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.

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