Exercise, Mental Wellbeing, Running

Emotion and Elevenses


Weigh-in: 2.5 lbs loss


It’s been a funny week. Usually it flies in, but I seem to have been wading through treacle to get from one weigh-in day to another. I’ve had a reasonably good week for eating, but really feel I’ve overdone it exercise-wise. I’m pleased to finally be over the 12-stone hump, and am embracing the 11s with renewed vigour. I finally feel that I’m going somewhere and that my weight loss is becoming more regular, and therefore more genuine, and that this time I’m NOT going back.

Feelin’ Good

In light of the song-and-dance I’ve made about being ’11 stone something’, I’ve done a lot of reflecting this week. I have spent an unhealthily large amount of time scrutinizing in the mirror and thinking to myself that I’m beginning to look a bit more ‘normal’ as opposed to fat. When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is reach down and feel my hip bones. That sounds horribly bizarre, but when I lie flat, they are almost visible now, whereas before they were engulfed in a fatty blanket. Prior to that, I couldn’t see my hips because the flabby mound of my belly was in the way, even when lying down. My true shape is beginning to show through. By reaching down and touching, it’s just a safe reminder that I haven’t magically put on 20-odd lbs overnight. (When I went to WWs the first time, that’s exactly what I thought had happened!)

I also had a bit of a rake through my wardrobe this week. I spend most of my time in wellies-and-waterproofs, running gear or old clothes for housework/dog duties. I tried on a lot of stuff that I knew fitted, but just don’t really wear. Most of it is a lot looser but still wearable which made me feel pretty good too. Unfortunately the jeans situation isn’t getting any better – thanks to my lovely Italian lineage (and probably running) I have massive thighs. I’ve always had them, and they are never going to go away. My problem now is that my middle is disappearing and the thighs aren’t catching up! The lovely designers of the fashion world seem to have decided that regardless of your size, if your thighs do not resemble that of the downpipe attached to your house for rainwater, then you shouldn’t wear jeans.

The result? Spend all day howking up (good Scottish word, that) the waistband of a pair of 14s (Even with a belt – more on that later) because your bum-cleavage goes on show when you sit down, or spend all day howking up a pair of 12s because the movement of your gargantuan thighs pulls them down to accommodate your ample saddlebags…….sigh……

Belts – One of my non-scale goals was to fit back into my star belt, which is my absolute favourite. Feeling fruity, I attempted it this week, knowing that my gut has shrunk a considerable amount. The word dismay doesn’t cover it. The buckle design is one of these pins-with-the-bobble-on-the-end (I’m sure it has a proper name) that just pushes through the hole. I got it on alright – in the tightest hole. And it’s so loose it just comes undone! Typical! Needless to say it’s been added to the ‘Damn-you because I really liked wearing you’ pile.

I’m also beginning to feel quite fit. In the last week or so, I’ve CR’d my home route 5k, (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before its damn hilly) made it up a steep course that I hadn’t attempted in over a year (and failed miserably on the last attempt) and PB’d my 5k time by over a minute. Things are improving, confidence growing,  I like the 11s!

Club Runner

I’ve been running with Girvan AC for a few weeks now. The ability level is split into two groups (the ‘Big Boys’ and the ‘Plodders’ as I call them) and I’ve been running with the ‘Plodders’. When I say ‘Plodders’, this is not to be sniffed at, they are reasonably brisk runners with varied ages and abilities, and they tend to run a few set routes of different distances and that keeps them going.

The Big Boys are ultra-fit, and consist of fell runners (AKA nutters), trail runners, multi-time marathoners and very experienced runners -One guy started running the year I was born!- who race every other weekend. In amongst all these scarily fit men is the weeny (let’s call her) Teeny, who at 40-odd, mother of 4,  boasts an ‘easy’ pace of an 8-ish-minute mile (that was me absolutely flat-out for my 5k PB, folks). What a bunch.

The problem is, Teeny hates being the only girl, and doesn’t see any good reason why I shouldn’t be running with her. Last Tuesday I was unceremoniously wrenched from the ‘Plodders’ into the ‘Big Boys’ group. This was good and bad.

Let’s start with the good. I was incredulous that any of them thought I was even close to running at their ability (I’m categorically not, by the way) but the group view me as having potential and see room for a lot of progress. Teeny also said (rightly) that progress WILL come, as I’ll be constantly challenged because everyone is a lot lighter/faster than me, and I’ll always have someone in front pushing me on. With the Plodders, I was running at the front bar one (man of 68, would put most men half his age to shame). My age is an advantage – I’m joint-youngest in the club – but they also don’t see me as a fat smoker who less than a year ago wasn’t fit to jog a mile. They don’t see someone who is trying their very, very hardest to lose weight. They don’t see a fat person, because they’ve never known that person. That person doesn’t exist. And that’s when it hit me. I got very emotional.

Inside, obviously.

The Bad. Dealing with the emotional turmoil of even turning up to the club in the first place nearly ended me, so this was Armageddon. I was so frightened about making a fool of myself, and also keeping all the ‘proper’ runners back – I almost walked away there and then. Teeny persuaded me to have a go, and we did a set of speed-drills. Surprisingly, I managed two thirds of them, albeit at a very slow pace. It was lovely though. Everyone encouraged me in passing and congratulated me at the end.

The club have organized a 5-mile fun trail-run this coming Saturday, and naturally I’m keen to do it. It’s a comfortable distance for me, and somewhere new to run. Next training day rolled round, and two of the boys offered to run the route with me as a ‘practice’. I’d been told there was a nice hill in the middle, and I’m pretty good with stuff like that. As we began to run, I let the boys go on in front and kept them within sight. Then I met the hill. Rough, steep (I mean really steep) and twisty doesn’t cover it.  I didn’t even make it a third of the way up. If you were to walk up it briskly, you would be labouring. I talked about a horrible feeling of uselessness and despair during my half-marathon, and that’s what happened. What made it worse was the other ‘youngster’ was right beside me, watching me struggle. I ended up walking most of the hill. It was embarrassing.

All my hard work, weight loss and running achievements dissolved. The one thing I class as failure is walking. I instantly felt fat, unfit and useless. As if I had achieved zip-all in the last year. It is the single-most soul-destroying feeling in the world. And it can ruin everything. It nearly did. If I hadn’t had company, I would have stopped at the top and cried. Thankfully, I sucked it up, finished the course as briskly as I could manage, went home, poured a large JD, and without a word to James, took myself upstairs and let it out.

I’m now a borderline cripple. My hips ache. My back aches. My legs scream at me when I move in any direction. My training plan for my ultra-distance is in full-swing, so these added sessions were the straw that broke the camels back this week. I will not be doing nearly as much next week.

However, after time to digest what has happened, Super-Feisty-Gem has regained control. By nature I’m stubborn, and I am still competing in that race next week. I’ve altered my training and am going to run that hill as many times as I can this week, because I’m damn sure come Saturday I’ll not be embarrassing myself or my club by having to walk up it.

Somebody order a stretcher, please.





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