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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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I did it!

14 May

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What can I say.
So much yet so little has happened since my last update.

I ran a fricking a marathon. What a journey it was.

6 months ago I hadn’t run more than 10k. I cant believe how quickly the tide has turned.

What started as a journey for me to lose weight has turned in to what in which all I want to do is better myself and try new things.

When I signed up for the Marathon I was faced with two daunting tasks. Raising £2000 for my chosen charity and actually running the marathon.
So many people have encouraged and help me do both these things with such amazing success. I barely recognise the person I have become.

So many times people thought I was being blasé about the amount of miles I was running each week, but it was only because it was normal because I was training with an amazing bunch of people/

Run Dem Crew has spoilt me. They made me feel that the impossible is possible and that its no biggy. If I could run this marathon then it cant be a big deal. Because I’m the safe person. I don’t really push my boundaries. I quit a lot. I get scared.

On the 21st April I ran a marathon! It was hard but it was also the best fun I have ever had in my life. I got cramp at mile 16 and it stayed with me the whole time. I cried for 2 miles, but at mile 18 I got over it. The pain was there but damn it I had a race to run and failure was not an option. I chucked my desired time out of the window. If you look at the pictures of me on Marathon foto, I am beaming in all of them.

Seeing my family at mile 11 and mile 19 was just what I needed both times. Mum had chips on hand and yumyum!

Hearing people call your name as you “zoom” past them is just amazing. I felt like everyone who called my name had come out to cheer me on personally. Its really keeps you going.

There was epicness at Mile 21 which was the bestest blur of my life. When probably about 100 members of Run Dem Crew cheered us runners through with drums, chocolate and love.
I saw a video where I almost fell to the floor with the explosion of love I felt.

I wouldn’t have gotten through it at all if it wasn’t for Be! I partner in marathon crime who really pushed me when I needed it. We ran miles and miles together in the run up and sang our way for every mile point on the day. To any one who heard two crazy girls belting out “I’ve got 20 more miles to go” So Solid, 21 seconds stylee at the mile points, that was us!

I completed my first marathon, The London Marathon in 5 hours, 38 minutes and 22 seconds. Thank you all for believing in me and supporting me. Giving me hugs and cheers and love

With that now under my belt I’m already signed up for the Bournemouth marathon in October. I really want to prove to myself that I can get under 5 hours.

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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.

A mild strain…

24 Jan

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This blog is a bit of a moan. I guess. I’ll start my saying I am so grateful and happy to be doing these races. I’m lucky to have my marathon place and appreciate the love everyone has shown me.

The training is going well. I need to work harder to ensure I am getting in the weekly long run but overall I am doing fine J.

What I didn’t anticipate is the strain it would have on my body and social life.

I am someone who really suffers when my mind and body is under stress. I get run down, glandular and can get quite ill. I take medicine for it when it crops up. But over the past few weeks its been cropping up a lot.
I wake up feeling fluish and groggy and it goes from there. Pushing through it isn’t really an option. Taking anti inflammatory medicine and rest is how to combat it. But I can’t really rest. I’m on such a tight schedule that taking 3 -4 days out to recover ain’t an option.

Woken up this morning with a very sore throat and blocked nose. Bringing out the herbal teas lol. This, I can feel is just a cold and it’s not going to stop me!! Not at all but for the other symptoms I need to sort it out. Trip to the doctors I think.

I do wonder how those of you who are seasoned in training for the bigger races cope though. What happens when you’re stuck down by a nasty cold or a sticky eye?

I’ve got a sweat rash behind my ear and on my cheek. So itchy and sore.

I’ve got a flare up of eczema behind my knees!! Are these all common runners ailments?

I need to buy a knee support as I’m finding when I’m not running my knee is quite sore. It gets a pain through it when I bend it or sometimes take stairs. Recommendations on good knee support?

So my body is taking a battering but so is my social life. My training plan means that along side weightwatchers My only free weekday evenings are Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays I see Chris and come Friday I’m so tired I just want to sleep.
Everything is scheduled around running. Making sure I don’t make any Saturday plans until late in the day in order to complete my long run and Sunday’s its game over as I try to do some real rest and get my washing done.

I knew there would be a sacrifice but its tougher than I thought. I had my first booze craving on Tuesday night. Having a good catch up with my housemate who I hadn’t seen properly in over a week and could have really done with a nice, cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc. *sigh* This is the journey I chose.

It’s not all bad though. I am improving and seeing these improvements. Mondays RDC West session was epic. We ran about 9km in circuits around an icy Paddington Rec. I ran with people who pushed me and supported me and I could see I was faster. I think my average pace is about 6 and a half minute km. It used to be 6.50

I will admit I have been scared to test myself in a faster paced group for fear of failure, but when I realised I wasn’t even breaking a sweat in slow hares, I knew it was time to pick it up. Come out of the comfort zone and start to make it count. So at RDC on Tuesday, I led fast hares and ran our fastest km in 5mins 57seconds. Running with fast hares did challenge me but not as much as I expected, but it was a work out. And I felt it after. The group were great and everyone supported each other. We ran just over 8km and we ran it strong.

I always feel so proud to lead the groups as everyone pushes for their best, we work together so well as part of a team and the conversations you have with others constantly lift you. It’s the best feeling! I’m going to work hard over the coming weeks and my goal is to be in greyhounds by the time VLM comes around. Yes!

The strain on my tear ducts has also been intense. I never dreamt that the amount of running I’m doing and the reasons for doing it would cause such an emotional upheaval in me.
I have a good run, I cry.
Someone sponsors me, I cry.
Someone says something nice to me, I cry.

Most of the days I am on the verge of tears. Always happy tears mind you. It must be the enormity of what I will achieve, for myself, for the charity. Perhaps I underestimated how much this really means to me. I’m welling up now as I think about it.

I need to put a lid on it but I don’t know how. So if you see me crying don’t be alarmed just know that I’m in a very emotional place and I’m extremely happy.

Weight wise, my birthday celebrations went well. I put on half a lb last week after all the cake but knocked it off again this week. So back to 15st on the button.

Let’s hope come Wednesday I’ll be under. That would be superb!

I bought my first pair of size 14 jeans. the last time I wore a size 14 in trousers was least 2007. Probably before. So this is a big thing for me. Go team.

Now I’m going to plug my event.

It’s the 2nd of February at Rocket Bar and Restaurant in Canary Wharf.

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7pm. £10entry. Cocktail making and fun times.

Plus an excellent raffle!

Please come and support or you can also sponsor me online via: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Leeleegraham

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Oh this is my friend Krystal who has been running with me a lunch times. She is amazing! More about her another time!

Happy Birthday to me!

9 Jan

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It’s my Birthday tomorrow. In fact by the time most of you read this it will be my birthday today. Happy birthday me.

I’m turning 28. I’m a proper adult.

I go to work, I pay my bills on time. I go to bed when I’m tired and mostly get up when I have to.

It’s not too shabby.

I also make crazy decisions like running a half marathon and a full marathon within weeks of each other.

The training has fully begun and with some minor adjustments I am doing the following training plan.

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I’ve adjusted to make allowances for Run dem crew on Mondays and Tuesdays and the fact that a friend of mine has recently begun running. She is making such amazing improvements and is so much fun to run with that I can’t give up those lunchtime runs.

I’m making sure I get enough active and total rest.

So far so good….. Apart from the massive panic I had on Monday.

Run a marathon they said. It will be fun they said.

What if I can’t run the marathon? What if I faaaaaaail!

Then I went for a run and felt better. Funny that. Haha bonk.

I’m training well and I’ll run well and there is no way my family, friends and crew will not let me finish that marathon. So I’m cool now 🙂

I got me a marathon mentor. In fact I have many mentors all around me. So many kind offers and advice from seasoned pro’s. I’m lucky.

But I got me a mentor who ran his first marathon for London last year. And his experience is going to show me I can do this.

The Sue and Papa G clubbed together to get me a voucher for runners need. Two new pairs of runners, here I come! Thanks family!

No only do I have to train for this marathon, I have to fundraise for this marathon.

I need to raise £2,000 for my chosen charity, The London Community foundation. And it ain’t gonna be easy. But once again my support network is coming through for me in more ways than I could imagine.

I’m also organising a series of fundraising events.

The first of which is on 2nd February.

An evening of cocktails and fun.

All my UK readers are welcome and it costs £10 to come in.

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I’m also going to be holding a zumbathon, maybe two. Details to follow.

If you would like to donate any prizes to my raffle, please get in touch. Any offers gratefully received.

Sooo, today is the 1st anniversary of my Weightwatchers meeting.

To celebrate, I lost 3.5lbs and finally! Finally can say I weigh 15st exactly. So thats exactly 3stone i’ve lost in my meetings. biggest thanks ever to my Weightwatchers leader, Saz Back and all my supportive friends at the meeting.

Omg! I’m going to be under 15stone!

What? Naaaaaah. Over 18stone and now I’m going to be under 15. Totes amaze mate, totes amaze.

So, in summary.

Happy birthday me!

Sponsor me

Come to my event

Please!

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Leeleegraham

Bye Bye 2012, Hello 2013.

2 Jan

Wow. What a difference a year can make.

2nd of January 2012 I was upset and fed up. I felt angry and disappointed that I had allowed myself to become so unhealthy and fat. I was 18stone 3lbs.

I’d just spent almost two weeks eating and drinking myself in to a state of pure glutton.

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I decided to take action… I joined weightwatchers, I took up running and I set goals.

It’s been really, really hard. I’ve cried, I’ve had temper tantrums, I’ve been lazy, I’ve put on weight and I’ve eaten more pizza than I should have.

I’ve also laughed, bought clothes 4 sizes smaller than the size 20 trousers I was wearing a year ago, I’ve run 10k races, I’ve run over 10miles in one sitting, can feel bones that have been hidden for years. I’ve challenged myself and I have won!!!

People have not recognised me. People have been stunned my the change in me, not only have I lost weight and gained health, I’m so much more happier with life.

This New Year’s Eve, people who last saw me a year ago at my biggest stopped me and told me what an amazing change. I lost count of the people who looked totally shocked when they saw me. Is that the same girl? Yes darling, it’s me. People actually stopped me to say “wow”. My ego has been well and truly stroked, but it has also shown me that I can not go back to that again. I don’t want to be the “big girl” any more.

It’s very strange though. My face has changed a lot. There are times when I don’t recognise myself in the mirror. It’s still my face but the puffy roundness has gone. My cheeks and jaw line seem to have changed slightly. Maybe that’s my imagination.

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I couldn’t have done this with out the masses of support I have received from my friends, family and those reading this, my tweets and supporting me.
I want to shout out so many names but I’ll be here all day, so I’ll do those who with out a single shadow of a doubt I would, no scrap that, COULD not have done this with out.

Chris, Charlene A, Rochelle, Saz, The Sue, Papa G, C-Hoolz, Angel, Jane, Sabrina and so many more.

A big thank you to all of you who have shared the past year with me.

So, what now…?

· I keep going. Marathon/Half marathon training is in full effect. I have my plan and it’s time to get serious. I want to finish the marathon in under 5 hours. Erm, actually, I just want to finish it haha.

· I want to be the fittest I’ve ever been

· I want to hit my goal weight.

Tonight was my first weigh in of the year.
At my last weigh in I was 15st 3.5lbs.

Over Christmas I decided that I would allow myself from the 22nd to the 26th to eat what I wanted. With out being a total pig but to not stress about what was going in my mouth and to enjoy it.

I weighed on the 26th and was at 15stone 6lbs. Not the end of the world.
Where I am now is my new starting point for the year.

This is day one!

And on the 2nd of January 2013, I weigh back at 15stone 3.5lbs

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So let’s go, I’ve just finished one amazing year, I cant wait to get started on the second.

Thank you so much to all of you who have read my blog, who have commented, who have inspired me and have never let me give up. It’s amazing to have you by my side going forward…

Merry Christmas! Yay

24 Dec

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My plan is to full enjoy the next two days. I won’t be going mad but I will be enjoying myself and so should all of you.

See you in a couple of days for my review of the year.

Xxxx

The Run Dem Crew Gunfinger 10k

16 Dec

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I seem to be freely giving up my time to run.

Something’s changed inside. I hope it lasts because I’m going to need this to pull me through marathon training, but currently I’m actually enjoying giving up my time to run.

I’ve gone from want to sleep all day on a Saturday and Sunday to having my alarm set at 7am to be ready to run nice and early. Wonders never cease.

My most recent early rising was the the first official, unofficial run dem crew 10k.

A point to point race covering 6ish miles across the city of Landan town.

Ensuring I did as I said I would and actually turned up, I arranged to meet a fellow RDC west friend before the race and we said we would run together. Motivation and all that. Which led me to being at Old street at 9am on a Saturday morning.

The start point was Shutter bug, just off Rivington Place in shoreditch.

Even though this was a race I decided that thinking of it as a race would put a lot of pressure on me so I approached it like a normal Monday or Tuesday run, I was going to have fun.

I was aware that I was likely to be one of the last in. So a small group of us got together and hit the start line.

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The starting horn/whistle/I dunno went off and we were off.

The whole group started very fast.

One thing I’ve learnt recently is that if I start too fast then I’m doomed. So I tried to slow it down a little but it wasn’t happening. No time to moan though, just run init.

We hit check point after check point. Macdonalds Liverpool street, the millennium bridge, Waterloo skate park, Fabric night club, look mum no hands – a bike shop, and finally a sculpture called the button near shoreditch.

Knowing we were the last group to hit the check points we stopped and grabbed a picture at every point. Why not ay?

It was tiring. I was running faster than usual for this distance but I could do it, nothing hurt, or ached I was just out of breath. Keep it going Leeanne.

I had a slight guilt that I was slowing my group up but that went very quickly, they weren’t miles ahead of me at anytime, we were all running the same pace and I had constant support and encouragement for Lyric L and Ash. Thanks ladies.

After we reached the Button it was a sprintable distance to the finish line.

Lets push it we all said. My energy reserves were low but I pushed, I saw them zooming off ahead of me. I “sprinted” as fast as I could but man it was hard. As I came upon Rivington Place it seemed to be snowing. That was a but surreal.

I turned the corner and heard cheers! I was last but there, before the finish line was Lyric L waiting for me. She ran with me across the finish line. What a friend. I’ll never forget that.

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Last in, but first place in my head.

We did 5.91miles in 1hour, so faster than I’ve done before. Happy leelee.

The atmosphere after was of such triumph. I did have a little cry when no one could see.

Not only that, as I keep on finding out, it’s not how fast you go, but how you cross the finish line. I crossed with gunfingers blazing.

I finished the morning with a fantastic crepe and peppermint tea care of Shutterbug. Do pop in if you’re in the area. It’s right by Cargo.

And I got a medal. I win! Haha

Thank you Charlie Dark and the Run Dem Crew. Keep on pushing me!

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December

8 Dec

Yo!

Here we are in December, almost a year since I restarted my weightloss journey.

I’m not going into all the amazing achievements I’ve had this year. That’ll be a new year blog post.

Today’s post is a quick update really and some pics haha yay.

After my terrible run a couple of weeks ago I feel I’ve come back even bigger and better.

I’m seeing my running improvements every single time I hit the road.

Running at work at lunch time I’ve found myself doing over 3miles each time and in less than the 3mins I give myself to get it done.

I’ve gone from feeling like I’m a 11/12min mile girl to pulling in the miles in under 10mins.

This, coupled with feeling like I’m not really pushing myself hard enough on my Monday and Tuesday runs has led me to decide to go up a group on Tuesdays. So as of this Tuesday I’m going to try the Fast Hares group. Push push push.

For the Monday runs defo time to try and push up the pace too but as we don’t tend to run in defined groups it will be about me pushing to keep up with those ahead of me.

This morning I pushed. I’ve never ever run further than 10k. Even though I know I can go further, I never do. Well this week I thought “no more” no more will I feel fear as I reach that 10k mark. I won’t stop. I’ll keep going.

So I planned to wake up early and do my home to London bridge run, this time with a difference. I’m gonna run back!!!! Whaaaaat? That’s right, run back again.

I really wanted someone to run with because I didn’t trust myself to actually run back. But alas people have lives and I don’t have a pack of people who are at my beck and call. So I set of a 9.30am on the dot and hit the roads.

My plan was to not tire myself out and to take it nice and slow. Harder than you think. I’ve gotten used to starting at a certain pace so going slower was really hard.

One shop stop for some skittles, loo break and a quick run by the river I reach the big L Bridge.

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Self taken shot at the big boat and then I was off on my way back again. I did have a quick thought of “lemme just jump on the train back”. But since I’d told the whole of twitter I was doing this run I couldn’t let my people down. I actually picked up the pace slightly. I wasn’t tired at all. But for me this was all about getting it in.

The run to L.Bridge wasn’t hard and neither was the journey back but by the time I got to deptford I was really feeling it. I didn’t walk any of the journey but took a little pitstop and when I started again my legs felt sooooo heavy. But knowing I was so close to home, onwards I went. I had no choice, no direct bus to home meant I had to move anyway.

I made it back into lewisham. 10.81miles, 2hours2mins later and the run was done.

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I can do it. I can put in serious distance.

I’m a winner! Whoop.

I had energy left so I’m sure that I can do the full half marathon distance.

Roll on March.

There is this 80milemonth challenge going on at the moment. Created over at the spikes and heels blog (found here). The idea is that you clock up 80running miles over the month of December. Sounds impossible right? I’m giving it a go anyway.

I’ve clocked up 20miles since the beginning of the month.

It will be a great way to keep me on track during the festive period, since I’ve already started on the quality streets at work.

I put on 1.5lbs this week. Back up to 15st4lbs. Oops.
I expected it to be honest, but it would be nice to be under 15st by the new year so no time to slack really.

Here are some funny pics.

See ya later 🙂

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Aside

Proudness!!!

21 Nov

Look at this, another post and only a week to wait this time. I know, I spoil you all.

This week I am feeling proudness, (I dunno if that’s even a word to be honest, but it’s how I’m feeling).

Coming out of one’s comfort zone is never easy and a lot of people don’t know it has taken me many, many years to over come my shy side, 98% of people who know me now have never even seen that shy side. The person who would walk in to a room and be crippled with fear to even talk to any one, let along be a leader.

Over the years I’ve taken massive steps to over come this. When I left school I went to a college where none of my school friends went in order to force myself to meet new people.

I saw a life coach, I went on a confidence and assertiveness course.

I’ve worked really hard to put that shy, scared person away. I do jobs which require me to deal with people. I love people, but I often worry what they think of me, I’m too tall, they’re going to call me a giant. I won’t have anything worth saying. etc, etc, etc. I’m sure you have all been there.

But yes, the point of this is, on Tuesday evening, my second week of Run Dem Crew. Head Honcho, Daddy Dark, asked me if I know the way to the Emirates and will I lead my group. I froze and 6billion thoughts go through my head in the space of about 30 seconds.

I even did that thing when you don’t actually believe someone is talking to you and go “who me?” ha ha

Then I just put all of that aside and said yes.

so yeah, 10 minutes later, I’m leading a group of 6 amazing ladies on the mean streets of London. Man, I was poohing my panties lol.

We did 5 miles. We didn’t quite make it to the Stadium; we ran a pace that was comfortable for us, got back in good time and most of all, had fun.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I feel proud of me.

I’m so grateful I was given that opportunity. Well and truly out of my comfort zone but loving it.

Me and the RDC ladies

I’m also proud of the way I gave it my all at Run Dem Crew West on Monday. We did track. I don’t even think I think I did track at school, so for me this was virgin territory. 10x 100m at 60%, 5 x 200m at 60% then the last 50m full pelt and finally 4 x 400 metres at 60% then the last 100m at full pelt.

I actually, almost vomited. That shizz was hard. But for me, I knew that I had to at least try my best. How am I ever going to do a half marathon unless I push myself. I know I’m a plodder and I really need to step out of my comfort zone and push hard. Push hard I did.

I think this pic says it all!

that’s me!

I wasn’t expecting too much at weigh in this week. It’s that time all ladies hate and after all the free cheese and booze  samples at the Ideal home show – Xmas edition I was going to be grateful to stay the same. Amazingly I dropped another 1lb and a half.

Roll on the tears. I not only smashed my 15%. That’s right, I have lost over 15% of my totally body weight, I have finally hit that 3 stone marker.

One massive hurdle overcome

Most of you know that the past few months have been really hard for me and I wanted to be at this point two months ago. 11months later, 3 stone down and it feels great. I’m welling up as I write this.

I don’t think anyone can know how I feel at this part of my journey. I know people have done the same before me and people will do the same after, but no one else is me and I am not them.

11 months ago I couldn’t imagine that I would be 3 stone lighter.

So yay me, but the hard work isn’t over. To get to the top of a healthy weight range according to my BMI I need to be 12st12lbs. Yes I know I’m very tall and very curvy and all that. I am talking medically here.

My next goal is to get to my 20%. 14.9lbs. I’d love to get there for my year anniversary of being back on track, 2nd Janaury 2013.  From there I’ll look at my 25% and so on.

I still feel overweight and until I feel comfortable I will continue to get the weight down.  and that’s the main thing, how I feel.

Paris and running will keep me motivated. As will all my inspirational and supportive friends.

I ain’t done yet peoples. Proudness won’t let me finish yet.

Big loves

LeeLee