Procrastination’s little helper

It all started out innocently enough.

A few weeks ago a group of friends on Facebook started posting the occasional self-created cartoons.  (Using the Bitstrips website or app you can create your own avatar and interact with friends who also have one).

It looked like fun!  I also thought I could use it to create a new 12WBT profile picture and  maybe couple of images for this blog.  Maybe.  Just toying with the idea, you know?

Fast forward to last night, where I had quite a bit of present wrapping / organising / actual work to do:

“I’ll just do this avatar, and then wrap some presents.”

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“Hmm…close, but I need ruby sneakers.  And smaller boobs. And maybe pants that aren’t quite so blue.”

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“Much better.  Apart from the boobs.”

(It was this or a flat chest.  I went with the ego-boosting option)

“OK, great. All done.  Now onto those presents.

Or maybe I’ll just do one more.”

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“Awesome – you can also create avatars for other people, and put them in scenes and stuff!! “

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(Just have to mention here how close the likeness is for ‘other half’. I’m also sure he’s just thrilled to have been made into a cartoon)

 “Oh, and there’s outfits and background scenery and things you can make yourself do!”

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So here we are… Christmas Eve.

Presents not wrapped, packing for our trip away not started, and things not done.

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But on the upside, I now have a new 12WBT profile picture.

And this…

Merry Christmas

Happy holidays everyone!

Ding dong! The Witch is dead

Which old Witch?

In this case it’s that wicked, annoying inner voice.  The one cackling, “Eat it, my pretty!”, and waving the magic wand of temptation.

The evil enchantress!

The Witch usually appears when I’m bored (apparently snacking and mindless activity / bouts of laziness go hand in hand).

Other times the Witch shows up during dinner with friends or events at work, and I find myself tucking into rich, heavy or fried food.  Or things I don’t even particularly want or like. Just…you know…to be all sociable and stuff.

But here’s the thing…

This time of year is typically overrun with red flags – lunches, dinners, work functions, more lunches, and quite a bit of um…’Christmas cheer’ (‘tis the season, after all).

Throughout it all I’ve eaten well and enjoyed a wine (or several).

In hindsight, noticeably absent from it all was that wicked little voice pointing out things like salty snacks, hot chips, pizza, cream-based pasta and pork belly.

In hindsight, the Witch wasn’t there – and in fact seemed to disappear at some point during the last few weeks.

There was no flattened-by-house incident big fuss or light bulb moment, it just happened.

So what’s changed?

At first I put it down to having awesome self-control, like this guy:

Self Control

But then I realised that I only wrote about self-control just to have a reason to include the picture.

My logical, must-find-a-reason-for-most-things brain tells me that it’s not actually about self-control.  I am still working on the whole addicted-to-nicotine thing, after all.  So it can’t be that.

It might possibly be something a bit better…

There’s a chance I’ve had a mindset change (I’ve gotta be honest – it snuck up on me), and that I am now making deliberate (and at times subconscious) choices about food:

  • I now want the pumpkin, rocket and coriander salad over the hot chips (if there was such a thing as a crush on a herb, coriander would be it. And basil – that stuff rocks too).
  • I now want the porterhouse steak, pepper sauce (on the side of course) and steamed broccolini.
  • I now want the Ensalada with Cajun prawns (again with the wondrous herb that is coriander).
  • I can now order the all-day breakfast for lunch and just eat the poached eggs, tomato and mushrooms.
  • I now have no problem saving my snack calories for a shared bottle of wine with a friend.
  • I also now have no problem with the occasional ‘treat’. It just has to be the good stuff – ie flaky, smelly, mature (gloriously addictive) cheese or a piece of orange-flavoured dark chocolate.

It’s by no means perfect, and there will still be times featuring less-than-ideal choices.

Example:  Mixed in with the timeline of my whole check-out-how-good-I’ve-been post, was also the I-skipped-lunch-therefore-could-murder-a-slice-of-quiche experience.  It was either that, pizza or sausage rolls at a work thingy.

And I’m OK with that – it was actual hunger, I was unprepared and I’ll know better next time.

Maybe I’m being a bit premature with the whole ‘Ding dong!’ announcement.  The Witch could just be taking some time off, or hiding / lulling me into a false sense of security.

It does feel like a mindset shift though.

So for now I’m happy to take it as one.

Note to inner voice: if this turns out to be like that whole ‘Who Shot JR?’ fiasco, I’ll be very annoyed (a dream sequence, seriously?).

It’s all in the interpretation

Email from the lovely organisers of parkrun after today’s 5km event. 

(It’s OK if I edit to my own liking only pay attention to the important bits, right?)

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Sure, I came last. 

I also still struggled with the whole breathing thing again, but there were definite improvements on last week’s effort:

  • I jogged for 2.5 km before Smoker’s Lungs and Legs insisted on stopping for a time-out
  • I reduced my time by almost 3 minutes
  • I actually talked to the volunteers / officials as they passed on their encouragement at each checkpoint (instead of nodding and panting breathlessly). Admittedly they were only one-syllable responses, but still…

…and most importantly:

  • my track pants stayed up unassisted
  • my lungs were thanking me (quitting smoking is still a work in progress, but there’s definitely been a big improvement).

 

Being the last person to cross the finish line does have its benefits though.  In this case, in the form of a can-we-go-home-yet crowd cheering and clapping and generally making you feel like a rock star.

That bit was pretty neat.

In reality they were all probably thinking, “Thank goodness!  It’s cold / raining out here and now we can leave”.

But in the spirit of it being all in the interpretation (ie positive spin), I like to think it was more: “Yay to you, stranger we’ve never met!  Great finish, good on you for taking part, and hope to see you next week”!

So overall, it didn’t suck as much as last week, and my goal of actually being able to run 5km is looking more achievable.

It’s still early days (and there’s a long way to go) but I guess it’s not a bad effort for someone whose exercise 6 months ago used to be limited to walking the dog, occasional energetic bursts of can’t-find-the-TV-remote-so-have-to-get-up channel changing, and this:

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So here’s to persevering, to making slow-but-steady improvements, and to ‘chipping away’ at achieving goals. 

Good luck to you and to whatever yours may be!

“Hey, Smoker’s Lungs – wanna come for a 5km run?”

If I had actually taken the time to ask my lungs that question this morning, the answer would have been (in a slightly panicked, high pitched voice):

“Are you kidding me?  No – we’re not ready!  We’ve only done stuff on the treadmill until now.  In bursts!”

Instead, I didn’t mention it. I quietly went about the business of preparing for my first time at Parkrun – a 5km event that a few of the local 12wbt crew have mentioned and taken part in.

New running shoes? check.

New ‘belt thingy with a zip bag’ to hold my keys and registration card?  check.

Directions to start line? check.

Over-inflated sense of what my body is capable of?  check.

After a few nervous trips to the loo, and checking the clock for the umpteenth time, it was time to go.

I wasn’t overly-confident, but figured walking / shuffling for a first attempt would be more than fine.

Running is also one of my goals, and today I would be drawing on ‘fit stretchy pants lady’ from my inspiration board to do some gentle nudging.

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And we’re off…

It wasn’t a great start. Less than 30 metres in, my brand new track pants started to fall down. In all of my preparation, it seems I forgot that I’m no longer a size 12.

Crap.

The waist wasn’t that loose when I tried them on.  Walking was fine, but I didn’t factor in the motion of running, or gravity, or the fact that I’m now actually a size 8-10.

So in true “what would MacGyver do?” style, I hoisted my pants up as high as I could (with modesty intact; ie no reference to desert-dwelling mammals and their digits), and used my ‘belt thingy with a zip bag’ to keep things in place.

Crisis averted, now onto the running.

…and so began the battle of wills between Smoker’s Lungs, Legs, and Mind.

Legs: “Hey, this is pretty good. We’re doing OK”.

Mind: “I know, right?! I’m pretty proud of us for doing this – we’re almost at the 1km mark”.

Smoker’s Lungs:  “OMG are you guys freaking kidding me? I’m dying here. This is not like the treadmill AT ALL. We need to stop”.

Smoker’s Lungs then continued to behave like an over-tired-therefore-misbehaving toddler for the remainder of the 5km.  Whenever things got too much, a tantrum was thrown, and breath was cut off until I was in an almost-blue-in-the-face state and had to give in / make it stop.

To start with, Legs and Mind put up a fight.

Mind: “C’mon guys, just to that next marker”.

Legs: “We’re not even tired yet, can’t you just pipe down and let us do this?”

Smoker’s Lungs:   *cuts off oxygen supply and has the final say*

After a while, I could sense Legs doing the whole passive-aggressive ‘eye-roll thing’, and huffing in disdain.

Mind on the other hand, was starting to listen to Smoker’s Lungs. The ‘checkpoints’ to reach for the running intervals were getting shorter and shorter in distance.

But the beauty of something like this event is that you have a bunch of others (70-odd people today) doing it as well, and in a way pushing you on. All at varying levels of fitness, and for varying reasons.  Some beginners like me, some super-fit, and others doing it with their young children – and that in itself is inspiring.

Anyway…after shuffling, stopping and starting, walking, and occasional bursts of running for 4.5km, the finish line was in sight.

By this stage Mind, Legs and Smoker’s Lungs were all friends again, and agreeing that this was in fact, a very, very hard thing to do.

Tired, hot, and SO ready for this to be over.

But then Young Boy Behind Us could be heard gaining (maybe around 7 or 8 years old, running with his mum, and doing a fabulous job!).

So Mind, Legs and (a very begrudging) Smoker’s Lungs bandied together – determined to cross the finish line running, and to cross it ahead of at least one person.

I did it!

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*insert cheer / roar from the crowd here*

OK so there was not actually a cheer or roar from the crowd, but I did manage to finish, and in just under 40 minutes. The official time hasn’t been posted yet, but that isn’t really important for now.

It just felt good getting out and doing something different.

The course itself was great – lots of trees and great scenery, and only with a few hilly bits. The weather was gorgeous, and around us were sports being played, people with their kids, people walking their dogs, and other typical Saturday morning activities.

Yes, it was tough. Yes, I struggled.

But I also am kinda-sorta proud, and one step closer to being a fitter me.

 

Post-run update:

Mind

Feeling pretty good, and already planning for next week.

Could do with a nanna-nap, and very thankful for knowledge gained from TV – in particular MacGyver.

Legs

Tired and sore. Currently resting, and potentially not moving for a while.

Smoker’s Lungs

Relieved it’s all over, and slightly nervous (after behaving so badly, things are not looking good).

Has a sneaking suspicion that Mind is plotting ‘Normal, Healthy Lungs’, due to a reference to something called Willpower.

Shopping, burpees and other forms of torture

Ok, admittedly ‘torture’ is a bit harsh. Perhaps a better term is ‘necessary evil’, or even ‘energy-sapping-dastardly-task’.

Basically, things I try really hard to avoid.

Both fill me with dread, both are quite draining, and both bring on bouts of procrastination that would earn gold at the Olympics should this ever become an event (here’s hoping!).

I never used to mind shopping, and actually have fond memories as a kid travelling to ‘The Big Smoke’ with the family to do our annual spend-up at the Boxing Day Sales. The Big Smoke (otherwise known as the city) was about 90 minutes by car, and we’d all get dressed in our best clothes (I have no idea why, but it seemed important). 

Dad insisted we left home at a typical early-bird-catches-the-worm time, which meant we arrived well before the shops even opened then sat in the car waiting impatiently. We shopped, we ate, we drove home. No drama (apart from us kids fighting over whose cassette tape got played during the ride home), no anxiety.

It’s a very different story today, and I’m sure many people share similar ‘war stories’.

You know the ones:

1.  The “How are you doing in there?!” overly-exuberant salespeople that rip back changing room curtains ever so helpfully, revealing your beige nanna-knickers to passing shoppers.

2.  The changing room ‘fun park’ mirrors. I can’t really be that distorted, can I…?

3.  The ‘nothing fits, but I refuse to buy a bigger size’ experience that leaves you empty handed and therefore having to do it all again next time.

4.  The I-know-you’re-there-but-I-will-avoid-eye-contact-if-it-kills-me assistants.

5.  The ‘Hey, this fits!’ excitement. (Only to realise while wearing said garment a week later in the company of friends that you are decked-out in maternity wear).

And who can forget:

6.  The “Maybe you’d find something more suitable in the ‘insert-less-expensive-brand name-here’ section” elite. (My then-23 year old self just nodded, left the store, and wished for a more assertive personality).

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also had this one:

7.  The “I most certainly can help you, and here it is in your size!” experience.  Oh, the joy.

And while they were akin to torture dastardly tasks, some of the ‘bad’ were even quite funny. I proudly wore my maternity shorts time and again (we got a kick out of that one), and years on can now giggle at the beige knickers incident.

I also considered returning to the scene of the ‘elite’ and having a Julia Roberts / Pretty Woman moment (“Big Mistake. Huge!”).  It was quite successful in my imagination. 

I just sometimes wish it were easier. I’d love to shop online more, but with many things you need to try them on (damn you, inconsistently-sized garments!).

Anyway…

Over the weekend I made a big (for me) leap forward and joined a local 12WBT group for a walk, then registered for a 5km fun run being held next Saturday.

Now I just need to buy new stuff.  Proper running shoes, track pants that won’t fall down, sports bra – you know, the basics.

So here’s hoping for a good ‘un (C’mon lucky 7!!).

Oh…I almost forgot about the burpees.

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 Says it all, really.