to get in your wedding dress, not to look Instagram ready.

Do it for you

I am doing it for me. The goal was my wedding but I want this to continue for my body to be a healthy happy place.

Pull ups I will defeat you, just maybe not today

body confidence, confidence, Fitness, weight loss

I was late

This is not good

I also forgot my towel which resulted in a very awkward towel and a very damp journey to work.

I also didn’t turn on my Apple workout so I have no stats for today which pissed me off.

Today was a challenge but I was ready for it!

more squats

I had to do kettle bell squats. I can’t do squats as we all know but I just can’t bend low enough. I had already warmed up with some dumbbell squats so I think Jon was just punishing me for yesterday’s lame attempt.

He made me do a weird thing where I had to tuck my elbows in and push a big barbell from my forehead up and then behind my head whilst lying down.

It was weird and I was slightly afraid of dropping it on my face and breaking my glasses. I didn’t really like it but it worked on my bingo wings so I was happy to try.

The ropes

He made me bounce a 5 kilo medicine ball over my head then on each side of me. The coordination guru in my was obviously amazing at this. Or not. But I could barely lift the 10 k ball. So I tried and have massive room for improvement.

I am still confused how I can pick up certain weights in some shapes but not in others!

Is it just me?

Jon forced me to try the ropes which I couldn’t do in the light ones but was fine with the heavier ones. Again why is that!

Finally we finished

Although it makes me a bit sad when we leave because I am getting into the rhythm of going to the gym.

I also had to do pull ups.

I told you guys I can’t do this, and it’s an aim of mine to be able to do it with me. I do find the women in the gym inspiring. There bodies are amazing and you know it’s hard work rather than just good genes, starving yourself or help from the knife.

So the pull ups! It was okay yes I was assisted. Yes I struggled but I did 3 reps of 10.

One day I will do ten by myself for now I am in training.

I am really enjoying learning.

I do need to push myself a bit harder but to me that is all about the learning curve.

Happy gym day

Day two, let the tears pour

body confidence, health, weight loss

Day 2 of my 5 day gym challenge

Am I allowed to cry?

Kidding it definitely wasn’t that bad. My body is a little tired. I had a late-night making wedding nonsense last night and planning my Welcome sign. So excited to share it with you or so much my gym torture.

My body is sore but nothing to bad. I fell I have been chucked around a lot today.

Today Jon was on time and decided to torture me with the Banana running machine, you know the one where it only moves if you move. Very unpleasant I thought I was going to fall over so we ran for 5 minutes I think or was it ten. It honestly felt like for ever. I am pretty sure it was ten and luckily, I had to walk upstairs as I had to catch my breath.

Working on the back

I have no idea why Jon decided to focus on all back exercises but he did. I watched a video on how to lift the barbell from the floor safely. Stand like a porn star they said. I preferred the stand like a duck analogy. Chest out, bum out core in.

My face was beetroot red this one really took it out of me and my last few lifts I felt my legs shaking.

Coreless

I am still trying to find my core or really understand it. It keeps getting explained to me, and I know I have to work on it but still I have no clue.

So today we worked on the barbell. I really had to focus on not bending my back I really didn’t want to hurt myself. I started on just 10 then upped it with every set of reps. The last one was 40 kilos I think so I was really proud of myself.

Then I did some weird barbell on my shoulders I had no clue and apparently my squats with 50 tonnes on my back were not good enough so I just had to focus on my squatting. Turns out I am really, really bad. So I stopped. I will have to work on it.

Then we used the Lat machine and I felt like goldilocks trying to find a good weight to begin with. I did ten reps and increased the weight each time.

Sweat was dripping off me at this point.

Rowing machine

I love a rowing machine I find them wonderful and try to put the focus on my arms rather than my legs. Except when Jon decided we are going to have a ten-minute race. It was a tortoise and the hare situation so I won, but only because he rowed so fast that he needed to rest for two minutes.

I won’t take it as a win.

Day two I survived, I didn’t cry, my body is sore in muscles I have just discovered.

I can lift my arms very high

I can’t wait till I am in a position I can do a pull up.

When I watch movies were women are chased and have to pull them selves up over a fence or a pole, I am always jealous. Not that they are running for their lives, obvs, but because they are strong enough to do it. I would be caught or my friend would be killed trying to push me up and over. Leave me, save yourselves I would graciously say.

Well give me a month I may be able to do a pull up after all.

Morning routine getting into the fitness groove.

body confidence, running, weight loss

I stopped going to the gym because I wanted to save the money and the puppy meant that I was just wasting money. I had to walk him twice a day so I wasn’t going to the gym at all.

But I missed it. I was going 3 times a week after work. My local Nuffield gym has a pool so I could pick and choose my activity.

So last week I decided that it was too hot to run, I mean it practically hit 40 degrees which was super uncomfortable. And I was making excuses not to run. It’s too hot, I am not in the mood etc.

So I rejoined my gym.

Getting back in the fitness groove

I now have to get up at 6.30am walk the dog and head straight to the gym. Where I do a 30-35 minute work out. I don’t want to leave the house at 7am I normally leave it at 8 so it’s been a struggle.

Me looking sharp on the way to the gym

But I have done it.

I have had too.

When I get to work I feel good. My body sometimes aches and I have silly minor injuries like blisters from the rowing machine but I just need to find my gloves and I will be good.

It only been a week but I am already looking forward to the gym. My body is happy and I have already started feeling the difference.

My routine

  • Get up
  • Clean teeth and wash up
  • Walk pooch
  • Walk to the gym
  • Run for 15-20 minutes ( this will increase)
  • 5 minutes on the rowing machine ( need to wok on those bingo wings)
  • 10 minutes on the cycling machine
  • Wash up
  • Head to work
  • Eat breakfast
  • Work

That’s pretty much it.

Rookie mistakes

I made a few mistakes when I restarted going to the gym. I lost my lock so I left my locker open. This made me paranoid the whole time. But the worse thing I forgot was to bring a fresh set of clothes.

Luckily the supermarket opened at 8am so I ran across and bought a dress but it was annoying.

but I look forward to my breakfast

I have been eating a healthier breakfast of Greek yogurt, fresh fruit a sprinkling of granola and some honey. I love it. I know that too much fruit isn’t great but it’s good for my skin as well as my health.

I am looking forward to my healthier body, my running fitness. My toned stomach and with just over 6 weeks to go I need to stop putting it off and just do it.

Here is too just doing it!