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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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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.

Let the taper begin!

2 Apr

Let’s catch up!

I know I’m terrible at blogging at the moment. I worry that I’ll bore you all ha ha.

I’m officially in the tapering zone right now. Eating right and fuelling my body and mind for the 21st April.

The past few weeks have been filled with long runs and my last long run was on Easter morning. 20 miles. It took just under four hours. Feeling really happy with that time.

It’s really interesting how my body has reacted to these runs. I am finding the last one – two miles the hardest each time. But never unreachable goals. I think my body just knows that only 20 more mins or so and I’ll be at the end. It can see the finish line and it’s a bit of mind power to push to the end.

I think my hardest long run was my 15miler. I did it with my cousin the week after Paris. He is quite a lot faster than me and it felt like I pushed it quite hard for that run.

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Running 18 miles in the snow a couple of weeks ago was definitely challenging, mainly because I was trying to stay up right but this was the run that I feel helped me find my pace for Race day. 18 miles in 3hours 27mins. That’s what I like.

The last two miles up hill in to Highgate were something special. And not the good special, but ploughed through it and felt great afterwards.

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My final long run this weekend was of a similar pace. 20miles in 3hours 52mins. We took in a shortened version of the marathon route, doing a circuit of Canary Wharf and up in to the Mall. That took us to 17 miles; we finished with the final few miles along the Thames down to Tower Bridge.

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Man, the end of this run brought with it such relief! The taper has begun.

It’s now time to finish prepping and feeding my mind and body for the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken.

A lot of people keep telling me how casual I am about running all these miles. It’s not that I am being blasé, I just don’t think I have fully realised how far 26.2miles is, I’ve tried to comprehend how far I would get if I ran for 26miles outside of London, but it just doesn’t make sense. I was never good with distances at school.

I’ve finished with the fundraising part of the marathon a few weeks ago and having hit my target meant that for these last few weeks the focus on my running has been much less intense and with out worry. Thank you to everyone who donated and who continues to donate. You can add to my epic total here.

Weight wise, I have no idea how much I weight right now. My weight over the past month had gone up and down around the 15st mark. I am extra hungry and probably not making the best food choices after my long runs so therefore I am not seeing results on the scales and I don’t want to feel disheartened about this. So I agreed at the suggestion of the amazing Saz, my weightwatchers leader, that she would weigh me but not tell me the results. This has taken such pressure off let me tell you, but I do need to ensure I am eating correctly in order to be able to fuel my body properly.

And regardless of the scales, I am now pretty firmly into a size 14 clothes wise with a few size 12 dress choices. So I can’t complain.

I am starting to like what I see in the mirror and as a result I am finding myself taking more and more pics of me in my new purchases and sticking them up on instagram. I started to feel a bit narcissistic but then I remembered how I used to feel. Big and bloated and now I don’t. I’m so happy with my progress and I do want to show it off a bit. People keep telling me I need to look at how far I’ve come and I’m starting to believe that.

A friend of mine this morning asked me to post some “top tips”. I can’t really say I have many, apart from this. If you really want to become fitter and healthier and slimmer then you will do it. No matter how hard it gets.

You will eat better, you will train hard. You’ll set your goals and you’ll make sure you hit them because you’ll be so sick of how you currently feel that you’ll have no option but to change.

Seeing and feeling the changes. Feeling unstoppable is the most gratifying thing.

I’m currently reading A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington, as suggested by one of my blog readers the other month. Sitting on the tube reading this book has reduced me to tears thinking about all the things I can push myself to do. I suggest anyone who has goals, reads this book. You just don’t know until you try.

I’ve recently been wondering how I will feel after the Marathon. Will I want to continue running marathons? I do know I want to really push my body to see what it is really capable of. I also know I want to see how many miles I can run in one day. I’m not talking about racing, but if I was to take a long leisurely run with gels and water etc. how far could I really go?

We’ll see aye!

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Throwback Thursday

7 Mar

There is a trend in social networking site “Instagram” where by people post old pictures of themselves and hash tag them #TBT or #throwbackthursday.

Thought I’d do a little throwback Thursday here.

Enjoy 🙂

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And back to today….

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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…

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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Hill Running

26 Nov

This post isn’t about actual hill running but the mental hill running.

This evening I have done I think my hardest run ever, mentally.

I love going out with RDC West on a Monday. It’s now part of my routine.

5.30 comes and the BF texts me to ask if I’m running and I find I’m feeling a bit “meh” about it all.
Raining, I’m tired after smacking an actual hill run on Sunday and generally feeling a bit lazy.

He tells me to “do da damn ting” and I think of course he’s right.

Head over to Paddington Rec and my excitement starts to build.

Get there and I can tell right away it’s going to be a small group.

We were only 14 today. I think the weather kept people away.

My heart sank when I saw the ladies I usually run with weren’t there and I was surrounded by the runners who are all a lot faster than me.

Speed ain’t everything but when you are only as fast as your slowest runner, who is me, then it can be a bit anti climatic.

The route was simple enough and we set off on a “gentle jog” and my heart sank even further, I was already behind and we hadn’t even begun. It felt like they raced away with out me.

I probably ran my fastest mile this evening in about 10mins but already in those first 10mins, as I couldn’t see through my glasses and the crew were 50m in front of me I felt a lump grow in my throat. I felt utterly useless.

After a mile we split into two groups the faster group and the slower group and the amazing Ellie really kept me going from here on out. She talked to me the whole time. She encouraged me and made me know that I could do this. Her upbeatness never wavered. She spoke when I couldn’t. We pushed forward still at a faster speed than I was used to but she made me believe.

We took a break at chalk farm station and I felt a bit more positive. Then went on towards Camden and my mood plummeted again. I just felt so slow.

Once again I was way behind and it was a real struggle.

Eventually it was just Ellie and I pounding the roads as the rest ran on.

We took a little detour as we missed our turning and came in back to paddington with a total mileage of 6.2m.

I never doubted I could do the distance but my head just wasn’t there. Not at all.

I’ve never felt like this before. I cried when we got back to base, I cried on the tube home, I cried when I saw my housemate who greeted me with hugs and I’m crying now.

I think it’s bed time but before I go I have to send soooo much love to Ellie who really pushed me through today. She didn’t let me give up and I’m so grateful. Thank you Ellie and I know tomorrow and next week will be better.

Thanks to the rest of the crew who greeted me with hugs and cheers of well dones. It wasn’t easy knowing that they all knew how much I struggled today but they still told me well done.

Thanks guys. Thanks to Sanchia who gave me such a great hug at the end and some really kind words

And thank you to me for not giving up.

Today in my mind was one giant hill and i just don’t feel i made it to the top and over the other side. I was running but I didn’t get anywhere. It was painful.

It’s bedtime now and i need to get over it ready for tomorrow when I do it all over again with Run Dem Crew East.

Bad move leelee, bad move

23 Nov

I wonder what it was that lead me to do the following last night?

Had to pop to Westfield in Stratford last night to collect something. I went into Marks to get some dinner.

Thought I’d treat myself so picked up a chunky chocolate cheesecake slice. “I deserve this” is what I told myself.

Stepped out the shop and saw a Greggs. “Mmmm, I really feel like a Yumyum”…..”and a jam donut”.

I said to myself I’d save the cheesecake for tomorrow.

Instead what I did was eat the Yumyum on the way to the shop I actually needed to go to.

Ate the donut on the way to the DLR and ate the cheesecake slice whilst waiting for my DLR to leave.

Then hid all the wrappers and rubbish so Chris wouldn’t know when I got home.

Got home and made and ate dinner as usual.

I hid the rubbish cos I felt shame.

I feel like I need to get this off my chest this morning.

The yumyum and the donut tasted like rubbish by the way, or was it just my guilt?

Bad move Leelee, bad move.