Monday, 26 October 2009

Coughs, Peaks and Troughs

Location: Wallowing in a pit of slovenliness
Mood: Coughtastic
Music: Sunset Soon Forgotten

I feel rough as biscuits right now, but not as rough as Fisher, who's been running a temp of 102ºF. Luckily it's gone down now, but she's definitely got the same bug as I've been brewing. I felt pretty horrid on Saturday, just before heading down to Edinburgh. And why were we going to Edinburgh? Why, to stay overnight with Janus and Badger, who kindly agreed to cook a carb-high supper for Fisher and lend us a futon so we could get down to Jedburgh for 11am next day. And why were we going to Jeburgh at 11am the next day? Why, so Fisher could run 13.1 miles in the company of similar foot-sore masochists, including The Doctor.


But who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows her? In this case it was a veritable ship o' fools, because not only did Fisher and The Doctor run the bloody thing, but Phid, Janus and I watched 'em do it. We stood in the coooooold, surrounded by pooches (who thought us peculiar) and handed out jelly beans and wine gums to runners. There's quite a skill involved in placing sweets in the oustretched hands of cantering people, and several runners found their beans slipping to the muddy ground below. I chased a few who looked most in need, and made sure they got their reward, but, frankly, I wasn't there to run. Preposterous thought.

We cheered The Doctor as she scuttled by, assuring her and everyone around her that they were nearly at the top of the hill, and it was all downhill around the corner. Then we looked at each other.

"Er ..." I murmured to my accomplices, "are we sure about that?"
"Er ..." said Janus, nibbling a lip.
"Um ..." frowned Phid thoughtfully.
"So ... basically, for all we know, the hill could keep climbing for another two miles around the corner?" I gulped.
"I'm pretty sure it doesn't," Janus said confidently. Or as confidently as the words 'pretty sure' allow.
"Yeah. It was all sort of uphill in the car when we came, and they're going the other way, so it's downhill," Phid nodded. Adding, unhelpfully, "I think."
"You know, seeing as we're on the 11 mile point and these poor bastards have been running for quite some time, I might just nip round that corner and check the veracity of our downhill claims," I babbled. In my mind I saw hoards of furious, exhausted runners surrounding us at the end of the race, accusing us of giving them false hope and then beating us to a sweaty death with their running socks. So off I ran, and peeked round the corner. Luckily, we were right. Hurrah! So our cheers and encouraging cries of "nearly at the top now, then all downhill" redoubled - this time ringing with the aura of truth.

Can an aura ring? No. Poor, poor mixed metaphor there.

Anyhoo - we stayed at the near-top of that hill until Fisher staggered by, looking mutinous. She was behind her pace, so I knew there was something wrong. Turns out that her legs started really hurting at mile 6, and from mile 7 onwards she had to keep stopping to walk. Frankly, I would have collapsed immediately at the side of the road and snapped my fingers for the Red Cross minions to stretcher me to a warm hospital bed, but she - being stout of spirit and dragon-hearted - soldiered on.

Having seen her totter by, we all leaped back into the Drover (luckily still in one piece, despite Phid's best efforts on the way into the Jedburgh) and hared off to the finish line, tooting the runners encouraging as we passed. Only a few of them leaped in terror at the sound.

We parked under a bridge near the finish and went to find a triumphant Doc, who'd finished the course in 1.50.25. She was standing by the finish line waiting for Fisher, her lips totally purple with cold. I immediately handed over her jumper, which we'd thoughtfully doused in water for her. For some reason this didn't really warm her up much, so I gave her my coat instead. Looking at her 'wearing' it, I suggested someone else might also like to wear it with her. It was like a bed-sit on her. Anyway, it was more useful than her rain-soaked jumper we'd failed to dry for her, and she looked less and less like a blueberry ice pop as the minutes ticked by.

We cheered Fisher over the line only a few minutes later, and even though she was pretty ticked-off by what she inevitably perceived as failure, I was dead proud-like. It's not everyone would just suck up and push through bad luck like that. Anyway, I couldn't care less if she does 13 miles in one hour or three - what matters is what she achieves each time. She didn't manage a personal best, but she overcame every obstacle put in her way and finished the race. That's all a person can strive for in this life, and so - not to get too sentimental about it - she's a blimmin' champion.

Hm. Not sure why I started channelling Nora Batty then. Blimmin' chumpion, oor lass!

Anywayy - after the run, we went to The Buccleuch Arms in Newton St Boswell's for a mediocre lunch that, nevertheless, hit just the right spot with our runners. We were supposed, also, to stop off at Spar and Blar's for some afternoon tea, but after eating Fisher felt so horrid she just wanted to go straight home and flake. And so, after dropping everyone off in Edinburgh, this is what we did.

Today, she has come crashing down with my Nasty Bug - which is not swine 'flu - but, if it follows the course of mine, she will feel much better tomorrow. I, for example, while not feeling tip-top, did feel well enough to do a gentle work out at the gym. I did:

1 mile, fast (for me), on the treadmill. Completed in 9.14.
30 mins on the static bike, cross-country setting, 6.6 miles.
15 press-ups
20 sit ups.

So a good 40 minute work-out, which left me feeling extremely sore in the chest area (lungs, that is, not boobs) but content to be working off some of the crap I've ingested over the past few days. And I've had quite a good food day - 1 peanut butter sarnie (ok, not great, but it was a gym day), 1 v small bowl pea and ham soup, 1/2 small pizza.

Ok, ok, that sounds crap now I've written it down. But I did burn off around 500 calories at the gym, the pizza was around 400, and the sandwich and soup probably ...

O god. Just looked at what a peanut butter on wholewheat bread is on, and it's about 340! At least the soup was light - probably no more than 160 - so that's 500 calories for the rest of the day. Under a thousand calories is good, but, Jesus! The nutritional value of what I've consumed today beggars belief. I'm not a bad eater - just a greedy pig - and this sort of nonsense is an abberation.

Must do better!

Although, I'm off on a mystery trip with Fisher tomorrow (woohoo! Exciiited!) and I'm almost certain this will involve Eating Nice Things. Ah, ENT. My nemesis.

Right, must let Baffie out. She's not peed for about 8 hours. The dog has a bladder the size of Alaska. More anon.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Yet More Grr-ing and Yay-ing.

Location: In bed (again)
Mood: Gettin' my funk on
Music: You Know Who (Willis)

I knew well and good, yesterday, that dinner was going to be An Event, so actually, I don't feel the need to beat myself up with a big stick about it. I prepared. I consumed only a small bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes before going to the gym, and this is what I did:

Ran outside for 37 minutes. Beautiful crisp, autumnal day, with sunset-coloured leaves drifting into the Tay. I tried to run as fast as the flowing water, but it was impossible. Such a beautiful run, spoiled only by the fact that a) I was running, and b) I passed a short fat couple walking along with their hands inside each others' trousers. I'm all for a bit of bum-fondling, believe you me, but I think I'd baulk at doing it along a public path. I said "whoa, cowboys," as I ran past (for some reason) and they leapt apart like they'd just encountered Javanese biting lizards in the butt crack. So they knew they was doin' wrong! Luckily I saw no-one else at all, else I might have stopped them with an indignant "can you belieeeeeve what I just saw, how outrageous, whatisthiscountrycomingto when short fat people can grope each other in public etc etc" and thus been immediately given a subscription to the Daily Mail. Still 'n' all ... ew!

Returned to the gym and did:
30 press ups (20 straight, then 10 later)
3 sets of 12 tricep dips
20 stomach crunches
10 ... hmm. Don't know what they're called. It's when you lie on your back, stretch one arm out behind your head and lift the opposing leg, straight, off the ground. You hold it for 3 seconds, then do the other side. I shall refer to them as Bastarding Sore Stomach Stretches. Anyway, I did 10.
20 minutes on the elliptical machine, on cross-trainer setting (two hills), varying the resistance from 8 to 13.

At the end of this I felt more than prepared for my supper - and thank god I was because it was delicious in every way. Ceegar and Meeper turned up at 5pm, bringing with them birthday gifts of a bottle of champers (mmm) and a new Pictionary game. We immediately got stuck in and found it rather hilarious. Instead of drawing pictures on bits of paper, the new version involves three plastic pieces on which you can draw - a small circle, a larger rectangle and a large plastic man. It was great fun, even though Meeper and I didn't really reach a meeting of the minds and lost to the others. It's ok. I'm a good loser, and the cheating, lucky bastards who won deserved it.

We left for supper at 7 and went up the A9 to East Haugh House Hotel. It's a lovely wee place, tucked off the main road and specialising in fishing holidays. We had 3 courses on a set menu for £45 - which is by no means cheap, but seems reasonable after you've eaten.

For starter I had red mullet on buckwheat vermicelli, with an oriental sauce (mostly soy), which was good. However, Fisher and Ceegar's duck liver paté was glorious, and Meeper pronounced her brie wrapped in prosciutto divine.

For main course, Ceegar and I had fillet and shin of beef, with celeriac gratin potatoes, asparagus and assorted other veg. The shin was wonderful - tender, flaked and bursting with flavour. The fillet was cooked just as I'd asked, and also wonderfully flavoursome. Meeper had cod with chorizo, which was excellent, and Fisher had duck - which I didn't try, but for which she had nothing but praise.

Pudding, according to Fisher, was a bit of a disappointment. I didn't have any - I had cheese instead - so I can't comment, but I will say that the cheeses were excellent. They were all soft, which was unusual, but as I prefer soft cheeses on the whole, that suited me just fine.

A lovely evening - and we returned to have a few more drams of whisky and watch the final of Masterchef. Rock on! Then bed, well content.

Now I must get up and see if our guests have stirred. I doubt it. It's only 11 am.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Grrrrr ... but also, yay!

Location: Surrounded by biscuit crumbs
Mood: Infuriated, but also in awe
Music: White Blank Page

Ok, I know it's That Time of the Month, but really! Is it necessary to eat - count 'em - 11 biscuits? The answer is, of course, no. This is not good. This is really, really not good. Yesterday I managed to spend the entire day doing well, then fell at the last hurdle. I simply couldn't bring myself to cook, after having cooked for 30 over the last 3 days, so Fisher and I went out. We found a brilliant, spit-and-sawdust type pub in Dunkeld where they serve stovies of all kind. I could have had stovies, actually. They're not too evil. But no, I had steak pie and chips. And 3 pints of beer. For FUCK's SAKE!!

Today, again, I was doing swimmingly. Breakfast was a muffin with only a thin spread of peanut butter. Lunch was a small Greek salad and another muffin (we're using them up before they go off). Supper was Chinese chicken noodle soup (home made) - and everything was looking rosy.

And then I ate 11 biscuits.

11 ... BISCUITS!!

I swear to GOD there is something wrong with me.

Ok, so I'm not doing very well on the diet front, but on the plus side I'm enveloped in a swelling cloud of glorious music from the marvellous Mumford & Sons. They're part of the London Folk scene, having played with Laura Marling (who is so good it hurts), Noah and the Whale, and - currently - with the Maccabees. This is folk at its absolutely heart-bursting best: rampant rhythm guitar, frantic-fingered banjo, sonorous cellos, dancing fiddles, and the ever-so-slightly smoke-husky tones of Marcus Mumford blending effortlessly with the harmonies of Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane.

The folk scene in the UK is utterly fabulous at the moment. Forget Seth Lakeman - he's the VH1 pin-up version of folk. Laura Marling, Kat Flint, Kate Rusby, Martha Tilston, King Creosote, The Devics - all these are in my music library, and all bring me great, wondrous joy, but I think Mumford & Sons might just have gone straight to the top of my list.

I wonder if someone told me I could only ever have EITHER great food OR music again, what I would do. Probably bash their head in with a big rock and walk off whistling, thus rendering the matter moot. But if I absolutely had to ...

Music. It feeds my soul.

But great food feeds my soul, too. And also, as a bonus, my tummy.

But that's a bad thing. If I gave up great food I'd be thin, and still have music. But probably quite choleric and fractious. Also, my friends only like me for my food so I'd lose all of them, too. And Fisher. Although, to be fair, she'd stay if I bought her more shoes.

It's impossible to choose! Thank God I don't have to. And with that ridiculousness, I bid ye adieu.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Birthday Part 2

Location: Still in bed
Mood: Scratchy
Music: Take You High

So, I'm 33. Big whoop. A few months ago I actually forgot whether I was 32 or 33 when putting my age into the static bike and had to work it out from my d.o.b. Clearly the difference between the two ages is negligible, and the fact that I'm mentally struggling with dicreptitude anyway makes turning from a 2 into a 3 makes no odds.

My birthday, in contrast to the insignificance of my age, was a bit of a blinder. Yes, the walk we took on Saturday morning was supposed to be a chance to get the heart rate up and excuse a large lunch, and unfortunately proved to be a gentle stroll through pretty woods. Yes, the food at the Meikleour Inn was only ok (my 'rare' lamb chops weren't even vaguely pink and took some chewin') but all that made not a whit of difference. It was a lovely spot and the chat was good, so who cares about the details?

On returning home we played board games, like the young rockers we are - and Blar and I were seriously screwed over at the end of Articulate. We were so far ahead it wasn't even funny, but because we couldn't get an All Play at the end (clearly there was a great deal of cheating and so forth going on) we were sneaked out of the race by the Evil Janus and ... who the hell was she with? I think Spar. God - it's worse than I thought! Blar being beaten by Spar! She'll never live it down. Anyway, having been sorely pipped at the post, we retired with dignity. I watched a bit of fitba with some of the fellers, and then cooked up some roast pork for the 10 of us. I slightly overcooked it, which is a shame, but the crackling was good and Fisher did the roasties proud. Afterwards, to my honour and delight, I was presented with a birthday cake - which Blar had made with her own fair hands. Considering this is a woman who looks at all things cookery based as if she's been asked to construct the Great Wall with her bare hands, out of pebbles, it was remarkably touching. Naturally I expressed trepidation, and pretended that it took my full body weight to cut into it, because too much praise is bad for any budding chef, but in actual fact it was delicious. And yes, we did tell her so. I hope she continues to make such things and give them to me. But if that weren't enough, Spar and Blar also showered me with gifts: a 4-hole punch from Blar (yes, there's a story behind it), and the promise of tickets to the St Johnstone v Aberdeen game in January; a beautiful black top from Monsoon from Blar; the Fallout 3 walkthrough book from Baby Belle (which, considering how gory and inappropriate that is, is genius).

I neither deserve nor expect such largesse, or such excellent friends.

The day finished with some serious poker. Only a fiver went into the pot, but with 9 of us that meant £45 up for grabs, which nobody objects to. It went down to the wire between Spar and me, but as the 3am bells rang out we decided we could do one of two things:

1) Stay up all night and battle it out for the pot, OR
2) Blow it all on one hand, winner takes all.

So - 7 card stud, nothing wild, me dealing. Two down, four up. Nothing to show. Last card, down and dirty. Chips down. Everything to play for. Everything to lose.

Quick look. Alcohol fumes cloud the air as we both exhale. My deal, his declare.

He looks. He smiles.

Two pairs.

My hand?

I smile. It's all I can do.

I think there might have been a king in there somewhere.

So he was triumphant, but it was a game to remember - especially some fightin' play from Pro, who went all in but was beaten by my freak 4 of a kind. I was dealt a pair of queens, two more popped up on the flop - he played the odds, tried to scare me off, really made me fight to keep him in, then swallowed it hook line and sinker. It was heart in mouth time, left me with a fat pile of chips and him on the deck - but better to go out in a blaze of glory than nibble away at your chips like a thrifty squirrel and lose anyway.

So, 3.30am saw us turn in, much the worse for wear for alcohol and adrenaline. The following day saw some sorrowful faces, especially Pro, who'd decided to attempt a Campari experiment, despite my advice to the contrary. Campari is revolting stuff - more bitter than an ant's arse (I imagine) and 23% alcohol, making it just dangerous enough to do some damage. Of course, if you drink half a bloody pint of it, mixed with orange juice, your taste buds may well have withered enough by the end to stand it - but I really wouldn't recommend it as a cocktail. Especially not sandwiched between red wine and whisky - even if it does have a sparkly straw in it.

We went and had some lunch at the ever-reliable Gloagburn, and then everyone went their separate ways. Fisher and I were left to flop down in front of the telly, put our feet up and consume all the leftovers in a flagrant bid to destroy my diet completely. This, I believe, I have achieved.

However - on the diet front, I am now officially Back On Track. Ok, dinner was a bit on the hefty side, but I only had a single muffin with peanut butter throughout the rest of the day, and I did go to the gym. Unfortunately my attempt at a run was pathetic. I did 1.1 mile on the treadmill, pushing myself for speed and getting up to 8m.p.h for a wee bit, but could go no further. I copped out and took to the static bike instead. I did 30 minutes on the cross-country setting, but only went 6 miles. I think that's about half a mile less than last time, which is rubbish! Still, I must learn to take positives from each session (apparently) so I mildly approve of the fact that I did, in total:

40 minutes cardiovascular (10 running, 30 cycling)
20 press-ups (15 straight, the final 5 with a short pause)
3 sets of 12 chest press (37.5kg)
3 sets of 12 tricep curls (on 8 - 20kg?)
10 ab curls, shoulder to knee (10 on each side)
5 ab stretches, legs crossing in a downward pattern (all I could cope with before painpainpain)
1 1/2 sets of lat pull-downs on 7. I just couldn't face doing any more.

In the meantime, Fisher was off doing a 12 mile run in preparation for the Jedburgh half. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, which is great, but there's one problem from my perspective and that is: when she works out like that, she always needs a massively carbie dinner. Unfortunately, rather than cooking 2 different meals, I always just agree to eat whatever she's eating - which means the amount of food I consume almost certainly far outweighs my workout. I'm going to have to watch this. A chicken and cheese baguette with packet of McCoys and salad is not the way forward.

So that's all for now. Look, it's 3pm. I should probably get out of bed.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Birthday Part 1

With the parents coming over for Tertius's christening, it was a delight to hear that they decided to extend their trip to incorporate celebrating my 33rd birthday. So, I thought this was a brilliant opportunity to gather the neighbours - some of whom aren't a million miles off their age - and have a dinner party. With Sister, Islander and Assisi finishing off the party it had potential to be a good 'un.

Good 'un? Blimmin' heck! It were one hell of a do - starting at 7.30 and finishing around 1am, with Ina and Ku'ula Kai being the last guests to leave. I've rarely been drunker, and most of today has been spent battling the horrid, headachey weariness that comes from a hangover. We ate, as a starter, blinis with sour cream, caviar, crevettes and smoked salmon. Main course was roast rib end of beef with horseradish yorkies ... which didn't quite work, and were more like little cakes than yorkies. They were tasty enough, but the horseradish didn't quite come across, so if I do them again I'll use fresh horseradish rather than cream. Pudding was amaretto syllabub, which everyone consumed with glee apart from my mother, for whom it was too rich. Fair enough - it is, after all, just whipped cream, sugar and alcohol.

We rolled into bed after doing a bit of tidying and taking the dogs for a late night ramble in a desperate bid to sober up. It was about 2.30 when we actually fell asleep.

Today I've felt awful from my excesses, but with the cheese board arriving for the weekend I had to go and do a fair bit of shopping, as well as help Fisher ready the house, and walk a couple of dogs for some other neighbours. MaPa and the Islanders only left at around 11am, so it was all a bit frantic until 4.30, when Fisher and I went upstairs and had a nap.

A nap!! I am SO FECKIN' OLD!!

Still, it was a good thing I did because having slept off the worst of the hangover I was then able to cook a big pot of chilli for the new arrivals,partake of a few glasses of wine with dinner, and enjoy a dram of birthday present Bruichladdich (thank you Wheeler!). Not to mention take great glee in all my marvellous birthday presents. Wheeler gave me whiskey and Clarissa Dickson-Wright's book! Badger gave me Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck book! Arrow and Lu got me two books - one on Why England Lose and other interesting footballing statistics, and the other on how to grow your own veg! Pro gave me golf shoes! (Which fit perfectly!!) Koi gave me a purple cloche-style hat that actually suits me! Phid got me a CD (which unfortunately I'd already got) but also a mystery day out (intrigued and can't wait!)! And Janus made me a beautiful black and white bandana with, amongst other things, dog paws on it. It's thick and beautiful, and is very cool because when people asked what I wanted, I said I wanted bandanas. I always wear them as I can't stand having hair in my face (brings me up in hives), so to get such a lovely one, hand made, was brilliant. I have to say, not only did Janus make me one, but Koi and Pro both bought me several more - one blue and red one from Pro and 3 lovely ones of different design from Koi.

Me pals are fab. Now I'm going to sleep so I can be refreshed on the morrow.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Location: In bed
Mood: Tired
Music: United States of Eurasia

This is really annoying. I got on the scales this morning and discovered that, not only have I lost no further weight, I've actually put on a pound. Still, I suppose I've been too busy to exercise since my long run on (?? Sunday was it?) and even though I've been careful with food, it's just not enough to actually help lose the weight. I wanted to go to the gym yesterday, but no go - too many things going on, not least the arrival of Sister, Islander and sons who arrived in a whirl of toys and demands to play The Monster Game. (This is Buzz: The Monster Game for PS2, which I highly recommend for great family fun).

Today, Sister and Islander went to Edinburgh to do some necessary stuff they can't do on The Island, leaving us holding the babies. All was ok, but Wrecker is feeling under the weather at present, and is a bit whiny. All he wanted to do was play the Monster Game, and I got slightly tetchy with him after he asked for the 25th time. They aren't allowed PlayStation until late afternoon (after 4pm), and have to spend the day doing more active, interesting things. This involved playing Barnyard Bingo, painting, playing hide and seek in the bale-field, climbing on top of said bales, and feeling perfectly well enough to delight in a large chocolate ice cream at the local dairy (but ONLY after he'd had a cheese sandwich). Gemmill, meanwhile, was very busy excavating Egyptian treasure from a large block of ... stuff (like soft sandstone), which looked like a brilliant game but did leave a layer of red dust over everything. Very authentically Egyptian, to be sure, but I don't really want to be sifting red sand out of my cornflakes unless there are bloody pyramids a stone's throw away. He also enjoyed romping in the bale-field - but, I gotta tell ya, children are exhausting. I think the problem lies in the fact that they wake you up at some ungodly hour of the morning, thus upsetting your Circadian rhythms and not allowing you the chance to acclimatise to their jet-lag effect.

I had to take the Drover in to the Drover Doctor to fix the faulty handbrake light that kept coming on. I was expecting it to be a problem with the switch itself, and was therefore glum to find out that one of the brake calipers was leaking, meaning I was losing brake fluid. This meant a 45 minute wait while they fixed it (I know - I'm not really complaining, especially as they only charged 30 minutes labour) and a whacking great £175 bill. Sigh. Bloody Drover.

While I was waiting, reading a back issue of Land Rover World (must buy Wheeler a subscription for his birthday. Oo. Hope he doesn't read this, as will ruin the surprise. Can't imagine that he does. Is far too busy/lazy and important/dyslexic) I felt an immense weariness come over me, and before I knew it I was napping in the waiting room, my Land Rover World drooping onto my chin. Never have I felt so perilously close to old age before. Sad. I was awoken by the charming tones of a Renfrewshire lass bouncing through the doors, demanding a sump guard for 'Wallie'. Whether 'Wallie' was her boyfriend, father, brother or Land Rover I will never know. Order placed, she then turned, took one look at me, laughed heartily and somewhat bafflingly, and bounced out again.

Home again home again, just in time to change, snatch a few precious moments to try and wake up, and head out for my evening massage. My Thursday client is lovely, and very chatty, so we spend quite a lot of time over the whole process, meaning I wasn't back until 8. Luckily, I returned to discover delicious curry smells permeating the air and dinner being prepared by Islander. Not only that but there was footie on the telly - so I recorded the England v Belarus game and watched it after supper. A good, solid 3-0 win for us - although the homoerotic fawning over David Beckham by Andy Townsend and Steve Bruce was slightly nauseating. He was only on for about 20 minutes but they gave him Man of the Match - which was ridiculous, and insulting to Peter Crouch, who had a very impressive game.

That brings me to here. In bed. At just gone midnight. Preposterous!! Just because I'm now officially 33 (by 15 minutes) doesn't mean I have to suddenly start falling asleep in the afternoons, working for a living and going to bed at 11.30pm. Must do better!

Oh - and ought to try and lose some weight pretty soon.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Longish Run

Got the pazzas staying at the mo, which is its usual mix of joy and pain - so what better way of releasing all those pent up endorphins than going for a long run?

I've been meaning to up the mileage for some time, and then inspiration from Janus and Badger, who both did a 4.6 mile run/walk recently, kicked me squarely in the backside. So, out I went and did the usual 5k route - up the hill, through the farm at the end, and back to the house. Then I ran past the house and down to the post box at the edge of town, before returning. I was struggling a little by the end but it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. I managed 5 miles in 58 minutes and 19 seconds, which was around 11.50 mins a mile. The great news is that I suffered no cramping pains of any kind and completed the run feeling, if not bright eyed and bushy tailed, then at least still vaguely human. (Hm. Check out that mixed metaphor. How many humans with tails do you know?) I was able to take the dogs for a quick walk before jumping in the shower and rushing into Perth to meet Fisher and MaPa. We had lunch at Breizh and I had a small Mediterranean salad - which sounds very frugal, but is full of mozzarella cheese, and wasn't helped by vast quantities of bread and olive oil. Or the fact that, a few minutes ago, I consumed my 2nd bag of Twistees in 2 days (Ma brought me a couple of packets from Malta. Ok, she brought me one and Fisher one, but Fisher doesn't have the same worshipful attitude to Twistees and therefore generously allowed me to consume them both). At least the run burned 800 calories.

A very sad side effect of any kind of strenuous exercise for me is that it invariably gives me a stonking headache. I drank nearly a litre of water after returning from the run, so I can't imagine I'm dehydrated, but the headache would certainly suggest that was the case. I'm off now to down some loverly loverly ibuprofen.

Ciao, dahlings.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Double or Quits

Location: In bed shaking off the mild hangover and trying to stay warm
Mood: Resigned
Music: Cemeteries of London

Ok, so the diet didn't go so well. For the record, Pro did quite well, shedding 8lbs, although nobody's entirely sure how he did it. Bastard. But, anyway, we all would have lost the bet badly and been forced to do our forfeits has we not agreed to go double or quits. This time, we've given ourselves until December 19th to lose the weight. I have to lose a stone, not including the 4lbs I shifted (god, so rubbish) already. Pro has to get down to his target weight, which involves losing 13lbs, and Spartan has to lose a stone, including whatever he's lost now. After all, he doesn't have much to spare, so more than a stone and he'd start resembling chewed string. And the punishment? Well, it's the same as before (no PlayStation for me, no TV for the boys) only this is where the 'double' part comes in. Yes folks, if we fail it's a 6 month ban.

6 months!! There is NO WAY I'm letting that happen.

The superb news is that Janus has screwed her courage to the sticking plate and joined in. She only has a 3 month punishment if she loses - but if she doesn't lose more than 8lbs she has to do the full 6 months.

I've been pissing about with this diet for ages, but it's got to a point where I have to take it seriously. I'm 33 years old on the 15th, and the days where my body repairs itself from all the abuse I give it are over. The damage I do to myself now is the damage that will stay with me forever - and I've already fucked me back pretty badly. I have - have - to start looking at losing the weight, else my posture will only get worse and my back problems increase. Doing circuits every Thursday (not yesterday though - had the neighbours round for supper) is really good for my pathetic core muscles, and if I can just find the energy to do 2 more days of exercise every week things should start improving. I'd love to play squash or tennis with Spar once a week, even if it does mean a drive all the way to Edinburgh, and then a run/swim/bike in the gym would finish things off nicely. To be fair, I ought to do at least 2 runs a week, but I do so hate it. As long as I stay fit, that's the most important thing.

I'd been doing pretty well over the last few days, and had even dropped another couple of pounds, bringing my total loss up to 6lbs. That was yesterday. I'm not getting on the scales today - at least, not until I've been to the gym with Fisher (who's doing 10 miles, as part of her 1/2 marathon training). I really, really don't want to go. My parents are turning up at some unspecified time today, and I should be here to greet them - and Blar is coming up this afternoon with Baby Belle, stopping over on her way up north for a wedding. I want to be in good fettle to enjoy their company. But, more to the point, I'm cold, tired and crabby and the LAST THING I want to do is go and pound pavements around the gym, or swim, or get sweaty in any way.

But there are 3 things that make me reluctantly determined to go. Firstly, there's the fact that Fisher is going to be running for over an hour and a half - and like Janus says, if your partner does exercise you just end up feeling crap for not having gone with them.

Secondly, there's the fact we had Epona and Shah over for supper last night. I cooked a game stew - rabbit, venison, partridge, pheasant - which was supposed to be lean, dietary food. Unfortunately I added about 50g of butter - and we drank 2 bottles of wine between the 3 of us. Ok, 1 3/4s of a bottle and 2 whiskies each, but it's the same unit content. Now, you may think that 50g of butter between 4 people is a laughable amount, but we also had mashed potatoes flavoured with butter, and courgettes cooked in - you guessed it - butter. So we were a bit buttertastic. But does it end there? It does not. For I cooked a pudding: baked ginger cheesecake, involving crushed digestive biscuits (with butter), ricotta AND cream cheese. Stem ginger and ginger syrup added the flavouring. It went down well, but I overcooked the biscuit crumbs so I think they have a very faint bitterness to them which is a shame. More shameful is the fact I had 2 slices, with ginger and whisky cream accompaniment.

It's all too horrible. I mean, I tried to amend my food intake for the rest of the day (muffin for breakfast, not much else) but I'm definitely not letting the scales depress me until I have a chance to work some of it off.

And what's the 3rd motivation? Frankly, it's the knowledge that Janus is going great guns at the gym, pool, and on the pavements of Edinburgh, and if she can do it then I owe it to her to be just as diligent. I want us both to reach our targets. This isn't a competition, it's a challenge, and if she fails and I succeed I won't be happy. We've both got to do it! So, like it or not, I'm off to the gym.


Thursday, 1 October 2009

Brrr ...

Mood: Feckin' cold
Location: Pit of laziness
Music: The Humanist Queen

I'm desperately trying to summon up the will to go to circuits, but I've been feeling tired and sick all day. I think this has to do with being really, really cold. Owing to the fact that the heating bill last winter was astronominominomical, Fishergirl and I have been trying very hard to be circumspect with the old thermostat. Her Dad came by and helped us out by putting the water heater temp up by a couple of degrees, which not only makes baths much more pleasant but actually saves money (you use less hot water because it's hotter, and so save on ... er ... stuff), but other than that we've only had the heating on for a few hours a day. We got the heating bill in, and it made pleasant reading, so hurrah for us. Unfortunately, so boosted was I by this news that I've refused - REFUSED - to give in to the seriously autumnal weather, and am now sitting with the hood of my hoodie over my head, occasionally breathing on my fingers as I type.

I shall light a fire. O yes. That is what I shall do.

Now then. Weight loss.

Nuff said.

I've got 2 days to go, and if I hit the 5lb loss mark I'll be ecstatic. More likely to be 4. This is shite. It's double or quits time ...