The Incredible Shrinking Woman

2 Years 40 Days – Frustrations and Inspirations 23 March 2010

I was absolutely brimming with confidence when I last posted because of finally being able to run again.  Then I went home on Thursday, took off my shoes and promptly skidded on the wooden floor that our cleaner had thoughtfully polished to a lethal shine.  If I’d even skidded on my left leg (the good one) rather than my right it would have been fine … as it stands I am now once again unable to walk without pain, let alone run.


Well there’s an old saying about tears and spilt milk, so I’m not going to brood on this.  What this definitively means is that I now have absolutely no chance of clocking up decent mileage before the big day.  It’s just not going to happen as the risk of further injury is too great, and that would count me out completely.  So, excitingly and rather terrifyingly, I will have to test the theory that marathons can be run on the basis of general cardio fitness alone.  Also (horror of horrors) I will also have to complete the majority of my training on that most tedious of gym machines, the cross trainer.

A few things are keeping my chin up and enabling me to overcome the desire to go and hide somewhere for a few months until everyone’s forgotten that I was supposed to be running 26 miles.  I watched the documentaries about Eddie Izzard’s insane and heroic mission to run 43 marathons in 51 days in aid of Sport Relief … after only five weeks training and with no real running experience to boot.  I watched him battle pain, injury, boredom, loneliness, distraction and personal demons with my jaw on the floor.  The Boy didn’t have to say to me ‘well if he can do that, then you can manage one piddly marathon’, because that’s exactly what I was thinking.  It was truly inspiring.

I’ve also raised almost £2000 to date for Barnardo’s.  The thought of not completing the race and not being able to donate that money is pretty tough to swallow, too.  What price my pride or lack of guts, eh?  I can say with absolute certainty that I am no longer attempting this with a view to achieving a good time.  I just need to get round (preferably before it gets dark and ahead of that maniac who does it in a vintage diving suit).

That said, it will still be an achievement.  My lovely mother is so determined for me not to give up that she’s said she will walk the route with me if that’s what it takes.  Knowing her as I do, I can assure you that she means it.

So the clock continues to tick.  When I think about the day itself I feel physically sick, and I simply don’t know if that’s down to fear or excitement.  I’ll opt for the latter.  Keep ’em crossed for me that I don’t do something idiotic like fall headlong down some stairs, or dive under a moving bus between now and then.


2 years 33 days – Battling The Odds 16 March 2010

Hello strangers.  I’m still alive, I’m conscious that I’ve not blogged for an eternity, and I’m delighted to see from the stats that people are still reading this blog.  Hopefully in my absence I’ve still been able to inspire and encourage people in their weight loss and fitness challenges!

Counting down the days since the beginning of my weight loss journey was starting to get a little unmanageable (especially with the increasing gaps) so I’ve included years as well as days.  That in itself is a sobering thought … on the one hand it’s only two years ago that I started the diet and the blog, but on the other it feels like a different life.  I simply don’t recognise myself as the person who attended her first lighter life class back in February 2008, either mentally or physically.

That’s not to say that it’s been plain sailing.  In fact, the last six months have probably been the hardest.  I remember sitting in my foundation group discussing the possibility of weight gain after the diet and, with my typical over-confidence, assuring myself and my colleagues that I would never, ever allow myself to gain weight again.  Well here’s the truth, folks, it’s bloody hard not to.  And before anyone leaps up and uses this as a stick with which to beat lighter life, I advise those people to sit back down.  It’s nothing to do with lighter life.  I can honestly say that I would never, ever have achieved what I have so far without the phenomenal kick start that the diet gave me.  It made me realise what I had become, what I could be, and that there were key aspects of my behaviour that were seriously holding me back.  None of that has changed.

What I’ve realised is that life is simply not a black and white case of being ‘a fat person’ or ‘a thin person’.  In the back of my mind I’d always assumed (slightly enviously) that thin people were made that way and that was that.  Well it isn’t.  Staying healthy and staying thin requires constant effort, vigilance and discipline.  I’m not saying that I suddenly abandoned everything I’d learned and gorged on any food that crossed my path.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What I allowed myself to do was take my eye off the ball and over time some of those pounds crept slowly back.  I would say that I’m now around two stone heavier than I was when I finished the diet.

But I’m conscious of that and I’m fighting it.  My regular training was keeping the weight at bay, but then I got injured (more on that in a moment) and that’s when I noticed the pounds adhering insidiously to my waistline.  Sad but true.  You simply can’t lose focus if, like me, you are prone to weight gain.

In terms of training, I’m less than six weeks away from the marathon.  I will be running, come hell or high water, but for how many of those miles I don’t know 🙂  I pulled a muscle in my groin in early January, which was crippling, and have only been able to run again in the last three days.  By run, I mean bursts of about two minutes of running interspersed with walking.  I can manage that for about an hour and a half at the moment before my legs tire.  To put that into context, most of my fellow marathon runners will have achieved distances of around 18 miles by now.  I was up to 10 at Christmas, but now doubt that I could do 5 without a walking break.

To say that it’s been emotional is an understatement.  I’ve shed more tears over this bloody race than anything I can remember in recent memory.  I’m determined not to quit, and now that I’m back on my feet again I’m training hard in the 40 days that I have left.  The one thing in my favour is that I kept up with my cardio training (even when I couldn’t run) so my fitness hasn’t suffered.  What I lack is endurance, and you can’t come by that in a hurry.  I’m aiming to get to a point where I complete the race by running for about 8 minutes at a time and then walking for 2.  This is a controversial way to tackle a marathon (some people view it as simply cheating if you break to walk) whereas more level-headed people appreciate that not everything in life goes the way you planned it.

So … I’m back on the both the running and the blogging trail.  In all the chaos of the last few months, I can genuinely say that I’ve really missed both.  Time to get back to normal!