Tub on the Run


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I’m a good little bleeder

I have had a really nice start to the week this week.  Monday was its usual manic self, and life just didn’t go much according to plan, but yesterday I had a good day at work, and a lovely walk with my sister in the evening.  I took the camera out and got a few pictures.  It was a beautiful evening, a bit of a chill in the air, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Exmouth Waterwheel

I waited for my sister by the Withycombe waterwheel.  I could hear her coming, saying “pretty weeds”.  We chatted our way towards the beach, and this little guy stopped near us, rummaged for a peanut, and found his bounty.

SAMSUNG CSC

The wind really picked up as we got to the beach.  There were plenty of runners, cyclists and families out.  It was definitely gloves weather for the runners, though it was nice enough to be in a t-shirt.  The life boat was out for a bit too.  I don’t often see it out except at Christmas.

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P and I chatted about everything and nothing for the whole 3 miles wander, and I loved it.  I don’t get to spend that much time with her sadly, as she doesn’t live in Devon, but when she does come down, it’s so nice just to natter and spend time.

Then, for my really exciting news – I’m a little bleeder!  A successful one!  I gave blood for the first time in 5 years tonight.  I started trying to donate in 2003, and managed to give 3 whole pints over 3 years, but with a load of anaemic tests, I turned into a floater (where my blood floats in the liquid in the finger prick test, when it should sink if you have enough iron).  Well, I am back to being a sinker!

I am so pleased.  My mum and sister have both give large amounts of blood over the years, and it is something I think is so important (so much gain for such little pain), so I was so disappointed not to be able to donate for a long time.  The website has come on so much and booking an appointment is so easy now.  I will be trying very hard to drag Matt along at some point soon.

Hurrah!

Are you a successful bleeder too?

 


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Progress

After a bit of a rocky start with My Fitness Pal, where my tracking didn’t really happen one week, I managed to put on weight before I lost it (genius!).  I am now pleased to report that I am at a net loss.  Hurrah!  It has been an “okay” kind of week with food.  I have tried to eat more mindfully, as I am horrendous for just wolfing down my meals without really chewing or tasting them.  The queen of mindless eating if you will!

I’ve really been struggling for things to write about on my blog lately.  “Tub” is still tubby, and “on the run” is more “sat on my bum”, so it’s quite hard to think of relevant things to write about.  However, as a brief post, I thought I’d share a couple of things that are inspiring me right now:

  • My sister – She took up running after me, but has beaten me at all running related things.  She’s got a 30 minute 5k under her belt, a few new knee scars from a fall (thankfully, otherwise, mostly injury free), and has now signed up for her first ever 10k in May.  She’s running for Parkinson’s UK at Highclere on 11th May 2014.  I can’t wait to hear how she does!
  • James – Matt’s best man at our wedding is competing in the EC Powerman Duathlon in Holland today.
  • The London Marathon.  I am always amazed by peoples’ ability to run for 26.2 miles, especially as I would struggle to run a full 2.62 miles right now.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading other bloggers’  recaps on the Brighton and Paris marathons, and can’t wait for the London reviews to come up in the next few days.

Oh… and happy birthday to my running shoes.  It has been a year since I bought them.

They don't look quite as clean these days

They don’t look quite as clean these days

 


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Time for a catch up

Grab a cuppa!

Well, you don’t have to, though I have!  Unfortunately I don’t have a huge amount of new news to share.  It’s the familiar, if not comfortable treadmill of work, eat, sleep, repeat.  For that reason, and, unusually for me, I haven’t really had too many strong opinions or thoughts on much recently.  Unless it’s work related, of course.

Last weekend saw the start of my marshalling season with the training day at Castle Combe in Wiltshire.  In complete contrast to last year, we had lovely weather with engaged sessions.  The track looked particularly pretty in the morning with wispy fog around.

Castle Combe

The only thing I wish the organisers wouldn’t do is schedule training days on Mother’s Day and the same day that the clocks go back.  It just seemed cruel and unnecessary! Having said that, it was a really good day, I enjoyed the learning points and I had the chance to catch up with some friends which is always welcome.

My week has been far too busy for my liking (again), and I haven’t been great at using My Fitness Pal.

After I had my epiphany (if you can call it such), I decided to download My Fitness Pal and start tracking.  I did really well for the first week, and then last week just got crazy to the point of ridiculous, and, naturally I made some poor choices.  I’m back to it today though.  Much as it pained me to admit it (after I had logged them on MFP), I had two almond croissants.  A WHOPPING 700 calories!  Argh!  It has been interesting to see what I have eaten.  I haven’t concerned myself too much with trying to stick to certain types of food, but more to the calorie limit.  Some things have surprised me how low they are, and some (like almond croissants) have surprised me with how much they are.

I love the barcode scanner on the app, which is so useful, and I also like the nutritional values per day.  I have to admit that I don’t weigh out and log things like raw veggies – I don’t think I have the time to weigh and record things like that for such a little number (16 calories for a cup of cucumber? yes please!).  I will check the back of some higher value veggies though.  Anyway… What has been interesting has been the daily and weekly stats, which have suggested that:

  • I eat far too many carbs and fats, and not enough protein.  Could that be why I don’t stay satisfied for long enough?
  • I have never once hit even 50% on my iron intake
  • I don’t seem to get enough calcium

I feel some tweaks to my diet coming on, but I’m a bit stumped as to what to do about the iron and protein things.  While I appreciate that MFP is not the be-all and end-all, it has helped to highlight a potential issue.

So back to today’s food.  Having eaten nearly half my day’s calorie intake on those silly (but delicious, but not to the tune of 700 calories) croissants, and knowing that I am out with friends for tea later today, I had to get my thinking cap on for what to have for lunch.  Quite often, Matt and I will eat out on a weekend, whether that is getting something from the Tesco Express, M&S or eating at a cafe or restaurant, or a takeaway.  We need to go to Exeter to pick up a couple of things and I suggested we either went to M&S and ate on the cathedral green, or maybe tried Las Iguanas which has recently opened.  As it turned out, time was getting on a bit, and I know we have an expensive few weeks ahead, so I settled down with Nairn’s black pepper oatcakes, sweet chilli cottage cheese (this is amazing!  I don’t know how I have lived my life without it!), prawns, cucumber and tomatoes.

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Tank thought he liked prawns, so I gave him a few while I was preparing lunch.  As I sat down to eat said lunch, he came into the living room and sicked it all back up.  Cats are delightful…

I’m off out with friends for the second night in a row.  It was Nepalese last night, pub grub tonight.

 

Inspire me with your lunch choices!  (please :-) )

 


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Foodie Penpals: March 2014

This month I was paired with Giles (sending to me) and Kelly (I sent to her).

Kelly blogs over at Interesting Thymes, and has some amazing looking recipes that I have pinned on my Pinterest board to try at a point where I can reek havoc in the kitchen!  Kelly has also been a Foodie Penpal for some time, and I really enjoyed having a scout through some of her previous posts (I am far too nosey sometimes).  After last month’s fiasco of not sending my parcel off early enough, I made sure I got my bum in gear this time.  I enjoyed shopping, and with a bit more of a spring in my Foodie Penpal step, I asked some different questions which provided me with a bit more of a challenge (and a challenge one of the things was!).

Giles is part of Our Honest Foods, and I was sent one of their products through the Foodie Penpals scheme.  I feel that I should add that I am deliberately not reviewing the concept or product of Our Honest Foods, or linking to their website as this is not a product review, just my usual Foodie Penpals write up and not an endorsement.  Anyway… I was pleased with the contents – plenty of delicious things to try.

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I actually received the parcel mid-month, so all bar the Melting Pot Fudge have survived.  Annoyingly my milk intolerance is still going strong, so I can’t have the fudge yet.  The rest of it was fair game though!

I am a total convert to O Bars.  I was expecting it to be like a Nakd bar, but it was quite moist (though not soggy), and it felt a bit like a naughty treat.  Of course, everything in moderation, so it was probably a good thing that I was only sent one!  I am trying to find a local stockist of them though, but so far, I can only see them online.

I have seen Captain Tiptoes at Darts Farm, but I hadn’t tried any of their products.  I will be honest, I was never sure if I liked harissa.  To be fair, I’d never tried harissa, and always assumed that it was super spicy.  I do like chilli peanuts though.  I like chilli things generally speaking, and these almonds and peanuts did not let the side down.  Tasty and a great snack!  I don’t think I could eat more than a bag of this size at the time though, as the chilli does sneak up on you, but I now know that harissa is not super-mind-blowing spice.

Gingerbread Man!  These things always make me smile – they remind me of Shrek.  I am a big gingerbread fan, though I actually thought this guy could have been more gingery.  Tasty all the same!  I did not put him through the tea dunking test, but he would have stood up to it (if I hadn’t eaten a leg first).

The Perry Court Farm apple crisps I am sure I have had before.  If I haven’t had these, then I have had a Devonian variety at the County Show a couple of years back.  I love these.  I had the bramley apple variety which is perfect for me.  I like apples to be really tart.  Matt prefers his to be a bit more subtle, but I am all about the ones that make your face screw up a bit!  Unlike the nuts, I could eat these by the kilo.

Lastly was Willie’s Cacao Ginger Lime chocolate.  A good, solid dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.  It promised a spicy ginger with a punch of lime.  I found it to be more of a hint, but it was very pleasant nonetheless.  It’s not knocked my favourite chocolates off their top spot, but I could definitely justify eating it in the run up to giving blood!

So, another month gone, I wonder who I will be paired with next month!  Only a few more days until I find out.

Interested in taking part in the Foodie Penpals scheme?  Check out This is Rock Salt (UK and Europe) or the Lean Green Bean (USA & Canada).  Thanks to Carol Anne at Rock Salt for organising the UK arm of this great scheme!


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Reflecting and readjusting

Work is buzzing with the Q1 results that are just about to be finalised.  As I was sat at my desk the other day, it suddenly hit me.  Q1 means that we are a quarter of the way through the year (yep… I’m not just a pretty face – clever to boot!).  Blonde moments aside, I found myself getting all reflective.  So much time lost, and so much lost with so little progress.  At least it feels that way.

I thought it would be a good chance to check where I am against the resolutions I set in January.

Hmm.  Well, I kind of fell at the first hurdle there didn’t I!  Roll on to Juneathon

  • Improve my Slimming World consistency

I will rephrase this as “improve my weight loss consistency”, given that I have stopped going to Slimming World (for the time being, or forever, I’m not sure).  I haven’t been consistent either, in all honesty.  There have been weeks where my food has come from a fast food outlet or Tesco Express, and, to my complete dismay, some weeks where I haven’t actually had any vegetables!  That is actually quite terrifying.

  • Get my 5k time down to 35 minutes and my 10k time down to 75 minutes

This is tricky – I haven’t run either lately.  I have my plans afoot to beast these times though.  I’m on the RYOB plan and will definitely be entering the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k for a direct 10k comparison in December.  In fact, it probably won’t be too long before I reappear at parkrun.  Between myself and J (Matt’s friend), we’ll have covered most of the field – he will be second home, and I will be second to last home!  He made his parkrun début recently and came second!  Anyway, Weston Christmas Cracker entries open on 1st July, and I will be making a beeline for their site around that time.  Watch out 7th December!

  • Complete Silverstone Half Marathon

That one fell flat on its face now, didn’t it.  This has turned into a slightly sore point, so I won’t go on about this one.  One day though, I will do it!

  • Keep up a regular yoga practice

Not being so successful on this one either.  I have recently made steps to reclaiming the bedroom floor from the floordrobe that had crept up.  As part of RYOB, I have incorporated some yoga practice back in to my life.

  • Declutter

I haven’t been too bad at this one.  I’ve “unsubscribed” to some friends on Facebook (though not “defriended” them – far too political, too much of a headache).  That has been quite nice, as I’m not longer being bombarded with some people’s inane gubbins and negativity.  This weekend just gone, I have also managed to get the laundry completely done, which is the first time the basket has been empty since we came back from Cyprus and my mum kindly did all our washing!  At work, I have also managed the same (to a greater or lesser extent).  Still a work in progress, but generally going well.

  • Celebrate progress

The only thing I really consider to be progressing well with at the moment is settling into my role.  I’m coming up to 5 months in my new role, and I think it is so far, so good.  I’ll wait to hear from my manager whether she agrees in my appraisal, but I feel quietly confident.  The only other thing that I consider to be progressing well is my new budget.  I’m much more on track than I was in January.

Looking forward...

Looking forward…

Looking forward for the rest of the year then, I think I need to make a couple of tweaks.  From my original 7 resolutions, 2 of the things really fell by the wayside.

In place of Janathon, I nominate…. [drum roll please]… Janathon’s hotter sibling – Juneathon.  I will be finding a theme, as the writing side of it was surprisingly hard.

And secondly, in place of the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon, I have decided to learn more about my camera.  I bought a book that has 10 “classes” in it to help you learn your camera.  I’ve really enjoyed playing around with it so far but I definitely think I could do with some structure to understanding it all.

So there we have it – Tub’s Q1 analysis.


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One of those light bulb moments

A few weeks ago, Matt brought home a magbook by Runner’s World.  I have to admit I was a bit surprised as Matt will generally be happy to follow my lead when it comes to weight loss methods and he has had absolutely zero interest in running after I dragged him out of the house last spring as I was getting towards the end of Couch to 5k.  The book is “Run Your Belly Off” (or RYBO from this point on).

My current reading pile

My current reading pile

He read a few chapters himself and liked the sound of it.  A few days later, I picked it up and started leafing through it.  It was at this point I had a bit of a light bulb moment.  I know this won’t come as a shock to many people, and if I am honest, I suppose I’ve known this all along…

Weight loss is simple maths.  Calories in versus calories out.  There must be a deficit.  Everything else is just advice or diet industry spiel.

Deep down, I know all of this.

I know this is probably a bit “durr” to some people, but for years I almost feel like I have sought for the magical solution to it all.  Slimming World gloss over the simple fact that it’s maths by introducing “syns” (though there is logic in restricting some fats and sugars etc), and Weight Watchers have their points system.  Distractions? Maybe.  I guess it depends on your mindset, and clearly some people do really well following these kinds of plans and I am in no way knocking it.  For me, I’ve used it as a crutch, going to the classes and feeling as if that alone, that small commitment in itself should be enough to yield spectacular losses on a weekly basis.  Sustainable?  Not for me at this moment in time.  That much is evident by my own journey so far.  Meal plans, syns, points have all meant that I have become lazy and reliant on just doing what I’m told and not really thinking for myself, eventually “rebelling” and ordering Domino’s, Chinese, Indian etc.

This really shouldn’t be surprising news to me.  My sister lost a large amount of weight a few years back just by being more mindful.  There was no cutting food groups out, no deprivation, but tweaks like more veggies, better meat, more fish, less processed food.

Can I calorie count?  Yes, of course.  There are plenty of apps and websites out there to help you do just that.  Will I calorie count?  I would be interested to see what I am shovelling in every day or week, definitely.  Longer term?  I won’t rule it out, but I suspect that after a period of re-educating myself on labels and portion sizes, I will have it as a fall back tool.  It is not something I see myself doing on a daily basis in the long term.  How many calories do I need?

I did the maths…

Right now, my basal metabolic rate (BMR) is 2,021 calories.  That is what I use per day.  Without doubt I eat more than that as I have gained weight since January (5lbs up – whoops!).  The book then goes on to say that in order for a person to lose 1lb of fat per week, there needs to be a weekly 3,500 calorie deficit.  The deficit can come from exercise and/or cutting down on the calories.

There is a running plan in the book too.  It takes 12 weeks to complete, at the end of which you’ll be running for 30 minutes.  The first week is all about walking.  I have to admit I was surprised that it is 3 weeks longer than Couch to 5k, but I’ll be seeing how it goes.  It is time to build my confidence back up and get back to running for 30 minutes in one hit.  I have things that I want to do at the end of the year which mean I need to stick at this (I WILL be beating my 10k time set at the Weston Christmas Cracker, and I am literally counting down the days to the day that they accept entries).

Pleasantly surprising is that Matt also wants to start running with me.  As I mentioned before, he doesn’t like running.  Despite this, I think he had a nasty shock courtesy of the scales.  Also having had a conversation with his friend J recently, where J is now studying to become a personal trainer and needs a victim guinea pig person to practice on, Matt has volunteered to be just that.  However, rather than be completely unfit, he wants to build a base level of fitness in preparation for his PT sessions.  Woo – I have a running buddy!

Watch this space!

Now I must go and plan some meals!  What are you having for tea tonight?


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Spring has sprung!

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it really does feel (and look) like spring has sprung!  We have been blessed with a couple of truly gorgeous weeks, and while it isn’t quite t-shirt weather, I am living in hope of a decent summer.

Today after lunch, Matt and I went for an amble down the beach.  It has been a beautiful day, and there were plenty of people on the beach who had a similar idea to us.

Exmouth Beach

To mark the occasion, we stopped for an ice cream and soaked up some much needed vitamin D while we ate.  It was great to get out of the house, blow away some cobwebs and appreciate where we live.  It’s very easy to forget to appreciate what is around you, and we are truly lucky to be a 5 minute walk from the beach and a 10 minute drive away from the countryside.

Sping has sprung in Exmouth

Over the last week or so, the blossom has really started to come out.  Long may it continue too!  When we got home, some more chores followed, and we’re both currently parked on the sofa watching the closing ceremony of the winter paralympics.

What else has been going on this week?  Well, there wasn’t a return to running, but there was some more mindful eating, and an attempt at one of the (many) recipes on my Pinterest boards.  A while back, my sister posted a recipe to my facebook page.  It looked interesting, but I hadn’t got round to trying it.  As some of my bananas became too ripe, I thought I’d give the recipe a go.

Oaty Banana Bites

They aren’t much to look at, admittedly, but they were tasty in a kind of cakey way (I was expecting more of a flapjack kind of texture).  I may not have followed the recipe to the letter, as I don’t have any apple sauce or raisins in the house at the moment.  Regardless, they were good and I will be making them again.

Recipe

  • 3 mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of apple sauce
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Basically, you mix all of the ingredients together, plop into a tray and spread out the mixture.  Pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 180c (350f or gas mark 4), and then leave on a wire rack to cool.

I feel like I have had a bit of a better work/life balance this week.  Despite having an incredibly heavy workload at the moment, I didn’t bring work home and I relaxed a bit easier in the evenings.  I am definitely counting that as progress!  I’ve even managed to get myself organised with some of my marshalling bits and bobs.  I have taken on social media responsibility for my marshalling club’s region, and as the motorsport season is now upon us, it was time for me to invest a bit more time and thought into it.  I’ve had a good response and reception so far, and I am hoping that the use of a couple of different tools will help me out with that.

All in all, it’s been a good week and I am looking forward to seeing what next week brings.

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