Tuesday, 31 May 2011
And you know what I blame? All these bloody long weekends! And weeks off!
Nothing to do with me and my lack of discipline at all ;-)
Anyhoo - as you may of guessed, I wasn't eaten my rabid surfers last Thursday, and may in fact be joining them for a lesson in Bude in a couple of weekend's time. Hoorah.
This weekend has been another epic of drinking (and possibly drunken) proportions. It turns out that drinking your own body weight in alcohol, several times over, isn't big and isn't clever. Who knew?
So whilst my head felt wooly, and my stomach protested that I'd poured a pint of acid down my gullet, the eating suffered a bit too. It might have been all fun and games, but the scales bitch-slapped some sense into me this morning. Up just a tiny bit more, and time to retake the reins.
Now, anyone long-suffering enough to have been around here a while, might notice that I've tended to follow a pattern over the last 2 years. Lose a bit of weight, stall, get too comfy, put a bit back on, get frustrated and eventually do something about it, get ninja on my ass and lose the weight plus an extra lb or 2.
Time to get losing. And on that basis I shall mostly be spending the next couple of weeks drying out (with one pre-planned allowance of champagne after the duathlon on Saturday) and going cold-turkey on the restaurants. It's officially time to give my liver and wallet a break and shed a few lbs at the same time.
Oh yeah - and I start my summer running course tomorrow. Exciting times.
Which means I must sleep now.
- Posted from my iPhone
Thursday, 26 May 2011
First things first - to be totally honest: my eating is still not back where it should be. But I'm getting up each morning and fighting the good fight, and little by little I think there's a bit of improvement. I haven't given up, and exercise is back on the bill after my week off, which is something. And frankly, I've eaten all the crap in the house now, so there ain't nothing left to snack on.
However, tomorrow's weekly "weigh in" might as well not even bother happening, because I am quite a long way up from where I should be at the moment. Around 5lbs or so as at this morning, so let's just leave it at that, and say I'm working on it.
On the upside, I obviously worked my tail off at circuits yesterday morning, as by last night my muscles had gone past protesting aches and into threatening cramps ..... youch!!! Seems a bit better today, but I'm willing to bet I'll be feeling pretty stiff by tomorrow.
So apart from that slightly depressing news, I've been doing a bit of practical stuff. After having lunch at the cafe / bar / restaurant above my local bike shop last week (Mud Dock), I was poking around their website the other day and noticed that they were advertising a women's bike maintenance workshop to be held next month. Now, don't get me wrong, I probably know more than your average female about a bike ... but then your average female tends to know approximately nada. I can sort most minor problems up to and including fixing my own punctures / changing a tyre, but beyond that I get stuck. My front chain wheel has nasty grindy noises when it's in the granny ring at the back, and until Jon showed me where to twiddle with a screwdriver, I didn't know what to do about it. I still don't really want to go messing around with the finer workings of my bike, as I suspect I'll make a mess of it. And I badly need to change my brake pads, but don't know what I need to get and how to do it.
So, I think the workshop is definitely a good move. For a start, it'll give me more confidence to go out on longer rides on my own, as at the moment I have the fear of what happens when it all goes wrong. It has done before, and I was just lucky enough that I was near enough to the end of my route to free-wheel the bike / walk it back to the car. Secondly, I get a bit sad that I don't know what regular maintenance my bike should really be having after rides, and I don't want it to get old before its time for lack of care.
And the other thing is I'm about to go and meet some guys about a local surf club in a bit! Bristol has one, and I want to learn to surf. I've been trying to psyche myself up to go along to their regular Thursday evening drinks and say hi for a couple of weeks now, but got all chickeny about it. So tonight I'm going.
If you don't hear from me again, I've met a fate worse than death and been killed by physchotic surfers. But hopefully not!
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Still, I'm spinning at lunchtime (and I fully expect that to be an ouch after 4 weeks off) and I've managed to leave the birthday cakes alone this morning, so maybe it's not all doom and gloom.
Must. Keep. Plodding ...
- Posted from my iPhone
Monday, 23 May 2011
Why is there not an option for "Don't know / too scared to make a decision"??
I don't have to actually enter it and commit myself to anything yet though, right? Because that would be blooming terrifying.
In the meantime, eating went well today until I got home, got too hungry and ate some toast followed by too much cereal, waiting for tea to cook. At least I can blame my hormones for my continual hand-into-mouth existence at the moment; I'm achy and feel crappy and being a woman sucks sometimes. Approximately once a month in fact.
I can feel my lunchtime zen from Body Balance evaporating as I type. That and my aggravation at not being able to do backbends which have somehow appeared in the new routines this week. Something to work on, I guess.
And in the meantime, I'm taking myself to bed to sulk and feel crappy in peace with the tv and some quality distraction-therapy. Plus it's further away from the fridge and I'm inherently lazy.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
I'm feeling pretty good, as my week of all things chilled out rolls to a close. Considering I hadn't really had anything much planned for this week, apart from knowing my friend Caroline was visiting from Brussels for a couple of days, it's turned out to be a rocking week of fun and adventures. But like all good things, they must come to an end.
Since I left you on Tuesday, with tales of 10k runs, caving and a spot of culture, I've been off having yet more fun.
Wednesday was taken as a mid-week breather: a couple of hours in my local coffee-shop with a good book and a muffin, and then a meander round town and the shops, followed by another piece of cake (sneaky things - they jump in your mouth when you're not looking!).
On Thursday Caroline arrived, after some somewhat traumatic over the phone location and getting-de-losted, and we had a lovely chilled out afternoon at the beach at Western-Super-Mare. The weather co-operated beautifully and the beach defied it's local nickname of Wester-Super-Mud to look suitably pretty. We finished off out ice-creams in the shelter of the sand-dunes, gossiping and catching up whilst watching the antics of some intrepid kite-boarders / buggies playing on the sand nearby. Very nice. A lovely relaxed evening followed with butternut squash risotto, fresh bread, a bit of wine and the added company of Hannah.
I'd decided that Friday should be a bit of a tour round Bristol for Caroline, since she's never been before. We caught a wildlife photography exhibition at the museum, that made me long to get to grips with an SLR camera for myself (hmmmmm - maybe something for the Autumn??), and then we explored Clifton village and did coffee. We finally finished the day off with dinner at Giraffe (how did I not find this place earlier?), and Pirates of the Carribbean 4 at the cinema.
Yesterday was a quiet day, as I saw Caroline off back on the road, ran a few errands and then met Hannah and her current man for some afternoon cider at The Apple and then dinner chez Hannah.
It's been a wonderful week full of achievements and trying new stuff, new friends and old, and seeing so many things around this rather nice city I live in.
However, real life has to return at some point. I've had this week off the "diet" so to speak. I haven't tracked, and I've had what I wanted and damn-well-enjoyed-it. I've given myself a respite from the grind of the usual, which I think I've needed, and now I'm ready to get back to normalcy. And not a day too soon. Stepping on the scales this morning showed 12st 8lbs, which wasn't at all a surprise. I was actually very tempted to have today as my "last day of freedom" and restart tomorrow, but then pondered why and decided there wasn't any point. Doesn't mean I can't have nice food though, since I've had two croissants with jam for breakfast and am currently cruising down a homemade pineapple and banana smoothie - just means I need to be a bit more thoughtful with my choices.
Exercise, other than my lots-of-walking-everywhere, has been somewhat lacking this week. I originally planned to stick to my usual timetable of workouts during the week, but that was pre-lots-of-plans. But I have done something exciting. Or, more accurately, I will be doing something exciting: I've signed up and paid for a 15 week "social running" course over the summer!!!
From 1st of June, I will be spending an hour every Wednesday night running on the Clifton Downs. The course, which is run by a local company Aaron Tyler Personal Training, is a series of group training sessions focusing on running fitness and techniques. The idea is that everyone is split out into groups and assessed over the first 4 weeks, and the groups are fine-tuned for ability, and then you stay with your group for the next 11 weeks, training together and having a bit of fun along the way. By a very non-suspicious coincidence, the end of the course happens to be timed perfectly for those idiots who are doing the Bristol Half Marathon in September (which is organised by the same people who organise the Run Bristol 10k), but lets not get carried away with ourselves and assume I shall be doing that. (Although I may have considered such idiocy very briefly). The course literature very clearly says that all people of all levels are welcome, whatever their goal.
Anyway, I thought it would be nice all round - improve my running a bit, and maybe meet some new friends / interesting people over the summer whilst doing something that's good for me.
That's all to report from me at the moment - I shall obviously be reporting back in tomorrow to say that I have been eating very healthily and on-track in the next 24 hours :o)
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Ooooh - where does the time go when you're not looking????
Anyway - I return after several days of crazy fun, to check in and see what everyone's up to. Thank you sooooooo much for all your lovely best wishes and good lucks for the run on Sunday - I swear they helped! :-)
After a week of getting a bit nervous, and much stress at work, and consequently chucking the diet out the window and eating whatever the hell I wanted, I finally finished work for my week of holiday and met Jo at the flat on Friday evening. We had a very chilled out weekend prior to the Run Bristol on Sunday, eating in (which makes a bloody change for me after 4 meals out in one week!!), and going for a last gentle 20 min jog and some walking on Saturday morning, so Jo could scope out some of the route. Saturday afternoon was spent in some further walking, as we pottered around Chew Valley lake and tried to convince ourselves that we'd done enough exercise to merit a cream tea! We compromised by sharing and had a scone with clotted and cream and jam each, and afterwards tried to work out how it was actually possible to eat two of those things on your own - they were amazing, but totally filling. We rounded out Saturday evening with home-cooked pasta, a (large) bar of chocolate and a silly film, before heading for a pretty early night.
After a minor worry about the weather not co-operating, Sunday dawned clear with just a bit of patchy cloud and a breeze - pretty much perfect running weather. Everything went smoothly and to plan, until I decided to update my recently refound iPod Shuffle 10 mins before leaving the house, and somehow caused it to go into spontaneous and non-recoverable shutdown.
There followed a short comedy tantrum of somewhat epic proportions as I chucked all of my available toys out of the pram at the prospect of running without music. Jo very sensibly stood back and let me get on with it. As it was now time to go, I eventually came to terms with the fact that, one way or another, I would be running, and I could either revert to my earlier intention of just enjoying the run, or let it ruin the day. I shoved my main iPod in my bag on the offchance that I might find someone at the event village selling armbands for them so I could run with that, and we headed out into the watery sunshine.
And what-do-you-know? There was. And they were doing discounts for race competitors! Shiny!
Eqilibrium restored, we did the nervous, pre-race, essential loo stops (oh good lord - the queues!! 10,000 runners mean a lot of people needing last minute loo stops. Lucky we found a sneaky disabled loo with no queue - phew!). Then a sneaky, pre-race cheese for the camera:
And then we were pretty much off. I was in my starting pen with Kate (on the right above), and since she's a marathon survivor (Paris if you please!), she was a great person to keep the nerves at bay whilst we waited to be lead forward to the start line. This was so different to the relaxed feel at last October's Race for Life 10k. In the end, we went over the line, and within about 30 seconds, we'd parted company to run our own races.
And it went pretty smoothly. I set out at a steady pace, and forced myself not to get sucked into rushing as loads of people shot past me. Whatever - they were running their race, and I was running mine. I'd kind of known that this would happen, as I was right at the slow end of the expected finishing time for my pen, so I didn't let it worry me. I settled down to plod out the first couple of km at a steady pace, and just enjoy things.
The first couple went quickly, and I was just settling into my stride, as we went out on the loop to the furthest point of the course, which was an out-and-back section. That meant I could watch the elite runners pounding back into the city centre on the course, a couple of km's ahead of me ..... man, do those guys and girls go quick!
Km 4-5 seemed to take a while, but then we were half-way round and I allowed myself a quick time check: 32 and a bit minutes in - exactly where I wanted to be, as long as I could keep my pace in the second half. No matter - now I just concentrated on maintaining my running and not stopping for a break. Markers for 6 and 7kms slowly rolled past, no breaks yet, but the little up and overs on the bridge over the harbour felt tougher than you'd expect when you're running an otherwise totally flat course!
The 7km point was a bit misleading, because we'd passed that marker on our Saturday reconnoitre, and on a normal run, that would be a fairly nice, short run home for me. But not now, because we still had to run in and round town. For some reason, the last km and a half seemed to carry on forever!!! Maybe, because that took me over the time of the longest continuous run I'd done to date. Maybe because I was just expecting to be finished by then. Either way, I was starting to wonder if my legs would keep it going, but the ever increasing crowds were lovely. You can't stop and walk when there's people watching, can you???
Finally rounding the corner into the last couple of hundred metres, and I-swear-to-God those metres were getting longer and longer, as I tried to speed up to finish. See the finish, see the clock, and go. Just-a-bit-further-just-a-bit-faster-you-can-do-it-don't-stop-now.
Nearly throw up.
Keep moving. Keep walking.
Nope, not going to throw up. Or not right now anyway.
Oh bollocks ... forgot to stop watch. Stop it at 1hr 6mins. What's my real time??
Mmmmmm, lucozade and more water.
Cheeeeeese for the camera:
After that, a slow walk home, and a well deserved ice-cream on the way, hot showers and a late Sunday lunch which was a-may-zing!!! Guilt free eating is the best .... note to self: must run more.
A chance meeting with a friend at that pub also gave me a play-buddy for the next couple of days, so we've been adventuring! :-)
Yesterday saw us here:
A bit of Stonehenge culture, followed by a visit to Cheddar and a completely improptu bit of this:
Dan saw an advert with the words "adventure caving" and immediately dragged me off to the office to book it. That's not either of us in the photo above, but they had us crawling through very similar sized holes .... eeeeeek! I wish I did have a photo of us when we came out though .... covered head to foot in mud would be an understatement! Caving is definitely something I'd never even have attempted pre-weight loss and it was certainly an adrenaline kick .... not sure I want to try anything much smaller than what we attempted though - tipping yourself down a black hole that just fits your hips, head first, arms out in front, and going downhill, is about as scary as I want to go, I think!
And we rounded out the mini adventure with a spot of culture today, here in Bristol at the SS Great Britain:
Oh yes - and I got my final chip time - 1:05:09, which knocks 7 mins off my last time (1:12). I went into the race saying that I'd be happy with 1:10, but I'd really like 1:05. So now the only problem I have, is that having met my lower time target for the race, I'm annoyed that I didn't get below 1:05. Am I going to have to do it all again to try and beat that? Bugger.
Not just yet though .... I have a duathlon in 3 weeks to get through first!
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Nothing to do now but watch a film and turn in early.
- Posted from my iPhone
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
The curse of the Evil Genius has struck again, at my now regular dose of Wednesday morning Brutal Circuits, and I now have a lot of off odd places that ache. I don't know how that woman comes up with so many inventive ways to torture me, but it's like she has a never-ending source of variations on Exercises I Cannot Do.
This morning's acts of horror included triceps dips and tricep pressups (2 different stations, and I'm sorry, but my triceps were not made to support my body weight!), superman pressups (pressup and then extend diagonally opposite arm and leg away, and repeat on the other side), 2 variations on lunges with weights and arms straight out in front, spidermans on the gym ball (plank position with your elbows up on the ball, then bring each knee up into the body in turn, as if you were crawling forward - bloody impossible to balance), and many more.
That compounds on yesterday's running and Monday's doubled-up Body Balance and Zumba classes. I think we can safely say I'm still hitting my exercise targets. The good news was that now I'm figuring out how to pace my running a bit better, I'm finding I'm hitting a steady pace without killing myself, rather than going out fast and blowing up after 10 mins. I ran my standard 5k round the harbour yesterday, and I realise now that for me the distance is all about the psychological battle. At 2 and a bit km into a run, I'm thinking "but it's so far to go - I'm never going to do it" (add whiny voice here for the correct effect), but by the time I'm running round to 4.5 - 5k and wrapping up for the day, I was thinking "you know what - there's more in the tank - I reckon I could run most of the rest of the way round the harbour without too much effort right now".
This bodes well for Sunday's Run Bristol 10k - I just need to pace myself and not rush, and not think too much about the overall distance. Even at a forcibly relaxed pace, yesterday's run was 32 mins, which would put me bag on time for my best hope for the 10k. I would love to run it in 1hr 5mins - and I think that would be a pretty great improvement on the 1hr 12mins I ran last October.
My eating's been a bit up and down, which is nothing unusual. I had planned a quieter than quiet weekend, but that somehow turned into 2 nights of raucous drinking. Ooops. Friday night, I went for a nice relaxed glass of wine with Hannah after work, which had turned out to a bottle to share when I got to the bar. And then another bottle. And some late dinner. Followed by cocktails. At which point we realised we were pretty tiddly and called time.
But it's ok, because Saturday we were just going for dinner at a Turkish restaurant with her flatmate and boyfriend - just a nice relaxed dinner for the four of us. Errrrr .... apart from their Canoe Club friends from uni days were all meeting for drinks that night, so we popped along for a bit, and suddenly it was 2am in the morning and the bar was closing. And somehow I ended up going along to another bar with some of them for more drinks. Until 4am. And then somehow, it seemed too far to walk home, when some of the guys were staying just round the corner, so I ended up there and nobody got to bed til 6am. I am too damn old to still be awake when the sun's coming back up!
Hangover breakfast followed at the City Park Farm (looking particularly good by now in my full hungover, sleep-deprived, dirty stop-out glory, and I finally trudged home at about 2pm. Sleep on the sofa all afternoon, consume a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream, and crash into bed. I still feel tired 3 days later!
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Tonight was yet more proof that sometimes the runs you really don't want to do, work out the best. I woke up this morning (and at points during the night) with my calves on the verge of cramp after circuits yesterday - told you they were brutal! Understandably, with muscles feeling that tight, I didn't feel much like running today at lunch, so I ducked it. I had half a thought that I'd run after work. After work arrived and I didn't feel hugely like running. Not massively anti it either, just not really in the mood.
When I'm not in the mood, procrastination is my watch-word. I got home, thought about it, and then went on one last hunt for my long-lost iPod Shuffle, instead of just getting changed. I must have looked for the damn thing 5 times before, but I remained convinced that it had to be in the flat somewhere. I must have sub-consciously struck a deal with myself that if I found the Shuffle, I'd run, because the minute I found it (lurking in a bag I must have used to go to the gym once, ages ago), I knew I was out of excuses and the time had come to stick my trainers on.
Today's run, according to The Almighty (And Very Much Despised By Now) Plan, should have been 10 mins slow running, 10 mins faster, 3 mins recovery, 10 mins faster and 5 mins cool down. Somehow, that translated into 55 mins of steady-ish, with sort of speedier sections, running. I didn't push myself and I tried not to think too much about pace apart from picking it up a little when I knew I could (conveniently roughly at the 10 and 23 min markers) and taking a slower speed in the same way.
It mostly felt manageable and comfortable, and I even managed to find a bit of energy to try and actively power up the few small inclines I hit. But the proof of the pudding is in the map afterwards. I may hate these intervals, and the prescriptive feeling of having to run 3 times a week or so, but there is no doubt that my speed has increased a bit. 55 mins, I'm pretty sure, is my longest continuous run to date. And checking the map (trusty GMap Pedometer - the runner's friend - well, the runner that can't afford a fancy Garmin) put the run at just shy of 8.5km. That would mean (quick bit of maths) that I would have completed a full 10km in just another 10 mins - 1hr 5mins. Which I definitely felt I could have done. If I can run like that on the day, I've already hit my fast race target! But we'll see ... you never know how these things go.
Other than that, I seem to have spoken to quite a few friends in the last 24 hours, all trying to cheer me up a bit. And I do feel a little less crazy now. I think I needed the wallow. For one thing, to remember how crap you feel when you wallow - a good reminder that it's ultimately less painful to keep trying to be positive and cheerful.
And finally, the dent I mentioned the other day? It's got bigger. But only really on the right side - I must be lopsided. Awesome. Ah well .... a dent's a dent!
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
A very lacklustre check-in from me I'm afraid. I'm eating fine, and I'm exercising (ran 4.9km (I have to be honest, it's not quite 5km) yesterday in a new low time of 30 mins 12 secs - yay, and circuits this morning, which were deadly), but I'm feeling pretty
Too much stuff going on in real life, and it's just one of those low days when it all seems far too much to handle. Too much time spent mopping up other people's problems, stressing about money, cursing the sod who vandalised my shiny new car on the weekend (thankfully just the windscreen wiper, but still) and having a bit of a 'mare at work. And whilst I do that, other people get pregnant and start shiny new relationships and plan their perfect weddings. When's my good stuff coming, huh?
*Sigh* - I hate self-pitying mode - it sucks.
For better news, head this way and congratulate Linz on something much nicer .....
Monday, 2 May 2011
Another balmy, long spring-like weekend come and gone – don’t they fly past so quickly??
It’s been a busy ol’ weekend, and as always, I pick up the ball in one court and promptly fumble it in another. Not too drastically though.
I spent Friday with new friends, when Sarah who-I-work-with very kindly invited me along to her Royal Wedding shindig up in the lovely Clifton village. At her request, I baked a cake as my contribution to the lunch buffet (ginger cake – a new recipe and totally yum!), and mooched on up on Friday morning. New, and very nice people, and a fun couple of hours watching the Royal Proceedings, and mostly providing our own alternative commentary, followed by a very tasty buffet lunch.
Please be rather proud of me – I kept my head and didn’t blow everything at the buffet table – there were loads of yummy items on offer, but I just picked what I absolutely wanted and then stayed away. I was very restrained, comfortably full, and rather pleased with myself when I left :o)
Now all I need to work on, is toning down my behaviour in front of new people and just being a bit more myself! I come across as very confident as I tend to act the fool / make everyone laugh / provide the running commentary and banter when I’m in a group of new people. And that’s fine, but even I’m conscious that I can be a little too much sometimes. Confidence, Sue! Confidence! And then I can just turn the volume down on myself a little.
Friday evening, I headed up to Kidderminster to see Jo for a couple of nights. She sprang on me at the last minute over the phone that another friend Hayley would also be there for the weekend. Fine, as I’ve met Hayley before and we get on pretty well. Jo then sprang on me, once I’d actually arrived, that another friend, Ellie, would be there on Saturday. Not fine. Ellie is very definitely Jo’s friend, and not mine.
We were friends, close ones in fact for around 15 years, but the long story short is she burnt a lot of bridges and our relationship will never be what it was again. I know it’s difficult for our mutual friends, as we’re still a close-knit group from school, and for there sake I’m polite to her, but I know that they all secretly still hope for a magic reunion. Which is never going to happen. Once lost, my friendship is lost for good. But I honestly could have killed Jo for pulling that stunt. She knows we don’t get on, and although I tolerate her for the sake of manners, I don’t enjoy spending time around her. So to force an entire day on me was definitely not funny. I did say as much to Jo, and she countered that she hadn’t told me before because she didn’t want me not to come, but it was the only day Ellie had been able to see her. I put a smiling face on it and made the best, but don’t you hate it when that sort of occasion comes up??
In fact, the day went off without a hitch – Ellie was in one of her good moods when she can pretty much charm the pants off people, and I could almost believe that we were still friends, except that I know she cannot be trusted and that this is just one side of her. Anyhoo, the four of us went for a lovely sunny walk along the canal to Stourport, had a picnic, went to the fair and had icecreams before returning home. I tracked all my food as I went, via my iPhone, which was great, but the funfair rides literally left me wanting to hurl, and you have never seen a greener face on the bus-ride back to Jo’s. I was worried I might actually hurl before we got off the bus – such a relief when it stopped!!
We had a BBQ on Sat night, without total gluttony, I might add! Food is great at the moment, and I can feel the recent bloat fading away (literally). The bit where I’ve dropped the ball a bit this weekend has been the running. I was too sore, and out of time, to run on Friday, so I didn’t. And I hadn’t packed my running gear, so there was no running for me yesterday. Obviously, the walk was good exercise (a nice 6 miles), but I refuse to feel guilty about deviating from plan. Tomorrow, I simply pick up where I left off and carry on. We do the best we can, and occasionally life gets in the way – we don’t let it get us down though, we work around it.
And on that note – I’m off to Hannah’s for a veg heavy tea and some silly movies now – ta ta!!