Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ow My Feet

I've spent the better part of January and February running.  A lot.  And, I'm not even done yet.  I don't think I fully appreciated just how *much* running I'd be doing when I decided to commit to doing a marathon.  Well...let me tel you:  it's a lot. :)  Up until this week, I've run short distances on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturdays have been 'big run' days (22.4k is the longest to date, but that will change this Saturday...).  Starting this weekend, I'll also add a short Sunday run to the mix as well.

What is most surprising about this experience however is what/how/where the impact has been.  The three largest impacts that I have seen from all of this (freaking) running are:  my health, my feet, and my time.

My health-not surprisingly-has improved. I've already commented on my blog about the weight loss (yea!), but what I'm even more surprised about is the complete change in how I *think* about food.  I still like food, don't get me wrong, but when I'm eating now, I'm constantly thinking about whether or not this bite of food is going to make me 'better, faster, stronger.'  Meal planning-especially on Fridays (before my Saturday big runs) starts occupying my mind by Wednesday, and I'm always obsessed with how much protein I can consume on Saturday breakfast before the run.  I'm not trying to preach-heck, I ate 5 mini-cupcakes this weekend, and I still drink a few pints during the week-but, the mental shift in how I think about food has been a real surprise.  I wonder if it will continue once I'm done with the marathon-part of me hopes not.  Part of me hopes so-it's a bit exhausting to always be thinking about your food in that way. :)

My feet.  My poor, poor, poor feet.  I'd take a picture and post it on the blog, but my blog would probably be pulled down for the graphic images!  Literally, my blisters have blisters.  It goes without saying, but Saturday runs are the worst.  The damage I'm doing to my feet can't be good-fortunately, as I loose weight, I'm putting less stress on them as I run, but it would be great if I could drop 20 pounds before this Saturday's run!  And, of course, in an effort to stave off new blisters or attend to the ones I have, I'm spending about £10 a week on blister pads, padded band aids, foot inserts, athletic tape...yeesh.  I finally sucked it up and bought a new pairs of shoes on Monday.  My 'cheap' fixes aren't working, and as much as it pained me to plonk down £98 for a pair of running shoes, I figure that if they work, I'll make the money back simply by not having to spend the £10 a week!  Though the Saturday runs are generally difficult, I have found that it's really my feet that make them the most difficult:  I'm fine from the ankles up.  The ankles down are a completely different story..

My time.  Door to door, my Saturday runs going forward will likely take 4-5 hours.  And, I'm at the gym by 9am.  With a 25-ish minute travel time to get there and a need to digest breakfast before I leave, I'm up earlier on Saturdays than I am during the week!  Add to this another 90 minutes of effort on Tuesdays/Thursdays (fortunately, I'm now using the company gym-which is a 2 minute walk from my desk), plus 'foot maintenance' time before every run, and we're talking about a good amount of time taken up during the week.  Once I add Sunday runs to the mix, and starting next week, I need to increase the distance (and time spent...) on my Tuesday/Thursday runs, I'm easily looking at 10 hours a week of going to run/preparing t run/running.  Whew.  I don't think I fully appreciated the time I'd give up when I committed to this!

I know it must sound like one long whine, and that's not my intent at all.  I am genuinely enjoying the training/effort-and certainly some of the results.  But, these have been the prevalent themes for several weeks now, and I just wanted to get it all down before I'm done!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Random, I know.  It's one of those items that hits me from time to time, and then I quickly forget about it.  But, after this afternoon, I decided it was worth recalling to mention:  aerosol deodorant!

Americans...when was the last time you saw someone use (never mind purchase...) a *can* of deodorant/anti-persperant?  Personally, I'm pretty sure it was sometime in the early 1980's, before the whole 'aerosol can/CFCs are destroying the ozone layer!' thing.

Well, if you ever wondered what must have happened to all of those aerosol cans, I can confirm that they are VERY MUCH alive and well in England.  Aerosol deodorant still occupies a good 50% of the shelf space I've ever seen in any pharmacy or grocery store.  And, unlike the stick/roll-on stuff most Americans buy-who you wouldn't see using in public if a gun were pointed to their heads...aerosol deodorant usage in England is very much in the public domain.  Literally!

More times than I can count at work, I've heard 'pffffftttt....' from some part of the floor.  Co-workers share a can.  There's frequently spare cans found in office loo's for anyone to use (much like lotion, kleenex...), and I'm pretty sure I saw someone using it on the tube the other day.

I kid you not.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Catching Up

Confession:  I have been crap about updating the blog lately.  I could try the ‘I’ve been busy’ excuse, but in truth, that always sounds a bit crap-we’re all busy.  Regardless of my lame excuses, it’s time to get to updating.  Oh, where to begin…

Marathon Training
In my post In the Public Domain, I proclaimed that I was going to run a marathon in short order.  Well, I’m happy to report that I am still well on target to do this.  I’ve been spending a loooot of time running lately (more on this in a moment)-dare I say ‘training’ for the marathon.  I’m at the halfway point more or less in my quest to run the marathon before the wedding.  It’s been hard-no one wants to get up at 8am on a Saturday, shovel food in-not because I’m hungry, but because I need the energy, trek to the gym and slog away for 3 hours in a 20k run.  But, by golly, I’m doing it.  And (shhh-don’t tell anyone), am thoroughly enjoying it.  Don’t get me wrong:  the 22.4k run this past Saturday hurt-and I do fear the eventual 42k/26.2m run-, but I am *loving* the physical gains I am seeing both in terms of my run times improving and the literal physical gains I am seeing on my body.  I’ve shed about 8 pounds in the past 5 weeks, and hope to lose another 10 more before the actual ‘big run’.  If for no other reason than I need to be lighter for my poor feet! J  They’re in a constant state of ache, and my big Saturday run days are utterly destroying them: my blisters have blisters.  If I’m lighter, than this will ease the problem.  I hope.  It had better, or I’m in trouble! 
Though, the flip side of this is…if I do lose another 10 pounds, my wedding dress is officially going to be too big for me (it’s already getting a bit loose-fortunately, with a sash tie around the waist, I can get away with a bit of weight loss).  But, as we’re really hoping to do this wedding on a budget-and I was able to buy the dress off the rack & it fit perfectly, I’m really hoping to not have to suck it up and get alterations.  Damned if I do.  Damned if I don’t.
Speaking of weddings…

Wedding Planning
As of today, we’re 72 days out until the wedding.  Yikes!  Seriously, where has the time gone? I remember when it was ‘9 months out’  then ‘6 months out’, now suddenly we’re 2 monts out!
We’re in a bit of a holding pattern now, as we need all of the RSVPs to plan for things that involve headcount-though the RSVPs are really starting to flow in now.  I think we’re both starting to get excited at the prospect not only of ‘the wedding’ but also of ‘marriage.’  Everything has become ‘the last time we do this as an unmarried couple.’  This past Christmas was ‘our last Christmas before I become Simon’s wife.’  Valentine’s Day was ‘our last V-day before the wedding.’  Sick, I know.
The planning/to-do list items have actually gone better than I ever anticipated (more on this in a moment…).  I realize I’m probably setting myself up for some serious stress by saying this, but I recall so many girlfriends stressing over their weddings when it was still several months out, and that just hasn’t happened to me yet.  Though, on some level, it makes me think I’m missing something huge-that would be stressing me out.  And, that thougt does stress me out a bit.   Go figure…
Don’t get me wrong:  I’m sure that the 7-10 days before the wedding will be a completely different story alogether, but I am at least enjoying a bit less stress now than I thought would be the case!
Which brings me to my last update…

Gardening Leave/New Job
I’ve changed jobs.  I started a new job this past week (yea!), and it’s been an interesting process to get here-largely because I’ve been on what is termed ‘gardening leave’ since November.  Gardening Leave is effectively paid time off.  With traditional notice periods in the UK frequently from 90 days to 6 months, it’s not uncommon for someone to serve notice, and then at a point in their notice period for the employer to put the employee on Gardening Leave.  I for one cannot complain-and as it gave me time to train for a marathon, plan a wedding, tick off a whole bunch of other things on my to-do list-not to mention find another job, it was really a good time.
It was fun while it lasted, and I’ll probably never have another opportunity like that again, so I’m a bit sad to see all the free time go, but in truth, if there’s one thing that Gardening Leave taught me:  I would make a bad ‘lady that lunches!’