But if you've been following my blog this year, you'll know that somewhat unexpectedly, I've got rather into my sports. Since signing up to, training for, and finally doing, my Run to the Beat half-marathon in September, I've refused to do what many (it must be said) are guilty of - running over the finish line and not a single step further. Rather, I have gone completely the other way. Because keeping active is better than any mood-lifters money could buy! Being strong makes me feel alive! And so, back in November I did something that this time last year I would have deemed sheer madness. I went on a sports holiday.
Club La Santa looks like any other sun-holiday resort, with a lagoon pool surrounded by sun loungers, restaurants on site, and comfortable, if basic rooms. But from 8am until sundown, the sound of loud dance music, tapping feet, bouncing balls or Olympic splashing fills the complex as dozens of guests take part in the mind-boggling array of activities on offer.
Me and the bro - him in lycra, me rocking a Matalan playsuit and a TAN. I KNOW!
I went away with my running club, the Elmbridge Road Runners (and my brother), staying in a big self-catering flat together. We would get up around 7.30 (unheard of on holiday), eat porridge (see previous), head to the pool for 'Morning Gymnastics' (or Poncing by the Pool as the guys called it), do a three to five kilometre run... then come back for a shower and second breakfast! I did lots of yoga in the daytimes, swimming, circuit training, Body Combat (I can't recommend this enough!), cycling and, of course, sunbathing. I ate loads, and burned it all off. I refrained from the half marathon that the more experienced club members (and my bro, on a whim) did one morning(!). My goal for next year is to be fit enough that I can just decide on the spot to do a 13.1km run... but the climax of this amazing holiday was the mini triathlon I did on my final day.
Over the course of the stay, I established I could just about swim 400m, and just about bike 15km (on a road bike with a tiny, hard saddle. Not the leather sofa that comes with my Pashley!). And I could run 5km, no problem. But all together in one go, without stopping for a rest? Madness!
But I did it. I didn't have any of the right kit whatsoever, and I came last, but I did it! Only by two minutes as well! The bike section let me down, as did the loo break I had to have before the run (too much nerve-settling tea). But the feeling of sheer delight at crossing the line was immense.
Life affirming stuff! And keeping it kind of vintage with my midriff top ;)
It was the first holiday I've ever come back from in better shape than before I left, and I enjoyed every second of it. It helped that 90% of the men there were toned Adonises as well ;) I'm now hoping to go back to La Santa next year, as well as trying to save up for a road bike, swimming lessons and triathlon club membership. You won't even recognise me in six months time! I may have to give up pinup in favour of fitness modelling though, if my muscle tone continues to build in the same way it has up to now! I'm obviously made to be athletic... and that is fine. We should all be proud of our bodies and I have honestly never been more proud of mine as I am right now.
I don't of course advocate any non-sports fans spending money on such a holiday, but I do strongly encourage those who feel the winter blues to get a little more active - get the blood pumping and the endorphins rushing.You don't have to be out pounding the pavements to mental and physical benefits from exercise. And you don't have to entirely compromise your vintage sensibilities, either. Swimming in a retro swimsuit, aerobics classes indoors in the warm, budget gym memberships (I just took one of these out, at less than half of the cost of a normal gym, it'll be my lifeline over the rest of the winter), brisk walking with pets, loved ones or solo; and, of course, dancing. Anything that raises your heart rate for twenty minutes or more, and raises a bit of a 'glow' on your skin will put more of a spring in your step and a pep in your personality. It also raises your metabolism, so comfort food will have less of an effect, and if you don't change your eating habits (as opposed to using it as an excuse for an extra treat, as I am wont to do) then you'll lose weight, trim down and tone up. Your fabulous vintage clothes will fit better, drape perfectly and look smashing. And if you can inject a bit of style into the running community, then that's a bonus! Luckily sportswear brands are starting to cotton on to the fact that stylish types want a bit of colour, with patterns and bright shades creeping in. I'd do a post about it if I thought there was demand. Any other vintage triathletes out there?
I'm yet to brave wearing red lipstick during a race though... maybe next year. ;)
The Women's League of Health and Beauty would be proud of me!