Sunday, 22 November 2009

Glut or Famine, that's all you get with my posts.

Dogs walked
House Cleaned
Gym Attended.

Broke my 5mile record today. 45.04 for 5 miles miles. Would have loved to get it just under the 45min but was DELIGHTED.

A bit knackered now but really, how perfect can a Sunday be. A clean house, a great gym session, and our neighbours are about to take us out for a curry. Bliss.

All of the run was done on Aerobic setting 1, so this means 10min+ was all at 3%; 10min+ was at 2%; 20min+ was at 1%; and the rest was at 0%. It was a great run, the kind that makes you happy to be alive, and glad to have left the house in the pouring rain (again).

Ah, sigh of relief.

I've been neglecting you.

After the 4 miles it's been a complete whirlwind.
Stayed with Spartan and Blarney with BLARNEY COOKING. She did a fantastic job (the first time she's ever cooked for 6 people) with 2 full courses, the final of which was cheesecake !!!! my personal favourite.

Then we had a night away with a wine tasting and 6 course dinner. Wheeler and RF were happy to accompany us as TheO's gift to RF to help stave off her SAD. It was a brilliant night, good food, good wine, good chat. Went to bed most lubricated and fell asleep to the sound of rain pouring on the chalet roof. Wonderful.

The next morning we fortified ourselves with breakfast and headed out on a dog walk. One of the wettest dog walks I've ever taken part in. We walked for a good hour and saw the view down the valley just before the weather closed in (again).

After that it was full steam ahead, first to the new cottage where RF and Wheeler are staying. TheO made them dinner for later and RF and I built a wardrobe whilst Wheeler emptied out 'the kit room'. A very productive afternoon all round.

Then, despite this being designated as a 'quiet month' MaYa was due to arrive with Tertius. She needed to get lots of things sorted for the new house so we spent many days looking round John Lewis, Dundee and Perth to find tiles,bathrooms and the like. I think it was time use productively. (Particularly as we managed to fit in Dim Sum with Blarney too!)

But this is meant to be a blog about exercise (but the walk counts, honest)!
So, on the 18th I managed to get back to the gym.
5k in 27.46 - aerobic 1 setting. Really pushed it! It felt good to get back in there.
Then 11 proper press ups, a small rest then, 4 proper press ups.
36 sit ups
2 proper press ups -ok, 2 weak wobbly arm things that shouldn't really count.
6 scissor leg up/down things
20 bicep curls w/4kg weight
15 tricep dips
DONE (definitely said in Gordon Ramsey tones).

Since then life has been getting back to normal, catching up on all the things that need to be done. Organising a whole bunch of stuff for Christmas. And time is still running away with me.

We're off to the Peak District and London next week. It should be fun.
Right. I'm off to have breakfast (a little late I know), finish the cleaning and then go to the gym. Oh yes, and the dogs desperately need a walk..... damn.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

4 miles

Managed 4 miles in the gym on the treadmill on Tuesday, all on aeroic 1 setting as usual,
then lots of stretching and 10 full on press-ups. no stopping. This rocked.

the run was in 36.40 which pleased me as this was 9.10 a mile and not too strenuous. Also, my achillies is finally feeling as it should - result.

Life is returning to normal - I got some nice work pieces posted out. On time. I've started a new blog, and am feeling the pressure of trying to organise my thoughts on the topic of domesticity. Here it's easy. I come in, I write about running, and then I bugger off again. There, it feels like I should really be quite concise about committing my thoughts to ... screen.

But, much, much, much more excitingly we went to the Highland Wildlife Park today which rocked all sort of socks. We saw the polar bear (in her new and lovely enclosure), the TIGERS and their CUBS, red pandas (which were showing off big time), Elk, Bison, Wild Horses, an otter, Arctic Foxes, Japanese Monkeys, Snowy Owls, and all manner of things with horns related to deer in some way. It was marvellous and I can't wait to return, even if I am a grown-up and have no small children to use as an excuse.

And tomorrow we have a Cheeseboard meet up (yay!) and the next day we have a mystery night away with friends. And my Dad's no longer being detained in Kazakhstan. So a good few days all in all.

Off to bed to watch trashy US crime drama, what more can go right.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

It's just a blogging frenzy.

So, I've finally got the whole house clean. This means nothing to you, dear reader, but means a great deal to me. It means peace of mind. Now I can get on with the rest of my to-do list.

But, I'm really here because I went to the gym today. Despite not wanting to. Despite being knackered. But TheO said she didn't want pizza (Tesco Finest Oven pizza, not, sadly, Dominos) if she hadn't worked out. And this thought alone made me say, "Aw, let's just go." She'd done a workout yesterday so wouldn't have felt bad if she'd had a day off... Me, I've been slacking for days.

So I did lots of different things for a change today. (Also I'm nursing what threatens to be a minor achilles injury, it's just a bit stiff and sore in the morning, so I might take it easy on the ole legs for a bit.)

I did:
Reclining Bike (Precor) Fitness Test Setting. This took 10min and told me I had a HIGH level of Fitness (score 38). This pleased me no end.
1 mile run in 9.15 - at 1.5% for the whole way.
10min/2.4miles on the arm bike. Hill Setting, Level 5.

Then TheO moved onto the mat exercises, which is where I was heading, and she started doing press-ups. Not girlie press-ups oh no! Real press-ups. I marvelled at her prowess and then felt a bit jealous. I've never been able to do press-ups. My massive arms are apparently all fat. But as she said, "Go on, give it a go!", my arms suddenly worked. I managed 7 real press-ups in a row and felt like I'd just won xfactor (or something I might actually care about).

I then followed this up with:
6 lifting and crossing leg lift things. (6 each leg)
6 alternate leg/arm raise tummy lifts (6 each leg)
Plank for 1min
3 more press-ups
12 sit ups

It all rocked socks. I did just enough to get a real, massive, endorphin boost and I can't believe I can finally do press-ups. (Although I must work on this so I can do more!)
My reward. PIZZA!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Great Bra Review - Does what it says on the tin!

Now, I write this not just as a desperate attempt to get yet more people to click on this blog in search for a sports bra... but as a show of real desperation. Desperation at the lack of information out there; at the lack of reviews from women of different sizes; at the fact that the same bras keep getting great reviews. I’ve tried them, and I’m not convinced.

So many of these tests say that ‘the bra’ reduces movement by 40% ... or similar. These tests are done on the difference between a naked bra tester, and a tester with the sports bra on. No shit this makes a difference.

What I’m looking for is a bit more than that. I wear a bra all the time. I have ordinary every day bras which keep the boobs pointing the the right direction (mostly) and give me a nice(r) shape under my clothes. They stop me from hurting and make me more confident ... but running in these bras is a no-no. I have to wrap my arms across my chest and hold them in place. What I’m looking for here is a SPORTS BRA. This should be, in my opinion, DRAMATICALLY more supportive than my everyday bras (which are underwired and mostly from M&S should anyone care).

Over the last 3 years I’ve tried to find the perfect sports bra. And I’ve failed. But along the way I found some pretty good, and some pretty bad ones.

All of the comments relate to my boobs and how the bras have worked for me; it also relates to how these bras work for a DISTANCE RUNNER, lots of the problems with bras (apart from basic support issues) occur because you’re really using them for hours of high impact exercise. I’m sure almost everything I review would do pretty well for a quick trip down the gym; or a short jog, or any variety of low/middle impact exercise.

When I started running I was a 40D, now I’d wear a 37 C1/2 (in an ideal world)... but generally have to make do with a 36 or 38 C depending on brand. I am always careful to wear the size most fitting and appropriate at the time. Please remember if you do lose weight, or just boobage, though exercise you really will need a new bra, as irritating and expensive as that is.

This list is not designed to be comprehensive. I can only wear what fits me. So if you’ve got less than a C cup many of these bras will not be available in your size. (But there are loads of other great bras out there that will probably help you; and you’ll have far more choice than than your larger friends!) With that in mind, I’ve listed the sizes that all the bras come in so you can quickly tell if it’s even worth reading a section.

I am aware of the great bra sites now available and tend to buy from:
But I have also used: and
No prices are listed as they are subject to change/special offer.

Other retailers are available but very sadly most shops, and running shops in particular, tend to stock very few brands so you never get to try them all on and see what really works for you. You try whatever they have and the least worst, or most readily available, is often the most bought.

That said, the most popular bras do tend to be popular for a reason. With that in mind I have trawled review sites and tried to find most of the best rated bras (for my size and support level) to give them a personal work out.

How the scoring works:
COMFORT this is out of 10 as without comfort a lot of the rest is irrelevant.
ADJUSTABILITY this is out of 5 as the fine tuning helps, but does not make/break the bra
APPEARANCE this is out of 5. A great looking bra is a fine thing, and an ugly bra might languish in a drawer for considerably longer. But it doesn’t affect how they ‘work’.
BOUNCE CONTROL this is out of 20. The only bit that really, really, matters.
All of the bras listed are designed to be top-level control for high impact and larger boobs.
Total score is out of 40.

I haven’t given scores for washability as not all of my bras have been put trough the same rigours. I was them all the same way (30 C cotton wash, fast spin, net bag if they’ve got catches and straps, air dry) and if they can’t withstand my gentle treatment they don’t deserve to be bought.

I’ve tried lots of the main bras, and even if they didn’t work for me I’ve listed them; as this gives a truer comparison for the ones that did work!

Enell - sizes 32C - 52E (but check their sizing table!)
Now I am aware that this bra is meant to be the bra to end all bras. And I don’t have one. The price and sizing have put me off, as has how large it is. I get hot enough without a massive layer of elastic holding me together. I’m prepared to change my mind, if anyone can tell me if it will fit I’d be delighted. It seems to be designed for ladies a little larger of boob, than me. And if you’re a C cup they’d quite like you be a 34”....
I’m prepared to be convinced and it will be my next purchase!

Anita High Control Sports Bra 5521 available in 32A - 40G
Initially ordered this as it was GMTV Best Bra Spring 2008
Sent this straight back as it did not support in any way as far as me and my boobs were concerned. Flimsy.

Thusane Force 3 Sport Bra with Top Strap available in 32B - 40E
Another sad disappointment. Really liked the design and idea of this bra but no support for me. Flimsy.

Triumph Tri-Action Extreme - available in 32B - 40E
This is a bra which has had incredible reviews (given 10/10 by The Daily Mail September 2007) and has flown off the shelves. I’ve spoken about it before as I was pretty disgusted when I received mine. Very flimsy, no support at all and was sent straight back. Two boobs, like a traditional bra. Less supportive than my ordinary bras!
Comfort 8/10 - but it was so soft it was useless
Adjustability 3/5 - promises but does not deliver
Appearance 3/5 - quite sporty but I don’t like white as it goes grey in the wash (personal thing) Too bra like for outerwear.
Support 5/20
Total: 19/40

Marks and Spencer Underwired High Impact Sports Bra (code 8465580) - sizes 32A - 2G
Works well for what it is. I find the cups a bit low cut and more like an ordinary bra. Some will love this look, others will find it a bit revealing and lacking in full boob support. Nice straps, quite wide and comfy - but I find this a nice bra to wear as everyday wear rather than a sports bra. It just doesn’t give enough support to go for a run.
Comfort 6/10
Adjustbility 4/5
Appearance 4/5 - for a bra it’s got some nice detailing and feels quite sleek and sporty
Support 13/20
Total: 27/40

Pure Lime Compression Bra 098 - available in 28C - 40G
Well, I kept it. Which is a start. Works fine but nothing special. Reduces bounce a bit but not stunningly comfortable, or stunningly supportive. Feels too soft, with too little structure. Looks v different in real life to the way it does in images. A half decent bra if you’re looking for compression and two boobs simultaneously, quite a difficult combo to pull off.
Comfort 7/10
Adjustability 3/5 - shoulder straps aren't variable enough for my short back
Appearance 3/5 - quite big above the boobs so wouldn’t work well with a lower cut sports top
Support 14/20
Total - 27/40

Berlie Shock Absorber B4490 - available in 28A - 40HH
Now this bra is meant to be the same support level as the one listed below. It’s not. I wear it for hill walking. That’s W.A.L.K.I.N.G. Oh yes. It looks lovely and I kept it as it has a place in my heart for camping and walking trips - but it is not a high level support bra. Not for my boobs. Washes well. Might be able to go smaller than usual round the back.. Crop top in compression style, but with some extra internal strapping to give individual boob support.
Comfort 8/10 -just pop it on and away you go. Although the racer back style sits differently on the neck from other bras, this does take some getting used to.
Adjustability 2/5 - barely adjustable and what it does is laughable. The tiny amount of alteration made no difference to me.
Appearance 5/5 I think these bras rock socks. Crop top style but with back fastening so you can take them off without contortions. Great colour options. Damn cute. Outerwear if you think you have the body (I don’t).
Support 12/10
Total: 27/40

Panache High Impact - theoretically available in 30B - 40FF
This Bra is now end of line... so beware if you fall in love with it, multiple order NOW.
This thing does support, initially. But to get that support I have to withstand some fat showing over the top of the sides; to be tight enough there isn’t enough fabric at the sides. I would therefore not wear this bra for a longer run as I’m pretty damn sure it would rub (I’ve not tested this, but why would I...). It’s underwired which does help the support, but also is a bit weird and unforgiving in a sports bra. Should give you the two-boob look but really it’s just a lumpy breast-shelf. I thought it felt great and supportive when I put it on, but looking in the gym mirror as I ran was another story. Movement was very obvious, and felt like a jerk up and a massive drop... don't know why. There was also still side-to-side movement too. A real disappointment.
Also really hard to put on. It has a little elastic/fabric tube section that covers the hook and eye at the back so they don’t rub (great idea)... but trying to get it on, and the bra on, I find a bit too fiddly; needed help the first few times. I can also imagine losing the little tube section really easily at the gym. Think it comes up ever so slightly small in the size dept.
Comfort 6/10
Adjustability 3/5 - small to start with, so the back hooks just give you breathing room.
Appearance 3/5 Pretty basic a cross between a crop top style and a bra style. Like the fact it comes in plain black. Could *just* get away with it as outerwear, if you’re hot, or hot and brave.
Support 15/20 Movement up and down in a tightly controlled way, but nothing side to side.
Total score: 27/40

Berlie Shock Absorber B109 - available in 30D - 40H
Now this bra saw me through all of my initial running. I had it in the cupboard and it just kept going. It did a fine job until I ran my first half marathon. Then it took chunks out of my back leaving me still scared 3 years later. It has not been forgiven.
However it does wash well, particularly now you can get it in colours. Elastic will quickly tell you when the bra has had enough. If it frays, bin it! Accurate sizing. Individual cups give great madonna-esque boobs if you don’t want your own personal breast-shelf.
Comfort 5/10 - never truly great and too many hard edges on everything.
Adjustability 4/5 - straps and 3 hooks at the back.
Appearance 2/5 - industrial looking enough to scare the horses. Not outerwear.
Support 17/20
Total: 28/40

Champion Action Shape (Cotton) -omg it’s been discontinued (sizes were as below). Find it where you can!
My other half might just be in love with this bra. They wear it all the time and find the lack of underwire and the general shape comfy for everyday wear, sport and real life. It’s a crop top compression style with a small nod towards the notion of having ‘two boobs’ but mostly it makes a breast block. The cotton version is MUCH more supportive than the Supplex. But it is also hotter and holds sweat making it a bit of a chaffer. The shoulder straps being the biggest problem. They adjust with thick velcro which doesn’t shift and keeps them in place; but the edges of that velcro will tear strips off you. I warn you now.
However, it does support quite well and is a good crop top style, but is put on like a normal bra. Now, there is another little irritation with this bra. The back strap where the hook and eyes are has an extra long ‘tail’ which goes further across and is fastened with a little popper (choice of 3, like the back hooks) this popper ALWAYS comes off. On every one of these we’ve owned (about 6-8 bras in total). It does give extra support, but then it breaks. Washes like a champion, has even survived the dryer on occasion.
Comfort 6/10 - the chaffing can’t be ignored, but depends on your activity.
Adjustability 5/5 - really adjustable straps, much larger range of adjustment.
Appearance 3/5 the cotton doesn’t make it very sexy. Basic, boxy, cottony crop top with bra back.
Support 16/20
Total: 30/40

Champion Action Shape (Cool Max/Supplex) - available in 32 C/D - 48 D/E
As above really but smoother in appearance and more wicking. But less supportive ... also less likely to chafe as narrower straps with ordinary adjustment not velcro. Washes well enough, but elastic starts to shrivel slightly more quickly than I’d like.
Comfort 7/10
Adjustability 4/5
Appearance 4/5
Support 14/20
Total: 29/40

Sportjock SuperSport Bra in Supplex - available in 28C - 44F
Now I am biased about this bra so I’ll list the negatives first.
Has no adjustment at all. Works for me and I have a very short back. I just pull the back down so it sits lower, it doesn’t ride up! But some people might find this uncomfortable.
It is also occasionally almost impossible to take off when you’re hot and sweaty and knackered. I have to step into a changing cubicle to get it off as the chances of being trapped momentarily with it half way off are quite high.
However, it is supportive enough to please me and the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn. You can forget you’re wearing it. I’ve run a marathon wearing this, and a few halfs and it never even gave me a moments thought about chaffing. I would not be without this bra DESPITE it not being the most supportive thing out there. Washes well and dries quickly. Have also washed it 100s of times and no signs of wear... although it does get a little less supportive over time.
Comfort 10/10
Adjustability 0/5
Appearance 5/5 - crop top in many colours definite outerwear potential
Support 15/20 - definite bounce still but I can still sprint without fear of pain or black eyes.
Total - 30/40

So overall I think the scores are pathetic. I’ve tried to be fair, but if the best I can find is 30/40 I think that demonstrates that the state of sports bras is quite dire.
I can’t try them all (much as I’d like to) and I would love to get my hands on some USA bras. I’ve heard that TitleNine are doing some very good things.
I’ll keep searching and I’ll add any new additions to the list. Damn manufacturers keep moving the goal posts. I did try the Nike super adjustable bra when it came out 2 years ago (with no success, despite trying 6 different sizes it just wouldn't fit appropriately) but it's no longer available. They have got some new ones out now though which I'm considering giving a go.

I would LOVE to hear any recommendations (please remember my size, I can’t try Bravissimo bras as they don’t make them in my size) and I’ll also happily post any other bra reviews from other runners. (Please: be a runner, and use the same scoring system as it helps to keep the comparisons more accurate, also state your bra size!)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Race Report
Whilst I feel I really, really, really should be cleaning the house... it's now a good time to discuss the past week (or so) and the hideousness that was The Jedburgh Half.

Time 2.24.27 (my time) 2.24.27 (gun time) - there was no chip timing.

I was delighted by these times as the course was fairly rolling over the first few miles.

Total time at 6 miles was 57.32 - which put me spot-on for a PB, my pacing was really working! I knew it was feeling hard, but I also knew I'd worked solidly in preparation and really should just be able to push through.

Normally I can just about manage to negative split as when I turn around it all comes together and I know that I'm over half way, mentally I find that a great boost.
Here (mile 7) it all went tits-up. The realisation slowly came over me that my legs were sore. The muscles from arse to achilles were all aching. This is not something that had happened before. And just as we turned, and I acknowledged that the elation that normally comes over me at this point is sadly lacking, we were faced with 3 miles of running into a 25-30mph head wind. This began to take the very last of my energy.

From this point on I had to take walking breaks. My legs were just so painful. I desperately wanted to stop but I knew that my friends were waiting in the cold and rain to see me at mile 11. They had got up early (on a desperately needed w/end day) and traipsed through Scotland to be "super supporters". This thought really, really helped. All I wanted, and from now on will carry with me, were some painkillers. If I'd have seen the first aid stop/van I would have flagged them down and begged for anything. Luckily, as I may just have hopped on the van, I never saw them. Definitely a mental note to self to ALWAYS be self reliant in these things. Carry all your own supplies, you never know if what you need/want will be available.

Mile 10 was the worst. Not only because of the wind, but because I really felt like I couldn't finish. I was getting the helpful and supportive comments from both biking marshalls, and all the F**kers who were passing me; people I'd worked so hard to overtake in the first half of the race; people who mentally I had planned to never see again. Whilst I knew they were just being helpful and kind it only made me feel more pathetic and much worse. I wanted to yell at them, "I've done this before; I don't know why it's all gone wrong; I swear I prepared properly!" I just felt like I was being judged as one of the slow fat people at the back who didn't really know what she was doing. I sense this is probably much more a problem in my head than in reality.
All I know is if you've run 10 miles and are in serious pain crying only stops you being able to breathe - so you might as well get your arse in gear and just keep sodding moving.

Now it's not just the fact that it hurts. But normally if a run isn't going well you know it's still only a matter of x minutes until you finish. This run/walk shit meant I didn't even know how long it was going to take me. I couldn't judge and I didn't have any control, which for a self-confessed control freak - was driving me crazy. There was no safe reliance that, "oh well, in 30min this will all be over".

At the end of mile 11 I saw my friends and it did really give me hope. I'd run up the big hill, as walking that would have been a defeat too far. No matter what the hill I try and run up it. Not only does it give me the smallest amount of satisfaction but it also gets the bloody thing over with faster. They were at their loudest and most embarrassing which makes me blush furiously but also makes me think, "those are my friends they are! And they're yelling for me!" Bless their hearts as I manage the weakest of wave/smile combos and put my head down again.

I knew that from that point onwards I only had 2.1 miles of downhill. I mean, 2.1 miles, DOWNHILL, honestly it should have been a big sigh of relief, and just a gentle unwinding of the the legs as they loped onwards.
As you can see from the times. It really wasn't a gentle lope. It was a painful crawl that involved walking at every damn point possible. I don't think I managed to run a full 1/2 mile in a go by this point. Normally the last mile is quite quick for me. Normally I can really push it. Not this time. Not in any way. I kept desperately trying to run but it was just too sore.
1.55 for final .16 of a mile.

So a good 20min slower than I was hoping for I finally finished. The last 7 miles taking me a hideous 1h 27.

I am over this though (despite all evidence). I think I know why it happened which helps: As we went home, via a horrible pub meal (booked my me, to add to my day of shame), I began to feel really bad. The cough which had appeared that morning morphed into flu. (And as a note to TheO who believes what we both had was a 'bad cold' I'll draw your attention to the nhs website... we had ALL the symptoms of flu. Just because we didn't need a doctor does not stop it being flu. Rant over.) I was sick as a dog and much, much more pathetic. Luckily TheO not only stepped-up and looked after me, but she didn't even complain about what a big gayer I was being. She said helpful things like, "Oh I'm sure you feel worse than I felt, you have just run 13 miles" which made me feel a little better... but really, I think it was the kind of flu that just makes anyone feel like shite. Luckily it's almost gone now, just some hideous remnants of cough which make those around me feel like the plague is coming.

Also as we finished our drive I realised I was really, really thirst. Despite a pot of tea and a pint of coke at lunch. I started to sip on my camelbak, the camelbak I had run with; the camelbak I always use and nearly always finish, or nearly finish, during a long run. It was still very, very full. Despite drinking like a fish most of the time there had been something about this race that had stopped me following my usual routine. I think the weather probably didn't help. It was a mixture of hot then really quite cold. The changes stopped any sense of heat build up. Also as I was going more slowly than usual I didn't feel the heat in the same way. But this is not a mistake I'll make again. I don't know how much difference it would have made as I think the 'coming down with something' factor was the biggest influence; but still, I felt like an idiot... I'd caused my own dehydration. Numpty.

Other Stuff:
Now it's been a busy week.
We came back from Jedburgh and had one day before we headed off for TheO's birthday surprise. Now I think she's covered it all v well in her blog. All I'll add is that I am a bit of an idiot and I managed to put myself under too much pressure regarding whether or not she was having a good time. This combined with being still sick as a dog made me a bit tense and crap. Luckily she managed to push through this and have a good time despite me.

The first day of activities was a success - fly fishing (excellent and really, really hard); falconry (bloody amazing and quite unexpectedly brilliant) and carriage driving (bit crap really, horse does it all and you just sit there with the vaguest veneer of control).
Hotel (Monacyle Mhor) was good but lacking in any sense of magic. All was lovely, yet not lovely enough. Very difficult to put my finger on it. Maybe it could never have been as good as I wanted it to be? Ah well. A lovely experience, but not one to rave about. It was a bit marred my not having micro planned enough for the second day. I thought a big long walk, some afternoon tea, a bit of lazing then dinner would do it; but when you both feel like crap that suddenly feels like a terrible idea. So we drove to Loch Lomond and saw some very pretty scenery (Also stopping at an inn to have the worst lunch in Scotland where I was presented with a Baked Potato which was not only hard on the bottom from being mircowaved to death, but came with an enormous pile of chips. I'm Scottish and well used to the concept of a meal composed of starch and starch... but potato and potato was new to me. TheO had a panini where they had made and baked it with lettuce in... lettuce cooked is not a pleasant experience. And this is still nothing compared to the instant coffee topped with squirty cream from a can to make it a 'cappuccino'.). Luckily dinner that night back at the hotel was excellent (albeit with a luke warm main course - AGAIN) and one can always improve your experience with Margaritas. Always.
Our return to reality was a very very sharp shock. We both knew it was coming but we really should have planned more. We had one day to plan, shop, decorate and get food sorted for a party of 14 people. Luckily we're a bit practiced at putting ourselves under that sort of pressure and all got done in the end. The house was spookily decorated for Halloween (the back door may now always look like it's been smeared with the blood of our enemies) and the food was either cooked or chopped accordingly.

The day of the party we went to Glasgow as yet another surprise for TheO. This time it was RF who'd organised it all. We went to the BBC Good Food Show and it was excellent. A full day of looking at, tasting and discussing food was marvellous. As was having a driver for the day who doesn't mind dogs clambering all over her car and curling up on coat.
We got back in fine time to put the last touches on the house, extra thanks go to RF who dealt with my rather harsh delegation style with aplomb. (My style tends to the extremes of, "oh no, don't worry about that, I'll do it" to "do this... not like that, my way!" All I can say is that I'm aware of the shortcomings of this manner of instruction and I'm trying to work on it.!

Despite my naysaying all the guests who arrived really did manage to see the house at its spooky best. And we all enjoyed a very relaxed night with guests, food, fire and eventually a lot of poker by the hardy souls who part-ayed until 3.45am.

So since then I've mostly been curled up in a ball trying to both feel better and just chill out. I've managed to tidy, but the house is still looking a little dusty round the edges. So, the obvious answer is to sit and blog for hours on end. And ignore the hoover for another day.

More importantly yesterday saw my first run since the half. It was just a little 5K in the gym (I'm still desperate not to get too cold and horrible).
5K in 28.48 (all 9.22 or faster per mile) all felt quite comfortable, and I used the aerobic 1 setting, which seems to have become a staple, so there were 3 hills of up to 3% giving a little more variety.

Today I have a slightly tight achillies which has responded well to a tubeygrip (sp?), and my leg muscles hurt just a wee bit. This is full-on pathetic... but it still feels nice to have got the first run out of the way. My minor pain is trying to tell me something. I'm desperately hoping that it's trying to tell me that after years of running so slowly that 'warming up' was desperately unnecessary (my running pace was/is slower than most runners would consider their warm-up pace); maybe now I've finally got under some magic minutes-per-mile pace that now necessitates a bit of warming up before hand. That's the most positive spin I can put on being a bit achy after a 5K. And I'm sticking with it.

And it was the most meditative of runs. I knew after the long runs of the past few weeks it was going to feel short, and it really did; I felt I could just switch off and crank out the miles. Good to know it was the race that sucked, not the running.

But enough waffle from me. Adios.