Exercise, Life Journey, Running, Stop Smoking, Targets

No Smoke (ing) Without Fire

The first full week of ‘behaving’ into the New Year has been interesting. I’ve got myself very organised, and got straight all the things in my head that need to be done. The next date that sticks in my head is my 30th Birthday in March, the day after my Half Marathon, so I can review my overall goals again then, and I’ve felt for a while that this will be a major turning point in my life. I weighed in on Saturday, finding that I was just 2.5 lbs heavier over the Festive period than at my pre-Christmas weigh-in. Not bad considering I ran twice over the two and a half weeks, and ate and drank like it was going out of fashion.

Patchy Patches

My weight hasn’t really been my main concern this week, because I’ve been overridden by the urge to SMOKE. It has consumed me, and Walter is poking me in the side of the head with his dirty, chubby finger whilst he puffs away on a Lambert & Butler. James and I decided to quit together, which is much easier I have to say, but it has meant that we have both been like bears with sore backsides since New Year’s Day.

I joined a smoking cessation programme at my local pharmacy to try and make things a bit easier on myself, and I need to check in once a week for the next 12 weeks. I was offered NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) which is supposed to help take the edge off the cravings and eventually wean you off nicotine completely. I was offered loads of different options, and I specifically wanted to get away from the smoking motion of hand-to-mouth so refused an inhalator or electronic cigarette, and patches seemed to be the most sensible (and least disgusting) option.

It’s not going so good. Granted, I haven’t touched a cigarette in 5 days, but there are a few practicality flaws in the Masterplan. Firstly, you only get a weeks’ worth at a time, and you only wear one a day during your waking hours. Great, but no matter where you stick them on your body, the first hint of moisture and they peel right off and don’t stick again. So if you are showering/running/exercising you need to wait ’til you are done before you slap your patch on, or face the rest of the day nicotine-less. This has resulted in a few very tense mornings in our house, with cravings gnawing away at me sometimes until well after lunch-time.

The second issue is strength. I’ve smoked 10-15 cigarettes a day for nearly 15 years (give or take a few previous attempts at quitting) and the patches decrease in strength in three steps. Lovely stop-smoking lady gave me the mammoth strongest ones but said I may only need them for a week or two (instead of the full three) before switching down to middle-strength. If I wear one of these patches (which is roughly the size of a fold-out road map of London, by the way) I think I’m going to vomit within 2 hours, and end up taking them off.

Thankfully I’ve found a remedy for both problems that’s sorted me until my visit on Wednesday – I’ve done a little DIY job on them – Cut them in half. This gives me less nicotine, and also gives me 2 patches so I can wear one pre- and post-run 🙂

I’m going to bring these points up with my Cessation Leader and hopefully next week will be better…….

Weird things are starting to happen – I can smell my house. James and I have never smoked in the house, but I can smell stale smoke on the coats hanging in the hallway, and the laundry basket smells of it too (Febreze!) I can also smell ‘doggy smell’ in the porch – where the collies are left to dry off after a hard day at work.

We’ve binned all the lighters, so there really are no means of smoking at all. This is also weird – it’s unusual to get through a load of washing without seeing one swishing about in the washing machine! I’m not sure if my lungs are starting to work better yet, but my chest doesn’t feel as heavy when I wake in the morning, and I can taste the awful morning-breath. At least as a smoker you know you smell like a week-old ashtray when you wake up, but now I cannot identify the grotesque smells emanating from my mouth. It gives me an overwhelming compulsion to brush my teeth.  Suppose that’s a good thing.

Something that interests me is the ‘Stop Smoking Timeline’ and added benefits – lung function and circulation are important to me for running, and it’s nice to see how things are coming along. Nicotine levels obviously don’t apply to me for the next 11 weeks, but all the other nasties are leaving my body rapidly, and I like being able to compare how I’m feeling to the chart.

Change is as Good as a Rest…..

In other news, my WW leader decided to give up my meeting. I did not like this. I do not like change with stuff like that. I was annoyed, (purely for selfish reasons!) but this was partly due to the difficulty of trying to get to a meeting in between work – the two meetings are 20 miles each in different directions from home, and I was starting to get frustrated. I NEED the discipline of knowing that someone is going to be weighing me in, and also now I’d be jumping between 2 leaders.

I received a text message from a strange number on the 2nd of January. It was my new leader telling me that the meeting venue had changed, and there would be an additional meeting on a SATURDAY! HAPPY DAYS! Another problem solved! 1 meeting I can attend regularly, 1 leader (who is lovely and also a keen runner) no more hassle. Voila!

Race Day looms ever closer, and training is increasing. I’ve clocked up 26 miles running and at least 5 walking this week, so I’m hoping this will give my weight-loss a much-needed boost over the next few weeks. My sponsor forms are ready to go, and I’m now explaining to people what I’m running for. It’s a non-profit organization in the village that offers support to the frail and elderly in the local community, helping them to stay independent for as long as possible. Ballantrae has welcomed me wonderfully over the last year, so it’s nice to put something back.

I’ve yet to pick up my guitar, but other resolutions are off to a good start, so here’s hoping for another week of not-smoking, more running, a loss at the scales on Saturday, and maybe even a little strum…..