Moonwalk Training – 12 Miles

7 weeks to go

Preparation
Less shoddy! I woke up in Glasgow totally parched after the previous night of rock. But I ate a huge hotel breakfast, got the bus home then guzzled water for a few hours. When I finally set out at 4PM I felt good and ready.

Route
The new route avoided boring housing estates and instead stomped past pretty villages and beautiful but stinky canola crops. I printed out a map with mile markers and road names and promptly left it next to the computer. But at least I brought water this time! Maybe too much water. Thankfully the route contained a nice bit of wilderness for an emergency pit stop.

Soundtrack

  • Led Zeppelin I
  • New Goldfrapp album
  • Various podcasts
  • Mewing of a mangy cat that followed me for ten minutes
  • Rhiannon. I felt a bit lonely at 01:25 so called to say hello and we ended up yapping til 02.15! Well she talked the most; I didn’t want to an obnoxious al fresco phone yapper, destroying the Sunday arvo serenity for any passers-by. I was busy with my huffing and puffing anyway.

Deep Topics Pondered
Vitamins. How come we have vitamin A, multiple vitamin B’s, vitamin C, D and E then there’s that huge leap down to vitamin K? What happened to vitamin J? And vitamin G has a nice ring to it too. When I get home, must look up history of vitamins.

Shoes The Mysterious Case of the Abandoned Shoe. I paused to snap a photo of a pair of black high heels that were tangled into some bushes near the train station.

I’ve been pondering new writing projects, and Gareth suggested I pen a series called The Time Travelling Fat Detective. His logic: everyone loves time travel (witness the success of Dr Who). And everyone loves chick detectives (witness the success of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency). And they say to write about what you know, and I have been known to write about fat. Thus he reckons I could rake in the dough with The Time Travelling Fat Detective. So I pondered the shoes for a couple of miles. Murdered lady of the night? Kidnapped heiress? Most likely, lass with sore feet paused to have a spew on her way home from the pub. But where’s the suspense in that!?

Pain Report
My knee and hamstring were so much better this time round. Everything felt better overall. By the end my legs were tired but I wasn’t staggering and on the verge of howling like last time. Who’d have thought being properly hydrated and fueled would make such a difference? Ho ho ho.

Pace
Pretty good by my standards! I walked the 12 miles in 03:04:45, which is a 15:22 pace.

Moonwalk Mood-o-Meter
Much more optimistic now that I’ve got a decent long walk under my belt.

Recipe: Vegetarian Curry

I've been making a list of questions that keep coming up in comments and emails. Not only for the love of a good list, but so I can finally do that FAQ and be a wee bit more helpful to the folks out there.

One question that has popped up a lot is: Could I get the recipe for the veggie curry you cooked for Gareth in the book?

SpicedahlsoupOh yes. Forget flowers and chocs, there is no better gift to give your new vegetarian love interest than the Gift of Fragrance.

The recipe mentioned in the book is this Spiced Dahl Soup from BBC Good Homes magazine, February 2004 (click on the pic to enlarge). In February 2004 I was living in a sharehouse with six other chicks so I figure the purchase was desperate escapism.

It's an easy recipe and the ingredients are dead cheap. I didn't have a food processor at the time to make the paste so I just chopped and chopped til I couldn't chop no more. I also used yogurt instead of crème fraîche for the garnish thingy.

I've got a few more easy curry recipes/links to share but I'm about to nick off to Glasgow to see Mogwai et al at the Triptych Festival, WOOHOO! But the recipe says "One to cook on lazy Sundays" and tomorrow is Sunday so I scanned it in case anyone is looking to lazify their Sunday!

Moonwalk Training – 10 Miles

8 weeks to go

Saturday’s 10 mile walk was a bit of a shambles. I had an appointment in Edinburgh early that afternoon so calculated I’d need to start walking by 8AM at the latest. I got everything ready on Friday night – iPod loaded, route mapped, clothes laid out; favourite socks nestled into shoes to prevent the usual outraged cries of where the hell are my Good Socks.

Gareth was also leaving early to go hillwalking with Steve, so he got his stuff ready too. His preparations didn’t go far enough if you ask me. I suggested he place his thermos and piecebox on the kitchen counter ready for morning (piece is a Scots word for sandwich, how educational is this blog!?) I even volunteered to pre-slice the cheese for his cheese’n’ pickle pieces so all he’d need to do was slip them between the bread. No faffing with knives and chopping boards. But he declined the offer!

Alas, all the prep in the world can’t account for laziness. The alarm went off at 6.30AM which I’d figured would accommodate getting dressed, making and eating of porridge and sufficient hydration and digestion before the 8AM kick off (step off?). Instead I hit snooze, over and over again, muttering to Gareth, "Geddup. Time to geddup" and him muttering back "I know, I knooow".

Finally at 8.05AM I goddup, precious schedule destroyed.

"8.05!?" said Gareth, "I gotta make my pieces!"

"You should’ve pre-sliced your cheese!"

I dressed, had my cuppa and porridge and raced out the door at 8.45 – forgetting my knee support and heart rate monitor and water bottle.

I blitzed the first 4.5 miles, despite the strong winds. At the loch, I saw an elderly man on a scooter, tossing breadcrumbs and being chased very slowly by a herd of ducks. At the boring housing estate, I saw 900 bazillion identical boring houses.

And then I got LOST.

I’d written down all the street names, but didn’t realise there were two adjacent roads with almost identical names. If there are any town planners out there, WHY DO YOU THIS? Why do you put Moron Street next to Moron Way across from Moron Crescent? Why not have completely unrelated names… Moron Street then Banana Avenue?

So I went down the wrong bloody road and found myself at the motorway entrance – next stop Edinburgh. What the hell!? I was too cranky to go back; I couldn’t face walking past all those boring houses again. I turned down another road heading back towards town.

I ended up back at the Boring House junction and truly wanted to kick something. My pace was ruined and I had no idea how many miles I’d done.

In the end I repeated the first part of the route, up the hill and back past the loch again. I figured with my average speed I’d need to do between 02:30 and 02:45 to make sure I covered the distance.

At the two hour mark my hamstring started to ache and it occurred to me I didn’t have my water. My legs just got heavier and heavier after that. But I was determined to get in the miles, so finished with a shuffling lap of the local park then limped home and sat on the couch for half an hour like a stunned mullet.

For the first time I worried about my ability to finish the Moonwalk. If I was completely shagged by just 10 tiny miles, how the hell would I do 26.2?

(Incidentally Gareth and Steve returned that evening having walked 18 21 miles*, including 3300 feet up a MOUNTAIN, the smug gits)

* thanks for the correction, G.

But I still have eight weeks. Let’s not panic. I should get there if I keep training consistently and heed Saturday’s lessons:

  • Take water bottle.
  • Read street signs properly.
  • Obey the alarm clock.
  • Pre-slice all cheeses.

Steamy Windows

Last night I…

  • … sneaked off to Anstruther with Gareth for fish and chips by the sea. It was a clear, sunny evening and we were stressed oot our skulls so decided that LARD WAS THE ANSWER. By the time we queued for the goods it was freezing outside, so we ate in the car (fish and chips me, chip butties for him) and the windows got all steamed up. This is the kind of steamy window action enjoyed by the dull and married.
  • … finished listening to The Time Traveler’s Wife! Argh! I was supposed to save it for walks only, but I got hooked and gorged on the whole thing. Do you see a pattern here!?
    I’ll have to get to the library because audiobooks aren’t cheap. Did you know the movie version comes out later this year, starring Australia’s Eric Bana as the time travellin’ fella? Mrrrowr.
  • … cleaned the oven. The oven had not been cleaned for seven years. Imagine the carnage.
  • … did a rocking interview with an Irish radio station called i102104. I was on the iTalk show with Chris Greene and Mary McGill. I didn’t think you could listen online because the website link on Mary’s email didn’t work, and it didn’t occur to me to ask or bloody Google it myself until after the fact. Tis a pity because it was lots of fun, as it always seems to be with the lovely, lovely Irish folk. I think I was a bit wacky from the fish and chips because when they asked me how and when my weight issues started, I blurted that when I was a child I, "turned to chocolate because I was too young for crack". OH dear.

Tonight Dr G and I are cleaning the kitchen in readiness for painting, so this is the shoddy entry you get instead of the Proper One I’ve been trying to finish for two weeks. But summer is coming and we are desperate to finish fixing up the flat. We are so bloody bored of fixing up the flat. It’s been chaos since last September when we kicked off with the wallpaper stripping. You cannot move for tripping over paint pots and tile cutters and mountain bikes. The kitchen is the biggest pain in the arse – right now the fridge is in the hallway, the microwave is in the bathroom and the spaghetti jar is on top of the telly. An organised kitchen is the most sacred, fundamental element of my health and well-being routine so I’m feeling rather edgy at the moment.

iTalk to Ireland

Tonight at 11 I'll be doing an interview on an Irish radio station called i102104. It's the iTalk show with Chris Greene and Mary McGill.

UPDATE: Ooh that was great fun. As usual I was nervous as hell and crossing my legs the whole time as I was bursting for the loo. I didn't want to risk missing their call so I held on! This took extreme concentration and is a good excuse for blurting out that my weight issues started as a child when I "turned to chocolate because I was too young for crack". Where did that come from!?

Moonwalk Training – 8 Miles

9 Weeks to go

I spent so much of Saturday pissfarting around with my bloody heart rate monitor and trying to choose an audiobook that I had to walk on Sunday instead.

Audiobook Report
You people are geniuses! The eight miles really flew by with a book in my ears. I ended up with The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Heart Rate Monitor Report
Perhaps I did my own bit of time travelling as apparently my heart just stopped beating for about ten minutes. And then at one point when I was huffing up a hill, it had allegedly slowed to my resting rate. !!?! But for most of the 02:04:59, the monitor reflected the level of exertion I felt at the time. When I was getting a bit too involved with the book I’d hear that faint BEEEEEEEEP and looked down to see the rate had slackened off so I’d pick up the pace again.

My HRM has a fitness test feature which I’m sure I will become obsessed with. Gareth doesn’t call me "Statso" for nothing. The test is "based on gender, age, height, body weight, level of physical activity, heart rate and heart rate variability at rest". You put on the HRM then lay very quiet and still for five minutes until it spits a number at you that is apparently comparable to VO2 max. Anyway, the numbers are spread across a range – from Very Poor > Poor > Fair > Moderate > Good > Very Good > Elite. I was smack bang in the middle of the Moderate range. Well! Hmmph. I guess it’s about time I aimed higher; it’s easy to just compare yourself to older versions and say, "I’m an athlete! I used to get puffed walking to the fridge!"

Walking Report
The walk itself felt good, I kept up a nice pace. Not sure if this is due to athletic prowess or that I was desperate to get home in time for the MotoGP.

It’s only eight weeks til the Moonwalk now and I’m a little nervous about the increasing mileages. My fitness level seems good but I get this annoying tightness in my right hamstring and glute – the same leg as my old dodgy knee. It’s been three years since the knee injury and while the knee itself only gets a little achy at the end of the walk, the hamstring and glute thing is pretty much constant. My right leg is still so much weaker than the left. Must work on that.

NEW! EXCITING! Dietgirl Reader Gallery
This weekend I finally finished my wee gallery of People Reading Dietgirl from around the world. I’d spotted photos here and there, and the bombshells (plus one cat) allowed me to gather them in one place. I must have gawked at the page fifty times now; there’s something quite thrilling about putting names to faces. Just seeing the blinds on Laura’s window or Nelly’s couch reminds me again that this little world we’ve created is so real… the blogs, the comments; the ideas on what to have for lunch. Exxxxxxxxcellent 🙂

Full of Lassies

Today was a bit of a bastard day at work, I have to say. I got in at 8AM with the hope of getting a large mother of a task done by the time everyone else arrived, but it ended up taking me until FIVE PEE EM. Magically that was when Gareth called to say he was off to the shops for a beer and a bag o’ crisps, and did I require any Friday night supplies of a brown and cocoa-ish nature? I gratefully ordered the usual small bar of G&B’s.

"The chocolate aisle was full of lassies," he reported when I got home. "All these lassies in business suits, staring up at the chocolates and looking completely knackered."

MY PEOPLE!

. . .

My heart is thundering in anticipation of tomorrow’s eight miler – hopefully it will be the first outing of the heart rate monitor! If I can figure out which buttons to press.

I’d initially ordered a men’s HRM because I thought the lady one would look too lost and dainty on my wrist. Plus the bloke colours were better. Maybe I’ve got a bit of Forearm Dysmorphia, you know that well-known condition. It arrived last week and it looked huge and bloody ridiculous. I knew it would bug the crap out of me so I sent it back and ordered the poncy pastel lady model instead.

So far I’ve managed set the date and time and enter my weight and height! The next step is to read the manual. I haven’t tried on the chest strap thingy yet. There was an automatic nervous flutter when I took it out of the box, wondering if it would fit around me. Will that feeling ever go away!?

Thanks a bazillion for all your comments on the last entry; I really liked your suggestions to spice up the long walks with audio books. Heard any good ones lately? What’s appropriate for a couple hours of exercise? Crime and Punishment?

Hope you have a good weekend comrades. I’ll be tuning into the London Marathon on Sunday to have a vicarious blub at all that sweat and personal triumph! Good luck YP and anyone else out there!

Flakes and Flaming Cheeks

Tonight I was typing away like a demon when suddenly! We had a power cut. I lost my blog entry.

I passed the time by opening up a bunch of those sample sachets you get in magazines. First there was a Body Sculpting Lotion which I slapped on my chest then waited for the magic to happen. Beneath the candlelight it all looked quite promising but now with the lights back on I can report… it’s a dud! Boo!

Next up was the Anti Wrinkle Day Cream which I daringly applied at 10PM. MISTAKE! Pain! Flames! What do they put in that stuff? If by Anti Wrinkle they mean Erode An Entire Layer Of Epidermis well then, they have succeeded here.

Anyway after all that excitement I’m having trouble remembering what I was writing about before.

I would have mentioned our BORING walk today. I am not entirely loving the Moonwalk training, I have to confess. This is despite the sparkling company I’ve had on my walks. It’s not so much my body that’s the problem but my tiny little brain. I like my exercise in short, sharp bursts of sweat and adrenaline and discomfort and possibly violence, e.g. Spinning or kickboxing. Anything longer than an hour and the mind wanders. This doesn’t happen so much with the hill walking because you are too busy thinking about forthcoming sandwiches and/or how much PAIN you are in. But with the Moonwalk, you’re training to walk 26.2 miles of a flat-ish course through the streets of Edinburgh, so you need to train on the same kind of urban terrain.

Gareth came along this afternoon and after half a mile of boring cycle path he said, "Whoa, this is boring isn’t it?"

"Yes."

"Why did you make me come on such a boring walk?"

"I didn’t! I specifically told you I was going on a Boring Walk. You invited yourself!"

"Oh! Is that how it is?"

So we ambled along for six miles arguing about who was the most bored, punching each other on the arm at half-mile intervals because there was nothing better to do. But we kept up a good pace and the air was crisp and bracing after this morning’s snowfall (which had melted after ten minutes). It’s only ten weeks until the Moonwalk so I shall load some funky tunes on the ol iPod and PLOD ON, baby!

I would also have mentioned how I am beginning to claw my way out of the health/fitness rut I’ve been in for about… six or seven months now. It has been quite a process. A few weeks ago I had that panicky feeling where it feels like you’ll never find that place again where you DON’T think about chocolate every seven seconds. Coincidentally I’ve had a lot of emails lately of a "Help, I’ve screwed up royally and fear I’m doomed forever" nature – is there something in the air? So I’ll yak more about this in the next entry.

I feel like I’ve got my focus back now, but two weeks ago I could barely function for thoughts of chocolate. I was making a deliciously healthy curry and gathering all the spices in a wee dish and all I could do was stare at the cinnamon stick with a ridiculous conversation raging in my head:

OH MY that cinnamon stick looks just like a FLAKE. Why must it be a cinnamon stick? Why can’t it be a Flake? I could bite into that right now. Even though I don’t like Flakes. Except I wouldn’t eat it, on principle! Because I can’t bloody stand that new Flake ad with Joss Stone in it, muttering away to herself and brushing crumbs off her boobs. Stupid Flake ad.

Flake