Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Perfect Weekend

I've had such a good weekend, and had a lot of fun. It was a weekend of real contrasts, so the girly glamourous stuff will be on here, and I'll do a report of the running bit over on BerlinBlog later.

Thank you for all the nice comments on the photo, and for those who haven't seen it yet it should be under this post. I suspect that if it enlarges OK from the scan that's christmas presents for various family members sorted out!

Anyway, yesterday was an early morning. I got the 8.05 train down from Leeds, and got down to London in plenty of time. Being neurotic about eating good stuff and not knowing what would be available later, the first priority on arrival was to find something to eat. I'd had breakfast early anyway, so at about 11.30 (I was due to arrive at the studio place at 12.30) I decided it was time for an early lunch and found a lovely Italian deli where I had a pumpkin tart.

I then walked up to the studio, and everything got going. I never knew that it was possible to spend so long doing make up. The hair bit didn't actually take too long (just a run through with some GHDs), but the make up? Dear god, it went on for hours. First of all she decided to de-hair my face. My face is pretty hairy, my eyebrows are unkempt and I have a perennial battle against chin and lip hair. I thought I'd got rid of most of it, but clearly not quite all of it. And the eyebrows. Well, I was considering having them done during the week but never got round to it, but it turned out that I effectively got them done for free, so that wasn't a problem.

Typically, my skin has flared up at the moment, with one particularly shiny red bit on my nose so she really had her work cut out but battled on regardless. I was the last person to turn up (they staggered us because there were 5 of us and only 2 make up people, plus 1 photography team), so I was being made up while a lot of people stopped for lunch.

A while back Dietgirl wrote about what would happen if there was a fatbloggers convention, and what would happen when the lunch buffet came out. Well, this was a bit like that. 5 weight loss people, assorted fashion and beauty types, and the photographers. And pizza. You could see people eyeing it up, deciding whether to let the guard down and admit that they eat pizza. Come on, we all do it from time to time, but when you're there telling people how fantastic your diet is you can sense all the eyes on you...

(Actually, on this subject, it seems I was far from the only person to plan ahead. I knew that I had time to eat before turning up, but I saw some of the others who'd been there earlier in the morning rummaging in their bags for tubs of cottage cheese and fruit. Everyone seemed to have a nice big rucksack filled with supplies! We plan!)

There was a brief break in the make up where I managed to acquire a bit of pizza and some salad, with a bit of bread too (carb loading for the 10k...). The food choices weren't too bad actually (other than the fact that I'd technically already eaten...), and it tided me over. There was fruit, and dried fruit too so I managed to get my 5 portions in.

Then the make up was finished and I had to go and get something to wear. This is where I got a bit pissed off. I was the last and all the really nice dresses had already been snaffled up. There was one I hated, and a couple that the stylist thought were too tight across the bust (they were size 10 though, so I'd be staggered if they were loose). In the end I ended up in a size 10 skirt from Hobbs which I loved, and a top from Miss Selfridge that I didn't like quite so much but which was better than any of the alternatives. I was very jealous of some of the dresses though. I also feel obliged to point out that they all had sleeveless dresses and I didn't, which is nothing to do with a bingo wing issue, just that there weren't any sleeveless tops that matched the skirt.

And then shoes. Or, as they became known, instruments of torture. I have (UK) size 10 feet. I knew that they wouldn't have anything in size 10, so I took some sandals of my own. They were scuffed up a bit through wear, but at least they would go on my feet. Except they were deemed not glam enough. The problem being that the biggest shoes they had were 7s. They asked me to try some closed style ones in, and I demonstrated that I could barely get my toes in, let alone my heel. They then saw that I wasn't joking and pulled out some shoes which had a minimal amount of shoe to them, and basically just (barely) held me on to the sole.

Now, I will admit they were fabulous shoes, and they look great in the photos. But the fact is that they were not one, not two but THREE sizes too small. You can't quite see my feet bulging out round the straps, and hanging off the end, but believe me, they were. I had to take them off at regular intervals to stop them cutting off the blood supply to my toes, they really were that tight. And they were so high. I was already the tallest there, and I swear they put me in the highest shoes. I couldn't actually walk in them without holding on to something (and grimacing every time I moved my foot). The things we suffer for beauty...

One I was dressed up I had to go back down for toenail painting and fake tan on my legs. I really felt like I should apologise for the state of my feet. I felt like saying "I'm a runner, I'm meant to have manky feet!". While I was having this done pretty much everyone was sitting round waiting on the other side of the room (they did a couple of individual photos then they wanted to do the group one so the early people could go home, then they'd do the rest of the individual ones). I wasn't involved in this conversation, and I didn't hear how much everyone had lost, but judging from the gasps when one person said she'd lost seven stone I'd guess the other three had lost less than that. I am the biggest loser, I rule! (Sorry, will try not to get competitive about it). Actually, the interesting bit was that she'd lost six and a half then had a tummy tuck to remove half a stone of skin. She showed everyone her scar which didn't look too bad, but still looked quite drastic and not something I'd consider in a hurry. It sounds like she had far more of a skin issue than I have, but what she said didn't exactly get me hurring down to the nearest plastic surgeon.

My first forray into the room where they were doing the photos was for the group shot. If I thought the make up people were thorough that was nothing compared the the care the stylists took arranging shoes and boxes and bags and accessories for the shot. The basic theme of all the shots is us dressed in little black dresses as though we're going out surrounded by clothes, accessories and shopping bags etc.

They arranged us too, I got to sit down in both of the line ups they did, partly because I would have loomed over everyone if I'd been standing up, and partly because they took pity on my feet. And as for the actual photos, yoga is an advantage for being able to follow instructions like hips in one direction, head in another, eyes to the camera etc etc. Some of the shots might look nice and natural, but you felt like a contortionist. It's a decent abs work out though, as you're constantly concentrating on keeping your stomach in, shoulders back, bust out, hips swivelling!

The funniest bit was the way the make up artists hovered and between rolls of film would dash in and touch us all up, rearrange our hair, and generally make sure that everything was spot on. They wouldn't want the tiniest bit of shine to emerge under the lights.

After the group shot I had a bit of a rest while they did the remaining individual shots, I nibbled a bit more bread, and then time for the solo shot. They took far less photos at this stage than in the group photo, maybe because they only needed a shot where one person is looking good rather than getting 5 people looking good at the same time. I was leaning on the chair in various poses trying to take as much weight as possible off my feet, doing smile, half smile, serious, giggle, etc etc. And finally, I was free to go home.

I couldn't believe how long the whole thing took, I only left the studio after 6, to walk back to the tube and head back to Kings Cross. I got to Kings Cross in plenty of time for the train I thought was at 7.30 (printed out from the internet midweek), with a back up at 8.10 if I missed it, and discovered that the next train was actually listed to be at 8.30. Eek! I got some food from M&S, and sat down to wait. I couldn't be bothered to actually go anywhere (and I wanted to rest my feet) so I resigned myself to an exciting evening at Kings Cross. Then bizarrely they decided to put on a train up north from Peterborough, and if we got the 8pm to Peterborough they'd hold the train until we got there to connect with it. Odd, but I wasn't complaining. And because it was a special train, there was no problem with not having a seat reservation on it. The last thing I wanted was to stand all the way back to Leeds.

I finally got myself back to Leeds at about 11, with only time to scan in the polaroid (oh the vanity) and go to bed before the race.


As for today, after the race I met up with some people from the Runners World website for lunch and a couple of drinks. I had a good laugh, and the pub we went into did a veggie Sunday lunch (butternut squash and cashew roast), even more shockingly I actually ate my brocolli (one veg I can't really stand). Then they all headed off, I did a bit of christmas shopping, sat for a while in Starbucks reading the paper, drinking hot chocolate and eating cake, and then went to the cinema to watch Pan's Labyrinth.

That was part of a pact I made myself when I stopped Spanish classes, that I'd try to do fun Spanish related stuff. I actually bought a copy of Spanish Marie Claire when I was in GC and read an article with a couple of actresses who are in it. So when I saw it was on, I thought it would fit in well with my weekend plans. I'm definitely getting better at following the Spanish and not completely relying on the substitles.

The only thing is it was more violent than I was expecting. Not the CGI toads and monsters sort of violence, but the army type violence and torture, with fights with the guerillas, lots of shooting and torture and gore. That's partly why I don't go to the cinema too much, to be honest. I'm not a huge fan of violent films, and I'm not a huge fan of films with sex in them. Which narrows my choice down quite a lot!

But anyway, I did enjoy it so I shouldn't complain too much, and it was a nice relaxing (but educational) way to calm down after the run. Now I'm planning to get all my stuff ready for tomorrow, and then do some yoga before bed. Time to stretch those hamstrings again.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I have much to tell about today's trip to the bright lights of London, but no time. I have a 10k race in the morning and need some sleep after a horrible train trip back.

So, while you're waiting you can just enjoy the photo.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Hopefully I'll have fine for more tomorrow, meanwhile it's a well deserved night's sleep for me.

Bliss and Bribery

I had a lovely night last night. Today is the big photoshoot so I wanted a bit of pampering (and to shave my legs!). I wanted to have a bath, and scented candles, and nice girlie stuff.

But fortuitously I needed to buy supplies on the way home from work. This allowed me to get through the afternoon with bribery "you can't buy it if you go to the chocolate machine this afternoon". I need a bit of help with willpower sometimes, and yesterday was one of those days!

In the end I made it through chocolate free, and got myself some yoga stuff too. So I did yoga for an hour (I'd forgotten how inflexible I am - I hate those forward bends because my hamstrings are just too tight!), then had a nice soak and pamper, and then slept like a baby. I might have to make that a regular relaxation routine, I feel so much more refreshed this morning.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Yesterday I was really worried about going to running club. We were meant to be doing a time trial, which is a roughly 3 mile route (just a bit under), and which is more like a race. They set you off at different times according to how fast you are, with the intention that everyone finishes at roughly the same time (and therefore has a decent chance of winning, even if they don't run the route the fastest). What was the problem? I can run 3 miles.
Simply, I have got out of the habit of pushing myself to run fast. The thought of putting some pressure on daunted me a little. I know, I've been complaining for ages about how slow I am at the moment, how I used to run faster back in April, how I need to do speed work. But when it comes to actually doing it, rather than talking about doing it I've been a bit pathetic, to be honest. It's no wonder I'm not expecting a PB in my 10k on Sunday when I have an attitude like that when it comes to running fast and pushing myself as hard as I can.
On running websites I see people saying that their best, and most productive speedwork sessions are the ones where they want to throw up at the end. On the other hand, I never work hard enough to get to that stage or even close. I am scared of a bit of old fashioned hard work and effort.
Part of the problem is finding the balance. At the start of the week I said that I wanted to stop pushing myself too hard, because I was burning out, and now I'm saying that I want to push myself harder? OK, it's a woman's right to change her mind all the time, but how do I reconcile those two plans? One way is to ease off a bit and not whinge about being slow. Maybe I can't have my cake and eat it. But the best chance I have of easing off and improving at the same time has to be by focussing on quality over quantity, and by focussing on the important stuff. So if I do a hard short session, not to feel like I need to make up extra miles somewhere else to keep my weekly mileage constant. If I make my sessions harder but shorter (or fewer of them) then will I manage to get hold of not only some extra time, but also more impressive improvements? It could be worth considering. But making sessions harder isn't an easy thing to make myself do. It involves (eek) effort.
Some of it, I think, is the maintenance mindset. Back in April I was still pushing myself hard because I had a place that I wanted to get to, and I wanted to work harder to get there quicker. Now I'm maintaining I know that I can exercise at a slightly less intense level and maintain the weight, so have maybe lost the incentive to challenge myself. I'm happy staying in one place weight wise, which seems to encourage a "you don't need to try any harder" type mentality when it comes to other stuff. I maintain my running rather than challenging myself to improve it.
In the end the time trial was OK. They set me off earlier than I was expecting, fifth, with someone I beat at Guy Fawkes behind me. Within the first mile and a half I'd overtaken three of the four people in front of me, after that a few of the faster people overtook me so I finished about 6th overall. That wasn't too bad for a first attempt (although it may be harder next time if they move me down the running order!). I ran faster than I have done for a long time (I'm now fairly consistently between 8 and 9 minute miles, rather than 9 and 10 minute miles, and last night I was getting towards the lower end of that range for the first time). Oh, how I remember those days of sub 8 minute miles back in Spring though! Even better, I really did feel quite drained when I finished, even though it was a shorter route. That's a good sign that I managed to push myself harder than normal. But it's a big step from pushing myself once to doing it more consistently.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Things I Didn't Say

It looks like I'm going down to London on Saturday to have photos taken for this magazine article. I'm kind of excited about the professional hair and makeup, nice clothes and decent photos side of it. But I'm getting more and more apprehensive about what the article is going to say.

I know, I know. I've said it every time I read a "My Amazing Weight Loss" story, but somehow, in between the stress of getting everything done before my holiday and a glass or seven of red wine, I seemed to lose sight of it. And so, throughout the interview it seemed like she was digging for quotes to back up the story she wanted to write, rather than letting me tell the story I wanted to tell. And being a little hungover, tired, and fragile, I may have eventually given her some rather than standing my ground.

She wanted me to say how awful it was to be fat, how losing weight changed my life, and how the world is a brighter, more friendly place now. And that's bollocks. I was never unhappy with my weight. Of course, I knew it wasn't fantastic for my health, but I knew the risks, and at the time the risks were acceptable to me. I hadn't suffered any health problems, and I knew how much effort losing the weight would be, and at the time my priorities meant that I wanted to focus on other things rather than spending the amount of time it would take with exercise, planning my food, and dedication to the cause, to lose weight.

I guess I'm not your stereotypical woman, and never have been. My brains have always been more important to me than my looks. So I concentrated on my degree, and my masters, and my LPC. I concentrated on doing well enough in the training contract to get the job I'd set my heart on when I qualified. Because I've never been particularly interested in getting into a relationship, I've never felt the need to use my looks to attract men (or indeed women). If someone liked me for my personality, that would be fantastic, but any relationship based on physical attraction would be doomed anyway, so not something I wanted to encourage.

And equally, losing weight has made me thinner, and healthier, and fitter. But it hasn't made me happier. It hasn't got me the man of my dreams. All the other issues are still there. Don't get me wrong, I like being able to shop for smaller clothes, and run marathons and such like. But it isn't the be all and end all, and if I was given the opportunity to swop it for the intellectually stimulating and well paying job of my dreams (the one that probably doesn't exist...), then I might well do that. If something really important to me stopped me running because it was a higher priority than running at that time, then so be it. I might be happier fatter. Who knows.

Part of the problem is that two issues are so closely intertwined. The issue the article is about, and the issue that dare not raise its head in a national glossy magazine. My sexuality and my weight are so intertwined in my head that it's hard to separate the two without feeling like I'm only scratching the surface of the story. But there's no way I wanted to open that whole can of worms for that story. I may "come out" about it eventually, but on my terms, and not as a side issue to a weight loss story.

But it all ties together. She kept on pushing. Why weren't you unhappy when you were fat? Because I knew that I could lose weight, but I didn't want to because I was scared of the potential power of being thin and young and pretty. I wanted to protect myself behind a layer of fat, so that I didn't need to confront the other issues going on in my life. Being fat was better than being thrown to the lions in a club or a bar, and not knowing how to deal with a persistent and drunk man. Better to make myself utterly unappealing than to face that issue. But how do you explain that without opening the whole issue up?

Then talking about relationships. What difference has it made? Well, none, actually. I was single before, I was single throughout and I'm single now. She smells something. Were you single because you were ashamed of your weight? It's the whole chicken and egg thing. Was I? Did my weight colour my view of my own sexuality so much that it destroyed any latent desire I ever had? Or did my weight issues arise as a defence mechanism to stop me having to confront the issue (I know I said that I used them in that way later on, but when they first started, was that a deliberate act, or was it only later that I started doing that?). I really didn't want to talk about all this stuff, it's not something you can explain in a 400 word bright and breezy piece, and it's certainly not stuff I'd be comfortable having published. But how can you explain the emotional impact your weight, and the loss of it, has had, without picking up the most important part of it?

I just feel like the article isn't going to tell the truth, whatever that is, and that it will be a disappointment when I see it. The whole thing is so much more complex than she seemed to realise, and until I confronted the sexuality issues I was never going to lose weight, or even try. It was that, rather than an unkind comment or holiday snap that started the whole thing.

Maybe if I'd had confidence in her as an interviewer I'd have opened up more, I don't know. But I'm already starting to regret the whole thing, and I've not even seen it yet.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rest and Relaxation

I had a lovely holiday, and a couple of important revelations while I was away. I've been trying to think them through, and this is where I've got to.

The first couple of days I felt like shit. You may recall my red wine bender the Thursday before I went and, before that, the abdominal pain and tiredness that kept on coming and going. On the flight over on Saturday I just wanted to sleep, that was my first temptation when I got there, and on Sunday morning when we attempted to go to a christmas local produce type market thing I got half way round and then started to feel in serious danger of fainting, throwing up, or both. Later in the day I succumbed to sleep again, and on the Monday I didn't feel a whole lot better.

I decided to make the plan for the week predominantly rest. I'd taken my running stuff (first thing in the case!) but in the end limited myself to a measly 3 miles. I did a fair bit of walking, but nothing a great deal more strenuous than that. And as the week went on, and the stresses and strains that have been building up started to ease away I started to feel a whole lot better. Now I'm back and well rested I feel better than I have done for months.

It really struck me that much as I dress this exercise and healthy eating thing up as taking care of myself, there are limits to what I can do. Did I get a bit carried away at some point? Do I always need to try to run faster or longer? Can't I just enjoy things for a while, and let my body adjust to the massive changes its been through, before stepping up a gear if I feel like it later? Tempting as it is to find out exactly what I'm capable of, I can't go on pushing myself to the limit all the time. It's more important to feel healthy and alive than to stick rigidly to a training plan or diet that's just a bit demanding than it needs to be. Burning out isn't fun, and it isn't healthy, and it was only after a few days rest that I realised how close to that I was pushing myself.

I guess that what I'm saying is that I'm finally starting to appreciate the benefits of backing off a bit. But at the same time I'm scared about whether I'll be able to find that balancing point where I can do a bit less, eat a bit more, and not gain weight. But then maybe if I feel healthier at a higher weight, then being a bit heavier isn't such a bad thing. After all, I could gain a stone and still have a "healthy" BMI. I need to experiment with how I feel and, particularly when work gets horribly busy, acknowledge that I can't necessarily devote as much time to running as I can when other things in my life are calm.


A couple of other holiday snippets, one consequence of the general tiredness and illness is that I hardly touched alcohol while I was away (and regretted most of what I did have). Whether it's an extended "I'm never drinking again" reaction after that works do, I don't know, but I just don't fancy drinking at all at the moment, which is pretty rare for me. I also ate pretty well the whole time I was away, and some of the munchies I've had recently seemed to abate a little. It's still hard to find much choice of veggie food other than pizza, pasta and tortilla, but I didn't do too badly. I'm getting a bit worried about what I'm going to eat at christmas, although mum is cooking rather than us going out, I don't desperately want to make her cook something from scratch just for me, but there doesn't seem to be anything suitable ready prepared (like a nut or veggie roast or anything like that) in the supermarkets. At this rate I'll need to put something in my case!

The other is shopping. One thing guaranteed to perk me up a bit at the moment. I got a Mango suit I've had my eye on since August (but didn't want to buy it here, or in Prague where I first saw it, because it's so much cheaper in Spain), a variety of tops, and an outfit for the office Christmas party. I think I mentioned before that it's school uniform themed, and I've decided to go the whole hog. One of the really cheap shops had a very short grey pleated skirt and a white shirt and tie combo that work perfectly together for the real stereotypical schoolgirl look. The legs are coming out!

The other bit of shopping I enjoyed was that I saw a top in Zara that I really liked, but in the shop in Las Palmas they only had a large which was too big. I decided to go to another Zara near where my parents live the next day to see if they had a medium, then spoke to my sister who'd been to that Zara the day I was in Las Palmas and said she'd seen exactly the same top and bought the last medium. Anyway, I went up there the next day anyway to see if they'd got more stock in, and saw the top with a medium tag. I tried it on quickly, it fit, so I bought it. It was only the next morning when I put it on that I realised that the tag attached to it and the tag sewn in didn't agree on the size. It was a small. Of course, I didn't waste too much time telling my sister that I'd ended up with a small...

Friday, November 10, 2006


Has its drawbacks too. Last night was so not a good idea. I've been manic all week (last week was quiet at work, so I booked a holiday. This week I got about 6 urgent new jobs in), and only realised on Wednesday that I'd agreed to go to a works social do on the Thursday night. I'd hardly been in all week (working late on Tuesday, running club on Monday and Wednesday) so hadn't got close to starting packing. Or doing lots of other things I need to do. So I decided that as I'd paid for a ticket I'd go for the food and a single glass of the free alcohol. Then I'd leave. I'd definitely leave after that.

I don't think it takes a genius to work out what happened next. One drink turned into "just one more drink" and before I knew it I was drinking the bar out of red wine. I didn't attempt to keep count, but I would estimate that I was midway through the second bottle before I managed to leave.

I managed to get home, although my recollection of how is a little hazy. I even managed to throw some clothes into the washing machine AND start it. Doing well. And then I tried to lie down. I'd been going so well, but when I tried to shut my eyes I got that room moving round you sensation. Don't tell me you don't know the one.

At this point I decided to try my normal act of desperation. This is where I realise that I'm beyond redemption and I'm going to be sick sooner or later, so I may as well get it over with. Should we say that when I get to that stage I try to help the process along. I'd rather get it out of the way before I go to sleep than throw up in the morning.

Somehow I managed to pass out during this process and woke up on the bathroom floor, using a packet of loo rolls as a pillow and with puke down my top. Lovely. I'm painting such a glamourous picture here, aren't I? This is why I usually remember to stop drinking rather earlier than that. Damn you, free wine. And particularly damn whoever put another £500 behind the bar when the original tab ran out, meaning I could have another one despite only having £2 on me at the time.

Remarkably I felt alive this morning. Not on top form, admittedly, but rather better than I should have felt. I even managed to be productive at work (not that I had a great deal of choice in the matter because I was trying to finish everything off before Spain). But by the end of the day I was visibly flagging, and I still haven't packed. (Yes, at this stage blogging is clearly more important than packing. 12 hours and counting til I leave the house, and I need to sleep too). I needed something quick and convenient to eat. And comforting, too.

Which is how I ended up on the phone to a journalist doing a "My Fantastic Weight Loss" story (I caved, I'll tell more at a later stage) while nursing a hangover and eating pizza. An inspiration to people everywhere. The pizza and wine diet, look what it did for me.

Right, I really must do that packing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


On 6 August 1998 I got very drunk on a work placement social evening. Offer free beer to a student, and what do you expect. I was used to drinking beer, I'd spent much of my university career in the student bars, drinking beer in impressive quantities. But that day (or the morning after) I had a really bad reaction to something.
Admittedly, I was so hungover I didn't really notice, but it was only mid afternoon, when I'd been at work all day (on the final day of the placement) that someone pointed out the rash covering my face. I was mortified that I'd been wandering round all day without having noticed it (everyone said they just assumed I knew), but didn't really try to work out what had caused it.
A couple of days later I travelled to America for a semester studying over there. At 20, and without convincing looking fake ID I basically decided that it was easier not to bother trying to get served. A spell off the drink would do me good anyway. (Although it didn't help my waistline, because I just replaced it with food...) Between then and christmas I had a very very small number of drinks, but noticed that sometimes after drinking beer the rash would start to reappear. Not as bad as it was that time on the placement, but I'd feel a bit itchy. It seemed to be dependent on a combination of three things - beer, TOM and warmish weather, and it didn't happen every time, but there was definitely some sort of reaction. I joked that I was allergic to beer, but didn't make much of it.
After I left university I stopped drinking beer so much. My taste in alcohol moved on, to encompass things like red wine and spirits and cocktails. I'd have the occasional beer, but I'd rarely spend an entire evening drinking it. The times when I did, it would make me feel far worse than an equivalent number of other drinks would have done. But generally speaking, I just don't drink it. I haven't had the rash for ages, I'm not sure if I would if I drank the right amount of beer at the right (or wrong) time, but the situation just hasn't come up.
Now, if there's one problem with running club (and I still love it to bits), it's that it's a bit of a beer drinking situation. After runs I go to wait for the bus in the bar over the road which is a working mans club type place, and where I suspect you'd be looked at strangely if you asked for wine or a cocktail. And after races they head off to the sort of country pubs that specialise in having a wide range of beers on tap.
So far, I've been going along with beer drinking. Not in huge quantities - never more than one after training, and two after the race on Sunday. I remember when I used to get through four at a time as a student (the student bar was £1.25 a pint, which worked out nicely for going out with a fiver). But I've noticed that it really does make me feel rough in a way that a glass of wine wouldn't. I'm starting to think that while I'm probably not actually "allergic" to beer in the true sense of the word, it really doesn't do me any good, even in small quantities. I mean, I know it's not a superfood or anything like that and it's not "good" for me, but I've always taken the opinion that a little of what you fancy isn't going to hurt. But maybe with beer it really is worth just steering entirely clear of the stuff.
I've been complaining about running in the evening making it harder for me to sleep, but I noticed that the one day I did sleep really well after running club was last Wednesday when I didn't drink after the run because I still felt a bit ill. Maybe it's the beer not the running? Possibly worth experimenting with that thought?

I can't believe it's taken me so long for the connection to really click in my head. At university in particular, I put any crapness down to the amount I was drinking (which no doubt also contributed), since then I've tended to only drink beer abroad where I put it down to the effects of the heat. I've ever really considered the fact that in isolation, even with nothing else worthy of triggering a reaction, less than half a pint makes me feel quite grotty. And I've carried on drinking it. Stupid or what?
I might be changing my routine a bit anyway on running club days. Although it's possible to get the bus home, it's a bit of a faff, so I'm considering driving to the leisure centre where we meet in the morning, getting the bus into work from there, getting the bus back in the evening, running then driving home. And if I'm driving not only do I not have to hang around in the pub waiting for the bus, but I also have a cast iron excuse for sticking to soft drinks if I do decide to pop in for a while.
I suspect that I may still have a beer from time to time, particularly on holiday, but now that I've re-established the connection in my head between drinking it and how I feel, that may become less and less frequent.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


OK, so I'm sick of them now! Nothing to do with the load that went off at 3.15 this morning while I was trying to get some sleep in advance of my race today. Or the fact that I'm really tired now and they've been going off all evening (most of the pain related symptoms of this bug may have gone, but I can still feel its aftereffects in my constant tiredness recently. I feel like I could just sleep for days).

Not much else to report. Hopefully I'll start to wake up a bit during the week!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bonfire toffee and toffee apples

Yesterday as I left work I started wishing that I could just go to Spain next Saturday and not come back. Jack it all in over here, and just do what I should have done 4 years ago.

I think my mother thought I wasn't that interested in going over, because I refused to commit myself to a date for so long. It wasn't that I didn't want to go, though, it was that I didn't want to get my hopes up about any particular week and then have it dashed by something kicking off at work. I didn't want to get too excited about it until I could guarantee I'd be able to take the holiday.

But since I booked the flights on Thursday, I've just wanted to be there now. Not next week, but now. And I've wanted to not have to come back. The problem is that I couldn't just go over there and live in a dive with a bar job to keep me going. I guess I've got used to a certain standard of living, and lifestyle, and I couldn't go back to earning a bit of beer money and nothing more. Even in the sunshine with my family around me. But my Spanish isn't good enough to get a better paid job, so I'm kind of stuck in no-mans land. I want to move out there, but I want to find a way to make a living out there first.

Or alternatively, win Euro-Millions. So I bought a ticket on the way home from work. Not one measly number. Gah.

But then, a burst of patriotism. Bonfire night, the Roundhay Park fireworks and GB beating the Aussies in Sydney in the rugby will do that for a girl. I love bonfire night. I don't get halloween at all, but give me bonfires and fireworks any day. Or once a year, at least, after a while the constant banging gets a bit too much, but the big display in the park is fantastic. I was surprised at how much of a range of people there were there, families, people on their way out into town, little chavs, the whole range. Traffic jams to get near to the place, and just a nice atmosphere. I like that it's an English thing too, one of those little celebrations that other people just don't quite get, it makes it feel a bit more special in a way, like I belong, and this is my home because I get it.

Anyway, going down to the bonfire set off certain cravings that I was powerless to resist. Well, one craving really - bonfire toffee. I tried to deal with it by eating a toffee apple (well, at least it was a portion of fruit) but that just didn't do the trick, so I bought myself a bag. I'm pleased to say that I only ate a tiny bit of it last night and I've still got some left now, and I'm happy to be at a stage where I can be a bit more relaxed about my eating and know that it's not going to set me off on the road to regain. On the other hand, I've just been on a message board where people are talking about eating parkin, which has set off a whole new set of cravings. It's probably a good job I've changed into my pyjamas and don't intend to go out again tonight to anywhere I might find some!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Cure!

How to make me feel better in two easy steps:

1) Decide to go to Spain next weekend
2) Go for a run (and get my new running club vest)

I'm not entirely pain free, but a lot better than I was, and while I was running I actually felt better than I have all week. I'd been worried it would set it off and make it worse, but it actually relieved it for a while. So 6 miles under the belt, and I've got a hilly 10 mile race at the weekend which should be interesting. At least I've got a run out of the way before then as I wouldn't want to turn up at a race not sure whether I'd be able to run at all.

And the holiday. Despite my reputation for taking loads of holidays, I've actually got loads of days left due to my careful use of bank holidays and weekends, which I need to take before the end of the year. I was waiting for a deal I'm working on to finish, and getting more and more worried that I'd run out of time - then today I got a call from the client and it's being put on hold for a couple of weeks, so I'm taking the opportunity to get over to see my family.

I've not quite booked the flights yet, I want to do that tomorrow when I've cleared it with a couple of people at work, but I'm fairly sure that in 10 days time I'll be in sunny Gran Canaria and away from this horribly cold winter weather! My mum's got a new kitten for me to play with too, which should be fun. I've not been over there since July, so I can't wait to get back there.

10 days!!! I'm so excited!!!