Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Three Days Of Running, One Day Of Drinking And Zero Days Of Chocolate

Blogging can sometimes be just like running. If you miss a few days, it seems like such a mountain to climb just to get started writing again. What to write about? Where do I start? How can I just start writing after missing a full week??

 But it always has to start with the first step, which is exactly what that stupid introduction analogy was all about. So here we go, we have started blogging again and there's quite a bit to catch up with. In the past week, I've...

Eaten zero chocolate
Ran every day and then ran no days
Still not smoked
Been broke but not poor
Weighed my heaviest in three years
Lost weight
Not slept
Had my most sober start to any month this year
Still had little energy
Been sick
Had a few bouts of depression kicking in
Had plenty of walks in the rain
Had a very muddy dog 
and I've been thankful I don't live in the north of England anymore.

I also realised I need to work on my time management so that I'm not getting behind with my blog posts.

Running Every Day For A Month - Attempt 2

I my last post I mentioned that I was going to try and run every day for the whole month of December. Unfortunately that did not make it past the fourth day. I woke up on Thursday feeling sick and took the day off work. I took Sheldon out for few short walks, but even that gave me headaches. So Thursday's 3.1 km run was cancelled and after that I just gave up on the idea.

Trying to run 3.1 KM before it gets dark

It does feel like a massive failure.

All I had to do was to get out there and get running, but the combination of a sick stomach, rain and flooding just seemed to make it very easy to abort that plan. My depression hasn't been great lately either, which can make it hard to get the motivation to do anything some days, even getting out of bed. If I didn't have to take Sheldon out for walks I probably wouldn't have left the house all weekend.

"Yes, you mentioned something about going for a run?"

So, what if I had kept running every day? Well, things were going okay apart from the pains I was getting in both my calf muscles. I need to buy a new foam roller soon, as I had only borrowed the one I had been using. I really don't want to injure either calf muscle again, so this will have to be an essential purchase with my Christmas money.

It was going to be all about injury prevention with this attempt. I had been paying attention to my post run stretches after every run, but I don't have a bath in my new house to take ice baths. Ice baths seem to work really well for me, but at least I now don't have to deal with getting freezing cold after every run.

The River Bann flowing faster than usual.

The weather here in the UK and Ireland has been wet for the past few weeks. The north of England seems to be all under water at the minute, after some places getting 13 inches of rain in under 24 hours. Thankful we haven't been just as bad where I live in Northern Ireland, but it has stopped us going up the towpath on some of our runs.

The floods preparing to ruin our running path

The next night after the above picture, we couldn't run past this point as the canal had started overflowing onto the path. I guess it's one of the disadvantages of running here. I tried to take a few pictures, but it was too dark, as you can see from some of the other shots I took. I hate the fact that it gets dark so early these nights...  4.30 pm is too late to start running..

Running in the dark

I Have Eaten No Chocolate All Month!!!!

Yes, you read that right, I have eaten no chocolate at all, whatsoever, all month. Even though we're only eight days into this month, it is still a massive deal for me. If you read this blog regularly, you will know how much I am addicted to the beautiful stuff, but since I've stopped smoking it has gotten out of hand. I have regularly eaten up to ten full sized chocolate bars in under half an hour recently.

I don't won't to ever be this heavy again..

Because of this I've been piling on the pounds, and last week I hit my heaviest weight in years - 204 lbs (14.5 stone). Thankfully it has started to go down slightly, and I think me staying away from chocolate has been the biggest reason for that.

Although I have been making pancakes, eating cake and toffee and mince pies. But hey, chocolate is the issue at the minute, we'll worry about that other lot in the new year.

Possibly the worst attempt at making pancakes in the world. 

I had said that I was going to give myself a cheat day once a week, but so far I haven't taken one. That's probably due to all the other sweet stuff I've been eating, but I do want to try and get my chocolate addiction under control. I've managed to stay off the cigarettes for nearly 4 weeks, so I should be able to manage my chocolate intake too.

Cutting Down Alcohol - Month 2

Last month I tried to address my over consumption of beer by giving it up for thirty days. This didn't work, but I did start cutting down with how much and how often I was drinking. It wasn't perfect, but it was a start. I had been worrying a bit about how much I was drinking, as alcoholism is a very easy problem to get sucked into.

It's something I've been wary of for years, and through various periods of my adult life I have been addicted to it. I didn't ever carry bottles of vodka around with me or anything like that, but I would have found it hard to go more than 24 hours without a beer.

And it was starting to get like that again recently. I'm not sure if I would have called myself an alcoholic, but I have definitely had problems with alcohol over the years.

I'm glad to say that this month I've had four beers, and that is it. Four lovely beers last Saturday night. A big reason why I'm drinking so little is that I don't have any money to buy it at the minute, but I'm really not missing it that much. I may have a few drinks once or twice later in the week, but I think I have broken the habit, and that can only be a good thing for my running.

Oh Yeah, This Is A Running Blog. About Running...

It may seem like I've forgotten that, but hopefully all these changes in my lifestyle will help with my running next year. I am now a non smoker, I no longer feel like I need a drink every night and I can survive without chocolate for at least eight days. It is progress, although I'm not really seeing the benefits just yet.

I guess these things just take a bit of time. And I need to start getting my running shoes on again and getting some miles done. This half marathon training won't happen with me sitting in front of the fire making excuses...


What improvements have you taken with your lifestyle to help improve your running?


  1. Oh man...I have had many a pancake fail in my day!! Sounds like you are doing great with the non smoking thing and no chocolate...lately I have been cutting back on sweets. I find that my body performs better when I eat fairly clean/non processed foods. And running more makes me crave healthier eats. It's all about balance. Keep up the fantastic work!!

    1. Thank you :) Yeah I'm going to keep making them until I get it right... It's a hard time of year to find balance though lol

  2. Yay I'm so proud of you! You got this, James! FYI, when you really stop drinking so much, the pounds will fly off. When I was trying to lose weight I quickly realized the empty carbs and calories were coming from beer and wine. But i also gained weight when I quit smoking so... you'll find a good balance, I promise. Hang in there! You are doing GREAT!!!

    1. Thanks Rachel, yeah beer and wine have a lot of calories that don't do much other than make you do silly things and have no money lol..

      Thanks for the support, i's great to hear from someone who has already gone through it all and your obviously feeling all the better for it :)

  3. Cutting out chocolate is really hard!! Kudos to you on accomplishing that. That would be a deal breaker for me. Honestly it's probably the only thing I would really miss. And congrats on stopping smoking. That's a great thing to do for yourself. My husband drinks a beer every day, but he tells me it actually has health benefits, so I give him the benefit of the doubt on that one :) Cool that you have a towpath that you run on too! The one near me is a very popular place for running.

    1. Thanks Lisa, yeah chocolate is so hard to give up. I think it's actually harder than cigarettes ;) I'm pretty sure a beer a day would have it's benefits, so your husband should keep that up. I was just finding that I was opening 1, then 2, then 3 etc etc.. I have heard people in their 80s and 90s having a stout every day and attributing their good health to it :)

  4. Welcome back :) That's great that you haven't eaten chocolate! What a huge accomplishment for you! And I don't think it's bad at all that you took off a day of running when you were sick. Sometimes people will risk injury and health for those run streaks, and it's really not worth it. Just get back out there and do your best!

    1. Thanks Gretchen, yes you know how I love my chocolate :) Yeah, the running streak was a disappointment not to keep up, as it can be a great way to get back into running. But it can be really hard on your body and health, so I guess I did the sensible thing? I'll live to run another day anyway :)

  5. You're doing great James!! I think you giving up all those things is like me giving up ice cream. So so hard to do. I really don't want to give it up, just cut back! I'm glad Sheldon got you back out there. And yea, that's a pretty epic pancake fail. I'm sure it tasted good though! 😊

    1. I think cutting back is the only way.. I love ice cream too, but it's normally chocolate flavoured lol... Ben & Jerrys Phish Food rocks... Yeah, Sheldon doesn't take no for an answer, he'd run all day if he could...


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