Friday, 29 August 2008

Getting better again

Managing to improve. Getting back to where I want to be.

1. Weight bounced unaccountably back up to 154 last week, but now is steadily going down. 151 this morning. Phew.

2. Ran the 1.75 miles to Morton and back on Saturday, and managed a sub-18 minute time: pace of 10:13.

3. Worked out for 45 minutes at the gym before going shopping on Tuesday.

4. Best of all, have just come back from Morton again; but this time I managed it in 17:23 - a pace of 9:56. Yes, a genuine sub-10 minute mile. For a real runner, sad; for me, it's huge.

5. And had my first sponsorship on the Sandringham 10K today. Thank you so much, Nicola. Now I'm going to start emailing everybody else...

I'm back. Sweating in a most unladylike fashion, but I'm back.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The best of times, the worst of times

I'm updating this two months after my last posting. I'm filling in a few retrospective posts under the relevant dates over the next day or two.

Why the absence? Because it hasn't been a good time; there has been too much backsliding for my liking. Not enough running or gym sessions; episodes of depression that I thought had long gone; and, worst of all, weight gain. My last posting in "real time", on 22nd June, was followed by an insanely busy work and personal period - again - and I didn't manage one single exercise session until 11th July. Four runs and two gym sessions between that date and our holiday on 23rd July improved matters slightly. However...

I've just been brave and updated my "this is now" photo and weight. This morning I weighed in at 152; on our return from our holiday last weekend, it was 154. Not surprisingly, I wasn't going to admit to that. Careful scrutiny of this blog (as if anybody else was going to scrutinise it except me!) will show that in July 2007, it was down as low as 145; spent a while at 147; then settled at 149 for several months.

So it's interesting to see that my definition of "backsliding" is still a lot less drastic than it would have been, pre-January 2007. If I take my lowest "constant" weight as 149, it's a weight gain of 5lb at worst, and is now back on its way down. I know that some clothes are tighter than they were, and there's no denying that the photos at the August 2007 Wroxham 5K were a lot closer to the way I really want to be; but compared to the start of this journey in January 2007, there's still a much fitter, healthier and slimmer person here.

More importantly, the exercise is still a very permanent part of my life. Apart from the disastrous time in June-July described above, I've managed to keep an average of at least 2 sessions per week, every week - even when on holiday. [Since we got back, I've done 6 sessions (including last night's race) in 7 days.] A session might be a run (1.75 miles to Morton and back being the most common), an hour's weights, or 45 minutes CV on machines at the gym. And, hand on heart, it's not a duty or a chore, but genuinely where I want to be - especially when I remember how quickly the black dog returns when I don't keep him at bay.

Yesterday I ran 5K in 31:45. Our training run the day before was achieved at a pace of 10:00. In May 2007 I'd never have believed either were possible - I had run 5K in 39 minutes, and my average training pace was around 11:00. Now the next target is in sight: the Cancer Research 10K at Sandringham, Sunday 28th September.

I hadn't even started to ask people for sponsorship - I was so terrified I wouldn't be able to do it. Now I know I can, and one of my tasks over the weekend is to start emailing all and sundry to ask them for their faith and their money again.

Not only am I back, but I'm relieved to know that in real terms I've never been away. I might not have been firing on all cylinders, but I have managed to stick with my favourite mantra: Half-Assed Is Good Enough.

PS: One more resolution. I've just been looking back for references to weight in diaries and blog, and realise that between April and August this year, I didn't say a word. In April I was 149; in August I peaked at 154. No prizes for guessing what was going on there: a little thing called being in denial. Records of weight each Sunday recommence from now so it can't happen again.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

PB - with style!

My third time in the Wroxham 5K. I am completely triumphant to have achieved a time of 31:45 - a pace of under 10:15 over the whole race, and a full 2:17 less than my previous best. Given that my first ever 5K was run in 39:00, I feel justified in being unbearably smug...

Kim came in at 30:33, and that brings her pace well under the 10 minutes. We are still pretty close to the end of the queue (300 runners, of which we were numbers 279 and 285) - but who cares??

Now we just need to manage to run twice that distance without keeling over!!

Happy photo, but I really hate my legs in those shorts...

Great run, partner.

The girls are back in town...

and a well-earned drink afterwards!

(See last year's equivalent here...)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Target achieved!

I've said on many occasions I want to run a 10 minute mile. To a real runner, this is laughable. Real runners do that speed for recovery. They train at 8 minute miles, and race at 6-7 minute miles. But to me, it's a big thing.

Kim and I went out for a run this evening, warming up at the gym and then taking the exactly-one-mile route round the Longwater car park. Admittedly, we did stop to stretch and breathe at the mid-point; but our total run came in at precisely 20 minutes for the two miles.

I never thought I'd do it. RESULT.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Holiday running

We had a wonderful time in France, as ever. Wandering down the country to Burgundy for a week in one gite and the Limousin for another, with a couple of B&B stops on either side. If you're really interested, have a look here for more about the holiday.

The usual problem presents itself: keeping some level of fitness and weight control while chilling out! I took trainers and Nike+, and at least managed four runs - two at each of the gites. It was desperately warm most of the time, but I was determined to do it... Pace wasn't too bad considering the heat - around 10:30 to 10:45 in each case (according to Nike+).

The Burgundy week was in a gite in a tiny village, and I calculated that the circuit of the whole village was just under 1.2 miles. So my first run was one circuit, my second one was two. A couple of tough little hills, especially on the home stretch.

The Limousin week yielded a fabulous place; not the best running track in the world (very stony and potholed, meaning I didn't dare get up much speed - the last thing I want is a repeat of the ankle injury) but beautiful. The circuit was 0.8 miles, and I did a double circuit (with pause for water) on each of two occasions. Here are a few photos of the glorious scenery, taken by my husband, with the little pink-or-blue dot in the distance being me...

France 2008: Lakeside running