Sunday, 27 May 2007

You think I'm silly 'cos I'm daft

- as my dad puts it.

I really wanted a run today; I'd done no exercise yesterday, and having faithfully promised myself that I'd do a session of "real" exercise - by which I mean either a run of two miles or more, or a full session at the gym - at least every other day, that was today's aim.

It's filthy weather today; we got back from church this morning, and it was a steady drizzle that gradually got heavier. If I hadn't so much to do at home I'd've gone to the gym, but taking two hours out at that point wasn't on; so I ran in the rain. And actually, really enjoyed it. The prospect of a hot shower when I got back, the fact that it wasn't cold, I was under trees for much of the time anyway, and the satisfaction of doing the mile from here to Morton in nine minutes - a fair bit faster than last time, it's usually more like ten - made it worthwhile.

Not recommended for your vanity, though...

PS: this morning I weighed in at 148 lb (10 stone 8). That's nineteen pounds in as many weeks; seeing my starting weight of 167 lb is frightening now - and there ain't no way I'm ever going back there again. And I can't resist adding a photo of myself at 167 lb (taken in October 2006) as comparison with the soggy, un-made-up, but infinitely healthier photo above.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Good run

Kim came over for our getting-to-be-regular fortnightly run together (I hasten to add that I'm exercising alone too!). I was very, very pleased that my pace seems to be increasing a little, and it's been a while since I experienced really painful calves or thighs during a run; it's starting to feel natural. Only a mile down to Morton Hall and a mile back, but it feels great. Lots of gossip and supper afterwards.

Over supper, we got on to telling stories - and showing photographs - of the time that Selwyn & I visited friends in Florida, back in 2002. I was interested, and slightly shocked, to see that, whilst I was actually a few pounds lighter than I am now, my shape was completely different; and I still wasn't confident enough to wear anything that fitted me closely.

Here I am with our lovely friends Warner & Lois from Mount Dora, near Orlando, with Warner's sister Char standing behind (I might add that Char was over eighty at the time - what a great lady!). I'd managed to get down to a respectable not-much-over-ten-stone, if memory serves me right; so why was I wearing a baggy t-shirt and baggy shorts and very baggy cover-all shirt?

It's not a problem now... (revisit this entry for evidence!)

Friday, 25 May 2007

So long, sixteen - farewell, fourteen...

... well, some fourteens, anyway!

Having spent a very long time in the 14-16 size bracket, I was not a little thrilled to arrive home after some retail therapy in Norwich with a new skirt and some new t-shirts - all size twelve. A combination of M&S, Debenhams and Gap (well, the Gap ones were a Medium, but hey). When I tried on the cute turquoise summer skirt (not an elasticated waist, either) in Debenhams, I held my breath as I did up the zip, preparing to return for the 14; and nearly died of shock when the 12 proved to be the right fit.

OK, so there are some makes which still class me as a 14 - a rather good denim jacket bought on e-bay a week or two back is a Per Una 12, and definitely won't be a good fit for at least another half-stone - but oh boy, did that feel good.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Running in the sun

Most days recently have started promisingly, but deteriorated into downpours. Today, however, took us back to the glorious sunshine we'd experienced last month, and happily I'd already decided to go for a run at the lakes in Lenwade (as I needed to be in the village anyway).

What a fabulous morning. The fishermen were out in force, and amused as always, but they seem to be getting used to me. I did eight circuits, the first and last walking, and jogged the others in blocks of 1, 2 and 3 circuits. Not quite as "easy" a run as it has been - I can feel a muscle pulling in the lower half of my left thigh, which is slightly uncomfortable (will see how it goes today and perhaps call James); but after setting off fairly briskly, I took the pace down to my usual 10 minute mile and trotted along quite happily.

My last circuit was a cooling-down walk, so I took the mobile with me and took some photographs.

and a couple of me (face colour matching t-shirt colour, and then getting arty)...

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Running in the rain

April and May have switched places this year. After the hottest, sunniest April on record, every day this month seems to have been wet. Not that I mind - the garden is very relieved.

It's given a new running experience, however. Kim came over to have a run with me this evening, and it was very, very damp out there... a constant drizzle. But it didn't matter - it was actually a really nice run, and doing the two-mile route down to Morton Hall and back meant that we were under trees half the time anyway. We didn't time ourselves, but my pace is certainly faster now, and sometimes it really feels like running - a marvellous feeling.

Next time we run in the rain, though, I must make sure I wear my contact lenses and not my specs - I couldn't see a thing...

Sunday, 13 May 2007

In need of support

Memo to self: do not forget bazooka-holders. I might've lost weight, but wearing a standard support when running anywhere is a non-starter!

I wanted to go for a run today, but it's been tipping it down all day; so combined the Sainsbury's trip with another gym visit. As last time, I included fifteen minutes' running on the treadmill at 8 km/hour; but within a few steps I realised that I'd forgotten a vital piece of kit. I therefore spent the next quarter-hour with arms firmly folded across boobs to prevent black eyes. Not dignified...

Friday, 11 May 2007

I needed that

... that's a session at the gym, if you were wondering.

The last time I was in the gym was twelve days ago - the Sunday before the race, when I injured my leg. I went this evening and did the full routine (which takes about 90 minutes), including spending 15 minutes of my CV time running - yes, that's running - on the treadmill - at the 8 km/hour speed. I also discovered, in the absence of anything more interesting to watch or listen to, that Radio 2's evergreen Friday Night is Music Night has its workout tracks (believe it or not): the overture to Mack & Mabel is just brilliant for running to! I think I need to assemble some tracks to take out with me which are sourced entirely on Broadway...

Thursday, 10 May 2007

A new look (for blog, for me)

Hope you like the new design - I was getting a bit tired of the soft pinky colours, which were really not me at all! (Thanks to one of my favourite blogs, Lorna's Thunks, I twigged that you don't have to accept all the default settings - there's loads you can do to personalise your blog.) I found the fabulous little cartoon on the internet - before anybody thinks I've turned into Betty Boop, it's not meant to be taken terribly seriously... I couldn't find a cartoon I liked of somebody running or working out!

Oh, and while I'm at it, I've created a new blog. Starting this process at the age of 44, I enjoy noticing the achievements of folks who are older (or younger) than you'd expect for those activities; so Tolstoy's Bicycle (read the blog to understand the title!) has been set up to celebrate them - I hope you enjoy it. (Let me know if you have any contributions, too.)

I was dressed up to go out for an Evening of Divine Trinkets (I kid you not) in Norwich (run by my friend Claire Bunton), and had chosen that red top again (together with my favourite strawberry necklace & bracelet from East). I suppose I'm getting vain (am I forgiven after years of loathing the camera?), but the webcam photo I took - hey, cheekbones, welcome back! - pleased me so much that it's become my new profile photo. (I add it here too as the profile photo will probably change again before long...)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Back on the road

Three days after my run, and on go the trainers ("is that Brit for running shoes?" enquired my American friend). Just a mile down to Morton Hall, pause to stretch, and a mile back, after a brief warm-up walk in the opposite direction to the post box in the village; but the mile was nearer to 9-10 minutes than the 11 it was a few days ago, and the nearly 13 minutes average over the course of the Race for Life - so I was pleased.

Sponsorship has increased further, and is creeping closer to the amazing £1,000 mark - many, many thanks again to all my lovely friends, colleagues and relations. Best of all, this morning's weight was, finally, 149 lb. So (despite everything my friends will tell you) I am officially normal!

Monday, 7 May 2007

Other press coverage

- not all have their photos up yet, but it's worth keeping an eye out.

Nivea were sponsors (goodie bag providers at the end), and they have a Race for Life page here. If you choose the Celebration Gallery > View the Gallery > 05/05/2007 Norfolk Showground (date is in USA format) there are some photos there. (Ignore the second 05/05 and the 05/06 dates: when I enquired, I was told "unfortunately our photographer had trouble uploading the 6th May Norfolk images and therefore placed them into the 5th May Norfolk images folder".) So no photos of us there, but some great images of groups of runners.

And Radio Broadland were covering the event all weekend; there are links (at the moment, anyway) off their front page to a video and to photos of all three races (haven't found us in any of the Sunday ones yet!).

The Eastern Daily Press (EDP) and Norwich Evening News websites each has an article, and in both cases the same slideshow of photos - as of this morning (Tuesday) it's now working. (You'll find the photo that appeared in the paper of us, as shown in the blog entry below, about three-quarters of the way through!)

We're in the paper!

Under the heading "They came, they ran, they conquered"
Eastern Daily Press, Monday 7th May 2007

A little post-script to this: at least four of our parishioners who take the EDP regularly had read the article, but hadn't noticed that it was me in the photo; and another couple had the conversation "that's Cassie in that photo" - "no it isn't, don't be daft"...

Sunday, 6 May 2007

R4L photos 3: afterwards

It felt as though it should have been champagne, but Kim's coffee and hot cross buns will do just fine...

R4L photos 2: running the race

and they're off

this is great


feeling the muscles

on the last leg(s)

R4L photos 1: backs and fronts

Kim - front and back

Cassie - back and front (dig the hairstyle... well, it was a bit blowy)


I jogged throughout. Not fast (it took 39 minutes), but I didn't take one single stop, nor even a walking break. Kim's dad & stepmum there throughout taking photos at different points of the course; my husband and our friend Beryl at the finish.

More will follow later this afternoon.


Ready and waiting

9:05 am, Sunday 6 May 2007.

Waiting for Kim to come pick me up to go to the showground.

Wearing the Race for Life t-shirt.

Cloudy & chilly but no rain.

Thighs aching a bit from yesterday's run, but injury area seems to be behaving itself. Pray that it stays that way.

£812 sponsorship so far, not including Gift Aid.

See you later.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Final preparations

Having tried out my running legs yesterday and being confident that they could cope, Kim came over for a gentle run round Lenwade Lakes this morning. Well, hardly running - she couldn't get used to running that slowly, and walked much of it whilst keeping up with my jogging!

But we did two circuits of walking, followed by two jogging, and finally four circuits continuous jogging - each circuit being about half a mile. We timed about 11 minutes per mile, and I felt no need to stop; average HR about 140 bpm at that slower speed; comfortable. Joyful, in fact.

This is us, Kim holding the camera out in front of us both (we could've asked one of the fishermen to oblige, I suppose).

Here's to a happy day tomorrow.

Friday, 4 May 2007

And another good thing

I've also kept a bit quiet about the weight! When we got back from our holiday in Yorkshire, I was triumphant that it was 151 lb. And there it stuck, for the last couple of weeks.

During this week of enforced rest, I thought I can't risk putting any weight back on - so I cut out the glass of wine each evening, and cut back just a little on other things - had a couple of carbohydrate-reduced lunches, for example. Nothing drastic. And what happens? No surprises there; despite no exercise, this morning the scales registered 149.5 lb. Give it another half pound, and I'm officially no longer "overweight" but "normal".

That's nearly 18 lb lost since mid-January. Try picking that lot up in bags of sugar!!

For this relief, much thanks

Yes, I've been a bit quiet. The leg had seemingly settled into a pattern of causing me no pain or problem in ordinary walking around the house, but still pulled and troubled me occasionally on stairs; and when I tried jogging a few experimental steps on Wednesday, I thought there is no way I can jog - much less run - on this. My sponsorship has increased to a fantastic £760; whilst I knew I could walk the course, I would be so disappointed if I couldn't at least jog some part of it.

On Thursday, I went to see James, the sports masseur. He did some thorough work on the injured area and on both legs, gave me some guidelines for hot/cold treatment, advised me to try walking and jogging again - just testing to see what I could manage - and reckons I'll be fine for Sunday.

So today, I went down to the lakes at Lenwade - the site of my first solo run, just over five weeks ago. Unlike that occasion, the place was full of fishermen - who were much amused by my subsequent antics. Such is the life of the runner!

I started by walking, briskly but steadily, for two circuits - about a mile. Then I stopped, had water, stretched carefully; and set off on circuit #3 at the slowest jog imaginable - it hardly counted as a jog, really. Oh, stuff it - yes, it was a real jog. Just a very slow one.

As I was going so slowly, the CV was absolutely no problem, and as I continued round, terrified that my leg would start to hurt, I began to relax into it as the sky didn't fall in. At the end of the circuit, there was no apparent need to stop; so I carried on for two more circuits - about 1.5 miles. When I stopped at that point, it wasn't because I was out of breath or because I hurt - simply because I thought I ought to stretch my legs. So I paused for a couple of minutes, and finally did two more circuits - making a total of around 3.5 miles - and this time I timed it: about 11 minutes to do what is approximately a mile. Not as fast as I have been achieving in the past (about 9 minutes/mile), but who cares? I can run again! And I can't begin to tell you how much I've missed it. Is it really only five days that I've been out of action? It feels like a lifetime.