Thursday, August 16, 2007


This week I've discovered that photos still have the power to shock, and that maybe memories aren't as long-lasting as I thought.

Someone at work came into my office yesterday. She's been here way longer than I have, and has therefore seen me at a huge range of sizes, knows the story, and in fact constantly badgers me for tips. Which she then ignores. But anyway. On my noticeboard I have a copy of the photo of me and Mike Gregory that I posted on here at the weekend, as motivation for marathon/GNR training.

She looked at it, and asked me "who's that in the photo? Is it your sister?"

She knew me when that photo was taken, and she still didn't recognise me in it. Sometimes I forget that I've been a relatively normal weight for two years now, and that while I'm constantly aware of the change, maybe other people are just starting to think of me as who I am now. They might know that I've lost weight, but they can't picture it in their minds any more.

The other photo that shocked me was in a very different way. After the big Netball v Cricket rounders match on Tuesday night (of which more later), we took team photos of the netball team and the cricket team. That photo really did surprise me.

Not only am I standing bang in the middle of a sports team photo, rather than lurking on the edge, embarassed to be sneaking into shot, it also gave me the chance to compare my size with the other girls. It's one of those guilty habits I have, thinking "am I thinner than her?". Not in a malicious or fiercely competitive way - I wouldn't starve myself just to get thinner than someone, but more in a trying to get a true picture of my size kind of way. Sometimes it's hard to get a realistic view of how thin (or fat) you are (is it on How To Look Good Naked where they make people slot themselves into a lineup of differently sized women where they think they should be, then they usually get told they should have been several places towards the thinner end?).

Let's just say that looking at that photo I'm a lot thinner than I thought. You certainly can't tell from looking at it that I'm the one who used to weigh over 18 and a half stone. And (not that you can see it because of the people in the front row) my legs look surprisingly good in a netball skirt...

I did have to laugh after the rounders game though. I treated it as just a bit of fun, and did my normal exercise as well, rather than treating it as a hard workout (which it wasn't by any stretch of the imagination). The day after, a colleague came into work complaining he was sore. He doesn't know what a proper workout is! I was also speaking to someone else in the pub who has been here two years, and realised that she didn't know about the weight I used to be. I'd kind of assumed that most people at work did, because other people knew and that sort of knowledge spreads itself around. But no, it seems that there are distinct pockets of ignorance out there still. I kind of like it that way.

Did I just mention the pub? That was where the week started to go downhill. The game was quite a way away from my house, and someone had organised a car sharing list to get people home. So I didn't need to worry about it, but it did mean that I needed to stay in the pub until everyone was ready to go. And when you're in the pub, if you're me and the drinks are being paid for by work, there's that horrible temptation to drink them. On an empty stomach, and having played an hour or so of gentle sport. The first glass of wine was probably OK (although it didn't do much to hydrate me). I might have got away with the second. But the glasses I drank after that were definitely a bad idea. Oops. I woke up the next morning still fully clothed in netball kit, and feeling rather less good than I should have done.

That in itself wouldn't have been so bad, and I managed a gentle swim before work to clear my head a bit, but the problem was that we had organised an 11 mile recce run for the Leeds Country Way relay for that evening. I had no way of getting out of it (the route isn't marshalled and is quite complicated, so you need to know where you're going, and I didn't have the mobile numbers of the people I was meeting to do it with), so when all I wanted to do was take my weary body home after work and get into bed to sleep off the tiredness and hangover, what I actually ended up doing was running across fields and golf courses and hills, getting my legs stung by nettles, scratched by brambles and slapped by various crops growing close to the footpath, sliding through mud, getting attacked by bats, and generally wondering whether I was absolutely insane. Having been drinking water like it was going out of fashion all day in an attempt to rehydrate myself, I found it all sloshing around in my stomach during the run, just to add to the misery. The worst bit was that I knew that my discomfort was entirely self-inflicted, and that I had no real justification for complaining because I could have just stopped drinking rather earlier than I did.

Having got home late from that (for the third night in a row), I then collapsed into bed still spattered in mud (although I did get the worst of it off, and managed to take my running kit off this time), woke up the next morning and masochistically cycled the long route into work, getting there feeling almost as bad as I had the morning before. It's not so much that I'm hungover still, more that I'm just tired after three days with little more than 10 minutes at a time awake and in the house, and possibly still a bit dehydrated from the combination of exercise and alcohol. It's a sign of how ingrained my routine is though that every night, even after rounders, I managed to pack my gym bag and lunch for the next morning and remembered to put everything I needed for the day in it despite being rather less than fully on form.

One day I'll learn...


Blogger Lightning said...


Sounds like a fun few days!!!

I couldn't find you in the netball picture and really had to peer.

The other picture, I saw it was you, but did a double-take because at first I didn't see that you were a bigger you. Odd!

8:49 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I've recently started a new job and I deliberately haven't told anyone about the weight I've lost. I kind of like the idea that they are getting to know me as an active person who runs for fun.

I don't usually comment but I keep coming back to your blog as inspiration for the rest of my journey - thank you.

11:15 AM  

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