Sunday, 30 December 2007

It's going to be OK

My lovely mum & dad, with best beloved husband in the mad red shirt, over our non-traditional lamb Christmas dinner

It's been over a fortnight since any activity - blog, gym or otherwise. At this time of year, that's not really surprising - although I have been surprised by my "green-eyed monster" reaction to some folk I saw out running over the Christmas period. I so wanted to be doing the same.

Food, drink, chocolate (have you tried the Lindt Dark Chocolate Lindor???)... no activity... asking for trouble. And when I checked the other day - I'm still 147 lb. Hey, must be something wrong with the scales!

So on today's gym visit, I checked on their scales - and it's absolutely right. My weight hasn't moved from 147 lb since July - apart from a brief dip to 145 lb back in the summer, and a scary elevation to 150 lb after our holiday in France, both of which were very short-lived. Phew.

Anyway, the gym was a much-needed relief. Ten minutes each on bike, rower, cross-trainer, walking on the Nautilus (fancy treadmill) and back to the bike; then 20 minutes of weights. The ankle felt a bit sore after the Nautilus, so it's clearly not ready for much of that sort of action yet (I was looking longingly at the treadmill and wondering do I dare try to run a mile?...) but I was surprised at how quickly it recovered after I moved onto the weights.

Kim is back from her Christmas in Spain, and we've promised to manage at least 2 sessions a week at the gym. I've a fortnight for that, then we're off to see friends in Bolton for our post-Christmas break (which is always serious Rest, Recuperation and Retail Therapy - not to mention Repasts), so hope to be able to run even a tiny bit during that week.

A mile at a time wouldn't be asking too much, would it?

Just 11 minutes or so? ?


Saturday, 15 December 2007

Getting better - slowly

My foot is now not so much painful as a bit uncomfortable; I walk slowly, but without hobbling.

Whisper it. Ever so quietly. But it seems to be improving.

A great gym session with Kim last night; ten minutes each on cycle and cross-trainer ("will you slow down, woman? You're supposed to have a bad foot!") followed by about half an hour of weights, and 15 minutes' swim.

It's five weeks since I realised something was seriously wrong: when Kim & I went to try to run round Thorpe Marriott, and I had to give up after less than 2 miles. In that five weeks, I've had just four gym sessions, including last night.

And you know what? My weight is still the same. In previous attempts, even a few days off the wagon would have been enough to cause disaster. After five weeks' absence from running and an average of one gym session a week, and eating absolutely normally, I'm still 147 lb, still with a BP of 118/85, and still fitting into my size 12s. Triumphant.

I am determined to take it very slowly. A couple more weeks of gym sessions, then in the new year I should be able to start using the Nautilus and the treadmill again. I've resigned myself to the fact that the Wymondham 10K isn't going to happen, but there will be other times for that. If I can be running again by the end of January, and keep everything else under control in the gym, that's fine by me.

And what a lesson to have learned.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

I'll be there next year

Today was the Buxton 5K Christmas Fun Run. Kim and I had planned to do this together, with Kim's dad Malcolm and his wife Sue (and Henry the dog). Being out of action, I went along to cheer them on - happily the weather was reasonably kind, but they still had a very muddy time! You can see a selection of photos on Picasa by clicking on the album link below...

Buxton Christmas 5K 2007

Malcolm came in at 26:25, Sue (and Henry) at 33:00, and Kim at 34:34. (Kim's time was just 2 seconds slower than at Wroxham in August. Given that this race was a heck of a lot harder, cross country and muddy, and that my injury had slowed up Kim's training - it's hard for her to train on her own at night at this time of year - this is pretty impressive.)

You just wait. I'll be back.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Proud of my friends

One thing that really delights me about this new world of Running (when, that is, I can rejoin it) is the sharing of my enthusiasm. If an old slouch like me, who took virtually no exercise for 44 years, can achieve nearly 5 miles in a non-stop run, a BP of 118 over 80, and a 21 lb (variable!) weight loss, then anybody can.

Recently I've heard from two friends who, apparently, have me to blame for getting hooked on this activity. Sandy wrote:

I have only just started really – running for about 30–40 mins with fab fast songs on my iPod! Not far – about 1.5 pathetic little miles I should think. Still – I feel SO much better for it and can see how it MIGHT get addictive but not quite there yet as always seem to procrastinate about getting myself out of the door!

Well, if she's running 30-40 minutes, it's going to be a lot further than 1.5 miles. I pointed her towards the running plotter on FetchEveryone, and was so proud of her when I got this:

SO – I checked out fetcheveryone and you are right – it’s FANTASTIC to be able to plot route – can you believe that - BRILL – and – you are right x 2 because discover my route is just under 4m and not 1.5 as thought – am superSTAR!!

And then today I got this email from Pat in Minnesota:

I did my first 5K on Saturday. It was called the Reindeer Run and it was around Lake Harriet and the temperature was 9F with a stiff wind off the almost frozen lake and the beginning of a 5" snowfall. Luckily, we finished in 38 minutes so the snow wasn't deep enough to shovel at that point but it got steadily worse all day. But I earned my first running t-shirt and I feel good about that!

I have to include Pat's wonderful photo, too, with her friend Sue, who has been her equivalent of Kim:

Honestly - and we worry about a bit of rain in England.

Ladies - I salute you. I'll be back with you as soon as I can!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

So that's what it is

The mighty cabletow from FetchEveryone has diagnosed (remotely, but I think accurately) my problem as an inflamed peroneal retinaculum. This is just what Tim-the-physio reckoned it probably was: the thin sheets of tissue over the ankle have got inflamed. And I think it's all down to the boots.

A few weeks ago, I bought a pair of boots* from Next - black-suede-stretchy-high-heeled-knee-high - to go with a couple of my favourite hey-look-I'm-a-size-12 outfits. Loved 'em, wore them to death - although in my defence, never to walk further than car-to-church or car-to-meeting. But I think they were my downfall. Too high, no ankle support. As cabletow put it, "best save your [kinky boots] for when you're lying down". To which footpad replied "but it tears the sheets..."

The ironic thing is that if it weren't for the running, I wouldn't have been wearing slinky new outfits. So I wouldn't have needed the boots to go with them. *Sigh.*

* The actual description used on FetchEveryone is not used here, lest it be thought just a bit too risqué for the Rector's Wife.

PS at 11:00 pm: so it was natural that when there was nothing much on the box tonight, and I wanted a silly film to watch over the ironing [done sitting down, of course], the choice just had to be Kinky Boots.

PPS: a text message from my hairdresser this evening, telling me that she was moving to a new salon. Called Kinki.

Monday, 26 November 2007

It'll have to do

A visit to the gym this afternoon. Spent a full hour on the bike (which told me I'd cycled over 20 miles - good grief) as it's the only CV I can manage, and another half-hour on weights. Glad to have done it, but there's something about limping slowly both in and out of the gym that is totally pathetic.

The guys at FetchEveryone have been sympathetic, and Lyra's right - much as I get a bit bored by swimming, it's probably the best way of keeping up my fitness for the time being. Whilst I'm quite a strong swimmer, I'm a plodder (as in all things sports-related), and perhaps what puts me off is the memories of always getting the round of applause for making it to the end of the race as I come in last in the school swimming gala...

The foot, by the way, has now taking to aching during the night, after several hours' rest, rather than just when I try to walk on it.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Depressed, big time

I never thought it would feel this bad.

That ankle injury - whatever it is - is still with me, and I can't even walk without hobbling, much less run. The doc tells me it's RSI, and the only cure is to do the usual rest, ice etc. I've done virtually nothing but rest it for several days now (since getting back from a trip to London, for a concert and a funeral, with all the driving, standing etc. that implies), and there's still no sign of improvement.

I am so desperate to run I can't believe it. It's as though I'd discovered the Holy Grail - how to have my cake and eat it, literally - and felt the best about myself physically than I had at any other time in my life. Somebody's moved the Grail.

My poor husband had to cope with me throwing a complete wobbly last night - I felt as though every pound I'd lost and every muscle I'd developed was returning to its old state - bless him for being so patient. But as my main way of keeping happy is exercising, it's a double whammy.

I'm going to try a visit to the gym, using only weights and (the only machine that it doesn't hurt to use) bike. And it will mean going back to the Rosemary Conley food plans for the time being, if I'm not gonna be burning off running calories.

I've had to admit that the 5K Santa fun run in Buxton isn't going to happen; 9th December is too soon. I can only pray that the Wymondham 10K on New Year's Day is still possible. Oh, and it's not just me, by the way. Huge sympathy to Nikki with her knee. Hang on in there, girl, and I'll try to do the same.

Meantime, I sit at the PC, sulk - and at least get my tax return done...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I love the serendipity element of blogging, and whilst I'm not much of a chain-letter fan, I really like this as an exercise.

I was tagged by Sam at Running and Thinking.

The rules are:

  • link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
  • share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
  • tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
  • let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.
My five things are:
  • I love organising things - and will sometimes let stuff get in a mess so's I can enjoy tidying it up (how sad is that??)
  • Although I'm tidy, I am a complete slut when it comes to cleaning and dusting
  • I love singing - especially when it's an over-the-top bit of modern musical theatre that tells a story and has a big finish
  • I am incredibly efficient when I have loads to do, and woefully inadequate when life is quieter
  • I have absolutely no sense of direction
I tag (and hope they don't mind):
  • Crabby McSlacker at Cranky Fitness (absolutely the most entertaining and thought-provoking writer I've come across in the blogging world)
  • Jennette, aka Pasta Queen, at Half of me (the most jaw-dropping weightloss achievement coupled with exquisite journalism and technological supremacy. Honestly, you can go off people)
  • Nikki at Nikki's Adventures in Life and Running (we've met at a couple of Norfolk races - and she is loads faster than me!)
  • Lorna at Lorna's Thunks (beautiful artwork, amazing photographer, first-rate writer)
  • TK at Rough Road Studio (another superb artist and observer of life)
Check them out and enjoy.

No such word as can't

This has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with overcoming limitations. I reckon it belongs here. Especially given how I'm feeling right now about the fact that my ankle still is too painful to run on - after two weeks - and how depressed it makes me. So meantime, until I can run again, I'd better find another trumpet to blow.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Another nice compliment...

... I was contacted by a journalist who said "I've been looking for a dieter whose blog helps her lose weight (who's aged between 25 and 35), so I thought you'd be perfect!" I phoned her and explained that as I turn 45 in January, I'm a bit old for what she wants... I can live with that.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


- and am I ever fed up about it...

That pain in the ankle that appeared on my last run? I optimistically assumed that it would be like the foot-down-a-pothole equivalent a couple of weeks before. A couple of days off and it would be fine. Well, it wasn't.

That was Wednesday. By Friday I was still limping as though somebody had kicked me hard on the right ankle-bone. No visible bruising, but very sore. OK, I won't run today. Or Saturday.

Sunday it seemed a bit easier, and Kim was available to try out a new local route that would include a few hills in places, round Thorpe Marriott. At first it seemed OK - a bit annoying, but nothing worse than I've run through before. However, by about the mile-and-a-half point, it was at oh, b*gger levels. We stopped, stretched, walked a bit, ran a bit more - and I had to give up and hobble to rest. So I had done 1.75 miles (plus a further half-mile of walking & hobbling) - when my training distance at the moment is a proud average of 4.5 miles.

We went back home, out came the frozen peas and the bandages for the RICE treatment (if you're wondering, this is a bit of runner's parlance that I've only just learned: Rest-Ice-Compress-Elevate). And a glass of wine. And an ibuprofen.

I'm amazed at two things. One is that the distance I managed before giving up - 1.75 miles - felt REALLY short; but for months it was my regular training distance.

The other is how deeply it's depressed me. During the run, every other bit of me - calves, thighs, CV, the lot - was raring to go, and I so wanted to have my run. And I couldn't. I could've cried. Well, I did a bit. The frustration is unbelievable.

So it's back to work at the computer for the next couple of days - but we're planning a gym session on Monday night that doesn't involve the ankles...

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

I know an old lady...

... who swallowed a fly.

Started out this afternoon intending to do the long (4.85 mile) run to Ringland and back. For some reason that I still don't understand, my ankles (of all things) were really quite sore right from the get-go, which got in the way; and by the time I was about 3 miles round, the right one was really uncomfortable.

Not only that, but as I approached the 3-mile point, some small flying insect decided to be my afternoon tea; so I stopped for two minutes to cough and splutter! As that junction gave me the choice to do the slightly shorter (4.25 mile) route, I decided to do that - especially as I was also really feeling the lack of water. (I hate wearing the belt that holds the water bottle - must try to find something a bit lighter and less intrusive.)

But at least it was still a decent length run, and (to my surprise, given the discomfort of the ankle) came in at 46:30 running time - just under an 11 minute mile.

And the November afternoon sky (yes, this is taken about 3pm) was spectacular.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

I run because I can

It's firework night. Kim plans to come over in the afternoon for us to take the long run round the village (as it turns out, 4.85 miles) during daylight hours, and then come with us to the Swannington firework party - complete with burgers and bangers, of course.

Kim can't make it - work commitments (it's Saturday, woman!!) take over. So off I go on my own. It's a tough route - yes, I know we don't do hills in Norfolk, but there's a slow-but-steady gradient down to Ringland church, which resolves itself on the way back in a series of flat-bits-and-steep-bits that mean the runner doesn't get a break. A slow pace, but I kept at it.

As I approached the final half-mile or so, up another slow-but-definite incline, I ask myself why am I doing this?, and my mind suddenly gives me the reason: because Sue can't.

A brilliant actress and singer, with the biggest heart in the world - I've taken part in several shows with her, and it was always a joy. Sue is terminally ill. A lifetime of (as she put it the last time I spoke to her) "drinking the world's supply of gin" has had the predictable result of wrecking her liver, kidneys and many other bits; the operation she was hoping for can no longer happen, because her immune system and general strength just won't be able to cope. So she's in a hospice, and unlikely to see 2008.

I keep going up that hill, across the churchyard (a gravel path to finish with - oh, great) and into the house. Not bad: 4.85 miles in 53:55. Stretch, water, strip off sweaty gear, collapse in front of PC. Receive email from mutual friend to tell me that Sue died at about eight o'clock this morning.

We go to the firework party. Watching a brilliant display, we know that it's Sue, going out with a bang, and probably giving St Peter a rendition of Broadway Baby at this very moment.

And that's why I run. Because I'm here, and I'm alive, and I can.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Feeling like a real runner

OK, so it's only at a pace of around 11 minutes per mile; but 4.74 miles in around 52:30 without a single stop is the biggest achievement yet.

And I didn't feel that I had to stop because it was hurting - because it wasn't. I could have continued for at least a little longer, and it was a steady pace and rhythm, and I enjoyed it.

Oh, wow.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The best compliment

Gym session (Kim & I are doing our best to include one a week for strength training). Girl at desk takes my card, swipes it, hands it back. As I go to walk away, she asks "What's your name?" "Cassie Tillett." She frowns at the screen in front of her, and says "That's the name I've got here, but it doesn't look like you in the photo..."

I peered over the desk and confirmed that it was indeed me, 20 lb heavier. She said "That's amazing. I was going to ask you if you'd borrowed your mother's membership card..."

Friday, 26 October 2007

Round and round the ... lake

A trip to the post office in Lenwade was required, so I took the opportunity to take in a run. 5 laps, one break, 5 laps; 0.44 miles per lap. Always rougher going - not hilly, but bumpy paths, potholes and other hazards - so it was harder to get into rhythm. But doing 4.4 miles in 48:15 (plus the 4 minute break) wasn't bad. Still amusing the fishermen and dog-walkers with my antics.

Was glad to have made the investment when we got to the village quiz night that evening to find giant chocolate bars and bags of Kettle Chips on each table...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The best run yet

Foot? What foot?

Kim had had a really long day at work, and I was feeling under the weather too, but we were very glad that we talked each other into it.

It was cold when we set off today - a dark evening. I was dressed in my (new) luminous t-shirt and proper running trousers (as opposed to the rather heavyweight, always-get-sweaty cotton stuff I usually wear). Whether it was psychological or not, or the genuine effect of the lighter fabrics, but the running felt lighter and easier.

We started by promising that we'd take less breaks. (Usually a 3-4 mile run will make for at least 2 if not 3 stops for stretching.) Kim's dad had told her off: "you can't do that in a race!" So our only concession was that we really did need to stretch after the initial running as it was so cold.

We did our usual 1.5 miles from the Longwater roundabout down to Bowthorpe. "Just a bit further", said Kim: "down to that car at the end". A few minutes later: "no, not that car, that one." And then: "I lied: the end of that road." Sneaky cow. That added on an extra five minutes at that end of the route! We stopped and stretched there. But then we ran all the way back - not just to our usual starting-point, but right round the car park at Longwater too, which is exactly one more mile.

And you know what? For the first time ever, I really enjoyed the process of the run - not just the sheer bloody-mindedness of having kept going, fighting against discomfort, which is more usual. That hamstring kept mostly quiet, with just a bit of awareness (not pain) at the very end of the run; I think that the cold helped, as I found it invigorating (and perhaps it numbed the muscles against pain - who knows?!); and the breathing wasn't at all laboured, even on those uphill bits. I was completely triumphant.

And the triumph was complete when we got back when we clocked the route accurately on Fetch Everyone, and found that we'd run a total of 4.57 miles in 49 minutes' running (plus a four-minute break after 18 minutes). That's an average pace of 10:43, and we know that as we slowed right down from time to time, some of the pace will have been well up on that.


Saturday, 20 October 2007

B*gger. That hurts.

You know I said earlier today that the foot-down-a-pothole wasn't being a problem?

Iced and elevated it on my return home, seemed ok, wasn't more than just a bit inflexible.

Now, having relaxed (watching the X Factor - what's relaxing about that?!) for the evening, and warmed up, it's now hurting like mad. Across the middle of the right foot, on the left hand side.

This had better sort itself out fast. Or I shall SULK.

No sense of direction...

... can be an advantage. Or not.

Beautiful October day. I carefully planned a 4 mile route - this being the intended traing distance by end October. From home, down to Ringland church, following the road round to the other side of Weston Longville and back in through the village that way is 4.25 miles. I walked the first 0.25 miles (which I didn't count) in order to be able to stretch before I started, and off I went.

I was aware that the first leg - about 1.6 miles down to the church - was downhill all the way. Still, really nice, and trying to ignore the voice that was saying "so guess what the hill will do on the way home?!" Paused for three minute stretch and water by the church, set off again. The next bit was the promised hill with a vengeance - steep, hard work. Evened out, get breath back, HR round about 150.

Came to a junction. Paused for two more minutes, stretched and considered. Decided that left hand fork was the one that I wanted - right hand one looked like a dirt track rather than a road.

Finally emerged onto the main road coming back into our village. Expected to see Rectory Road very soon on my left. No sign of it. Kept running, and finally saw the road that I should have taken (the right fork) coming in on my right...

Caught my foot in a pot-hole in the road in the last bit, which was a pain - have frozen peas on it now - but it didn't actually cause too much bother in that part of the run. Got home, remapped the correct route, and found that my 55 minutes less 5 minutes breaks had covered 4.6 miles. Not Olympic standards (and still well over the 10 minute mile I'd like) but at least I did it. And it means that, in terms of distance at least, I'm ahead of my own game by about three weeks...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

First four miler!!

Amazing. Kim & I met up at the gym, ran our usual three mile round trip from the Longwater to Bowthorpe roundabouts, and then continued round the route that I'd mapped as a further mile, down to the gym and around the roads and car park of the Longwater estate. We were triumphant to have done it in 43 minutes' running, including 9:30 in three stops for stretch and water; next time, we need to stick with the 4 miles but do it with less pauses.

The difficulty is, at this time of year (excuses, excuses) that it's getting cooler when we run; so the need to stop and stretch after the first mile or so is important. However, we won't get the chance to stop (or pride won't let us!) during the Wymondham 10K, so we'd better take out some of those pauses...

but it was high-five time, nonetheless. And at a 10:39 pace, too, which is encouraging - given that my pace in the May Race for Life was over 12:30...

Monday, 15 October 2007

Going the distance

A return to the lakes at Lenwade - first time down there for absolutely ages. Having discovered that the circuit isn't "half-a-mile" but 0.44 miles, I have to revise my (perceived) achievements! However, today I managed 9 circuits - giving me a distance of 3.96 miles - just slightly more than Kim & I achieved the other day when we did the "roundabout run" and then added on a trot round the Sainsbury's car park (as you do). It remains the furthest I've run to date.

I managed this distance slightly faster today - 44 minutes' running time (50 minutes in all, but two three-minute breaks for water and stretch after the third and sixth lap). It's still a pace of over 11 minutes per mile, but it's the distance I'm after now.

The left hamstring remains a niggling problem, and the right shin seems to have taken over from the right hip. The terrain, though, was a good deal rougher than I remembered - yes, it's not exactly rough compared to some, but it is against the even pavements we've been using recently, and especially when you're trying not to twist your ankle by stepping on an unseen conker!

At least that means that one more lap of the lake will take me over my four-mile target for the end of October. Mind you, I also need to do that four miles in one hit, without a stretching-and-water break!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Not a lark

As Kim came over on Friday night to have dinner with us and my parents, who were visiting, we persuaded her to stay overnight and help us finish the bottle(s)! And as our original intention had been to have a run before Friday's dinner - but by the time she'd finished work, it seemed like a bad idea - we promised (at the bottom of the bottle) to make up the shortfall on Saturday morning.

A lovely morning. We took the full 3 mile route round the village, which includes a few hills (yes, even in Norfolk). We both found it very hard work; my theory is that as we'd gone out before breakfast, we were feeling the lack of fuel! The hip stayed quiet but the hamstring did its usual. However, we were well pleased to have managed it in 31 minutes' running time - 35 less a four minute stretching break after the first mile - which is about the best we've managed.

The six-miler still feels like it's a long way off, though...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Back on the road

- much to my relief.

After several days of non-running - crocked last week, sore muscles after gym, torrential rain - I was SO happy to run again. Kim & I returned to our Longwater-to-Bowthorpe-roundabouts 3 mile circuit, and (including two breaks) did it in 34 minutes - not bad, especially after a week out.

However, as we started to walk down the road to the gym (where we'd parked), Kim suddenly said "I've got a suggestion..." and headed off across the road into the shopping estate - round Sainsbury's and the Range - where we'd done our very first run, 'way back in March.

If she'd said in the last quarter-mile "let's do another bit round the car park" I'd have probably told her in good Anglo-Saxon where to go. As it was, I breathed heavy and kept going; and when I got back, mapped it to find that we'd done very nearly an extra mile, bringing us to 3.87 miles - the furthest I'd ever run in a session. No, it wasn't easy; but I was hugely relieved that the hip didn't play up, the hamstring coped, and I knew I could do it again...

... all we need to do is keep adding it up so we can do 6.2 miles by New Year!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

A bit of encouragement

What a crappy week for exercise

A wonderful visit to the gym on Sunday was followed by the worst aches in the legs and the butt that I've felt since I started exercising - I think it was that darn' stepper machine. I could hardly walk up the stairs, never mind run. The only thing to be said for it was that it made me forget about (and also rest) the hip and hamstring that have been causing so many problems.

Today I woke up feeling more mobile than I have for days. Great, I thought - I can get out for a run at last. (The last run was last Tuesday. A week ago. A WEEK AGO!!)

And what did it do? Not just a shower, but torrential rain all day. Even if it had let up before dark (which it didn't), all the country lanes have turned into paddling pools. Just great.

So tomorrow is the day. And then it's back to the routine. But I am getting SO crabby... (waddya mean, "getting?"...)

Friday, 5 October 2007

Crabby does it again

OK, so her post was actually a month ago, but hey.

You know my favourite mantra, which originated from one of Crabby's readers: "half-assed is good enough"? (I think I need it made up into a logo to wear to the gym on a t-shirt.)

This entry sums it up again wonderfully. How many of us have had this conversation with ourselves? (but without a conscience as smart as Crabby's...)

Painful legs, pretty feet

That blinkin' hip and hamstring...

After that fabulous run earlier in the week, the two problem areas have really not stopped paining me. So Thursday night's run with Kim was called off (oh, let's be honest, she came over for dinner instead) and this morning I went to see Tim-the-physio. He's made it feel easier, given me some exercises, and we'll see where we go from here.

I made myself feel better in the afternoon by catching up with some beauty treatments from Kayla, including some mad nail polish designs - hands and feet - which I'd never have dared try before... amazing what a new view of yourself can do.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

A new route

After Friday's try at Easton, Kim & decided we needed somewhere a bit better lit. So we met at the gym, walked up to the Longwater roundabout, and headed from there down to the Bowthorpe roundabout - which proved to be a 2.9 mile round trip. Much safer, nothing actually on the road (all pavement) and plenty of street lighting.

On the way there, we deliberately kept the pace down to about an 11 minute mile - as we're trying to improve our distance - and that felt great. We both really enjoyed it, CV was well under control - about 155, in my case - and no problems. However, the return journey showed us that one reason for the ease had been an almost imperceptible downward slope - and now it was upward...

By the last quarter-mile or so, I'd slowed noticeably. The top of my right thigh, immediately below the hip, is now very sore (this did have the advantage that I didn't notice the left hamstring!) and feeling a bit crocked. Kim has instructed me not to run tomorrow, and we'll try again on Thursday. I have a feeling that another visit to Tim the physio - or James the sports masseur - might be in order, though...

Sunday, 30 September 2007

addiction, addiction

I really am starting to find that if I go for 48 hours without exercise, my mood dips horribly. I got myself down to the gym this evening - for "last knockings" before the place closed, so slightly less time than usual - but still managed around 30 minutes on a combination of bike, rower and Nautilus, followed by about 35 minutes of weights.

As my legs still hurt from Friday's efforts (3 miles at a pace of not much over 10 minutes per mile - that's amazing for me) it was good to feel the benefit of a workout that didn't strain the same muscles. And, much to my relief (and my husband's, I'm sure) it improved my mood no end...

Progress reminder

Left to right:

  • 4th March 2006: as Carlotta in a concert version of Sondheim's Follies
  • 2nd October 2006: appeared on this blog loads of times - almost exactly a year ago. Taken at my parents' 50th wedding anniversary weekend.
  • 29th September 2007: yesterday, after a Red Hat coffee morning
Forgive me, but it's sometimes a good idea to remind myself where I'm not going back to.

Oh, vanity, vanity...

Friday, 28 September 2007

It hurts when I stop

A book I had some years ago about health & fitness, headlined by Ruby Wax and Dr Alan Maryon-Davis, made the great comment about exercise "Think how great it feels when you stop", to which Ruby replied "It does! I must stop more often..."

I'm finding the opposite. Felt great when running, but crocked now.

A run with Kim this evening down the road through Easton village, exactly 1.5 miles each way, in the dusk, the rain and the wind... not as safe a run as we thought, as only the first half of it has pavements. The rest is verges and grass banks. All that hopping on and off different levels to avoid the cars - despite our luminous yellow tops - was tough going.

Each half of the run - 1.5 miles - timed out at 15:15 or thereabouts, with a 4 minute break at the halfway mark (so this gave me a much improved mile pace of 10:10). For about 75% of the run, I actually felt pretty comfortable, too. However, by the last bit, the omnipresent pull on the left lower thigh/hamstring was overtaken by a greater pain in the upper right front thigh/hip. By the time I'd driven home, it really was feeling very painful, and still is now - despite some frozen-pea treatment.

I am very proud of the fact that I've done 3 x 1.75, 1 x 1.95, and 1 x 3 miles within the last 7 days - just over 10 miles. Given that my average weekly mileage has been around the 5 mile mark for months, this is quite an achievement. But if I want to get to a comfortable 4 miles by the end of October, 5 end November and 6 end December, that pace might have to slacken off just a little; or at least, make sure there's a bit less hopping about to jar the muscles that were, just eight months ago, used for nothing more than driving to the supermarket and back...

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Darn fool hobby

It has been "windy and raining all getout" pretty much all day. (It took me a while to pin down where that phrase came from, but eventually the mental filing cabinet turned up that it's a quote from The Tin Drum by Günter Grass.) When it was pouring around 5pm, I sent Kim a text: "Can we go to the gym instead of for a run? It's HORRIBLE out there!" she came back and insisted we run anyway. "I don't want you being put off if New Year's Day is wet and cold!" (This was the line she used on my first ever run, by the way. Actually, I'm glad she's a bully.)

In the event, it wasn't actually raining all that much by the time we went out around 6:30 pm, and wasn't yet too dark. However, having found on yesterday's run that the track under the trees to Morton Hall is just a bit too pot-holed for comfort (the last thing we want is a sprained ankle right now), we decided to do our usual run but stopping at the cottage halfway down the track before the trees, back to the top of the drive, then repeat the drive down and back before going home. This turned out to be just slightly short of two miles, instead of our usual 1.75; we did it in 20:15 of running time (with two lots of two-minute breaks).

We skipped puddles, splashed, got muddy, jumped from road to grass and back again... and it was great fun!

Better still, even given the daft conditions, the time and distance gives a pace of 10:23, which was very encouraging; I felt able to put on a bit more speed in a few bits (although the breaks, which I don't usually take on my own, probably helped!).

Seeing the ridiculous sight we made as we went to go out of the door, my husband took before-and-after photos. In neither case was this glamour (well, I think Kim still looks pretty cool, but I look like a demented frog with a tomato on top**). Photo #2 - see muddy trousers. My laundry quantities have increased no end since I took up running!

** or possibly a traffic light with the middle bit missing

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

And while I'm at it

... I've just submitted my online application for the Wymondham New Year's Day 10K. Yup, 10K. Never run further than 5K yet. Have 97 days to get to the point where I can run a continuous 6.2 miles without expiring.

Hey - we can do this.

Another new target...

...the ten minute mile!

Any real runners out there will probably fall about laughing. But having sorted out my genuine distances and times, using the Fetch Everyone website, I realise that plodding takes on a new meaning: none of my runs, training or races, has (until tonight) gone under an 11 minute mile.

Actually, when I review my progress, improvement is better than I realise. When I did my Race for Life in May, the pace clocked at 12:32. During June & July, my comments about "a circuit of the lake timed between 4:30 and 4:45" and "down to the Hall and back, less than 10 minutes each way" reflect a pace of around 11:30. And my performance in the August Wroxham 5K was a pace of 11:06.

Tonight I thought, let's go for it. I timed my run to Morton Hall and back accurately: the 1.75 mile run (no, not two miles as I used to think!) took 19:03. That paces at 10:53. But oh, boy - was that ever an effort.

So that's the new target. A ten minute mile (which is a speed regarded as "run easy" by the experienced folks) which doesn't leave me a beetroot-faced wreck...

Monday, 24 September 2007

New term, new targets

OK, let's finally admit it. I put on a net two pounds during the holiday season.

Frankly, that in itself is a triumph: I weighed in at variously 145 to 147 lb during the run up to our holiday (from early July until mid August). On our return from France, I had a horrible moment when the scales said 151 lb - but that was on the evening of our return, and my usual weigh-in time is first thing in the morning. Next day, it was 149; since we got back from London and back to work, it's been 147 to 148. This is fine by me. If I hadn't done some damage-limitation in the second week in France, I reckon it would have been a lot more serious.

So, where now? Well, in the first place, I stop ignoring the inaccuracy of the "this is now" note on the right of this blog, and change photo and weight to reflect today. Secondly, I review my targets - this was prompted by a space for such things on the Fetch Everyone site.

Starting weight, 14th January 2007: 167 lb
Weight today, 24th September 2007: 147 lb
Target weight, 17th November 2007: 139 lb

Why 139? Because it will be exactly two stone lost, and it's also "goodbye, one-forties".

Why 17th November? Because that's the date of the twentieth anniversary concert of Chimes Musical Theatre, which I've been running since 1987, and I so loved having a choice of concert dresses for our concert in July - I want it to be even better this time.

And because it's almost exactly eight weeks, and only eight pounds, which is absolutely achievable. That's why.

A brilliant new discovery

Courtesy of my friends at Runner's World, I've come across the superb Fetch Everyone. Not just another blogging-sharing-forum gossip site, it also gives you the ability to log your training very easily - and to map the runs you do, very precisely for distance.

Actually, that last bit has been something of a two-edged sword. I knew that my regular here-to-Morton-Hall run was "just under a mile", but I'm a bit fed up to realise that it's actually nearer 0.875 of a mile - i.e. it's a 1.75 mile round trip, not "nearly two miles". And the Lenwade circuit - round the fishing lakes (which I haven't done for a while) - isn't "about half a mile round the lake", but 0.43 miles. Multiply that by the 4, 5 or 6 circuits I was doing, and it's a bit less impressive than I thought! Oh, well.

But the folks on FE have been really welcoming, with some immediate friendly emails and comments on my achievement so far. Does me worlds of good. Thanks, guys.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Sociably running easy

I spent most of the day oscillating madly between washing machine and computer, trying to catch up with the backlog. A glorious evening therefore made it easy to go out about 5pm for a run-easy on my usual 2 mile route.

I must admit, it was 2 x 1 mile, and took rather a lot longer than usual. On my walk down from our door to the end of the lane, I found neighbours Margaret and Sally picking blackberries, and stopped to chat and scrump a few; and I met Ann when I reached her gate, and stopped to chat with her. (She's been flat out with sciatica, poor lady - given how superbly active she usually is - so I was delighted to see her taking her aged terrier, Archie, for his evening constitutional. "I walk a lot faster when I don't have him on the end of the lead...")

Be that as it may: a gentle two miles in lovely sunshine on my favourite quiet roads, with friends, dogs and blackberries - what more could I ask for?

Friday, 21 September 2007

I'm back

Well, that was a long break from blogging. For anybody who's been loyal / daft enough to keep up with my reports, apologies for the absence... it was made up of (a) two weeks' holiday in a gite in the Loire valley, (b) a week seeing a variety of friends around the London area, and (c) immediately vanishing to do three days' decluttering work with a new client in Suffolk.

So here I am, nearly a month after my Wroxham 5K efforts, catching up. I've added a few interim entries on their correct dates, where there's any relevant news on running / weight loss activity in that time, so if you're really interested you can start reading those here and then work through each Newer Post.

Oh, and thanks to the guys on the Runner's World forum for caring about what I'm up to and sending me an email to chase me up after a month's absence!

PS: Kim has been on holiday, too - she went to Spain just before we got back from France. We're looking forward to meeting up for a run on Monday. I've really missed my friend and mentor.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

A me-day

... with my darling husband's encouragement!

Into Norwich, principally to see the (excellent) production of Private Lives at the Maddermarket in the evening. I also managed to book, much to my relief, to have my hair done - as I'm trying to grow it a bit, it needs attention so I don't finish up too wild-woman-of-Borneo, and five weeks felt like a long time!

We then got sidetracked by the ever-tempting East (not to mention their new-season-mailing-list-discount), and a new dress in Wallis. Which I changed into for our visit to the theatre (I'd managed to spill lunch on the top I started off wearing!), and still found hard to believe it was me in a size 12. OK, Wallis are generous with their sizes - don't spoil it for me! Here's a quick webcam shot of the haircut and the dress - although it was very much an end-of-day tired look by this time...

Monday, 17 September 2007

Running in Suffolk

Almost as soon as I got back, I was off again - for three days' decluttering work in Suffolk. I so much enjoyed working with Charlotte, staying in her lovely house and helping her with paperwork. Her village is peaceful and beautiful; the view from my room included a huge field which, in the evenings, seemed to have a huge population of hares - I think they were far too large to be rabbits.

On the Monday evening, I took myself out for a run while Charlotte prepared dinner. It was a bit darker than I'd have liked (I must get myself a luminous vest now that winter's approaching) but there was absolutely no traffic around, and it's a lovely place.

I ran for about 11 minutes - except for the hill on the way out of the village, which was the steepest I'd met in any of my runs, and I had to wave a white flag and walk up the second half of it! I then turned and went back, so reckon I managed about 2 miles in all.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A week of friends

On Tuesday, it was down to London. A wonderful week took in Melanie and her gorgeous twins, Zoe & Paul, and Joanna - all from our musical group, Chimes Musical Theatre; lunch with my boss, Pat (from Epsom Council days) with her daughter Clara and their assorted cats; lunch with our American friend, John, who took us to the Atheneum (!!); and finally to my parents' for the night before returning to Norfolk on the Saturday.

No running, but an awful lot of walking; which, together with at least some attempt at sensible eating (I probably looked like a fish by the end of the week, I'd eaten so much of it) meant that by our return home, I weighed in at a more reassuring 147 lb. OK - we can handle this.

And I got my act together sufficiently to run on the day we got home, too! I was greeted by the cows down Ann's driveway to Morton Hall, who felt like old friends... It was wonderful to see our London friends, who I miss very much, but I so don't miss London as a place.

Monday, 10 September 2007

A couple of days at home

Our holiday wasn't yet over. We now had two days to catch up on laundry, post, emails and the rest before spending a few days visiting assorted friends around London!

On the Sunday, I visited the gym for the first time in a month. Spent an hour on the weights machines, and felt a lot better for it. The pile of ironing generated over the weekend accounted for another workout, too...

Sunday, 9 September 2007

The rest of the week

Having tried my new route on the Saturday, I was pretty pleased with myself to have managed the same run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Including the just-over-a-mile jaunt the previous week, that gave me a total of 11 miles' running during the holiday. Hardly marathon standards, but I was very glad I'd done it.

We travelled back to the Chunnel and across into Kent on the Friday, staying at the same beautiful B&B in Headcorn as we'd used on the way out. On Saturday we called in on our friend Beryl in her beautiful Essex home, and continued back to Norfolk - in time to join in with the 50th wedding anniversary party of Dot & Dick, friends in our village.

And on Sunday morning, I took a deep breath and stepped on the scales. When we left England, I'd weighed in at 145 lb; now I was 149 lb. If I hadn't run 11 miles and cut out some food, I hate to think how much weight I'd have put on; it's all too easy. The oft-repeated phrase "but I'm on holiday" is no help at all!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Damage limitation

By the weekend, I figured that enough was enough. Apart from Wednesday's little one-mile excursion, I hadn't run for ten days; my eating habits had gone completely off the rails; and when the summer skirts that I'd been so proud of started to feel just the tiniest big snug - well, that was the last straw.

So I figured it was time I did something about it. First, decision made (and mostly managed to stick to it) to cut out at least most of the butter, and leave the Nutella on the shelf, and stop picking at the cheese; and when the mid-afternoon sightseeing refreshments were offered, kept to a drink and avoided the giant sundaes.

Next, the running. Our hosts, Alison & Jon, who owned our gite, were great fun and a lovely couple; during one of our conversations earlier in the week, Ali had mentioned a run round the village and described the route. I gave it a go. (These photos were actually taken on another run later in the week.)

Out of our gite and to the end of the road. Past a field of sunflowers (sadly past their best). Follow along the road and across the little stream.

Up the hill (the what?! - we don't have those in Norfolk...) but I just about kept going and ran up the whole thing. As you can see, it wasn't really all that steep, but it felt like a mountain at that point.

Turn left along the cornfield. (I do like looking tall in a shadow!)

Through a "green tunnel" and past an orchard - those apples looked seriously tempting for scrumping. Left again down the long road back into the village, past the house with the collie (who, like all the dogs I met - and any humans - thought the idea of running was, if you'll forgive the pun, totally barking mad). Over the stream again, past the chateau, and down the final stretch back to the village.

Run nearly as far as the church you can see in the distance, and turn left into our street.

Later in the week we clocked the distance in the car, and it turned out to be a respectable 2.4 miles. A bit more than my regular training run, enough to turn me tomato-faced, not quite as far as the 5K; peaceful, beautiful and highly satisfying.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

An unfit week

(Note: this bit of blogging is about how I coped, or didn't, with my fitness and eating whilst we were having a fabulous holiday in France. Ignore the pessimistic digs on this blog about calories and feeling unfit - it really was a brilliant fortnight. For a few selected photos of our wonderful wanderings, click here.)

I spent most of the week after the Wroxham 5K feeling nothing whatever like a fit person. An insane amount of travelling across the Friday and Saturday (driving from Norfolk to Kent, a route involving the M25, on a bank holiday weekend not being something I'd recommend); a crossing through the Chunnel on the Saturday that was delayed by a couple of hours (BH weekend again); and 330 miles to drive once we actually hit France, meaning that we arrived at around 10:30 pm.

By this time, my old hamstring-and-hip problems were kicking in big time, aided by the preceding weeks of work at the PC. To my irritation, my left foot (there's a book in there somewhere) joined in, with a sharp pain as I walked - even now I have no idea what all that was about.

Our village was a beautiful, quiet little place, and the gite was great. I'd jokingly said "I'll jog to the bakery for the breakfast each morning" and I did - but it was such a tiny distance to be non-existent. And the foot hurt. And no way would the sixty seconds' worth of distance run (which is about what it was) have compensated for the croissants / pain au chocolat / brioche / Danish pastries that were usually consumed on my return.

Finally, a week after the race, I very gingerly set out for a very slow run, which I estimate was a bit over a mile in total, down to the chateau at the end of the village and back. Sore ham, hip and foot. Hmm.

Meantime, we were enjoying the sort of activities one does in France. Smorgasbord - bread, cheese, pate; wine tasting; biscuits; Nutella... Any thoughts where this might be going?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

A great gift

Kim tells me that most "mementos" (is that spelt correctly? - it doesn't look it) of races tend to be a bit on the tacky side. Her dad has loads of them, apparently.

However, the Wroxham lot did a wonderful job. Actually, I think you were only meant to get one if you'd done all three races in the series, but I believe they'd over-ordered so we all got one! A substantial little glass block with a pair of 3-D runners in it. Difficult to photograph, but this is the best I could do.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

First real race

It wasn't a promising time to run my first race.

The last three weeks have been spent almost non-stop at the PC, completing (or nearly) a huge data entry task for a client before we go on holiday. This meant that the dodgy left hamstring and now even dodgier right hip were wrong before I started!

And this week's weather has been the pits. We're not talking "a bit of rain" here - I can cope with getting wet - we're talking torrential downpours and howling gales. My two planned runs earlier in the week just didn't happen.

But I wasn't going to give up (Kim wouldn't have let me, anyway), and off we went to Wroxham for the third in the Wroxham 5K series. The rain, mercifully, held off, and it also meant that the running conditions were much better than we'd anticipated.

Taking all those reasons (who said excuses?) into consideration, I was actually pretty pleased with my achievement. My hip was hurting like mad as we finished, but I kept a pace of slightly under 7 minutes per km, and came in at (I think) just over 34:30. Which, given that my R4L time back in May was nearer 39 minutes, was pleasing. (When the results are published, I'll link to them - although I'll be surprised if we are more than six from the bottom of the list!)*

I was really pleased that Nikki came and found me - she's a fellow runner-blogger-Norfolk inhabitant. She had the advantage of knowing what I look like (there are no photos of her on her blog) so she could identify me! Her times were a lot more impressive than mine - you can read her entry about the race here.

Finally, here we are after the event. None of us in action - sadly, Malcolm & Sue weren't there this time to take photos of us - and carry our water bottles!!

* Checking the results on the Norwich Road Runners site, I find that Kim & I came 260th and 261st out of 265 runners in a time of 34:32. It's somewhat daunting to realise that the fastest lady in the race (age 17) did it in 17:42 and the fastest fella (age 30) in 15:13. Good grief.

Friday, 17 August 2007

That's better

I had a totally mad working day, with two new clients down on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders - one for IT training, the other in preparation for helping her with decluttering. The A140 is a nightmare of speed restrictions, and I was late leaving Suffolk anyway; so my planned over-an-hour for pre-holiday defuzzing (I know, too much detail!) was crammed into thirty minutes - Kayla worked a miracle in the time available before her next client.

Kim was due to come over for a run, and much to my relief she was running late (pardon the pun) as well, having had an equally busy day at work. Collapsed in an armchair in our front room, I wouldn't let her back out of the run, though - I wanted to try out the new trainers!

We ran down to Morton Hall and back - just the two mile circuit - but oh, that felt so much better. Still aching in various places, but I'm quite convinced that the wrong fit trainers were a big part of the problem. (The other part is the data input work that I'm doing for a client, which keeps me in front of the PC for up to 6 hours a day - lousy on the back. I'll be glad to be running in the Loire (the valley, not the river), with no access to any computer technology, in just over a week's time...)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Your feet's too big

... or in my case, too skinny!

My feet are an impractical size 7, to begin with, but also a ridiculously narrow fitting - an AA, if I do it properly. So off I went to the excellent Sportlink in Drayton.

Fabulous to find somebody who really knows what they're talking about. Jude runs the shop, and is a sports therapist herself, so when I explained the problem I felt I was in good hands. She analysed my gait, watched me stand, walk and run, checked the fit of my present trainers, and brought out loads of different pairs. The main conclusion was that I'm wearing a pair that are both slightly too short and definitely too wide, so they're not giving the foot enough support. It didn't help that I hadn't got the laces through the holes nearest to the ankle, either, which would have helped.

After several tries, we finally hit on a pair by Asics, and as soon as I went outside to run up the road, I knew we had the right ones. A million times more comfortable.

£75 - but it's a small price to pay for something that's so important to me now!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

I don't feel like a runner today

I needed to deliver some post to the other side of the village (it came to the Rectory, instead of the Old Rectory - an important difference!) so took the opportunity to put on the trainers. It's not far - about 2/3 of a mile. A hot, cloudy, muggy evening. I walked there, and jogged back; and despite yesterday's treatment, I was aching in more places than I have been since I started this lark back in March. Hamstring, hip, calves, you name it. Awful.

New trainers, here we come.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Magic massage

What is it about these physios and sports therapists? It's real Harry Potter stuff sometimes...

Went to see the highly-recommended Tim Woodhead in Dereham, and the hamstring was certainly a lot easier afterwards. However, right hip is now also playing up (!) - I feel a complete crock.

And I also think I might need some new trainers; I'm not convinced that the present ones are a good enough fit.

Monday, 13 August 2007

More about age

It's all Crabby McSlacker's fault. She wrote one of her excellent blogs a few days ago which included a link to an extraordinary parlour game: guess how old I am?!

Now, Crabby accuses some of the participants of fishing for compliments, and I have to hold up my hands and admit to being one of those. I've generally been told that I'm not bad for my age, and since the recent weight loss, have had some gratifyingly pleasing comments along the lines of you're HOW old? Never... (I've also had somebody look at my before-and-after photos on the right hand side of this blog, and ask in all seriousness if the earlier photo is of my mother.)

This being the case, I couldn't resist joining in with this slightly daft - not to say narcissistic - idea. And no, I'm not going to tell you the results - you'll just have to go and have a look for yourself. Scroll down to the foot of the page to see the present average guess, and follow the link to have a go. And upload your own photo if you're feeling brave.

That was hard work

Unlike yesterday, when things seemed to flow comfortably, this evening's run was, frankly, painful. The left hamstring is being a real nuisance, and the right hip now seems to be joining in. Even the two mile route was a real effort. Whinge, whinge, whinge.

I'm booked to see a physiotherapist tomorrow, on Kim's recommendation. With the Wroxham 5K just nine days away, this is probably wise.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Anti-computer therapy

A nice run this evening - just two miles (very warm, couldn't face the full 5km), but reasonably comfortable and the HR remained mostly around 150, which was pleasing. Beautiful sky, amazing cloud formations over the fields.

This was in direction reaction to having spent some hours this afternoon of pretty tedious (but necessary) data entry for one of my clients. It's keeping me gainfully employed, and with luck will pay for a new camera to take on our forthcoming holiday... I'm not sure that my frequent sessions at the PC aren't partly to blame for incredibly stiff hamstrings. There's nothing like three hours' solid keyboard work to b*gger up your posture...

Friday, 10 August 2007

A bit stronger

Gym session with Kim - not a PT session, but a girls-together-session. A good one; just over an hour, starting with a treadmill warmup but otherwise all using weights.

I was really pleased that my strength seems to have improved a bit (not that that's saying much). One of those instruments of torture which requires you to support your own weight - kneeling on one bit and hauling yourself up and down using handles above you - had me totally defeated when I tried it a few weeks ago - Kim was in stitches at the look on my face on that occasion.

This time I managed a respectable 10 or 15 reps per set, 2 sets of each variation, without going blue in the face. Excellent stuff. And considering that I don't go to the gym anything like as often as I should ("haven't got time - oh, stuff it - I'll go for a run instead") it's better still.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Our bovine fans

A lovely run with Kim this evening - the first run we've had together for about three weeks. I took her round my new 5K route, which we managed with a bit of effort - a couple of walking breaks and pauses - but we did it nonetheless.

I warned her that the cows would be waiting for us on our way back from the Hall - and they were!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

I'm gonna live forever

Anybody else remember Fame? - I was studying drama & theatre studies at college when it came out...

groovybabe pointed me towards the Death Clock (I kid you not). As I'm non-smoking, optimistic and with a BMI in the lowest bracket - if only just (less than 25 - yay!), the site estimates my date of death as 13th May, 2066. That will make me 103 years old.

Fine. But if at that point I can't still run, sing, cook, laugh, read and do rude things to my husband, I'm not sure I want to be here that long. What about you?...

Moving my own goalposts

Funny, isn't it, how our expectations of ourselves change? Four months ago, on 3rd April, I was triumphant at having run one mile without stopping; just over a month ago, 26th June, the achievement was managing a continuous two miles. And finally, on 30th July, I clocked up just over three miles - the 5 km training run.

So I was really fed up this evening that I quit at the two mile point. The fact that I'd managed two miles continuously in under 20 minutes, that it was a blisteringly hot evening, and I'd done the three-miler only yesterday morning, all make me feel better.

And if you'd told me six months ago that I'd be complaining about only being able to manage a two mile run, I'd have said you were mad.

Wise words

Thanks to bigbritches for this excellent quote, by that prolific writer, A. Nonymous:

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Does dirt weigh heavy?

Weird. I weighed myself this morning - 145-and-a-quarter, OK. Had breakfast, did some work. Went out for 5 km run, dealt with post, had lunch. Finally had shower. Got on scales (I know, I know, but it's on autopilot) - and it shows 144-and-a-half. That's after eating twice. V.G. (as Bridget would say) but v. peculiar, too!

Keep going

It's been a weird week - feel as though I've been running to stand still, like Alice & the Red Queen. However, did get in a visit to the gym on Wednesday - first time in about three weeks! - with Kim, and then this morning I've done another full 5K training run - albeit split in two this time.

Down to Morton (1 mile) which took 10:30, including walking the first couple of minutes to warm up. Call in to see Ann while I'm down there, then back along the rest of the route (2.1 miles) which took another 24 minutes. Mind you, running is so not glamorous; the face tomato-red, hair (as yet unwashed this morning) all over the place...

I still have this very weird feeling to the hamstring - it's been like it for weeks. I can only describe it as being not a "hurt", but a "there". I had a sports massage when I first noticed it, but it hasn't changed; it hasn't stopped me running, and I'm careful with warming-up and stretching; I've had, frankly, too many days of rest recently - today was only my third run in eight days, which is at least one too few for me. I suppose I'm going to have to go to have it looked at again...

Mind you, I may have found somebody for reciprocal trading on such matters! Yesterday might not have included a run, but it did include a reasonable amount of physical activity: another decluttering day. This was working with Linda, who runs the Barn Therapy Centre in the beautiful area of Intwood, tucked away just south of Norwich. I had a great day with her and her two wonderful cats (and three lovely children). As her services include remedial & sports massage, I think we could help each other...

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Out of the nightmare

The last three weeks or so, as I've mentioned, were busy even by my standards. Two trips to London with a concert in between meant that anything approaching a routine went out of the window. I managed to fit in a few runs, a couple of long walks, but no gym visits; but the eating slipped. I'm proud of the fact that my weight loss is mostly down to exercise, and my three-good-meals-a-day lifestyle hasn't really changed. However, I had made some important changes: one glass of wine per day, no butter, no cheese, etc.

During this last three weeks, there has been smorgasbord catering for large groups: cheese, pate, quiches, the lot. There has been much more alcohol than usual. There have been long train journeys, and the limitations of what food the rail company can offer. And so on.

So, given all that, a weight gain of just over a pound doesn't sound like much. Yesterday, when I finally paused, got my desk and the fridge back under control, and reviewed matters, I found that my weight - which had been steady at between 144.75 and 145.75 for the last month (no weight loss, but that's fine) was suddenly 146.5. More importantly, though, I felt - even before I got on the scales - more like my old self and less like the new one. The scales just reinforced how I was already feeling.

And, for the last couple of nights, I've slept badly - most unusual for me (I usually go down like a fallen tree, much to the irritation of my more insomniac friends). Woken several times in the night, without knowing what's woken me - but probably a bad dream. Not felt happy. Even the long runs that I managed over the last few days didn't restore my equilibrium.

So yesterday, I monitored the food. No visitors, no events. Back to real food. Snacking limited to fruit. One glass of wine. And a run in the evening.

And this morning, it's 145.25 again. Yes, yes, I know the scales aren't a good guide - but the way I feel is; and before I got on the scales, I knew already that things were back on track.

Life happens - and I just need to remember what to do when it does.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Did it: 5 kilometre training

After Friday's little-bit-further run, this evening I accomplished the next step up: a full 5 km training run. This is the route today:

(Oh, and your eyes aren't deceiving you - that really does say Dinosaur Park towards the top of the image.)

A very, very leisurely pace, but without stops, and it took me exactly 35 minutes; not earth-shattering, but still an improvement on the 39 minutes at the Race for Life in May.

This was, I have to say, in lieu of a visit to the gym - again; it was a glorious evening, and once more I'd run out of day - so much simpler to take less than 45 minutes out of a mad schedule than the two hours that a worthwhile visit to the gym would take.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Amen to this

Thanks to soap box girl for pointing me towards this excellent clip.

Friday, 27 July 2007

A bit further

As promised to myself the last time I went for a run (which feels like ages ago, but was only five days - due to the interruption of another London trip), I pushed the distance a bit further. As I knew I wanted to run for slightly longer, I took the water-holding-belt, which meant I could also take the mobile in order to use the camera.

I did the usual mile down to Morton first; and paused to photograph the cattle who always seem to prance alongside me. Whether they're doing their own exercises, encouraging me, laughing at me, or just think I should be feeding them, is anybody's guess.

I carried on down to the Hall, turned round and came back again - to find that my bovine friends appeared to be waiting for me:

I reached the top of the drive, turned right, but then continued past the turning to the Rectory as I had done last week, down the road to the old barn, and left along the public footpath. As I suspected, this wasn't very good running country - too many bumps, bushes and nettles to avoid - but I jogged what I could, and found some beautiful countryside on my way.

Finally, I came out onto the road which leads from Lenwade into Great Witchingham, turned left and headed back into the village. According to my Mapper software, it was around 2.5 miles (4 km) in all, which took me just under 30 minutes - this included a couple of pauses for photographs, and a bit of walking along the overgrown footpath - so I was quite happy with that. What pleased me more was that when I paused or walked, for photography or un-runnable (is that a word?) paths, I really didn't regard it as an excuse to stop or slow down - I would have been genuinely happy to keep going. Woo-hoo!

When I got back, I completed the set with a photograph of myself. This might be a much fitter lady than she was six months ago - but her face still matches her fuschia-pink t-shirt!!

Inspiration - weight loss and technology

The blogging community, and all the links between us, are a great source of support, inspiration and fun. Today I've come across the supremely impressive Half of Me : Jennette "needed to lose half my body weight. Okay, I actually needed to lose even more than that, but Four Sevenths of Me just didn't have the same ring to it."

She succeeded in halving her body weight (from 372 lb - that's 26 stone 8 lb, to us Brits) to 186 lb, which she did between November 2004 and February 2007 - just over two years. Since then, she's gone on to reach 176 lb (as of yesterday's date), and seems to be presently losing weight at the rate of about 2 lb a month (which is roughly my own rate at the moment). At 5'9" tall, her goal is 160 lb.

Not only that, but the woman's a technical genius. She's managed to create 3D images of herself at various stages on her journey - "you can check out my fat ass from 8 different directions. Just click and drag on the image of me below to spin me right round, like a record, baby." Better still, she generously shares the technique on her site with the rest of us. Whether I'll have a go at creating a 3D of myself remains to be seen!

You go, girl. You're an inspiration to all of us who are trying to be the best we can be.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The treadmill can be fun

I don't know what made me think of it, but I found this fabulous item on YouTube a while back. Would that all workouts were this daft.


for two reasons...

After another weekend of hedonism (and in a Rectory, too!), feeding a bunch of singers and socialising, I fully expected to have put on a pound or two; but as my weight has been a pretty steady 145 to 146 lb for the last couple of weeks, I was relieved to find it at 145-and-three-quarters this morning.

And after a very unpromising start to the day, weather-wise, and a cold, dull afternoon, it turned into another beautiful evening for my run down to Morton. I decided to extend it a bit by running for just an extra few minutes - I usually manage the two miles, continuously, in about twenty minutes or slightly over, so having run for just under 26 minutes without stopping by overshooting the end of our lane, running for a couple more minutes and then retracing my steps, I reckon I added another half-mile. Will push this up by a couple of minutes a time across the next few runs until I can do 30, then 35 minutes, without too much trouble - by which time (if I clock it correctly) I should be at approximately 5K distance. It's exactly a month today to the Wroxham 5K, so that should be good timing.

Friday, 20 July 2007

I'm ready for my close-up

Another self-indulgent bit of comparison. Our lovely friends from Chimes Musical Theatre came to help us fund-raise for Weston Longville church, lending their beautiful voices and musical talent to a fabulous evening. You can see a bit more about the concert here.

However, I can't help but be pleased (and relieved) that my bit of the group photo this year is easier to cope with than the photo taken at the equivalent event almost exactly a year ago. Frankly, the bazookas were on their way to my knees at that point.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Running with a singer

Joanna, one of "my" sopranos for Friday's concert, wanted to come for a run with me, so we did the Morton Hall route. She's a fair bit taller than me (and has a beautiful figure, and a stunning face...) and therefore much longer legs. The pace was therefore faster than I'd usually do on my own, with the result that the HR was about 170 bpm by the time we got back! (Of course, it could just be that she's fitter than me...)

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Friendly running

Since Kim started her full-time job, a few weeks ago, there's obviously been less time for getting together. We managed it this evening, and had a lovely run down to Morton and back.

The rain had been torrential earlier that afternoon (I'd sent her a text: "Coming for a swim?" which baffled her at the time, as the storm hadn't reached the city, ten miles away from us, but she soon found out what I meant!). Happily, it cleared away quickly, leaving a beautiful evening. We kept a steady pace of around a ten-minute mile throughout, dodging puddles and stopping to say hello to the cattle. Then back to the Rectory for a chilli supper and a gossip.

It's funny, but I find it easier to settle into a comfortable, "run-easy" pace when I jog with Kim than when I'm on my own. And chatting as we run tests the cv!

An expensive day

... oh, well.

Went to Emily at Mane in the city to have my hair cut - and highlighted; happily the latter bit, being highlights not full colour, doesn't need doing than once every few months. Just as well, given the cost. (Quick webcam photo; the hair looked a bit sleeker before I got caught in the rain on my way out of Norwich!)

And then East had a sale on. Oh, dear. It was quite an achievement that I emerged only with two items: a simple black cardigan, and a fabulous blue & white skirt that I'd had my eye on for ages and was now half price.

Incidentally, Kim is due to come over for a run this evening. It's now absolutely tipping it down - this may turn into a gym session instead...

Friday, 13 July 2007

Happy to be home

Back late last night after four days in London. As a business trip, it was more of a success than I'd feared, much to my relief. Lovely to see my parents, and the clients, who I really enjoy working with. But I could feel the stress levels subsiding as the train got out of Liverpool Street, crossed into Essex, and I could see fields again... am I turning into a country girl? I was born and raised in East London, for goodness' sake!

However, as I've mentioned before, a visit to London always bumps up the step count on the pedometer. A day at home in front of the PC will yield less than 2,000 steps; if I go out for a run or to the gym, it's 5-6,000. On Tuesday, it was over 15,000 steps. This included running from my mum & dad's home to the tube station - about 1.3 miles, which took me about 15 minutes (rucksack on back containing office clothes, shoes, book etc.). And I walked the same distance back in the evening.

During the day, of course, I was going back and forth between various places in the office, and out onto the oh-too-distracting High Street Kensington at lunchtime... I bought a lovely skirt and top from M&S, both size 12 (hooray!) and felt happy with what I saw in the mirror. It does still take some getting used to.

I probably ate a bit more than I normally do. My dad's excellent fruit salad breakfast, with plenty of plain yogurt & cereal; sandwich-yogurt-fruit lunch; mum's great cooking (healthy and generous) for dinner. Oh, and another yogurt with muesli & honey when I got into the office after my run - I felt I needed the fuel... And I was clearly right - the metabolism seems to be doing its stuff: this morning I was under 145 lb (OK, so it was only by a quarter-pound, but seeing the scales reading 10 stone 4 anything was a huge boost!).

PS: reading this back - is there a Yogurt-Eaters-Anonymous group?!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Compliments, poppies and sunshine

At church this morning, I saw a couple of folks that I'd not met up with for some little while - including the "relief organist" (who covers for the regular one when she's away). I hadn't seen Colin for about a year, so his reaction to my new appearance was very gratifying...

After I got home, Ann (who lives at Morton Hall) wanted a bit of advice on email, so of course this was a good excuse for a run. As this would mean one mile, then a break for provision of technical support, then another mile, I decided to go the "long way round" - i.e. instead of going straight down the main drive, I continued down the lane and turned left up the side of a field to get into the estate that way. This gave me a run of about 2 miles in one hit on the way there (and the usual 1 on the way back).

What I had forgotten was that the last time I'd taken this route, it was April - and hence the path had been a lot less overgrown than it was today! Dodging nettles and cow-parsley doesn't really make for a PB route.

But it was beautiful. A glorious day for the first time in what feels like months (okay, a bit of an exaggeration there).

crops doing their Lark Rise stuff

the path through the woods

Norfolk poppies

So lucky to be living here, and to have such beauty on the doorstep.

Friday, 6 July 2007

First run in a week

After Tuesday's gym session (first-in-ten-days), I followed it up with a PT session with Kim on Wednesday, which was fantastic - I'd really missed it. Today, after a new IT client in the morning and an afternoon of difficult paperwork, I was more than ready for a run. I watched the weather with trepidation, but it's turned into a glorious evening; the smell of the trees (lime trees? sweet chestnut?) on the way down to Morton was enchanting, and the sun on the fields was beautiful. The cattle are still convinced I'm coming to feed them every time I run past, and tend to gallop alongside me - weird...

Exhausted, scruffy, happy.

Oh, and 145 lb.