Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Neoprene Ninja

Open water swimming conjures up all sorts of images in the mind; vaseline covered men in speedos heading for the channel, angry fish biting your toes, leg entrapment in killer weeds camouflaged beneath the murky surface etc etc.
Despite all the fears of an untimely water-related death, my follow swimmer buddies always speak of open water with such enthusiasm and a dreamy look in the eyes as if they wish they could be gliding in slimy, squalid scum as we speak.
With the Club Relays in less than eight weeks and a 550m open water swim (which I admit I didn't realise was an open water swim until I was already registered) to contend with, I knew I had to get in some practise.
The first thing of course was to get a wetsuit - which is compulsory for the majority of triathlons in UK water. After scanning the web and trying to figure out sizing charts that disappointingly require your body to be in proportion, I gave up and headed to the local shop to be properly fitted.
Word of Eggy Wisdom here: If you're going to buy a wetsuit, do it in winter and do it on a day where you aren't planning to do any exercise. I had been for a run earlier and was still hot and bothered, especially as it was a particularly warm British Summer day! I sweated more trying to squeeze myself in to the blasted thing than I sweated whilst out running. Good grief it was tight, either that or I have the bottom of a giant (no comments please...). I discovered fat deposits I didn't know existed as I crammed myself in.
It was a good thing I had been fitted by a pro who took one look at me and judged the size perfectly. I think I may have cried or at the very least had a nervous breakdown if I'd needed to try on a second one.
Now, armed with the wetsuit, I had no excuses. To be honest I was acually feeling very excited about getting out there. A good swim session in the pool last night gave me a last minute boost of confidence, so I came home and carefully packed my bag before bed to reduce the risk of forgetting vital things like knickers and goggles in the early morning rush.
The alarm went off at 5am and I had time to scoff down a little bit of brekkie before going off to meet AJ, who was not only giving me a lift but had very kindly agreed to stay with me and see me through my first swim. He is an absolutely ridiculously awesome swimmer too, so I knew I was in safe hands.
When we arrived at the lake the sun wasn't quite up above the treeline yet, but already steam was coming off the surface. It looked very inviting indeed. I pulled on the wetsuit over my swimmers (which I had worn - thankfully - after a chat with AJ last night, who informed me you have to take off your wetsuit outside at the end of your swim so going naked underneath is generally not advised) and in the cool morning temperature it went on like a dream. Tight, yes. But not sweaty, red-facd, stressed-out tight.
On stepping into the water I was really surprised how warm and how clear it was, no questionable floating gunge or anything!
My challenge was to go from "green buoy to green buoy" which is around 375m straight down the middle of the lake, and then come back. It was ideal as there is a wire you can follow so you don't need to worry about looking where you are going or ending up lost in the expanse of water.
The great thing about the lake is that you can't get to the end, stop, have a rest and a chat etc. You just have to keep swimming! Once I settled into the rhythm I was away - and I swam further without stopping than I have ever swam in the pool, it was brilliant!
As the sun rose and glistened off the water, it hit me just how much better this was than the pool. Less convienient - sure, but no dry-haired old folk taking up all the space, no stinking chlorine-flavoured hair and above all, way less chance of catching verucas or other nasties from vile, disease-ridden children - perfect. Everybody should be doing this! I'm glad they're not though as that's more space and solitude for me.
I exited the lake as a newly appointed neoprene ninja.. refreshed, relaxed and ready for the day All of this before most people had gotten out of bed!
Verdict: Amazing start to the day, amazing start to open water and quite frankly, amazing that black neoprene is quite so slimming (once you're in there!)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Smoothie does it

A fairly heavy eating weekend mixed with far more relaxing than I'm used to meant the weigh-in this morning was a little bit awful. I did head out on Sunday morning for an 8.5 mile run which is the longest I have managed on my own up until now. But my body sadly didn't take this effort into consideration when I stepped on the scales. Luckily I didn't go over my 9 stone limit but I did hit it.. or more like it hit me. As with all my bad moments though I did immediately feel that something had to be done. So I took out the notepad and pen, planned my food for the day and headed out for an early morning swim. I won't tell you everything I ate but I have been super healthy. One of the girls at work even brought in treats at lunchtime, but she was VERY considerate and she brought solero yogurty ice cream thingys which she quickly informed me were only 90 calories (she's learning, after my rants about the lure of cookies!) so I figured that was a worthwhile addition to my day. I've just finished off with a blueberry, strawberry and grape smoothie, with a scoop of whey and fat-free yoghurt. This combination - let me tell you - is absolutely delicious despite looking like something Barbie could have thrown up. Smoothies are just brilliant. You can throw whatever random things you find in there and mix it all up and mostly it tastes nice. Banana and peanut butter, raspberry and melon and kiwi, grape and lime are a few of the other scrumptious mixture I have discovered. You can throw in vegetables, you can use different flavour yoghurts or milk or just make a crazy juice mixture. It's food-experimentation heaven. Just you and a blender, becoming one. Just a bit of advice though for anyone inspired to make a smoothie. No matter how good an idea you think it is, and even though innocent smoothies have done it, never, ever, ever try to put spinach in a smoothie...

Friday, 25 June 2010

Woops...

Today started off very well indeed. In fact, I sort of did my own mini triathlon. I started with a swim session first thing, then met Michael and went for a fantastic ride on the mountain bikes, then a very quick T2 (transition 2 - changing from bike to run) carrying Roxy up the stairs and very quickly changing into my runners to make the women's Friday afternoon run group which I did make, with about two minutes to spare - phew!
Everything was brilliant.
The biking was outstanding, we hit a great trail and did what felt like a reasonably speedy 25 miles (in the picture we had just topped out of a killer hill - hence the resting!) of mixed terrain madness. I thoroughly enjoyed making the most of my locking forks, switching between bouncy for the trails and fixed for the roads - felt like a total pro. We did a great scary downhill bit with bumps and gravel and all sorts and I didn't even fall off once! It was SO good that I didn't even get sunburnt.. Michael said that it was because we were "riding so fast the sun couldn't catch us".. which I think was probably right!
I was so excited about the success of the ride and energy levels were high, so when I changed into my runners I sprinted over to the sports centre to meet the group and arrived a totally sweaty but very happy mess. We did a lovely 4-miler around some green bits of Salisbury that I didn't even know existed.
After a bit of a rest and a munch I then had a cracking game of badminton with my dad just to finish off a super exercisey day.
After a shower and some more scoffing I sat down at the computer to sort out my ticket for tomorrow's Sportive. I've been very excited about it and the weather is going to be glorious all weekend. I was waiting for today to book the ticket as it's payday, and I had kept checking out the website throughout the month to check there was still plenty of availability. You can see where this is going - SOLD OUT. Noooooo! I am gutted! I even checked the other longer route to see if there were spaces left and that was sold out too.
Ok, not so bad. There will be other sportives. The problem is in my very brief moment of grumpiness I noticed the Bar of Plenty poking it's nutty little purple head out of the box I had put it in.
The "woops" is twofold, woops I didn't book the ticket for the Sportive I've been planning for over a month, and woops for eating a whole Bar of Plenty. D'oh - I was doing so well! At least I chose a day on which I have burned a lof of calories.
The silver lining here is also twofold. 1. That chocolate (which by the way was not 170g as previously stated but a mere 140g) remained uneaten and in my life for over 24 hours which means only one thing - I am indeed a changed woman. 2. I now have a wide open weekend to spend some time with my sister and to take a well-earned rest day!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bar of Plenty

Cadburys have brought out a new chocolate bar, named "Bar of Plenty". It looks very good indeed. Tesco have a special offer on and a 170g bar is £1. We all know how I feel about stuff that costs £1 - it's an irrestible bargain!
I saw it on Tuesday morning when I went in before work to pick up something for lunch, and I managed to stay strong. Then I saw it again on Wednesday morning, I walked past quickly and focused all my attention to the bananas.
Today I went for a cycle this morning at 7.30, absolutely glorious day for it and we ended up doing just a fraction under 50 miles, if I had cycled right up to my front door it would have been spot on. I had the urge afterwards for a decent lunch and popped into town to get one of Reeves' mega lunch rolls - yum! I even picked up a vegan date and walnut cake (that's one thing, not a date with a vegan and a piece of cake) which, even though it was cake, was wholemeal and a very healthy treat methinks.
I went to Tesco with three items in mind, and when I walked past the sprawling and enticing Cadburys display I couldn't help thinking how rubbish and empty my basket looked. £1. I bought the chocolate.
The amazing thing about this story is that the chocolate bar has been in my possession now for approximately 6 hours, and I haven't even eaten it, not even one serving (a serving, FYI, is 3 chunks.. as if!). I'm quite pleased with myself and my own willpower!
The next few days I have a lot more cycling lined up. I will be doing my first cyclosportive on Saturday and I'm very excited indeed - maybe I'll celebrate with the chocolate..

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Easy Run?!

STOP PRESS, this is not an oxymoron. I have now witnessed this with my own eyes (and more importantly, my own legs). I have proof on a heart rate monitor and everything! Back in the day - and I mean way back - when I was a few stone heavier and had a ridiculous haircut, I thought I would never, ever be able to run for longer than 10 minutes. I started a total novice ultimate beginner training plan that involved 1 minute jogging, then 2 minutes walking and so on. Those were the most exhausting and painful minutes of my life at the time. But eventually it did get easier, and 10 minutes, whilst still painful, was achievable. Even much more recently as I've started to really get into running, I never thought I would be able to really improve, to get faster and to go for longer. Flicking through running magazines frantically searching for inspiration frustrated me as all of their training tips and plans involved running at different paces, who runs at different paces?! I had one pace and one pace only, or two actually if you count walking. Running is hard enough as it is without trying to go even faster. However, a bit of perseverance and a bit of running with people who are faster has made me up the pace in recent weeks - which is brilliant, but of course still involves the pain factor. It doesn't matter how much you run, if you're improving, it still hurts. However, the magic moment happened tonight. I fancied going for an evening run to make the most of the long, sunny evening. The problem was that I had eaten a hefty portion of stir fry and if I went out all guns blazing I thought there would be a strong possibility of involuntary regurgitation. I thought that instead I would go out, but just take it very steady. Ten minutes into the run and I couldn't even hear myself breathing. Not because I was dead you understand but because I just wasn't out of breath yet! Amazing! Two miles later and I was still trotting along happily, fresh legged and bushy tailed. I even picked up the pace a little bit for the last mile or so and I still felt brilliant. Only a slither of gentle perspiration to show that I was working at all, as opposed to the usual torrent dripping over my brow. In fact I didn't even really need a shower when I got in (I had one anyway, just to be on the safe side). So an easy run is possible. All those other runners have not been lying all this time as I had suspected. It just takes a bit of work first and then you can reap the rewards. 4.5 miles. Easy.

Friday, 18 June 2010

One Month Down

A whole month has passed since I decided I was going to change my life around and get healthy.
I wanted to look back at the goals I set myself and see where I was at..
1. To swim 400m comfortably.
Well, this one is coming along. At least now I can indeed physically swim 400m which is a huge improvement on my previous standards! It has involved some hardcore early mornings in the pool fighting for space with ruthless pensioners but despite this progress has certainly been made. It's not quite at the "comfortable" stage yet but I'm definitely on track.
2. Stop drinking.
Apart from the aforementioned trip to Oxford and wine during Mother's visit this has been entirely successful. I think two indiscretions in a month is quite acceptable?! Wine is grapes anyway, which brings me to...
3. Eat way more fruit, eat way, way less cookies.
The fruit bit of this has been easy. I've been stocking up in vast amounts from the market and creating all manner of bizarre smoothie concoctions, as well as keeping fruit snacks available on my person at all times for moments of weakness.
I have actually been good with the cookies as well, it's been quite some time since I had any and I purposely try not to look directly at them when I'm in the supermarket. If they know I'm looking they'll make me eat them.
I have even been making super posh, healthy lunches at work. Check out my stuffed peppers!
I have had the odd cake, mainly on market day when the man with the biggest chunks of cake in the world for a measley 75p comes out to play - I just can't resist the bargain.
Also, next door to the shop is a Health Food Shop who have freshly made goodies every day. I have succumbed twice to their pecan flapjacks but I haven't counted this as a naughty because it must be healthy, it's all in the name?!
4. Break the 9 stone barrier - for good!
I am happy to report that I am there! For a week now I have been sitting juuuust under, and more importantly, keeping the weight fairly constant. Hurrah! I must keep up the healthy living though in order to maintain this!!
5. Run an 8 minute mile.
Like the swimming, this one is going to take a bit longer to reach the required standard. Getting out and running with faster people has been (absolutely knackering) the best thing and has sped up my own pace a good amount. I have dropped from averaging 10:30 minute miles in all my runs to being able to maintain a 9-9:30 minute mile. I don't want to try to do too much too fast so I'm happy with the progress on this goal.
In general I'm fitter and healthier than I was a month ago, wooohoooo! Thanks for messages of support I've had too, it really does help. Let's keep the health train on the tracks!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Roxy and the Nettles

I know what you're thinking and no, this is not the name of a brilliant new band I've discovered. Roxy is the newest addition to family Egg and she's a mountain bike. I've been enjoying cycling so much recently that I thought it was time I faced my demons and got back out doing some off-roading.
I should explain to anybody who has only recently come into my life that me and mountain bikes haven't always gotten on so well. The last time I started to get anywhere near fit and skilled was in Greece in 2007, where we would go out two or three times a week in the early morning. Gradually the routes got longer and harder until one fateful day, on a route named "The Magic Roundabout" I had a bit of an accident. A high-speed, downhill accident. There's a photo here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/photo.php?pid=64530&op=71&o=global&view=global&subj=502863463&id=502863463&ref=pf
So, naturally I've been a bit tentative about getting starting again. But, in the name of fitness and exercise variation, I decided it was time.
Pedals were on, pump attached, spare tubes, tyre levers and a bike tool thingy. Sorted, I wasn't taking any risks. I arranged to meet Michael after work. Now, Michael is someone I met in a spinning class. Lovely chap, bit cheeky but mostly harmless. We've been out road biking a number of times and he is absolutely top-notch when it comes to local knowledge and knowing where to go route-wise.
We set off and within ten minutes we were heading up a seriously overgrown track. Overgrown with all the stuff you don't want it to be overgrown with i.e brambles and nettles. A few little scratches and stings and I was feeling alive, this is what off-roading is all about!
As the path got a little steeper I was playing with the gears and dropped down to the little one (the granny gear, as Michael calls it), but instead of dropping down the chain just came off. I was at a standstill, cleated in and I toppled over.. into.. you guessed it: brambles and nettles! Super. Good grief did it sting.
Still, the pride was still mostly in tact so I picked up and carried on. Another little bit steeper so I went to try again. Once more, the chain came off. And no, I didn't learn from the first time, over I went. This time into what felt like a much more vicious set of nettles, they even went for the face.
I started to get a bit grumpy, mostly from the red, lumpy stinging nastiness but also because I realised that Roxy wasn't quite right either. Michael got me out as I laid there, still clipped in and looking like an eejit. We agreed I would just stay in the middle gear and then it would all be fine.
So we carried on, and despite the fact on side of my body was pulsing with pain, it was ok! We got through one narrow track that scared me a bit, purely because if I fell the same way it would have been into barbed wire and then we started out on an altogether nicer, wider and clearer track.
Aaaaand, I got a flat. I got a flat and a serious case of the grumps. It as a good thing I had brought the spares, Michael, I must say, was a tyre changing guru and managed to stay cheerful through my girly, ranty "I want to go home" bit. I really was ready to give up, especially as I now looked like I had some sort of lepracy.
Reluctantly I got back on the bike and we went on up the hill. Then, believe it or not, it started to get good! We headed down some fun, windy, overgrown stuff and I managed to stop a couple of times without falling over. As I got a bit of confidence back I started goig a little faster and then I managed to hit a hidden tree stump and go over again, but it was a soft landing and I was straight up and back on it.
The rest of the ride was absolutely marvellous. I did come off one more time but that was totally Michael's fault because he stopped right in front of me on some gravel so I'm not taking any responsibilty for that one.
I got back stung to buggery, scratched to bits, with aching legs and feeling completely exhilerated! Roxy needs to go in to have her gear changing adjustment mechanical bit sorted (one day I will learn what I'm talking about) and then hopefully we'll have a long and happy future of trail ahead of us. And I will learn to uncleat quickly instead of falling over.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Portions

Before I tell you what I've been up to today, I would like to have a bit of a rant about cereal... When you're as health-conscious as I am, you - to the detriment of a happy life - check the nutritional value of everything you eat. If I don't know what's going in, I don't stand a chance when it comes to getting the weight off. Most food nowadays comes with fairly good information regarding it's nutritional content and will usually tell you how many calories you'll get through if you eat a "portion". Now this "portion" that they talk of is, in my mind, an extremely subjective matter but a lot of the time it is fairly accurate. Rice and pasta for instance, is always dead on. However, according to producers of cereal, a portion size would involve a bowl that looked like milk had been spilt in it with less than a baby's handful of actual cereal! I think the variety packs you can get can only be a rubbish practical joke that has gone on for far too long, who could ever be satisfied with 30g of cornflakes?! You need at least 50g just for a first course of a decent breakfast. Phew, rant over! So, after my four portions of Shreddies this morning I was fuelled and ready for some Sunday morning exercise. I had planned a swim but having left my swimming kit at work yesterday I was in a state of confused disarray. Deviating from your training plan is always a bit dramatic as you frantically figure out how to rearrange and get the right amount of different things in. I had also planned a long run though, and this was made easier by being invited out by a few of the ladies from the running group. Normally my long run is around 6 miles and by the end of it my legs have given up and decided to go from being legs into being sticks of pain. However, having a bit of company really keeps your mind off the actual running and you can concentrate on having a jolly good chat instead! 8.5 miles later and my legs were as fresh as a daisy, which more than can be said for my t-shirt. A really brilliant run in great company, and we averaged just over 10-minute miles so not bad all in all. I did feel the ache later today though as I had to cancel my cycle, the legs were definitely feeling a bit drained after a day of the stairs at work. Instead I came home, relaxed and made a lovely veggie chilli. For anyone that's ever eaten my cooking, you'll know my portion sizes are very anti-cereal.. and I just couldn't resist having two!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

"Bianca's First Flat" and other tales of success in the face of adversity

I went out for a cycle with Hannah first thing this morning. A steady, undulating local loop to get the day off to a cracking start. We were heading down a hill at a not-too-sensible pace, I was just in front and at the last minute I saw it, a giant jagged pot-hole. Actually more like a tarmac crevasse that had opened up to swallow the lovely village we were riding through. I couldn't avoid it, and my lovely bike had her first ever blowout. Front tyre was as flat as one of my really badly made pancakes after it's fallen on the floor and I've slipped over on it.
Luckily for me, this was not Hannah's first time. She may well hold the record for most number of flats in the shortest space of time and has had several unlucky incidents of late. I hadn't even come to a stop and she was armed and ready with tyre levers in one hand and a pump in the other.
With her expert knowledge (she has been doing some serious googling of tyre changing instructions, and was literally quoting it step-by-step) and some hardcore leverage and pumping, we were back on the road.
22.38 miles and a couple of big hills later and I took Bianca home so she could rest and recuperate.
I went on to have a super productive and busy day of generally getting things done. When I had finally settled, I then decided it was time to kick it up a notch. It has been a while since I've run a 5k against the clock, so I headed out into the grey and windy evening determined to set myself a new personal best.
After the first kilometre I was already hurting, and when I hit the halfway point I thought my heart was going to go into meltdown as I turned right into the wind. But by that point I was off the track and onto the road and the legs just kept going. By the last kilometre I think I may have been groaning on each exhalation as mothers with pushchairs and small children were giving me a very wide berth.
Finally, I hit the end and really thought there may have been a chance of projectile stomach regurgitation I had exerted myself that much. I checked my watch.. 27:00:2. WOOOOOHOOOOO, TWENTY SEVEN minutes! Wow! For anybody who is not mathematically inclined that approximates to a 8:26 minute mile, which is by far the fastest I have ever run over any distance whatsoever. I celebrated with a good stretch and a handful of almonds.
Could this day get any better? Why yes, it could.. I planned to go for another swim tonight, and once again, Leo came on down to give me some handy hints. I won't go too much into it, but the crack is, I can actually swim now! I even did two lengths in a row without a break which for me is quite something. That 400m triathlon swim is looking more achievable by the day. I celebrated this with a banana.
All in all a super day!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Doggy paddling...

I went with one of the quick groups on Monday and by gosh were they just! We did five 1 (ish) mile loops and I'll admit, there were actually moments where I had to stop talking.
After this I had arranged to meet my buddy Leo down the pool for a bit of a swim sesh. Now, even though one of my five goals at the moment is to get to a good 400m swimming standard, I have been particularly slack in this department. Quite frankly, I'm a rubbish swimmer and I can't do it and it makes me grumpy. Leo is a good motivator though and quite rightly suggested that I break it down and just try to work on one thing at a time.
After watching me splash and splutter over two lengths he said I should try a drill which I definitely had not expected. Doggy paddle. Apparently this is a really effective way of getting the underwater bit of your stroke right. What it also does is make everybody, including the lifeguards, keep glancing over to check that yes, somebody is in fact doggy paddling up and down the pool.
I must say though that it did work and I realised where I had been going wrong. Not only that but it was a fantastic workout for the arms! Of course it's going to take much more practise and everything else about my swimming technique is utterly wrong but I am filled with a sense of hope!
Tuesday I played badminton with my Dad, it's a regular social thing we've started doing and as well as being a good bit of exercise, it also provides us with a healthy dose of laughter as inevitably one of us will get hit in the forehead or trip over our own feet or perform some bizarre dance/lunge style manoeuvre that has us both cracking up. I followed this with a game of squash and guess what? I lost. 6 - 0! The day will come.. in fact this month there are six people in my division so statisically (as opposed to realistically) there is more chance of me actually winning a match!
And on to today. I had agreed on Monday that I would give the Wednesday running group a shot. I have been avoiding it up until now because the Wednesday group are a bit hardcore and scary. I often see them on the way out as I'm heading to the gym. A fierce torrent of determined flourescence pounding the pavement.
I tentatively found where they met and headed straight for a friendly face, one of the ladies from the Monday group - phew! It's a really big group and they meet in quite a small room where you can feel the slightly clammy pre-run excitement and smell the testosterone. I was told when the man in charge shouts "Go!" everyone heads for the (one, small) door, trampling over the weak as they rush to get in the lead..
Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit but they all did look mega fit. However, I'm pleased to say I made it through the first run. Sweaty and knackered yes, but in tact.
I then came home and became a culinary genius, whipping up a chicken and spinach carbonara with fresh-from-the-garden spinach - yum. I didn't even have seconds either!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Dancing is waaaay better than aerobics

Saturday started off well. Just over 45 miles of cycling in the sunshine set me up nicely for the day. I didn't even have cake when we stopped for a breather! Next I was heading to Oxford to catch up with an old friend. I admit I did have a chocolate cookie from the market for the journey (one of those ones I mentioned before that's as big as a plate) but I did feel it was justified having just cycled lots.. plus I've been thinking and dreaming about it since I first laid eyes on it and I needed closure. Now I knew the no-drinking rule was going to go out of the window. I just said to myself that I wouldn't go mad and I definitely wouldn't get drunk enough that an end of night kebab would ever sound like a good idea. After a very tasty but sensible dinner we started on the cocktails. I was only logical choice seeing as I'm trying to get my five a day in. A raspberry is still fruit even if it contains tequila. If I remember rightly (which I do, as I was not too drunk that I can't remember) we were in the club pretty near opening time and then spent the next 3 -4 hours on the dancefloor, in fact, not just on the dancefloor but ruling the dancefloor. It's been a while since I've been clubbing and what happened can only really be described as an eruption of pent up dancing energy. The perspiration produced was far greater than say, going for a run, meaning this dance session definitely counts as exercising. All the thrusting must count as well! Much hilarity followed the next day, so the stomach got a good workout too. And whilst we fantasised about KFC and Chinese, we ended up eating a very tasty homemade lamb curry. Basically what could've been a horrifically unhealthy weekend actually worked out very well balanced all in all - hurrah!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Confession and Redemption

Yesterday did not quite turn out to be the healthy day that I had envisaged. The plan was to go for a run in the morning but when that alarm went off I just did not get that regular morning surge of excitement and energy. It could have been that I played badminton and squash the night before and was still a bit tired, it could have been a bad night's sleep - who knows! I just did not feel like going for that run.


Once you take exercise out of the equation, you're doomed. As I said previously, it's definitely the endorphins that make you feel good and want to eat well. It was going to take extreme strength of will to avoid the naughties.


I opened the fridge and discovered I was out of milk and uninspired, so I got ready for work and thought I'd head into town early and pick up some breakfast. Schoolboy error. The sweet scent of the bakery hit me on entry to Tescoand lured me over to a mouth-watering array of freshly baked goodies. A maple and pecan croissant in all it's nutty, syrupy glory chose me. I needed a coffee to go with it, obviously, so headed over to Reeves (Salisbury's finest bakery and the best cheese straws around) to pick one up. Oh dear, they'd just prepped the morning bacon and the rolls were fresh out of the oven. Decision made: a mega-breakfast it would be! I can always be healthy at lunch...


I was actually healthy at lunch, a balti-chicken wrap at 12.30 and then a munch on some fruit on my break - ideal. I then headed over to have dinner with my friend Maz, who had made a yummy veggie stir-fry. I brought some grape schloer, which we drank out of wine glasses so we could even pretend we were having wine!


Then it happened. Post-dinner munching over Britain's Got Talent. The breadsticks came out with the houmous, I'd (stupidly) brought over some cheese, there were crackers, doritos, japanese rice cracker snacks.. you get the idea. Maz very sensibly stopped after eating a decent amount of snackage - and it should be noted that I also did finish her stir-fry too. I'm just not the kind of girl that can stop when the food is still there. I am embarrassed to say I polished off the lot.


If that isn't bad enough, here's the crux. We then joked how I could pick up some cookies via the supermarket on the way home. I laughed it off. Full-bellied and very content, I headed home. As I passed through town the idea of cookies kept creeping back into my head, I got past Tesco - phew. Then Sainsbury stood in my way, a wall of dread with only one way through.. and that way was through the bakery section.


One hour, and five double chocolate-chip cookies later and I felt sick. I DESERVED to feel sick and I'm glad I did, because normally I can eat and eat and eat without that sicky feeling (ask my mum, record held for 9 easter eggs with included treats in one day). Slightly disgusted with myself, I headed to bed - which I am fairly sure I heard creak with the pressure as I got in.


So, this morning I woke up and did not feel so good. I went downstairs and made a cuppa, where realised it was actually 5:13 - so I sat in the garden and watched the sun come up. Fuelled by a mixture of feeling fat, guilt and a sense of endless morning time I decided now was the time for a run.


I headed out, warmed-up and settled into a good pace. My legs were fresh as a daisy from my unexpected rest-day and were ticking over nicely. I picked up the pace. About 1 mile into the run I was getting a bad feeling, a feeling that took me back to that ill-fated Army run a few years ago (for anybody that doesn't know the story, let's just say a severe bout of gastro attacked me during a training run and ended up being err.. messy). I decided to keep going, in fact I sped up as I knew there wasn't a lot of time. Soon I realised it wasn't that bad, just a general sicky feeling from eating too much cheese and chocolate - phew!


I did 4 miles (not including a half mile warm up and cool-down) and get this.. I did it FAST! It worked out at around 9:18 minute-mile. A big improvement for me so I am chuffed to bits. That just about cancels out the cookies too..


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

More Ants on a Log (plus one beetle)

I managed to leave work early today to make up for a bit of time owed, so after scoffing down my little pot of home-made sweet potato and lentil curry I strode out into the sunshiney afternoon with a spring in my step. One bike ride later (including a Snake Hill ascent) and I'm back home with a very serious case of the munchies... I mentioned in a previous blog how I was learning to love celery by having "ants on a log instead". Well, I had a load of it in the fridge and in a moment of masterchef-style genius I decided to create - with varying degrees of success - a plethra of other ways to enjoy it. It turns out laughing cow is a subtle but decent combination, but laughing cow and marmite most certainly is not. Adding a dried apricot (or "beetle on a log") to the laughing cow is surprisingly delicious as is "The American" which is peanut butter and jam! I used blackcurrant and can't vouch for other jams of course.. I also added a couple of almonds to peanut butter which tasted nice but was a bit hard going in the crunchy stakes. So there you go, amazing ways to eat celery! And who knew they needed to put water in dried apricots?!
In other news, yesterday was market day and under recommendation from two well-meaning friends I had to go to the bakery stall and get some carrot cake. The very nice man gave me the biggest slice in the world and it was divine! I did also notice that he had the biggest,
most amazing chocolate cookies that I had ever seen, but I managed to avoid getting one (actually, that's a total lie, I was out of change). I then went on to get completely destroyed on the squash court last night but the new league lists should be up today and I reckon it's going to be my month. Just one game, that's all I want! I think avoiding cake should help me win more games, in fact I'm sure of it!