Sunday, 29 January 2012

A summary of this weekend's trials and tribulations

Hi there! I'm feeling very mathematical this week so I have decided to hit you with some key facts and figures.

Miles run: 15 in total. 5 on Friday, 10 on Sunday.
Time spent running: 2 hours, 50 minutes: (2 hours this morning... not very fast which leads us to...)
Back injuries sustained whilst carrying humongous bags of compost around the garden on Saturday: 1... lower back... ouch!
Pedestrians argued with: 2 (and their perfectly harmless dog) *
Pedestrians said 'thank you' to (with large grin): 11
Runners I smiled at and said "Hello": 12
Runners who responded: 3
Times I felt like saying 'smile you miserable moron, you're supposed to be enjoying yourself,': 9
Times I actually said it : 9 (all in my head)
Calories burned: Not enough to work off the weekend's little indulgences (namely chocolate cookies and maltesers.)
Pounds burned during the hellish month that is January: 6! HURRAH!

* To be fair, the woman was totally obnoxious. I was running on Friday night on a path which is really narrow. There is room for two people to pass but it's a tight squeeze. When she saw me coming, the woman moved to the outside of the path- nearest the road- so that her dog was safely tucked away next to the wall. Her husband walked behind her, looking slightly scared.
I refused to run on the road. I stopped in front of them and folded my arms! (I had had a pretty awful Friday it has to be said, and was in great need of some running meditation.) The woman started moaning. According to her, runners are a menace to society and we think we own the pavement- so did her dog apparently, who stopped and left a large present on the path for someone to tread in. I'm sorry to say that I lost my cool. I don't swear on my blog, so I cannot recount the exact words I chose to bestow upon this creature of non-existent manners but they worked. She moved for me!
With a smug little smile, I ran away, swaying my 6 pounds lighter bottom in time to my i-pod! Take that rude pedestrian! Ha Ha!
Am hoping to run 7 miles in the morning if the back holds out! Keep your fingers crossed please everyone! x

Thursday, 26 January 2012

G is for Gormless...

Can't see the link between meditation and
snails? Read on and you soon will! 
(p.s. I look nothing like this slender, well
groomed cartoon woman! Unfortunately.)

After dance aerobics last night, I hit the gym- BIG STYLE! Dripping with sweat, I leaped onto the treadmill (alright, slithered might be more appropriate) and started to pound away. Because, as my regular readers know, I 'love' the dreadmill so much, I decided to share with it my new found love of 'meditative running,' (I have the copywrite on that name- okay!) The gym was heaving and yet, for a miraculous three miles, no-one used the treadmill next to me. It was crazy busy. Heck, at the reception desk, there was a queue forming... yet no-one ran next to lovely me... weird huh? Then I caught my reflection in the mirror... and understood why. Dripping with sweat isn't pretty. Dripping with sweat whilst wearing lycra is even less attractive. But dripping with sweat whilst wearing lycra and running with your mouth hanging open is even more grotesque- I swear, I looked unstable. I suddenly became very self conscious- straightening up, closing my mouth (and wiping away the snail trail of dribble) then I thought 'who the heck cares,' and resumed my vacant expression. No-one spoke to me all night- I was free to train in my cool, calm, meditative state.
Usually when I'm on the dread, I feel every single mile... I count my brain cells as they die of boredom but not so in my MS (meditative state is far too much to write every time). Lost in a land of nothingness, I ploughed on, managing three miles of sublimely average running without even flinching! If only the cosmic calm of the universe had followed me to the cross trainer. Have you ever seen anyone get confused by a cross trainer? Have you ever seen someone get caught in a cross trainer? Have you ever seen someone get caught in, trapped by and then fall off a cross trainer? I have- and I was looking in the mirror when it happened! I've watched other people train on these weird machines of torture and they make it look so easy- just moving forwards and backwards whilst their pony tails elegantly swish behind them. I tried to go forwards but my hand moved faster than my feet... it wasn't pretty folks. It wasn't pretty at all (especially since I still had a snail trail of dribble next to my lip... oh yeah... and the lycra... and the sweating!)
Unattractive times x

Sunday, 22 January 2012

R is for revelations!

Yesterday I ran 8 miles in the rain and gale force wind and I had three startling revelations:
·         I stopped enjoying running when I started to think of it as a job and adding it to my 'to do' list rather than my 'I want to do' list
·         I stopped enjoying running when I set myself tasks to do whilst notching up the miles: find something exciting for the blog, work through that tricky sub-plot in chapter three, re-decorate my bedroom in my head, analyse that conversation I had with... about ... because it didn't end the way I wanted it to (fill in the blanks)
·         Waiting half an hour in the freezing cold to be picked up makes you pretty cross- no matter how zen you feel after a run of many revelations!*
(* Husband responsible for collection. 'Forgot!' How very dare he!)
 Give this girl pink spandex and a fanny pack! Me yesterday! 
When I look back at my blogs, I can pinpoint almost exactly when I fell out of love with running: it was after the reindeer 10K. With no races to motivate me to run outside and terrible December weather, I hit the gym. I hated running in the gym. Really, HATED it! I hated it so much that I had to force myself to go... and in doing so I was forcing myself to run. So I started to associate running with boredom... Hey-presto! Terrible psychological association number two! (Number one was associating lycra with running, sadly this association refuses to be broken and I have been damaged for life.)
Do you want to know my foolproof method for achieving such fantastic, deep rooted, life affirming introspection? Run in horrible weather. I don't mean slightly horrible weather- a bit of wind and light drizzle. I mean torrential rain: droplets the size of your fists and force 8 winds that up-root hundred year old trees and blow old ladies into the canal. Because, if you focus on anything else except for the actual process of running, you will join the old lady in the canal! You must keep all your wits about you, your senses intact. In doing so, you have to tell the chattering monkey, the annoying whiny voice that goes on and on to shut the chuff up! And just run.
I did this. I focussed on breathing- I had to, the wind kept stealing my oxygen! I counted my footsteps. I felt the stinging cold whipping my face. I watched the world flying around me- plastic bags, random newspapers, tree branches. I laughed at birds trying to fly into the wind (then realised that they were probably laughing at me too!) I switched off. And before I knew it, I had run seven miles.
I have to say at this point that I did get a few weird looks from passers by when I was in my 'zen' like state of tranquillity. I think that when I relaxed my eyes, they may have crossed a little bit. Also, I think my tongue may have been hanging out... I tend to do that when I'm concentrating.
Despite pedestrians looking at me like I had arrived on the sunshine bus, I really had a very nice time. I have resolved to use running as my free time, the thing I do to get a bit of peace and quiet and what is a hectic life. And suddenly I feel better. Hurrah!

Friday, 20 January 2012

B is for Bridget Jones!

10 stone (have lost 4 pounds during last 10 days, only one tiny stone to go), cigarettes 0 (stopped smoking last February but still feels good to write a zero), alcohol units 0 (giving my body January off since drank whole years quota in December- well, 'twas the festive season and all that), times checked on my left knee (currently swollen to the size of my thigh) 83 (poor but still better than yesterday's record breaking 156!)
Whilst re-reading Bridget Jones- one of my all time favourite books- for the twentieth time, I was inspired! Sure, it's unconventional to write my actual weight at the top of the blog but now I have made it public I simply HAVE to step away from the flumps/ chocolate bars/ apple crumble and custard and, instead, eat healthy things like celery and avocado and... erm... beans and stuff.
I should be running tonight. My calendar clearly says 'RUN 6 MILES (or die.)' Was obviously of un-sound mind when I wrote the bit in brackets, could possibly have been under the influence of too much Christmas spirit. And I want to run. Believe me, running 6 miles in the torrential rain is my absolutely perfect way to spend a Friday night, but sadly I cannot. The reason being that I have hurt/ broken/torn/ripped/ bashed/ paralysed my left knee. The blame lies entirely with aerobic dance. If you put twenty thirty something women in a room at once and make them grapevine to 'Sexy and I know it,' something terrible is obviously going to happen.
There I was 'wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggling...yeah' when something went 'snap'. Bravely, I tried to wiggle on but my knee was Not In The Mood! Because I am totally devoted to my fitness goals (and it was raining outside and I didn't want to get my hair wet running to the car), I persevered.Me and my snapped knee boogied half-heartedly through Greased Lightning and It's Raining Men...we even attempted the Shuffle. But what 'Sexy and I know it' started, 'Zorba's Dance' finished. I hobbled out of the studio feeling more like crawling that wiggling.
By the time I got home, the knee was swollen. Badly. I had to use some of my healthy frozen vegetables to reduce the swelling (now I cannot possibly eat them... it'll have to be crisps instead). I have spent the past two evenings sitting with my knee elevated whilst covered with a veritable medley- if I actually ate the vegetables, I might be nearer my target weight but that's a whole different issue.
I have a full weekend of running ahead of me and, come swell or high water, tomorrow I'm lacing up those trainers and hitting the hills. As Bridget Jones would say, 'Oh dear. This won't end well!'

Monday, 16 January 2012

W is for waffle... which I absolutely, positively, DO NOT do!

According to my husband, I waffle, which is rich coming from him and his never ending 'Assassins Creed' anecdotes. I mean, running is pretty important to me and it's essential, as a woman, to share that joy with other people. In fact, psychologists say that women are twice as likely to.... Oops. Maybe he has a point!
In an effort to show Mr 'words of one syllable' that I can be concise, here is a summary of this morning's run:

Beautiful Yorkshire Morning. Endless blue skies.  -2 degrees. 7 miles. 80 minutes. Up-hill. Ouch. Followed by hot shower. Might have given self shingles. Oops.

Hurrah! See, can absolutely be concise! To further prove my point, here is my summary of Friday's run.

Friday night. Dark. Cold. 4 miles. 41 minutes. Couldn't feel my finger tips.

Am officially the queen of summarising- take that X-Box boy!  

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Y is for "Yoga! Yippee!" (and Yogaches.)

In my continued (increasingly desperate) bid to have a body like Beyonce, I returned to yoga last night. I can't recall when I stopped going. It just seemed like, between running upward of 20 miles a week, and developing Jodie Marsh style muscles in the gym, I forgot to book my yoga class a couple of times... then a few more times and before I knew it, I was having one of those, "I know I should go back but can I face the accusing looks of my yoga teacher/ I wasn't exactly her BEST student... what if she was glad to see the back of me and won't let me re-join the class?" moments.
In a bid to boost my confidence before I attended the class, I ran 5 miles on the dreadmill, then lifted some more weights. I also wore one of my race t-shirts as a, 'look , I was doing something worthy when I wasn't saluting my line,' kind of statement. After the initial sarcastic comments, quite a lot of tut-tutting and 'You're going into your lumber again... which is no surprise since you obviously haven't practised... blah, blah, blah...' I settled into the class. And it was brilliant.
A complete body class, we stretched our calves to our upper shoulders. Anyone who has ever done yoga will understand me when I say that it hurt... in a really good, deep stretching, body really needed this kind of way. When we meditated at the end of the session, I almost fell asleep because all of the stresses and strains of running were, for that moment, released. I had the best nights sleep in ages... it was bliss.
This morning I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Muscles I had forgotten about were groaning in protest every time I tried to move. I had to literally lift my legs so that I could get into the shower! I think I push my body pretty hard with the running, the weights, swimming and booty shaking but nothing produces the sore after effects of yoga. Then again, it's like my teacher would say, "practise makes perfect... and no practise makes a yoga student who has gained a stone since she stopped regularly attending classes!" Needless to say, I'm already booked on for next week. Bring on the yogaches!  

Monday, 9 January 2012

P is for Puddle Racing... the running craze that's drenching the nation!

Do you sometimes wish you could liven up your run with a game which combines the fun of the log flume with an Olympic sprint final? Are you bored of arriving home bone dry? Have you got a masochistic sense of fun?
If so... puddle racing is just the game for you!

Why should ducks have all the fun? Try puddle racing today! 
Playing Puddle Racing is quick... sometimes it's SO quick you don't even know you're playing!
You will need:
  • Yourself- running- outside- next to a road (preferably a really busy road, on which are lots of wagons/ lorries/ guys in white vans)
  • A competitor- this competitor must be driving a motor vehicle. The heavier and bigger the vehicle, the greater the challenge
1) Innocently run along the road side wearing your usual amount of spandex. Some competitors listen to their i-pods whilst running, others prefer the sound of silence/ bird song/ babbling rivers/ the garbage van emptying the wheely bins... you know, sounds that help them to reconnect with nature.
2) Run next to a massive, really deep, really dirty puddle... keep running...
3) See the wagon driver who has just turned the corner, spotted the puddle then spotted you as his next unwitting puddle racing contestant.
4) Glare at the puddle then glare at the driver, prepare to sprint as the driver revs his engine. He's determined to splash you
5) ... ready...steady... RACE!!!!!!
6) Race to the other side of the puddle. If you manage to defy the odds and escape un-drenched, stop and do the Shuffle/ the Freak or some other suitably impressive dance of victory.  
7) If you lost, keep running (but try not to drip too much on the path otherwise you might just slip and hurt something.)
Well done! You played your first game of Puddle Racing. You need never be a bored runner again!
I played puddle racing this morning. I lost!
I ran five miles of an eight mile run wearing squelchy spandex. It wasn't my finest hour. As he drove through what can only be described as a swimming pool full of dirty water, I'm sure I heard the wagon driver howling with laughter. Just you wait... next time I'll be ready!
            The very best thing about losing at puddle racing was that, because I was soaked, I sprinted around my local mountainous route. I ran eight miles in only 1 hour, 13 minutes. I didn't walk, I didn't nap, I didn't nip behind a tree for a wee and sting my bottom in a patch of nettles... I just kept on squelching. Perhaps I need to arrange for the wagon driver to chase me around my half marathon course, then I'm sure to achieve my personal best! 
Happy puddle running lovely readers x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

S is for... SMILE! You're running.

Since booking the Leeds Half Marathon, I have been having a little trouble sleeping. It's not the steep hills on the Ring Road that keep me awake, it's not the fact that we pass a pony sanctuary on the way through Meanwood (I really don't like ponies... I was once bitten by one. Honestly.)  It's not even the fact that I have to wear spandex and run through student land (otherwise known as Headlingly) while all the freshers bounce around with their perky bottoms and perfect pony tails. No. It's the fact that, in all probability, I will see someone I know.
            It's not the 'seeing' that worries me. It's more the 'getting beaten by' and 'wearing spandex in front of' the person I know which is my problem. And, because I hate staring at the ceiling in the wee small hours (and listening to my husband snoring) I decided to take positive action and resolved to do something about it. And the something I decided to do outside! There's nothing half as motivating as fear of humiliation.
            Last night I ran 4 miles... in the dark. I enjoyed it so much that tonight, I ran another 6 miles. I know, can you believe it?! It's been almost 4 weeks since my last proper outdoor run and I was expecting my body to have a bit of a protest, but I felt really strong and only the prospect of running on un-lit roads in the dark (I am more scared of ghosts than attackers) prevented me from running further.
            Running in the crazy wind, rain and dark has forced me into some extreme wardrobe activity. Last night I wore a vest, a long sleeved t-shirt, a hoodie and an illuminous jacket as well as full length legging and football socks. I don't mean to brag but I looked magnificent! I looked even better when I realised that my hood had a string around it and I could pull this string really tight so that the rain wouldn't get on my face. I had that string so tight that the air couldn't reach my face- at mile 2 I started to hyperventilate and had to loosen off a little. Imagine Kenny from South Park... now add football socks and a wobbly botty... oh yeah. Like I said, MAGNIFICENT!

            I've really enjoyed the running but I have noticed one thing: No-body smiles in winter! I passed at least 10 other runners and not one of them smiled, their lips didn't even twitch. I smiled and I waved but they simply ignored me (perhaps it was because my face was purple owing to the lack of circulation caused by the hood.) For whatever reason though, winter runners seem mean and grumpy. Perhaps it's the weather, perhaps it's because they are too seriously tough to smile, perhaps they are blinded by their ambition to run 26 miles in the torrential rain... whatever the reason, they don't smile and it's not acceptable.
            So, first thing Monday morning I am going to order myself a 'Smile... you're running!' t--shirt with a huge happy face on it. I'll force them to smile the miserable people! If my master plan fails, I'll just wear it to bed. At least it will give me something to smile about whilst counting my husbands thunderous snores at two o'clock in the morning!

 Smile if you're a runner! x

Thursday, 5 January 2012

M is for M-o-o-o-o-ves like Beyonce!

Day 5 of my quest for the perfect body (perfect is probably too strong a word... body that doesn't wobble and is firm-ish in some/ most area's would be more accurate.) Quite honestly, I didn't want to go the gym. I was also a little bit cross that dance aerobics was scheduled at the same time as The Big Bang Theory on E4, nevertheless, I accepted these minor irritations with my usual grace and, after strapping my body into the obligatory eighteen layers of lycra, I hit the leisure centre.
            Dance aerobics was first. I  spent an hour forcing my spare tyre to wobble and roll in time to LMFAO. It was fab and I loved it. Then I went to the gym, which was almost deserted despite it being only day 5 of January. I expected it to be full of fresh faces, all 'don't know how this machine works...giggle,giggle', and 'gosh I love the gym because I've only been twice,' but no. There were a couple of the regulars: sweat stained, grimacing with pain, (you know, normal people) and me (who gave them a run for their money with both the sweating AND the dodgy facial expressions. If grunting and scowling simultaneously was an Olympic sport, I would definitely snatch the gold!)
            After 4 miles and a bit of weight lifting, I went for a swim. I only did 40 lengths...well, E4 were showing The Big Bang again at 10 and I didn't want to miss it!
                                    All in all, a good start to the new year.
 Separated at birth? Absolutely! Can't you see the startling physical resemblances?!

Because it's only week one of January, I am holding firm with my new years resolutions.  I've booked some of next year's races. As you may remember, it was my intention to run a marathon this year but I have decided - in my infinite wisdom- and because my butt muscles were a little bit crampy when I booked the races- that I will spend this year mastering and really getting to grips with the half marathon. Perhaps I might even cross a finish line without my life flashing before my eyes and my dead Nanna ordering me to walk towards the light. To this end, I have 4 10K's lined up before March and the Leeds half marathon in May.
            I was born and raised in Leeds so I'm already feeling pretty sentimental about conquering the mileage. The only problem is that I might see someone I know... even worse, I might see someone I used to go to school with... showing my lycra clad, cellulite ridden bottom ... wearing a fanny pack... eek! Better get back to the gym. I'm going to really need a body like Beyonce if I'm gonna rock that half marathon! 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Hello again and Happy New Year to all of you Bloggies out there! I must admit that it's been some time since my last blog... it's also been quite some time since I ran anywhere (apart from to the kitchen cupboard for more chocolate.) I'm ashamed to say that I haven't even been to the gym for three weeks.
Yes dear readers, it's sad but true. Somewhere between three bottles of Christmas wine, five boxes of chocolates and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, I fell off the wagon. Big style!
I don't know what happened... one minute I was filling my Christmas list with all kinds of fitness gadgets, the next minute I was becoming re-acquainted with my sofa and the wonders of SKY+. Obviously sensing my shift in mood- from go-girl to no-girl, my husband bought me a running book called 'What I talk about when I talk about running.' Basically it's written by a famous novelist who says that he simply cannot write well if he doesn't run.
This got me to thinking... I kinda 'forgot' to write anything whilst I was snoring on the arm of my sofa. So perhaps the guy has a point- running and writing are the perfect combination? If so, I need to get going... and fast! Another tiny factor which adds to my new found impetus to exercise is my weight: Since I stopped smoking, I have gained 1 stone and 4 pounds (11 pounds of which have appeared since I stopped training for my half marathon- even I can't ignore that kind of math!)
So, not only do I need to re-ignite my love of all things spandex and write every day, I now need to lose a pesky stone and a half. And what better time to change my life than the New Year! And what better way to write my steps to success than in a list... it's resolution Heaven!
Kelly's New Year's Resolutions - an exhaustive and thorough list!
A: Arse! Lose my second arse which is wobbling somewhere just above the back of my knee caps.
B: Bite the bullet and run outside. Yes it's dark, yes it's raining, yes my hair gets frizzy in the wet but I must conquer the winter!
C: Cut out the obsessive viewing of 'The Big Bang Theory' and actually write something myself.
There. Sorted! Such is the power of the list that I am now going on-line to book a few Spring races.
Aerobics, gym and swim tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to bend my knees enough to walk to my laptop to type in my report. Fingers crossed x