Friday, 30 March 2012

Calmness and Crossfit

I'm glad to say, that the last 4 days have largely consisted of sensible eating.  Not perfect, because I've not been that tough on myself - I generally find I can't keep that up for too long, and right now I just want to find something consistent for a while - but considered, none-the-less. 

The result is that this Friday's weigh in sees me a sliver down on last week, despite the gastronomic and alcoholic debauchery of last Saturday and Sunday.  It also means, and I do so like it when it does this, that I can report a loss two weeks in a row.  Ooooh - a trend.  How nice.

Blissfully, this weekend, I have ...... drumroll please!!! ..... absolutely nothing planned.  Pure, unadulterated heaven.  I'm so glad now that I made a resolution to selfishly keep one weekend a month open for whatever I fancied, or nothing at all, because it's like manna from heaven for this tired girl.  I'm pretty much planning on sleeping this weekend.  Maybe watching a bit of tv.  Definitely no big nights out or excessive drinking.  It's positively lovely, in fact, to be looking down the barrel of a weekend where I'm in control of what I consume and where I sleep.

I'm very slowly (not that that's intentional) trying to amp up the amount of exercise in my routine as well.  I'm feeling a wee bit slothful currently, and know I could be doing a lot more.  There was obviously nothing in the way of exercise last weekend (I don't think drunken dancing counts after all), but I did make it to Body Balance on Monday, and I attempted to try the new Streetdance class at the gym on Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, that didn't work so well, as it's still a new class and it was cancelled due to low numbers this week (i.e. just me), but since I'd waited behind after work to do the class, I decided to stay and hit the gym anywhere.

Christ on a bike, but I feel unfit at the moment!  5 min warm-up on the cross-trainer (as I was waiting for the class to start), then I decided to hit the treadmill and try some speed work.  My recent running has probably been at around the 8-8.5 kph speed, so I whacked it up to 10 kph - depressingly, I only lasted 12 mins at that speed .... depressing because that used to be my normal running speed.  My 10ks last year were done at that speed, but now it's a push - all the distance training has definitely slowed me down.  Oh well.  I rounded it out to 15 mins at a reduced pace, and did a few weights (chest, legs and abs) and some rowing, and after that I was sweating buckets.  On the other hand, I'm beginning to see why they say you get a lot more flexible in Bikram yoga than any other type - it was boiling in the gym, and when I went to stretch off at the end, I was super-flexible.  I was doing a swan pose from yoga to stretch my hips and glutes, and my head was on the floor easy ..... which was quite funny when there were some guys doing the same stretch near me (it's obviously popular with the fitness coaches at the moment) and they could barely get their feet on the diagonal angle, never mind lean forwards - baaahahahahaha.

I also talked myself into circuits today, even though I woke up just not even vaguely feeling it today.  I know that I feel better about starting the weekend when I've done circuits, and I know that circuits only gets less beastly with regular committment to it, but man alive, it's still hard.  Today's torture form of choice was Crossfit.  I've only seen videos of bonkers Americans doing this before, and I suppose it's really just a different circuits formats, but it's pretty tough.  7 stations, 3 mins on each, 2 exercises to a station.  3 reps of each exercise, then 5, then 7, then straight back to 3 and rinse and repeat.  Keep it going for 3 mins solid (by which time sweat will be flinging itself from your brow).  1 min rest and  move to the next station.  Apparently, that's the gentle version, as the full format is 7 mins a station (oh good God!) and their rep counts just go up and up instead of cycling back down to 3 (kill me now!), but Emma decided to be nice to us today.  Or at least as nice as anything involving cork-screw burpees, box jumps and suicide press-ups could possibly be.

So, I'm off to enjoy a nice relaxed weekend, and another steady week of eating, exercising and generally looking after me, and I'm confident I can produce something good this week.

Enjoy your weekends, lovelies!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

All Is Not Lost

As expected, the weekend wasn't too good on the old eating and drinking front. But boy, was it a lot of fun.

I maintained a little bit of discipline on Friday and ate sensibly all day, avoiding too many snacks, knowing I'd be eating out in the evening. Good girl. I even made it to Circuits, despite last week's extreme beasting. This week's felt much stronger for me - possibly because of the different training format (straight 60 second stations before moving on, with 20 seconds on the second circuit, rather than the Tabata of last week), or possibly because this week was more cardio-focused.

After that, it was a frantic scramble to finish my work and a quick dash down to London. We stayed with Jo on Friday night, enjoying a quiet meal at her rather nice local pub with a nice bottle of wine. I did at least manage to track all my food for Friday, but after that it went a little off-piste.

On Saturday, which was gloriously sunny, Hannah and I made our way on into central London to meet up with the rest of the hen party. Dresses on at our hostel (surprisingly nice - we stayed at the YHA on Bolsover Street) and we moved on to The Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair for full on decadence and traditional English afternoon tea.

I don't think I've ever been inside a hotel with a proper frock-coated doorman out front before, but it was gorgeous, and they were delightfully attentive without being snooty. They even pulled a gluten-free afternoon tea out of thin air for my friend with no warning - most impressive.

Now, when you're enjoying something that you definitely don't get to do everyday, it's worth savouring it - the perfect finger sandwiches (and yes - there totally was cucumber with the crusts cut off - with just a touch of cream cheese too - delicious!), the teeny cakes (chocolate eclairs with chocolate cream - the rapture!) and the perfectly formed fluffy scones with jam and cream. The champagne. The artisan teas. And the surroundings of the library, which our party had to itself with our own dedicated waiter. Delightful. The food kept coming and the tea kept flowing, although I did stop at one glass of champagne .... at £11 a pop I couldn't afford too many of those!

Several hours later, we emerged replete into the balmy sunshine and I hit the shops for a few hours looking for a dress for the wedding in a couple of weeks time. Note to self - Mayfair to Regents Street and 4 hours of shopping on 5 inch wedge heels is not comfortable!

In the evening, it was all about dinner at Côte in Soho (rather lovely French food) and then hitting the cheesy bars. Suffice it to say that, after an evening that ended at 5am new time and included sambuca and jäger-bombs, I wasn't feeling too shiny the next morning.

After a very late breakfast (which was really lunch), and a restorative hour sat in the sun in Regent's Park, we made it to the theatre to watch the new production of The Wizard of Oz, which was wonderful. Food on Sunday, wasn't plentiful, but wasn't especially good either - poached eggs and bacon on toast for brunch, a large bag of Maltesers at the theatre and (whisper it) Burger King on the way home. Ahem.

Good things - the scales weren't too bad yesterday - there was little snacking over the weekend and the badness was contained to a 36 hour period and then stopped. And I got straight back on it yesterday.

Today, I'm heading back to London for work, which makes exercise tricky, and eating well potentially trickier. I grabbed a croissant and a skinny latte at the station this morning, as well as a load of fruit. Lunch is out with our Group Finance guys, and I intend dinner tonight to be light. I had to taxi to the station this morning, because of the earliness of the train, but am hoping I can walk home tonight for a couple of miles in the bank.

Back on it, and enjoying that the next couple of weeks see me firmly staying in town, relaxing or working, or away camping where I can control my food and drink - lets DO this!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 23 March 2012

Slow And Methodical

I've slowly, methodically plodding through this week - slowly and methodically battling (in a very gentle fashion) with my eating.

In actual fact, contrary to that statement, the week has positively flown by (really?  Is it Friday already?), as it's been very busy at work and I've been running around lots, but eating wise ... yeah, it's a plod.

Very slowly, I feel like I'm taking back a little, tiny bit of the control I've been seriously lacking these last weeks (and months).  Last night, I debated dinner, and managed to just put half the pack of ravioli in the pan.  Technically speaking, I put the whole pan in, looked at it for a moment, had an internal dialogue and put half back, but I take that as a victory.  I seriously debated having the rest when I'd finished, but put it in the fridge.  Even, the small silly things feel like hard work at the moment.

Similarly, this morning I stood in the canteen at work debating my breakfast - I'd gone for a bit of a cooked breakfast (a rasher of bacon, one sausage, some beans, mushroooms and a hash brown though) but was wanting toast as well, and there was a whole backwards / forwards wobbling moment of indecision before I walked to the till to pay without toast. 

It shouldn't be so hard really, should it?  Still, I've started feeling more full and satisfied in the last couple of days, and less prone to the random cravings for snacks, so I will honestly take my victories where I find them.

Official weigh in says I've lost 2lbs this week - but since I've been yo-yoing around all over the place recently, I won't celebrate that until I see some positive movement several weeks in a row. 

After the loveliness of last weekend's surfing-then-schoolfriends mini-break, this weekend sees me bombing off to London again.  I guess this is the time to be careful, as weekends are definitely my downfall.  Hannah and I are driving down tonight to stay with my friend Jo, which means a late dinner at the pub and most likely wine.  Then tomorrow Hannah and I are meeting up with the rest of the hen-party for afternoon tea at The Chesterfield Hotel - sandwiches and cakes galore in elegant surroundings.  That will be followed later on by dinner in SoHo and a night out - more food and drinking.  Sunday morning is unplanned but then we're hitting the theatre in the afternoon for the new musical production of The Wizard of Oz - exciting!!

I am looking forwad to this weekend, but can see many potential pitfalls on the dieting front.

Other than that, the dresses and skirts are packed (we've been issued rules that this weekend is a girly-dress-up zone!) - floral tea-dress and sandals for The Chesterfield, sequin skirt and assymetric silk top for the evening with heels - which is terribly organised for me!  Just need to do my bit for the hen-party games and put the finishing touches to the packing.

Exercise-wise, I've been rather quiet this week.  After circuits last Friday, and then surfing on Saturday, my legs were ruined.  Even Body Balance on Monday didn't do much to help them - just gave me sore shoulderes to add to the mix.  I was starting to worry I'd done my quads some serious damage as they still had residual soreness yesterday!  I therefore have been a bit half-hearted about too much activity this week, but have decided to risk the perils of circuits again today because there's only one way to improve and that's to keep at it ...... here's hoping I'll still be able to walk this weekend afterwards!

That's really all there is to report around here at the moment - hope you all enjoy the sunshine this weekend! x

Friday, 16 March 2012

Stop It!

That is pretty much what I'm mentally shouting at myself most days at the moment.

"Stop it!"

"Stop it right NOW!"

"What are you doing?"

It's an ongoing, and very depressing, inner dialogue, because I just can't seem to get a handle on my eating at the moment.  Just a very easy handle on the food it seems.  Mostly going in the direction of my mouth.

I've been getting increasingly frustrated with myself, and what I see as my ongoing abuse of myself.  My weight seems to just gradually (oh so very gradually) trickle up.  Tiny increments here and there, but just enough that I keep seeing depressing new highs, that I thought I'd passed forever on the way down.  This morning, it was 13st 4lbs. 

Now, in all fairness, I can't possibly have put on 3lbs since yesterday, or not of fat at least, but the point is that I did weigh that much this morning.

A slump indeed.  And it's all very well me planning out my evening meals in advance, but that won't cut it if I keep eating a cake here, a Mars bar there and an entire bag of Haribo elsewhere.

Something is triggering me to eat at the moment, and I'm not entirely sure what.  I've just run a half-marathon for cripe's sake, and should be feeling the fittest I've even been.  Instead I feel wobbly and big (relatively speaking), and I looked at the race photos with depression on Monday (glossing over the fact that I was also wearing a not-terribly-flattering charity race vest, and had my base-layer tied round my waist which added bulk).

It occurs to me that I can't very well pull myself out of a slump if I don't know what's put me in it in the first place.  By all accounts, I should be feeling pretty good right now - I've successfully completed my current fitness goal, I've managed to sort my financial situation out to something much healthier (and got told yesterday that I'm even getting a bonus and a payrise this year), my house is comfortable and I have flat-mates I get on well with.  It's also spring time which is a season I love, and I have a whole summer of surfing and play to look forward to.  The only minor cloud on the horizon is that I'm starting to wonder what I'm doing with my career and if I'm in completely the wrong one.  But really, I'm not unhappy in my job - just pondering the long-term possibilities I think.

So what's with the eating, which is surely a displacement for something else?

Jo says she's similarly having trouble committing to The Challenge, so at least I'm not the only one, but I don't want to back-slide too far before I start going forward again.  I'm meeting up with Jo this weekend, so hopefully we can find some time to sit down and try and work out what we're doing.

I also need to sit down with myself and figure out a few things.  Perhaps remind myself why I'm doing this at all and what there is to be won and lost.  Finish re-decorating my goals board!

In the meantime, it's business as usual - treat every morning as a fresh start, and try not to be too hard on myself for my screw-ups, whilst also not throwing in the towel when I make a bad choice.

I'm off for an early-bird surf tomorrow in North Devon, which might clear my head a bit, before barrelling back the other way up the M5 to meet up with a load of my oldest school-mates for a bit of a reunion get together tomorrow night.  Tonight, I'm going to cook tasty risotto for Hannah and maybe enjoy a glass of (carefully tracked and acknowledged) wine and some chat.

Wishing everyone a positive weekend! xx

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


It feels like I suddenly have no focus this week.

For 3 months solidly, I was training for the half-marathon, and that was my goal - I was very fixated on the date of 11 March, and very blurry about what would happen after that.

Somebody asked me recently what I'd be doing after the half, and I answered "having a summer of surfing and fun". I'm not training for anything else currently (and have no intention of doing so - I get very grumpy when I train because I start to hate being told what I have to do and when), but after just 2 days it all feels fuzzy as to what I should be doing.

For the last 12 weeks it's been all about running. I've literally done nothing, fitness-wise, but run. My weeks have consisted of 2-3 runs a week and a Body Balance class when I could fit it in. I haven't been to a spin class or circuits in 3 months! Nothing! In fact, my gym has barely seen me since December.

72 hours after the half-marathon, I now feel completely normal again. All the aches and pains have gone (with the exception of my poor scabby ribs which will probably take a couple of weeks to heal completely, but are at least not so sore now), and I'm starting to feel a little fidgety already. That lead me to pondering what my routine should be now.

I have to confess that my eating hasn't been the best the last 2 days either. This is mostly due to the amount of cake still left around the flat. I seem to have done a fairly good job of demolishing that single-handed, and although a couple of days of being fairly relaxed post-half is probably fine, it's not in line with my Challenge plans with Jo.

So there needs to be a shake-up. Fresh thinking and attitudes. I meant what I said about having a summer dedicated to getting outdoors and having fun. I intend to surf when I can this summer, as I love it, and generally have lots of outdoor adventures. I don't have anymore races booked until September, so I don't have any training I need to do right now. But I do feel a bit noodly and soft, so I think it's time to get back in the gym a bit. And I miss spin.

I think the new (old) routine will therefore look like this:

• Body Balance (Monday)
• Spin
• Circuits (probably Friday?)
• Climbing club!

The last one costs money, so might not happen every week, but I haven't been climbing since I did my course a couple of weeks ago and I'd like to. You might also notice the return of my old nemesis (Death) Circuits - I have such a love / hate relationship with this class, but the truth is it kicks my ass and makes me feel stronger. I'll probably also put in the occasional run on quiet weeks just to keep my hand in too.

Eating-wise, I could do with some planning and structure in my week. I've got lazy. I was mostly cooked for at Hannah's for 2 and a bit months, and I've got out the habit of looking after myself. I'm slowly getting back to cooking, but it would probably help me to plan my weeks out a bit for the next month or so. Think of some basic meals, so then I can plan the rest of my day and my snacks.

This is how we deal with slumps, by planning and having stuff to look forward to :-)

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 12 March 2012

Facing The Fear ..... And Doing It Anyway

Well, 24 hours later the whole thing is starting to fade a little in my memory already.  My legs feel more normal hour by hour, and my only real reminder that it happened (other than my medal of course!) is the 3 inch line of rubbed skin on my ribs, courtesy of my heart rate monitor!

Directly after the race yesterday, I swore blind that I'd never do another one, but as the memory of the pain blurs a little, I can see how some people might decide to do it all again.  I don't think I'm that silly though .... at least not for a good long time!

I didn't sleep well on Saturday night at all - a mixture of nerves and drunken students singing in the road outside (thanks very much for waking me up at mignight, 3.40am, 6am and 6.45am respectively!).  I did spend Saturday resting up, and trying to eat relatively sensibly - small portion of pasta and lots of kale for lunch, small portion of pasta in the evening, and possibly a gloriously decadent milkshake from Rocatillos on Saturday afternoon.  It felt odd deliberately taking it easy when I wasn't ill, and I started getting fidgety towards the end of the day, but watched a film and caught an early night anyway.

Sunday dawned with thick, thick fog which was expected from our scouring of the weather forecasts last week.  Having other runners in the house, including one who'd done the Bath Half several times before, was a blessing as we were all up early to eat breakfast and prepare, and we could travel together too. 

This time I managed to get breakfast right - 4 slices of granary toast with jam and a banana to follow, and left feeling relatively full of energy (albeit mixed with nerves), rather than the leaden porridge disaster of the duathlon last year.  We all scrambled our kit together and were just about ready for our taxi at half 8 to take us to the station.  In fact, everything went remarkably smoothly getting there - we picked up friends en route in the taxi (another runner and her supporter), met Hannah at the station (who was supporting me and kindly carrying whatever I didn't want to put in the baggage claim), and all to soon we were off the train and following the masses to the runners' village.  It was absolutely heaving in there, and it didn't take long for Hannah and I had to lose all the others as we all made our last minute preparations.  Not that it would have mattered anyway as we were all starting from different coloured starting pens. 

I had to do a last minute stop at my charity tent to pick up my race top, as the original pack had somehow got lost in the post and never arrived.  I was a bit gutted about that, as I'd really wanted my name to be on my shirt - I saw how much support runners with names got when I was spectating the Bristol Half last year - but there was nothing to be done.  Whilst we were still in the runners' village, the sun suddenly came out and the temperature rocketed.  Apparently the weather forecast had changed at the without us noticing and we were all set for glorious sunshine.  Luckily, I'd shoved my running shades in my bag at the last moment that morning.  Unluckily, I was wearing a long-sleeved merino base-layer in black under my charity vest.

Before I'd really had time to get too nervous, the tannoy was calling for all remaining runners to make their way to the start.  Hannah wished me one last good luck, told me I'd be fine, and I made my way off to follow the coloured markers to the start.  I'm not kidding - the crush of people making their way to the slower two pens was immense - it literally took me 30 mins to get through to the start from the village!  This actually worked in my favour though, as it meant I was busy worrying about getting there rather than having time to worry about what lay ahead.

We heard the countdown to the start, and at 11.04 I crossed the start line myself - thankfully remembering to start my own watch at the same time. 

I deliberately took it really easy to start with.  Last week's run on Thursday was the first run that had felt even vaguely together since my chest infection, and I really didn't want to push myself too hard.  Besides that though, there was so much atmosphere to soak up!  Down the opening straight (which would also be the closing straight) the crowds lined the route in numbers, and there was a big screen set up at the first bend, showing the live view of the runners streaming through.  Turning the corner, the road swooped down and the field of runners ahead stretched as far as the eye could see.  Luckily, I didn't think at the time, that I'd have to come back up that at the end.

I tried to settle myself into an easy pace, and not get pulled along by the inevitably faster people streaming past me.  It's hard not to though, not to feel like you're running in treacle and to try and speed up, but I reminded myself that those same people would likely struggle later.  I don't remember much else about the first mile or so, apart from hoping I'd find my pace and being grateful when I saw the first mile marker go past and thinking that that was one down. 

The route loops around Queens Sqaure twice, around mile 2 and mile 7ish, and I'd been told that the atmosphere there is amazing as the runners stream round 3 sides of the square.  In actual fact, I nearly burst into tears going round for the first time, as I realised that I was really running this.  There was a fantastic samba drum band in the square, which continued to play until everyone was through on there second lap of the course, and hundreds of people cheering in a relatively enclosed space, and my adrenaline must have spiked as I suddenly had the biggest lump in my throat.  Have you ever tried running like that?  It's pretty hard to breathe!  Hannah told me later that I just looked fed-up, and she was scared I was regretting doing it, where in reality I was holding back tears.

Out of the square and there was a long downhill away from town.  Down there I started to settle into a bit of a rhythm, and enjoyed seeing how many houses had set up little parties in their front gardens with speaker systems bought out and blaring music.  Those actually really helped.  Although I'd taken my iPod Shuffle, I didn't listen to it much in the end, preferring to hear what was going on around me.  I took advantage of a house that had jelly baby trays out front somewhere around mile 3, but otherwise started to feel more comfortable with my running.  The only problem was, I was starting to get really hot. 

It had turned out to be a largely cloudless day, and the sun was beating down.  Lovely for the spectaters, not so lovely for the sweating runners.  I fairly quickly came to the conclusion that I was going to need to lose my base-layer at some point.  That would mean stripping down to my bra and then getting my vest back on.  There were still a lot of spectators out along the road, so nowhere obvious to stop.  I looked thoughtfully at a few of the St John's tents, wondering if they'd let me take shelter.  We were running out of town into the countryside by then, so I started looking at field gateways.  Eventually, around mile 4, I just got fed up and stopped.  In a gateway.  Right next to a man and his small children.  And I didn't care.  I did think to turn my vest the right way out before taking off my base-layer, but ultimately I thought "tough luck to anyone watching".  It was such a relief to get out of my sleeves!

Minutes later, we turned the corner and started heading back into town again.  I had to stop for quick walk break on the return leg, but otherwise was running fairly comfortably.  I'd decided to go without my normal running bottle for a change and just use the designated water stations, so picked up a fresh Lucozade from a station along the way.

I thought I'd crossed the 10k marker at around 1hr 12mins, but the official time says 1hr 23mins.  That's interesting because it means I actually ran the second lap faster than the first, which I wouldn't have expected.  Back into town, back around Queens Square and back out to the countryside.  I remember noticing the 7 mile marker, because I was running strongly around there, and I remember seeing the one for 8 miles, and thinking "this is it, I'll shortly be running further than I ever have before".  And I remember 9.  In fact, I felt pretty good all along there, and found a short but faster stride that kept me going.  My energy felt good, although I'd switched to water as I couldn't stomach anymore Lucozade.  My legs didn't feel bad, and although my foot threatend to get sore, it never really happened apart from strongish twinge once.  Coming back up to where I'd got changed, probably around mile 9 1/2, I saw the first ambulance.  I was to see a lot more of those, as it seems a lot of people had either under-trained, over-cooked it or not hydrated enough in the heat.

A man shouted at us that the 10 mile marker was just around the corner, and I felt elation.  However, his idea of just around the corner and mine differ, as it felt like it was a good half a mile further.  When I finally got there, I felt excitement as, in my head, 10 miles meant I was nearly done.  I thought "but that's just an easy run around the harbour left to do".  I forgot my legs had already run 10 miles, further that I'd ever run before.  I'd just been taking occasional walking breaks so far on the second lap, probably only 1 every mile or so - just 10 seconds here or there.  Suddenly, the miles seemed to double in length, and I started to feel every mile I'd run. 

My right hip started to ache, and there was soreness under my knee-caps.  Although I still felt like I had some energy, it was getting harder and harder to run.  My walking breaks became more frequent, perhaps every half mile or so, although I was still keeping pace with people around me.  My breathing was starting to become short and choppy. Where I'd been chatty and happy around mile 9, now I slumped. 

Before the race, I had a phone call with Jo, where I admitted how nervous I was of not being able to finish the course.  She told me that of course I would, because I was too damn stubborn and competitive not to.  Thankfully, she proved right, as I kept stumbling forward at what felt like a snail's pace.  As everything started to tighten up, it was harder and harder not to limp as I walked on my breaks.  The only thing that really kept me pushing myself to run when I could was the thought that the more I ran, the sooner I'd be finished.  I was also surprised to look at my watch and see that I wasn't far off my original projected finish time of 2:30 that I put on my race application.  I wouldn't quite get it, but I could probably get close. 

Slowly, mile 11 ticked by, and finally mile 12.  I actually thought I must have missed the marker for 12 as it seemed so long coming.  Occasionally, we had to move over to let ambulances past, and I saw too many people being tended to on the side of the road, covered in grit where they'd obviously gone down hard, and I do remember thinking that at least that wasn't me.  I was in quite a lot of pain though - my hip and knees a dull ache, and my breathing actually rasping and squeaking. 

I think the saving grace came from a man who was yelling at the runners "see that hill?  Just run up there, round to the left, and the finish is there".  I couldn't recognise where I was, coming at it in reverse, but I did my best to keep going.  Up a bit, around a roundabout (and I freely admit I thought he was lying at that point), and then I saw the big screen up ahead.  On it, runners were just finishing and hugging each other and crying.  That got me up to the corner, and I turned left (also feeling a little sad I was running alone and wouldn't have anyone to hug). 

For a minute I didn't clock the finish line - it somehow looked smaller than I expected or remembered - but then I realised what I was looking at, and from somewhere there was a final burst of energy.  I sped up, suddenly feeling fresh again, and just wanting to be done.  I overtook people in front of me, and I crossed the line.  2:41:32 was my official time.

For once, I didn't feel sick crossing the line.  Just absolutely exhausted.

The one blessing of finishing nearer the back of the field, is that the finish area is much quieter.  Not for me the sudden halt in a crush of people, or having to queue to get de-chipped and get fluids, medal and race-pack.  Instead a leisurely stroll through.  I had to stop and take my own chip off, as I'd done it on my laces, rather than with twist ties like they suggest (they have a whole team of people snipping them off for you!), and my legs were shaking as I reached to do that.  I went to look for Hannah, but she wasn't there yet, so I got my bag back, and thought about stretching when I saw her and she ran up to hug me, sweaty and salt-rinded as I was.  Good friends are like that!

After the race, we made our way back to the station, me walking rather gingerly.  My lovely (non-running) flatmate was acting as taxi service and very kindly came to pick us up from the station, despite already having collected Sam (who finished in an amazing 1:58!).  What a star!  She'd also put up congratulations banners in the kitchen, blown up balloons, got some bubbly and put out cakes for us!

I very slowly and carefully climbed in the shower, and was surprised when the water really stung my ribs.  I'd had to re-position my chest band from my heart rate monitor a couple of times while I was running, as it didn't seem to be sitting right, and I took it off as soon as I was done, but when I looked down, there was a whole line of raw skin that it must have rubbed off - I've got a 3 inch scab across the front, just below my bra band today!  Ouch!

Other than that, I seem to have escaped reltively unscathed.  My leg muscles, although tight, aren't terrible, and the aches in my hips and knees seemed to have died down.  My shoulders feel inexplicably tight, and I had very rosy cheeks last night from the sun.  I also had a stubborn headache last night, and after Sunday lunch / dinner at a nearby pub, I was home by half 8 and in bed!

And so, The Great 2012 Half Marathon Adventure comes to an end. 

Thank god for that! :o)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A New Addition to the Collection


More later when I'm less hungry and tired.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Ongoing Challenges

I've been eating properly on the challenge for 2 days now.  I've eaten conscientiously, and my decision to cut out cake, sweets, chocolate and biscuits for the week has forced me to think about what, or whether, I really want to eat.

Initially, I was quite hungry between meals, but I've come to the conclusion that my blood sugar levels must have been swooping up and down from all the sugar I've been eating, as it seems to be lessening a bit now.  I even managed to make some good choices at dinner at Giraffe last night (and can I just recommend the bean and aubergine mossake whilst I'm at it - very tasty). 

Today, I'm struggling a bit though, because there is a massive birthday cake from Costco sat at the end of my desk for us to help ourselves too.  It's my favourite sort of cake too - proper victoria sponge with royal icing.  Sob.  I've not had any so far, but I've just caught myself looking at my daily tracker, thinking I could easily accomodate it in my points for today, except that that's not the point.  No cake this week.

Emotionally speaking, I'm a bit of a wreck this week.  Hormones all over the shop, and everything either seems too much effort or makes me want to snap or cry.  I've managed not to do either (well, not too much snapping anyway).

It's not just my eating I'm having to keep an eye on this week either.  So far this year, I've been pretty damn good with my spending, as promised, however, I do seem to have taken my eye somewhat off the ball the last couple of weeks, with the result that I'm going to have to be very careful for the next fortnight until pay day.  Extra careful, in fact, as I absolutely don't want to either put anything on the credit card or "steal" money from my bills account or credit card overpayments, unless absolutely unavoidable.  It really should be unavoidable - just means I'm going to have to cut a few luxuries over the next couple of weeks such as the cinema and going out.  Time I learned out to do it anyway!

On the psychological warfare front, I've now firmly (and resignedly) told myself that I will get round the half on Sunday, even if I run a mile and have to walk the rest.  It might be awful, but I can do it, and have to because so many people have sponsored me.  As Jo put it last night "you're far too competitive with yourself to not do it".  I prefer stubborn, but either way, if it's mind over matter, so be it.

Keep fighting everybody!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Just a quick post because I'm knackered and need some sleep.

My friend Caroline came over to visit this weekend from Brussels. It was so nice to see her again, but the weekend did deteriorate into a bit of a restaurant frenzy. Actually, looking back, I made quite a few good choices, but it was still a lot of food.

A Sunday night catch-up call with Jo prompted me to moan about how I wasn't happy with my eating or the way my clothes fit at the moment, and the said the same ..... so rather than moan, we've decided to declare it open season once more on The Challenge.

This is what helped us lose so much weight in 2009 when this whole thing started for me. A real sense of accountability, a small element of competition and a lot of support. In fact, I just rang her up to tell her to put the chocolate down after she texted me to say she was wavering.

I've laid my ground rules - this week there's going to be no booze, no chocolate, no biscuits, no cake and no sweets. They've all been too frequent recently, and I need some control. That still leaves me some options for snacks, but I have to think a bit more when I want something. So far so good.

I'm also being quite strict with my tracking this week - everything's going in.

Another challenge this week is my half-marathon. Which is this Sunday. Oh crap.

I've really got the fear now as none of my recent runs have been good. This chest infection seems to have really knocked me for six, and now I'm seriously scared about how I'm going to get round on Sunday. I feel low on energy, my breathing's constantly feels just a tiny bit short when I run and my legs are lead. But I'll do it, because I've raised quite a lot of money now, and I have to.

I've abandoned all goal times, in favour of thinking strategies that will just get me round. Even if it takes 3 hours or so and I end ip having to walk a load of it. Actually, even typing that makes me scared, but I'll suck it up and battle through.

And then I'll most definitely be having cake and booze afterwards to celebrate. At least for that one day.

Just one day at a time.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 2 March 2012


Well, it’s definitely a relief to get to Friday I can tell you!  This week has absolutely flown by, and I am shattered.  Even though my chest infection has mostly shifted now, I still find myself unexpectedly breathless when I least expect it, and I can’t wait for it to just bugger off now.  Here’s the positives to the week though:

  1. After last week’s blip, the scales have put me back down a bit – still not quite back under 13 st, but heading back in the right direction at 13 st 1lb, and that’s in spite of pizza for tea last night.  My eating still feels a bit off, but I’m plodding back there, and the fact that I walk around 3 miles a day which doesn’t go in my tracker definitely helps that.  I’ve also started to notice the return of my “I’m full” indicator, which is something I willfully ignore when I’m off track.  More plodding and less blips, please!
  2. I did something I haven’t done for a while yesterday, and went for a run at lunchtime.  This week’s been hectic, and I have to admit that the awfulness of Sunday’s run did kind of put me off.  So I sucked it up and went for a short run round the harbour yesterday – and it still wasn’t great.  I was huffing and puffing and couldn’t run more than 15 mins continuously – I had to walk twice in my short 30 min run.  I was horrified because I felt like all my hard-won running fitness that I’ve been so carefully building up since before Christmas had just disappeared …. 10 days before my half-marathon.  I persevered and finished it, and then checked my watch.  Surprisingly, I was back in a really good time for that route, and when I logged my run in my tracker, I saw that my pace was actually a 15 seconds / mile quicker than any other training run I’ve done for the half.  No wonder it sucked!  Sunday saw me slogging round at 13 min miles and not happy.  Yesterday was 11.15 min miles, so I feel slightly better.  The plan now is just to do several more short runs, and maybe slot in a slightly longer 50 min run and just try and reacquaint my muscles and mind with running (and pacing!) myself.
  3. The working week is over!!  Whoooop!  Which means my old uni-housemate Caroline is visiting from Brussells …… yaaaaaaaaaaay!  Super-excited!  I don’t get to see Caroline often, but I love it because we slide straight back into uni days and chat constantly when we do – it’s going to be lovely to show her my Bristol.
  4. I did my sponsership email to work for my half-marathon yesterday.  I hit send, just as I went for my run, and when I got back I’d already shot past my fund-raising target!  I think I’m going to need to raise it!  That’s a huge weight off my mind though, especially as I can double it with matched giving at work.  Just got to run it now!

I’m sure there was something else too, but I can’t think what it was right now, so I shall simply say “have a lovely weekend”! xx