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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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Accountability

23 May

So, I have a confession to make.

I eat. I eat a lot. Mostly I eat good food. Whole grains, high protein, low carbs etc., etc. but sometimes, more often than I should, especially when snacks are involved, I eat poop.

We all know the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym” and so really I cant be surprised that I’m not getting the 100% results that I want when I am not putting in 100%.

And yes putting in 100% all of the time is hard but damn it if I want to be fitter and healthier and no longer overweight then I need to work hard at it.

So I was thinking back to the reasons I started this blog. I knew that if I put it out there and made it public then I would be accountable for what I was doing. People would look at my blog and be like, “hey, she is working hard” or “boo, she isn’t putting in the effort”. I rave a lot about the exercise and sport I undertake but not the food I eat.

Therefore, in the interest of transparency I am going to trial something for a couple of weeks.
Once a day in the evening I will post up pictures of the food I have eaten through out the day. And maybe a little description of what it is (in case you can’t tell).

I do a lot of my eating in secret!

I AM A SECRET BINGE EATER. I binge. I can’t eat just one biscuit. I have to have 5 or 6 or more. I went and brought an M and S wrap the other day, one of their summer ploughman’s sausage rolls, then went to costa and got a Belgium chocolate tiffin, I ate all of those before I got on the train back to work.. When I got to Kings Cross I went to Leon and bought a halloumi burger and some popcorn. That was my lunch on Tuesday! Everyone saw me eat the halloumi burger, no one knew about the stuff before.

I have food issues. Maybe I should see someone about it. What is really going on here? Why do I sabotage myself like this? Who knows? Anyway the buck stops with me, so yeah starting this evening a daily blog post of my foodage.

Lemme know what you think 🙂

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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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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Halfway point!

26 Feb

Well, it’s been a while. I had a little blogging break. Had a bit of brain freeze and wasn’t really sure what to put in this space.

First things first, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented and emailed me and checked up on my after my last blog post. It really means a lot too me.

I want you to all know that I’m fine. That post was exactly what this blog is about, me getting my thoughts, fears, happiness, anxiety and realisations out to you all.

My journey is long and hard, it’s about health, weight loss, running and most importantly, succeeding.

Over the past few weeks since my last post I’ve achieved a lot! My fundraising is going epically well. But that’s a separate post for you all.

On Saturday 3rd February, I actually ran half marathon distance. Say whaaaat?

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A small group of us headed out from Blackheath, across the Thames to East London up to Tower Bridge and back down the other side. It was meant to be 12 miles but by the end we just thought, “what the hey” and carried on.

2hours and 26mins later I had done it.

Now, no matter what, I know I can take on Paris and win! There is no doubt.

My times are getting faster. On the 12th February I ran my fastest mile. 9mins 40seconds.
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I honestly couldn’t see myself running under 10min miles. But that night two of my miles were under 10mins and the rest (bar one) were all faster than any previous run.

I cried when I got back to the RDC HQ. it was a tough week. I had fallen out with a friend, I was feeling unwell and that run broke the emotional barrier for me.

Sometimes things happen which make you ask “what’s the point?” I didn’t want to run that night, but I knew it would do me good. And Good it did.

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I haven’t run since then. The little head cold turned into a full blown viral infection. Anti-biotics for an ear, throat and sinus infection. I barely got out of bed for 5 days, the following 7 days after that I had such a sticky cough that walking up stairs killed me.

I had to reach in to my faith pocket that I’d be well this week before Paris and after a successful 4hour Zumba marathon, I can say I feel I’m back on form.

I really missed running but I knew I had to have this week of rest or I just wouldn’t feel healthy.

So here we are at the halfway point of my marathon journey and I feel right on track!

So now me and the mister in are in super excited “Paris here we come” mode. I keep googling the area and looking at the Paris Semi website to see what we need to do, where we pick up our bibs.

Medical certificate signed off (legitly) I am on my way folks!!

Update of the race on Monday or Tuesday next week, pics and all!

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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!