Monday, July 30, 2007

Step Away from the Running Shoes

Why does walking 14 miles hurt so much more than running 26? It appears that it works different muscles which weren't sufficiently well trained, causing an inability to walk pain free for the past two days. I suppose it means that I haven't been tempted to run, helping with this mini break, but still, not pleasant.

That just reinforced to me the problems of trying to do too many activities at once. I can run decently if pretty much all I do is running, and if I devote myself to running-specific training. But when I try to run and cycle and walk, it seems that I end up struggling through each activity but not feeling like I'm at my peak for any of them. Which then leads to another question, I suppose. Is it better to aim to be a 3:45 marathon runner and to exclude other things apart from as limited cross training, or is it better to just do what I feel like and accept that I might not fulfil my potential? I can't do a long run and a long hill walk or a long bike ride in the same weekend, but if what I really want to do is get out there and walk or cycle, then maybe I should just do that, and not worry too much about the marathon training. I'll do enough training to complete the marathon(s), but I won't do it as fast as I could, and I might enjoy what's left of summer more in the process. In the general scheme of things, is that a bad thing? Just because I probably could run 3:45, it doesn't mean that I have to. I'm meant to be doing this because I enjoy it, not so I can punish myself for failing to meet arbitrary standards.

I think I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew, too soon, and next year I am planning to do one marathon at the most, in spring (I'll do FLM if I get a place, if I don't I'll see if there's anything else I really want to do, but won't hunt out a marathon for the sake of running one). That's a bit soon after New York and Amsterdam, but I'd rather train over winter when there aren't as many competing distractions, let myself enjoy myself over summer doing "fun" rather than focussed running and other active things, then get back into more focussed training over the winter. I can put the rest of my life on hold for a few months once a year to train properly for a marathon, but I'm not sure that I'm prepared to do it twice a year at the moment.

My car seems to be trying to give me the hint to relax a bit too. Despite the fact that my legs don't want to walk, I put my running stuff in my bag and was planning on my normal Monday routine - leave car at running club, pick it up and run on the way home (although today's run was actually an "away day" meaning I'd pick the car up, drive up to the meet up spot and then then run from there). I wasn't sure whether I'd feel like running but I wanted to give myself the option to do it if I felt like it later in the day as it's a nice run. Except I got to the car this morning and it showed no signs of life whatsoever. Even the remote central locking wasn't working, and there wasn't even a flicker when I attempted to start it. Luckily cycling doesn't seem to use the muscles that aren't working too much, so I cycled into work without any major drama, but it did make it harder to get to running club this evening, to reduce the temptation to try to run. I suppose I should be thanking the car rather than cursing it...

(And it provides yet more proof that I'll cope without a car over winter. I use it so infrequently that the battery runs down between uses).

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Yesterday I had the shittiest run ever, so I decided not to try to push it today. I went with plan B for the day, and decided to go for a day walking in the dales instead.

The run I had planned involved getting the train out of town and running back. I actually ended up on the same train, because once it's got out of industrial West Yorkshire it heads over the Settle-Carlisle line, and that's where I fancied going. I've never been over that line before, and it's something I've been meaning to do for a while.

The logical thing to do is, of course, to get the train to a high point and walk downhill, and where is higher than Dent station. It's the highest mainline station in England (possibly the UK, I can't remember). It's also nowhere near Dent town - when I did the Dentdale run back in March I ran 14 miles up and down Dentdale from Dent and went nowhere near the station. That was the first time I'd ever been to Dentdale and I really liked it, so I decided it was a good starting point to discover a bit more of it.

I managed to resist the temptation to walk towards Dent itself (although my tastebuds still remember the cake at the end of the race and were trying to persuade me to see if I could locate the source), and headed back down the line towards the Ribblehead viaduct. There seem to be quite a few groups round here which organise walks from public transport - from the Dalesbus on sundays and from the train on other days. There were at least two different groups from the train I was on. I was vaguely tempted to tag along, but I had something I wanted to try today.

I bought a compass during the week, and I wanted to learn how to use it and how to map read a bit better. Even though (I hoped) my route was relatively straight forward, I wanted some practice checking against the map to make sure that I was indeed going in the right direction, and I didn't think walking with a group would help that. Also, the age profile of the walkers I saw didn't really fit me, so I preferred to walk alone. I like having space to think anyway.

I headed up the higher reaches of Dentdale where I hadn't ventured before, and it was lovely. Then I headed uphill through a bit of forest, and over Blea Moor, with the train below me. The ventilation shafts from the tunnel stood out against the landscape, but helped keep me heading in the right direction as a check for my compass. And then coming down off the moor, it hits you. The Ribblehead Viaduct. There are other viaducts on the line, but this is the famous one.

Last weekend while we were busy climbing it was opened for people to walk across for the first time ever during engineering work elsewhere on the line. I missed that so could only see it from beneath, but it was still pretty impressive. I even caught a train going over the top, although sadly it was a goods train rather than the significantly more romantic steam trains that run across from time to time in summer.

I stopped and had some lunch staring at the view (and due to my fluorescent yellow rain jacket got approached by random walkers to ask how to get up Whernside - because I looked like some kind of marshall - oops!). Then, as there wasn't too much at Ribblehead other than the viaduct, and I wasn't ready to head back yet, I carried on walking down to Horton in Ribblesdale.

This was the only point where I got marginally lost. Or at least I headed off up the wrong track, realised pretty quickly and managed to get back where I should have been without any drama. Yay for the map and compass! I met up with the Ribble Way, and then the Pennine Way, and made it to Horton a bit after 3pm. I had been having thoughts of cream tea for the last few miles, but got there, realised there was a train fairly soon and that I'd just managed to walk away from the village centre towards the station. I didn't want it enough to walk back to hunt out tea shops, so I just made do with the remnants of what I'd brought with me.

In total I covered about 14 miles. Slowly, and struggling a bit with the bogginess of the terrain in the absence of waterproof shoes, but I had a really good day. I ended up absolutely knackered and nearly fell asleep on the train, but I suppose that's partly because that's just what happens when you wake up at 6am without the help of the alarm at weekends because you're so used to it during the week.

And look at the piccies! No rain! (Well, a few spots while I was waiting for the train home, but nothing significant. Woo hoo!)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Ah well, it had to happen some time. Today I had my first "back on the bike after last time" collision. Last time being some time around the year 2000 and involving a pedestrian walking across a cycle lane without looking.

I was feeling really proud of myself for doing a 15.5 miler on the way to work instead of the direct 5 mile route (complete with daring to take my hands off the bars to indicate), and for filtering up the outside of traffic safely so that I could get into a cycle lane which went straight on because the rest of the traffic would be forced left. The cycle lane goes against the flow of a one way street, and has a solid kerb separating it from the other carriageway.

As I was cycling along it I could see someone crossing the road. I knew that he would step out onto the cycle path without looking in the opposite direction. I rang my bell twice.

And the idiot stepped out into me anyway.

Thankfully unlike last time I stayed on the bike, and probably gave him a bigger bruise than any damage I did to myself. I tried to keep my torrent of abuse to a minimum, and rode off. I was a bit shaky for a few minutes, but recovered for the rest of the ride home thankfully.

I suppose at least I've got it over with!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And... relax

When I was at school I was the type of person who would get really worked up about getting 19/20. That meant I'd got one thing wrong. I'd beat myself up about that one mistake. I'd finish an exam more worried about the questions I'd struggled with than happy with the ones I'd answered easily. I'd feel like I'd done really badly because I struggled with that one question.

I've got a first class degree, a masters with distinction and came top of my year at law school, but it still bugs me that I only got a B for A level history. And that I got 58% for public law 2. Admittedly in the 10 years since that course I've never had to use a single thing I learned on it, but that was a 2:2 grade, and it hurt.

I still haven't managed to shake the habit. Whatever I do, however impressive, I keep on feeling like I should be doing more, trying harder, excelling. If I don't think I can do something properly I would rather not try it than be shown to be defective or inadequate. If I'm going to run I want to be a good runner. If I'm going to climb I want to be scaling mountains. If I cycle I want to do the tour de france. Well, not quite but there's always that feeling of inadequacy - how come I can only run 30 or 40 miles a week? I should be running more. I should be running faster. I should be training harder. I should be able to learn Spanish, draft contracts and clean the house all at the same time.

When will I get it through my stupid head that I don't need to be superwoman? I don't need to excel in everything I do. I don't need to constantly push myself and, just occasionally, I could let myself have fun. I don't need to beat myself up because I missed a single training run (stopping training altogether is a different matter, but one measly run? so what?). I don't need to hate myself just because I had an unplanned encounter with a bag of sweets or a scone or a slice of flapjack. I don't need to always wonder whether I can lose just one more pound. I need to get rid of this all or nothing mentality.

I've posted things before that have hinted that I'm on the edge of burn out and although I'm recognising it, it's still hard to pull away because I've got that urge to push myself as close to the edge as I can get. But it's so hard to find that balancing point. If I don't push myself will I go too far the other way, will I slip back to laziness and sloth? I'm still struggling. You need a certain amount of obsession and bloody mindedness for marathon training. But you also need to know when to back off.

Tonight I managed to persuade myself not to run. I was only planning a 2.75 mile leg of a relay race anyway so it's not like the mileage was going to be important, and it wouldn't really help marathon training that much. But it was a struggle to remind myself that not running at all would probably be better than running badly because I was overtired or just not up for it. I went to the park and sat and read, rather than coming home and feeling like I need to glue myself to the computer and the television in a doomed attempt to keep up with everything that's going on. It was nice.

I'm thinking that on Saturday instead of the long run I had planned I might just head back up into the dales and go for a long walk. Up there I don't need to time myself and work out how far I've gone, I can just clear my head a bit and escape from the pressure I put on myself.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bruises on bruises

Yup, the bruises are coming up nicely.

Still, they're not quite this bad!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Battered Knees and a Big Smile

I'm back from climbing. It was fantastic!

Sadly, there are no photos, so you'll just have to imagine the scene. Due to the rain the trains were a bit messed up on Friday night, but we made it up to the (highly recommended) B&B in Austwick for about 11pm on Friday night, in time for biscuits and bed. Oh and choosing breakfast for the morning.

That was a very important decision. And in the morning we duly munched our way through the fantastic spread provided while looking anxiously out at the weather. Unsurprisingly it was raining. It's always f*cking raining. Anyway, we headed down to the centre to meet the instructor.

He was possibly the most scarily fit person I've ever met. Not only was he just clambering over rocks like a goat, and was only really using the ropes to show us what to do, but he runs 50+ mile fell races, goes climbing in the himalayas, dives, does caving and does just about every activity you can think of. If you think I'm an activity junkie these days, you've never met this guy!

(Speaking of first impressions, I was quite impressed that when we walked in one of the organisers said "do you run?". Possibly due to the fact we were attired in running lycra, but after the follow up question "do you race" someone else chipped in "of course they do, look at them!" We look like a proper runners!)

There were three of us on the course - me and Jen, and another woman Julie. She'd done a bit of wall climbing before, and I was a bit worried she'd be far better than us. The back up plan for rain was to go to the wall, but after coffee and hob nobs (Robbie needs 4000 calories a day to survive apparently - and the amount of stuff he does I can believe it!) he decided it wasn't that bad, and we headed to a place called Hutton Roof.

Just the walk up to the crags would have killed me not too long ago. or at least made me have severe doubts about what I was doing. But it was fine, even if it did reinforce my idea that walking up hills is one thing, but running up them in fell races would be another...

Once we got there we got started, and it was surprisingly easy to get started. Unlike something like diving where there's a lot of theory before you can get going, it seemed to be very much learning by experience on the basis that there's always the rope to catch you if you fall, and as long as you're not in charge of putting in things to clip into, and are just following someone else up or following a route he'd prepared, there's not a great deal of knowledge involved. And after the first climb or two you wouldn't have known who had done it before and who hadn't either.

After lunch (and the B&B managed the near impossible feat of packing me a lunch that I couldn't finish!) we went to Barbondale where there was a dry gill. Or at least it was meant to be dry, there were distinct pools of water, even if it hadn't quite converted itself back to a series of waterfalls. This was more like gorge scrambling, with bits of climbing at each waterfall. I really enjoyed this bit, it was actually something that had it been drier I could have done without ropes, and on my own (if I could ever find it again).

We finished a bit early, but I think that was partly because as a small group it took less time for us to get each climb done. And it started to rain a bit more just as we finished, so we weren't complaining. Back to the B&B for cake (we didn't get our "on arrival" cakes on Friday evening so we cheekily asked if we could have them on Saturday instead), a bath, a lie down, and then out to the local pub (next door to the B&B) to eat.

We'd heard that it got busy, and by turning up at 6pm managed to get just about the last table. Following Robbie's fine example of 4000 calories per day we decided to go for the full 3 courses, although we did share a starter. We both stuck to soft drinks too, which considering we had such a short stagger home was most out of character for me. I just didn't feel like drinking to be honest.

We had a relatively early night, and another earlyish (for a Sunday) morning. Another good breakfast, and back to meet Robbie. We went back up to Hutton Roof, this time for the whole day, and did more climbing. It got a bit more technical in that we tried "lead climbing" where you climb up to clips that are already there and attach yourself to them, but don't have anything attached above you until you get there to do it yourself.

After we finished, we drove back, stopping for a cheeky cream tea on the way back. My legs are well and truly bruised, apparently I was getting too close to the rock. But the rock was kind of solid and I liked feeling like I had a good grip on it!

The thing that struck me on the drive home was that at no point during the weekend did my fat identity emerge. I didn't once think "I can't do this, I'm too fat/inflexible/heavy/unfit". I tied knots, attaching myself to the rope, and I trusted them to hold my weight. I didn't ask to be taught a special extra reinforced knot because I thought I was too heavy for the normal ones. I believed that I could do it, that it was well within my ability, and I just went for it.

I loved it. Some of the climbs were harder than others, but I managed them all without any panic or drama. The views from the top were fantastic, even in the rain (photos wouldn't do it justice anyway - it was more the unbroken sweep of green-ness that impressed, which is hard to convey on camera), and I was so proud of myself for getting out and doing it. I'm really loving being outdoors and doing stuff, and now I'm back in the house I'm sitting plotting what I can do next!

So yay for climbing!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Yesterday I found out a few things I didn't know before.

1. My secretary is doing weight watchers. I found her filling in her record card thing at her desk. That shocked me actually, she's quite a thin little thing and you wouldn't think that she needed to lose weight. I guess maybe I don't know the whole story, maybe she has to work hard to maintain that weight. I was just surprised.

2. Someone from running club has her first marathon time tattoed on her foot. Possibly the one sort of tattoo I like the idea of (although it does vaguely look like she's been branded with a series of numbers like some sort of criminal). Imagine, every time you go to put your running socks on it reminds you of how it felt, and every time you go to put your non-running stuff on it pokes you and says "remember, you're a runner, get back into it". I won't be doing it though, firstly I wear sandals too much, and wouldn't necessarily want it showing at work. And anyway, my first marathon time isn't one I'm proud of because I didn't perform to the best of my ability. But putting the time from my second marathon would seem like cheating - and what if I ran faster in the future? Also, there are pain issues and a fear of needles. No, I'll leave it as an interesting idea that will stay as just that.

3. More people are leaving my firm. I'm not sure what that means for me at the moment to be honest, but we're also meant to be recruiting at the moment, so maybe things will work out. Not that I know whether I want to be here long term anyway, I suppose we'll see what happens. I've been thinking a lot recently about what I want out of life (biiiig topic), and things are starting to fall into place. Or at least the "what's important to me" side of things. What I haven't worked out yet is how to get from where I am now to where I want to be. But that's a big subject that I'm not going to go into now.

And people at running club found out something they didn't know too.

We had a club handicap race with a social afterwards, and I took along the Eve article. I'd told one person about it and she'd asked to see it. Of course, it didn't stop at one person, so now I guess it's general knowledge. I'm kind of glad it's out in the open (although they really didn't need to see that before picture), but I'm glad that they got to know me as a fairly fast runner first, rather than as the person who lost lots of weight. They're both part of who I am, but for the first impressions thing I'd rather people know who I am now rather than who I used to be. I think I've been there long enough now that it's time to let the cat out of the bag.

This is a bit of a fly by update today, I'm away again at the weekend, on the big learn to climb/abseil course I've been plotting for months. At the moment even two hours in the house spent doing anything other than sleeping is a bit of a novelty, but hopefully after next week things will start to calm down a bit.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New York

If you read "Stop", you may agree with me that it's kind of ironic that just as I start to think about scaling things back I sign up to something challenging like back to back marathons. On different continents. Oh well...

I'm fed up of not being able to talk about this, so it's time to get it out there. On 4 November I will be running in the New York Marathon for a charity called XIII Heroes. Even though I'd already signed up for Amsterdam by this point (that is on 21 October*), the opportunity to get involved with this was too good to turn down. Admittedly I was very drunk when I first agreed to do it, but since then I've had time to consider it sober and it still seemed like a good idea.

It's no ordinary charity place. I've always said that I wouldn't do a race through a charity just to get into it. There are other races I can do while waiting to get a place of my own in the big ones, whether it's through ballots or qualifying times or club places. So finding myself signed up to a charity complete with a mandatory fund raising target is a bit of a turnaround. But it's a bit special.

Last year XIII Heroes helped Matt King achieve a world first by completing a half marathon. Matt was very seriously injured a few years ago in a rugby accident, and is now on a ventilator and in a wheelchair. He's the first person to do a half marathon in that condition, and wants to be the first to complete a full one too. For the Great North Run he had a team running with him, for support, fund raising, moving discarded water bottles out of the way and stuff like that, and that's what I'll be doing in New York. I've achieved a dream by running a marathon, and it's time to help someone else do the same thing.

This might actually help me slow down and take the pressure off. We'll be running as a team, at the speed of the slowest runner. The slowest runner won't be me. Because I won't be aiming for a fast time, I can (hopefully) relax and enjoy it. Well, as much as you can enjoy running a marathon on tired legs...

So it's not just "go to New York for a run", it's more "go to New York to do something special and have a once in a lifetime experience", and that's why I'm prepared to put my anti-charity places rants behind me and dive straight into fundraising. However, that means that it's time for a shameless appeal for money.

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do it right now by going to XIII Heroes There's no info on the site yet about the run because it's not being officially announced until the end of the month, but I promise you it's happening. Because it's a general donation link rather than an individual one just for me, if you'd like to help me reach the personal fund raising target I've been set, it's important that you put my name in the notes section when you donate then it can be allocated to me. For those of you who don't know what my name is, cut and paste "I'd like to sponsor Helen Goldthorpe to run the New York Marathon".

There is obviously no obligation on anyone to donate money, or to donate any given amount of money. I'm going into this with my eyes open, and I know that if I fall short of my target I'll have to make up the difference. No matter how much I raise I will be making a sizeable personal donation, (not least because I'd feel guilty about getting other people to pay for me to go to New York for a week without contributing myself) but I'd love that donation to be in addition to the target they've set me rather than part of it. I have to provide the minimum sponsorship in stages by certain dates, so please don't wait until after the race if you're going to sponsor me. The earlier you can contribute, the less you'll have to suffer me begging as 14th September and the deadline for the first installment approaches!

*The status of Amsterdam is unclear. As I've entered and paid for flights etc, I'm going to train as though I'm running both. But if I don't feel right closer to the day, I might drop out of Amsterdam, or at least take it gently, rather than letting the team down in New York.


I'm feeling a bit more positive about things today, and have binned the utterly negative post that I was writing on Thursday, but still I'm starting to have a nagging feeling that maybe it's time to take a long hard look at what I'm doing to myself and try to draw a line under it.

Quite simply, I'm not sure if what I'm doing is healthy any more. Maybe I've started to go past the point where it's nice to be fit, and be able to run, and swim, and cycle, to a point where I'm making myself do more than I should be doing, and making myself ill.

I'm constantly tired. But I still try to think of more ways to sneak in exercise, and to increase my mileage. Maybe the real reason for the laziness I alluded to in my last post isn't a natural thing, but a sign that I simply don't have the energy to do anything other than sit motionless on the sofa once I've got all my exercise done. Actually, it's not just a sofa thing. Sometimes I sit motionless at my desk at work too, unable to summon up the energy to pick up a pen or write an email, just trying hard to keep my eyes open so nobody notices how tired I am. on ThursdayI wasn't sure that I had the energy to cycle home at the end of the day. On Wednesday I gave up a run after 3 miles because I didn't feel like I could carry on. On Monday I made it to 11 miles but felt awful for the last 2 or 3. (Yesterday I did 5 without a problem though, so it's not all bad).

Maybe it's just a bug, but I just get this nagging feeling that being active and healthy and eating well is meant to make me feel energised and bouncy, not like I'm constantly trying to recover from one workout before heading straight into the next. The hours I spend exercising are expanding at a rapid rate, and squeezing everything else apart from sleep and work out of my life.

I think the time has come to say stop, and to redress the balance a little. I don't want to get to obsessed by exercise, to the detriment of other things.

It scares me. I know that if I do what I'm doing now I can maintain my weight loss. I'm actually still losing, albeit at a very slow rate - and finally hit 148 yesterday. That should have been a cause of celebration - 8 stone lost - but I actually started wondering whether I actually need to be that thin. I could gain 20lb before being classed as overweight based on my BMI, so why kill myself to stay in the 140s?. But if I allow myself to relax a bit, would I be able to stop myself relaxing too much?

I also find it hard to aim for anything other than longer and faster when I'm training for a race. And I worry that if I train less my performances will slip away. I set myself targets, and I have a tendency to get too caught up in trying to achieve them rather than running according to how I feel. If I cut a run short because I feel rubbish, it's a struggle for me to think of anything other than how to make those lost miles up elsewhere, rather than thinking about what I need to do to feel better next time I run.

How do I stop myself pushing so hard? I'm not sure. Maybe being aware of the problem is the first step, even if it takes me a while to reprogramme my brain to actually act on that awareness.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Making Things Happen

'm not particularly good at spontaneity. Despite how things might appear if you look at my exercise schedule, I'm actually incredibly lazy and if I don't have something planned and scheduled into my diary I'm more than capable of sitting doing nothing for hours on end and then wondering where the time went.

This isn't necessarily a problem all the time, sometimes it's nice to just switch off and do nothing. But it doesn't help with all those vague plans - days out, and things like that. If I start the weekend thinking "I might do x", I rarely do. I decide that the weather's not nice enough, or the money would be better saved rather than spent on a day out, or that I simply can't overcome my lethargy. Sometimes it's just that I don't have a good enough idea of what I actually want to do, and having too much choice leads me to decide to do nothing.

Recently it's been particularly bad. The incessant rain really hasn't inspired me to do anything spur of the moment, even though a lot of the time it hasn't been bad enough to mean I have to stay inside, just not nice enough to persuade me to venture out. If I arranged to meet someone else and do stuff with them I suppose I'd be more inclined to get out there anyway, but when it's just me I'm not letting anyone but myself down, and I'm quite happy to be left alone on the sofa with the Sunday papers.

To some extent this is a bit inconsistent. I actually enjoy running and cycling in the rain (as long as it's just moderate rain, not the torrential stuff we had last Monday). It makes me feel invigorated and alive, like it's washing my worries away. If it's on my plan to go outside in it, I'll go out and I'll love it. But if it's not scheduled in, I use the weather like a pathetic excuse.

So this weekend there's a new plan. Instead of saying that I might do something, and making tentative plans for what I might do if it's nice, I'm going to make plans and do it anyway. If it's planned in enough detail, I can just take the first step and then the rest of the day will follow from that, rather than having a vague plan and not really having any idea of how I'm going to go about it.

So instead of putting "walking in the Dales?" in my diary, I've looked at bus timetables and routes. I know what time I need to get the bus into town to catch the Dalesbus, I know how long there is between the morning bus up there and the afternoon bus back. I have bought a map so that I can work out a route, and I've started thinking about what I need to put in my bag (food!), and what time I need to set the alarm to catch the buses.

This way if my alarm goes off and it's not raining heavily I'm all set and ready to go, rather than waking up, realising the weather's OK but having missed the bus, not wanting to drive and putting it off until another day.

The same applies to most things, really. Particularly dieting. It's one thing talking constantly, as some of the secretaries at work are, about going on a diet tomorrow, but another thing waking up tomorrow morning with everything already in place to start doing it. Having a training plan has worked wonders for keeping me exercising. I don't just wake up and think whether I feel like exercising (the answer to that question is no far more often than you'd think looking at the consistency with which I exercise), I wake up and get it done because it's planned, and because not feeling like it at the start isn't a good enough reason to skip it (I usually do enjoy it once I get going). Sometimes things seem overwhelming if you just make a goal to lose weight, or run a marathon. But you can commit to writing a healthy menu for the week, then shopping for it, then cooking it, or to going for a single run today. Break it down into steps and it feels a lot easier.

So on Sunday I'm not going for a day out walking in the Dales. I'm going to wake up early and get the bus into town with the bag I'll have packed on Saturday night, then I'm going to take it from there. It seems a bit contrived, putting a plan together to make sure I get out and do something, but I know what I'm like, even (or maybe especially) when it comes to having fun.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Smoke Free

Today I went out for a celebratory July 1st Sunday lunch, to make the most of the smoking ban. Actually, the place where I went on Friday night was non-smoking then anyway, and I suspect that the place I went to for lunch might have been before, or at least I've never noticed any smoke when I've been in there. But still, I wanted to go out and make the most of the clean air.

Because I was going to a buffet place (healthy food on the buffet - salads and the like, but still with plenty of opportunity for overeating), I dragged myself out of bed for a long run before that. It was actually the first long run I've done since Edinburgh where I've really felt like I could have carried on going, which considering I made it up to 14.5 miles, which was 2.5 miles further than I've done in the past month, I was really pleased with. It was pretty slow (for me) because I ended up going off road quite a bit, and it was still muddy from all the rain we've been having. But apart from where I had to walk to avoid falling, it was a good steady run, and I'm starting to get a bit of confidence back that I can build up for another marathon.

At least the weather held off while I was out for a run. I'm just so fed up of the rain now, I wish that there would be some sign of a proper summer. Mind you, when it arrives I'll probably complain that I'm too hot when I'm out running. It's been an experience commuting in on the bike in the rain. I do think I'm mad when I'm getting absolutely soaked, but there's something very satisfied about being able to get through the city centre when it's gridlocked because of all the flooding.

Friday night I was out with the running club girls. I may have drunk a bit too much red wine, but at least I realised in time, stopped and went home. I dread to think what would have happened if I'd carried on. It's ages since I was out in town on a Friday night. I'm still not convinced about the whole going out drinking thing, crowded expensive bars where you can't hear the conversation anyway, but it's nice once in a while.

This post doesn't really have any unifying theme or insight, but hopefully I'll be able to come up with something a bit more interesting soon.