I’ve had massive writer’s block recently. I’ve had lots of things to share but have been too cluttered in my head to write, and have only been able to post my weekly fitness recap. But I thought I’d try to get some words out there about how life has been during March, so let’s go!
We went to Spain
We finally went on holiday together, for the first time since we moved to Ireland. The last time was in August 2018 when we went to our usual place in Italy. We’ve been around Ireland of course, but not abroad. Now, like many other Northern Europeans at this time of the year, we went to Spain – probably the only place in Europe with decent weather in March.
My in-laws have a house in Torrevieja and they live there about 50% of the year. It was lovely to go and see them there, we haven’t been there since 2017. The plans for the trip were minimal – basically to relax, enjoy warmer weather, switch off the brain, hang out with my in-laws and be showed around, but we also wanted to take them on a secret trip, which was our Christmas gift to them. I had booked a visit to a winery near Elche, about 30 minutes away, for a tour and tasting. It was a very small, genuine winery, we learned about the winery and its history, and then had a tasting of five different wines with tapas. There was a gluten free option for me, and the wines were lovely – the grapes are also grown without pesticides and the wine made without additives.
And while on the topic of good drinks, my in-laws had brought some of the Swedish whisky from our own cask that was bottled before Christmas, so that we could take what we could with us home.
We shared this cask with some friends in Sweden. The Pot Stills was the name of a band we had with one of them. We did a few fun gigs, at parties and similar, before we moved to Ireland! The whisky is a peated single malt matured in a 30L (as are all Mackmyra private casks) port cask and it’s delicious!
Other drinks were enjoyed at the local Irish pub. The pub is probably more Spanish than Irish, but they had Bushmills (even the 10-year-old single malt), Jameson, Murphy’s Red and you could follow the Six Nations rugby tournament there. I loved that fun ice cube in the shape of what we thought was supposed to be a leprechaun hat.
We enjoyed some healthier activities too. We went for long walks, some mornings my husband and I went out to run, and we enjoyed good chats, good food, good company, and even did a simple strength training session on the patio. I took very few photos but I relaxed and had a great time. I needed to disconnect from being productive for a while!
Returning to Ireland
I loved spending some time in Spain, but do you know what I loved even more? Coming home! I loved the weather in Torrevieja but it’s not a very scenic area, very dry and rugged, and I missed being near nature. Coming home to the green fields where birds sing outside my door and the cherry tree is in bloom was wonderful. I love my life here, despite the not so charming weather.
What about my photography?
You probably know I am, or used to be, a photography geek. Recently I’ve mostly taken snapshots of where I go running, or the random photo at some event (like those above). I enjoyed photographing the West Cork Rally some week ago and on a beach in February, but other than that I’ve gone very quiet with the camera, despite the fact that I still love photography.
The short version is that I rarely find any interesting photography subjects in the winter. But of course there’s a lot more to it than that. I think I’ve simply been too intimidated lately, by all the fantastic photographers who joined our camera club this year, and suddenly I feel I know absolutely zero about photography, that there’s no point with trying to become good at it, but also that I don’t know how to get back to enjoying it and doing it just for fun, just for me. I suspect things will fall into place during the spring when flowers and insects show up in the garden, and I go outside more.
I realise that I’ve fallen into the comparison trap and need to find a way to get up. But summer is coming and there’s a world out there that is begging to be photographed… and my scores in our club competitions have been above average, so all this BS is just in my head. The photography blog (or if it’ll just be a gallery, I haven’t decided yet) will be back up when I’m actually taking photos again. It was all a mish-mash of old random stuff from my old blog so I decided to start fresh when I do open it.
Fitness and running during March
I’ve continued my strength training routine during March, twice a week in the gym and my own session at home on Sundays when I do core, bodyweight squats and lunges, hip mobility and some exercises for feet and lower legs. I’ve also started doing more balance and stability exercises. After the trip to Spain I’ve been feeling generally stronger, perhaps I needed some time off to get my focus back? I’ve been delighted with my performance in the gym, also these last two weeks when we’ve increased the weights.
So what about running? I wish I had good news, but I don’t.
I’ve been doing well with running during March, and have been out for walk/run intervals twice a week. I was doing great! But while writing this, I have almost decided to give it up – at least for now. Yet again, also after very slowly increasing the distances I run, I’ve developed an injury. This is my third running-related injury since October, and I’m getting fed up. This is an annoying pattern that seems to repeat each time I get to a certain point with progress in running. In January, I refused to give it up, and made a plan for how to come back to it and make it work. And everything looked promising! Sure, I could continue building strength, and try again. But do I really want to spend all the mental energy again that it takes to start over? I’m not so sure anymore. For now, it’s very likely that I’ll put my running ambitions to rest, and put all my effort and Jävlaranamma into strength training.
During March, music has been very absent from my life. We’ve played in the usual places, but quite sparingly since we’ve been away, and then my husband got his odd cold/flu back so we haven’t been anywhere for that reason. But April should be much better! We were invited to a small bluegrass festival in early May – I say invited although we’re not playing on stage, because the festival is so small that it’s not publicly advertised as far as I know, and we were informed about it in an SMS. I’m really looking forward to this!
We celebrated St Patrick’s day by watching the parade in town, then playing music in the pub, then going out on the peninsula to join a smaller parade (where I nearly got frostbite playing the guitar outside, lol!) and then chatting with people in the pub. In that same pub, we played some music the day after, which was also the day of a yearly charity event. No walks or marathons this time. That’s boring! In this village we do charity by having tractor runs. The best decorated tractor gets a prize!