All I Want for Christmas is…

2 Comments

It’s Sunday 25th November, and I’m sitting watching Father Ted – trying to avoid the fact that I have work to go to tomorrow. Yesterday, Ann Marie and Liam tied the knot, and what a day it was! The wedding was beautiful, and lets face it – the most beautiful part (for the pielord in me) was the feed. I just love food. All food. For me, being social in any way must involve food. 2012 seems to have been the most social year in recent memory, and it has really shown on the scales. For the first two years of being a Slimming World person, I lost huge amounts of weight. Four stone the first year, four stone the next, then another stone which took me to the nice round figure of twelve stone. Then I decided to chill out – after all, I was going to be running a m******n. So I settled at 12st 6. I’d go up, then come back down; maybe even hit 12st 4! This pattern has continued since May, and it’s getting irritating. Then again, the first couple of years spent Slimming meant I went nowhere – literally. I gave it my full obsessive attention! Life is for living, so I shouldn’t regret my holidays, hen nights, boozy nights out, hangover munchfests etc, but it’s demoralising seeing the numbers go up, and even moreso when I feel tubby along with it…..

So here I am. November 1st saw me fly into New York at 12st 6, and fly home at almost 13 stone. A fortnight of being well behaved brought me down to 12st 8, but then I went and had a birthday….which had to be celebrated. Then, a mere three days after the birthday – the wedding! Hello 13 stone. So with a neat month to go until Christmas, I am being SUPER well behaved. I am back on the horse as of tomorrow morning, rocking the Extra Easy plan as six months of Red days as my main plan has made me really hate Slimming World. Variety is the spice of life, and Extra Easy really does allow variety.

In a step of real self indulgence, I’m going to post my meals for the week and my losses (fingers crossed) so that the people who Google things like ‘slimming world doesn’t work’ or ‘why can’t I lose weight on slimming world’ can see that it actually does work! I hope to God this doesn’t backfire on me. I want to try and get as close as possible to 12 stone for Christmas Eve. Oddly, that’s exactly the same figure I was chasing in the run up to last Christmas! I ended up at 12st 4. Maybe I should write a letter to Santa?

Dear Santa,

Keep me the fuck away from German Biscuits and Reisen chocolate chews until the 24th December

Regards,
McCooey

20121125-232756.jpg

Nothing to Say

2 Comments

Almost a fortnight on after the event (I can’t bring myself to say the m-word), and I find myself at a bit of a loss. The sudden freeing of time and brain space has been disconcerting, and I’m not sure I’m enjoying it. A post training fog has descended. I can’t help but think “What was the point”?

Any runners experienced anything similar?

In weight news, I am an unhappy 12 stone 9; though this translates as only 3 pounds up from before New York. Given I have only stopped rattling from the sheer volume of M and Ms consumed over there, it probably isn’t too bad. Yet again, I find myself in pursuit of the 12 stone mark, bollocks anyway. If I’m 12 stone 6 by Wednesday I’ll be happy enough. I have a meeting with a man that day you see….. But that’s a whole other story.

Ciao for now,

McCooey

20121117-143957.jpg
That’s me. Afraid of exercise.

Running Anyway / Marathon becomes Snickers

5 Comments

The last time we spoke, I was feeling considerably cheesed off when the much anticipated 2012 New York City Marathon was cancelled, with little over 36 hours notice. Having said that, it didn’t surprise me; partly because this is the kind of thing that happens to me (if it can go wrong, it will go wrong), and mostly because it would have been hugely inappropriate to stage the event in its usual format. After seeing the news confirmed in Times Square, the only rational thing to do was go and get drunk! Off we went to what would have been the marathon eve carb-loading venue, to basically pig out on great pasta, sexy calzone, and a drop or two of Pinot. We weren’t alone. The place was packed, with a lot of people presumably in the same situation we were in. We stood in line for a table with a group of women from New Zealand who were over to run too, and they were as shocked and disappointed as we were. Shit, it would appear, really had happened. Needless to say, the hefty feed rendered the wine useless and the intial tipsy buzz wore off, swiftly replaced with a dose of the snoozies. I stayed awake long enough to write the previous blog post, took a sad look at my now irrelevant race pack, and went to sleep.

SATURDAY

The decision had been made over dinner to run the 26.2 miles anyway, and a quick look at Twitter/Facebook showed us that lots of others were planning on doing the same, so Saturday morning was an early start as had been planned. When we made our way down to the hotel lobby, a large flipchart message from our tour operator alerted us to a meeting scheduled for 5pm where a contingency plan would be discussed. So after a fairly aimless day of farting about New York, we took our seats in the meeting room to hear what the plan was. As expected, the guys from Sports Tours International suggested that we meet at Central Park the next morning to hold a ‘solidarity run’ of either 10K or half marathon distance, ie. one or two laps of the Park itself. In addition to this, representatives from the Dublin City Marathon announced that they would be holding a marathon event in Phoenix Park, Dublin for all the disaffected runners on the trip. Fair play to them, it’s a great gesture, but I couldn’t in all good conscience leave New York without having ran the marathon there. It’s all I’ve talked about for two years! I would have felt like a fraud if I had only done a piddly 10K. Also, the thought of having to key myself up for a marathon in two weeks time was seriously unappealing. I just wanted this whole running endeavour to be OVER. I also didn’t see the point in just doing one or two laps – we were all there to run the 26 miles in the first place, why take the easy option of a 10K or a half? As always, things are never that simple, as I was to find out the next morning….

SUNDAY

20121109-210324.jpg

The alarm went off at 6.15am. Marathon day had finally arrived. After all the months of losing weight, trying to increase from a plod to a trot, from a trot to a run, and having every pain under the sun in the process – it was finally here. I can’t ever recall being both scared shitless and underwhelmed at the same time, but that’s how I was feeling as I got my gear on and headed to the diner next door for some breakfast.

20121109-214618.jpg

One omelette and coffee later, I was in the shower, making myself movie-star gorgeous for the big event. Realising that a turd can only be polished so much, I had a wee cry before heading downstairs to meet the rest of the troop in the lobby and begin the 1.8 mile trundle to Central Park. And what a troop!

20121109-215341.jpg

After a few group photos (cringe), we entered the Park and set up camp. By this I mean we fucked everything in a heap and a few people kept an eye. And that was it! Off everyone went, calmly in pursuit of their 10K/half marathon. I started off at a walk, but the usual mix of shame and impatience washed over me, so I upped it to a canter and chased the Other Half away on. The race was on.

FIRST LOW POINT

Needing to wee after mile four. To my horror, I realised that no official race meant no official Portaloos. And so began the negative thoughts: What am I doing? Why am I doing this? How the fuck am I going to do four laps of this place when I’m dying to whizz after four miles?

SECOND LOW POINT

Pain. Already. My arse/hip was hurting already, and along with this was a nice neat pain at the top of my calf – in behind the knee. I had another wee cry as I went past a crowd of well wishers, trying to maintain some kind of momentum as I high-fived some very cute kids.

FIRST HIGH POINT

A solitary line of Potaloos came into view, like some kind of wonderful sanitary dream. Off I went, knowing in my heart that the dream would be more like a fairly unsanitary reality – how right I was. Nevertheless, I wee-d my little heart out.

SECOND HIGH POINT

After a fleeting moment of panic regarding the unavailability of official water stations, I suddenly spotted a group of three or four women handing out cups of water at the side of the road. I almost kissed them. This turned out to be the ultimate high point of the event – ordinary New Yorkers out to support the ‘selfish runners’ with water, pretzels, sweets, and most of all lots of cheers and applause. Granted, there was one woman of about sixty out in her jammies applauding too; so perhaps mild insanity had a part to play when it came to some supporters! Mostly though, I think they just wanted to spur us on. A lot of the ‘locals’ I spoke to throughout the trip felt as aggrieved about the cancellation as we did! Anyway, the much needed water meant I could swamp my Powerbar gel into me, if only to act as some kind of psychological kick up the arse.

THE FINISH LINE

Yes. You heard me. Around the six mile mark, I encountered what was supposed to be the official finish line. Whilst it hadn’t been dismantled, it had been blocked off, so you had to kind of shimmy around it. Cue a bottleneck of fools taking photos. I reckoned if you can’t beat them…

20121110-030126.jpg

…join them. Not how I imagined my finish line photo. Plus, I knew that with THREE laps still to go, I would get to see the finish line again. And again. And again.

THE ULTIMATE LOW POINT

I battled on through lap two, feeling sore, needing to pee again (trip two to the Portaloos was more horrific than the first), and generally feeling like utter crap. This was not how I imagined my marathon would be. I felt like I’d never ran before in my life, and like all the training had never happened. I was slow, awkward, and really uncomfortable. I had nobody to talk to. It was a lonely run, made bearable only by the enthusiasm of the spectators dotted around the course. I was regretting not having written my name on my shirt – a result of general marathon apathy on Saturday. In a way though, I was happy to be anonymous as I was making terrible progress. As I hit the half marathon mark, I stopped. Stopped the Nike Plus, stopped running, stopped walking, started crying. Again. Not because I was in pain or because I was angry at my slow pace; simply because I was hating every second of my eagerly anticipated marathon.

20121110-031108.jpg

I sat down on a big rock in a grassy bit of park, off the main course where I’d been running/hobbling. I had no idea what to do next. Should I:

A: Just call it a day at the half marathon? That’s what everyone else is doing!

B: Come back tomorrow and do another half marathon?

C: Keep going and just get it done?

None of these options were attractive. I texted the Other Half for advice! Needless to say, she was on lap three but had some aches and pains too. I waited til she came along and we walked her final lap together. I figured I should just keep going. I would complete a third lap of the Park, then go out onto the streets of New York. I swear, if I never see Central Park again, it’ll be too soon.

THE AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN YOU REALISE A GOOD IDEA IS ACTUALLY SHITE

I had broken out of the Park of Doom, and decided to take my battle to the streets. Little did I realise how short a distance a ‘block’ is. In short, after some zigzagging and backtracking, I made my way to the hotel and STILL had about two miles to go. Basically, I ran around in circles until I reached the second 13.1 miler of the day. It was not pretty. Whilst I was still in Central Park, I realised my hands had swollen to twice their original size. Assuming a stroke/heart attack was on the cards, I whacked a salty pretzel into me. It was vile, and it did not help. Out on the streets, my hands were still fat, so I reckoned a bit of grub wouldn’t hurt. Cue the Snickers:

20121110-032259.jpg

And cue my angry chewing face:

20121110-032342.jpg

Not a good look. Especially whilst you’re trundling past skinny Asians taking pictures of each other outside the NY Public Library – “Yes of course you look just like Carrie Bradshaw!” Arseholes. You can sense my frustration I hope? This rage culminated in a huge FFFFFFUUUUCCCKKKKKK moment, when a woman and her teenage child wouldn’t get out of my way walking past a pharmacy. I broke into what was surely a nine minute mile burst of running, which lasted a good twenty seconds, and got me away from them and their dawdling. How dare they hold up an athlete!

THE END

With a lot to do, I ended up back at the hotel, with another half marathon completed

20121110-032926.jpg

I felt no sense of achievement. My only spectator was a slightly confused looking concierge who watched me hobble into the lobby, futtering wildly with my phone and taking my trainers off at the same time. Not the Kodak moment I had dreamt of!

THE AFTERMATH

Crisps. Red Bull. Water. Pizza. Coco Pops. Ice packs. Hot bath. Ice pack again. Raisin Bran Crunch. Sweets. Bed. Not in that order! We weren’t fit for the celebratory feed in the BBQ joint designated the year before (see? Lots of preparation done in advance!), so it was an early night. Even if we had been fit, was there anything to celebrate? Even now I don’t feel like I’ve achieved what I set out to, yet I completed the distance. Is a marathon all about the distance? Or is it more about the event? If the event had taken place as normal would I have performed better? Did my mind let me down?

I don’t know. I know I dwell on the negatives a lot, but that’s the nature of this particular beast. Still, I did ‘run’ a marathon in New York, which is what I set out to do. Will I do another one? I can’t see it. But I’d love to experience it as an event, not just as a distance. I’ve always said ‘know your limitations’, and I think this applies here. Half marathons will be quite enough for me I think, and I don’t mean two on the same day!

THE ULTIMATE HIGH POINT

20121110-034135.jpg

The tour operator managed to secure medals for the whole group, and those of us who ran the marathon distance on Sunday got our medals! The rest of the group have to run the Phoenix Park marathon in a fortnights time. I’m so glad I chose to get it all over and done with in New York! At least I have something tangible to show for my endeavours. That and the amazing amount of funds raised! The final total hasn’t been counted up yet, but it looks like it’ll be over the £3000 mark – so thank you so much to everyone who donated. Thank you also to everyone who has been reading my nonsense over the last seven months. I considered changing the name to BigFatHalfMarathon, but that sounds crap. Looks like it’ll be back to Slimming World recipes and tales of being a fat fuck with a German Biscuit addiction.

Some things never change.

20121110-035047.jpg

Right Decision, Wrong Time

3 Comments

20121103-153800.jpg

So.

After yesterday’s post about how I was convinced that this marathon would be a bit of a fail, I closed up the iPad and made my way to a movie theatre in Times Square. I had never been to the movies over here, so thought I’d give it a go. As we were hunkering down with some VERY salty popcorn to watch the new Denzel Washington movie (which was fairly good), Moody received a text from a work friend telling us that the marathon had been cancelled. Now before leaving the hotel, we had been reading online that calls to cancel were being made, but Bloomberg and NYRR (New York Road Runners) were adamant that the race would continue as normal. I figured that the said work friend had misinterpreted the news reports about this, so I contacted my trusty triathlete buddy Leeanne and got her to check online. According to the NYRR site, it was business as usual! Happy days, more popcorn please! Then I got another text. And another. Soon it became clear that the marathon was indeed off. We came out of the movies to see this in Times Square:

20121103-155522.jpg

And that was that. No marathon. The announcement made at 6pm local time, a mere six hours after we had collected our bib numbers and race goodies; and bought ourselves official Asics marathon gear. A bit of a kick in the balls to be honest. Speaking of honesty, is it weird that I feel relieved at it being cancelled? That was my first reaction, though it gave way quite quickly to utter disappointment. Yes, I spent all day yesterday shitting myself at the very thought of lining up, but there was no way I was going to back out of it. I knew in my heart that, despite all the dread, I would love it. So the decision has been made to run tomorrow morning anyway. It may no longer be The New York Marathon, but it’s still a marathon in New York. I am still shitting myself, partly due to the distance, and partly because with a seriously depleted number of other runners – my chronic slowness will be more obvious! A lot of disaffected runners are planning to do their own thing tomorrow, but I think a fair number will be heading for Central Park – the location of the finish line. Despite shitting myself, it feels like a lot of the pressure is off now. It’s just like my last ever long run as opposed to an event. The one thing I am very disappointed about is not getting a medal, though the tour operator we are here with are trying to remedy that.

I think if the race had been cancelled before we left for New York, I would have been more gutted. I would have gone down the route of “Why me? I worked so hard! This cost me thousands of quid! It’s not fair!” etc etc, but I am comforting myself in the notion that the decision to cancel probably had been made then, but it was easier to let the thousands of runners and their families/friends come into the city and spend some money before letting them know the race was off. Maybe that assumption is a bit cynical on my behalf, but having seen the crowds of runners at the expo yesterday buying official gear, new trainers, endless Powerbar products, and God knows what else; I think it’s a poor show that the whole thing wasn’t called off sooner. Of course it would have been wildly insensitive to launch the race from Staten Island, and when you watch the news footage you can see the devastation in that part of the City. Could the route have been changed though? Was it even seriously considered? Who knows. Like I said yesterday, there’s no point crying over spilt energy gels. But I think the New Yorkers doing most of the yapping about the marathon would do well to remember the revenue generated every November by the ‘selfish runners’ who spend money getting here, and spend even more over marathon weekend. Even my crude arithmetic concludes that this runs into the millions. It’ll be interesting to see if the numbers are as buoyant next year.

I don’t know if I’ll be here next year, as I don’t know if I can allow the fat child inside me to experience the Big Apple three years in a row. All in the quest for physical perfection though, so who knows! One thing’s certain though, I won’t ever forget my BigFatMarathon. Or the people who supported me on the road to it.

Until the race day that never was,

McCooey

All My Time is Gone

3 Comments

Why didn’t I start training sooner?
Why didn’t I lose more weight before now?
Why didn’t I try harder?
I should have started my training plan earlier.
I should have put in more time at the gym.
I shouldn’t have had that pizza and bottle of wine last Saturday night.
I look fat.
My tummy looks huge.
I feel like a fat bastard.
What if my running gear doesn’t fit properly?
What if my fat stomach makes my capris roll down and my top ride up?
What have I done?

Just a little excerpt from the Madness of McCooey which reached fever pitch this morning when I made my merry way down to the Jacob Javits Center to pick up my race bib and goody bag. It was all going so well! I got my number and my timing chip, and I got my Asics ‘marathoner’ technical long sleeve t shirt. Then we went for a nosey around the Expo. I got me some nifty armwarmers, the Other Half got a t shirt. We sampled some Powerbar stuff. Then we spotted a wee crowd of people sitting down and looking up at a screen. A screen displaying a speeded up street view of the marathon course. My heart jumped into my throat, and then slid the whole way back down into my stomach. I don’t know these streets! I don’t know where I’m going! As the distance counter at the bottom hit 18 miles I was thinking – I haven’t run this far before. I’m not ready for this. What the fuck am I doing? I could have cried.

But there’s no use crying over spilt energy gels. All my time is gone, and I can’t change what I’ve done in the past which has brought me to this point. There’s not a great deal I can do in the extreme near future which will affect the outcome of the marathon. Apart from keep my head, take things slowly, and not dwell on the negatives. Whatever happens on the day, happens. I’ll finish this race, even if it kills me, but it isn’t going to be pretty.

Until race day,

McCooey

20121102-161805.jpg