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.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

OK, I'm addicted...

... judging by how much better I felt after today's gym session.

Yesterday, as you'll have gathered, was a complete washout - torrential rain at frequent intervals meant that a run was out of the question, and the A47 accident proved to be dreadful enough to keep the A47 shut for hours, preventing access to the gym (not that my gym session is what you'd call important in the larger scheme of things).

Today saw me at a women's networking event in Norwich - Women on Top - which was great fun and very helpful. It was pouring with rain as we finished (there's a change), but eventually I made it back to the car park in one piece, and got to Carrefour.

I realised with some horror that it's ten days - ten days - since I was at the gym - although I console myself with the fact that there have at least been three runs and two long walks in that time, not to mention two decluttering sessions with all the physical work that implies. However, it's also four days since my last run (Friday), so I was eager to get back on track. Ten minutes' warmup, fifteen on the Nautilus, fifteen running at 8 km/hour on the treadmill, then a full 45 minutes of weights programme. Strictly speaking, I think I'm best keeping the gym for weights, and the running for CV - as I really was flagging by the end - but oh dear, that was better.

I couldn't face getting back into tights and a sharp skirt suit* after my workout, so froze to death walking round Sainsbury's in my jogging bottoms and sleeveless top...

* which I can now wear with confidence for the first time since July 2003

Monday, 2 July 2007

A dream of Fitzbillies came true

I was joking when I included this post a few days ago.

Today's visitor - a friend of my husband's from Cambridge University days - came to us (on his bike! very intrepid)* after attending a Cambridge "do" at the weekend, and as his gift to us brought... a box of Fitzbillies Chelsea Buns...

It's now even more imperative that I do that run today!!

As they say, be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

* I later discovered that the journey was done by train from Cambridge to Wymondham, and he cycled to us from there. Still fairly impressive, Andrew!

Infamy, infamy...

(altogether now) they've all got it infamy...

After a weekend of rather hedonistic overeating and socialising, I was so ready for some exercise this morning. (Admittedly, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 146 lb weight is still the same - I felt as though I should've put on at least three pounds.)

My original intention was to go to the Pilates class, but then I decided that I was craving (craving!!) a more energetic workout, so was really looking forward to some CV and weights, a quick visit to Sainsbury's to pick up some groceries, and home.

Visitors from the weekend all gone yesterday, house tidied up, ready for next visitor (yes, really) to arrive this lunchtime. Left husband in charge, loaded gym kit and shopping list into the car, set off for the A47. And stopped. And waited. For about 20 minutes. Turned on Radio Norfolk.

It turns out that there has been some sort of serious accident actually on the junction where I turn off for the gym - and the road is closed! So I turned round and came back to the house, muttering "well, at least I can go for a run"; and, of course, the heavens have now opened.

Our visitor, of course, is probably stuck in the backlog of traffic; I'd better go and get on with some other work...

I wanna do some exercise, and they won't let me! (throws tantrum...)