Monday, 27 February 2012


What with everything that's happened over the past couple of days, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm now a part of a real life Truman Show; recent events certainly read like the script of a sit-com.

I'll let you decide for yourself...

Today, I awoke at 6am, showered, dressed and drove to Tesco Extra. I bought myself some breakfast and lunch for the day and continued my way to work. I chatted with a colleague, prepared my lessons and marked a couple of books. At 8am I sat down in staff briefing, chatting merrily with my colleagues as we waited for the meeting to start. It was ONLY then, that I looked down and realised that, if my antics yesterday were to have provided some level of comedy value then, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a whole new level of Monday madness: As I walked around, all day, like this...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

An unmitigated disaster!

If there was a higher power guiding my life, I would say that today, it decided to teach me a lesson for lack of faith and ignorance. When I was unable to sign up for the Great North West Half Marathon, because I was too late, I refused to accept this fate; instead of saying 'oh well, not to worry, it's only one race amongst many- I'll do it next year.' I thought 'I bet I can sign up on the day, there's bound to be some runners who drop out.' and I promptly hot-footed it to Blackpool.

I say 'promptly' but I did, of course, wait for the day of the race before setting off to the great, grey British seaside resort; which was today.

At 7am, I leapt from my comfy, warm, delectable bed and sped my way to Blackpool promenade. Where, by 8.30am I was a fully fledged, legitimate racer. I idled away the next few hours, waiting for the other Oldham and Royton Road Runners by drinking tea and reading various intellectual material (not 'Now' magazine... No, no, no, not me... I very definitely didn't read 'Now' magazine because I'm a cheap skate and it was only 65p!!) in the bar of the Hilton hotel.

At 11am, after a swift mile warm up along the seafront, and another toilet stop, we were off. To begin with I felt really good: I was running at 9.25 min mile pace and feeling quite 'bouncy'. However, the title of this post includes the word 'disaster' so I'll spare you the full exposition and get straight to the problem. At mile 3, my l knee 'went'. By that, I mean it kinda twanged and my leg collapsed a little beneath me. Obviously I stopped to stretch it out. I stretched, walked a little, tested it with a little jog, decided it was fine and continued. Only it wasn't fine. As I hit another undulation in the pavement, my leg did another collapsy dip.

Now, at this point I probably should have stopped running. I didn't. Obviously. And don't look at me like that, you know you wouldn't have either! You see, there were 3 reasons not to:
1. I got up at 7am in the morning to do this run. 7. 7AM. On a SUNDAY!
2. I was always going to be last out of the club runners in this race, but last gets you 1 point. Dropping out just gets you to Loserville!!
3. Running 13.1 miles earns me over 1,300 calories... That's more than a day's worth of guilt-free, fat-free food... I wanted those calories burnt!

So, I adjusted my pace once again and bedded in with the 2hrs11 pacing team. This strategy took me another 7 miles until, at mile 10, the same undulating path caused me to pull up once again and I waved my pacemakers a fond farewell. By now, this race had turned into one of the longest in the world and I was really starting to struggle, so thank goodness for Asheela who pulled up alongside me, at mile 11, and started chatting. Having run 4 marathons, and in training for her 5th in London this year, she provided a good, steady pace, great company and a much needed distraction from the pain in my knee for the last stretch and I can't thank her enough for that. If you know Asheela from Leeds, please pass on my gratitude!

And so, hobbling over the line, I proudly received my goodie bag.

Well, thank goodness for goodie bags I say. As very quickly, the pain in my knee became accompanied by a pain in my stomach which was threatening to show me it's contents despite my reassurances that there really was no need; I had seen everything that had gone in, in a far more pleasant state only a few hours earlier. We entered battle. My stomach vs my mind. Unfortunately, whilst driving on the M61 at 60mph, only 1/2 mile from the safety of a service station, my stomach won. I won't give you the puke-filled gory details but needless to say, it's quite hard to vomit into a goody bag whilst maintaining full concentration on the road. I mainly missed the bag. However, I did manage to empty it of my medal before the evacuation... There's a bright side to everything!!

Putting everything into perspective, and with the power of hindsight, I now think that maybe I'd have been better off staying tucked up in my lovely, warm, comfortable bed this morning; then again, if I had, there'd have been a far less interesting story to tell. And I wouldn't have earned myself 1 whole championship point and a medal!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

I have a plan...

Over the past couple of weeks, running has only occurred twice a week at club due to a complete lack of motivation to force myself out of the house / work/ coffee shops/ restaurants/ parties/ shops/ bed!

So it comes as no surprise that, with an equal level of procrastination, I managed to completely miss the deadline to sign up for the next club championship race which is the Great North West Half Marathon, in Blackpool, this weekend.

But... I have a plan:

1. Get up stupid early (for a Sunday).
2. Make a peanut butter sandwich.
3. Drive to Blackpool, carefully eating -aforementioned peanut butter sandwich on the way!
4. Shamelessly beg/ buy/ borrow/ steal race place from organisers.

If all goes to plan, I will then have 2 1/2 hours to kill in the delightful seaside resort of Blackpool... Where I will try not to kill myself and instead Maybe eat porridge in Starbucks!... This will then be followed by a slow 13.1mile jaunt along the seafront and a much needed one extra point in my club championship kitty!

...I'll let you know how I get on!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Excess and Exercise

This week has been a blur of food and running. Therefore, as someone who is trying to lose a few pounds, it has also been a week of finely tuned balance.

The blur began last week on Wednesday with The Impossible Session. With a night out on Thursday (scoffing my face with fish and chips in Bradford) I felt I had no option but to force myself to attend the 'hard' Wednesday night session at running club- please note: 'hard' is placed within the inverted commas for emphasis and in no way suggests any form of irony... Trust me! - So, we set off to the starting point where Pete described the session: run out for 8 minutes, come back in 7. Take a 1 minute recovery (1 minute? That surely can't be enough??!! - it wasn't!). Then, run out in 6 minutes and return in 5; out in 4, return in 3 - all still with a 1 minute recovery in between - and finally, out in 2 and return in 1. We duly undertook the session which required pushing out and literally sprinting back and, to be fair, I was doing very well at arriving back in the allotted time. Until the final interval of course, as this one was actually, physically impossible. By this point, I was pushing out at about 8.30 min miles; even with my poor maths skills, I can work out that to return the same distance in half the time would require me to run back at 4.15 min miles. Yep. Impossible. I can't - obviously - run that fast! I ran back as fast as I could instead.

The following night, I stuffed my face with fish and chips in celebration of Mik's dad's birthday (happy birthday Sean!) and completion of the impossible session. On Friday, I stuffed my face with cake and pizza; on Saturday we took Doris for a long walk, so I could stuff my face with Chinese; on Sunday, I walked the 6 mile round trip to the city centre so I could stuff my face with Sunday dinner (guilt free) and then I took Doris for another 3 mile walk.

Come Monday, you'd think I'd have had enough of stuffing my face. No, you're right, not if you know me... In fact, if you know me well, it'll be no surprise that I dutifully continued to stuff my face with sandwiches, wedges and the-nicesest-chocolate-in-the-world when I visited Slattery's tea rooms for a 'ladies-what-lunch' catch up with the girls.

By the time I left Slattery's, my stomach ached with the excessive delights I had stuffed it full with, so, naturally, by 7pm I was out running 23 hills at running club. Ouch.

Unfortunately... Or maybe, fortunately, these 'stuffing my face' exploits are due to continue for the rest of the week. In fact, I am currently sat on a train heading to London where I will be taking my mother for an surprise birthday afternoon tea... Nom, nom!

Thankfully, in all of this, I have one saviour; that which will hopefully save me from gout, obesity, or just simple stomach explosion: myfitnesspal. I have installed this little, trusty app on my iPhone, and have been using it to ensure that my excesses have not become excessive! And, despite the slight obsession I've developed with the thing, I think it's doing me good. I've always maintained that dieting is not about denying yourself things you want, or denying your body food it needs; that's not sustainable. If I had been doing that, I would have given up and gone 'off my diet' on Thursday with my fish, chips and curry sauce - I didn't mention the curry sauce before did I :-o - Instead, I've been keeping my excesses balanced with my exercises. Granted, I've not been eating the most nutritional diet in the world this week (so the gout is still a possibility) but I have managed to keep losing weight! Woop! All I have to do is keep the average calories, over the week, below the red line on the pretty little graph (shown below) and it doesn't matter if the little, daily green ones turn red every now and then! Simples!

And perfect, as I'm off to stuff my face with more food... Ooooh, and maybe a few glasses of wine... What? I'll have a salad tomorrow!