12 days and counting

May 31, 2007

Well, it’s finally sunk in. And maybe I’ll be brave enough to tell my Dad I’ve resigned now. Don’t think anyone else has [told him, that is].

This evening in a typical motivational management fashion we continued a discussion from a week ago, about how long it takes to create a web design. Offline expectation is half a day, tops … I needn’t tell most of you that read this that this is a little optimistic. Did I mention how much I love those “discussions” at 6.15pm the evening before a big meeting. Very productive.

Anyway, as the “discussion” reigned, I felt my heart race, and tweak in increasingly alarmist fashion. Maybe I was due to collapse in a heap on the floor? and be rushed to hospital? then they’d be sorry! But, nah it didn’t happen.

Would have loved to have seen what a blood pressure reading looked like though. When friends were up the other weekend I aced everyone with a reading of 155 over 90. Not actually that healthy, heart working a little hard methinks. I certainly don’t need extra stress from bosses, who may or may not love the sound of their own voice, repeat themselves endlessly and fail to accept those points which are repeatedly and clearly explained, despite saying “I acknowledge” rather a lot. They clearly do not [acknowledge, that is]. imho only.

Not sure the point in fighting a battle with the boss either – feels like a bit like a done deal. Or is that just my lack of challenger instinct this week? I only have 12 days remaining now, so lets be honest, how helpful can I actually be? I slunk off in the end, had said all I had to say, have to let the guys who are continuing to work there make it work for themselves.

And… onto cheerier topics… I went running tonight in Golden Acre Park. The rhododendron’s were in fresh bright pink, orange, white and yellow blossom. (Non of the common purple colour I have in my garden). Had a good old rant to my running buddy, tripped over a couple of tree routes (avoiding serious injury) and when we’d lapped the park and the woods a few times, came home and unpacked this weeks’ exciting offerings from my organic grocery bags.

Lovely fresh organic bread, home made chutney, milk, fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice and a veritable mountain of carrots, beans, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes et al. Actually I’ve started giving away courgette’s and aubergines to friends (have since canceled the Mediterranean veggie box, it was overloading me). In fact the amount of vegetables Farm Around North think one person can eat in a week is rather ambitious. Can only think they’ve thought “ah-hah, 5-a-day. Times by 7 is….” And then measure it all out in extra large portions.

Anyway despite the fruit fly colony I’m inadvertently providing a home for on the 20 or so bananas I’m trying to get through, I like the organic deliveries a lot and am not looking forward to canceling the order once I hit unemployment and abject poverty. Which incidentally will be in about 12 working days time. Oh happy days.

They appear to lead you to make random decisions back in real life.

*I hope against hope* that I’m making the right decision… or at least, that I’m making a good decision, it’s probably not as clear right and wrong… but I’ve climbed the wall into the orchard to steal the apples and now appear to have left my hat in there. So rather than leave my hat out there and wonder what happened to it, I’m going back in to get some more apples, and who knows I might stay and work for the orchard owner.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve resigned my well-paid career-focused job in the UK, without another role to go to. Which is a major first for a calculated risk-taker like myself.  For the short term I’ll probably be a little skint. But longer term I’d like to be richer inside (see how long that sustains me for eh!) as I intend to be back in South America at the end of the Summer and come back to England sometime before 2009.

Plans could go Pete Tong, but that’s the current one.

It certainly wasn’t what I intended when I first went out there. But I do appear to have changed, relaxed and mellowed. And much as I do love my job, the internet, marketing and my clients, and much as I feel bad about leaving home advertising who so kindly held my job open for me last time, I want to live life and I value my health… so, flipping heck it’s hard to justify, but I’m chucking it in, in the hope this will be better for me.

With a bit of luck I’ll be able to keep this site updated with more adventures in Ecuador and whilst I  live down in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. (It’s a bigger trip this time!)

With love – Wandering Whirley

Come on legs

May 16, 2007

So I ran the Leeds half marathon at the weekend.

It was actually a really day and I actually enjoyed the run. Sir Jimmy Saville was the man with the starting gun, although he didn’t hang around until the end, so I only saw him briefly at the beginning. Slightly disappointing.

I finished in 2 hours 6 minutes and 4 seconds and came somewhere in the middle of the pack of female finishers. You can see all the results here, think I was the 473rd woman to finish out of 944 of us. About 1300 women entered, but not everyone finishes.

So we ran all the way around, all 13 miles. Drank from the watering points, but didn’t take advantage of the portable loos, overtook and were overtaken, sprinted towards and briefly past our enthuasiastic supporters, and slogged up hills. It was fabulous and a huge sense of achievement, because until you actually do it, you don’t know you can.

If someone said to me last year when I huffed and puffed up the last hill on the 5km Race for Life, that I could run – without stopping for over 2 hours – I would never have believed them. Bit sad it’s all over now.

Must just say a huge thank-you to all of you who supported me on the day and also those of you who sponsored me – raising a whopping £500 for Parkinson’s Disease Society on www.justgiving.co.uk/whirley. The PDS were really great actually and sent me a bright pink running vest for the day. Pictures to follow in a week or whenever Marathon Photos update their website! (Clearly I wasn’t taking too many pics myself as I was too busy running) .

So the run was great, me and my running buddy completely smashed the times we were going for and even got our breath back reasonably quickly at the end. She’s buggered off on holiday now for a week to recover – lucky lady. However as soon as she gets back I’ll be petitioning for the next run! Or maybe joining a running club… ick. It’s just that I can’t see that I’ll have the will power to keep running unless I have a buddy to run with, so I’m weighing up the benefits of the 3 or 4 local running clubs. With a bit of luck we might do the Jane Tomlinson 10km Run For All on June 24th.

However as that run is also on a Sunday, I think I might be taking the Monday off work. I was utterly shattered Sunday afternoon and evening. I just lay like a Henry Moore (ie reclined) in front of the telly and ate loads of sugary things and drank many pints of water and cups of tea. On Monday my creaking iron-girder legs stiffened under my desk so as to make standing and walking difficult and my general air was that of a completely knackered person. Since then I’ve scoffed bags of Minstrels, a large number of Jaffa Cakes, plus regular meals and a couple of Curly Wirlys. Last night I pigged out on a bag or Thai Red Chili Sensations and half a bottle of Merlot. But I think enough’s enough now, and I’m reining it back in with organic soup for lunch. Joy.

Long overdue this… but I just haven’t had the urge to write anything!

However, right now I’m filled with a fear and childish anticipation over my half marathon run. Yes, that is correct. I have indeed signed up to run 13 miles; without stopping; all in one go; without motorised or four legged help. Ridiculous isn’t it?!?

It’s the Leeds Half Marathon and it will be the longest distance I’ve ever run in my life. It should take about 2hrs 15 minutes, based on the route and my current training times.

Double shocking I know – not only am I signed up, in possession of a running number (4905) and special widget to attach to my trainers so my official time can be recorded – I have been… practising. But in the running world I think they call it training.

I can’t really take much credit for this as my running partner has done all the planning. I just show up at her house, do a couple of pointless stretches and we head off around Leeds for an hour or more.

And when training for a long run – I’m counting 13 miles as long, even though crazier people apparently also run 26 miles! – we have devised various tactics, which I will share with you, my largely non-running friends.

1. Run a long way from home.

2. Take no money.

3. Then you HAVE to run back. Taxi and bus are not options.

4. Neither are the countless curry houses, kebab shops and chippys your route will invariably take you past.

5. Buy a pair of proper running shoes. Up and Running were fabulous fitting them – even made me run on a running machine and filmed my neutral right foot and my over-pronating right foot. (And no, I have no idea what that means either, apart from the fact I need “special shoes”). I feel gazelle-like and springy in my Brook’s ones. A pair of special socks to go with will not go amiss either… they really have stopped the immense blisters I was getting before.

6. Splash out on a pair of running trouser things… scary looking, but warm, able to wick away vast quantities of sweat from your ass, plus your thighs will happily swish along past each other with accomplished runner ease.

7. Sports bra. Another must. Lady jock – American brand, you’d never have guessed would you?

8. You might also want to purchase a reflective vest, so you don’t get run over. Or (my own personal approach) you could always buy a neon reflective vest for your running buddy and then just stay close to her, ditto with proper running watch.

So whilst out and about, it’s critical to conserve energy for the full length of the run. You might think also for hills, and yes that’s a good thing, conserve energy for hills – aka the whole of the uber-punishing Meanwood Road. But more important than this is to conserve energy for busy pedestrian areas, popular eateries and pubs…

When running through Headingley to stop is to invite taunts from local pizza-scoffers. If you can continue their looks of derision turn to envy. Similarly with fat people in cars at traffic lights, actually scrub that, most people at traffic lights; it seems as though whilst thinking you are mad for being out running, people also want to be able to do what you’re doing. And – just so you know – it is the looks from these people and the fatties taking the 20 or so strides from take-away to car, that spurs us on.

Anyway excitement and training tips aside, I have to work out the diet thing.

It’s a morning run and I will need to have digested my breakfast in order to avoid the cripplingly painful cramps I have had under my ribs when I’ve consumed a slice of toast or bit of brie in the half hour pre-run. Aparently pasta and being well hydrated beforehand will also help. Although on the hydration front I am a little nervous of over-doing it and getting caught out Paula Radcliffe style, already on runs I have become a regular in a number of pubs on our route.

Then there’s the energy sachets you can get for while you’re running… they’ve thought of everything the running marketeers. Nikki bought some disgusting slime in a wrapper for us to try this week. It’s supposed to be full of good stuff your body needs – I’m guessing salt and sugar – but it tasted like a cross between mushed up banana and something else and is NOT GOOD. So I might try and manage without those.
Anyway, that’s my running update for now. If the pictures aren’t too shocking I’ll post a few after the event. In the meantime if you want to sponsor me please do www.justgiving.com/whirley. I’m running for The Parkinson’s Disease Society and I know they’ll appreciate any contribution you can afford.

So with the serious bit out of the way… the number’s you’re looking for are 4015 Nikki and 4905 me!!