Saturday, 29 September 2012

Well Deserved

I reaped what I sewed at my weigh in this week. A couple of lbs back on and looking at my food tracker I can easily see why. I was way over my points and all the travelling has left me tired without actually having done much that was physical.

I could very well decide to beat myself up about this, but there are positives to this week too. Most of the damage was done on the weekend - on Monday I didn't think I'd gone that crazy, and I certainly didn't give in to every impulse over the weekend but neither did I track as I went, and that is very dangerous for me. When I did sit and track it all, I discovered I was already 30 points over for the week.

Positive point number 1: I tracked everything honestly this week. I knew I was way over and recorded it anyway.

As the week progressed, that deficit got a bit bigger. It wasn't the easiest of weeks; I was still travelling for work, and staying in hotels, and honestly, it's been very up and down on an emotional level.

Positive point number 2: I didn't eat all my feelings. I felt down, and it was uncomfortable, but I dealt with it. I'm not that good at wallowing anyway, so instead I made plans for exciting things in the future, and as a result I surfed high on those feelings too. The lows were crappy but the ups were awesome.

I remember thinking at some point this week that life never used to be so dramatic, and now I realise that I must have been squashing all of this before. On balance though, without the lows you can't have the big highs and so I think I can live with it.

As I've rolled into the end of this week, my eating has evened out and I made it back to the gym for a spin class and circuits. I've even made it through a Friday night without going crazy with my whole "it's the weekend so it must be time to treat myself" mentality.

I've been reading a few snippets this week about making peace with your food / lifestyle / self, and it has got me thinking a little bit. By the end of this week I'd also noticed that when I'm doing long trips I have a tendency to over-cater, because I get scared I'll get hungry and then not have access to food. It's also high-lighted my struggle with eating at random times and not keeping to a standard mealtime, but I think the more I come to understand my fears / behaviours, the more I might be able to deal with them. I'm debating doing a bit more reading into the over-eating thing, but I'm not even sure I have time at the moment.

In summary, it's been another week of discovery amongst other things. I've been running round like a loon, and work is super-stressy (hi - currently sat in the office on a Saturday afternoon and we're not even supposed to have started the busy bit yet!), and there's been a lot of other stuff going on, but I think maybe I understand a tiny bit more about what makes me tick.

In other news, Simon and I are still talking after last week's revelations and I'm apparently seeing him next week .... eeeep, not entirely sure my head is quite in the right place for that yet, but I'm getting there.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I got a rather lovely surprise this week when someone I work with suddenly asked me if he could ask me something personal. Always curious, I said of course, and he asked if I was single! Since he's in a relationship I knew it was something else, but apparently he was asking on behalf of someone else who works with us and wanted to know. He wouldn't tell me who just yet, but how nice to know you have an admirer! I'm not sure I even need to know who, as I've decided to stay away from dating for a while, but it was a lovely well-timed confidence boost just the same!

But the biggest thing of all is that I've been doing some serious thinking about my future. I've been wondering for a while what my next move is, and I've had it in the back of my mind that once the latest project at work is bedded in next year, it will probably be time for me to move on again, but I hadn't got much further than that in deciding what's next. I like Bristol too much to want to make a permanent move away at the moment ... I think it might be time to explore the options for working abroad though, and I've been starting to look into how I might be able to do a ski season which is something I've always wanted to do.

It would tick off several things on my bucket list (living abroad for 4 months or more, learning a language to a competent level, and leaning to ski a black run confidently) and I can't really think of any reason not to do it. I get excited just thinking about it!!

It would have to be 2013, since I'm already going to Africa in February, and have other goals and commitments planned next year, and I want to do this right, but watch this space for big changes and adventures afoot!

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Un Weekend En Belgique

Oh my god, did I need this weekend away! It's been fabulous - the perfect antidote to the real life to which I must now return.

On Friday night we had seriously delicious food at the incomparable Le Brassin, which was just round the corner from my friend's flat - it looks like a tiny, homely neighbourhood brasserie from the outside, but is a hidden gem of amazing Belgian cuisine, with slightly surly waitstaff and aromas to die for as you walk in. I sampled the Carbonade with Stoemp - basically a bowl full of beef and beer stew where the meat flakes apart under your fork and the gravy is rich and iridescent under the lights, and a dish of mashed potato plus extras, redolent of Colcannon and a great foil for the richness of the stew. All washed down with a nice rioja. Dessert was shared (not too much room left by then) and was Moelleux de Chocolat, or simply "The Softness" as my friend have nicknamed it, which is something akin to a chocolate lava cake - a shell of the softest chocolate sponge with a melting fondue in the middle - served with a chilled Creme de Vanille on the side. Yum-my!!!!

Lots of chit-chat and laughing over dinner and catching up with my host's friends Suzie and James, who I met on my last visit and are adorable. If you're ever looking for this place, it's tucked on a backstreet about 2 doors down from the house where Audrey Hepburn was born in the Port de Namur region of Brussels. I definitely recommend it!

On Saturday we caught the train down to Spa, in the Ardennes, to visit its namesake, which is tucked in the woods on the hill overlooking the town. Now reached by a modern funicular railway, the spa is a haven of modern relaxation and we whiled away the hours floating in the outdoor pool, and rotating round the sauna, steam rooms and sun-beds under infra-red lights. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

In the evening we hit a birthday party at Potemkin, a too-cool-for-school bar in the Porte des Halles area - a fun night with lovely people, chatting to those I've already met and making the acquaintance of lots of new and interesting folks.

Since we didn't get in til about half 2 this morning, we've had a leisurely day of Sunday breakfast (croissants all the way!) and then a wander around town, including a visit to Wittamer. Forget Godiva, if you want chocolate and confectionary delights, my friends swears this is by far and away the pinnacle of sugary excellence. In my bestest French I ordered some praline hearts and my first ever box of macaroons to take home to to sample. I'm excited about the macaroons as I've always wanted to try the real thing!!

Speaking of eating, this weekend hasn't actually been too terrible. We've not eaten an indecent amount, and we've not drunk ridiculously. Whilst I will have used a big chunk of my flex points I don't feel like it's been a free-for-all binge by any means.

Can't wait to come back for the next installment in December - I've been promised Xmas markets and Antwerp or Bruges next time!!

Time to head home for a (very) short while.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 21 September 2012

Time Out

Well, by the grace of some benevolent higher power, I've had a small reprieve to brighten my otherwise dismal week. Despite not being wholly on the ball with my eating, and exercise having taken a backseat to running round like a loon, I've somehow finished the week several lbs lighter and therefore back down at 12st 3.75lbs - back nearly to my recent lightest.

Of course, I've also finished the week one relationship lighter, several kilos of stress heavier and a few hundred miles more tired than I started it.

Luckily for me, right now I'm leaving this week in the dust and am, even now, on a train speeding towards London and then Brussels for a very well timed, and much needed, time-out on the real world.

Normal service will hopefully resume next week when I have my head screwed on a bit straighter, my heart shored up against further bruising (although to give credit - in this case it was unintentional and we're hoping to remain good friends), and focus reapplied to looking after myself a bit better.

Bon voyage, mes amies.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Well, just for once it looks like I wasn't being paranoid - Simon and I are over.

Which now I think about it means we're actually sort of over for the second time. He doesn't have the right feelings for me but loves seeing me as a friend.

I think maybe I already knew that but couldn't bring myself to admit as much, but after 6 months of on and off dating I'm sorry to see it end. I'd like to think we'll see each other as friends but l think I need to get my head in the right place first.

Always depressing getting dumped even if you were the one that precipitated the conversation in the first place.

Single. Again.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Before And After

Just a bit of fun - this is what happens when I get back from a hard day's surfing and need to be ready to go out on the town an hour later!  Not too shabby if I say so!



Up And Down

I'm not entirely sure whether the title refers to what's going on with my bathroom scales currently, my efforts at healthy living, my moods or life as a whole!

Everything feels super busy at the moment - life is hectic and lived at fast-forward speed - which doesn't leave much time for feeling relaxed or making good choices.

Some of the busyness is good stuff - an amazing surf at Woolacombe on Saturday, an epic night out for a 30th birthday watching Craig Charles (he of Red Dwarf fame) doing his funk soul dj thing until the not-so-early hours of the morning. The rest of it is work, currently accelerating to break-neck speed .... and this is only the run-up to main event ... it's cranking up for October to be truly awful at work, but the less said about that the better. In the meantime, I'm running round the country prepping (London yesterday and Leeds next week), and trying not to panic. And I'm going to Brussels this weekend, since I'm obviously not travelling enough already.

Eating, and regular exercise, is therefore a bit hit and miss. Thursday through Saturday I did spinning, circuits and then surfing, and then on Sunday I declared myself broken.

On sunday night, I was so tired I couldn't face cooking and had a cold picnic dinner of bread, French cheese, saucisson and sun-dried tomatoes. Followed by most of a pack of Fox's chocolate cookies. Intelligent. And slightly sickening. Yesterday I was travelling and in meetings all day, and although I made an effort, it was somewhat inevitable that the long day would leave me somewhat over my daily points.

Oh - and for good measure we're doing around a dozen viewings for a new housemate this week ... noooooo - not enough time!

And finally, the icing on the cake, I have to figure out what's happening with Simon, and my hormonal self (did I mention that added bonus) can only imagine bad outcomes.

Did I say "up and down"? I think I meant "overwhelmed".

Head down and keep slugging!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Banzai Charge

Aka - The Hardest Thing I Might Ever Have Had To Do.

Well, D-Day was yesterday - or rather Race Day. There was no escaping it at 6.15 am yesterday morning - it had arrived. My alarm went off and I had to haul my lazy carcass out of bed.

About the only preparation I had done for this race was laying my kit out the night before and packing a bag with clean clothes and wet wipes for afterwards. In all other respects, I was so unprepared.

But you know what we thought - the race is two 4 mile laps. 4 miles is really not that far. Chuck in a bit of mud and some hills, and really how bad can it be? I mean really?

We were totally delusional.

It. Was. Tough.

We thought we could run the flats and the downs, scramble through the obstacles and run and walk the ups. We could walk 8 miles in 2.5 hours if needed, we reasoned (2.5 hours being the slowest finish time recorded on the course the previous year).


For a start, there were no flats. Not really. The only flattish sections were either up, down or violently across a steep transverse gradient so you were trying desperately not to roll your ankles in the grass and go flying. There were no trails - it was all on grass. Or ploughed field. Or bracken cover. Or of course, the endless mud.

And the hills? Not "hills" like the Malvern Hills I'm used to running round - all rolling ups and downs. These were short, sharp, vicious little sods. If you weren't going down them on your arse, you were picking your way down at snail pace trying not to trip or fall. Or not get your feet caught in the bracken. Or crawling up them on all fours, or with hands on knee's trying to breathe.

And then there were the obstacles. One 30ish m section of bog took us 20 mins to get across. Or through. Because we were literally thigh-high in thick, viscous, sucking mud.

I think I sprained my shoulder on the 20m slip slide when I went down it so fast I bounced clean off it onto the mud and kept sliding, jarring my arm hard in the process.

It took 10 mins and 3 attempts to get up the bank out of the river crossing, because twice I managed to crawl high-enough on the slick bank to grab the rope, only to lose my footing and slide back. In the end, I crawled up through the nettles so I could at least keep my footing.

At the end of the 1st circuit we were broken. Exhausted and shaking and still with the spectre of the final run of obstacles to the finish, whether or not we did the second circuit. We decided one circuit was enough. After all, there was still a barb wire crawl, a scramble net to get under, 5 1/2 ft vertical wall to go over, a tunnel, and electrified web and a final 7ft A frame wall to conquer.

We did it. Just. One 4 mile lap took us an hour and a half.

We collected our medals and our time prints and collapsed on the ground.

This time the Banzai Charge partially defeated us. We weren't prepared. We hadn't counted on the Royal Marines designed course being more than twice as hard as a normal run of the same distance. We managed one lap, but not full 8 mile course.

But it was fricking awesome and well be back for round two!!!!

(p.s. I'm glad to say that although the marshall was there to keep an eye on us and help if needed at the final wall, I did it all on my own - a small victory!)

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Pre-Race Nerves

The first week back at work after a holiday always sucks ass, right? This week was no different, if at least mercilessly quick.

Work is busy right now (and only going to get significantly busier over the next 2 months), and I'm also having a mini-meltdown that the Banzai Charge is tomorrow!!! How?? How has this happened???? This time tomorrow I'm going to be slogging my guts out running an 8 mile obstacle course I am woefully under-prepared for. The only tactic left is to laugh, have fun, and accept we'll likely be last by a very large margin. But as Hannah said, we will get round, even if we have to walk it.


So aside from all that, how's the week gone? It's been busy! A last minute dinner out on Tuesday was lovely, but put yet another spanner in the plans for a week of clean eating. Between that, the weekend and probably the holiday finally catching up with me, my weigh in this week sees me a lb up. I can live with that.

Body Balance happened on Monday (with aches on Tuesday), running happening on Tuesday (with aches on Wednesday), and by Wednesday the weather was glorious, the surf was beginner-perfection and 2 full days back in the office had killed me, so I ditched work early and buggered off to the coast.

It was a well thought out decision as it was one of the most perfect surf sessions I've had. I've never done a full sundown session before, and now I know why others do. When the conditions are perfection and the sun's sliding low in the sky in a wondrous display of yellow, orange and pink, why the hell would you want to get out before it's too dark to see what you're doing?????? After last Thursday's frustration at Saunton, Wednesday was the perfect antidote and doubly good, reminding me of everything I've come to love about surfing. It was crazy busy in there (bobbing figures in black wetsuits packed tight as far as the eye could see) but everyone was so friendly and happy to be sharing the fun.

Needless to say, on Thursday I ached like an absolute bitch!!!! With that in mind, and Sunday looming large, I've taken the last couple of days to rest my body and banish the aches. I didn't run on Thursday like I'd planned, thinking that feeling fresh was probably more useful than one last run in the scale of things.

In fact, it's annoying to realise how many things I can't do when I'm resting up. I can't surf, can't go to circuits, can't risk a good sweaty mountain bike ride. Roll on next week and getting back to normal!!! Hopefully once I've survived tomorrow without humiliation or injury and got some fun stories and a new medal for the wall!!

In general though, I'm fairly content with things. I'm finding my rhythm again after holiday, and am anxious to resume the steady progress I was making before France. Steady is good.

Socially, it's all looking quite peaceful for the next couple of week's which helps - partly because I'm supremely broke after hols!!! All good for the healthy quest though!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 3 September 2012

Quick Quick!!!

Bad Things: there was a lot of takeaway on Saturday night. And wine. And more wine on Friday night.

Good Things: Friday and Saturday night were epic and I ate pretty damn well the rest of the day.

Bad Thing: spent waaaaay too much money on new autumn clothes on Friday

Good Thing: have beautiful new clothes I genuinely love and am excited to wear, and feeling suitably seasonally transitionally autumnal.

Bad Thing: have realised that denial does not help and I really am supposed to be doing all 8 hilly, muddy, obstacle-strewn miles of the Kamikaze Challenge this coming Sunday, for which I'm woefully underprepared.

Good Thing: ummmmm - it'll be over soon? Or I'll be dead.

Oh dear.

After the weekend's socially driven blow-out I can report two days of good solid eating. So I suppose that's a good thing too.

- Posted from my iPhone