Friday, 5 April 2019

I’m a Couch to 5K graduate! told me that there would be a two hour window with no rain this afternoon. I decided to trust it and got into my running gear. I ran from home to Heath Park and back. This was the third and last thirty minute run of week nine of Couch to 5K. I did it!!

I can’t say I enjoyed it exactly. Despite the forecast it was raining slightly and I am finding half an hour running quite a challenge, but I am so proud of myself for completing the nine-week schedule.

I think I will not be continuing with straight half hour runs for the time being. Maybe eventually I will find this easier, but for now I think I will either have a walk break in the middle of the half hour, or I will go back to 20 minute runs. My next run will probably be on Sunday, so I’ll see how it goes.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Tangling Exercises

I am in the final week of Couch-to-5K but the weather has been so awful that I have only managed one park run. I did the second run of the week on the trampoline, but really want to finish the programme with a proper run in the park. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow. At least we haven’t had the heavy snow they have had in some parts of Wales.

Over the last month I have been working on a few more tangling exercises.

This one I created on graph paper because I wanted to draw a few grid patterns. It was good to have an accurate grid to work with for these tangles that require some precision, but it had drawbacks. The paper itself was poor quality and not really suitable for ink pens and colour. Also I feel that the patterns have lost some quality of liveliness and spontaneity through being more precise. I do like it better than when I first drew it.

The tangles in this exercise are also grid tangles, but use a grid of dots. I didn’t use graph paper and I think makes the page a bit more lively. A few of the tangles got away from me a little!

This one has turned out a bit wild! Motifs and ribbons and probably too much colour. 

Two more exercises to come soon.

Monday, 4 March 2019

First 20 minute run on Couch to 5K

This morning I complete the third run in week 5 of the Couch to 5K schedule. My journey to the end of week 5 has been rather two steps forward one step back. This is because I have had to accommodate the limitations of a 63 year old body that has never been used to running.

Today, though, I ran for 20 minutes non-stop. 20 MINUTES!!!

I’m really proud of myself and actually enjoying it. I’m slow - really slow! But this doesn’t matter. Once I am used to running for this sort of length of time regularly, hopefully my pace will gradually get faster.

I’ve stopped going down to the bottom track of the park to avoid the biggest hill, and also the smokers who lurk just outside the hospital grounds.

I didn’t include the 5 minute warm up and warm down walks in my plot of the run, so everything on the animation was running. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tangle paintings

As well as creating tangle exercises this year (see last week’s post), I am going back to tangle paintings. These are created from my photographs. I made a few of these in 2016, but have not really continued exploring this since then. I have been influenced by the ‘purists’ in the world of tangling, and those who regard it as a meditative practice. Some say that tangle art should only be in pen and ink, with pencil for shading. Some say it should not have an upside or a downside or look like something when finished. Some insist on beginning with a string that arises in the moment as part of a meditative process. This is all good. I have no problem with any of this – but I can be whatever sort of artist I wish to be, and I enjoy my tangle paintings.
Goscar Rock, North Beach, Tenby, 2016
Here are the two I have created so far this year from photographs taken in 2015.
Whitchurch Chimneys, tangle painting 2019

Castell Coch, tangle painting 2019

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

St David’s Day Parade

Calling all Buddhists – and people of every faith.
Please join members of the Interfaith Council for Wales at the St David’s Day Parade.

Walking alongside our community
Cyd-gerdded gyda’n cymuned

St David’s Day Parade
Gorymdaith Gŵyl Dewi

March 1st
Mawrth 1af

Assemble/ymgynull: 11:30am/yb

King Edward VII Avenue/ Rhodfa Brenin Edward VII

Begins/dechrau: 12:30

Tangling in 2019

Last year I joined the Its’s a String Thing community and created a tile for most of Adele Bruno’s weekly challenges hosted on her site Tickled to Tangle. It was fun. here is one of my favourites for that year. They are posted on Instagram.
I enjoyed learning new tangles and being stretched by working within the parameters of the challenge. I am grateful to Adele for her commitment to posting weekly challenges, and impressed with her skill in combining tangles and a string that can evoke such beautiful and inspiring tiles from the contributors.
This year I am not going to contribute to the challenge every week. I’ll continue to check in and see which tangles are included, and also to view everyone’s contributions for ongoing inspiration, but I am going to play with tangling in a different way this year.
I started by making an analysis of all the tangles I have learned, from multiple sources, for which I have noted the step-outs – 433 so far. I do not record the step-outs for every new tangle that I come across because some are so similar to ones I already know – perhaps with just an extra line, a spiral detail, or an aura, or so on. It was noticing this that made me understand that new tangles arise from playing with known tangles. I can do that!
From my analysis I have identified some personal categories:

  • tangles that grow and/or are random
  • tangles with a spiral element
  • ribbons and borders
  • motifs
  • grid tangles
  • striping
  • radiating
  • overlapping
  • optical illusions 
There are many tangles that fall into two or more categories. For example, border tangles often work just as well in a grid, and vice versa; radiating, overlapping and motif tangles can be combined or changed by putting them in a grid or a border structure, or letting them grow. The point of doing this analysis was to develop my artwork and move beyond the domination of step-outs. I had needed that guidance and stage in my process, but now I am ready to stretch in another way.

This is my analysis of the elements of border patterns:

I was surprised at how few basic elements there were. I may not create this type of analysis for each category, but I hope to create an exercise for each. I have completed the first one so far, a border tangles exercise:
It was great fun to create. I’m working on a second exercise based on motifs at the moment. It will take a while, but I’ll post it when I’m finished. Bye for now!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Happy New Years! Running ahead.

As a follower of Tibetan Buddhism I get two new years - the Western January 1st, and Losar. This week has been Losar which we’ve celebrated over three days, the 5th, 6th, and 7th February.

Having a second new year is quite useful for having a look at how the resolutions are going. I have been working on my weight and fitness levels - not exactly new year resolutions, but an ongoing process. I can highly recommend the NHS Couch to 5K programme. It is organised over a 9 week period with 3 runs a week. It starts very gently with the longest run in a session being 1 minute, alternating with walking. There is always a 5 minute warm-up walk at the beginning and the same length warm-down walk at the end, but they do not include that in reckoning the progress of the activity. The actual activity period that progresses running ability is 20 - 25 minutes.

I started Couch to 5K before Christmas on a small trampoline. I was a bit nervous of my knee, having suffered an injury previously and felt it would be gentler on a trampoline. This went well and I got up to 25 minutes of continuous running. I was aware that running on a trampoline was not the same as running out and about, however, and decided to take my newly-acquired stamina out to Heath Park. So I started Couch to 5K again in the new year. There have been ups and downs, and my knee did play up for a while, but today I ran the first run of week 4 of the programme. The session for today (in minutes) was run 3 / walk 1½ / run 5 / walk 2½ / run 3 / walk 1½ / run 5.  This means that today was the first time that a ran for longer than I walked: 16 minutes running and 8 minutes walking.

16 MINUTES RUNNING!! How did that happen!

I don’t think I have run for that long ... possibly ever! Certainly not since a teenager. I know its not much in terms of real athletes or marathon runners, but for an almost-pensioner who’s just started jogging, it feels like a real achievement.

I have to do this same run twice more and then next week the schedule goes weird. The runs are all different lengths, ending with a non-stop 20 minute run in the third session. Will I really be ready for that by next week? I don’t know, but there is no rush. I’m perfectly happy to repeat weeks until I feel ready to move on. It is exciting!