Saturday, 1 September 2012


I have always liked September.  Like many people, the start of the new school year has come to signify a new beginning in general.  Now my school days are some years behind me, September is a time to look back at the last six months and review what I have achieved, and make plans for the next six months.

I have achieved one goal: losing weight. This time last year I was a shade under 10 stone and 6 pounds, and today I am 10 stone and 9 pounds.

My plans for the next six months are to lose the next 9 pounds, complete Newcastle Stampede, then start working on getting my 5k time down to under 24 minutes.

Miles run: 24

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Sea

There are some activities that you try out one day because you've always kind of wanted to do it but just never got round to it.  So you go down for a taster session, hand over a bit of cash, and discover a new love.

 I tried surfing today for the first time ever.  I wanted to treat myself at the end because I have now completed the two-week Phase 1 stage of the Low Carb Vegetarian Diet.  I grew up by the sea near a surfing hotspot but I have never tried surfing when I was younger because I always felt too fat to get in a wetsuit.  Somehow a wearing wetsuit makes me feel more self-conscious than wearing a swimming costume or even a bikini.  I am still fat, but now I am less self-conscious.

We had a brief lesson on how to get on the surfboard and safety in the water (STAY AWAY FROM THE RIPTIDES), then walked our boards down to the sea.  And the first time I walked into the sea the waves looked a hell of a lot bigger than they did from the shore.  The North Sea was icy cold around my feet and I swear I felt ice-cubes swirling around my feet.  The thought of jumping on the board and trying to catch a wave was daunting.

I took a few goes to drum up the courage, then spotted a good-looking wave, turned the board around so I was facing the beach, waited until the wave was 3 metres away from me, then clambered on with no grace whatsoever.  The first time the wave propelled me towards the beach was exhilarating.  I'm hooked.

I'm also exhausted.

This week
Running 5m
Workouts: 2 workouts and one body pump session
Surfing: 2 hours

Next week's exercise
Monday: Workout and 30 min swim
Tuesday: Workout and 4x400m IW
Wednesday: 3 mile run
Thursday: Workout and 30 min tempo
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4m run (and surfing if there's a class on)
Sunday: 30 min easy, body pump. (if there's a surf class on I'll skip the body pump and head to the beach instead)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Micro Disneycal World Tour

This song feels a lot more upbeat than me. Has summer just given up and slunk straight into autumn with an embarrassed shrug of its shoulders and an apologetic smile?

I made it to the gym for the first time this week.  On Monday I felt too lethargic to go, and on Tuesday I was too busy attending a training session for a charity I volunteer with.  I went because I had a free evening and I have been feeling more energetic than when I started the low-carb diet, but not as energetic as I feel normally.  I've noticed I walk slower on the way to work, for example.

This does make me wonder of the point of low-carb diets if the early phases make me feel so damn awful.  I did Weightwatchers a long time ago and felt great from the word go.  I was, however, often very hungry and unable to make my points work out so I felt sated.  I don't think I work with the mentality that you can eat what you want (within moderation) on Weightwatchers,  because I have kept that mentality, and end up eating what I want but too much of it.

So the very rigid rules of a low-carb diet are working for me in the short term, but I am unsure if I can keep it up long term.  Hopefully when I get to my goal weight I can maintain and still have a few treats every now and again. At least whiskey has zero carbs.

The weightloss is also working - I've lost 3.4lb since starting the diet.  I'm not sure how much is water weight and blah blah blah, but seeing lower numbers on the dial of my scales is encouraging.  I hope I can keep it off long term, however, and that a minor slipup (because I will have them) won't cause me to pile the weight back on...

My workout was quick, and my 2 mile run was very, very slow - I blame the low carb diet, not the fact that I haven't run properly since May.


Sunday, 12 August 2012


I started Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet today. In the book you're made aware that some people feel lethargic and suffer from headaches during the first few days.  Boy do I feel lethargic, and boy do I have a headache. It could be due to what I have(n't) eaten today, or it could be due to the fact that I haven't had any coffee or diet coke at all today because caffeine is banned during Phase 1.

I usually drink a fair amount of coffee, as I start the day with a cup of black coffee and sometimes grab a soy latte on my commute.  Then it's a cup before I start work and a cup around 3pm.  On a bad day, when I'm stressed (or bored) at work I have a few more cups, and a 500ml bottle of diet coke at lunchtime. So to go without caffeine for me is a novel experience, and I felt very sleepy and tired during my run this morning. It felt like I was running through mud, and I wasn't even out of breath. I just need to go slow, take my time and let my body adjust.  Tomorrow I hope to do a 2-mile run.

Thank god I can fill the coffee gap with Rooibos and Choco Aztec Yogi Tea.   I'm not going to lie and say it tastes great and is totally a replacement for hot chocolate, because it's not, it has a mild sweet/bitter taste of chocolate that is quite 'thin' with a hint of spice, but it's gentle and a great way to round off a meal.

And I hate it when people say 'X is totally like Y only healthier/without the fat/half the calories'.  It's really not!

Body Balance class
1.5 mile run (which was tough)


3 eggs, butter and a tablespoon of cream (no seriously)
1 vegetarian sausage
1/2 tomato

Goats cheese, chicory and pecan salad with home-made vinaigrette

Asparagus Quiche (which had no pastry. See rant above)
Cooked Spinach

1/2 avocado with vinaigrette

Approx total carbs: 15.9

Never you mind

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Get What You Give

Did I mention I'm doing Newcastle Stampede on October 14th?  I don't think I did.  It's a cross-country run with obstacles, which mainly involve lots of mud, in aid of British Heart Foundation. The obstacles involve jumping muddy ditches, crawling under wires (in the mud), muddy tunnels.  You get the picture - mud.

There is some doubt as to whether or not the length of the course has actually been 10k, and some people I know who've done it have found themselves able to complete it quicker (with obstacles, remember) than they can run a 10k race (sans obstacles).  I hope they sort the course out this year.

I'm going to train as if I were training for a 10k race using a training plan for an intermediate runner (even though I haven't run since early May. Ahem) and add in some strength work which will improve my core and upper body strength.

Carbs: about 200
Exercise: 4 hours gardening (yes it IS exercise)
30 minutes at gym doing new workout

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Times Like These

I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky

30 minutes swimming. I should have gone for a run, but I'm feeling achey from Body Pump yesterday. I had 10lb for my squats and my right knee feels a little loose and clicky, so it must have aggravated my old runner's knee injury.

Approx total carbs: 95

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Back to Reality

Remember me?

I was supposed to run a marathon.

Well,  I didn't run a marathon.  I got runner's knee in both knees, then I got plantar fasciitis in both feet and it was too painful to run for even 5 minutes. Then I gave up on the marathon because I realised I didn't actually enjoy running 19 miles on a Sunday, and a couple of 6-9 mile runs on a weeknight.

I one thing I didn't give up on was eating like I was still training for a marathon.

I also got a rice cooker for Christmas and discovered my new favourite comfort food was a bowl (or two) of sushi rice smothered in Sriracha sauce, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.  And I was drinking more than usual, and eating more junk food at work.

I put weight on.

I'm going to lose it doing a low-carb vegetarian diet.  Why low carb?  I want to stop my dependancy on refined carbs, which is contributing to my problems with binging.  I also want to stop feeling bloated, and hopefully a low-carb diet will contribute to this without leaving me starving and prone to binging.

After the weekend (ie after I go food shopping) I will be following a proper low carb diet, until then I'm going to reduce my carb intake.

I'm going to miss the sushi rice-Sriracha-soy sauce-sesame combos. :(

Black coffee 0.8g carbs
Cornflakes 24g carbs
Soya milk 0.1 carbs
Almonds 3.6g carbs

White coffee 2.4g carbs

Rocket/Lettuce/Spinach salad 3g carbs
Home-made dressing made with olive oil, mustard, vinegar 0g carbs
Adzuki beans 28.5 carbs
Red pepper 2.7g carbs

1/2 Tesco Meat free Garlic Kiev 7.8g carbs
Quinoa 12.8
Salad 0
Broad beans 21.4
1/2 Tesco meat free barbecue fillet 6g carbs

Whiskey 0g carbs (WAHEY!)

Approximate total carbs: 107g

1 mile walk
15 mins jog
60 mins Body Pump

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


I'm having a real Fleetwood Mac fest at the moment and I can't get enough of my favourite tunes. Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits was one of the first CDs my dad bought when he first got a CD player and I made him play it over and over again. Gypsy has some of my favourite opening lines for a song. The sense of bittersweet nostalgia and sadness hits home at the moment for me, because several months ago I ceased a nomadic job and came back to the home and man I love. Lightnin strikes, maybe once, mabye twice.

1 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile fast with 0.25 mile recovery in between and a 1 mile cooldown. In the cold rain and it felt great, like I was only just warming up by the end.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Today was one of the days when I really wonder why I run. Sundays are the day I do my long run, and today was going to be the longest one I have ever attempted: 15 miles. I woke up and it was grey and cold. No hint of the spring I'd seen over the past few days. Plus it was drizzling. Then it began to sleet. Then it began to snow and I really, really didn't want to run in the snow.  Not one mile, let along 15. Finally the weather cleared and wrapped two date-lemon peel-walnut-cardamon balls in clingfilm, popped them in my running pouch, taped up my right knee to alleviate any possible aggravation of my kneecap, and headed out.

It was tough. It was still drizzling when I started. The first 5 miles involved a loop through the next village, unfortunately I had to run a mile along a country road to get there. A country road which was covered in puddles but due to luck and considerate driving from passing cars I avoided being splashed.

The next five miles took me in the other direction toward town. It was still tough even though the route was mostly down hill and I chugged slower and slower. The next five miles were running through town before heading back up the long slow hill to home. It was incredibly tough and by this time my legs and back were aching. I felt like I was trying to run through mud and had to walk up the steepest sections of the hills.

Ugh.  I ran 13.1 miles last week and flew round. I think I found this run so hard because I did a hills session yesterday and I was more tired than I realised. Either way, I found the date balls more palatable than the gels I'd used on previous runs. The burst of sweet-salty body-temperature goo always makes me want to gag and some gels taste positively vile. Plus they're never easy to open or drink and I spend the rest of the run thinking, "I have sticky fingers. Really sticky fingers. I wish I could wash them. I hate having sticky fingers. Sticky sticky fingers."

I was incredibly thirsty by mile 10. I'm going to be drinking water from stations during the marathon so I need to get my body used to that. At the moment I don't carry water. I can't stand holding anything in my hands so a bottle of any shape or form is out of the question. My running pouch can just about take my ID and keys and a gel pack if I liked them so I can't stash one in there. I could carry cash and buy something, but I abhor the idea of going into a shop all sweaty and out of breath. I need to find a good belt with water bottles, I think.

Miles this week: 36
Runs: 5
Feeling: Achey
Knee-strengthening stretches: Lots.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

February Round-Up

Crikey-bob I'm glad it's March. The cold weather  of winter is mostly behind me, as are the dark nights and mornings. I'd gotten to the point where I was always surprised I could see my watch during long runs at the weekend because it was the only time I ran in the daylight.

I've mostly stuck to my marathon training plan. I've done the distance if not the speed in the hope that getting the miles in my legs will increase my endurance and fitness and not sweated the petty things. It's mostly worked and I've noticed a marked improvement in my running. I've overcome the lethargy of January and am feeling comfortable and happy.

Last Sunday I ran 13.1 miles, the first time I ran in double figures and the longest I'd ever run before. It took me 1:10:40 and I averaged out a 9:59 minute mile, which I was very, very pleased with. Unfortunately my knees have been less pleased by the increased mileage I've put them through and began to protest with stiffens and aching, especially after long runs and walking down stairs. A quick trip to the physio and I was diagnosed with Runner's Knee in the right kneecap.

It's not acute enough to need immediate rest but ideally I know I should stop, rest and slowly build the mileage up again. Unfortunately with the marathon on 6th May I don't have the time to do this. The physio taped my kneecap to pull it back in the correct position and advised me to keep it on for three days to cease aggravating the joint and give it some time to heal. I've been told to ice it immediately after I finish exercise, and also do strengthening stretches 3 times a day to strengthen the muscles around my knee and prevent it from worsening. I'm doing them twice a day because I'm too chicken to do them at work...

Sunday, 12 February 2012


This week has been awful. My eating has been all over the place, and I've missed half my runs. I've been very self-indulgent in more ways than one.
Tomorrow, as ever, is another day.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

DJ, Ease My Mind

I'm still here. I'm still running. 82.33 miles in January, and 30.39 miles so far this month.

For most of January I felt miserable and demoralised as I was struggling to manage 10 min/miles and my marathon target is 9 min/miles. I was always last at running club, tagging minutes behind everyone else unable to summon the energy to keep up. I stuck to the mileage I'd planned for myself and tried not to worry about not being as quick as planned, and a weekend away forced me to re-arrange my runs so I had 3 days without running from last Saturday to Monday.

This week I'm knocking out 8:30 miles easily and am beginning to feel like I can regain the fitness I lost over the holiday season.

KBO should be my motto.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Abbasi Brothers - Mr Boe

A slow 7 miles and I got to that zen place where you're first concentrating on breathing in over four steps then out over four more then your mind begins to wander and before you know it you've forgotten you're running.

I also managed to run the whole way up a half-mile long hill without stopping to walk for the first time today.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Just A Girl

I'm just a girl
Guess I'm some kind of freak
'Cause they all sit and stare with their eyes.

A funny thing happened during my Sunday run. As I was running on the pavement next to a busy road near where I live a man in a car drove past me and beeped me several times in quick succession. He made a few gestures but he was going to quick for me to see what they were.

I was too busy on Sunday to blog about it. So I thought to myself, 'The next time this happens I can blog about it and use 'Just a Girl' by No Doubt as the song for the post.'

Now isn't that a fucking depressing state of affairs?

The next time

The next time

The next time


Turns out I didn't have to wait long.

I went for a run this afternoon at around 4pm because I'm off work and able to take advantage of running when it's light so I can see where I'm going and take a few traffic-free paths that aren't lit at night. As I was running down the high street, listening to music and enjoying myself I got beeped by two men in an orange transit-style van. The one nearest to me had his window wound down and he yelled something but I couldn't hear him over the sound of the music playing on my iPod. I didn't react and continued running, like I do every time this happens.

I already have another song lined up for the next time this occurs.

Today's run: Slow 4 miles in 39:20

Monday, 16 January 2012

Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun

Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun

The day was icy, the sky was blue, the sun pale.

I started my first day of my first week of marathon training today with a slow 3 mile.

It felt much like the above song.


Mr Scientist admonished me for not running far enough because the marathon will be 26 miles.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Today was a very slow 8 miles in 1:21:07.

It went better. It was also the farthest I've run in a long while.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Enta Eih

At first I didn't want to run today, then I felt so miserable I wanted to run for miles until my body gave out. Then I went to my running club and was so crap I was asked if I was feeling unwell and did I want to go home.

No, sorry, I'm just rubbish.

Enta Eih is a sad song, but it reminded me of my time in Syria. I loved the song, however my housemate had an irritating speed-up electronic version on her phone and it used to drive me mental.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Limit to your love

Running: Monday 6 miles
                Thursday 2 miles
Feelings: Chilled.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Fitness related New Year's Resolutions

Get down to 10 stones
No alcohol in January
Run a marathon on 6th May.

A happy New Year to everyone!