Running Again

Day 27

I am stuck for words today. I think it might be because I haven’t stopped talking from 0800 – 1810.

I’ve spoken to Joe and it seems his exam went okay! We’ll find out his results tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed. Remember, depending on how well Joe has done today, he’ll be ranked and that’ll ultimately determine where we can move to in Summer!

In fact, it was because I was asking every question imaginable about the exam that I missed the 1800 spin class so gingerly got on the treadmill. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the treadmill today as it was the first time for, what?, two weeks? A little longer, maybe? I didn’t even have my running shoes, just gym trainers.

I needed to do something and the pool just didn’t tickle my fancy. I wanted to feel the sweat dripping down my cheeks and stinging my eyes. I started at a reasonable pace to complete my 20 minute Tempo run and reached 3.55km, a relatively respectful distance, actually. It was a comfortable run, too.

But I couldn’t help notice the 6 girls surrounding me. That is, 3 pairs of girls. Six treadmills is a lot when there are, say. 20 in total. I wouldn’t object if they were working out, but to just non committedly jog-walk-hold on is a little bit of a waste, no? They continued their workouts on the stretching area to do ‘circuits’. It was a snug jumble of legs, squats and dumbbells. I’m not sure how it all worked, really. I untangled myself from their web (I unconsciously got wrapped in) to hit the shower.

I think tonight will be a movie with an Options hot chocolate. I’m desperate for a chocolate fix today so choosing the healthier option. It’s lucky Joe didn’t leave chocolate or biscuits hidden in the house because I would’ve needed to tear through everything to find them, and I’m already in pyjamas so not bracing the Aberdonian dark night.

Remember to indulge yourself this week. Plan it in to ensure you give yourself that treat.



Day 22-26

Has it really been this long? Does it mean that I haven’t filled up my writeandrun31 quota? Excuses, lazy, busy or forgetfulness? The reason why I haven’t been keeping my blog can be up to you, but I’ve been keeping a healthy lifestyle behind closed doors or, in this case, shut iPad.

The fact is that I became tiresome of social media. I get like that a bit sometimes. Sometimes I like to close off from technology as an act of selfless indulgence in being mindful to the here and now. I spent the weekend feeling a little under the weather and I think that’s part of it; to finish #writeandrun31 I’ve got to finish healthy. So despite sheer determination to exercise every day of January, by allowing myself rest days so I can complete January without injury nor illness. It’s also incredibly important to me to support joe as much as possible. The days have been creeping towards his exam which is tomorrow.

I love an old book; its silky pages, cracked spine and musky smell. I picked up The Nuer last Thursday and it’s wonderfully reminiscent of my days studying in the sleepy town of St Andrews. I had 4 hours of classes per week so spent a lot of time reading interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) ethnographies and was captivated by prolific anthropologists. Thursday though, I indulged in Evans Pritchard’s technical writing.

I’ve committed myself to a week’s Temping job at a local car dealer’s Service store. It’s remarkably fun given my role is outlined as to connect customers to the right staff regarding their enquiry. So I am indulging in administrative duties for some pocket money. Well, since not teaching I have been living relatively modest and haven’t been able to spend as extravagantly, to be honest, so my pocket money will most likely go Joe’s way, to pay my way!

So I urge you to indulge yourself this week. Take a bubble bath, read the book you’ve been meaning to start, enjoy a date night, get your nails done. Do something for yourself and take a break from the normal. You’re worth it.

Day 22 & 25
The weekend was pillared by an hour of spin on each day. I deliberately push myself hard during every track so by the time there are 20 minutes left, my legs are burst and abs burning.
Day 23 & 24
The weekend wasn’t as adventurous. I shamefully snoozed through Friday night’s Body Pump class and slept most of Saturday. Crazy weekend, right?
Day 25
After my first day of work in a while, I was starving by the time I got home. A hunger pang that big could only be filled with an over-sized portion of Veggie Chilli with sliced jalapeños and a double dose of grated cheese and guacamole. Yummy!

Untameable Hair
Crazy over the weekend but professional and sleek for today.


Cold Runnings

Day 21

Social media exploded last night with running in cold weather. To prove me right or to contradict me, who am I to judge? But I’m still undeniably against running outside in such extremities. These guys, however, seem to relish the cold, snowy days and the unique runs they offer. They boast about muscle seizing and lungs bursting because of the cold.

There are even organised races for those crazy people who enjoy pushing their limits in below zero conditions. I don’t know, unless you live in an area that’s like that (and no, Aberdeen’s annual -2C doesn’t count) and so there’s no other way (there’s always a treadmill, but anything over 5K get boring for me) to run, then it’s ludicrous.

I’ve already admitted that I’m a seasonal cyclist and I’m ok with that. There’s absolutely no way you’ll get me out when there’s any ice on the road. Not only is it dangerous for club runs, it’s also dangerous going solo. If you have a slip or skid and get badly hurt on isolated aberdeenshire roads, you’re stuffed. Hello hypothermia. But I love running outside when it is a cold, crisp day. There’s nothing better than running with a low sun, sunglasses on and wrapped up. But, have you ever come back from a cold run and your skin is a patchwork of bright orange and pinks that sting so bad? Well, this blog suggests that’s us just one step away from frost bite. Is that reason number one to move somewhere hot? Mmmm… yes, please.

Day 21
A cold is working on me. I feel it under my skin and in my nose. So it is difficult not to discourage myself from getting active today, but I realise not exercising could become a habit when feeling slightly under the weather. Nothing hurts, I’ve had enough sleep and I ate my weight in pizza last night, so I’m well fuelled on carbs. I’m now faced with a question: rest day or lazy day? Last night was a peaceful swim, the day before Body Pump and before that, rest day. So today, I’m just being lazy… time for spin!

Joe has me hooked onto a podcast called This American Life. It’s a weekly, hour long podcast which chooses different themes per week and puts together different stories. It’s a unique format that they say is

like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.

This week is about a guy who doesn’t feel blind, but is medically diagnosed as blind. He has learned to construct the world around him using echo location through clicking using his tongue. He has had an interesting life, where his mum was marginalised by society for encouraging her son to develop socially unacceptable habits (the clicking) to help him trust his senses and navigate. Even as a child, he would ride his bike and climb trees.

Untameable Hair
Whispy and tucked into my scarf… It’s cold!


Magic Beans


I (re)downloaded Twitter and Instagram today. Not because I have the urge to share even more of my life than what I already do blogging, but because of a faulty gift. Joe brought me a Magic Bean Can by Tiger Stores. After unsuccessfully searching for an email, I took to Twitter because who wants their company publicly slated? In this day and age, we are all too aware of how social media can not only enhance but manipulate public image.

Well, my Magic Bean Can (the size of a small, hotel-sized soda can) was tipped onto the desk (only a little dust went on Joe’s study books) and the hunt was on for my magic bean. Carefully sifting through the gold-leaf-look-a-like soil and anticipation high, I was searching for my little bean with a heart shape motive. My heart sank when I used a teaspoon to put the soil, bit by bit, back into the 250ml can and I hadn’t found my bean.

Why wasn’t it there? I wanted to know. The instructions said to empty contents, repack, push bean 1cm into soil and water every 3 days. But how could magic grow without my bean!? So, I took to Twitter to find out! 1hour later and they want my address to send me my magic bean!

Day 17
I tried a very slow jog on the treadmill for 3 minutes to test my shin splints. I didn’t last 2 and I could honestly cry out of desperation to get back into power-gear-go! So before breakfast, I treated myself ice cubes wrapped in a towel. Very chilly!

I went to Run for It yesterday to ask about treatments. I felt embarrassed explaining that I might have pushed too fast too quickly (but I was enjoying it)! I saved face by saying I’m icing, stretching, cross training and foam rolling every day. They only had Skinz shin compressors, but I’ve also been recommended by Alan another, bulkier wrap, which helped for him. I’m not convinced. I know I need total rest from running just now, but are these things not preventers rather than treatment? They’re too pricey if they’re not going to help.

Untameable Hair
Crazy, fluffy and unclaspable from Body Pump last night. It was a quick shower because we were going out so I decided to leave washing my hair to today. Big mistake. Not even dry shampoo can thwart it from becoming ever more uncontrollable.

Sweat a Little

Day 15

I went with Joe to the Dentist today. I told him jokingly it was because I wanted to make sure he actually went in, but it was really because I know how nervous the Dentist makes him. We had a short wait, then the time came when he was the patient! He came out with a sparkling smile, even though he has to go back next week, and twice told me “how strange it was to be on the other side of the table”.

I had a long lie in and woke up at midday(!!) feeling sluggish. That meant I slept through my Body Pump class and had to have lunch rather than breakfast. I hate missing meals.

I decided that maybe fate was telling me today should be a rest day? But I couldn’t help it thinking if I really needed a rest day or if I was just feeling a little bit lazy. I made peace with having a rest day after my shins started to tingle a little again. But, once Joe left for work and dinner was finished, I was too restless and headed off to the gym.

I basically just went to the gym to shower. Standing in bra and shorts, I remembered my trainers are waiting by the front door at home. Not to worry, I’ll go for a swim. But then I remembered the Old Wife’s Tale and my mum always said that he ou shouldn’t swim after eating because I’ll sink! So, my ‘run’ turned into a 15 minute sauna! It was very relaxing!

Personal Diet
I wrote about the BBC’s report how genes affect the way we eat, posted a link to their test and now want to share the TV Program. It suggest that our different body types affect our relationships with foods and, by taking the test, you can figure out what kind of eater you are and get recipe ideas to satisfy YOU!

It’s remarkable if it works, but I’m unsure. I’m a constant craver (I do always think about food), but I’m also a Feaster (I have no sense of control) and an Emotional Eater (I might have once demolished a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s during my exams). There’s also a What’s the Right Diet for You series. I have yet to see it, but you can catch it on iPlayer. I’m somewhat suspicious because they chose people who were very much one Eater and not a mix. Would they get the same weight loss results? Plus, the volunteers are overweight and, if eating healthier and with portion control, they will loose weight no matter which Eater Diet they followed.

Untameable Hair
Hot and fluffy after my sauna.

Run, Bike, Dance, Repeat


If you have ever had shin splints, then I need not explain the earth shattering pain that they cause. Twice I have iced both shins for 15minutes each which sends, without fail, a dull and numbing freeze throughout my lower legs.

When training for my half marathon in 2013 I caught my first, and I had hoped only, batch of shin splints and today I vouch to recognise my mistakes from last time. Which is why I was balancing running with body pump, to strengthen my legs. Alas, fate decided otherwise, or maybe I just got carried away, and crippling pain and fractured bones have indeed returned. Nice. So I’m doing everything they say to help healing and have turned to rely on the spin bike for this week until I recover. Maybe I should hire a masseuse and relish in the benefits of reducing DOMS?

Day 14
As mentioned, I now take to the spin bike to fulfil my daily fix. I love road cycling and am excited for when the weather picks up so I can take to the road for 50+ mile rides. Jeer if you wish, but I am a seasonal rider and have no wish to balance on top of two very thin wheels on an immaculate bike when the meandering and wild aberdeenshire roads are glistened with ice and snow.
So today I was spinning a mis of stick hills and HIIT for 55 minutes followed by a quick 15 minutes abs workout. I was starving by the end of it!

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Something I like to do when I’m alone, and yes that includes being in the car.
Promise me that you will pick at least one song and dance like nobody’s watching. I’ve selected a few of my faves:
1. Wrapped Up, Olly Murs
2. Bang Bang, Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
3. Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson
4. Lips Are Movin, Meghan Trainor

Untameable Hair
Brush and hairdryer is hand, I tackled the mane and coerced it into the socially acceptable some up some down.


Working Out is Fun!

Day 13

As Joe would endearingly say, I’m a problem. I picked up our Baedeker travel guide for our upcoming trip to Israel, but came out with more books than just that. I’m desperate to flick through its pages and start planning our journey between Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, but, as Joe’s on Nights, he’s currently sleeping next door and I don’t want to take a peak before he does.

Day 13
I have to succumb to cross training because my shattered splints have shattered any idea of running right now. So today’s ‘run’ was a 30 minute cheesy, disco-style spin class, disco lights included, which was followed by abs. It was a good workout, but I think I’ll stick to my spin list because I’ve tailored it to sprint work to balance the muscle workout from Body Pump.

Gym Bunnies
January is a busy time for fitness fanatics, new and old alike. I’ve never seen so many ‘celebrity’ fitness DVDs in the supermarket aisles. One guy who takes this to the extreme is Shaun T’s Intense Max Workout. But the irony is that offers exist purely in the crisps, chocolates, fizzy drinks aisles. Um, sure if you wiggle and wobble around your living room once a week, you’ll burn off the weight you want… And you can pick the dvd up when you buy your Buy One Get On Free crisps!

I don’t think anyone is fooled. So I admire anyone who signs up to the gym as their 2015 resolution. It might compromise my enjoyment of the (now super packed) gym, but I secretly say to myself that the girl who runs next to me is looking at me and thinking that she looks forward to when she can match my pace. After all, I still do that! Particularly in Body Pump.

I saw a report on our genes and the impact they have on our eating habits, which, being a Vegetarian, I think is very important. I’m always banging on about healthy choices to Joe because, in my opinion, his diet is somewhat wanting during the intense and high-stress time in his life. The BBC has a test that first calculates your BMI then asks you 12 questions to determine what kind of eater you are: Constant Crave, Feaster or Emotional Eater. The test determines percentages and offers recipes for your ‘type’. I’m 48% craver. No surprise there!

And I’m sure there are plenty of people who say their genes are against them when they want to loose weight, but I just don’t believe that! Rather than blaming the parents for not being able to bust their butt at the gym, just go do it, even if you have to work a little harder.

So, my humble advice to everyone who is anyone, and that includes all weights and sizes… have fun when you workout and it won’t feel like work!

I got that from Popsugar Fitness. A feed I love to follow because it’s fun, uplifting and has plenty of printable strength and cardio workouts and yummy recipes! Check it out!

Untameable Hair
Frizzy in the cold!

The Nuer Didn’t Have Shin Splints


True to form, after a weekend filled with Joe studying, he’s on Night Shift until Friday morning in the Intensive Care Unit negates a whopping 13 hour shift of making decisions that will keep patients alive. He’s manage to text once already, a quick hello to check in with me after the gym, saying that tonight will be busy.

I received a long awaited parcel in the post recently; The Nuer by E. E. Evans Pritchard. I first ‘met’ the Nuer during my undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews and I’ve been dying to get my inquisitive hands on the ethnography. I’m suspicious that it’s no longer being published, but it’s a must for any SocAnth student, and my copy has come from J. Evans of UCL. VERY exciting. I’ve no idea who he (she) is, but I love the idea of a book having a life history. Who loved it before I do? Did they carry it everywhere, was it studied, read in the morning and at night?

The Nuer fascinate me in particular because of the interconnection between ecology and their culture is fascinating (they were cattle pastoralists, influence high sneaked into their labels for humans!) and then they were somewhat more resistant to British dominance than other people’s. The British needed Evans Pritchard to help them understand and thus gain control over this reluctant group, and his ethnography reads explicitly for that purpose.

Day 12
I had a great Body Pump tonight! True to my promise, I promised myself to cross train and so pushed myself hard with the weights tonight. It was a different instructor than usual, which was a pity because I really like Monday night’s instructor!!

But I broke my promise. Knowing Joe wouldn’t be waiting for me at home, I thought I’d give the treadmill a try. Silly, I know. I think I shattered my shins. I was going to stop at 10 minutes, but I was distracted by the football on the telly, so decided I’d stop at 15 minutes, but by then, I thought I might as well keep going. I did refrain from bumping up the speed every few minutes, so totalled a 3.54km run in 20 minutes.

Untameable Hair
Wanting to keep the silky smoothness from yesterday’s date, I didn’t wash it until after the gym. Rather it’s been tied up all day! Not bad.

Medic WAG

Day 11

I sit in Starbucks and tap to you using beetroot-stained fingernails. Joe and I have been on a date today! For Christmas, his present from me was ’12 Dates of Christmas’, a box of 12 sealed envelopes, each named a month of the year corresponding to an appropriate date. On the first of every month, joe has a new card, a new date to open, and we plan when in the month we can go on it.

Today was reminiscent of our 2nd date; a trip to Aberdeen Museum and a trip to The Coffee House (best cake in town). On that date, joe hadn’t even moved to Aberdeen and I was a jittery and nervous wreck because here I was, a humble teacher in training explaining to an A&E doctor why certain paintings are sublime, surreal or terrible and walking him through the Scottish Art hall and my favourite paintings in the collection. I got butterflies when he asked me to explain Instagram to him and when he wrote a postcard to me, pictured with my favourite painting.

Our date that day had lasted hours. We couldn’t stop talking to each other. Today though, it was almost a speed date! We’ve eaten, pointed at our favourite paintings, huffed at the terrible modern exhibition and now, in starbucks, Joe is back to studying and I’m going to I’ll touch on how I experience being a Doctor’s partner.

Medic WAG
We met online. Joe was charming, sensitive and inquisitive, and even online I thought he was truly wonderful. We sent long emails then met quickly. I felt to intimidated and remember phoning my mum and explaining Joe is an Anaesthetist (the airways guy) and works in A&E. I felt so inadequate. Yes, I had two degrees, interest in cycling, running, art and theatre, but Joe is a doctor! We met fairly quickly, kissed on our first date and we were pretty besotted by each other already! I fell in love with him for so many reasons: his extensive general knowledge, passion, ambition, his attention to detail and the way he asks questions about someone’s interests to really get to know them, his charisma, particularly in social groups and he tells great stories. Plus, he’s a vegetarian! What a bonus!

But whilst our first year was full of adventures, camping and holidays, Joe working in the hospital is difficult for both of us. Joe comes home after a 12 or 13 hour shift where he’s had to constantly make life saving and life changing decision, depending if he’s in surgery or Intensive Care Unit and he’s tired. After that, Joe comes home exhausted because the hospital is understaffed and has to study for a few hours before he can even think about relaxing before bed to start all over again tomorrow. This article summarises the kind of shift Joe has regularly.

It is lonely living with Joe. He can do this for 4 nights at a time or over the weekend and be expected to stay overtime if he’s needed for no extra pay. And I get upset because we’ve had to cancel going to the cinema or the dinner I made for him will be cold, again. Our relationship fits around work and study. Joe’s exam is on January 27th, so his free time is spent with his nose in all kinds of medicine books. Most doctors know what medicine does what, but anaesthetists are old fashioned and expect their doctors to know the why and how. Our relationship comes last at the moment.

He gets his rota of 6 weeks at a time, which means that even planning in advance is pretty non existent. I’ve signed us up for a run on Saturday 6 June but Joe has had remind me that he might be at Job Interviews that weekend. Of course, he might not. He might be on nights, weekend or the small possibility of actually being off! I say I’m okay with that, but, honestly I’m not. I have to go to family functions alone because of the irregular shift pattern and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s under-staffed department who rarely grant their doctors study leave, never mind time off for personal events.

So our lives are restricted by Joe’s job. Depending on how he does in his exam at the end of the month, we could be moving somewhere good, bad or not get a progressive job for next year. He’ll be ranked with all the other ITU Anaesthetists and the highest will get the most desirable jobs in the best location. We will have to move to somewhere with a teaching hospital – Dundee? Glasgow? Aberdeen? Edinburgh is out because Joe isn’t competitive enough (he’s not done as many projects and attended as many conferences as others). Or will we move to England? The system is different there and the NHS is plastered over the news, and not because it’s revelling in good light. But Aberdeen is a bad place to be. The doctors don’t get time off to study nor do they get teaching, both of which they are entitled to do.

Support Network
It’s vital that partners of doctors have a strong support base around them. People often expect me to have a lavish lifestyle, attending balls, regular holidays but they don’t recognise the loneliness. Yes we’ve been to Vietnam, Madrid and Brighton last year and are going to Israel, but that is because Joe needs time off because work is stressful. To help, I ask about work. I get all the gruesome details because it’s important to me that Joe knows I understand work can be difficult. I have a friend whose boyfriend works with Joe so we can share how we’re feeling at particularly difficult times, such as not spending Christmas together.

Doctor Joe
But it’s not all bad. I can watch 24 Hours in A&E now without getting grossed out and I now know what is happening to my body when I feel asthmatic, why I swear and shake before being sick and all these doctor questions that you’d never waste your Doctor’s time with! When I was beginning to move in, I fell off the pavement as I tried to pack my car and cut my knee through tights. It was so sore and my lip was quivering as I drove the 10 minutes to his house. I had to peel off and unstick my tights from the wound. It was worse than I thought… There was flappy skin and a stone in it! I cried as I sat on the toilet and Joe cleaned my knee.

But for anything more serious, I get the old cracker, “Go to your Doctor” and no I don’t get prescriptions. It is a matter of professionalism.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m wary of shin splints returning, so will be cross training for at least the next week. I went to Body Pump this morning. An hour of sweat dripping off my elbows and down my back as I pumped relatively heavy weights at high intensity intervals. I love Pump! I love squats! It’s the Les Mills 92nd release (I’m not sure how often each release lasts for) so new music and new choreography meant the instructor was a little off her usual high energy, powerful thighs and pumping lots of weights.

Untameable Hair
Admittedly, my hair is sitting nicely today because I wanted to look good for Joe. He’s a very kind man because he says he likes my hair “big” (frizzy – think of Loki’s ears!).


Shin Splints


Technically, we are on Day11 in UK time as its past midnight, but we are home late after visiting Loki with friends. LOL is the charming little grump miniature poodle I was looking after yesterday. Whatta’guy!

I’ll keep it short. Yesterday I mentioned that Day7 didn’t upload, which is a shame. I had excused myself for missing running and writing on Day6 because I was tired and it’s important for me to rest when needed. But I feel it was a heart felt post about being the partner of a doctor as this week snd indeed weekend have somewhat epitomised the loneliness that comes with living with a doctor. I plan to share my experience with you tomorrow.

Another 20 minute treadmill tempo run today (I’m really enjoying them!) and although I sustained a faster pace for substantial time, I hit the 3.65km mark again. I come off the treadmill with sweat dripping from my elbows and face, my body feeling fatigued but strong and my mind alert. Keeping so many environmental factors the same gives me a good grounding to push myself. But this fast increase and intense pushing has blessed me with the onslaught of shin splints.

Shin Splints
Have you had shin splints? They’re agonising. I can feel every shattered muscle fibre even when I walk. I’ve had them once before but I thought it was just my legs telling me they weren’t strong, so I pushed through until it was a real struggle to move. That’s when I looked up what could be happening and learned. So, for the next week, if not longer, I’ll cross train using body pump, spin or cycling. I think I’ll ice my shins tomorrow to ease inflammation. I’d love to hear if you know how to treat shin splints? Have you tried compression wear? Does it work?

Untameable Hair
As we were visiting friends this evening, I decided to unwind the hair straighteners and tame the mane! (It is a Saturday after all!)