Sunday Weigh In is back

I stopped getting on the scales a while ago initially for positive reasons – I didn’t care at all what the number said, I knew I was getting fitter and stronger and healthier so the actual weight didn’t matter. Then the running got patchy and we fell off the food and booze wagon a bit – which is silly because when we were making the effort we were eating really yummy healthy food that we were both really enjoying. In the run up to Christmas I knew my weight was sneaking up again and just after I suddenly worried that it might even be getting as high as it was 2 years ago before I started running. Clothes don’t fit properly, running is so much harder than it needs to be. A good few pounds need to come off.

So on the 2nd January I set a new baseline – a stone lighter than the baseline I set 2 years ago but also over a stone and a half heavier than I was at my lightest during Dopey training. Hmph. I was determined to have a good food and exercise week but as I mentioned I was ill instead. I have lost 6 pounds but I’m not really celebrating that because it’s more due to being poorly than anything else.

We have a food plan for the week with lots of fresh, yummy things but also included comfort food to guard against the cold and grey ‘pass me the biscuits’ kind of feeling. We’re starting today with pancakes (a healthier version K once found a recipe for, possibly in a Runner’s World or from a Running Bug) – a lovely Sunday treat with yoghurt and raspberries. For lunch we’re having cottage pie with a mountain of veg and for tea a salad with a few nuts and seeds sprinkled in for crunch. This week is relatively conservative with food – familiar things to not upset my tummy which is still getting back to normal. Next week I think we will be more adventurous, we’ve seen some lovely recipes that look healthy and delicious. I’ll try and remember to share.

We’re also going to start running again this coming week. I’m not sure about starting the 10k programme – yesterday I was still quite wobbly after my 2 mile walk so I will see how I feel after a walk today and then see if I need a very easy, very short run week or whether I’m ready to have another go at week 1 of the 10k programme. The programme isn’t aligned with a race so it doesn’t really matter.

Happy Sunday

The thing with honesty…

So here’s the thing with being honest about life, running, fitness, weight… It doesn’t make you feel any better. It doesn’t do anything for your confidence. It makes you feel great, well, when you feel great. The reverse can also be true.

This post is triggered by a number of things I’ve seen, heard and read over the last 2 days. I won’t single them out because that wouldn’t be fair – they’re not my stories to tell. But my story is my story to tell. Here’s the deal:

I am running a half marathon on Sunday. I am not ready. I haven’t run enough, I haven’t done enough mileage, I haven’t been consistent. I am excited about it nonetheless because I have a little glimmer of hope that I have gained enough experience over this last year to be able to just see it for the adventure it is and go with it. I have posted my excitement on social media. And I am being honest in that BUT there’s also a whole load I haven’t said. I think maybe I should say it now.

  1. I packed yesterday. I started off excited and ended almost in tears. I packed my running gear first  for the half marathon- easy. Then I decided I wanted a long sleeved top for the 5k and thought maybe a Dopey one – they were on the small side when we got them but the next size up would have been too big – they’re too tight now, all of them. Then I wondered about what to take to wear the rest of the time. It’s all about Disney and running and celebrating how far we’ve come so I thought I’d wear my ‘I did it’ t-shirt from Dopey. I tried it on. It doesn’t really fit. I tried on the 5k cotton T we got at Dopey – that doesn’t really fit either. I tried a couple of others – nope.
  2. I have put weight on – or let’s put it another way. I liked the shape I was just post-Dopey better. I wasn’t actually much lighter at all (half a stone maybe) but I was different and now things I bought then don’t fit and that upsets me more than it should
  3. I am worried that the race t-shirts won’t fit because the sizing is always a bit hit and miss and now I don’t really know what size I am.
  4. I don’t mind being at the back of the pack. I don’t mind being a slow runner but I don’t like the idea of being the fat lass at the back. The fitter (and thus more shapely) I get the less I mind being slow but now that I don’t feel all that fit and am super conscious of the wobbly bits I somehow mind being slow. Confidence?
  5. I am not confident today. I am self conscious as anything and I’m just sitting at home, trying to write. Nobody is going to see me today really and yet I am wondering if my t-shirt is perhaps a little too tight or if it will be ok even if I take my hoodie off.
  6. Today I feel fat. You see I think there’s a difference between being fat and feeling fat. I am fat. I have no real problem with that, I’m used to it after all. Being fat isn’t the problem. Feeling fat is. When I feel fat I stop feeling like me. Most days I just feel like me and my insecurities and issues are not really related to body shape or whatever. But sometimes I feel fat and then I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t do stuff, then I am suddenly aware of every bit of me where my clothes stick to me or stretch or whatever. It’s rare thankfully
  7. I wish I didn’t feel fat just before a half marathon because now I think fat people don’t run half marathons which in itself is utter nonsense.

Anyway, I could find more negative shit to write about but that’s not the point. The point is that getting fitter and healthier, losing weight, running…all that stuff isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It’s not all amazing. It doesn’t make you feel like a new woman all the time, it’s not all fucking awesome. Some days I feel like shit, some days I feel like crying, some days I look in the mirror and look away in disgust. If that’s you today, that’s fine. It really is. Tomorrow I might look in the mirror and smile – but for today I think I’ll keep my hoodie on


Trying to go faster – sort of

I have been trying to get back in the game ever since we got back from Florida. The last run was hard but done but that was Tuesday, the rest of the week was a bit of a write off. I’ve been tired. Probably because I went back to work and put a lot of effort into not getting caught up in work stuff and just letting it go (oh look Frozen’s Let it go on a loop in my head). We were supposed to run Thursday, we didn’t. I meant to go to the gym at the hotel I was staying at Friday, I didn’t (ok so I freaked out over trendy London types spilling over into the lobby area from the bar and the idea of having to walk past them all in my gym stuff – totally pathetic but at the time a real issue) and then I meant to go again on Saturday, I didn’t (didn’t get up in time).

So Sunday came. With some trepidation I looked at the training plan we are now using although I knew what it said anyway: 4 X 1 mile. That means running a mile at about 30 seconds faster than race pace and doing that 4 times with 5 minutes walking in between. I don’t do fast. This is part of a Jeff Galloway plan so it’s all still about run/walk and really shouldn’t be a drama. To help me build mental strength and stamina to keep running for longer we agreed that we would run each of the miles without walking. Seemed like a good idea at the time…

Mile 1: We were both off like coiled springs in spite of having agreed to go out slow. We ran down the road stretching our legs nicely, turned right and started the hill, still felt fine. I took a deep breath as we levelled out for a few steps and then pushed hard up the last bit of the hill. Then there was downhill, a bit of flat and more downhill and then I suddenly started really feeling it. The last quarter of a mile (ish) was hard, really hard and I could feel my lungs like I haven’t for ages. On the slow long distance plods it’s my legs that give in eventually, here it felt like my lungs were about to explode. The walk break came. Time – 10.22

Mile 2: we started just as we come out of the wood and onto the golf course so this mile included the dreaded downhill section. I made it safely and then felt OK for about half a minute. Half a mile in my lungs reminded me they were there and working far too hard and a bit after that my hips started protesting. Kath asked if I wanted to take a walk but as much as every bit of me was screaming to walk I said no. I’d set out to run this bloody thing so that was what I was bloody well going to do. It was awful and then over. Time – 11.21

Mile 3: I felt good for a quarter of a mile. I was running in a nice rhythm and running seemed to make sense. My breathing was working with rather than against me and it felt easy… And then it didn’t. Then it got hard again, so hard I muttered something about just giving it all up and then swore. I was really trying to focus on positives and tap into that memory bank. I wanted to think about that amazing feeling of jogging gently through Epcot on 5 k day but my mind kept dragging me back  to the endlessness and pain of the ESPN Wild World of Sports complex on marathon day. But this mile did end. Time- 11.29

Mile 4: Last one. I was done with this running thing. My brain was not helping at all. It seemed to have come to the conclusion that because I ran Dopey, this should be easy. I was questioning why it was so hard. I mean I did Dopey FFS. But  I forget that Dopey was bloody hard, that the training up to Dopey was hard and that running is almost never easy. And then it was over and within seconds I was thrilled to have done the 4 miles even if I did hate almost every step of the way. Time- 11.31

So the pace is probably a little faster than I do when I go out normally but then I usually run/walk so it would be. After the first mile I wasn’t really thinking about pushing the pace I was just focussed on running the whole mile without walking. I counted in my head a lot today and that seemed to help.

Then we met my friend for her first run. We did the first run in a Jeff Galloway 5K programme which was 30 minutes of running for 15 seconds and walking for 45 seconds. She did really well, much better than I did when I went out for the first time! I remember not being able to do it so it was really nice to see her complete it with relative ease and it was nice to see how easy it was for me to do it while chatting. It was a little reminder that I have made real progress.

We just missed a bus home and it being Sunday there was a big gap between busses so we walked the 3 ish miles back home. Once there I reluctantly got on the scales for the first time since the 29th December. I weigh exactly the same as I did then. I’m happy with that and I feel like I am back in the game. I went fast- ish today for a bit and spent a good chunk of the day outside and moving. I feel a good sort of tired now, a physically tired rather than just mentally drained. Happy.

Food and that

I did something unusual the other day and ordered the paperback version of a book I already have on kindle. The book is the New Year Same You book by Julie Creffield I already mentioned a little while back. I know I keep going on about it but it is such a lovely antidote to all the diet crap that we seem to be bombarded with at this time of year. I ignore most of it but I can’t escape the adverts; new diets and exercise regimes, new ‘get your dream body in 4 weeks’ type of things are everywhere. Now I am in a pretty good place regarding body image etc at the minute but that’s because I am starting 2016 2.5 stone lighter than I started 2015 and I am about to do something with this slightly wibbly wobbly body of mine that just 12 months ago seemed utterly impossible. But even with all that positivity all this diet and getting slim stuff is still getting to me. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I have done pretty well and that being fitter that I ever have been is far more important than getting in a size 12. Goodness, have I ever fitted in a size 12? Doubt it.

Anyway, the book. I ordered the paperback because I suddenly realised I was thinking about it alot and I wanted to go back to it and highlight and write little notes to myself and also work on some of the tasks Julie suggests and that is all just easier with an actual book. Just having the book won’t change anything at all. Doing stuff with it and engaging with the suggestions in it might well help me get to grips with some of the things I find difficult about this new ‘running feature enabled’ version of me. I’m waiting for the paperback to come but I was looking at the chapter about food again because of all the diet crap that’s around and because I had a not so nice conversation with someone about food recently.

I was asked about my weightloss and the other person simply would not accept that I had not been completely utterly disciplined about food and that my eating habits would change dramatically post marathon. Kath had a similar conversation with someone who refused to believe that she hadn’t been on a diet of some kind. I have done Slimming World in the past and it did work for me for a bit but there was just too much there that I diagreed with fundamentally (like diet/lite drinks to name just one). Julie’s focus on understanding our relationship with food and about making conscious food choices really resonated, as did the idea of disordered eating.

So here are my thoughts on food: I eat very little processed food. I like fruit and veggies  – all of them really apart from leeks. I don’t like leeks. I eat meat, possibly too much but where it comes from is important to me – local and most definitly free range – not necessarily organic – that’s a whole other story… Food miles are evil. I love eating stuff we’ve grown but I am also lazy and not that competent in garden or kitchen. We eat out a lot (see my lazy and competence point) and there are things I could cut out to be really ‘good’ (I don’t really like being ‘good’ though – just the idea of having to be a good girl makes me want to misbehave) but I don’t want to be miserable. I like chocolate, I like a beer and with that a packet of crisps and I like a glass of prosecco here and there. I like cheese and bread and crackers and sometimes only a cup of tea and a ginger nut biscuit will do. So shoot me.

How I eat has changed with running though but it is the running that came first. I didn’t change my eating to lose weight, I changed my eating, and not by much, because I listen to what my body wants. I rarely now eat something for the sake of it – I said rarely, not never. What I want to eat has changed. I crave broccoli, I adore salmon or tuna on quinoa and grains and you can’t beat avocado on toast… I can also eat a jar of peanut butter with a spoon in one sitting.

Reading the chapter about food in Julie’s book made me think about the messages and (mis)information we get fed (pun intended obviously) every day of our lives. No wonder most people are totally confused as to what we should and shouldn’t be eating! As for food labels – don’t get me started, they can make a mars bar look healthier than a piece of fruit. Even adverts I thought were quite funny, like the maltesers adverts about being naughty, assign moral value to food; we talk about ‘being good’ with food; good people have a salad, bad people have the burger and fries… but you can be pretty sure that neither of them will actually sit and enjoy the food. We eat on the run, while doing something else, at our desks (oh that’s me!), while watching TV. Julie’s chapter made me stop and think a bit. I tend to be quite arrogant about food. A bit ‘I know what I’m doing and I am fully aware of what choices I am making…’ But am I? I suspect not. We do food plan our weeks but we tend to just plan main meals. I think we would do well to plan breakfast and snacks etc too. And in the same way that we plan what to eat we should also plan the when and where much more. Julie’s chapter made me think about how to make more time for just enjoying food and the togetherness it could bring. We could cook together, we always enjoy it and yet so rarely do it. Why?

Anyway, one of the The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running running vests says ‘don’t judge just run’ and I really do think we need to take the don’t judge theme into the food arena too. Food and eating are loaded with moral baggage and guilt and pleasure and the complex relationships we have with it and we all need to figure it out for ourselves. So don’t judge, and don’t allow yourself to be judged but do think about what you are putting into your body and why. I do, and will continue to, reach for the biscuits when I feel a bit crap but I know that’s what I am doing and I choose to do it and I no longer ‘accidentally’ eat the whole packet. That has nothing to do with self control or discipline. I am not denying myself anything. I just have what I want as long as I am really sure that I want it.

Anyway, I am sure there will be more musings on specific aspects of Julie’s book but if you’re not quite where you want to be and all the diet stuff around at the minute is getting you down – or you are thinking of going on a diet, I really do think the book might help make sense of it all.

Post-Christmas running

Those of you who have been following the weight loss bit of this journey may have noticed that I’ve been silent on that and have stubbornly ignored my Sunday weigh-ins. Two reasons for this, one I forgot to get on the scales first thing on the Sundays and it just didn’t seem important enough to do it later. Can you see th headline ‘woman doesn’t care about her weight – the end of the world as we know it’… Anyway, then just lately I did start caring because with lower mileage and festive food I felt like I might be piling on pounds which is tthe last thing I should be doing just before a marathon. So I just didn’t get on the scales to avoid that disappointment.But today I hopped on the scales for the first time since the beginning of the month: I am actually half a pound lighter than I was last time I weighed myself. Next weigh in 1st Jan to get the baseline for 2016.

We have been struggling to get our runs in but today we went out together. It felt like ages since we actually went for a run together. The sun was shining, it was ridiculously warm and it was such hard work. I felt heavy, sluggish, unfit and like all the mince pies, sausage rolls and prosecco in the world were congregating in the pit of my stomach. I felt decidedly like I was plodding along slower than ever, but, I kept telling myself, I was plodding not sitting on the sofa stuffing my face.

At about two miles the towpath was blocked by a fallen tree so we had to turn round and go the other way. We’d run roughly the first mile and had then dropped into our run/walk intervals (as planned for marathon, 2 min run,1 min walk) and I needed the walk breaks. We checked our time at 5 km so that we could count that as our December One Big Fat Run and I thought 37 mins, 35 seconds was pretty good going for a post Christmas 5km that’s part of a longer run.

At about 4 miles I started feeling better. The sluggishness was giving way to just enjoying being out. At just under 5 miles we turned again and ran the last mile and a bit back to the ‘home’ bridge. The 6 miles took us an hour, 12 minutes and a few seconds and it was a nice run. We chatted for all but the last few minutes and the sun was lovely.

Walking up the hill to get home I felt a bit dizzy but I think I was dehydrated. I haven’t really been paying attention to drinking enough water. We’ve had some food and I’ve drank about three pints of water and feel great now.

One more 45 minute run and one more 6 mile run left. 6 more sleeps before we travel, 7 more before we fly to Florida. Today I am more excited than terrified. Bring on the marathon!