Saturday, 30 November 2013

December Run Streak

Amphibian King posted this yesterday:

"Simply make a promise to yourself to run a minimum of 30 mins (or more) per day from 1st December until the 31st December. You will feel great, look great and enjoy your Christmas dinner all the more! Comment below to show you're committed to your pledge."

I'm in! And it looks like about 15 others are too. Sign up here: 

I'm excited for this challenge. Its not about time, speed or distance - just set yourself the commitment to running for 30 minutes a day. I'm going to tie this to my other committment to run 250km before the end of the year. At the moment I'm behind (as you can see from my Nike+ Dashboard):

Roll on December! I love a new challenge :)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

For the day that's in it... THANK YOU!

Today is Thanksgiving. 

Today is also the 28th of November, which marks a month since the Dublin Marathon (28th of October). So I want to take this opportunity to finally say thanks.

Thanks for reading my blog. Thanks for reading me rant on about this and that. Thanks for all the lovely supportive comments I have gotten either through the blog, FB or Twitter since starting this blog.

I do want to give a special thank you to everyone for the support I received for the marathon. I raised over €700 for BeLonG To. They recently sent me a lovely email thanking me for fundraising on their behalf. I wanted to share some of that email with you all so you can see what your donation meant:

I've just read your two blog posts on running the marathon, what a journey you've been on this last year. On behalf of myself and everyone here in BeLonG To thanks so much for thinking of us as your chosen charity to run this years marathon!  
It's been an extremely busy time here in the office with loads of new young people coming to access support right across the country and I think we're likely to break the 3,000 mark this year of young people coming to get support and find friends!  
This week we announced that from next year we'll start the journey to move our work to end homophobia and transphobia into primary schools the length and breath of Ireland, it's a huge step for us as an organisation and your support and fundraising has contributed to help make this happen!  
Thank you ever so much for all you've done to help LGBT young people and congrats on shattering your fundraising target to raise a whopping €736.20

That is all down to you! Well, I say you but really its thanks to: Aisling, Annette, Tom M, Kieran, Donna, Ziya, Janet, Martin, Sinead, Michelle, Paul, Marion, Brad, Jason, Michelle Kelly, Maureen, Rob, Cathal, Sean, Yvonne, Darren, Maria, Jay, Davy, Jonathan, Archana, Alan, Elliot, Julie, Sinead, Tim, Stephen, Bridie, Olivia and Phil. 

Thanks to everyone who sponsored me through - You parted with your hard earned cash and I just wanted to say that I think YOU are amazing.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

New Post over on The Skinny Doll

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you'll know how much admiration and love I have for The Skinny Doll - I love her. 

From her weekly challenges to inspirational posts, I think her website should be printed out and given to people when they join Weight Watchers. I have been guest posting over there for the past year (yep, my first post went up on her site back in November 2012). In fact, it was through posting for the Skinny Doll that gave me the courage to start up my own blog.

My new post 'The View between the Trees' can be read HERE

If you want to check out any older posts, they are all linked in the side bar of my blog.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

My 'Get Out Of Jail' Card...

The past two weeks have been mental. I turned 31 and I became an uncle. Throw in a work night out, a comedy dinner thing for charity and my friend Yvonne's birthday. Add a pizza night, the cinema, multiple coffee shops and a few bottles of champagne. That's before you add all the birthday cakes I had.

It has all passed in a brilliant blur.

Now, I'm not using it as an excuse but... Rewind to two weeks ago when I had my unexpected 1lb loss despite having a bad week. I left that weeks WW meeting feeling like a cocky Mr Know-it-all who had just cheated his way through an exam. When last Tuesday's meeting rolled around, my sister went and had a baby (how inconsiderate I know), so I left Galway Tuesday afternoon and headed to Limerick where I got to meet my adorable little nephew for the first time, missing my first WW meeting in the 15 months since I joined.

Seen as I had missed last weeks meeting... and my birthday was coming up at the weekend, I went AWOL. Like I mean completely off the charts. I was a total scut and I knew it. That being said part of me was ok with completely letting go of the reigns as I knew I'd come back on track the following today... which was last night.

I stood up on the scales like night to see a whopping 5lb gain! OUCH. But dya know what... I wouldnt change a single thing about my last two weeks. They were awesome. I partied, I ate, I drank. I didn't run, I didn't set my alarm early, I didn't track. I was hungover, I ordered starters - mains - dessert. It was a break out. It was awesome.

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm ready now for the last leg of the year. I still have my goal of running 250km before the end of the year which I am progressing slowly but surely towards. Now I'm adding 'No more gains' to my goals. I have no excuses. Yes there will be Christmas Parties and Christenings, nights out and takeaways will lurk around every weekend but I'm ready. I've had the craic and I regret nothing from the past few weeks but here is where I have to be careful. It's a slippery slope right up to Christmas. The 'Get Out of Jail' card I've been using for the past two weeks has well and truly expired.

I haven't a notion of ending this year on a downer because I put on another half stone (which is the way its going if I don't reign it back in). I'm back in the drivers seat and I'm ready to whoop myself back into gear ready for an even better 2014!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What the funk?

I've been in a weird place for the past few weeks. I don't know when exactly these feelings crept in but I suspect it was some time since the marathon. It's in everything I do and is completely going against the grain of my past 15 months. I've been eating really lazily, making crappy choices like takeaways, cookies and ice-cream instead of my usual fruit, yogurts and pasta. I've been drinking loads of coffee and not enough water. I haven't been out running as I've been making even lazier excuses about the weather or how dark it is.

While all of these sound trivial, compounded they have started to stress me out. Why am I eating so badly? Why don't I care? I'll have another biscuit. Why do I need to run? Again, each of these individually don't amount to anything but for the past week or so, I have found myself lying awake at night thinking. My thoughts range from the simple to questioning the satisfaction I get from my career to imagining how much easier life would be if I won the lotto. I'm thinking about why I haven't completed certain things in my life yet or how I squandered opportunities that came knocking years ago, then I'm worrying about my NCT.

I'm thinking about old friends, books I want to read, my To Do list. I've started to get quite stressed out my the littlest of things. I can't fully explain it - I know it's irrational but it is so inhibiting to feel pressure from things that I've always taken in my stride. I like to think I'm an easy going, low-stress kinda guy, so these feelings of anxiety and stress are actually stressing me out even more.

On Sunday, I was still feeling stuck in the funk. I was out for lunch chatting away with my other half. In a moment of crystal clear inspiration, he said: 'Maybe the stress you are experiencing is some form of a marathon hangover?'. He went on to explained how for the past 10 months, I have been working towards something. A goal. And right now at this moment in time, I have no goal. With the marathon behind me, I have no goal to work towards, nothing on my agenda, nothing to keep me busy/focused/occupied.

He is 150% right. I have the post-marathon blues - a hangover! 

A quick google revealed what I suspected

What's interesting is... I can't believe this is actually a 'thing'. It's kind of pathetic really thinking about it but I honestly think this is what I'm suffering from. I woke early yesterday morning, before the alarm, and instead of just laying there listening to the sound of the rain fall against the window, I got up and for the first time in two weeks I put on my running gear and headed off out the door in the rain and the dark (I did have my high-viz on).

As I ran, I thought about all the reasons why I love running. Running gives me time to think, it gives me a way to push myself and a way to feel better both in myself and about myself. It gives me something to run towards - a distance, a time, a pace. While I run, I can work through whatever issues are going on. I can make plans. I have time to think through ideas.

I thought about the person I have become. I thought about how much I like this me and how much I want to run another marathon. I thought about how I want to run faster, stronger, better. Running a marathon became a goal of mine that was never the end goal. So I've set myself a goal to keep me ticking over for the rest of the year.

Run 250km - I'll explain why if I reach it! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Cookie Monster Guilts!

On Monday I did something I'm completely ashamed of. My other half was off work sick so was understandably resting up in the bed sweating away the pain. I said I would take care of dinner (how sound am I?) and so on the way home from work that evening, I stopped into Tesco to find something I could make for dinner. 

Here is where I broke the first Weight Watchers rule my WW leader Phil is always saying: Fail to plan, plan to fail.

So I wandered around Tesco aimlessly wondering if I would make pasta? Maybe I should take the easy option and just buy a frozen pizza? As I walked around I picked up a bag of fresh cookies from the bakery. They were on offer and they just looked so delicious. 

Here is where I broke another cardinal Weight Watchers rule: Never shop when hungry

As I wandered around the shop, I also picked up a tub of Häagen-Dazs, a bar of Green & Blacks Chocolate and a big bag of crisps. It was ok though, these were for my other half! Ah hello like, this being the same other half who was sick and currently occupying under a duvet.

Here is where I broke yet another rule my WW leader is always saying: When shopping, ask yourself who are you really buying these for?

If I'm honest, I really was buying them for my other half but with the secret intention of having a sneaky bite while the tub/bag/pack was open. Anyway, I finished walking around the aisles, paid and left the store. I devoured two large cookies before I'd gotten home. 

Jelly Bean Cookies

Nothing annoys me more than thoughtless eating. It's such a waste. What scared me was what came next. I sat in the car parked in driveway and thought about either eating the remaining two cookies or should I throw them in to the sulo bin before going into the house as I knew I'd be "caught out" if I went in with an open pack of cookies.

By "caught out" I mean having to verbalise to someone else what I had just done. Not that my other half would have cared that I opened the pack of cookies or that I had eaten two, but sometimes just the fact you know you'd have to explain out loud to someone else why you did something is enough of a deterrent. 

I sat in the car for about 5 minutes thinking about what I would do. I hadn't even really wanted them in the first place! I went in the door with the half pack of cookies in my hand and presented all the sweet treats I had just bought to my other half. Thankful but confused as to why I had bought a load of sweet things when I was only stopping into Tesco for something for dinner really got me thinking.

How I imagine I should have looked coming in the door from Tesco

How I imagine I actually looked coming in the door from Tesco
(I imagine I've lost my top in the cookies-haze)

Why did I buy all that junk? Surely flowers or a card or even some new PJs would have been better (and probably cheaper) than all the junk I had just bought for no reason. 

So what do you suspect happened next? Go on, take a guess... Yep, After dinner I ate the other two cookies followed by some ice-cream. It's three days later and I'm still suffering from "the guilts". 

You see, I suspect this is the start of an old friend of mine raring its ugly head - Mr. Self Sabotage. For the past 12 weeks I have been playing with the same few pounds. Up one, down two, up two, down one. I wouldn't mind, it's not like I haven't been working at it! I do feel like the marathon and training has kind of taken over the past two or three months and with that, I have been excusing myself for the lack of progress on reaching my primary goal: Hitting Goal.

I've said before (here) that "while hitting goal is important to me, being healthy and happy is more important to me." and while this rings truer than the fact the pope is a Catholic, that still doesn't mean I'm going to just lie back and take it. I need to hit goal for myself. I feel like I've become within reaching distance of goal but just can't reach it. For the past few months the volume of exercise I have been doing has probably taken the blow of a lot of these types of slip-ups.

Three weeks ago I was 0.8lb off goal. Yep, a cats whisker away. Two weeks ago, I was up 1lb, so 2lbs from goal. Last Tuesday (the day after the marathon), I went in for weigh-in partially believing this week could be my week... SURELY the day after a marathon I'd have to have lost 2lbs. Nope. Up 3lbs! On Monday night, the night before my weigh-in I went and splurged on cookies and ice cream.

The worst part about all of this, and the reason why I think I am feeling so guilty is because at this weeks weigh in, I was down 1lb. Phil, my WW leader has another Weight Watchers rule: If you've had a bad week, you need your meeting. If you have had a good week, your meeting needs you. This week I really needed my meeting - not because of my slip up on Monday but just to regather my goals and refocus. 

I'm know that in exposing Mr. Self Saboteur to the world, I will refocus. It's 6 weigh-in's to Christmas. I am 4lbs off goal. Losing 4lbs when regardless of whether you are at the start, middle or end of your weight loss journey doesn't make it easier or harder than a different 4lbs. 


Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Aftermath - Marathon Diaries - Part 3

With my first marathon under my belt, I hobbled like something from The Walking Dead back to the hotel. I took the walk to make a quick few phone calls and reply to some of the amazing messages that people were sending me. I've never felt so much love in all my life! My mind however was fixed on only one thing - a long hot bath, with as much suds as possible. We stopped in Lush just across from Trinity on the way back to The Westin where I had an in depth conversation with the lady working there about the regenerative powers of a hot bath.

How I imagined my afternoon

Bath Bomb in hand, I was happy out - that was until I got back to the room and received a call from Brad who informed me that he had just heard that a hot bath was out of the question! WTF! Apparently a 10 minute ice-cold bath was what was on the agenda! All I heard was Brad talking about something to do with muscle cramps and swelling. Figuring Brad (and the Internet) knows best, I waited for my other half to fill an ice cold bath and like stubborn dog, I had to be dragged to it. Post ice-cold bath (which was worse than the marathon itself), I had a glass of celebratory wine and climbed into bed.

How I actually spent my afternoon

I was woken at 6pm for dinner, but I woke up with only one thing on my mind... COCKTAILS! I've gone to so many different things over the past few weeks and declined a drink as I was running the following day - so just like the poster I saw one woman hold up which read: You don't have to train tomorrow!, I obliged and devoured my celebratory cocktail.


After cocktails in the hotel bar, we went to Pitt Bros BBQ place on George St where we met up with more friends and didn't leave the place until I had meat sweats! After food we went to The George and had some more celebratory drinks. As the conversations continued and drinks kept flowing around us, I found myself getting more and more tired. By 11.30pm, I knew it was time to call it quits and hit the bed.

Who run the world? Myself & Brad!

It's insane how much can change in a single day - and as I feel asleep, I remember thinking the same thing I thought this morning as I woke... When was the last time you did something for the first time? Another one of my all time favourite quotes is: It never gets easier, you just get better at it! 

With that in mind, I'm already thinking about the next race, the next training plan, the next marathon.