Friday, June 30, 2006


Do you have any really irrational dislikes? I have one. Taxis. There are times when I will do nearly anything to avoid having to get a taxi on my own. If I'm with other people I go along with them, for fear of showing myself up, but I just don't like them for myself. Partly it's because I don't like splashing out the money when I could quite easily get public transport or drive with a bit of forward planning, but it goes deeper than that, and I don't even like them when other people are paying.

On Monday I found out at the last minute I needed to get myself down to Sheffield for a meeting. I didn't have my car in work with me, but I could get the train. That was a winning idea, until I asked how to get from the train station to the place where I needed to be. At the response "just get a cab" I decided I just about had enough time to get the bus home from work, pick my car up and drive (and of course, that way I get to claim petrol expenses...). Then yesterday I had another meeting a couple of miles from the office. Not worth bringing the car in, paying for parking and claiming petrol back for that one, although we usually drive up there when my boss is around. I could have taken a taxi, but instead I walked. It was a nice day, and although it took more time, it felt far nicer to me.

The only problem was that I put my heels on to do it in, and ended up with a huge blister on each little toe. Added to the existing blister on one of my big toes my feet are becoming a horrible, blistery mess. It's not even all from running, just from stupid taxi-avoidance techniques. It's not even like I'd have had to pay for it myself, I could have claimed it back from the client, but I just don't like taxis. Strange, but true.

I got the bus back to the office.


The plans for the big London expedition are coming on nicely. I'm pretty much committed to driving down there and back, and I've planned what I'm going to eat during the day. I've bought myself a cool bag and some ice blocks from Wilkos, and I've planned all sorts of nice things I'm going to throw in there so I can make up salads and bagels and other veggie, fruity and carby treats throughout the day.

Even more scarily, I'm planning on putting my garden table and chair in the boot of the car (they fold up), so I can stop off on the way, unpack my stuff and have a nice sophisticated little picnic. And plates, bowls, cutlery etc etc. The only outstanding problem is where I do this. I'd love to find some sort of local beauty spot/picnic area where I can stop, sit, read and eat for a while to break the journey. However, I suspect that my surroundings may be just a little less glamourous than that. So if you see someone looking strangely overprepared for Watford Gap southbound services tomorrow lunchtime, come and say hello!


And a final word on the iPod saga. It's been working almost perfectly today, but I don't know how long that will last. My big fear now is it dying on the first day of my holiday. Never mind though, inspiration struck earlier today, and I've worked out the best way to get my new one rather than making a panic buy on the day it dies. It suddenly occurred to me that I'm going out to Spain on Saturday, and that at the airport they have... duty free shops. Which sell iPods. And which let you call in advance to check stock and reserve them. OK, it means I'll need to take my laptop on holiday so that I can transfer my music across to it if I want to use it before I get back, but saving that 17.5% tax is a very tempting idea indeed. (You don't even need to travel outside the EU, not that it matters because the Canaries are outside for tax purposes anyway). So now I just need to hope that it's in stock when I call to reserve it. It fits in with my cashflow timetable, and it gets me what I want at a much more appealing price. I've got to the stage where needing a replacement is almost inevitable, but I might just be able to get a good deal on it. That's what I call a winning idea.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

He lives!

The good news... I resurrected the iPod. At first I got back to the menus, although it wasn't recognised by the computer. Then I clicked through the menus to find that although it knew there was stuff on there because it said there was only a small amount of space left on the disk, it couldn't find any of my music. A bit of frantic button pressing and resetting later it found the music, but kept skipping to the end of tracks. A bit of sitting it out and listening later, it seems to be playing OK, and it's even synching with the computer as I type.

But, realistically I know that this is the beginning of the end. The hard disk has problems, and although I revived it this time, it won't last indefinitely. So, the even better news is that I did my sums and I think I can just about afford a new one as long as I don't buy it until after the middle of next week. It would be even better if I could coax another month or two out of him before he dies, but if I don't get that long, unexpected expenses permitting, I should be able to get a replacement. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


please tell me this isn't happening.

I think my iPod has died. I suspect, from a quick search online, that the hard disk is dead. Very dead. Indeed.

I've been trying to restore or update it (or indeed get it to do anything) all night. My computer can just about sense that it's there, although it can't find anything on it, but iPod updater and iTunes can't read the disk. Reading through the stuff I've found on the internet, a couple of the niggles I've been having it recently are signs of the hard disk being on its last legs, so maybe it's just dead.

I'm no techie though, and it may be that there's a way of reviving it, but I really don't want to start messing around too much with stuff I don't understand. I've tried the simple things, and I'm not getting anywhere. I could send it off for service, but it's well out of warranty so it would probably cost nearly as much as a new one. This could well be terminal.

Which gives me a dilemma. I love my iPod. I stil have my shuffle for the gym, but I can't imagine being without the big daddy. I bought it just before I lost my first stone, and it's been with me all the way. I stopped using it at the gym when I picked up the shuffle, but I always saw the shuffle as purely a gym toy rather than something that I'd use day in day out when I want to be able to navigate the menu, choose tracks etc.

I'd love a new one. I've been craving a colour screen and the ability to store my photos on my iPod ever since the colour iPods came out. I'm not so fussed about videos, but photos, yup, that would do me nicely. The videos would be a nice toy, but not an essential or critical factor for me.

The only problem is I can't really afford a new one. I could go a bit cheaper and get a nano to replace it, but that wouldn't hold all my music, let alone photos. I love the nanos too, mind you, but I'm not looking for something to exercise with, I'm looking for a proper, hard disk, loads of capacity iPod.

I was intending holding out until the next version of iPod is released later in the year. I don't know when it will be, but assume it will come at some point. Not soon enough. I'm going on holiday next weekend, and I can't imagine going on holiday without my iPod now. (God, I'm so spoiled. I remember when I had about two tapes and a walkman.) If I'm going to splash out on a replacement, the spendaholic part of me tells me that I should get it over with, do it now, and use it when I want it. (Even more imminent, I can't imagine the evening drive back from London on Saturday having to listen to the radio rather than my 'pod.

I don't know what to do. I really shouldn't get a replacement... but I suspect that I'm going to.

This is the reason I never seem to pay off my credit cards by as much as I want to...

(Update - The computer still isn't recognising it, but I've managed to unlock the screen and get to the menus. Whether it will actually play anything is, of course, a different matter...)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You might have to sit next to someone fat...

I keep forgetting that the trainee never knew the obese me. I think he knows what happened, but because he's never known me as that person, it's no something that he thinks about when he sees me. He's always know the fit, running me (I keep on scaring him with that, tee hee, he's planning on running the Great North Run in October - every Monday morning I ask whether he started training like he planned, he says no then asks me how far I ran, "oh, only 7 miles on Saturday and 14 on Sunday").

So I'd just been imparting my running wisdom when the conversation moved on to my trip down to London on Saturday. I said I'd decided to drive rather than going on the coach. He agreed that it was probably worth paying the extra on petrol for the extra time in bed it will buy me and to avoid the overnight coach journey from hell. (I've done it before, believe me, that description is pretty accurate). And anyway, he continued, on the coach you might end up sitting next to someone smelly... or fat.

What do you say to that? Show some solidarity with the person I used to be who did spill over onto the next seat? Mumble something and look away? Remind him gently that just because I'm fit and thin now he can't assume that I don't understand the feeling of embarassment when someone gets on the bus and looks all over for a seat with more room on it than the one next to you?

It's funny. I spend so much time thinking about how I see myself. Looking in the mirror, noticing the changes in my body. Looking at photos. I sometimes don't think about how other people see me. When did I become someone who you could slag off fat people too? When did I become the office guru on all things running and nutrition?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Obsessive? Moi?

Sometimes I wonder whether I take this planning and home cooking thing too far. It's just something I do now, I pack up my lunch for the next day before I go to bed, I plan my evening meal and make sure I have all the ingredients I need before I get home to start cooking it. I write menus and shopping lists and I hardly eat a thing that isn't homecooked or prepared.

Not to mention the carb thing from yesterday. I'm now thinking about how to make sure I'm suitably carbed up for my Wednesday, Saturday and particularly Sunday long runs. My mind whirs around all day about how to use the fruit and veg I have in the fridge, and what else I could buy to make a new dish with them I've never tried before.

And then we have Saturday. I've pretty much decided to drive down to London now, but obviously, my mind being what it is, the first thing I then started thinking of is "what on earth will I eat?"

London, you may have noticed or guessed, is hardly bereft of places to eat. Even though I'm not going into the centre of London, I'm sure that the chances of me starving in south west London are relatively remote. But I'm not happy with that. I don't want to eat just any old food. While I have nothing against a treat meal out, if I'm spending money on it, and justifying a bit more food than I'd normally eat to myself (easier in view of Sunday's 15 miler), I want it to be at least as good, if not far better, than something I could make for myself and take along with me.

Which rules out motorway service stations, most chain pubs, takeaways, prepared sandwiches from supermarkets and anywhere where food preparation consists of little more than shoving ready made food in the microwave. I don't often eat ready meals at home (not even the posh ones) so I'm not going to pay someone over the odds to have that privilege when I'm out of the house.

So I start thinking, of the food I could prepare to take with me (rice salad? pasta salad? bagel with houmous and veg?), or searching reviews on the internet to find somewhere that will live up to my increasingly exacting standards...

...and I wonder. Am I taking this just a bit too far? Eating something a bit crappy once in a while isn't going to kill me, is it? It's bad enough that I've chosen my transport to make sure I can fit my runs in, but to try to plan for every aspect of the journey, from main meals to snacks to drinks, maybe I should let myself go with the flow sometimes? But the truth is, I don't want to any more. I like being hard to please with food. I no longer see lots of stuff I used to eat as tempting, now I've realised how much better food can be, and quite simply eating it isn't a treat, so why should I do it?

So, when I'm driving down the M1 with half of Tesco's produce section in the car, all cut up and ready to combine into a salad or bagel filling, I'll try not to think of myself as obsessive, just hard to please...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Holy sweet carbs

Whew, I had a fantastic 14 mile run this morning. I know I usually put this stuff on BerlinBlog, but this is more a food/lifestyle type revelation rather than purely running.

I'm really starting to appreciate the importance of what I eat and how it impacts on my running. Yesterday I made a real effort to eat a lot more complex carbs than I usually do on a Saturday, with pasta in the evening, a few slices of very dark rye bread and some muesli just before bed, as well as my normal porridge and assorted fruit and veg. I've also started drinking lucozade on the run rather than water.

I'm in a "sod the calories" phase. Yes, the lucozade might be stuffed with sugar, but that's the point. If I run 14 miles then I burn off roughly 1400 calories. That's more than enough leeway to justify a bottle or two of lucozade to keep me going during the run.

I've got to the point in my marathon training where I'm starting to feel like I definitely need to eat more to sustain it. It's quite hard psychologically to make myself eat more than I'm used to, particularly when it's carby stuff, as I always wonder whether it's the first step on the slippery slope, but I'm finally appreciating how important it is.

Last week I had a crappy 11.6 mile run. I also got on the scales on Monday morning and saw a big drop. This week I've been eating more, and I had a good 14 mile run. Most of it was round the same course, but I coped with it far better. So, tomorrow the scales might not be down as dramatically tomorrow morning as they were last week, but I've finally started to understand that I don't necessarily want them to be.

I was quite shocked the other day to see that my BMI was hovering around 22.9. That's a lot lower than I thought it was, and it was another reminder that this isn't about weight any more. I keep on saying on here that I'm now more interesting in eating to run rather than eating to lose, but sometimes it's hard to put it into practice. Or at least I was putting it into practice for my pre-marathon training mileage, but I didn't increase it as much as I needed to in order to take account of the extra miles I'm running - 21 over the course of the past 2 days when I used to do about 20 per week, for example. I'm still being quite cautious when it comes to increasing what I eat, and maybe I need to give myself more slack.

I think what I'm actually going to end up doing is getting into a weekly cycle, adjusting what I eat each day to take account of what I'm doing that day and the next, so that Saturday and Sunday I eat a lot to take account of the long runs, but during the week when my mileage is lower I cut back a bit. More carbs at the weekend, more protein during the week. I'm going to play around with it, now I've seen the real difference that yesterday's carbs made.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Balancing it All

I'm now considering going down to London next weekend, but the strangest things are going through my mind. I was meant to be going over to Gran Canaria this weekend and staying for a week, so I didn't really give much thought to the away game in London for the rugby. Then once I found out that I'm only going in a couple of weeks, I still didn't make plans. My team has been crap for most of the season, and until last weekend had only won two league games all season (since February). I've found myself making excuses for not going to games far closer than London, so just decided to watch it on tv. It's not just because we've been rubbish, it's also because I've discovered that I prefer participating in sport rather than watching it, but it's mainly because I just haven't been enjoying the games.

But since Sunday we've won two games, doubling our total for the rest of the season. We're scrambling towards safety and away from relegation. We've shelled out a world record transfer fee for a player who made a stunning debut last night, and I finally watched a game with a smile on my face last night.

So I'm thinking of going down to London, but the strangest things are weighing into my thinking. Firstly, money. I'm spending too much of it at the moment. That rules out staying down overnight really, which is a bit of a bummer with a 6pm kick off at a ground that's a fair distance from the city centre and the transport back north.

I've ruled out the train because it's expensive booking so close and the last train leaves too early for me to get back from the ground. Which leaves the coach or driving. The coach looks cheaper on paper, except that I'd also need to pay for public transport in London, and I'd end up spending time in central London and almost certainly spending money. The car is going to be more expensive, but it's door to door. But the veggie, public transport using me would feel a bit guilty about driving down to London alone and creating lots of pollution (I'm not so bothered about the chore of actually driving for 8 hours though).

The clincher though, possibly, is food and exercise. I may want to watch the rugby, but I also have runs to get in. 7 miles on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. If I drive, I can go for a run on Saturday morning before setting off, and do my 15 miler on Sunday, even if it's a bit later than normal if I only get to bed at midnight or later. I can also stock the car up with supplies for the journey, hopefully avoiding the temptation of eating rubbish as well as the temptation to spend more money. If I go on the coach I'll have to leave too early on Saturday morning to run first, and I'll get home at about 7am on Sunday morning (yay, the overnight coach home!). Which will make that Sunday run look a bit more tricky. I'll also have more problems carrying food because I'll be away for longer, I won't be able to just dump it in the car, and I'll end up in central London where I'll no doubt find something like Ben and Jerry's to indulge in.

So the healthy me says car, but I'm still not sure. I suppose the advantage of the car is I can decide on the morning whether I do want to go or not. I'll ponder for a little longer I think.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Way back when, I used to spend my Friday and Saturday nights eating chocolate and drinking wine. The supermarket had an annoying habit of putting 200g bars of Dairy Milk and Fruit and Nut on special offer if you bought two. So I bought two, one for each night. I have a problem in that once I open a bar of chocolate I tend to eat it pretty quickly. I'm not the sort of person who can leave an open bar for the next day.

And I wonder how I got fat.

Anyway, I managed to kick the habit of buying stupidly big bars of the stuff and barely gave it a second thought after a while. That was my old habit, and I don't do that sort of stuff now. Or not very often at least, and certainly not two nights a week.

But one day a couple of months ago I was buying petrol and noticed those bars near the tills (and why do they persist in doing that anyway? Yes, to sucker in people like me...) I noticed that they're now 250g bars. I pondered on that for a while at the time. And I knew why they'd done it. People like me would now buy two 250g bars and get through them at much the same speed, but pay a little more for the privilege. I'd spend more money than I did before on chocolate. And eat an extra 1000 calories or so every weekend into the bargain.

Good job I'd kicked that habit!

Anyway, that was something that would have affected the old me rather than the new one, so I didn't ponder it too deeply or rage against it too much. I'd already learned that for me, the secret with chocolate is to buy a small amount whenever I need it. Well, maybe need is too strong a word, but want, as a treat, from time to time.

And what I like the most is the 20g bars of Green & Blacks. They are big enough to satisfy a chocolate craving, but smaller than most bars on the market. They give me that smugness that comes from eating organic posh chocolate, and if I only have 20g I'll only eat 20g. (I would never consider eating 10 of those bars in one sitting, but could easily get through a single 200g bar if I had one, it's funny how the mind works, isn't it?).

Except yesterday I wanted a G&B fix. I went to Boots and the bastards have changed their bars. 35g. Thirty-bleeding-five. That's nearly twice the size. And based on the fact that I know I'll eat every morsel of chocolate in whatever size portion it's sold in, that's twice as many calories consumed by me. I know that I won't eat half and put the other half away for another day, so there's no use pretending that I will.

Luckily they still have some 20g bars in Holland and Barrett, so I'm OK for now, but I suspect they're being phased out and won't last forever. (And no, it won't work if I stockpile them now. They're slightly safer in wrappers, but if they're in the house they won't lat as long as they would if I have to walk to the shop specifically for them).

I'm far more pissed off at this supersizing than I was with the old 200g bars I no longer eat. I know that to have a healthy relationship with chocolate I need to limit my access to it, but they're taking away my 20g bars. They're trying to get me to pay more for more chocolate and more profits for them, which I wouldn't object to other than the effect on my waistline. I don't want to eat 35g, I want to eat 20g.

I'm not a happy bunny about this, not happy at all. I will still eat the stuff, but I'll have to be more careful about how I incorporate it into my diet. At least I've learned that lesson I suppose, rather than just upgrading my stomach's expectation and moving with the portion sizes they offer me...

(A quick word on the status of the scales - 2 days at 155 and one at 156, so it looks pretty official to me, as though I have actually miraculously lost some weight for a change. Hurrah!)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Down, down, down

Something strange is going on. Saturday's low weight was a nice surprise, but nothing compared to this morning's. I know I said I was planning a good weekend to make sure I saw 177 again, but instead I saw 155.5lb (70.3kg) Where did another two pounds go in the space of two days? What's happening? I'm treating that weigh in with a pinch of salt, but thinking about it it's just about possible. I ran 18 miles over the weekend, so call that 1800 calories. I also had a surprising lack of hunger, and more importantly I didn't feel like drinking much alcohol. Let's say a small glass of wine is 200 calories. There's another thousand or so unconsumed calories over the course of the weekend. I also didn't eat any chocolate and I didn't snack anywhere near as much as normal. Even with such a high mileage I just didn't feel that hungry, and didn't eat half the stuff I'd planned to eat over the weekend, let alone the snacks that I don't plan to eat as such but usually eat anyway. Compare that to last weekend when I ran a "mere" 6.2 miles, ate pizza, a three course meal, Ben and Jerry's (twice), among other things (and maintained). So maybe, just maybe, at least one of those pounds is fat. The other is quite possibly a lack of water retention caused by not drinking the wine and not eating salty snacks. I'll see whether it stays this low or whether it bounces back up again over the course of the week.

What I was actually going to write about before the scale sidetracked me was my shopping expedition yesterday. When we were in London last week I saw a top I really liked. Someone was wearing it, and I fell in love with it. I managed to find out where it was from, and I found it on the internet, but they didn't have my size. Never fear, there are real bricks and mortar shops, the closest one (ie the non-London one) being in Selfridges in the Trafford Centre. So I drove over to Manchester yesterday, found the top (in the right size) and bought it.

So what could inspire such a degree of lust that I'd make a trip to the Trafford Centre specifically to buy it? (I was going to Wigan anyway, but decided to take a little detour). Something nice for work? A top for my holiday?

Erm no. A running top. It is fantastic though. Bizarrely the link on the website doesn't work this evening (it was fine this morning), but it's bright pink and on the front it says "I only work out so..." and on the back "...I can get in my skinny jeans". It's not 100% true, as getting into my skinny jeans isn't the ONLY reason I work out, but it is a big advantage, and still being in awe of The Jeans and loving them to bits, it just summed up the way I feel when I wear them, like every second of exercise is worth it.

However, I do think this is a telling indication of where my priorities now lie! I get more excited about workout clothes than other stuff. What's more, my first purchase from Selfridges (hot on the heels of the first Harvey Nicks purchase) was workout stuff. My boss looked at me in despair when she realised how excited I was about my new top...

Saturday, June 17, 2006


A momentous day today, I actually saw downward movement on the scales. I've been bouncing around in the same 2lb weight range for what seems an eternity. That's not a bad thing, as it's the 2lb immediately below my initial goal, and I'm bouncing between 100 and 102 pounds lost. But still, it's been getting a bit frustrating when I know I could lose more if only I tried that bit harder.

The thing is though that I seem to have lost my urge to try harder and to shift any more lard. I talk about recommitting, but I don't want it enough now to really stick to it. I wanted to be 160, and I wanted to be below 160, but the difference between that and being, say, 154, isn't enough to really get me motivated.

But still, I've not been eating badly and I've been exercising well. I've been doing enough to maintain, but just not enough to actually lose. But finally a bit of a breakthrough. Not a huge one, but this morning I recorded my lowest weight ever, down to 157. In all my bouncing around I've never hit that weight. But I did today, so maybe things will start moving downwards again. In a bizarre reversal of what I expected I didn't think that I'd reward myself because I was down, I actually stuck to my plan far better than normal because I wanted to see that number again when I go back to the gym on Monday!

I'm not going to get too worked up about these last few pounds at the moment, there's plenty of time if I really feel like they need to go. But still, it's nice to see a bit of downward movement.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Book Corner

This week I've been quiet it seems. I've mainly been reading, first "Bad Food Britain" by Joanna Blythman and then "The Hungry Years" by William Leigh (still midway through that one at the moment).

Both of them speak to me, but in different ways. The old me, and the new me.

The new me feels a kind of smug superiority when reading Bad Food Britain. OK, I wouldn't claim that my eating and shopping habits are perfect (with my over-reliance on Tesco rather than locally produced organic vegetables), but at least I take those veggies which have been flown across the world and I cook with them. I don't eat ready meals, I don't eat take away, I don't eat walking round town and I am rebelling against the fabulously named "obesogenic environment" she describes.

But the old me reads the Hungry Years and remembers what it's like to eat slices of bread while waiting for toast to cook. The feelings and emotions that come with being fat, obese, constantly under the influence of bad food.

Reading both of the books I find myself wanting to grab a highlighter, or a pen, to mark something that is a thought that's gone through my head almost exactly. Either over the past year, or in the life before that. I recognise both sides of me, and I still wonder whether I'm still a fat person smuggly pretending to be thin for a while, or a thin person who had a brief excursion into the land of fat. They both speak to different parts of me, still different parts of the same whole. I sometimes wonder how I look to people who don't remember, obsessively reading diet book and websites and magazine articles, and reading books about fat, food, shame. Do both parts of me still show, and will they always show? Will I ever be just thin?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fat Girls Can't Run

I had a fantastic weekend in London. The race itself was horrible, and I've written about it over on BerlinBlog, but the weekend, and meeting up with some online friends, was fantastic. We wandered round, we shopped, we ate, we talked and we ran. Or staggered, at least.

I was so proud of the two friends I ran with. They'd never done a 10k before, and I'd have been truly scared if I had to do my first in that weather. But from the moment we woke up in the hotel until well after the race had finished I was surrounded by people who were really looking forward to getting out there, doing it and having fun and then basking in the glory, the experience and the sheer fun of making your way round a course with 8000 other people, all joined in some sort of communal insanity.

I still come across people saying that running isn't for people with a lot of weight to lose, and that signing up for races might not be a good idea. That's rubbish. OK, so there might be some people with leg injuries, or other medical reasons they would struggle to run. But there are also lots of people who make excuses that don't necessarily hold water.

The more races I do, the more I realise that running is the most fantastic sport in the world. You get all the cameraderie of a team sport when you turn up and run with a seething mass of people, but it's still an individual sport where you can concentrate on your own performance, and compete against nothing but the clock and your previous achievements. And if your previous achievements consist of never having tackled the distance before, what do you have to lose?

Every big race I've done there have been people who have walked the whole way. Maybe some of the smaller, local, clubby type runs have been a bit faster overall, but in the big events, the ones with the great atmosphere and really inclusive feeling, it's almost impossible to come last. Run or walk as much as you want to or you're able to, and you'll still get round, and you'll do it more impressively than the people who couldn't be bothered to enter or to turn up.

And if you don't want to walk it all, well who's to say that fat girls can't run? I always thought that I'd like to start running once I lost weight, and my biggest lightbulb moment was when I started doing it despite still being obese. If you start slowly, carefully and steadily there's no reason why you can't build up. Sure, it might be slower progress than if you were fit to start with, and you might need to take more care with those knees and ankles, but it's possible, it really is.

I still can't believe my luck, that I discovered a form of exercise that I love, that has become a sport I participate in rather than a chore I endure, and that is infectious enough too help me persuade my friends to participate in the insanity!

Friday, June 09, 2006

I. Hate. Football.

t's driving me mad. Already. It really is.

I'm really not going to start faking an interest in something I have no interest in the rest of the time, purely because it's "patriotic" to do so. And even if I was going to jump on the car flag waving bandwagon, then why exactly would that make me want to watch countries I have no interest in play a game I have no interest in.

All I wanted was a nice beer garden where I could have a drink or two on my way up to the ground for the rugby tonight. One of my favourite matches of the season - Leeds "away". My team coming to my city to play. A nice civilised walk up to the ground from the office, a couple of drinks in the glorious sunshine, the match and then the bus home. Shouldn't be a problem. Ah. "So you're going to the pub to watch the football then?". No. I'm attempting to find a pub where I can escape the football. I didn't bother in the end, I ended up having a bit of a blissful picnic with a little wine and a good book on the way up, bypassing the overpriced overcrowded overfootballed pubs. Far nicer.

Not to mention the radio. I listen to the radio for music, and to wake me up. Not to listen to endless talk about football. If I wanted football talk I'd listen to a sports channel. Not a music one. And if I wanted constant match updates there are a million and one ways I could get them, through my phone and by changing the station.

What makes it even worse is the contamination of places I deliberately go to be football free. Once during some tournament or other I went to IKEA. It was bliss, almost deserted. I'm actually planning to head back there while the world cup is on for more of the same. Except that, rather than assuming that people who go to IKEA during an England game might be doing it to escape the madness (and if they're really interested, they might have a novel new invention called a radio), they insisted on constantly making tannoy announcements about what was going on.

And as for the quiet coach on the train back from London, after a work trip down there, forget it. Filled with portable tvs and radios and people shouting and screaming. What part of the word quiet didn't they understand? Are those of us who actually quite like a bit of peace and quiet after a long work day to be ignored in the face of the giant juggernaut that is football? There were plenty of other carriages on that train that weren't the quiet coach, but they couldn't go there to make their noise. Oh no.

I'm currently trying to work out football avoidance strategies. I've previously made it through entire tournaments without seeing a single kick (yet have still managed to know far more than I needed to about what's going on due to the saturation coverage in the media), and as far as possible it's the same again.

It's doing my head in. I'm not unpatriotic, I just don't like football. Are people who don't support the GB rugby league team unpatriotic? No, it's just not their sport. I just don't care, it's as simple as that. But that clearly doesn't apply the other way round. I'm a killjoy, a spoilsport, a miseryguts because I don't join in the "fun". But precisely what is the fun in sitting there bored out of my skull when I could be watching a sport I far prefer? I prefer to watch a bit of good, honest commitment rather than overpaid prima donnas kicking a ball around. I prefer to get some of my jobs done, or to go for a run, or to do some cooking, or shopping, or a million and one other things rather than football. Maybe, just maybe, if I was part of a big group making an event of it I'd watch it, but to watch football alone when I could be doing something more constructive and enjoyable? Forget it.

OK, I admit I want England to go out as soon as possible, but it's not out of maliciousness. I just want some sanity to return to the country, and I want it to come back soon. It's driving me mad! Ah well, at least I'll be out of the country for the final if we get that far...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I felt a lot better today. I ran just under 4 miles before work to sort my legs out, and I've been generally more awake and more alive feeling.

I got a couple of pleasurable jobs done. I ordered my new running shoes and I booked my flights to go and visit my family next month. I have a holiday to look forward to again!

I also got a call as I left work on my mobile telling me I'd won a makeover photo session from a draw I entered. As ever, these things aren't really prizes, and it basically sounded like you provide all the clothes and they just do your makeup then take photos which you have to buy. To be honest, I wouldn't say no to having some professionally taken "after" photos so I might have been interested, but they could only do it on work days and it wasn't a good enough "prize" to tempt me to take a day off work. If it was the sort of makeover that comes with free clothes and photos then fair enough, but not when I'd still have to shell out to get the results. But if anyone wants it then let me know as I can give the "prize" to a friend if I want.

The other thing today was that I started pondering how much a tummy tuck would cost. I wore shorts and a crop top to run my half marathon on Sunday. My stomach usually looks passable if I stand up relatively still. It's a little untoned (OK, a lot untoned) but it doesn't hang down or anything. It's when you touch it or move it that you realise it has the consistency of jelly.

And when I run. I've mentioned that I have no boobs before, and I seriously think that a sports corset would be of more use than a sports bra! Under a tshirt you don't realise quite how much it's moving around but these pictures leave very little to the imagination.

Not for anyone squeamish... [one] [two]

Monday, June 05, 2006

I've been feeling a bit crappy today. I ran a half marathon yesterday, and have suffering from sore legs and blisters all day (although thankfully I have some shoes that didn't touch the blisters at all to ease the pain on that count). Then on top of that TOM arrived today, explaining some of the random stomach pain I've had over the past couple of days. It's been a while since the last one in January, just as I was giving up hope. And finally I've been really tired, between an early morning yesterday morning and an uncomfortable night's sleep last night. When I got home from work this evening I actually had a bit of a sleep, and I do feel a bit better now, but still not 100%. I hope that everything clears up before the weekend in London and my 10k.

I visited my grandparents yesterday after the race. It was nice to see them again, although as ever it took some careful planning and persuasion to make sure I had a balanced diet for the day. I should go over there more often really, hopefully I'll get over again before the end of summer.

I was going to write something proper tonight, but I'm feeling too blah so I'll leave it there. Fingers crossed I'll feel better in the morning.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Long Awaited...

The photo!!!

Those are The Jeans, and it's finally sunny enough to venture into the garden. I even considered wearing a bikini at one point this afternoon then realised it wasn't quite that warm...

Anyway, off to stay sober at the party, then to Blackpool tomorrow for the half marathon.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Watershed Moment

Can a pair of jeans change your outlook on life? Read on...

I did wonder on Wednesday evening whether I'd wake up the next morning, slightly the worse for wear, wondering precisely how I persuaded myself to spend so much on a mere pair of jeans. I wondered whether I'd be plucking the receipt out of the bag and scurrying back, red faced for a refund.

But no. Oh no. Instead I realised that I had Spanish on Thursday evening, which was a perfect opportunity to get the "cost per wear" figure heading downwards. Because this is the important thing. They may be expensive, but if I wear them often enough they will turn, by a miraculous process, into a bargain. Obviously this continuous wearing theory only works if I remain thin enough to wear them, but I'm liking the idea of jeans as motivation anyway.

And then dress down day today. Another opportunity to wear them (see, down to £70 per wear already!). Except that dress down day is becoming a little bit of a misnomer. Because when you have fantastic jeans the last thing that you want to do is to dress them down by throwing a baggy jumper or shapeless race t-shirt or rugby shirt over the top or wearing them with trainers. No, instead it's time to pull out the heels, flattering top, jewellery and make up. Not to mention the perfume scented shower gel and moisturiser.

And boy can these jeans make an outfit. The rest of what I'm wearing is cheap. Primark, mainly, with some red wedge sandals from Evans thrown in. But with the jeans, and with the posture that the jeans require (stand up straight, stomach in, leg lengthening 4 inch heels), I feel good.

It's not just that the jeans are flattering (although they are, someone who sees me every day remarked how thin I look in them) or well cut or a lovely colour, it's the feeling inside that I've finally found it in myself to treat myself to something fabulous. Without sounding too cheesy and hair commercial inspired, recognising that I'm worth it has put a smile on my face and some confidence in my stride.

I've been a bit slack at treating myself through this journey. The clothes that I've bought have been necessities rather than indulgences for the most part (or ill thought out frivolities that don't actually match anything but were on sale). I've tried to buy cheap clothes wherever possible because I needed so many of them. I've needed hair cuts so I've got them, but I've never just gone out and bought something more expensive than I need just because I wanted to. But after all the hard work I put into my body, what is the point of not showing it off and not treating it with the respect it deserves? For some reason I've seemed to equate treats with money, but if Wednesday evening (post-retail therapy) proved anything, it's that taking my time to do something like eat a drawn out meal can be far more enjoyable than wolfing it down, and that taking a bit of time to do those things you keep meaning to do can make you feel so much more sane.

I may have whinged on Tuesday about the lack of hedonism in my life, but it finally dawned on me that that's not what I want. I gave myself free reign to go out and do what I wanted, and I ended up eating a slow, indulgent meal, enjoying every bite. I've realised that from now on, this is the key. Giving myself time to really relax and treat myself with attention and care, not with money.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a housewarming party. I will, of course, be wearing the jeans (just over £40 per wear!) and the pretty halter neck top my sister bought me for my birthday. But instead of sitting round the house watching tv or slobbing around I will spend the afternoon pampering myself. I don't need expensive bath oils or hair treatments or trips to the salon at this stage, even spending time doing the cheaper ones properly would be an improvement on my normal beauty regime. Tonight I'll make sure the bathroom is clean, I've stocked up on supplies, and then tomorrow afternoon I'll give myself a bit of love.

I bought some flowers on the way home from work too. Not for any reason (other than the idea being in my head from Tuesday's fabulous responses), but because I can. I can moan all I want that I don't have anyone to buy me flowers, but at less than the cost of a takeaway coffee, why can't I just buy flowers for myself? And so I did.

I'm finally treating myself properly. Who would have thought that a pair of jeans could lead to this?


Another point that I completely overlooked on Wednesday was the horrifying realisation that it's 10 years since I turned 18! 10 years of legal alcohol and 10 years (give or take a couple of weeks) since I left school. How time flies.

I remember the night of my 18th birthday. I went out in Ripon for a pizza and drank so much I threw up, then my dad came to pick me up and drove me home. I'm sure at the time the thought of what I'd be like at 28 never crossed my mind, but if it had done, I'm fairly sure that it wouldn't have been anything like the person I am now.

I think this is a good thing, in that I've completely surpassed any expectation or ambition I ever had. The thing I'm proudest about, though, is that I'm not bitter about the 8 or 9 of those years when I wasn't this person. I don't sit here crying for wasted years. I just celebrate where I've got to, and resolve to make sure the next 10 years of adulthood are as good as the last year or so has been.