Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ten Steps to a Nice Clean Dog

I would like to make one thing clear from the start.  My dog is a lovely little chap and quite the looker too.  Any girl dog would be proud to be seen out and about with him, were it not that I'd had his balls snipped off after an unfortunate pissing up the ironing board incident when he was a nipper.  He is, in the usual run of things, mostly brindle with white bits here and there - notably on his face and the end of his tail, which wags along like a little beacon allowing me to see where he is even in the long grass.

So imagine my confusion yesterday when I went to pick up my dog from his lovely daycare types over at the Dog House and was handed over a brown smelly little dog.

Me: Uurgh, Who is this?
DH: It's Murdoch
Me (outraged): It most certainly is not.  Murdoch is a fine specimen of a dog and you are trying to fob me off with a substandard stinker of a mutt.
DH: No really, that's Murdoch
Me (dubious): Really?
DH : [shrug]

At that point I noticed his little white beacon of a tail wagging at me and I was forced to acknowledge, that yes, my lovely soft and furry little buddy had somehow been transformed into a grubby (slightly smelly) mud caked mutt.  Reluctantly, I popped him in the boot of my car and headed for home.

Dog ownership is not glamorous, unless you're a pampered celebrity who has people to do stuff for you.  I've often wondered who empties the chihuahua poo out of Paris Hilton's handbag.  Because that dog is pooing in there for sure.  It has nowhere else to go.  Anyway, most dogs fall into one or several of the following major categories.  You've got your chasers (can't help going after deer, rabbits, birds, bikes, leaves blowing along the ground etc), you've got your yappers, poo munchers, crotch sniffers, face lickers (usually just a nanosecond after you have observed them licking their *ahem* delicate areas) and shoe chewers.  Murdoch however is a mud roller.  He sees a mud puddle and cannot resist rolling around in it like a little furry hippo.  As a result, I had the misfortune yesterday evening of having to clean him up and this is how it went.

Step One: Lure dog into garden.  This is not hard to do - dog is currently clueless about the terrible events about to unfold.

Happily posing next to the bucket, clueless
Step Two: Pick up bucket of water (warm, if you're feeling kind) and throw it at dog

Step Three: Wait patiently as dog runs to end of garden and shakes like fury

Shake it, shake it baby
Step Four: Shampoo dog.  Try not to use too much shampoo (like I did last night) as it makes the following steps much harder

Step Five: Rinse dog.  I did this by throwing more buckets of water at the dog so I therefore had to repeat steps two & three quite a few times at this point.


Step Six: Towel dry dog (who by this point is pathetically grateful that you have stopped throwing water at him and is nuzzling your ankles)

Step Seven: Open back door and allow damp dog back into flat.  Try not to think about the fact that your home is going to smell of damp dog for the foreseeable future.  Order dog into bed

Waaaah! I've had enough! Let me in!
Step Eight: Endure sad and sulky looks from dog as he sits in his bed pondering the fact that he would totally call the RSPCA on you right now, if only he had thumbs and knew how to operate the phone.

I hate you right now
Step Nine: Ponder the fact that this was all an ENORMOUS waste of time and energy as dog is likely to roll around in giant pile of yuck again tomorrow.

Step Ten: Give up on life for the day and go to bed.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I feel like such a heel

Goodness me, where does the time go, doesn't it fly when you're having fun etc etc.  Two weeks have positively zipped by and yesterday was the big day - the fortnightly weigh in.  So how did I do?  Well I am now down to 12st11lb which means I've lost just over 4lb in the past four weeks. Overall I'm happy with this - 1lb a week is fairly steady measured weight loss, but really I wanted a bit more of a kick start to the process.  I don't see any reason why I can't lose 1.5 - 2lb per week, at least at first while I still have quite a bit to lose.

The past week has been a bit difficult in terms of exercise.  As I mentioned in last Monday's post, I had got a touch of plantar fasciitis following the sprint training / long(ish) run combo I did at the weekend.  This meant that I did not exercise at all last week, until Saturday when all felt ok again and I decided to head to the track.  We were doing 2 sets of 8 x 200m - to be run at around the mile pace that we're aiming for.  My aim was 60secs, but I was comfortably and consistently coming in at 50 - 52secs, so I was feeling really pleased with my performance and despite a bit of heaviness on my chest (more on that later), I was feeling strong for the entire first set.  The heel was niggling a little, but nothing that concerned me until I started the second set and had to give up after 3 reps.  The heel was really complaining now and given that I was down to run in a league 10k race the following morning, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and called it a day.

Woke up on Sunday morning.  Got out of bed.  Fell back onto bed yelping.  OOOOOOOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHH! Serious amounts of pain when I put any weight on my left foot.  Much hissing, swearing and hopping about the flat later, I realise that I'm out of the 10k for that morning.  Boo.  I then spent the rest of the day sunbathing *ahem* keeping the weight off my foot and rolling it on a frozen water bottle as recommended by my good friend Andy.  Thanks mate, it really helped and by the end of the day, the foot was comfortable enough to take Murdoch for a decent walk.  

On Monday I already had an appointment scheduled at the doctors' surgery, so mentioned my heel.  The doc looked at me as though I was an idiot for having run on it (has she never met a runner before? Surely we're FAMED for running when we probably shouldn't?!) and told me to ice, stretch and most importantly REST the foot.  So no weight bearing exercise for me for the next week or so and longer term I'm looking at some physio - I found out that I'm covered for it under my Dad's private health insurance, which means no NHS wait list for me - phew!

So I now need to think about how I'm going to exercise if I can't run.  Usually my best time for exercising is a fairly intense 30min session in the gym at lunchtime.  I usually go and pound out some swift intervals on tbe treadmill or sometimes just a plain old simple run.  So if anyone has some suggestions on half hour gym sessions that I can do which do not involve any weight bearing stuff, I'd love to hear them.  I guess I could do some interval stuff on the bike / cross trainer?  And it's probably time that I started doing some core work too.  So I'm trying to look at this as a positive thing that's going to expand my exercise repertoire, rather than something that is imposing limits on me.

On Monday evening I went to the pool and did 70 laps, felt pretty good, but then yesterday morning I woke up feeling pretty terrible.  Everytime I stood up, I got really dizzy and felt all congested and tired and horrible - really difficult to breathe,  Spent most of the day lying in bed doing intervals of feeling sorry for myself mixed with some intensive rest periods (Zzzzzzz).  

I had a really weird dream late morning.  I dreamed that Murdoch was not a real dog, but a sad tattered soft toy that I dragged around everywhere with me.  Everyone humoured me because I was a mad person and to me he was a real dog.  So I'd look down and see my little waggy tailed piglet, but to everyone else he was just a soft toy.  I woke up in a bit of a panic and had to run (oops stop slow down dizzyhead) and check out the situation.  Murdoch is definitely real (and didn't appreciate being woken up so I could check). Or, if he's not real, then I'm still crazy and I'd appreciate it if you could leave me to it :)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Going to the dogs

Murdoch has been engaging in some pyschological warfare recently.  He has various weapons in his armoury, including 2am vomiting (he sleeps in the other room - how does he manage to wake me up with it??!?!?), a dry cough that culminates in a noise that sounds like a cat coughing up a giant furball and waking me up at 5am (at the weekend!!!!) by standing beside my bed and staring at me.  As you can see, a couple of his ploys involve interrupting my sleep.  I think he knows that I'm shit if I don't get enough shut-eye and he thinks he can use this to his advantage.  Good luck with that my little furry nemesis.

However this week his weapon of choice has changed.  As if it's not stressful enough having a dog named Murdoch at the moment ("Did you name him after Rupert?" "No I effing didn't - who would do that?!") this week he has decided to worry me half to death by deliberately running through vegetation that he is allergic to until his entire head puffs up in hives. I've had to buy jumbo packs of Piriton to keep him from combusting.  I'm serious, his right eye swelled up so much last night he could hardly see out of it and he gets all sad and floppy with it too, wanting to come and sit next to me and lean against my leg.  Poor little guy.  See, my heart is melting - damn dog is playing me for a fool!

Well not tonight he's not - he's got a sleepover at the Dog House while I glam up and go to our corporate summer party this evening.  I had an accidental dress buying incident yesterday lunchtime which I have since managed to justify in my head (it was in the sale etc etc,) and I'm ready for some fun times tonight, although I do need to be a little bit sensible and get on the last train home.  If anyone sees me staggering drunk at Waterloo later tonight, can they gently pop me onto a train and hang a sign saying Farncombe around my neck?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Self criticism

Here's my thought for the day. Throughout the many and varied conversations I've had recently on the topic of being fat, a lot of people have said that I'm being too hard on myself.  This is probably true.  I'm not morbidly obese, nor do I have (so far as I am aware) any scary obesity related diseases.  In fact all I'm really suffering from is poor self image and a bit too much lard around my stomach, hips and thighs.  

The other morning I walked along Moorgate on the way to work and decided to be as critical of all the people I passed in the street as I am of myself (in my head, of course, I didn't want to get stabbed or somesuch).  My interior monologue went a little bit like this:

Faaaarrrr too old to be wearing that skirt
Terrible skin
Dear God woman have you never heard of Frizz Eaze?
Greasy hair
Horrible ill fitting suit
Overdid it on the make up this morning, didn't we dear?
Please, please, please put your boobs away

And you know what?  I felt like an utter bitch for even thinking those things.  It feels horrible to be that bitchy towards other people, yet oddly we find it perfectly acceptable to be that awful to ourselves.  We probably could all do with having a bit of a think about that one.

Anyway, I had a lovely weekend starting with a spa day on Friday with my mum and sister.  Me & mum had a serrail treatment which consisted of coating ourselves in mud and then sitting in a steam room for a bit.  Then the "rainforest shower" started and hosed all the mud off.  Very good fun.  We spent most of the day lounging around the spa and I pretty much dozed off until my sister pinched my nose to stop me snoring.  Oooppppssss.

On Saturday morning I grabbed B and headed to the track to do some sprint training with my running club.  This is to work towards the Marathon Talk Magic Mile Challenge.  We did a couple of laps of the field to warm up (much needed as the rain was torrential) and then did  6 x 2 minute reps.  The aim was to hit our mile pace (for me this was 30secs per 100m) and remain consistent throughout all reps.  We managed this well, so I'm pleased with that.  We then had 6 x 200m reps, but we had to leave after two as we had to get back to Godalming.

Sunday morning saw me get up and out early to walk Murdoch before heading to Grayshott for another running club session.  They've just started organising a monthly social Sunday run - to start and finish at a pub.  I did a very rainy 5.5 miles around Ludshott Common followed by a cup of tea to warm up in the Fox & Pelican.  Very nice.

Unfortunately today I'm suffering from a touch of plantar fasciitis in my left heel, causing me a little discomfort when I get up and start walking, although it eases off a little once I'm up and about.

I think I'm starting to waffle, so all that remains to tell you is that I'm moving to fortnightly weigh ins on professional advice - should even out some of the fluctuations and stop me from getting disheartened.  So I won't be weighing in tomorrow, but will update you all on 26th July.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Better late than never...

Well clearly this post should have gone live on Tuesday directly after my weigh in, but it's been quite a busy week.  Yesterday was Haslemere Border AC's annual race - the Gibbet Hill 10k.  It's quite an epic course, about 6k of steady uphill, followed by a nice freewheel down to the finish.  Here is a picture of our finishers t-shirt (first year we've ever had them - usually just a medal).  I'm posting it firstly because it looks awesome, and secondly because the logo is actually a representation of the course elevation profile.  We'll be there same time next year if you fancy your chances!

So yesterday was crazy busy, marking out the course, sending last minute instructions out to the marshalls, setting up the finish area, dealing with a couple of minor issues during the course of the race.  Phew, was so relieved when it was over.  It was a brilliant event, we had so many positive comments about our marshalls, the medals, t-shirts - not to mention the free cake that we gave out at the end!

Enough of that, I guess the big question is, how did I get on with the weign in on Tuesday.  Oh dear.  Sorry to tell that I put a pound back on.  Oops.  I could make a million excuses, but what it boils down to is that I haven't yet learned not to stuff my face when I'm feeling stressed.  Anyway, sticking with the positives - I'm still down on where I started from and this week has been great - I've hit my calorie targets and have got some great exercise in, so expect to see a loss next Tuesday morning.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Upsetting Chain of Events: An Epic Fail from Santander

7th July 22:00 Get home from work to discover a letter from Santander.  In fact it isn't a letter at all, rather a somewhat threatening Default Notice.  I won't bore you with the details, but essentially there was some talk of claiming my first born child should I fail to cough up the £310.00 that I owe them.  Nearly fell over.  My Alliance & Leicester account (now with Santander) has lain dormant with a zero balance for a couple of years.  I have not received any correspondence (including bank statements) from them for quite some time and frankly wasn't expecting to with a zero balance.  My first thought was that I must be the victim of identity theft, but then I start to wonder why I have a default notice without having received any prior notifications of charges?

8th July 09:50 Attempt to call the Santander complaints line.  It rings.  And it rings.  Then it rings some more. Etc. No-one picks up the damn phone

09:51 Put down the (still ringing) phone and start to feel a little cross.

10:00 Call the main customer service line and have to go through a highly painful automated "press 2 if your arse is on fire" rigmarole.  Eventually I realise that my only remaining options are to repeatedly club my phone on my desk in hopes of randomly hitting the magic sequence of numbers that will grant me access to a member of the customer services team, or to hit none at all and hope that they put me through to someone.  I pick the latter course of action and in time, the automated voice gives up and puts me through.

I then go through some security questions and get to detail my complaint.  I explain that the account has sat dormant for a couple of years and that there is no possible reason for the charges.  The lady explains to me that the T&Cs of my account state that if I do not pay in a minimum of £500 a month, then I would be charged for having the account.  She told me that these charges had been applied to my account since August last year and that in fact I had benefited from a grace period due to the changeover from A&L to Santander. She also informs me that the balance owing is in fact £410. Nice.

By this point I am incandescent.  I point out that at no time had I been made aware that these charges were about to be applied to my account.  At no time since August 2010 have I received a letter or a bank statement informing me that these charges were being applied to my account.  In fact I have heard nothing at all from Santander since they sent me an email on the 18th September 2009 informing me that my internet banking access was about to be deactivated.  I have no idea how they feel it appropriate to apply these charges and to not send me any statements to inform me.  The lady tells me that she cannot deal with this complaint and that she will have to put me through to the Collections dept.  Fine.

Am on hold for a couple of minutes, during which time I assume that the customer service lady is explaining my predicament to Collections.  This is clearly not the case as the really "friendly" woman in the collections department needed me to explain my problem AGAIN, seemed surprised that I was not willing to just pay up and told me that I'd need to ring the complaints department.  I explained that I had already tried that and got no response, could she not put me through?  No.  She just supplied me with the number as though I were a simpleton that probably had failed to dial it correctly the first time.  Then she told me that I would need to call the Collections department back once I'd spoken to Complaints.  I was astounded.  Would the Complaints department not call Collections?  Do they not have that internal process? No. I wail hopelessly and hang up on the woman.

10:15 Try Complaints again.  No answer.  Bang head on desk.

10:20 Complete a complaints form online detailing my issue and pointing out exactly how angry I am.

10:35 Get an automated response telling me that Santander have received my form and will contact me as soon as possible.

12:35 Still no response from Santander.

12:45 My phone rings *excitement*!!!! It is unrelated sales call *utter disappointment*

13:18 Nothing further to report

14:19 No more news

Stuff it, I'm getting cross now, so am going to post this blog and try to call them again later.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Danger Zone

Oh dear. Yesterday was a disaster. Instead of having a calorie deficit, I actually went over my daily calories by 200kcal.  Oh dear indeed.  I've done this before you know.  Had a positive first week - yaaaay! I lost weight! And then an abyssmal second week.  As you can imagine, week three doesn't even happen.  Why do I do this? I'm not 100% sure. Why would any right minded human being sabotage themselves in goals that we set for ourselves?  

I listen to a podcast done by Jillian Michaels - an American personal trainer.  In these situations, she asks, what does it afford you to stay fat?  What are you getting out of it?  I think she's asking the right question.  Clearly remaining fat has appeal for me on some level, I think I use it as my excuse, my reason why.  Why I don't do stuff.  Why I haven't met the right guy.  Why I don't have to try.  So what happens when my reason why is taken away?  I'll actually have to do all of the things that I've been hiding away from.  This is scary stuff and when you think about it, it isn't so surprising that a little bit of self-sabotage creeps in. Take away my security blanket?! Not likely!

But this time I'm going to nip it in the bud, I'm going to try asking myself, what will I gain by losing weight?  And trying to create enough positives to take away some of the fear.  Not an easy task, but one day at a time, I'll chip away at it.

Today has been a good day so far, I'm on track to hit my deficit goal of 1,000kcal. One day at a time...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Moment of Truth

The past few days have been so busy, especially the weekend when I didn't stop long enough to think too much about food - just grabbed something to eat on the run.

Saturday started off well with a nice 5k run with my friend B.  We took a nice route down the River Wey and did much less walking than we'd done the previous week, so progress there. Then spent the rest of the day dashing from one thing to the next; haircut, shopping, toddler's birthday party, impromptu visit to parents' house.  All very nice stuff, but was relieved to get home and relax a little before it was time to go to bed!

Sunday began with a 5 mile walk with Murdoch.  Again, went down the river, it's so lovely there in the sunshine, very peaceful but at the same time plenty going on with other dog walkers, runners, cyclists, fishers etc etc.  Then it was time to head out for a quick swim - and I do mean quick!  I did the swim leg of the Liss Triathlon as part of a team which saw me bashing out a quick 400m in Mill Chase swimming pool before driving over to Liss to cheer in my runner.  Out of the three teams that ran for my club, we brought up the rear, but we're still waiting to find out individual times so I don't yet know how I got on in the water.  One of our teams won the team prize, which was fantastic, but I had to leave before they got their prize as I had to head off to my next engagement.

Dog show! The guys who look after Murdoch while I'm at work do a lot of work with a local dog rescue organisation and they were at a local fun day where there were about a gazillion dogs.  G had asked me not to muzzle Murdoch, all dogs were to be kept on lead and I think he wanted to test Murdoch's reaction without muzzle.  My boy did not let me down - he went nose on to a variety of dogs and not a peep out of him, which was really lovely to see and such progress from where we started out.  Only problem was that he was so hot and overexcited that he had to have a bit of a timeout in the van to cool off!  Then it was off to the bandstand in Godalming to meet with friends and listen to the music, a really lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, enough waffle, let's get down to business.  This morning was my first weigh in.  So last night, I decided to do a little home workout.  I love watching the Biggest Loser and "last chance workout" is an integral part of any competitive weigh in - essentially a last minute effort to sweat out just a few extra ounces of weight before stepping on the scales.  My effort was probably a bit less panicked than it should have been, my intensity a little lower, thwarted as I was by Murdoch's continued efforts to join in.  Ever attempted a plank while your dog wriggles under your tummy so he can lick your face?  You haven't lived.  Anyway, the weigh in.  I weighed myself this morning and the result was .........

12st12lb - that's a loss of 3.25lb for the first week.  So this week I need to put in extra effort to consolidate those results, but for now I'm very very happy!

Have a lovely day people x

Friday, 1 July 2011

The Domino Effect

Yesterday was a toughie.  Felt really demotivated from the get-go and wanted to eat lots and lots of bad things.  Temptation was thrown in my path by an email at 10.30 announcing the arrival of homemade tiramisu in the office kitchen.  I know if I just sit at my desk, there'll be none left for me in just a short while.  Just need to keep sitting at my desk...... did not eat any tiramisu.  RESULT.

Then it was lunchtime and I really didn't want to go to the gym.  And this was when the domino effect began.  I sat at my desk and pondered the option of just not going.  This led me to ponder the possibility that despite having brought a healthy lunch to the office, I could use my lunchbreak (newly liberated by NOT going to the gym) to go and buy something yummy from M&S.  A nice sandwich. And maybe some crisps.  And then maybe some sweets as well. And..... hang on a minute, do you see what happened there?  My thought process had leapt from a gym trip to an enormous junk food binge in a heart beat.

Does anyone else do this to themselves?  Get started down a bad path and then just blindly follow it to its inevitable conclusion, leaving a trail of discarded crisp packets along the way?

Luckily I was able to turn it around.  Instead I started thinking that I would go to the gym, just go to the gym and if you really hate it, if you're really as tired as you think you are, you can leave after 10 minutes.  And of course, I went there and did 30 minutes on the crosstrainer, burning 330 kcal.

The bad news is that there was no subsequent positive domino effect - I succumbed and had a Twix mid afternoon. Meh, you can't win 'em all and I still ended up within my calorie target for the day, partially thanks to not getting home till about 9.30 last night and having only yoghurt for dinner (spent two hours chatting to my dog guy while we scanned the horizon for a dog that had decided that 3 walks wasn't quite enough for him in one day and he wanted to keep running and running and running.... good news is that he did show up eventually and the even better news is that it wasn't my dog that had done the runner. What a good boy I have).

Daily summary (yesterday):
Calories eaten: 1,535
Calories burned: 595
Calorie deficit: 1,160

Today has been a bit better, although am already feeling a bit of diet fatigue. Which is stupid, because I've only just started!  It's the fact that I'm constantly thinking about it all day long.  What shall I eat today? Shall I go to the gym? I really fancy a snack. DoIhavetimetowalkbacktoWaterlooafterwork? ShallIgoforaswimthisevening? HowmanycaloriesdidIeattoday?!?!?! It literally becomes a stream of consciousness constantly running through my head.  I think I'd get bored of that after four days even if it were about Ryan Reynolds in those Hugo Boss ads.

Anyway, the net result of the day was this:

Daily summary (today):
Calories eaten: 1,670
Calories burned: 353 (walking and then a swim in the evening)
Calorie deficit: 783

So a little bit behind where I want to be in terms of calorie deficit for the day, but what the heck, it's Friday.

Quote of the day
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain