Tag Archives: running

When are you a Proper Runner?

13 Aug

I’ve never really counted myself as a runner, even though I’ve always run.  I started back when I was about 15 and was rubbish at sport.  I have no hand to eye co-ordination, so was always last picked at netball and hockey and spent most of a tennis match apologising for not being able to hit the ball back.  But I could stick a pair of trainers on and go for a jog (I’m old enough that it was called jogging back then, not running).  I’d head out into the countryside and just run for a bit until I turned round and headed home.  There was no special kit, I was probably wearing plimsolls, no garmin and bearing in mind we’d only just got a house phone there was certainly no mobile phone app to record your distance.  It was always something I could rely on to clear my head and give me my space.  I probably didn’t even realise this was what it was doing.  When I left home and moved to London at the age of 18, tearful at leaving my boyfriend in Somerset, I’d go out and pound the streets and feel better.  Over time I started other things, aerobics, step aerobics, weights, I even learned to swim, but I always went back to running.  I guess I must have been ok at it as I can remember deciding fairly last minute to do a half marathon and coming in at under 2 hours.  I’m rubbish at remembering stats so I’ve no idea of exact time – I just remember that my fiance (the same boyfriend I’d left in Somerset) wasn’t at the finish line because, as he put it “I figured you’d be ages so I didn’t think I needed to hang around”.   I remember my entire shift (all blokes) making fun at me because jogging wasn’t proper sport or keeping fit and anyone could do it.  So I told them to join me in a 10k I was doing ….. I’d finished my race and jogged some way back along the course to run the last mile again with two of them who had to eat their words with a large portion of humble pie!

I had a bit of a falling out of love with running (and exercise generally) after the end of my first marriage, for lots of reasons that could be analysed by a psychologist but boiled down to my rebellion against a husband who’d been fairly insistent on me not getting fat (I was a size 8-10, I realise in hindsight I wasn’t fat, but that’s a whole different story and would be a very dull blog).  But I’d still get back to running – training to go to Nepal on a trek, I went back and pounded the streets and local wood (yes – trail running before I even knew what trail running was!  Bloody hell, I was ahead of my time!!).   I even remember my lodger – considerably younger and considerably slimmer than me – commenting in a rather annoyed manner, when I went for a jog with her,  that how on earth could I manage to run longer and faster than her when I did nothing!!  I guess muscle memory hangs on in there longer than you imagine.

Nothing else ever really appealed to me like running.  I like the solitude of it.  I know running clubs are great and lots of people like them, but I like that whole thing of just going out and doing my own thing.  Picking my own route, deciding a distance, plodding at my own pace and working through the crazy in my head.  When I have run with other people, I’ve been too pressured and picked up my first big injury from training with the next husband (plantar fasciitis picked up on training for a 10k – I maintain it was the hill sprints, he maintains it was me pushing to do an extra 500 yards to make an even number of miles on a run, but we’ll beg to differ).

Do you become a proper runner when you’ve had your first injury?  not sure, but its when you start to realise just how important running is to you.  When you can’t do it, you start to realise just how many extra lumps of cheese or Chinese takeaways those runs stop from settling on your legs and arse!  Its also when you realise just how jumbled your head can become when you haven’t got the consistent pounding of feet on ground to settle them into some sort of order or stomp them out of your brain.

But good physio help (thank you NHS!) and I’ve always been able to get back out there.  Even after two bouts of fairly major (non-running related) surgery, the aim of getting back out and building the miles back up helped speed recovery.

I think I still never thought of myself as a runner though, because I’ve never been fast.  I’ve never completed a marathon (half is still the longest distance I’ve run).  But I can get out and plod along and just keep going.  I’m like a little Shetland pony rather than a sleek race horse, but I was happy being a little pony.  I discovered that I loved to run in the rain.  I discovered the joy of head torches and running the streets in the dark, pretending I was escaping from zombies (as opposed to drunks, but they kinda look the same, just my version was more fun).

I started to think that maybe I was a runner, or could be.  I watched other people take up the recreational activity (sport?) that I’d always loved and achieve great things with it.  They smashed pb’s, they ran ultra’s, they lost bin loads of weight.  Why wasn’t I achieving that?  Maybe I wasn’t a proper runner, but perhaps I could be – so I put in for a marathon.  I started to train.  I was doing pretty well – got my distance back up to 11 miles, taking advice about proper fuelling strategies, nutrition, hydration and all the things that proper runners did.  Then it happened.  Another injury, but this time it just didn’t feel right.  My left hip was ridiculously painful.  Not a niggle, proper ‘hurts to run’ painful; ‘hobble like an old lady when you get up’ painful.  So I did what pretend runners do, I rested and figured it would get better on its own.  I rested for a month, the excruciating pain subsided to a constant ache – that meant it was better, right?  so I tried a gentle jog.  After a few hundred yards I had to stop and walk, pain was just too unbearable.  Now clearly the logical person would at this point think to see a doctor.  But I’m not a proper runner, it must just be lack of stretching or a pulled muscle or a bit of an ache.  So I rested some more.  It wasn’t til 6 months later when the realisation that the ache was always there, that going up hill was troublesome, that my dog walking had been reduced so that I wasn’t left hobbling that I thought perhaps I should see the doctor.  So I trundled along, figuring they’d refer me to physio and all would be well.  Instead x-rays and blood tests were booked.

I started to swim instead of running.  I found I enjoyed it.  But it wasn’t running.  I had to count lengths and so it didn’t have that mind clearing opportunity that running did.  It didn’t get me out in the fresh air and let me plan my world.  It was an interim until I could run again.

Then I found out when you are a proper runner.  Its when you find out you can’t run again.  Its when you sit in the doctors and get told you’ve got osteoarthritis in your hip, even though “it isn’t something we’d usually see developing so young”  (thank you at least for that, as my first reaction was “crap, did I fall asleep and age 20 years”).  Its when you’re told that its likely to also develop in the other hip.  That first action will be to refer for physio to try and manage the pain, but that it can’t be ‘healed’ just managed. That if the physio doesn’t help the pain management, there’d be a referral to orthopaedic surgeon, but reassuringly (??) “they don’t like to do hip replacement so early”.   That it will probably get worse, but no timescale.  You’re a proper runner when you ask “when can I run again” and you’re told to look for another exercise as it wouldn’t be wise to run.  When you realise you can’t run again and you leave the doctor’s surgery and cry in your car because it feels like you’ve lost something important.  That’s when you realise you’re a proper runner.

So I know that this is just another challenge that I need to face and tackle.  I know its not the worst thing in the world and I know that other people have far worse things to face.   I know that I need to now look at what I can do – swimming, non-impact gym work and so forth – and look at managing diet (ten pounds goes on remarkably quickly when running isn’t giving that calorie deficit!).  But somehow I’ve gone to being “someone who used to run” without ever really recognising that I was a Proper Runner.  And that makes me very sad.

What I learned from a Carrot

8 Apr

There’s an app you can get called Carrot.  Its a to do list organiser, but a to do list with attitude.  And a grudge.  If you don’t complete a task for a few hours it’s mood turns to wrathful and it thinks up punishments for you.  I resorted to putting in fairly simple tasks that I knew I had to do (get up, shower, drink water) just so I could cross things off the list and keep Carrot happy, or at least placated and not have it drop a house on me.  So if I’m so willing to keep an app on my phone happy through achieving simple things in life – why do I give myself such a hard time for things I perceive as ‘failure’?

I’ve been off work a few weeks now, stress related, so have had lots of time to think.  Sometimes for me that isn’t good as generally my thinking will start off very positive and with lots of goals and aims but then I’ll hit a set back and I’ll see that as a reflection of how crap I am so it reinforces my initial opinion and the spiral of self-hate starts back up.  So why set myself up for failure in the first place?  If I’ll let Carrot have simple tasks to be pleased with, why not do the same for myself?

Take marathon training.  At the beginning of the year I set myself a half marathon and marathon goal.  Things were going great, I was running regularly and had completed an 11 mile run in a couple of hours.  Half marathon was well within my grasp.  But then I picked up an injury – hip feels like its been beaten with an iron bar and has a constant ache in the bone like pressing on a bruise.  Resting hasn’t particularly helped and when I tried to run again, I couldn’t even manage a mile before hobbling home.  So what do I do:  I tell myself I’m a failure, that I can’t even run – even toddlers can run!  I’ve failed on the half marathon and I’m not likely to get the marathon.  But why am I looking at it like this?  Who have I ‘failed’?  No-one else particularly cares.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, as there has been some fantastic support from people both that I know and through Twitter (which is great for keeping you going but can also cause you to judge yourself harshly and unnecessarily when you see what amazing goals others achieve – but for a different blog!).  But in terms of will other people care to an extent where it changes their opinion of me?  I doubt it!  They have their own goals and aspirations and worries.  They’d have been happy for me if I’d succeeded but I doubt they’ll be turning up on my doorstep to chastise and berate me for not doing it!  So why am I not telling myself “well done, you ran 11 miles!  that’s the furthest you’ve run in a long, long time, that’s amazing!”  If I was Carrot I’d have given me a kitten for that!

In similar way, I’ve been looking at my ‘failure’ of a second marriage going down the pan and being on my own, again.  But is that really a failure?  Did I take nothing positive from the experiences?  Did I learn nothing?  Surely there are some positives in there that could be ticked off the list?   I need to relook at those relationships and figure out which bits could be ticked off the list (that’s going to be for another blog, too!)

The stress from work – maybe I need to stop trying to get everything to be perfect?  Nobody else seems to be bothered if things aren’t done absolutely correctly or if things aren’t black and white, so why am I the one putting my head over the parapet to question why things are being done as they are or trying to change it?  I suppose a coaching book would talk about circles of responsibility and circles of concern:  I’m going to look at it like an old pair of knickers instead.  The edges may be a bit frayed, the elastic might be getting worn and the colour is more grey than black or white – but they are keeping my arse covered and so why bother trying to change them!!

So for now, no more setting myself challenges or aims which may just serve to reinforce a negative self-image.  If someone doesn’t want to talk to me or be friends, then so be it; if I don’t eat healthily or lose weight then fine; if I stay single a bit longer, ok; if work doesn’t get done but I’ve done all I can, that’s all I can do.  Maybe at the moment its more important that my head is healthy and fit rather than being a size 12, marathon running Inspector.

carrot2

If I knew yesterday what I know today would I be looking at a different tomorrow

17 Jan

Do you remember that episode of Dr Who a few Christmases ago? Where Catherine Tate turns left instead of right and changes the course of the whole world? Everything ends up in chaos and destruction.  I was thinking about that as I ran the other night.  I wondered if I knew yesterday what I knew today would I be looking at a different tomorrow?  Not that I think if I’d taken a different choice would it impact on the whole world (or even that David Tennant, the REAL Dr, would come dashing in- I wish!) but who knows.  

 
What if I’d not changed my mind about going to Spain? What if I’d never left Hampshire? What if I hadn’t looked at ex’s phone that early morning?  What if I’d stayed in my first job and not left to be with my first husband? There’s so many points where I could have turned left instead of right.  Without the advantage of rewind or fast forward (or very good scriptwriters) I’ll never know how things could have been.  All I know and can know is the now.  Who is to say if a different direction had been taken things wouldn’t be very much bleaker? What if this IS the life where the Dr and Catherine Tate met up and saved the world? Is this what people mean when they talk about living in the moment?  So would I, if the Dr came and offered to whisk me back in the Tardis and change things, would I?
 
No.
 
I am where I am because the decisions I made at the time brought me here.  When I made them, I made them for a reason.  Those reasons, in hindsight or to someone else, might seem crazy.  But they were my decisions and they made me who I am and were based on who I am.  So I stand by them.  They brought me some wonderful, truely amazing moments that I’ll never forget and will cherish in my heart and soul for always.  They also brought me some awful moments, which I will try to learn from.  I’ll continue to work towards the things I want and to hold on to my dreams, but without torturing myself on the could have beens. 
 
So if yesterday me had today’s knowledge or even tomorrow’s knowledge, I wouldn’t change the things I did.  
 
Well, maybe apart from altering my lottery numbers.  Hey, I’m human and fallible, not a Time Lord. 

Sent from my iPad

Another mile closer …

14 Oct

This week has been a bit of a struggle.  One of those where everything just seems to pile up on top of me and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball under my duvet and stay there for a month or two.   But I guess when you’re a grown up and you have responsiblities you can’t really do that.  Firstly, they’d stop paying me, but before that I’d probably die of starvation as noone to bring me food and then the dog would eat me as he’d be hungry.  Actually, scratch that, he isn’t the sort of dog that would wait for me to die – he’d smother me with a pillow and then gnaw on my leg!

I knew it was going to be bad on a personal level, but to really kick me in the head, work decided to be really difficult this week.  I ended up having to cancel a day off and I went in on the weekend, yet despite that everything I did just seemed to go wrong.  At one point I cried.  At work.  In front of my boss.  I hate crying in front of anyone.  At all, ever.  To cry in front of my boss was just mortifying!  Although I think he was slightly more perturbed by it than me!

On a personal level its been…. shall we go with ‘challenging’?   Its almost a year now since the day I found the text that showed me my husband was cheating on me.  So it was going to be a bit difficult anyway, he’s still with the woman he cheated on me with and I’m alone.  But in that ‘yes I am going to kick you when you’re down’ way that I mentioned before – they’re heading off to New Zealand on holiday (well, part holiday, part racing in World Championship Tri, but he didn’t qualify so that is sort of amusing to me!).  Its not that I want to be with him, I really don’t.  But New Zealand was a dream holiday for us a few years ago and we always planned on going back.  So that he’s going there with someone else is hard, its as though I’m being airbrushed out of existence.   But more than that, it hurts that I’m still alone.  It hurts that someone can go so quickly from telling you that you’re their soul mate and that they love you so much and then all of a sudden they don’t think that any more and they’re telling someone else that.  It hurts to realise there is noone in the world that loves you.

So I had a bit of a mope this week.  I’ve cried a fair bit at home (in addition to the work bit), I’ve walked the dog in quiet fields and howled alone as I whipped along on the pity train.   But I’ve got a choice, I can sink into a pit of wallowing or I can do what I was doing before – just get on with things.  Get up, go to work, come home, do stuff, watch the days pass by.  So that’s what I’m doing.

In the spirit of that, I’ll focus now on what has been positive:

Had a fabulous weekend last weekend.  Friends came up from Hampshire and we had proper girls night out.  Lunch, wine and shopping during the day.  Cocktails and all of us getting ready together in the evening.  I wore a boned corset that I’d treated myself to and I felt like I looked ok.   I did seem to attract attention from traveller types and not the good ‘aussie back packers on a trip to the UK’ type, but that meant I did get to learn some good techniques from my friend in how to get rid of unwanted attention (that’s never been an issue for me before so I tended to be too polite!!)

I’ve lost more weight and am now less than a pound away from dropping into the ‘tens’ (ten stone bracket, that is, not size 10, thats a bit away yet!).  Even after a blow out weekend last weekend, I got back on to the healthy eating and managed to lose a pound this week.  19 pounds to go to target weight.

I’ve run:

Friday 5/10 I got up early so that I could get a 5k in before work.  It was slow, averaging 12.29 minute miles and I walked some of it.

Recovery from weekend meant I didn’t get back out until the 11th, when I upped the distance to 4.16 miles and dropped the time to 11.10 minute miles.  This time I didn’t walk any of it.  It was also absolutely tipping it down, but not only did I still go out there and do it, I actually enjoyed it more.  I think I mentioned once before that I seemed to like running in the rain.  That does appear to be confirmed.

Today, I wanted to run for an hour just to see if I could.  I had in the back of my head that I’d like to start moving towards the 5mile mark as I’ve got my eye on the Woburn Reindeer 10k in November.  Imagine how pleased I was at the end of the run to realise I’d run 5.46miles at a speed of 11.01 minute miles.   Though clearly as  do like to be hard on myself, I also thought if only I’d run another .04 I’d have done 5.5 and if I’d just sped up a bit I’d have been high 10’s!!!  But it gives me an aim for next week.  A mid week 5.5, a fast 3.1 and a 6mile next weekend.  Also going to look up the application for the reindeer run and have it ready just in case.

The technical bits and a picture of the hilly bits

Hot, sweaty, pasty faced – but proud of me!!

Edinburgh and beyond … things I have done today

2 Oct

Things I have done today:

  • sat a promotion exam
  • run 2.5 miles

I’m trying to take on board some feedback I got from a couple of different people this week, but which was along the same lines:  stop being so hard on yourself and actually acknowledge that you’re doing quite well.  That doesn’t come easily to me, like a lot of us, I’m probably my own worse critic (and bearing in mind some of the criticism I’ve received from others, that’s a hell of thing to be able to claim).  But I’m going to take a bit of a deep breath and whilst doing one of the exercises the physio gave me – I’m going to give myself a pat on the back.  (I will be doing this whilst sitting down and then rotating to one side whilst keeping hips still in order to stretch my back at the same time, fyi.)  I’ve lost 17lbs.   17lbs – that’s actually pretty good.  That would be a fairly hefty baby (apparently), its bigger than a puppy.   I couldn’t run 10k carrying a puppy – that’s perspective!!

I studied for an exam and sat it, not because anyone encouraged me, in fact the opposite, noone has pushed me to do this.  This might be a bad thing and might be a reflection that people think I can’t do it, but noone has taken me under their wing and started pushing me to build a portfolio and all the other blah that is known to happen in my chosen profession.  I did it because I wanted to.  I had to build in the time and still run my house, on my own, while I did it.  That might not be much compared to what some other people have to cope with on a daily basis.  But so what – I did it.  The actual result is fairly irrelevant, I gave it a shot.

Right, now the praise-fest is over, back to basics.  2nd run of this week completed.  Although I was only supposed to be doing a mile to build slowly, that was really never going to happen.  I did keep things slow though, averaging a 12.16 minute mile for 2.56 miles.   Combined walking and gentle jog, warming up with 10 minutes gentle jog then 30 second walk followed by 2.5minute jog, finishing with 9 minute jog.  Took 31 minutes to do 2.5 miles, which is about the pace I was doing a slow 5k, but considering I haven’t run in a dog’s age, not too shabby.  I’d been advised to look at my form and try to relax my back as I run.  I admit I’m a bit confused as to what that means.  I’ve run on and off for about 30 years and have just tended to stick one foot in front of the other and keep going, without putting a huge amount of thought behind it.  So I’m not sure which bits I’m doing right and which bits I’m doing wrong.  So today, I tried to let my arms hang loose so that my shoulders and back weren’t so hunched up.  I’ve always run with clenched fists and sort of punched my arms forward, which when I stand and do it, I can feel is very tensing.  So instead, I left my hands unclenched and open.  I did wonder, as I ran past part of the hospital, whether medical aid would be sent out for me as during the walk parts I took the opportunity to try and shake out my arms and shoulders  to relax them – so there was some rather odd arm waving and shaking going on.  Think some sort of Baptist Church revival sermon and that might give an idea of what I looked like.   On good note – legs felt fine, no problems in legs or feet (which is where past problems have been), which is very positive.  Back does feel a bit tight – but I did spend couple of hours hunched over an exam paper so that could just as easily be responsible.   But to go back to the original point – I went out and ran, even though it was raining, even though I’d already been out and walked some distance with the dog (and got a headbutt into the bargain!), even though I hadn’t had any tea.  No excuses – got out there and hit the pavements.

Food wise – quite proud of fact that I ran right on past the chip shop and didn’t even bat an eyelid.  Got in and didn’t grab junk food, instead I poached fish, roasted butternut squash and made fish pie topped with mashed cauliflower and squash.  Which is what I’m not going to head off to eat.

Overall – a good day.  I’ve stuck a photo below of a poster that I saw advertised ages and ages ago.  I think its meant for a child’s room, but the sentiment holds true whatever your age.

Dream, Imagine and Aspire to be just who you are.

There are dragons to slay

Edinburgh and beyond

29 Sep

I’m supposed to be revising, especially as the exam is in just over 2 days time.  Even sent the dog off to spend the weekend with the ex so that I could focus on cramming.  Which means I’ve been to the hairdressers, watched Poirot, been for a run and am now updating blog.   My ability to distract myself from what I actually should be focussing on is fairly astounding.  I even washed the floors in the week (admittedly between mock exams, but still).

So where am I right now?  Well – clearly as I mentioned the exam and revision, I am taking steps to achieve forward movement in my career.  However, I’m not totally confident that I’ve done enough.  I can make all the excuses about not having time:  get home from work, walk dog, make dinner, realise its gone 8 o’clock, hardly time to get the books out.  Weekends have to clean the house, shop etc etc etc, blah, blah, blah.  Ultimately though, I could have found time.  I could have got up earlier.  But I didn’t.  I chose not to, whether consciously or subconsciously.  On Tuesday I’ll know how that works out.  However, I’m not stressing on it.  It will be what it will be.  If I don’t pass, so be it, I enjoy the job I do now, I work with a great team and I’m looking forward to starting work with a new boss from next week so lots of challenges and opportunities coming up.  If I do pass, fantastic stuff …. just got to then wait for a board and who knows when that will be.  So really, no change on what I’d be doing anyway.

Weight wise – Dukan has been a success.  Slow, but successful.  I didn’t get the massive weight loss that some people have reported.  But, again, I’m not stressing on it.  I can only run my own race.  I’ve been losing around 1-2lb a week and since 21 July have lost 17lb.  More importantly, I feel more comfortable in my clothes.  I can throw on jeans and tshirt and feel like I look ok.  I’ve dropped a trouser size in my work trousers and will soon need to order a smaller size again.  I’ve got 21lb to go, but I feel like I can do it.  I’ve got used to the way of eating and I have the cravings under control. I won’t say I’ve mastered them, more like I’ve shoved them into the back of the attic like a mad old aunty (to clarify, I think I read that in a book or saw it in a film, I have never locked an aunty or any other family member in an attic).

Running – hmmm, since the 10k Race for Life some time back I haven’t run.  In fact I ended up with such a bad back I resorted to going to the doctors (I hate going to the doctors) who then referred me to a physio.  Physio’s advice was no running until my back had been sorted out.   A few weeks of stretching exercises (ably assisted by the dog, who thinks the moment you lie on the floor its play time.  Have you tried to do back stretches and core strengthening with a 29kg dog trying to climb on you and lick your face, it ain’t easy.  You never see that in a celeb dvd do you, no you don’t.) and a bit of massaging from the physio (brought to a rapid halt on one session when whatever it was she was doing made me throw up!) and I’ve been given clearance to run again.  This was on the proviso of  ‘Taking It Easy’ and ‘Building Up Slowly’.  That was on Monday.  On Thursday I entered Edinburgh marathon.  Ok, I know that doesn’t sound like Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly.  But in my defence, the run isn’t until May, so that’s loads of time to Build Up Slowly.  I’d been waiting for VLM results (Virgin London Marathon for the non-runners, its not some new underwear malfunction like a worse form of VPL).  Part of me was thinking I hope I don’t get it as I really don’t want to run a marathon.  But something weird happened as I waited for the letter or the pack and I started to make back up plans.  By the time the postman knocked at the door and Elvis delivered the news, I’d already looked Edinburgh up online.  That there was a code included in the rejection pack to get a guaranteed place seemed sort of like fate.  Next thing I knew, the application was in.  So 26 May, I will be doing my 26.2 in Scotland.  That in itself is fine, but somehow my mind which really doesn’t understand how to not go over the top and stick to a balance level, decided that isn’t enough.  So my aims for the next two years now include:

short term : back up to 10k fitness by end of November (Reindeer run!)

medium term : Edinburgh marathon

long term : a 30 mile run

then that’s it.  I can tick them off my list, know that I’ve achieved it and then just stick to running nothing further than 10 miles BUT and this is the big thing, sustaining that running, so that each week I’m running at least 4 times a week.  Forever.

In the interests of Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly, I went out for a trial run tonight.  Plan was one mile of 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk all at a very low pace.  Somehow  I ended up doing 1.72 miles, as I was so busy counting that I couldn’t hear the micoach telling me the distances.  The micoach updates on 2 minute points, so after the first 2 min check point I had to keep counting and doing maths in my head, which meant talking out loud to myself because I can’t do maths in my head.  Either I’m going to have to build up fairly quickly or go back to remedial maths classes.  I averaged 12.05 minute miles, so managed the  fairly slow bit.  Legs felt fine, but I’ve realised that I do tense my back up as I run and I can feel a tight band across it even though I’ve stretched out when I got back.  I’m telling myself that isn’t an excuse to book a massage on the alternate days to running and that instead I should find out what it is about my running style that’s making me do that and build my core up properly.  The massage bit sounds nicer though.

In other news – still not dating, coming up for one year since found out husband was cheating and kicked him out.  Part of me thinks I should be back out there and looking for someone new.  Other bit of me really can’t face the whole idea of trying to meet someone new, risking being rejected, risking being hurt again.  Safer to just stay in my own little bubble.  But who knows, friends coming to stay next weekend and we’re hitting the town.  Ok, we’re hitting Bedford and that really isn’t all that great.  BUT a new pub has opened up, its supposed to be good and I’ve been assured there were men there who looked like they were single, so who knows, maybe next week things will change.

For now, though:  I’ve an exam to take and a marathon to prepare for, so lets get out there and get on with it!

This photo has nothing at all to do with the blog, I just really liked it – its my dog when he met up with some other Slovakian Rough Haired Pointers and then they bumped into a Weimaraner puppy!

New & Improved: Progress Report

22 Jun

Come in & sit down, this review seems a little overdue.  Care to explain?

Sorry about that, after coming back from Spain I was a bit up and down. Was very conscious of not wanting to review while I was feeling negative – though in hindsight maybe that’s a good time to do it as it will help monitor improvement.   Difficult to write then, tho (& possibly a little dull as the pity train has uncomfortable seats, no free wifi & a crappy buffet that sells stale gingerbread & coffee that’s replaced flavour with therms-nuclear temperature.  And nobody likes that.)  Today, however, I’ve just been with a friend to pick up her new puppy – hello Artie – & noone can be down when they’ve been smothered in puppies (insert own joke if you must).

So, getting back on track (track, pity train, get it?  get it?  no?!  ok *sniff*):  how was Spain, and more to the point, how did it fit with your aims and objectives?

Spain was ok.  Got lots done, decluttered the house so that it can be rented out for holiday visitors, got some revision done (sat alongside a rather beautiful pool), ate some delicious tapas and didn’t kill the ex.  Even saved him from potential death or at least a rather nasty feeling of unwellness!  that’s got to earn me karma points, surely.  Nothing to do with me poisoning him either.  Moving some bits and pieces in one of the rooms we discovered a snake sleeping under a blanket.  A rather large snake (well, about 5 or 6 foot).  I’ve kept snakes as pets, but am by no means an expert, so couldn’t say what breed it was or whether it was poisonous.  But I do know enough to leave alone.  Ex-H came up with the cunning plan of popping it under a glass with a bit of card.  In the manner of catching a spider.  Tempted as I was to let him try this, I pointed out that it was a 5 to 6 foot snake, and that unless he had a very large glass and the ability to make sure the card (wtf, anyway?!) completely against the glass as he transported it, the snake would get out and he’d be faced with a rather angry snake in his hand, or up his arm (or round his neck …..).  Second plan, lets catch it on a dustpan on a stick.   At this point I saw money making potential (another one of my objectives being to get financially stable!) and asked if he’d wait til I got the video running so that I could fully capture the moment the snake did what snakes do, and coiled itself up and around the pole of the dustpan and towards his arm (or neck …..).   In the end he decided that my solution of moving everything the snake could hide under, leaving door open and leaving the room so the snake could just go out on his own and get some peace, was probably the best solution.  It was and snake was last seen heading under the wood pile.  (though when the mouse ran across my bedroom floor I’d have been quite glad for that snake, although then I’d need a mongoose for the snake and after that I’ve no idea what gets rid of a mongoose.  A tiger?  An elephant? )

All sounds very positive.  How about the exercise and healthy eating, how’s that going?

Despite the heat in Spain, I did get out for a 5k run.  There is something rejuvenating about running with a warm breeze in your face and the smell of jasmine wafting on the air.   The house is at altitude and amongst hills/mountains, so whichever direction you run there are always hills to tackle.  Was pleased that with the triple whammy of height, heat and hills I still managed 5k in about 37 minutes.  Still slower than I used to be, but I got out there and I did it, when I could have just sat in the sun.   I kept drinking to a minimum and only had a couple of alcohol nights (or in one case an alcohol afternoon and night…. with drunken tweets to show for it.   My ‘imaginary conversations I had with Princess Di’ came back to me the next day as sense crept back in over the haze of sangria).  

As soon as I got back to uk, I nipped up to London to meet up with friends and run the Race for Life in Battersea Park.   Fantastic atmosphere, great goody bags and a minute off my last parkrun time.  Next race is nearly here – 10k Race for Life in Bedford, so will be doing a 5 miler at the weekend.

And career wise – how’s the revision going?

Hmm, I’ve bought the latest books if that counts?  Having the books in the house means the information is absorbed by osmosis, doesn’t it?  No??  Perhaps not the best revision plan then.   I started work while away, but since being back I haven’t done much more than attend a seminar put on to help with the studying.   I will be setting up my revision corner this weekend though, planning a time table and getting stuck into it properly.

Now the one I know you struggle with, confidence – how are you feeling about you?

Can we skip that one?  No?  Really?  Ok, I’m still trying.  Reading comment that someone put on my last post they said I didn’t sound like the person they used to know.  I suppose to a large degree, I’m not that person any more.  I feel like I’ve had that person kicked out of me.  But slowly they are creeping back.   At the end of the holiday, the Ex-H commented that they hadn’t laughed so much in ages.  Now, ignoring the question of ‘how come you are laughing more with me than with the girlfriend you now claim is love of your life’, I’ll look on it that if I can put the effort in to be witty and charming and entertaining in front of a man I care nothing about, I sure as hell can drag that out in the company of potentially eligible men!  (before the question – no, I wasn’t doing it because I want him back, I just wasn’t going to let him see me down and I wanted to remind him of what he was missing!).  Up in London, friend and I ended up drinking and chatting with group of really great guys she was working with.  Because there was no pressure and I knew they were all married, I could be the old me.  The response part way through the banter and laughing was ‘I like her, she’s good’ (trust me, from old lag officers who probably still believe women shouldn’t be allowed away from the kitchen sink unless its to pander to them in the bedroom, that is a helluva compliment!!).   The problem comes if I like the look of someone.  At that point I barely dare look at them, let alone talk to them.  The voice in my head goes through a complicated process of “don’t dare talk to them, then they might think that you like them and then they’ll think who is she to think she is good enough to even think about talking to me and expecting me to talk to them in return, let alone ever think she is good enough to think I might like her”.  Like I said, its a weird world in my head.   But, I’m trying.  That trying involves going into camouflage.  Hair has been considerably lightened on a ‘you’re three cuts away’ journey to blonde, I’m sporting bright red nail varnish on the nails I’ve now managed to stop biting, eyelash extensions have been applied and tonight I’m determined to wear a dress and heels rather than my usual jeans.   Its all a bit of a front, but is it a bad thing to have something to hide behind?  At the moment, to quote or misquote Wizard of Oz, ignore the woman behind the curtain.  Instead look at the glitz, shine and smile that’s presented to the public.  Eventually, that smile will be real.