Team running and bikini clad American triathletes….

This has been a week of highs and lows.

I would describe myself conclusively as a positive person so we’ll start with the highs:

  • I am definitely getting fitter. This is excellent. I am walking more and (importantly) I’m happy to be walking more. I love the excitement when my fitbit buzzes at 10000 steps – this never gets old. Last night when I finished work, I realised that I didn’t have my purse with me meaning I couldn’t get the bus, so I walked home from work. I didn’t give it a second thought, I just put my trainers on and walked home. Fast. It cleared my head from a stressful day at work and I enjoyed walking fast and making my heart thump in my chest. I wouldn’t have considered doing that a month ago.
  • Running is slowly beginning to become like a habit. I still don’t really enjoy it when I’m actually running, but on the other hand I also don’t hate it either. Some runs are better than others but I haven’t missed one yet. It’s something I am making myself do, regularly. I’m trying to go every other day if possible and I’m achieving this. So far I have run in the ice (I was terrified I would fall over) and I have also run home in the wind and the rain. I quite enjoyed running in the rain, but I didn’t enjoy the wind.
  • I have managed to find a high-viz lightweight kagoul on the Sports Direct website that fits me and although it’s quite long and a bit like a dress, I do feel ok in it. It has secret pockets – not big enough for a phone though. I don’t know what I’m supposed to keep in them….at the moment I am keeping my inhaler in there but hopefully at some stage it will become clear. Does anyone know?
  • I am also using a “bum bag” to keep my phone in. Much as I love my Iphone 6+ (and I do love it), it’s not brilliant to carry on a run as it’s pretty big. The bumbag seems to be the only viable option at the moment. I could run without my phone of course, but I like the GPS option on the fitbit app which logs all the information so, I need it. Although I am beginning to research a Fitbut Surge….I do love a gadget.

And the lows:

  • This week I didn’t lose any weight – which possibly confirms my theory from last week about the alcohol. Although I have known that there was no way that my weight loss would keep on at the rate that it had been, I will confess that not losing any weight this week was disappointing. I am gutted if being completely honest (which is, after all, the point of this blog). It’s probably important to say also though, that I haven’t gained any either and I suppose given the amount of gin and red wine that I drank on Saturday night this is an achievement.
  • My right foot has been aching. It doesn’t hurt but it has been a bit uncomfortable. It aches along the outside of my foot and I have been very worried that I had injured myself (which I know I am risk of doing as I am so heavy – hence my disappointment at not losing weight this week). It started aching on Tuesday evening after my run home from work and ached all day yesterday, but this morning it was ok. I have just run home and it’s aching again. I’ll need to monitor this, but it could just be that running is hard and you get aches and pains. As Sister 2 would say (hockey player, takes no prisoners) I should just “man up and get on with it”. Hopefully this is all it is.

Since I last posted a blog I have run 5 times.

On Saturday, Sporty Daughter, who is keen to train for the Junior Park Run, wanted to come out with me. As is often the case with siblings, anything Sporty Daughter wants to do, the Little One immediately wants the same (even if probably she doesn’t really want to do it after all). Sporty Daughter running with me is one thing (she is 9 so old enough to not get in the way and is after all, very sporty) but Younger Daughter is a completely different proposition. If she gets a stitch, or gets fed up, I am not going to be able to stop  – well I could obviously, but I don’t want to as all I can really do when I’m out running is essentially put one foot in front of the other and manage to breathe (most of the time). So I enlisted the help of Husband and said that if Younger Daughter was coming, he has to come too.

He was quick to suggest that it might be better if he didn’t run but ride his bike, which in turn was quickly echoed by Younger Daughter. So now Sporty Daughter and I are running and Younger Daughter and Husband are on their bikes. (No, Husband did not have a megaphone as he cycled along like the scene from the film Rocky – and don’t give him any ideas). We set off and actually it was ok. It was hard as the running distances have begun to increase now on the app, but I managed. It was a bit hap hazard as Sporty Daughter was a little frustrated with my lack of speed, but with Husband in tow, was able to run on ahead and then come back, so it was a good workout for her too. The app had me running 8 minutes in one go and my chest nearly burst with pride when I heard Younger Daughter say to Sporty Daughter “I don’t think I could run for as long as Mummy is, she’s doing brilliantly”. I felt so proud. I was sweating, red in the face and out of puff, but I was proud. I was doing this and my girls were seeing me do it.

As a mother of two daughters, in my opinion, it is very important that they see you strive to do something that is hard. Life throws things are you all the time that are hard but human nature is to avoid them and then what do you learn? But it’s really only by doing things that are hard – really hard, that we can better ourselves. I want my girls to be the best that they can be and they both have things that they are good at, and they also have things that they find difficult. Hopefully, by them seeing me sweat and puff, they will feel happier about trying and achieving the things that they find hard and will not be afraid. As the old saying goes “Nothing worth having comes easy”. I have this on a postcard stuck on a wall next to my desk. I also have “Failure is not an Option” (AKA Apollo 13) stuck next to it.

On Sunday, we had a family gathering and were to go to Sister 3’s for lunch along with my Mum, Sister 2 and Sister in Law (Fitbit Buddy), husbands and children. We are a huge family and it’s always a bit of a riot, but always fun.

Sister 3 (training for the London Marathon) had asked me to take my running gear up with me and run a 3k loop with her (before she then set off to do 10k). Having run the day before, I was a bit worried but we set off. This was also the first time I had run with anyone else, or without the app, and I was feeling pretty exposed and nervous. But Sister 3 simply said that we should just go slow and if I needed to walk, we would walk.

Please take a moment to reflect on our running outfits if you will. I was wearing my high viz kagoul, ¾ length running trousers (tight at the top and baggy at the bottom) and black top. Sister 3 was wearing tight running shorts, running jacket and knee length socks. We both put on comedy headbands to keep the hair from our eyes and looked like the men from the 118 adverts (minus the moustaches!) and yet we didn’t care. We passed a couple of people on the run and nobody openly laughed at us, but I wouldn’t have cared if they had. I felt like we were a team.

On Sunday afternoon with Sister 3, I ran for 19 minutes consecutively and 31 minutes in total – and of the 31 minutes, I think I only walked for 90 seconds.

I cannot tell you how happy I was. Finally I felt like I was getting somewhere. I also really, REALLY enjoyed running with someone. It felt social, we had a chat (well a bit of one as I needed to concentrate on breathing) and it made me want to not let my running partner down. I know my running partner here was my sister, who has been supportive and fantastic since I started this project, but even so. It has further confirmed that I really want to get to a point where I can go out and run for 30-45 minutes with someone else. Hopefully my friend whom I talked about last week (I’m sure I will talk about her more over the weeks so I’m naming her the Red Lady). It has really spurred me on.

When we got back to Sister 3’s house, we were feeling pretty positive and inspired. Fitbit sister (who has just bought a treadmill to start running the c25k at home) and Husband started talking about us running and well, the upshot is, that Sister 3, Fitbit Sister, Husband and I have all signed up to do the Bristol 10k in May. #GOOOOOOTEAM. Maybe we should get matching T shirts?!

After my successful 19 minutes of consecutive running on Sunday, on Tuesday night it was pouring with rain. I had (ill advisedly) decided to abandon my app and just try and run home. It was partly successful, partly unsuccessful. I definitely managed to run further in one go than the app would have made me, but I was very tired, and towards the end, I definitely walked more than I had on previous runs. So although I still ran, and ran for 15 minutes in one go, I have decided to go back the app. I need the structure.

I have stopped using the NHS c25k app. It sometimes doesn’t work and although I miss the supportive chatter from “Laura” (the lady who talks to you on the app) I have now downloaded the 0-10k app. There is much less chat on this one and basically a terrifying American Lady (who sounds like she completes a triathlon in her bikini every morning before breakfast) tells you to “walk” or “run” after a timed “bong”. Not much else. It’s extremely business like and follows the “less is more” principle. However, if I’m to complete a 10k race in 4 months’ time, I guess it really is time to get down to business.

Running in the rain

3 minutes and new shoes

Tonight I completed the 2nd run of week 3 and I can now run for 3 minutes. My goodness it’s hard but I force myself to keep going even though I’m scared that I might actually vomit.

The stitches are still coming but they aren’t so vicious and I can deal with them (so far). I have to say that I’m beginning to understand what the running “bug” is all about. All day I look forward to the run, but the second I start it, I am full of self-doubt and self-loathing. Why am I so overweight? Why is this so hard? I will never be able to run 5k, etc and then I finish. The feeling of euphoria is immense. I feel absolutely amazing. It’s brilliant. So I think I run to get the high afterwards and I wonder if the run, itself, will ever be enjoyable? Maybe it won’t but will it become easier to endure? Maybe it isn’t supposed to ever NOT be hard. Time will tell I suppose. I live in hope but honestly I’m not that optimistic.

This evening took me completely out of my comfort zone as I am in London overnight with work. It’s my night to run so I packed my stuff and bought it with me (are you impressed? I was!)  I have just run (well, run/walked as per the instructions of the terrifying American lady on the app) around the City of London and the big news is that people didn’t point or stare. In fact, 2 ladies running the other way smiled at me as they passed me. When I got into the lift when I came back to the hotel, a man asked me “how had I found the cold?” and “he was about to go out for his run etc”. I am amazed. I do not look like a runner at all, but they don’t see that. In fact, I have been very encouraged by other runners full stop. It’s a club and I am on the verge of becoming a member.

One of my very good friends is a runner and she did the 10k and has run a half marathon. She is great and very determined and she has been nothing short of amazing with me. She has lots of advice and is constantly asking me how I am getting on. I really value the support. I hope to be able to get to a point that I can run with her and we can go out and train together. If I do ever get to a point to be able to run 5k or (dare I dare to believe it) 10k, I hope we can be each other’s training buddy. (Of course I am worried about all our training sessions ending in the pub but we’ll just have to manage that!)

I have also joined a Facebook group called “This Mum Runs” and it’s full of running mums of varying abilities. They run C25k workshops (which I did consider but due to my job I can’t commit to the same night each week which is why I am using the app) and there are plenty of ladies in the same boat as me. I want to know these ladies and make friends with them. I am a very sociable person and this is more motivation. The social side is not something I had considered in the beginning. It was and is about getting fit and setting a good example for my daughters .(By the way, Sporty Daughter is becoming slightly obsessed with the prospect of me running a 5k Park Run and she now wants to sign up for the Junior Park Run herself – so I’m making this my first goal. Can I run 2k in one go to accompany her round the course? I’m sure I will do it. I find it quite easy to motivate myself where my girls are concerned (and it’s only 2k!)

This week I had my birthday and I’m now 41. I don’t feel any different but I’m hoping I will feel different when I’m 42. What I do know is that running is so hard, that if (no when) I get to the point that I can run 5k, I am never, ever, going to stop. It’s such a monumental effort to get fit in the first place, so it will be important never to stop, so I don’t have to go through the pain of starting again. I’m definitely in this for the long term.

I am racking up more steps on my fitbit most days now and I’m hitting 10000 steps more and more regularly. There is a real sense of achievement when it buzzes. Sometimes it makes me jump (people must look at me like I’m insane!) but it always makes me smile.

If anyone reading this is thinking about possibly trying the c25k, I would strongly urge you to get a fitbit, or something similar, first. I’m slowly learning and understanding that this isn’t just about the couch to 5k, it’s more importantly about a shift in lifestyle, and generally being more active. It makes me think about walking when I might previously have driven. I have started walking longer than the app says to at the end of each running session too. I like that the blood is pumping but I no longer have to run! I find that I walk very fast indeed and to my mind, even though I’ve finished the “run/walk/shuffle” I’m still moving so that must be a good thing?

Also, I’m not dieting at all. However, I am religiously logging all the calories I consume on a daily basis using the fitbit app. Honestly it’s so easy and no effort at all. The app has so many preloaded items (including lots of restaurants) and has a barcode scanner too that I haven’t yet not been able to find something, but it also has the option to add your own items too. It also shows you how many calories you burn so I figure as long as I burn more than I eat over the course of a week, I should, in theory, lose weight. Of course the more active you are, the more calories you burn, so the more you can eat, giving even more incentive to walk and complete the runs.

I don’t know how scientific the above is, but it seems to be working as I have lost 15 pounds since the 28 December (when I started this little project). I am delighted. I have still had Sunday lunches and what we, in our family, call a “log box tea” – which is essentially cheese, crackers and pate (my Mum used to put this out on the box we kept the logs in by the fire when we were kids, hence the name) and I have eaten what I wanted, but then was careful the next day, but I am not dieting. It’s important to understand this so I’ll say it again. I AM NOT DIETING. Diets fail and as soon as you stop dieting, you put the weight back on. (I’ve done that twice with Slimming World in my life). I’m making sensible choices and being informed. I have also been out to eat a few times and also had a Wetherspoons cooked breakfast (breakfast of champions, possibly NOT one of my aforementioned “sensible choices!”) on my birthday, so I’m definitely not existing on 1200 calories a day. As a rule I’m consuming 1600-1900 calories each day with quite a few more on a Sunday ( I do love a Sunday lunch) but I have got myself into a routine of making sure that one of my 3 runs happens on a Sunday, before lunch. This way I feel like I have a little reward to look forward to and hopefully means that the roast potatoes won’t be too damaging…

Also I think it’s only fair to say that one of the reasons I might have lost so much (well it’s probably quite a lot of the reason) is that I am not really drinking any alcohol at the moment and have only had 1 beer (on my birthday) since New Year’s Eve. I do love a drink. Champagne and gin are my favourites, but I will drink most things apart from cider which can make me quite gobby (or so I’m told!) I won’t be giving alcohol up so I suspect that this will slow the weightloss down in the coming weeks. Still, I’m enjoying it now.

I have a boozy Saturday night on the horizon this weekend so we shall see if that impacts any weightloss or notloss next week.

Getting back to my birthday, I received some money as a present and Husband knew of a sale on running gear at trusty Sports Direct so we went to have a look at the weekend. I have been running in huge jogging trousers and an oversized sweatshirt and on a run home from work last week, a cyclist (who did not have a light on his bike I add) was about 5 feet from me as I was crossing the road. He didn’t see me, I didn’t see him and honestly he nearly hit me. This was during the last of the runs on the app session and I had zero energy to get out of his way and it was a very close thing indeed. Therefore, I thought some high viz might be a good idea. I had visions of running trousers with matching high viz jacket and looking very cool but unfortunately, when I tried the clothes on, nothing fitted me. I mean nothing. Not even men’s XL. I also tried on some running tights. This was a huge mistake. As sister 3 always says, there are 2 things that never lie, children and leggings. Let’s just say I’m not trying running leggings on again until March…the end of March! I was pretty depressed about it, but was at least accepting that hopefully this would be last time this happens to me.

I did however, get some new running shoes and I am quite chuffed with them. They are very comfy and I also have some gel inserts (as advised by the very encouraging man in Sport Direct) which make them even squishier. I’ve run in them a couple of times now and they are definitely better than my old pair.

The cliché is not lost on me however, that “fat girl can’t get clothes to fit so buys shoes”.

I have over 50 pairs of shoes (in the past I have had upwards of 120 pairs) – many with high heels that I can’t wear because I am too heavy and I also have a considerable handbag collection. As Sarah Millican quite rightly points out, “you’re never too fat for a handbag”.  I love handbags but I also like clothes. I keep reminding myself this will give me the choice of buying either…hopefully.

Realisation and resolve

12 January 2016

Tonight I ran my 5th run in my c25k.

I’m 41 this week and weigh over 18 stone. I have 2 beautiful daughters both of which do lots of sport which I am passionate about them continuing to do. I, like many other ladies, was sporty when I was younger, then went off to University, discovered boys and beer and my health deteriorated.

I met my husband when I was 25 and he, at that time was training for a half marathon (which he completed). I thought he was insane. I wrote off running as something that I could never do, nor would I ever be able to, but I was always a tiny bit envious.

Then I got married and the weight piled on….I lost about 2 stone to get pregnant (joined a gym – which I hated) and had my beautiful girls in 2006 and 2008.

I was now carrying “baby weight”. I am still carrying babyweight and my “baby” was 8 last week. Maybe this is why, but something in the past month has happened to me. I don’t quite know what it is, but I have snapped. Time to do something about this.

I am fed up with being fat, overweight, unhealthy, a terrible example to my daughters. I have to do something about it.

On the 26th December I bought myself a fitbit (I was hoping for one for Christmas, but I didn’t get one and sometimes you have to take charge of your own destiny). This was the beginning for me. My first step. I felt like I had turned a corner.

I started using it gradually. Firstly I simply recorded my steps – 10000 steps is a LOT. Then I started to record my calories. Despite eating (what felt like my bodyweight) in cheese between Christmas and New Year, I lost 4 pounds, purely (as far as I can tell) by completing 10000 steps each day.


c25k Week One.

This spurred me on. If I can lose weight over the Christmas period, then I really CAN lose weight. So I downloaded the Couch to 5k app onto my trusty Iphone. A friend who I recently bumped into had lost 3.5 stone by running and she swore by it. “it was the best thing she ever did” etc. If she can do it, then why not me?

So…nervously, I set out. Daughter 1 (Super sporty) was very excited by my decision. I am very careful around my daughters never to use language such as “diet” or “fat”, so I made a big deal about wanting to get “FIT”. Daughter 1 was determined to encourage me and said she would come with me for my first run. I was horribly embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see me so we went over to the allotments. There is a concrete loop running around the perimeter that is quite flat (very important) so we set off.

It was hard. Very, very hard. Daughter 1 was running on ahead and then coming back (doing starjumps to pass the time as I struggled to catch her up) but was shouting encouragement to me at the same time. I felt strongly that this was something I had to do. I couldn’t let her see me fail.

I literally felt like my heart was going to explode from my chest, but I kept going. Running so very slowly that at times I felt like I was going backwards, but I KEPT going.

When the lady on the app told me that I had completed the first run, I nearly cried with emotion.

I hadn’t run for a minute since I was at school. It may sound like a small thing, but it wasn’t. It was huge. It made me believe that I can really do this. Imagine if I could get to a point where I could run 5k? That would be amazing. I could run home from work 3 times a week, I would be fit, healthy and importantly, I would be able to eat what I wanted – no more stupid yoyo dieting.

So the worst was over with. The first run. So I planned when I would do the following 2 runs.

On Tuesday morning I decided to do the second run on the way to work. This was a horrible mistake. I have learned a few things over the past week, but the most important is never to run on an empty stomach. I managed the run, was able to run for 60 seconds (just) but when I arrived at work, I sweated for 25 minutes solidly and then felt shaky and sick until 3 pm in the afternoon. Never again.

The final run of week 1 was on Thursday evening. I made sure I ate a good lunch and then ate a couple of large pieces of fruit before leaving the office. (I know all the athletes eat bananas but I am allergic to them so I needed an alternative – big apples seem to do the trick) As soon as I got home, I changed and went straight out. This time it was dark so I didn’t go to the unlit allotment on my own, I decided to try the local loop near my house. It was hard but ok. It didn’t seem any easier than the first run (Sunday) but it was much easier than Tuesday morning, possibly down to the fact that I had eaten. I wore a beanie hat pulled down low so nobody would recognise me (not that I saw anyone on my travels). I had completed week 1 and was absolutely elated. Seriously. You cannot imagine the sense of achievement that I felt. This was huge.

For the first time I actually felt that perhaps I COULD run 5k, but also I know that I have to take it one run at a time and not get ahead of myself.

The pain whilst I was running was real, real puffing, stitches, red face, sweating but the feeling about 45 minutes I had finished? Well this must not be underestimated. AMAZING. It felt AMAZING.

1st ever run 030116


I was scared all over again. This week I was to run for 90 seconds.

Sunday was feeling like a lucky day for me so I had breakfast and set off up to one of the local parks. It has a perimeter loop that was (importantly as before) flat. I started listening to the podcast of Laura congratulating me on making it through to week 2 and as I started my warm up walk, I looked around the park. It wasn’t busy but there were people there. Mainly dog walkers and people like me, running/walking but definitely exercising. All running at different paces, different shapes, different sizes. Granted – there were a couple of Lycra clad wonders, who were running fast and were clearly super fit, but there were plenty of others who were working very hard with red faces and at least one other overweight lady sweating and shuffling her way around the loop. We smiled at each other as we passed each other – we knew how we looked but we were still there, challenging ourselves for the better.

The run was still very tough indeed but I am proud to say that I didn’t stop running until Laura told me I could – although on the penultimate run, I was running VERY slowly indeed but I kept going. When I finished, I walked the long way home. I was very pleased with myself and slowly was beginning to believe. My fitbit vibrated at 10000 steps – I was really doing this. I ate a big Sunday lunch and enjoyed it.


It’s now that I should mention some important people in my Iife. My husband, Sister 3 and sister in law.

My husband is brilliant in every way. He is supportive and extremely encouraging. Last night he said to me that when I get to 5k, I should keep going and get to 10k. If I can get to 10k then I should sign up for the half marathon and he would train with me.

Now my first reaction to this is “whooooaaaaa soldier, slow down there” but he is convinced I can do it. So I have said I will take each stage as it comes. When I get to 5k I will hopefully continue to go for 10k (the Bristol 10k is in May so this feels possible) but then I will consider the possibility of the half marathon. Can you imagine if I could run a half marathon?! But let’s bench that for now.


My sister is signed up to do the London marathon on April 24th this year. She is one of the most determined and stubborn individuals I have ever met. She can be infuriating but she is brilliant and I fully admire her. She decided that she would run the marathon and I have no doubt she will do it. She has been extremely encouraging to me. She has consistently said that I can run and most of my objections were in my mind. She also gave me the very valuable advice of running slowly.


Finally my sister in law. She is my fitbit buddy. She beats my step tally every single day but we support each other. She recently had my nephew who is 8 months old now and is the most gorgeous baby to have ever graced the planet (with the exception of my own daughters of course). To get pregnant with him, she had to undergo IVF and to be allowed to have IVF she had to reduce her BMI. She started to run to lose weight and she is going to start again and I am going to support her.

A few moments ago, we signed up for a 5k colour run.


This evening I ran home from work and completed the 2nd of 3 runs on week 2. It wasn’t terrible and for the first time I didn’t get a stitch. It was still hard but I did feel like I am making a bit of progress.

I am also amazed at the amount of ground I cover just by running then walking, then running then walking. I noticed something else this evening too – according to the fitbit, I am speeding up! On Sunday my km splits were 10.32 and 10.12 and this evening my splits were 9.39 and 9.59. It’s ridiculous how happy I am about this.


I am going to do my 3rd run of the week on Friday morning and on Saturday I will be 41.

41 and a runner? We’ll see but I hope so.