Dumbbells in the gym

The big birthday week rundown – fitness and else

Hey folks, welcome to the new Jävlaranamma blog! If you’ve been on my blog before, you’ll see that not much has changed – I have a new logo, but same-ish design and my old posts. But in my head this is new and fresh and I’ll give this new blog more TLC. I have a new Instagram account too (but haven’t started posting yet) – however, the usual one (@susannemclon) will remain for my general photography (that I hope will be more active as spring gets more into action!).

I’m back to the weekly rundown link-up to share the weekly fitness recap. This post will be very mixed with life stuff because this was anything but the usual fitness week!

Getting old… or?

This was the week I celebrated my 50th birthday. How did this happen? I feel like 30!!! And despite the events of last year, I’ve never felt better.

We celebrated for three days and it’s been fantastic!

One of the things I really wanted to do for my birthday was a nice hike somewhere we don’t usually go, so on the Sunday we did a hike in the Gougane Barra forest park, which is a very scenic area in the northern part of West Cork. It was a lot more challenging than I thought, but I also managed much better than I thought I would. I’ll write more about this in a separate post too, but here’s a sneak peak:

After the hike we did a road trip, had coffee and cake in Ballydehob, and later enjoyed a lovely dinner out. My husband has invited friends of ours and I had no idea! We had a pre-dinner drink in a nearby pub, and all of a sudden they showed up there. Such a lovely surprise!

Then it was the start of an intense but fabulous week. Here’s a summary of my activities, fitness-wise. For the rest, and for details, keep reading.

Monday – Short walk + gym
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – Short walk
Friday – Short walk + gym
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – High step-ups + longer walk planned


I started the week with a nice walk in town, enjoying the daffodils.

I wouldn’t recommend hill walking (or was that mountain climbing? ) followed by birthday celebrations and not so much sleep the day before you go to the gym! My body was achy and sore all over, especially my calves and hamstrings, and I was really tired. But I went to the gym and did the work, although my performance wasn’t great.

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With my massacred calves and hamstrings I was very sceptical about the RDLs! But I managed them quite well, and the barbell lunges felt good too. I enjoyed doing them with the bar again! Without added weights I felt good doing them.

I’ve learned to love the Renegade row! It’s tough in so many ways but I love the challenge, and I’ve made so much progress with it. I managed all reps except the last two on the last set, and after this exercise I was absolutely exhausted and had very little energy left for the remaining exercises, except the bent-over raise. I didn’t do a great session for upper body but at least I worked those muscles.

More birthday celebrations

After we came home from work, I had a lovely video chat with a good friend I havaen’t been in touch with for a long time. It was so wonderful to talk to her again!! And after that, another video chat with my in-laws. Also wonderful!

In the evening, our friends from the night before came over for a drink and chat (I had invited them over, having no idea I would also see them on the Sunday!). A box of chocolate was taken out, and my husband had a special gift for me.

Yes, it’s a 48-year-old whisky…. this whisky was distilled the year I was born (and bottled in 2022). I really enjoyed tasting this with our friends. It tasted just as special as you’d expect. And no, we’re not filthy rich – I think he came across that for a decent price. (single grain, UK prices, independent bottler, etc)


Tuesday called for a total rest day and the weather agreed, with rain and general dullness.

…and more birthday celebrations

In the evening we went to the music session in town, and my husband had organised with cake, and the pub owner had sausages for everyone. Tunes were played, songs were sung, and we had a great time. One of the fiddle players gave me another box of chocolates.


After three days of birthday celebrations I was tired, but happy! It was time to go to the gym again, I tried to prep as much as possible and felt back to normal when it comes to performance. Happy days!

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The first three exercises felt good, I like the sumo exercises and they are great for the hips. The sumo deadlift felt so heavy – but we’ve increased weight on this one.

I still haven’t done three full sets of the chest press with the new weight. I was close today, with 12-11-10. But I’ll get there. The most important thing is that I don’t chicken out, that the muscles are worked to the max and that was definitely achieved.

The Cuban press is one of those really challenging exercises! It works on most shoulder muscles, is a great exercise for the rotator cuffs and ends with an overhead press. Do I need to add that this is exhausting? But as usual I’m intrigued by those extra challenging exercises, and I like this one. Who doesn’t want to grow some shoulders? Especially as a guitar player! Today I got exhausted quite quickly, on the 5th or 6th rep. But thinking back, I’m not sure if I chickened out or not. So annoying!


I finally got out for a walk again – but only a short one. This was because of my own bad planning mixed with a very busy week and that they were fixing a broken water pipe where I had planned to walk. The weather was very mild and pleasant, but wet. It was good to get out though!


It was a lovely morning and I did a short walk in town.

Then it was time for the gym.

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Sooo…. the Bulgarian split squats. Am I finally crushing them? No. I still feel too wobbly on the left leg, but we’re back to the bar and I could do all my reps. That made my day!

Overall, today I felt strong and the exercise I struggled most with was the lateral raise.


After a very intense week, I made this a rest day. The weather was also very wet and foggy and I had to finish some website jobs (including my own).

…and more birthday celebrations

We went to play music in the local pub as usual, and when the owner heard of my birthday, she and the customers at the bar sang for me. 😀 My guitar had shiny new strings and I played some fiddle tunes I normally stumble a lot with (seriously there is something about new strings!), and we had a great night.

Sunday – thoughts and plans ahead

This week has been very intense, but it’s been such a lovely week, full of gratitude. Turning 50 was special. I didn’t realise it until I was there! I’ve been reflecting on life and the people around me, and how blessed I am with what I have. With all the celebrations, I felt special and loved and appreciated. I could also finally see that even if I think I’ve failed with a lot of things in life, and made bad choices, I’ve also experienced and accomplished a lot.

For next week it’s time to get back into routine! I was sore after the Sunday hike almost all week and took it easy on my non-gym days but I look forward to getting back on the bike, going for longer walks, and setting up a more structured routine for balance & stability exercises. Daily walks will also be resumed.

How was your week? Have you ever done the Cuban press?

Thanks Kim and Deborah for hosting the Weekly rundown link-up!

32 responses to “The big birthday week rundown – fitness and else”

  1. Melissa avatar

    Happy birthday!!! Love that you got to celebrate it for a few days. A whisky that is the same age as you is pretty cool – did you buy it just for your birthday? As always I’m impressed with your gym workouts. The town looks so cute- Love the colors of the shops and buildings!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Melissa! Yes, that whisky was quite special. My husband bought it as a birthday gift. We had been talking about it, and laughing that “well there won’t be any 50-year-old whisky with these prices!” and similar and then he found one anyway!
      This is a lovely little town, very colourful and vibrant.

  2. Wendy avatar

    Happy birthday Susanne! Looks like a wonderful way to celebrate your milestone. And nice week of workouts!

    Your photos are beautiful as always. Your town is so cute!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Wendy! It was a fabulous week! And I should take more photos in town, I rarely do it for some reason.

  3. Deborah Brooks avatar

    Happy Birthday Susanne! Sounds like just the celebration you needed. Great week of workouts for you. Wishing you a strong and happy year ahead!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Deborah! I’m hopeful it will be a good year!

  4. Lindsay avatar

    Happy birthday! New blog, new decade, new insta – I love the energy! I’ve never heard of a Cuban press but I watched a video and now I’m intrigued… Shoulder strength is something I’m working on. Thanks for getting it on my radar!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Aw, I love what you said about the energy!! But yes, I do have some good vibes going on with this blog project – and ongoing strength work! Isn’t it wonderful to work up the shoulders? Do try the Cuban press, it’s a great exercise but oh, so hard. My trainer calls it the bench press of shoulders.

  5. Coco avatar

    Happy birthday week! I’m a few years the other side of 50 and it’s pretty good over here. 😉

    Very thoughtful whisky gift. My husband got me a box of chocolates and then asked me to open them so he could have some. <3

    Your town looks so pretty — and the hike looks lovely too!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Coco! I’ve decided I’m going to rock my 50s!
      That’s a clever move about your birthday gift from your husband. LOL!
      I’ll try to do a separate post about the hike. It’s a very popular area for walking and hiking and it’s absolutely beautiful. We didn’t even do half of it because it was very challenging but my husband is going back to run the whole distance and see what the rest is like and assess if it would be manageable for me. Then we’ll (hopefully) go back later in the spring.

  6. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    WOW, that’s quite a special week! HaPpY BiRtHdAy, Susanne!! Great job with all the workouts, despite the Sunday/birthday DOMS 😉

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Kim! Yes, that was quite the week! Now after today’s walk I’ll have new DOMS for tomorrow, lol!

  7. Debbie avatar

    Happy birthday! Didn’t you know that once you turn 50 you celebrate all month? 🙂

    I had to look up Cuban presses. I do them with my clients, but call them upright rows to overhead presses. Cuban press is so much easier to say!

    BTW, I love the new blog name and followed your new fitness focused IG.

    1. Susanne avatar

      OMG, another three weeks like this and I’d be exhausted, lol!
      That’s interesting about the Cuban press. I suspected that it had another name because none of my fitness apps (Garmin and another one where you log your workouts) picked up on Cuban when I searched for it. To me, upright row is another exercise but if you do an overhead press straight after it I can see it would be something like it. It’s a great exercise, however!
      Thanks for following on IG!

  8. Jessie avatar

    Aww, happy happy birthday! It sounds like such a lovely week of celebrations! I love the surprise your husband planned and all the special musical nights! 50 is the new 30, right? Have a wonderful week!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Jessie! It was such a lovely week! And yes, 50 is definitely the new 30 and I’m going to kick ass during my 50s. 😀

  9. Jenny avatar

    Wow! THAT is the way to celebrate a birthday! 50 is a big one and I know what you mean… i definitely don’t feel as old as I am.
    Sounds like you had a pretty great week of workouts in spite of everything else going on. And I love the photo from your birthday hike! Happy Birthday!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Jenny! Getting proper workouts in was hard this week. I’m glad I don’t have birthdays every week, lol!

  10. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    It sounds like a wonderful birthday week! I hope it’s a great year for you. That’s so nice that your husband planned so many surprises for you. And go you, out there playing in the pub! Beautiful pictures this week too 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Lisa! Yes, we have a lot of fun playing music in the pub. Saturday night is our main night and then we join some other people on the Tuesday, we haven’t been there regularly for a while so it’s good to be back.

  11. Jenn avatar

    Happy birthday! What a wonderful week of celebrations!

    I love that photo of the wall with the ivy. Plants don’t usually wow me, but pretty ivy is so nostalgic.

    That whiskey sounds like such a thoughtful and lvoely gift. I’m so glad you got to share it with friends.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Ivy is one of my favourites! I think coming from Sweden, anything evergreen is a treat and ivy is so pretty too. We have lots of it in our garden.
      The whiskey was absolutely stunning, I barely have words to describe it…. I almost regret I’ve tasted it because everything else on our shelf pales in comparison!

  12. Marcia avatar

    Happy Birthday Susanne! I’m glad you had lots of fun celebrating your milestone birthday. Great job on the strength training. You are crushing it as usual. That hike looks very tough!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Marcia!! The hike was so much more challenging than I thought it would be. And we only went 1/3 or something like that! But I loved it! We’ll be back… I think.

  13. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au avatar

    Happy birthday Susanne – and welcome ot a new decade. I think my 50’s were the time I finally opened my eyes and started living my own life (after the previous decades of being all things to all people….except myself!) I’m just catching up with your new blog and also that you’re using substack – I’ve been playing around on there because several bloggers have moved to it…. I didn’t want to transfer my blog, but I like that you’re using it as an added extra with a link – I think that’s what I might try……

    1. Susanne avatar

      This seems to come back from quite a few people – not starting to truly live on your own terms until in your 50s. Feels sad to me but it’s probably more common than I thought! And I’m thinking, better late than never.

      Substack is a very clever tool to use! Of course it means writing another post, but it’s just a short sneak peak with a link and picture, so it’s ok. And otherwise I’d need to do the same thing on Mailerlite or similar anyway (since the RSS newsletter tools seem to be dying, or considered something for business/premium only).

      And I’m glad they have all those functions that easily makes it an option for people to use instead of Blogger or WP.com. Instead of disappearing from the blogging world, they use Substack, and I love that.

      1. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au avatar

        I just did my first post based on the same idea that you’re using – a short intro and a link – rather than re-writing the whole post. Thanks fo rthe inspiration! 🙂

        1. Susanne avatar

          That’s great! And I just followed you! (although, I’ll probably get your posts faster on the RSS reader, but why not!)

  14. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    A very happy birthday. It’s just a number and you don’t look 50.
    I’m 70 and I don’t feel old… yet.

    I didn’t start running until I was 55. I think it has kept me young.

    It looks like you had a great week with lots of celebrating and fitness (love the cat vase.)

    1. Susanne avatar

      You’re definitely not old. You’re one cool, ass-kicking lady. Running and fitness are great things to keep us young! I couldn’t agree more that age it’s just a number! I’ve always looked young because I’m small (how does that make people look young?? but anyway), or something. And I’m going to rock my 50s, being stronger than ever.
      That vase is actually a tea pot! But I never make that much tea so it works really well as a vase instead. it was part of a collection of cups and more that they sold in a local shop where I lived in Sweden.

  15. Anne avatar

    Happy very belated birthday, Susanne! Here’s to an amazing year, continued good health, good workouts, and most importantly, good music and *excellent* whiskey. I am not yet 50 but approaching, and I honestly feel (mentally) like I am 30. My body is definitely not in as great shape as yours, sigh, but I aim to maintain and hopefully improve a bit in the upcoming years. A functional, strong body is so important – you have made such strides (literally and figuratively) in that direction. <3

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, my (young) friend! Yes, I’ve done some hard work on this body and will continue to do so… I’ve never felt better. A few years ago I would laugh if someone said that in x years you’ll do 50 kg back squats. I hope and pray i can keep this going! I hope you’ll find ways that suit you to do that maintenance, if you don’t already.

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