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Body Failure

9 Oct

Just over a week ago I started feeling some discomfort in my jaw, I couldn’t open my mouth very wide and it felt like my teeth were unaligned. The following day I was off balance, dizzy, feeling sick and had a head ache like never before. I ended up at a walk in GP service. After waiting for two hours (which included a nap) I was seen by a GP who after an examination told me I had a throat (hadn’t I seen the spots on my throat?) And ear infection. I was told to rest and given  10 days worth of antibiotics. That ruled out my last long run on the Sunday. I was drained in pain and exhausted.

A few days later I was feeling more human but started sneezing. By Thursday (yesterday) it had transformed into a full blown cough and cold. So bad that I thought I was going to suffocate on Thursday night as I was so congested.

I’ve just left work earlyand with less than 48hours to go before Royal Parks Half Marathon I’m not quite sure if I’ll be well enough to run on Sunday.

I need to get in maximum rest and recuperation but I just don’t think I’ll be fit enough.

I’m so angry at my body for failing mw this way. I was speaking to my friend and cheerleader, Sarah, and told her how angry I was and she remarked that it sounds like my body is also angry at me.

I think she is right, I’m doing so much at the moment; wedding planning, trying to keep house, leaving one job is the midst of a stressful office move whilst getting ready to start another and trying to train to be as fit as possible.  I think my body and mind have just decided I need a break.

I’m writing this feeling pretty tearful on the underground. I’m trying to stay hopeful for Sunday, I’ve raised a nice chunk of money for Starlight so let’s see how it goes. If I can’t run, I’ve found another half marathon a week later which I’ll do instead. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Xx

Exercise and Harassment – The Conclusion

23 Sep

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the harassment I had faced from the cleaning staff at my local pool. You can read the post here.

I made a complaint which was being worked through the system. I have only swum a handful of times since the incident.

This morning I finally received a final response documenting the outcome of the contractors investigations.

Here is the response in full:

Dear Leeanne

KGB have now given me their official response, please see below actions that have been taken

1, The cleaning operative will no longer  be cleaning the ground floor area and has been given cleaning duties on the first floor only.

2, The cleaning operatives hours have been changed and will be finished his cleaning duties by 6am and off site prior to the centre being open to the public. 

3, The cleaning operative  actions and work will be monitored over the next three months and interviewed by the Account Manager.

4, All the  cleaning staff  at Glass Mills have been spoken to about cleaning  the centre and attitude while working in areas used by the members  and have arranged a tool box meeting to ensure a safe working environment for all end users.

5, We have also changed the cleaning program to ensure only female cleaning operatives clean female changing rooms and male cleaning operatives clean male changing rooms .

We would like to apologise to Leeanne for the incident and at our meeting she did comment she did not want anybody to lose their job, but KGB take this incident very seriously and hope Leeanne will appreciate we have followed our hand book policy in our actions in dealing with this complaint and to ensure the safety off the members at all times.

Please also accept my apologies for the incident taking place at Glass Mill and we look forward to seeing you in the centre again soon. If you would like to discuss anything further please contact me via email or call me on the number below.

Kind Regards

General Manager

After a very anxious time putting in this complaint, from the wait I had before my complaint was acknowledged to the length of time it has taken to get to this point, I am happy we have reached a conclusion.

I feel they have taken the appropriate steps to protect me and other women whilst using their facilities. I am sorry that this had to happen in the first place, although the stories from others and the encouragement I have received for speaking out show me I did the write thing by raising this.

I truly hope anyone else who is ever in situation or similar will feel able to speak up and get the right results from this totally unacceptable behaviour.

Exercise and harassment

4 Sep

A month ago I was verbally harassed at my local swimming pool.

I arrived on Monday 10th August at about 6.15am, signed in, and went to get changed for my swim.

I left the changing room in my swimming costume and walked the short corridor to the pool. In this corridor there are group changing rooms and disabled changing rooms.  There is also a cleaning cupboard and most mornings when I am there, there are at least two cleaners hanging around.

Like I say, it’s a short corridor and takes less than 30 seconds for me to walk. I don’t usually carry a towel. 9.5 times out of 10 I wear a full one piece. (Not that it matters what I wear because a public pool is a safe space and what a woman wears should never be cause for harassment).

For a bit of background this is what I have noticed every time I walk this 30 second corridor. The cleaners stare at me. Blatently stare at me. Look me up and down and ocassionally whisper to each other about me. It makes me very uncomfortable so much so that on the morning of the 10th August as I walked from the changing room to the pool I had to pysch myself up and tell myself to just keep my head down. Try not to encourage them I remember saying to myself.

As I walked through the corridor one of the guys walked very closely past me and whispered in my ear “wow”. Such a tiny word but never in my life has this word given me such sick feelings.

As he said that I turned and at the back his head I said something like “That’s so inappropriate”.  I didn’t really really know what to do, so I just went and did my swim.

The whole time I was in the pool I got more and more angry. I was sick of this crap. I remember thinking I should wear a different costume when i swim or have covered up using a towel, and then asking myself is this how they behave with all women who use the pool? Does this guy regularly whisper in the ears of women as they walk to the pool?

By the time I got out I knew I had to say something and make a complaint. I felt unsafe in what should be a safe space.

What I’m wearing doesn’t matter. What matters is we are in a world where some women struggle to get into fitness and the behaviour of men is one of the reasons why. As a runner I experience catcalling. I read stories of women who suffer harassment during exercise which makes them stop.

If the behaviour of the cleaner and his mates wasn’t stopped then my conscience wouldn’t be clear and I couldnt be sure that other women wouldn’t also be affected by this. Also what is this escalated, what if next time the words got worse or he tried to touch me. He clearly has no boundaries.

I approached the front desk on my way out and asked the Receptionist if there was someone I could speak to about the cleaners. She gave me a comments and complaints form and said I needed to complete that. I felt dismissed. She didn’t ask any questions but I was to stressed to say anything more so I took the form and left.

I actually had no plans to ever go back to the pool so at lunch time in the office I filled in their online complaints form.

This is what I wrote:

Activity: Swimming
Centre: GMLC
Date: 2015/8/10
Time: 8:00am

Feedback type: complaint
Feedback:
I visited the centre this morning and arrived at 6.14am to swim. I have been using the pool 2-3 times a week for the past month around the same time.

My complaint is about the cleaners who are around the changing room area at that time. Usually as I walk from the changing room to the pool I can feel them staring and discussing me but I can’t hear what they are saying. This morning, as well as the usual staring as i walked into the changing room, when I left the changing room to get to the pool, one of the cleaners felt it was appropriate to whisper “wow” at me as I walked past. This is disgusting behaviour, I don’t come to the pool to be leered at and commented on. I come there to exercise. The cleaners need to learn some restraint. Is this how they behave to all women who use the pool. It makes me extremely uncomfortable and it is disgusting behaviour. I don’t want to be stared at or commented on. Really upset about this, women should not have to worry about the men working in the centre hitting on them, staring at them and commenting on them.

I do not know the name of the cleaner but to be honest all of them have pretty sleezy behaviour every time I come in.

Many thanks

Leeanne Graham

The website said I would get a reply within 7 working days.

On the 5th working day I went swimming in the evening with a friend. By this point I felt defiant. I’ll  be damned if I let this guy or any guy stop me from reaching my goals.  I asked the Receptionist (a different one) if my complaint had been received.  She didn’t know and would ask a manager to look into it. She didn’t ask what my complaint was about.

On the 8th working day I went for my first morning swim since the 10th August. On my way in I asked yet another member of staff working on reception if my complaint was being looked at. This man was the first person to ask me the exact nature of my complaint. He said he didn’t know about my complaint but if anything like that happened again I should come and find him. 

On the 19th August I took to twitter.

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I only got a reply once friends and twitter followers started applying pressure.

Finally late that afternoon the General Manager gave me a call. He hadn’t received my complaint so I went through it on the phone.
He told me that my complaint should have been escalated to management as soon as I mentioned it to the first Receptionist. He also mentioned that the cleaners shouldn’t even be in that pary of the building at that time of day, since they should hace finished there. He promised me it would be looked into and investigated. 

Since then I’ve had numerous emails with the management staff. Although there is CCTV in that part of the building at the time I walked through it was currently rotated to a different part of the corridor.

This morning, 4th September I met with the GM and a manager from the cleaning contracting company. I was asked to look at some photos to see if I could pick the guy out. I knew I wouldn’t be able to having only really seen the back of his head (and I told  them this) but I gave it my best shot. They compared the guy I thought it was to what CCTV they did have and it looks like it wasn’t him. It might have been one of the others or someone covering.

I am now waiting to hear what will happen when all four cleaners meet with HR next week.

I’m sharing this post because I think it is so important for women to be safe whilst exercising. To not have to worry if walking to the pool, or running outside or inside is going to get you unwanted comments and looks.

Harassment for women who exercise is a very real thing and it’s important we speak out about it. I hope my issue is resolved so I can swim confidently in the mornings again. I miss my morning routine but I just don’t feel comfortable using that pool before work any more.

As soon as I have an update on the investigation I’ll  let you all know.

X

Zero Appetite

4 Aug

“The thing is YOU have to want it. YOU have to be hungry for the amazing benefits leading a healthy and active lifestyle has to offer!”

I’ve been getting some great motivational support from the write of the blog “This Woman’s Word“, encouragement and advice when I’ve spoken to her about my lack of game recently.

Last night she sent me a link to one of her posts containing the above quote.

The whole post was outstanding but that line hit me in the face like a brick. I’ve lost my appetite and desire to become a better me, it all feels like a chore, like I’m forcing myself and like I’m living a lie.

I don’t want to be like I was before, but my hunger to be the best I can has dissipated. Why? Laziness, complacency? I don’t really know.

I do know that I do not want to be where I was 18months ago and that if I’m not careful I’ll be back there by the end of the year.

So some small, SMART goals have been set. I’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping once I start the appetite will come back and once I see progress again, I’ll be starving for more.

You can read the full blog post here.

Thanks Danielle.

Sabotage!

29 Jul

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What is Self-Sabotage?

Behaviour is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.

The most common self-sabotaging behaviours are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating in the face of weight concerns, and self-injury such as cutting.

These acts may seem helpful in the moment, but ultimately undermine us, especially when we engage in them repeatedly.

That is all.

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Battles and wars!

16 Jul

Lets not talk about my last blog post and the epic failure of that challenge I set myself.

Let’s talk about a different challenge I set myself and succeeded at!

Back in May I tweeted about White Collar Boxing and the fact that I was going to train for 9 weeks and then get in the ring.

Since then I have trained so, so hard. Three times a week I hit up the gym in Star Lane and trained with some of London’s finest boxing trainers and fighters.

I was the tallest and heaviest lady so I did wonder if they would need to match me up with a guy but they found a “close” match for me. At least based on ability.

We were both rubbish haha.

Training consisted of hot evenings in a boxing gym in East London, shadow boxing, practise against the bags. Core work galore. As the weather for hotter the sessions got harder. There were times I would come out of a session wanting to cry from the intensity. Feeling sick and tired, but perseverance is the key.

Having been matched with my opponent we no longer partnered up in any of the sessions. She was a nice enough lady but in total honest her style baffled me. She struggled to find her natural stance as orthodox or south paw. I felt like she jumped in to her punches, not thinking them through, just reacting to my height and weight. It worried me.

It seemed to me that boxing should be about control and thought. Not just hitting the person in front of you.

I found that I felt much slower than her as I was thinking about my moves and where I could hit her. (she may have been thinking this too but obviously I’m not in her brain.

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Fight night arrived and fight music chosen, I rocked up to the Troxy in East London in suddenly felt very nervous. Even though I had 100% improved over the weeks, I was still very basic in my training. I don’t think the word Novice covered. But I had to believe!

I was very lucky that a friend of mine and an experience MMA fighter and trainer was acting as corner man to one of the other fighters, so I took advantage of him and he became my corner man too. He warmed me up, took me through techniques and gave me the belief.

I was due to fight at 8.40pm and once the event had started I took some time out to watch some of the friends I had made during training take on their opponents. Having all the fighters come from one pool meant it was hard to pick sides in but some cases I had really bonded with one of the fighters so my allegiances were clear in my cheering.

If I’m honest I don’t really remember too much of the fight. I was in the zone. There are photos of me looking like I’m ready to end someone. Chris had found me the perfect song enter the ring to. It started of with Gangnam Style and then went in to a grime mix. I had someone message me saying that track made them sit up and take notice.

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So Round one went by in a flash. The mantra was to get the first hit. I don’t know if I did. I remember I knocked her off balance though. Then she knocked me off balance. That might have been round two.

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Round two I was a mess. She had me up! I just remember feeling really angry towards her and I forgot all my training. Then during a flurry of her punches I heard the ref call for a stop, but she got one more hit in. This p*ssed me off no end, so I saw red and then punched her. All I heard was lots of boos and then the ref put my in my corner counted to 8 and told me not to do it again, I knew I had done wrong. I was so angry with myself.

On to round 3, I felt more in control, the advice my corner man gave me was to jab, jab, jab. That’s what I tried to do. I think I got a few more hits in and she seemed a bit more on the run.

The fight ended and She was declared the winner. I was so disappointed, mainly in myself. I should not have lost control like I did. Where did all my tactics go? I was in tears, but tears of anger.

I got back up to the changing room and to be honest, every one seemed surprised I lost. I had the skills to win but I let emotion take over.

But the love I got from everyone when I went to meet them after was immense. I had a great turn out of family and friends.

I didn’t win my fight but I’m bang on a rematch. I also feel that this is something I might just be good at. I loved the training and I loved being in the ring.

So now that the initial part of this challenge is out of the way, what’s next.

More training!

Goals don’t stop after just one phase. Next up between now and the end of the year is another half and full marathon, to begin to get a real handle on this boxing thing. Not to mention some half naked prancing around at Notting Hill carnival just weeks away.

I didn’t win the battle but the war ain’t over just yet!

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Foodage 23 May 2013

23 May

Here’s the food! Yum (maybe)

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Empty porridge bowl. Sorry. Scot oats, banana and blueberries made with water

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Lunch: tuna and baked sweet potato with salad and low fat dressing

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Yogurt for sweet treat

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Morning Snacks. Only had some of the peas

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Afternoon snack before home time

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Dinner: grilled haddock and veg. Was gonna do couscous but I’m lazy

Over and out

Mama said knock you out!

21 May

So in my perpetual quest to get fit or die trying, I have taken up a new sport.

Sitting on the train a few weeks ago, reading me free Metro newspaper and I came across an ad looking for competitors for a new round of White Collar Boxing. Basically, a bunch of office workers beating each other up! Talk about fight club.

They train you up for 12 weeks and at the end you get in the ring to have a nice little punch up. Exciting or what.

Now the running has calmed down for a few months, I have a bit of time to add in some extra body work. This seemed perfect. My dad used to box in the army and reading this advert took my back to childhood when he used to try and teach us the moves – and a couple of weeks ago he did the same thing when I told him I was starting training.

Now in my second week of training. I’ve got my gloves and my boots and I’m suffering from the worst DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) ever.

The classes are 1 hour up to 4 times a week and minimum 2 times a week at Trad TKO boxing gym in East London They are pretty intense. Lot’s of shadow boxing, using the bags and core work. Skipping!! Something else that takes me back to my childhood. That shizz is hard! I’m really sweating with each session but I feel like I might be getting the hang of the basics. A lot of work to be done though.

So far I’m loving it. I’m the biggest (height and weight wise) girl in the group, so I am apprehensive about how they will match me up, but we’ll soon see I’m sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to drop some more weight with this as well. I even met and had my photo taken with a prize fighter (Wadi Camacho).

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I’m looking forward to the 12th July when I will step in to the ring and show everyone what I have learnt.

Feeling totally disillusioned with my weight loss at the moment. It’s just not happening.

Need to get back on track and eat well but the past few weeks it’s been so hard. I’m tired of watching what I eat. Feeling guilty for having something indulgent then eating more and then feeling more guilt.

I wonder if it’s even possible to drop this last two stone and do I really want to? Cos surely if I did, I would have.. Wouldn’t I?

My progress over the past 6 months and longer even has been super slow. My body has changed a lot but my weight is just staying the same. I’ve had a couple of suggestions that this is just where my body wants to be and with out starving myself part of me does wonder what will it take to get in to the medically healthy weight range.

Having not taken the Weightwatchers plan seriously for the past couple of months, I have considered taking a break from it. Re-establishing my mojo, seeing that I can do on my own and then taking it from there. But I know I would miss the support of my leader and fellow weightwatchers. Made a great bunch of friends in that lot. There is also pressure on me though, lots of people in the group have seen my success and I was to admit I feel a bit disillusioned and then left I can imagine the response. Not my burden to bear perhaps but I feel it is.

Until the scales start moving down again I will just have to focus on those non-scale victories. Hope I continue to tone up and get healthier.

Work on increasing strength, agility and stamina. I will become the fittest I have been, even if I’m not the slimmest. This isn’t a quick fix trip down the road, it’s a mammoth road trip and the journey is going to take me a long, long way from home and a long time to get there. I need to make sure the vehicle is up to the job.

Ain’t nothing but a (grey)hound dog!

15 May

So, just before the marathon I was running my 5k runs in 27 mins. Since then I haven’t quite gotten the speed back in my legs.
It is definitely time for me to start pushing myself so within Run Dem Crew I have moved up from Fast Hares to Greyhounds.

Hare pace is about 10/10.5min miles – which it felt like I was doing easily. I was leading the groups and we seemed to be getting faster.
Greyhound feels so much faster than that at 8-9min miles.
The definition of a greyhound on the RDC website is:

Greyhounds: 8-9 min/miles

You own a lot of Lycra but like to take your runs at a slightly more leisurely pace than our Cheetah friends. You take in the sights as you run with a nice sprint finish at the end just to make everyone know that you could out run a Cheetah if the need be. Your family think you are a bit odd but appreciate the effort needed to run a 4hr marathon or a sub 50 minute 10k. You’ll never forget the early days in the park when your heart was about to jump out of your chest, but now you can’t imagine life without running a solid 6 miles on a Tuesday night.

Right now I still feel like my heart is about to jump out of my chest.

My first week in Greyhounds I wanted to cry. It was my first proper run after the Marathon. We did bridges and about 5.5 miles. The crew helped me out. I can do the distance and I can pretty much do the speed but it is such a challenge.

I haven’t felt like this in such a long time. It leaves me feeling unsure, inadequate and lacking confidence. I’m used to be upfront and I hate feeling like I might be slowing the pack down.

My second run, last night was still very tough but felt just a little easier than that first week. We ran to the Emirates which was mostly uphill and I think that was what I found the hardest. I was at the back of the pack again but I did it. I never know if people are just being polite but everyone assured me I was running really strong.

Coming back downhill was much easier but I gave myself food for thought on the mind over matter stuff.

Up until the last mile I knew the route and then we diverted away from it on to a path unknown by me. Because of this I found that last mile really hard even though I was feeling quite good until that point. But as soon as we got to the part of the route I knew again I was off again. Ready for a sprint finish.

What I’m also learning is that at the end of the run I’m not on the floor and I’m recovering pretty darn quick which means I can definitely give more. I just need to gain the confidence and belief and if I want to start running my marathons in under 5 hours then I need to be getting the speed in.

This weekend is the Nike/Elle We Own the Night women’s 10k race in Victoria Park. I am hoping for a PB in this race. I am desperate to run it in under 1hour. Even if it is 59mins59seconds. J Im going to be running with my usual ladies and I’m sure we will push each other to success! 6.2miles of amazingness!

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3 More Sleeps

18 Apr

Laying here in bed, three more sleeps before quite possibly the biggest day of my life so far.

So many thoughts.

Collected my number and time chip today.

Came home and lounged in my race kit for couple of hours.

I can do this! Can I do this?

I CAN do this.

It’s only 26.2 miles. People keep telling me I am so calm about the distance but people run marathons everyday. Or do they?

Sometimes it feels special, sometimes it feels like I’m doing something loads of people do. What’s the big deal?

People asked if I would still run after Boston. I will run for Boston. No one is going to scare me off MY roads, OUR roads.

I also run for my younger brother and sisters mum who passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with Cancer.

Families are so complicated. My heart is broken for those two children and if what I’m feeling is just a fraction of what they feel then they are the strongest people I know.

I run for my charity, The London Community Foundation. I worked so hard to raise this money for them and I’ll be damned if I fall at the last hurdle.

I run for those who can’t run.

I run for me. This is just another part of my journey on the long road to being the best me I can be.

Three more sleeps and three million more late night thoughts.