Monday, 26 December 2011

What comes around goes around - Groundhog Day

Three and a half months ago I stopped running because I hurt my foot. Three weeks ago, I was just about to get out on the road again running, when I fell and hurt my chest badly. The pain has been awful, it still hurts but it's just begun to get better. So today I've been for a walk. I did just over a mile and a half.

I must get going again. 3 months of forced idleness and I've put lots of weight on again. I haven't weighed myself. I don't need to. Well, I don't want to. But it's almost 12 months since I started this blog and I'm back at square one. Again, I need to get from fat to fit. Seems a bit like Groundhog Day.

I can't do much at present, I'm too tired. So I'm starting small and not giving myself any sort of programme. I'm just going to do what I can.

I'll be using Walkmeter to begin with. Maybe a couple of months of walking before I can start to run, maybe three. We'll see. So here goes...........

Saturday, 29 October 2011

You win some - You lose some(thing)

I took advantage of a dry morning and went out on my bike. I really enjoyed it. I did some extra kilometers to take me further in one go than I've cycled up to now. I was feeling really pleased with myself, until a got home and realised that my spectacles had fallen out of my pocket somewhere en route. What makes it worse is that I've got a small back that attaches to the handlebars for carrying such things but I haven't put it on yet. Stupid? You bet! I even drove twice around the route looking for them but there was no sign. It was a long shot anyway. The upside is that I've had some exercise and now, a couple of hours later it's raining, so I feel good about using the best of the day.

Friday, 28 October 2011

My Bike

Well, here's my bike. I'm still getting used to it. I've been out on it again today; a longer ride this time with a couple of stops visiting relatives. I'll gradually get it how I want it. But I'm taking it really easy; a step at a time, getting the feel of the bike, myself, and traffic too.

I'm using the Cyclemeter iPhone App to record my journeys in conjunction with Daily Mile which I use for running too (when I'm running)

I can give myself another 3 or 4 weeks for my foot to recover before I begin running again. In the meantime I'm hoping my aerobic fitness level will improve and my weight reduce a bit more if I can get enough days on the bike. It's maybe not the best time of year to begin cycling as we move further into the autumn and winter. But if there are more days like today which is sunny and dry, it will be perfect. Just dry will do nicely.

So watch out Bradley Wiggins!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Forty Weeks plus One + 1 day

Well, I finished the Forty Weeks. The deadline came at me at some speed knowing that I wouldn't reach my weight goal. What put paid to it really was my damaged foot. I did weigh myself on my final day and came in at 12stone 4lbs. It's a stone lighter than when I started so I was happy with that at least. And now I'm a week and one day past the deadline and still putting on a bit of weight. I don't need to weigh myself, I can tell. The reason being - inactivity!!!!

So that was it....!
I trawled the internet for my foot pain symptoms and came to the conclusion that it isn't arthritis after all, but more likely a metatarsal stress fracture. Why it's happened I don't really know, except that maybe I simply overdid it as is my wont. So for the last 19 days now I haven't been running. I'm giving the foot a rest. The symptoms have diminished more over the last week so I'll give it another 3 or 4 weeks more to recover. And then I'll start over yet again, right at the beginning of c25k............


With a little help from Mother Nature and my.......... shoes
What I'm sure is helping my recovery is spending as much time as possible in bare feet, (the way nature intended them to be) at least while I'm at home. Also, I bought a pair of Vivobarefoot Ra shoes which are the everyday stylish version of the Neo running shoes, so I can wear them out and about. I spent a long time in them yesterday while shopping. The soles of my feet were burning when I got home but today I have no aches or pain to speak of in my foot at all. I just get twinges now and then so on the whole I think it's on the mend nicely now.

So what do I do now?
To fill in the gap, a couple of days ago I bought a second hand but in really good condition, road bike. I've been out on it today, just for a try-out. I haven't been on a bike for a good number of years, so I soon felt the difference - muscles and body posture not normally used! I was only on it 20 minutes but it was enough. I'm 62 years old as well remember. It's when you do something like that that you realise what the years have done to you! So anyway, I can do the calorie burning using that sort of exercise and who knows, by Christmas I might be under 12 stones after all. I hope so.

'Never, never, never give in'. (Winston Churchill by all accounts)
Even though I've passed the original target date now, well past, I'll keep going with this blog as best I can making notes about my progress. I hope it will be of interest.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now I've Tried Everything -- 11 days to go

St. Winefride's Well
Last Saturday I paid a visit to St. Winefride's well at Holywell in North Wales. There I dipped my left foot in the healing waters and prayed to St. Winefride for her intercession on behalf of my foot. I'm not sure yet if the spiritual wi-fi was connected but I'm waiting in faith and hope.

Well, I've tried everything else as I said before and nothing seems to have worked to remove the pain completely. It comes and goes whether I run or not. So I ran again yesterday; a little further this time. My foot was good and I felt like I could have run for miles. Perhaps that's the lesson in all this - quitting while the going is good, which I've never really been able to do. I'll be out tomorrow morning too, in the dark now to begin with but in good Biblical and Christian fashion it's good to be running from darkness to light.

St. Winefride
I'm busted as far as my goal is concerned. I know without weighing myself that I've put on a bit of weight again. That's because of the lack of miles. But I might be getting a road bike very soon, which will give me an alternative calorie burning factory and take some of the strain off my foot. So maybe by Christmas I can meet my weight and fitness target. Better late than never!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Just Keep on Going - 15 days left

Well, after resting my foot for over a week; after taking anti-inflamatories and pain killers and massaging it, none of which seemed to make much difference, I decided that if my foot was going to hurt anyway, I might as well run.

In actual fact, it hurts most when I'm sitting down or standing and hurts least when I'm walking and running. So that's a good excuse to keep moving on it. Some days there is no pain. Some days lots. And it seems to move about; sometimes in my toes, sometimes in my metatarsals. I've noticed that arthritis seems to be like that. The pain comes and goes in its own time at its own pace. Well, with me anyway; and really, the weather doesn't make much difference in my case as I know it seems to with others.

So, I did a 2.6k this morning; 26 mins, most of which was pain free as it happens, just a twinge or two as I neared home. Then when I got in the house and took off my shoes and sat down, that's when I felt it.

I'm still convinced that my minimalist shoes are the best for me and haven't contributed to the pain. The pain I got on holiday in my foot developed when I was wearing a pair of sandals and I had no pain at all on the two occasions I ran on holiday. And in fact, the only pair of shoes I can wear which doesn't seem to exacerbate the pain are my Vivobarefoot Neo's. And I walk about barefoot in the house almost all the time.

The upshot is that because of the condition of my foot now, I've had to cut my distance to less than half. I don't think I'll ever run a marathon now. I might not even run 10k again. All I can do is just keep going, running short distances regularly and see how things develop. All goals have gone out the window except the goal of 'keep on going'.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Weigh - Hey! 20 days to target

Weighed myself this morning at my regular weighing time i.e. straight out of bed. 12 stones! Which means that I haven't lost any weight over the last month but neither have I put any on and that's despite the lack of running over the last 3 weeks so I must be keeping within limits with my eating.

So I'm pleased about that. No running today. My foot is getting better thanks to the rest and going barefoot around the house for the last couple of days and wearing shoes with no heel lift and plenty of room when I'm outside.

Theoretically I could reach my target in the 20 days left but it's a big ask. Revised target - 11st. 10lbs. which will put me definitely under 12 which is where I've wanted to be for a very long time. And 10k by Christmas?? mmm.

So, here goes!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Ooops! - only 21 days to go

Been away on holiday for two weeks. Back last Friday but only just got round to doing this. I don't know what my weight is. Weigh-in tomorrow. I suspect I've put on a couple of pounds. We went to Greece - Skiathos and Skopelos. The temperature was in the 30's every day and sunshine all day every day. Hot, even there, for the time of year. So I only ran twice while I was away. I couldn't get used to the heat for the first week and felt too tired to run the second week.

My first day back I ran, in our refreshing damp and cold weather. But it only stays refreshing for a while and today, I seem to have a cold. I've run 3 times this week and then a pain shot in my left foot after the first 2k on the third day. While I was away, the arthritis in that foot seemed to extend. Or at least, some other sort of inflammation. I think it was due to just doing a lot of standing around. It didn't bother me on my first two runs this week and I can't understand why the pain should have come when it did. But it did. Maybe I tried to do too much too soon. It's probably the most common cause of injury.

Anyway, now I'm nursing a hurting foot and goodness knows when I'll be able to run again. I'm taking pain killers and anti-inflammatories and massaging it with olive oil and lavender. It'll get better, but it's a bit frustrating to say the least.

With all this, it looks like I'll miss my target of eleven and a half stones by the end of week 40. I'm not too worried because I've learned a lot and I think I'm going to put together some basic principles of dieting and exercise, especially for the more mature in years. If I have to extend the target date by another month, well that's not so bad is it?

Just 3 weeks to go now. January, when I started seems an age away. Can't believe it's nearly time up.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Learning my Limits - 43 days left

I decided to run 6.5k today, continuously. It's my furthest continuous run, not counting warm up and cool down time.

It was a nice morning, cool with some sun and a very light breeze. Perfect. And I enjoyed it. I was hoping my two days rest had paid dividends. And they had. The rest days got me to 5k and then the pain in my left hip which I'd experienced on Monday after 3k, began. It stayed with me for the rest of the way but reached a sort of bearable maximum level. Also, my abdominal muscles began to get a few twinges and one or two in my right anxle after 6k.

So, I discovered my limits this morning. It's that time when the body says 'I've really had enough, thank you; no matter what your heart and mind are saying'.

A big part of this journey to wellness is respecting my body's indications to me that either things are going good or not so good and taking the appropriate action.

I can run 5k now without and trouble. I think from now onward I'm going to have to increase my distances by no more than the regulatory 10% per week or even longer.

My c25k app told me I'd run 6.6k but dailymile said I ran 7.4k. Whatever. I enjoyed it and I feel ok! The pains disappeared as soon as I stopped which says to me that there's no damage as such, it's maybe just excessive stress on ageing bones!


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It All Counts - 45 days to target

I made myself have a rest today. And I mean MADE. It wasn't too difficult as it turned out because I know I need it. It will be harder to continue my rest tomorrow but I really should and then make the most of it on Thursday.

Anyway, to make up for the lack of exercise, in part, I mowed the lawns. It takes me a good 45 mins. to push the electric mower around when the grass is as long as it's grown over the last few days. So that's a banana's worth and more of calories.

Roll on Thursday, that's all I can say!
ZGTJTY85HYCF

Monday, 29 August 2011

WHEN will I Learn? - 46 days left

Today's a Bank Holiday, so there's me thinking 'a good day for a run', even though I ran yesterday, didn't feel particularly good after it and had a tiring day following it. I guess it was the feeling of free space in front of me for the day, without appointments or obligations that was the attraction. And so I ran. I was only going to make it a short run anyway, just 4k because at the back of my mind was the knowledge that today should be a rest day. But, that 'free space' was beckoning. So, I ran.

I decided to run some of my old route which I used to run all the time when I ran a few years ago. This was mistake number 2. It's a long slow incline for the first half, the opposite for most of the second half and then a shorter pull up and over and down back to home. Compared to the route I've been running recently it's quite boring and monotonous. I prefer more undulations now. This old route, because of the lack of variation, is more strain on the legs.

I was ok for the first half and just into the second, and then my left hip started to hurt. It was a pain I've never had before. I managed the 4k I'd planned but I could tell that this had been a mistake and I was glad to stop. It sort of recapped and brought home the lesson that it's best to 'listen' to what my body is saying and if there's the slightest hesitation, to err on the safer side and save my legs for another day.

Now I'm going to have to have 2 days off to make up for it. It's one of those paradoxes of life that good things can be bad for us when unwisely used. Exercise and food are good examples. I've been trying to control both for my benefit and the lessons are hard to learn.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday Best? - 47 days left

I don't usually run on a Sunday, not because I've any spiritual or theological reasons against it, it's just a hard morning anyway for me. But I made an exception this morning because I felt like running and I'd had a day off yesterday. I felt ok during the run but when I got back my legs were a bit painful. I haven't a clue why that should be except that I didn't feel all that well yesterday and maybe it had something to do with that.

You can never tell how you are going to be until the experience is past. As I've remarked before, some days you can feel fine and other days feel rubbish from start to finish. The vexing thing is that sometimes you can't think of anything to put the difference down to.

Not like I could do if I was one of those staggering home in totally inappropriate clothing at 6.00 a.m. after a night's clubbing. I passed a couple of likely lads this morning wending their way home, or at least in a forward direction! I ran past the local Tesco one Saturday morning just after 6.00 a.m. and three young men and two young women were just emerging with a case of lager; no doubt to round off a 'good night'.

I do remember staggering home when I was their age, but it wasn't at dawn, it was much much earlier the night before. We had a reason to binge drink as the pubs and clubs weren't open 24/7. But binge drinking hadn't been invented then. We simply 'got drunk.' But closing hours gave the opportunity to sober up properly.

Now I'm at an age where I'm simply grateful that I can be up at dawn and out running on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I no longer get drunk, or even drink because time and tide have taken their toll and alcohol just makes me very ill before I've drunk enough to feel any real effect. Now, electrolytes and carb drinks are my post exercise poison.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Draws On - and 49 days to go

Yes, and it will soon be Winter draw(er)s on as well! I can tell the nights are getting longer. During June and July I can be up at 5.00 a.m. as it gets light at 4.30. This week it's been after 6.00 a.m. when I've been dragging myself out of bed simply because it's only coming light at 5.00. My body clock in that respect rules me. And I'm sorry but I have to abide by it. It means that during the Winter what I do now at 6.00 a.m. I do at 7.00 or even 8.00 in the Winter. I'm NOT looking forward to it.

However, good news this morning, at my weigh-in I'd lost another 2lbs. That's 2lbs less to haul around with me on my runs. It means too that I should, if I can keep the pace, hit my target of 11st. 7lb (or lighter) by the deadline of 7 weeks today. Wish me luck!!!

I had a good extended run this morning. I set my c25k app for a 30 minute run but in fact ran 45 minutes, just to see if I could. And I did. Yes! Also, I included 2 hills, a shorter one on my way out and the long one on my way back. The long hill is 700 yards long. Not sure on the incline but it's enough to get me working quite hard. When I've run it, I know about it. There are one or two of different gradient in the same area which I must try in coming weeks. I'll need to, because as you lose weight and get lighter you have to work harder to burn the calories. Oh joy!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Back Again, thank Goodness - 51 days and counting

Yes, I took the risk of running again this morning. I couldn't not. The weather was just right and my legs felt a lot better, just a few aches here and there but a lot better.

Of course, I was only going to do 20 mins. max. But I did 42 mins and took in two hills as well! So much for easing my way back in and taking care of my legs.

I could already feel the benefit of pushing myself last Friday. Amongst the aches I could feel, or below the aches and remaining stiffness I felt stronger. I think that's why I tackled the hills; one shorter hill on the way out and a longer one on the way in. It sort of proved the increasing strength.

So, all in all it was a good run this morning. Yes, when I got back I was aching rather more than if I'd given myself another day of recovery. But come on, the longer I stay inactive, the larger the belly gets. And that I cannot have again, no matter what the pain.

Just a note here though about when I'm talking about aches and stiffness. I have to say that I haven't had one pain that I can attribute to wearing minimalist running shoes. I certainly don't get shin splints anymore like I always had with my conventional trainers. The aches and pains I get are simply from pushing myself too far, which, incidentally, I do less of now because I'm wiser and also my minimalist shoes really won't let me. Honest.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Can Enthusiasm be Bad for You? - 52 days to go

"You can have all the heart in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you have the legs."
(Lance Armstrong in 'Lance Armstrong - Tour de Force' by Daniel Coyle - See in I Recommend in the side bar)

Walking's been a pain and getting downstairs a nightmare since my run last Friday, but today I began to get my legs back. On Sunday I wondered if I'd ever get them back, walking was so excruciating. Maybe tomorrow morning I might manage a mile or two but if not, definitely Thursday.

Friday's run was the best ever. I felt on top of the world, carried along by the whole experience, full of enthusiasm for what I was doing. So much so that I had little regard for what it was taking out of my body. I felt like I was 16 and forgot that I'm 61. And there's the rub. My enthusiasm carried me too far and I suffered. Thinking about those who go in for extreme sports of different kinds, sometimes their enthusiasm not only makes them suffer badly, but has been known to result in their death.

Part of the story of Pheidipides' iconic run from Athens to Marathon, that's conveniently forgotten, is that shortly afterwards he died of exhaustion.

Enthusiasm isn't a substitute for having the body, the ability and the wisdom that sees you through to your goal, or to the finishing line in good shape. You need to have the equipment and it needs to be in the best working order possible and you've got to be able to use it wisely. Enthusiasm can be the death of you when you aren't equipped to make best use of it.

So, with all the pain I've suffered over the last 3 days, was my long hard run on Friday worth it?

OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! And I'd do it again. I know I probably will some time.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Aaarrrgh! - 55 days to go

..... "I was doing fine up to Foresthill, but I've entered a world of hurt since. The pain is getting intense," I said. There was a long moment of silence, and then the Indian chief began to speak. "That is to be expected," he said, continuing to scan the sky. "Pain is the body's way of ridding itself of weakness."

So writes Dean Karnazes in his book Ultra Marathon Man (see My Recommendations in the sidebar) in an encounter at one of the check points on his first ultra marathon race the Western States 100.

Well, if what the Indian chief says is true, my legs are doing some ridding of weakness this morning! . I'm having difficulty walking this morning because of stiffness and soreness in my legs. But it takes nothing away from yesterday's run. It's all part of the process, of building up, healing, improving and learning. It'll mean at least 2 and maybe 3 days of rest, but I've learned to put up with that too.

On a more positive note, the bathroom scales tell me this morning that I've dropped another 2lbs. Step by step, pound by pound, mile by mile, I'm getting there.

Friday, 19 August 2011

THIS Makes it All Worthwhile! - 56 days left

If I've ever wondered why I'm putting myself through all the dieting and exercise, well, this morning I got the answer. This morning's run made the whole of the last 6 months worthwhile.

For a few weeks I've been wanting to get off the road because I just had a feeling, and that was all, that running on trails and country paths must in some ways be better than pounding the pavement. When I used to run some years ago, the only respite from the roadside was my circuits around the local park. But recently, something inside was telling me that off the road held something different. I didn't know what but I just had the feeling it did. I bought the trail shoes, Inov-8 BareGrip 200's, a few weeks ago so that I could try the off-road experience whenever I could. Well, this morning was my first time. And what an experience!

It was something like 6.50 a.m. when I set off - a beautiful sunny morning, blue sky and cool with the sun just risen. I'd decided to try and run some footpaths just a few miles away from home in the local countryside. For those of you who know it, I ran from Parbold Hill to Ashurst Beacon and back across the Douglas Valley. You can see the map and route I took here: My Route

My abiding impression is this: Sun, blue sky, nettled, scratched, wet feet, muddied and sheep pooh; pheasants took flight squawking furiously as I approached; sheep and cattle wondered what this idiot was doing so early in a morning, disturbing their breakfast; slanting sun making fields full of jewels as it reflected off the dew; solitude, peace and fresh, unpolluted air. When I could run I ran, when I had to walk, I walked. My time was slow but I didn't care, I was drinking in the whole thing. It was GLORIOUS, heaven on earth!

Although I was running most of the time I carried my camera (it's only very small) and took photographs. It was a good excuse to stop and get my breath back as well. I'm not the world's best photographer but I've included one or two here so you can see how beautiful a morning it was.

I did just over 10k in all, the furthest I've 'run' for about 5 years. It took me 1hr. 45mins. I'm tired and stiff now but what the heck it was worth it. And it made all the months of dieting, and slowly getting back walking and then into running again worth every moment. Days like these don't come along often but when they do it makes it all worthwhile

It's just like what Haruki Murakami wrote and which I quoted a few days ago. It might seem a pretty pointless thing to do, running through the countryside, but it's what happens in the heart that matters and only the one who does it really knows.

Long shadows over fields as the sun rises
The way to Life is narrow and few there are that find it (the start)
Early morning sun over the Douglas Valley - my destination on the horizon
Early morning sun rising on the sheep
Open trails
And wooded paths
Leeds-Liverpool Canal side by side with........
The river Douglas
Cows wondering 'what on earth' so early
Bejewelled fields, light and shade
Ashurst's Beacon - half way (or thereabouts) destination
From the summit - Wind farm off the Lancashire coast

And looking over Liverpool to the mountains of Wales
Even on country paths!
Somebody has to go to work!
The last bit of trail
Yes, I walked this bit, Parbold Hill summit round the corner
A last look back at where I'd been - the Beacon just visible on the horizon and the sun has disappeared
Happy trail runner!!!
Not so happy socks and trail shoes!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What's so Good about Resting??!! - 57 days to the Day

Part of me hates these days between exercise, especially the perfectionist, workaholic part of me, which is practically the whole of me. The hardest lesson to learn about exercise is that the rest periods are the hours and days where all the good the exercise has done is 'banked'. Muscles heal and regenerate, glycogen stores stock up, minerals are replenished. BUT TRY TELLING YOUR EGO THAT!! I know all this but it's so hard just to 'down tools' and let be. And today's one of those days. It's sunny outside, a cool, clear morning and I just want to be on the road. But I was out yesterday and I want to be out tomorrow, so, I've got to get a grip......

Anyway, on Twitter I follow Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and I found this earlier in one of his tweets: 'Your Competitive Advantage - Rest' I think it's a good article; a helpful reminder that rest is good for every aspect of your life. It reinforces that fact that rest is ESSENTIAL not only for our 'being', for our body, mind and spirit, but also for our 'doing', for all our activity especially that part that makes our living. And I like the way Darren suggests we build in the rest periods and make the most of them; which reminds me of something else that's been on my mind lately, the ways in which and the reasons why energy seems to leak away from me. But that's for another post.

Have a rest some time today!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

You Really Gotta Read This!!! - 58 days left

Yes, you've really got to read this post!!! Well, no you don't have to. I was just trying to attract your attention. But now I've got it you might as well read on hadn't you?

I was out again this morning. I was a bit later. I'm getting to know the cars that pass me every morning now and some of them, that I see on mt way back, passsed me on the way out today . We are such creatures of habit. And habit can get in the way of development.

When I think I've got a good thing going, I find it difficult to do something different, even though I really know it would benefit me. I think running not quite as far and thinking more about form and building myself up would be better for me just now. But somehow, running not quite as far feels like it's not really helping me improve. Just something in the mind that I'm struggling with.

I realised this morning that I'm more comfortable running on a path with a slight camber from right to left. It seems to make up for the weakness in my left foot and whatever I'm doing 'wrong' with my right leg. When I understood that, I found that I could run a bit faster. Now I think about it, I used to run like that in my old motion control trainers. But in those I got far more pain and injury. So I'm still convinced about my Neo's.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Love This Reason for Running - 60 days to go

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami writes this about his life of running, in his book 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running':

'Even if from the outside, or from some higher vantage point, this sort of life looks pointless or futile, or even extremely inefficient, it doesn't bother me. Maybe it's some pointless act like....pouring water into an old pan that has a hole in the bottom, but at least the effort you put into it remains. Whether it's good for anything or not, cool or totally uncool, in the final analysis what's most important is what you can't see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that appear fruitless don't necessarily end up so. That's the feeling I have, as someone who's felt this, who's experienced it'.

Yes, it's what's going on inside that matters. I think it gives an explanation too for lots we do in life that seem, on the outside, to be pretty pointless to in uninitiated. It's what goes on in the heart that matters. As soon as I read that I thought; 'yes, that just about sums up having faith in God too and living life as a Christian'. It's not the first time, and I'm sure won't be the last, that running has informed my spiritual life.

This morning, it poured down with rain as soon as I stepped out the door. But I enjoy the rain when I get soaked through. It no longer becomes uncomfortable. It's just the opposite of being dry. And it kept my mind out of my legs a bit.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Now I Can Bend Down! - 62 days to go

It's often what seem to be the more insignificant things that upset us or delight us the most I think. 6 months ago, when I started this journey I had difficulty bending down to cut my toe nails, simply because my belly got in the way. It left me puffing and panting and my back aching. Now - it's far easier. It's good to weigh yourself and see the needle on the bathroom scales (my scales are ancient) going backwards. But I get far more delight out of moving along a notch on my belt and looking in the mirror and seeing that my moobs are sticking out less under a t-shirt. Those things and being able to get into clothes I wore years ago when I was much slimmer, are far greater incentive to keeping going in the battle to lose weight. My belly's still quite a bit jelly and I've a way to go yet but I'M ON MY WAY!

I continued with c25k this morning just doing the 30 min. run that comes as an 'extra' to the 9 week programme. There are a couple of others - a 45 min. run and one that you design yourself. I actually did 35 mins. It was good and less of a strain than Thursday which had me out for an hour. But I felt the weakness in my left foot for the first time and the stiffness in my right leg. I'm sure if I keep just to the 30 min. workout and don't extend too much then I'll get through those things.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Review and Reflection

JUST 9 WEEKS LEFT. 63 DAYS. 14th October is the final day! Exactly 9 weeks from today.

Today my right leg is aching a bit due to the long run yesterday. So I've decided that it was too much too soon and to rethink. I've decided that for the next 2 weeks I'll run just 30 minutes and concentrate on building up strength and correcting my running form. I've done very well so far. I finished c25k just a day behind schedule, but I pushed myself to do it; and now I'm in danger of pushing too far altogether. If I finish B210k by the end of the year I'll be happy. So there's no need to rush.

I'm going to do the exercises for strength and form from the book 'Natural Running' by Danny Abshire which I bought several weeks ago. It's a very detailed book but one which helps you understand much better how the whole body works in running and how and why injuries are caused. More importantly, it describes how to change your running style and form in a slow and progressive way that builds you up at the same time to create the best distance and speed. So I would be crazy to ignore such good advice.

Luna Sandals hasn't e-mailed me yet to say my order has been despatched. I'm going to phone on Monday if I don't hear anything today.

I weighed myself this morning and I've dropped a couple of pounds to 170lbs. (77kilos) So I'm on my way to my goal again. Thank goodness. I thought I was on that plateau for good. I want to lose another 6lbs. over the next 3 weeks which will take me to 11st. 10lbs. And by my birthday, hopefully, I'll have reached my weight goal of 11st. 7lbs. Really, I'd like to be 11st. 4lbs because I used to be at my best at that weight. So we'll see. But I'm happy that I'm on my way!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A Rainy Start

It was warm and rainy this morning for my start on working up to 10k. I'm using b210k app on my iPhone now. I wandered all over the place trying to work out a route and it felt most unsatisfactory. I used to do ciricuits through the local park but I don't want to run in circles this time. So I'm going to have to work out a route that will build me up a bit more, something undulating with one or two short stiff hills if I can fit them in.

I'm feeling like I've been stretched this morning, which is good. I was out for an hour which is the longest I've been out running and there was about 45 minutes running in that, the rest walking. So, it feels good. The extra day rest yesterday was a wise move. I'm not sure how I'll feel on Saturday when I come to day two. I'll try and work out a proper route before that and it will make it feel better I'm sure.

A good start I think

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Being Wise?

Putting my feet up in Ouranoupolis, by Mount Athos
I decided to take another day off running today because my right leg needs it. I've over stretched myself in the past and I hope I've learned the lessons well.

It means of course that my start on Bridge to 10k is delayed, and it's a bit frustrating. But it's good to learn patience as well and to learn to listen well to my body.

And I'm doing my best to convince myself that in putting my feet up for an extra day I'm being wise!!??

Monday, 8 August 2011

On My Way to 10k

Well, I finished c25k this morning. I ran an extra 10 minutes to celebrate. I made the mistake of putting my rain jacket on because it was spitting when I opened the front door. There was no rain though so I ended up being hotter than I needed to be. Also I got a blister on a toe due to wet shoes from running on the grass verge. It's the first blister I've ever had running. So there must be a lesson in that.

I'm very pleased that I've completed 5k. A few months ago I thought I'd never do it again. Now, I can begin the journey to 10k. I'm already 2/3rds of the way there really. But I'm going to take my time. I need to think about my running form a bit more and take it more easily growing more and more accustomed to the minimalist shoes, which I'm enjoying running in very much.

It's strange how each day feels different to the last. I thought that I'd feel really good this morning but I was just ok. I didn't feel uncomfortable, but it surprised me that I didn't feel better. But the lesson there is that you never really know what you'll be like until you start to run and by the time 15 minutes or so has passed you pretty well know that how you feel is how you are going to feel for most of it.

Now, though, I'm on my way to 10k. It's 5 years since I ran that far - Great Manchester Run. I did it in 56 minutes. I wonder what my time will be 5 years older. I'm looking forward to finding out. I'm not really bothered what time it takes. The main thing is that I do it.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

And more Progress - Mind beyond Matter

After Thursday's struggle and a rest yesterday, today was a different story. My body was more in tune with my mind and spirit today. So I extended my run by 5 mins. and the total distance I covered was 5.86K. I've gone metric by the way; I thought that if I'm thinking in terms of running 5 or 10k I might as well log the training in those units.

One small thing I discovered was that when I noticed stiffness or pain anywhere, and I'm only getting twinges as you'd expect to get, if I kept my mind on the pain it was worse than if I took my mind off it. So if I took my mind and thoughts out of my body, my body would feel easier and lighter.

Today's was the penultimate day of c25k. Last day next, which I'll run on Monday as tomorrow is a hard day at work. I'll try and finish with 'the hill.' That will be celebratory. I hope I'll be in good shape. I'll have finished just a day over time, which isn't at all bad going. I might take the rest of the week easier - MIGHT! Next stop though, 10k - before Christmas.

I ran in my Neo's without socks today. I little bit closer to the earth. I thought, what's the point of dirtying socks when I can just wash my feet and legs? It's a lot easier. And, my feet felt better, more in touch, more in tune with running. Strange isn't it? All my previous running has been spent padded and protected and I was missing so much. Ok, my running pace just now is a little slower, but then I'm new to minimalist shoes -  and some years older too.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Spirit is :) but the Flesh is :(

My Neo's now looking like they've been run in
I was out early this morning for day 1 of week 9 of c25k; a 30 minute non-stop run. I was very enthusiastic in mind and spirit but I'm afraid the body wouldn't catch up. I could tell right from the start of my running that it was going to be one of those sessions where the body just refuses to get into the spirit of things. Arms and legs were all over the place. They started to complain after just a few strides and never stopped. The weakness in my left ankle and stiffness in my right calf just wouldn't go away. Adusting my form and trying to relax and run light made little difference. So, it was just one of those days even though I didn't lose heart at all and kept my body going. But because I kept going I completed the session successfully.

One of the things that added to the discomfort was a change of route for the first part of my run. I ran along the local canal towpath, the part of it that has been paved. Two things made it difficult - the paving which felt very, very hard and the fact that it was almost altogether straight and level. I'd thought that running on a level path would be easy. How wrong I was. It was just a hard and unrelenting slog. I much prefer the undulations of the highway and the unevenness of its paving. I had a bit of respite by running along the grassy verge, which I do on the highway where there is one. But I risked falling into the canal on some parts so I don't think I'll be doing that any more. I can swim so I won't drown, but I don't fancy being poisoned.

Anyway, on a positive note I found I still have a great deal of spirit for running, for pushing my body through its moans and groans to achieve a goal. Afterwards I felt really good about the fact that I'd done the run and not given up and that made the difficulty worth it. It builds no end of resilience.

Another rest day tomorrow before day 2 on Friday.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Took a Risk

I took a risk this morning and ran again. It was a risk because I really need at least one day between runs. I wanted to get the final day of Week 8 done on c25k. I felt good and I ran 'the hill' right at the end of the run. (Thinks, I must put a photo of 'the hill' on this blog as I keep mentioning it in my twitter shares from the app.) Because of that it was a couple of hundred yards shorter run than yesterday. Running the hill stretched me nicely though. I've got a bit of stiffness in my right calf and left ankle this evening, but I'd scheduled a day off tomorrow anyway before I begin week 9. I expect to complete the week on Monday next which will be just a day over what I'd planned.

I've just about ditched my old running shoes now. I can't wear them anymore because they just feel too big and clumsy. It's good to feel the freedom that the minimalist shoes provide.

I'm looking at Luna Sandals too now, not for running in but for just walking about in as I'm finding it difficult now to walk about much in shoes with heels. And holiday in Greece is approaching and they'd be just the job! VERY expensive though because they are hand made in Seattle.

I've ended up with lots of calories spare this evening. Good!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Minimal and Pain Free - It works for Me

From what I read here and there on twitter and on the internet generally, the debate about conventional running footwear and minimalist/barefoot is going on a pace. I have to say that I was convinced about minimalist/barefoot running simply by reading Born to Run. I think a lot of people have been similarly convinced by that book. I've just about transitioned now into Vivobarefoot Neo road shoes and I have a pair of Inov-8 Bare Grip 200's that I'm going to be trail running in. As I haven't run for 3 years or more and over the last couple of months I've been just getting back into it, it's maybe an ideal time to transition and to learn more about running form at the same time.

My immediate experience of running in minimalist shoes can be summed by saying 'It Works for Me'. In the years I haven't been running, I've developed arthritis in the large joint of my left big toe. When I walk in shoes with heel lift and especially my ordinary leather brogues, the joint hurts badly after about 5 minutes. When I walk in my motion control running shoes, bought because my left arch used to weaken after a couple of miles, the joint hurts, not quite so badly but it still aches. When I run in the trainers the joint hurts less but it still aches.

Vivobarefoot Neo Shoes
When I walk or run in my Neo's I have no pain at all and also, my 'weak' arch now doesn't trouble me. I guess it's now a lot stronger than it was because the padding isn't there to support it. I seem, quite naturally to 'listen' to my feet, legs and body and make small adjustments in my running form in a way I never used to do when running in my previous cushioned, motion control shoes. I think of those years when I ran in pain nearly every day because I believed that that is what runners do - no pain, no gain. And the hours I spent with legs elevated and bags of frozen peas strapped to them to get some relief!

I believe I'm more sensible too now. Because my minimalist shoes are giving me a more 'natural' running experience and I'm listening to my body and feeling the ground a lot more, I'm not over extending myself as I used to do.

Inov-8 Bare Grip 200
I do believe that my minimalist shoes actually encourage me to run in a more natural fashion simply because it's impossible to run 'unnaturally', i.e. with a heel strike. They necessitate a mid foot or fore foot strike. I know that lots of people are happy with their conventional running shoes and I've no axe to grind on the issue at all. I'm simply confirming that what I read in Born to Run, up to now, is being borne out by my own experience. So, running in minimalist shoes works for me. Maybe it might work for you. My minimalist shoes are expensive but for me, they are worth every penny because I'm enjoying my running much more than I did in the past. And I'm saving on frozen peas!

A New Week, a New Month

Vivobarefoot Neo
1st August, Lammas Day apparently. And I'm back on the road again after my stiff legs. I ran for 28 minutes in my Vivobarefoot Neo's; my minimalist road shoes. I think I'm completely transitioned to them now. My feet are a lot better in them than in my cushioned, motion control shoes. As long as I remember to 'run easy, run light' and to make the slight adjustments to form that I need to when I might feel a twinge of pain then I guess I'm there.

I'm still following the c25k app on my iPhone and this morning I completed Week 8 Day 2. So I'll have finished the progamme by early next week if all goes well. I can now run for 28 minutes without a walk break. When I complete the programme I might look to just building up on that for a month then see if I can extend further up to 10k by the end of the year. Got to have the goals! Only wouldn't it be better not to have the goals so I don't keep trying to do too much too soon? Why not just run, without any expectations other than to enjoy it?

Well, up to now it's just great to be back on the road and getting fit.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

One man went to mow

My legs were still stiff today from the walk on Thursday, so for exercise I've had to resort to mowing the lawns. It also gave me some spare calories on My Fitness Pal so I was able to have a hearty tea, well a fry up! I'm hoping that the stiffness will have abated enough by tomorrow morning so that I can go for a run. If not, I'll have to catch up with the running on Monday which will put me 3 days behind. Not good but it's taught me a lesson again not to over stretch myself if I'm to keep on target.

One day I'll learn the lesson!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Walk in the Lakes

View of Windermere from Latterbarrow

Inov-8 Baregrip 200
Linda and I went for a walk in the Lake District yesterday. It's the first time for years I've done such a walk. It was very enjoyable. Just a short walk, about four and a half miles from Hawkeshead to Latterbarrow and back, well a circular route. I walked in my Inov-8 Baregrip 200 trail running shoes to get the feel of them and what it feels like to walk in minimalist shoes on a trail. It was a pleasant experience. My feet felt like they had been well massaged! When I've walked in boots or walking shoes in the past in the hills my feet have felt like overheated lumps of flesh afterwards. But in the minimalist trail running shoes they felt just exercised and recovered much more quickly. The minimalist shoe experience is working out well. But I need to remember not to overdo it.

I've hardly walked since I took up running again and I found this morning that my weight has crept up another couple of pounds - not good! That daily walk did keep the pounds off.

Also, I've stopped recording the calories in My Fitness Pal iPhone app and I'm sure this has something to do with it as well. If I'm not careful about the calories it means I eat more than I need to. Anyway, I'm sure I'm getting fitter. It's the less fat part I need to improve upon quickly now.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Suddenly It's Summer!

Well, how long is it since I posted on this blog? I'm embarrassed!!! But, yes, I have been working at my campaign. I've lost a stone in weight since I started. I went on a fast from meat in Lent which really helped I'm sure. I began to walk almost every day for up to an hour and 2 hours some days. Most recently, well 7 whole weeks ago I started to run again. Yes!

My weight has plateuxed (is that spelling right?!) but that's because I'm not walking now, having moved into running but I can only run 3 times a week as it takes more out of me and I need the rests in between. I'm using an app on my iPhone - c25k. It takes you from nothing to running 5k in 9 weeks. I started week 8 today which entails 5 mins. walk as warm up, jog 28 minutes and walk 5 mins. as a cool down. It's been really helpful. And from yesterday I started to log my runs in Daily Mile. You'll see my latest entry on the right here.

Anyway, I'm doing well. I've still got about 12 weeks left I think. Once I get the 5K under my belt then I can begin to do more. It will be a good base to work from. The important thing is to keep well and watch what I'm eating.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Renewed Enthusiasm - Day 29 (A Month Gone)

One month gone and towards the end of it, so went my enthusiasm. But today was a new day and I went for a walk/jog this morning! Well I’ve no excuse now because the weather’s warmed up. It was raining but who cares? It was nice to feel the rain on my face again. It brought back memories of former fit years.

I slowed down if I felt the slightest pain and never broke into a sweat. I walked and jogged less than half as fast and half as far as I could have done. So I enjoyed it.

I’ve decided to go with what my natural instincts tell me. I’ve been eating quite a lot of fruit this week because I felt that it was right to do it, a feeling and thought that came from ‘inside’. So I enjoyed doing that as well.

I decided too to keep the monastic fast days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in which I’ll eat fruit, soup and bread from waking until the evening meal time. I did that this week because it felt right from ‘inside’ to do it.

4 of my 40 weeks have gone and I suppose I should have a weigh in. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll leave it until the end of month 2. My start at all of this hasn’t been all that impressive. But I’m determined that I shall do it. The winter has been dark and cold and that’s made it more difficult to get going. But the days are lengthening and just now are warmer. And that helps!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Novelty Wears Off - Day 14

Oh how true that is! By and large I’ve kept to most of my resolutions most of the time over the past two weeks. But for some reason I can’t put my finger on I’m not as committed to this as I thought I would be 2 weeks ago. Hence, days missed in reporting in my daily progress on this blog. The intention (road to hell!) was that I’d report in every day, but it gets harder as each day passes. There seems to be some sort of ‘push back’ going on all the time. Maybe it’s just the wrong time of year. I’m not a Winter person at all. It goes very much against the grain doing anything in the dark. I hate the cold as well so getting outside to do any sort of exercise is never high on my ‘to do’ list.
So maybe simply to concentrate for the time being on getting my eating more ‘healthy’ is the sensible thing to do and not to worry about raising my pulse with exercise too much. Not until the days start to lengthen properly as will be noticeable in another fortnight or so.
And maybe too I’ll just ‘report in’ at least weekly and more often if there’s anything to tell the world about. If there’s anybody out there who might be able to give me some encouragement please use the comments box!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Never too old - Day 10

I've seen a 73 year old man on the local tv news this evening training to do 10 marathons in 10 days around one of the lakes in the Lake District. He's had cancer and a heart attack in the past but still since then done the New York marathon and lots of others. If he can do it, then so can I!

We need these sorts of people to give us inspiration. I certainly do. I've not done too badly today. I've tried to pay more attention to what I've committed myself to. I'm not telling myself I'm on a new regime or a new diet; simply that I've committed myself to do these things and eat these things.

But today is all about the example of someone who's been through the health mill and still has the determination to keep healthy. Like he said on the tv interview, you've got to make the most of it because you only come this way once (or words to that effect)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Busy Day - Day 10

A very busy day but I was more successful. I tried to pay attention and at least I kept to the eating regime. It was a day where it was impossible to keep the walking within 2 miles resolution and I think I'm going to drop that one.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Emotional Intelligence - Day 9

I was thinking today about how much we are driven by our emotions. What we feel like dictates how we behave. Or we let it. When it comes to exercise and dieting, I think we need to learn how to put our emotions to one side and to bring reason to bear. It means thinking in a better way, less driven by emotion/feeling. It means being rational rather than emotional.

But that's so difficult when faced with a cream cake or a plate of fish and chips! The response to those and most food is almost entirely emotional, it's instinctive and so not rational. And maybe that's why it's better to try and come to all of this stuff sideways. That is, to try and eat to live rather than live to eat.

It means practising a bit of avoidance though, like not watching those cookery programmes on tv, doing something else when food adverts are on, not going to the biscuit tin when you're feeling bored. And you can only do those things when you are paying attention, as I said yesterday, one day at a time.

My Resolutions for this week are as last week. But I'll try to apply them to myself (not the other way around) a bit more than I did last week.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Fell - Day 8

I fell! Meaning I missed posting yesterday and missed most of my resolutions. A pity it was such a stunningly unsuccessful conclusion to my first week. This journey is already very familiar. I've trodden this part of it many times in the past as I wrote a few days ago. This is the bit of the path signposted 'Good Intentions Street'. It's great at first, such an uplifting place to be, straight and wide. Then as you travel further down it, luxuriating in all the attention grabbing sights such as expectation, fulfilment, promise of well being, hope of success, the side streets beckon you. They lead you off into excesses of one sort or another like, 'just another piece of cake won't hurt' or 'just 10 minutes more lie-in'. Or, just as bad, you trip over something like forgetting, for the fifth time this week, because of your inattention to keep 3 out of 5 of your resolutions and down you go.

This game demands focus first and foremost. And only on the few steps in front. Maybe the recovering addict's proverb 'one day at a time' is the best to live by. Because any dieter, anybody engineering a healthier life is giving up an addiction; the addiction to excess and sedentariness (if there is such a word and my spell checker suggests not) or to be brutally honest, giving up indolence and sheer laziness.

So, on this first day of my second week, with only 39 weeks to go. I'll add another resolution - Pay Attention, One Day at a Time.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

One of Those Days - Day 6

Yes one of those days, totally engulfed by work from waking to a few minutes ago 16 hours later. So, I haven't given much thought to my new regime and my resolutions except to notice my departures from them today. That's one of the challenges - how to keep it 'up front', at a high level of consciousness and fit it in with everything else going on around me. Is it the first law of motion - for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction? Well, it seems that way with just about every new initiative in life. Push one way and 'it' pushes back, sooner or later. Like for instance, it's now 10.30 p.m, well past the horizon of my resolution to get more sleep. But it's the first opportunity since lunch time to get something written. And look what time I posted yesterday's 'helping'. And it's ok making a resolution to eat salad every day, but it needs preparing, which takes, yes, more time than it does to eat it. So pushing against that resolution is the 'I've not got time' demon, or worse still 'oh I can't be bothered' devil. So after after nearly a week, and only a week I'm beginning to notice the emotional and psychological and even spiritual battle that is raging for my fitness soul. And all of that is in the great beyond or right within, even before I make the conscious decision about what and when to eat, or whether to walk somewhere or go in the car.

But I won't be beaten and I'll have to find ways of outwitting those demons or at least sidestepping them. Day 7 tomorrow and only 39 weeks left!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Chips, Egg and Peas - Day 5

Well this isn't a diet. As I think I heard Anthony Robbins say on a CD, you can see what the first three letters of the word diet spell. No, this is more of a regime, one that's taking me gradually, almost unnoticed to my goal. So, along with the salad each day, which is new for me, and the two pieces of fruit, my eating regime at present is much as it was, as I was getting to where I am now, or was last week, because I'm on the journey now. So, bring on the chips and egg, for the time being.

I guess that people will get bored very quickly with simply reading about my quirky eating habits so I'm going to try and write a bit more about the cost of this journey (emotional, physical etc. cost that is). I hope then that others who happen to come across this blog might share with me their own particular experiences of getting from fat to fit. Please feel free to comment any time. I'd welcome anything useful.

Monday, 10 January 2011

REMEMBERED the Salad! - Day 4

Well this is a long term project, so I'm allowed to forget a thing or two along the way and especially starting out! The rigorous discipline isn't etched into my psyche yet and if I have to turn on my computer to remind myself of things, as I have to, then there's every chance of me forgetting. But I'm pleased to report that today, I remembered the salad. I had it with cheese on toast. Yes! Cheese on toast. Well, as I keep saying and having to remind myself, this is a long term project. Whenever I've tried to run before I could walk in the past I've, you guessed it, fallen over and hurt myself. Whether it be exercise or dieting or any new project, I've always ended up in pain of one sort or another in the past. So, again, gently does it.

I keep forgetting to move more quickly, like I'm late for everything. But that doesn't square very well with taking things easily and gently. I can see I'll have to be more robust in formulating resolutions each week so that the thinking patterns that go along with them run in parallel and don't oppose.

I'm not doing very well with 'Get more sleep' either. Ever since I made that resolution I've had difficulty sleeping whether or not I've gone to bed at a reasonable time. Maybe it's a 'Don't step on the grass' thing. My conscious mind is telling me to do one thing and my subconscious mind is telling me to do just the opposite. Who knows? I'm just tired and haven't got the strength to work that one out at present.

And I've just looked again at my resolutions and realised that today I forgot the 2 pieces of fruit. Well, tomorrow's another day. I'll maybe get it all right tomorrow???!!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Forgot the Salad - Day 3

Work today so I was occupied. It's easy to forget  resolutions but I did my best.

I read recently that to lose weight you should eat 5 or 6 smaller meals a day. That way you don't get hungry, blood sugar levels don't fluctuate wildly and you don't feel hungry. Consequently there's less likelihood of over eating. I tried it recently and I have a feeling it will work providing the system isn't abused i.e. being tempted to have bigger meals at the main 'eating times' of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Doing 5 or 6 is a new habit and, like most habits it's hard to break. Getting the portion size right is difficult too. Eating what seems like miniscule amounts for dinner when you are used to a plate full just doesn't seem natural at first. But like everything else, you have to get used to it I suppose.

It has to be combined as well, with exercise of the right sort. But I'm a little way away from sorting out an exercise regime. I need to grow accustomed to a whole new fat to fit regime first, paying attention to this week's resolutions through the daily grind with all it brings in the way of distractions and interruptions and just plain getting on with life generally. This getting fit thing has to become my 'life generally'. So I've got to learn to fit it in with everything else.

And I've just remembered, I forgot the salad!!!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Weigh In - Day 2

I weighed myself this morning - 13st. 2lbs. i.e. 83 kilos. (13st. 7lbs. with my clothes on.) All the wisdom says I should be 10st. 10lbs to 11st. 11lbs. i.e. 73 kilos. So, I've a way to go. But 40 weeks to do it which means an average of a pound a week. I'm sure that easy does it is best. When I get some momentum going then I can push myself a bit.

These long nights and very cold days and nights can make me feel miserable. I think making the choice to be happy about what you are doing is key to success. That's why I want this to be fun. It's no good if it's not. It's hard enough to be cheerful in winter without putting yourself through some tough regime which makes you feel bad as well. So, as I said, easy does it and enjoy it.

I kept to my resolutions today and my stomach knows about it! Salad and two apples has come as a bit of a shock especially at this time of year. But it's a small price to pay for the eventual benefit. But this is the full extent of the pain I'll be putting myself through. And it's only short lived. It won't get any more painful than this I can promise myself. And when my stomach gets used to salad and more fruit and veg the pain will subside.

I want also to get rid of the shocking chronic catarrh I've had for months and months. The only thing that clears it up is hot sunny weather. But I can't continue with it like this so I'm hoping my new eating regime, exercise and some gentle therapy will help.

I've been looking through one of my optimum nutrition books to refresh myself on the science of all this. It's too complicated for me now, well not really, it's just that I've not got the concentration span or the patience these days for all that technical detail. It's something to do with being older, fatter and more unfit than ever. You don't really need it though if you're not doing a degree in nutrition or nutritional therapy. No, 'eat your greens' will do for now, plenty water and get moving quicker than I normally do. That will suffice. It's only day 2 remember! Walk the dog now and an early night. Work tomorrow and an early start.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Start

Friday 7th January 2011 THE START.

I not only want to do this, I NEED to do this. I've watched myself grow fatter and fatter and felt myself get more and more unfit for the last 2 years. I've started lots of times to do something about it but on every occasion I've been thwarted. Within days of starting a diet or fitness regime recently I've either been ill or got injured and not only gone back to my previous level of unfitness, but got worse. I've had all sorts of good intentions but they've been a gold-paved road to hell, the hell being even more fat and unfit. So, I need to do this more by stealth than by outright goal setting, at least at first. The only goal is to get there by 14th October - 40 weeks from today. My resolution is to get slim and fit.

In the past I've lost weight and got fit. I've used all sorts of diets and done all sorts of exercises. My most successful time was just 10 years ago when I did the Food Combining diet and joined a gym. Right at this minute I'm not sure how I'll tackle this. It's got to be gradual and it's got to feel 'natural'. In other words, I've got to enjoy it and enjoy every minute. I'm 61 and life's too short now to be making myself miserable doing anything that's for my own good. No, it's got to be FUN! I'll be 62 just before I cross the finishing line and I want to be fitter and leaner at 62 than I am at 61.

I want this blog to be part of my motivation. I'm a trained coach so I know what to do and I've got to coach myself in this. For years I've been interested in and studied health and fitness and it's now a case of 'doctor, heal thyself'. I want to record my progress on this blog, not necessarily in any systematic way but regularly. I'll try to do it once a day, some time during the day but I'm not going to promise because I'm not exactly lazy but sometimes my emotional state gets the better of me and also I soon feel tired - a result of being fat and unfit more than anything else. Anyway, here's a few resolutions to begin with:
Me in my slimmer and fitter (and younger - 2006) days

RESOLUTIONS TO BEGIN WITH 
(5 a week)
 This week I'll:
1 Get more sleep
2 Move quicker
3 If it's within 2 miles I'll walk
4 Eat salad every day
5 Eat 2 pieces of fruit every day, (not counting orange juice I buy in a carton)
And remember, it's got to be gradual, feel natural and be fun!