So tomorrow morning, first 5K…

The Dubai Women’s Run is tomorrow. Wow that came around quickly…I signed up in July thinking pfft November is ages away and now it’s tomorrow. At 7am. Be at the start at 6.30am. Crap. I am not a morning person. I did however do a 4.5k run last Friday morning after dropping Paul’s parents at the airport at 6am so it’s not like I haven’t done it before. It’s just strange as if you had told me this time last year that I would be getting up at 5am on Friday morning to go for a run, I would have been all like, “you fricken crazy?” I have teased people…predominantly one of my super-fit best friends.. for running at any time of day on their weekends, and now here I am.

I am nervous but super excited but can’t wait for it to be over all at the same time. At the end of the day (or beginning of it), it’s 45mins max. Fingers crossed to under 40 but we will see. I want to run as much of it as I can and 8 weeks ago that was 30 seconds!
Paul and I played tennis this week and it was incredible to feel, and for him to recognise as well, that I could get to balls that I never could at the beginning of the summer and after 45 mins I was sweaty but primarily hungry, which was the reason we stopped at 45. I didn’t feel as if my legs were tired or that I didn’t have the energy to chase down balls and that is an awesome feeling. I am still hovering around 80kg but I haven’t been particularly focused on diet so I know why and with Paul’s best friend and his wife coming and then my friend from Ireland and Rugby7’s and Christmas and more friends…well there is always an excuse in Dubai to go out and eat lovely food. If I can lose another couple in the next 2 months, well then great, if not well I am down 7 since May so hopefully bit by bit it will keep coming off.

Am going to leave with a quote from Bendoeslife who was my inspiration to start this in the beginning-

“Think about four months ago. Think about where you were. What were you doing? Now think about how cool it would be if the four-months-ago version of yourself decided to start at that moment. Think about where you would be now. Four months of diet and exercise. Four months without a cigarette. Four months of doing life. A lot can improve in four months.
Think about how fast the past four months have flown by. These next four are going to go just as fast. Why not start right now?”

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How time flies…

When you are working your butt off. Literally.


I did no running at all during GITEX week, ate grilled chicken burgers everyday at Burger Fuel (at least it was organic grilled chicken and avocados!) due to lack of options, and my weight has stayed stubbornly the same- 80.1kg.

My body also felt as beaten up as if I had been running everyday with sore feet and sore legs so the whole standing all day thing must burn some calories! I did my first run in a week on Saturday morning and went back a few steps on the C25K program to the beginning of Week 6- 5mins, 8mins, 5mins of running- and it went ok. It did feel good to be back out there, up and so productive early on a Saturday morning, but my feet hurt. A lot.

Another run yesterday went well- although I did have to walk for a few strides during the second 10min run stint as my stomach was cramping- I did at least feel like I could have kept going. Also (and apologies in advance to the men out there) am PMSy and my boobs hurt. A lot!

Unfortunately GITEX messed up my schedule a bit and now only have 9 days before I do my first race and am 2 weeks away from finishing the C25K programme. I am actually really looking forward to the 5k…I know I can do under 40 mins and hopefully running with other people will motivate me to keep going whereas on my own, my body listens to my brain moaning and so stops moving!

In other news having Paul’s parents here has been great. They are so good walking the dogs and his mum ensures the house is sparkling with not an item of clothing left to be washed! It also meant we went to Hatta Fort Hotel on Sunday for a lovely lunch, although their bizarre policy of 90 dhs each to use the pool (that was completely empty) did put a dampener on the day for me. I understand busy hotels charging for facilities use, or even hotels that are booked with lots of guests, or at the weekends…but a hotel in the middle of nowhere in the mountains, empty save for 1 other table having lunch, with no one in or around the pool, not letting Paul and I have a little refreshing dip after lunch without wanting to charge us nearly 20 euros each, I find a little crazy…and that it makes me a little ranty as well I’m afraid!

Going for dinner in Sharjah tonight with my parents and then 1 more day till the weekend…am going to see how fast I can do 5k tomorrow evening so wish me luck with that!

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Busy week…not of running!

I know, I know, has been over a week since I last posted but Eid Al-Adha happened and GITEX Tech Week (our busiest week in work) is beginning tomorrow so there are my excuses out of the way!

I have been running, although not as much as I should have. I did redo Week 6 Day 1 of C25K on Friday morning and it was fine- the break in the middle did seem to make it harder somehow but it was welcome. We had a great day down in Ras Al Khaimah, lunching with my parents at the new Waldorf Astoria– gorgeous hotel and location but really need to tone down the over-the-top American service. However they are still new and the food at Azure, the pool restaurant, was delicious…as was the naughty frozen strawberry daquiris..

Eid was very lazy but lovely- lots of eating (bbq party, JW steakhouse, Chin Chin chinese, boat in RAK) and drinking (please see previous list) with barely any exercise. Although we did get up on Wednesday morning and play tennis for an hour so not too bad as it was roasting so hopefully sweated a few of the toxins out!

Picked up the out-laws (Paul’s parents) on Thursday night and very much did not want to get up after 3 hours sleep for a run but I did and W6Day2 was complete- managed to do 3.7km in 25 mins which isn’t too bad. The first 10mins of running went great but again the break in between the runs (only 3 mins) went very quickly and I didn’t really want to start running again!

With Gitex starting tomorrow, I am not sure when I am going to get to run but I will try for tomorrow evening. 22mins running no walk breaks…It’s the mental barrier that is the problem. I think if I was running with someone the desire to just walk would decrease. I know I can do it, that’s what I just have to keep telling myself. I can do it. Don’t give up.

Running motivation

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Week 6 C25K

After I felt a bit bolstered by being able to run for 12 minutes on Sunday, Week 6 Day 1 happened last night. On paper it looks easier- back to the run 5 minutes, walk 2, run 8, walk 3, run 5 format but during the run 8 section I was struggling. My legs were heavy, I was finding it hard to breathe and just willing the minutes down. Ended up doing 3.1km in 23min which isn’t too bad but isn’t great either. I don’t know whether it was from playing an hour’s tennis the night before or things I ate or what. Anyway, will give them a rest tonight and am going to do W6 Day 1 again tomorrow morning. I just don’t feel right moving on after it.

This is not a depressed post, just a being brought back down to earth post! Am very much looking forward to this all getting easier!

Happy weekend!

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Movie night

Just a quick one to say I thought The Butler was ok..a bit long and the melding of comedy and political drama didn’t quite sit right. I do, however, think it was great in the way it unflinchingly explored America’s recent racial history with a predominantly black cast which is something I haven’t seen before.

No free popcorn at the premiere though…

We had gone for an Italian before it, at the Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate, Sicilia. It was nice- great pizza selection- but the service was very overbearing. Having worked in a restaurant, I know it’s boring when you are not busy, I also know that if 4 separate waiters ask if you want another glass of wine before your first one is even empty, it’s a sure-fire way to empty it even quicker! Delicious, complimentary arancini however which is always nice! So being rather full, (I brought 3/4’s of mine home as was trying to be good), we didn’t get any chocolate, popcorn, nachos or slushies that normally accompany me to the cinema!

No running yesterday, and one might say a bit of a cheat day, but back to an hour’s tennis tonight. Hopefully we will feel the difference in temperature as it is definitely cooling down…to about 35 or so…

Happy Hump Day!

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Long way to go but look how far I’ve come..

what i look like running

So last night was Week 5 Day 3 of C25K and that means 5 mins brisk warm up walk and 20 mins running. No walking breaks. I was apprehensive to say the least. The furthest I had ran continuously was 8 minutes and the last 2 minutes of that I was continuously looking at my phone thinking it had broken.

I had bought a new reflective top in a sports shop sale and actually, weirdly, couldn’t wait to get out there and try it out. We walked the dogs and then I left him ensconced watching Arsenal as I headed back out and started running…and I didn’t stop for 12 and a half minutes. I took 30 seconds walk break and ran again for 5 minutes, walked for 30 seconds and ran the last 2.

I have to admit I was a bit bummed that I hadn’t managed the full 20, but when I got home my legs were killing, my face was a tomato and I was very out of breath so I know I did as much as I could have. 1 minute total walking. 20 mins- 2.9km. That means to get under 30 which is my aim for the 5k, I am going to have to get much faster…However just for comparison Week 1 Day 1 of C25K is- alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes- and that killed me and yesterday I ran for 10 minutes without looking at the clock.

Today is a rest day and this is great as I won premiere tickets to see The Butler which looks brilliant. So am taking Paul and my Mum and Dad and I will endeavor to not dip popcorn into the delicious fake nacho cheese.



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The week ahead..

Living in the Middle East again, after being in the UK and Ireland for 8 years, it takes you a while to get back into the whole Fridays are a day off and you work on Sundays weekend.  Now I am back into it, I actually love Sundays. I still don’t like Mondays. Sundays are a brand new start. A clean slate to wash away the excess of the weekend. Especially since weekends here are normally always about excess.

Thursday was pretty tame…I didn’t go for a run as when walking the dogs, the humidity was oppressive and I couldn’t face it after the week I had, so instead we went to bed early and I was up at the crack of dawn to do my W5 Day 2 of C25K. It went ok, apart from tripping and falling on my face in the middle of the road just as the only car I saw all run went past, but I got up and finished so no big deal! First running injury- and for someone as clumsy as me it is a miracle it’s taken this long!

Then the healthy living part started to crumble- we brunched….It was friends’ birthdays at the H Hotel and was a lovely family thing. I did fairly well on the food side of it, filling my plate with fresh seafood and salads and only going for the SUGAR FREE chocolate mousse, however the all you can drink side really messed up the healthy living mantra. Started with white wine and soda spritzers (excellent choice) and then moved on to white russians..,and green apple martinis..and bubbles…and, and, and.

Anyway, what’s a brunch if you can’t enjoy yourself and I did. The problem for me always lies in the morning after a brunch…I was hungover, starving and the salad in the fridge just wasn’t going to cut it. There also was no chance that I was going for a run! I waited till lunchtime and went ‘healthyish’ food court option in Taqado Mexican Kitchen at it. Went for a burrito box- no wrap- with the barbecoa beef and no sour cream and it was absolutely delicious…although I also went for the churros dipped in hot chocolate so was a bit of a car crash diet wise.

I seem to constantly be reasoning with myself, thinking about how few calories are actually gained in the pain in the ass running I am doing, does allow me to choose wisely…and then..just when I think I have it nailed…I go for a deep-fried, sugar coated pastry dessert. Tasted good, but I was full from the meal already and really didn’t need it. Does anyone else suffer from this lack of self-control? What is the point in thinking I don’t want to drink fizzy pop anymore if I just go and order this dessert. I don’t think I can be trusted anywhere near food outlets. It’s the same in Subway- Oh I’ll have the low fat turkey breast with no sauce on whole wheat bread..oh and yes I will have the 2 white-choc chip macadamia cookies please! Craziness!

Anyway, it’s W5 Day 3 of C25K tonight and I am dreading it. Not just because of the weekend that was but because it is the longest I will have run in one go in probably my whole life. 20 minutes…which I do think is a bit of a leap from 8 but hopefully they know what they are doing. I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!

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Compromises, in both love and diet.

Having been with my boyfriend fAirparkor 6 years, it’s definitely good for us when we do new things together. Last weekend we went to Wadi Adventure (a kind of ‘extreme’ sports waterpark) and he loved the whitewater rafting (I didn’t) and I loved the Airpark …which was like an obstacle course 20metres off the ground and he hated it. However, we both had a great time body surfing in the wave pool and generally being in the sunshine so a lovely day was had.

I love cooking. I love cooking shows, cooking books, kitchenware shops, Pinterest images of things I dream of baking, the lot. This, however, does not add up to make me a good cook. The same as watching CSI does not make you into a criminologist. I do try though, I make lists of meals I would like to make, write out recipes, even go so far as buying ingredients with the aim of creating these masterpieces, before I end up making the same tried and tested meals.

So when I was given cooking class vouchers from the out-laws (Paul’s parents and sister) for my birthday, quite obviously I was delighted and then, for some reason, very nervous. Those of you who know me, know what a clutz I am. I can’t do anything without tripping over, bruising or indeed cutting myself and all this amplifies when in the kitchen. Say I messed up in the class, what if I sliced a finger off into the soup….

I am pleased to report that none of this happened, although there was a close moment with a peeler, and I have had a brilliant time at L’atelier des chefs at Le Meridien at both classes. There is a very nice, chatty Turkish head chef who has worked in Michellin star restaurants who makes things seem very easy. It is very hands on and all of the cooking and veg prep is done by you. Chef imparts little tit-bits of wisdom along the way and is not shy about adding more butter, cream, or duck fat as he sees fit. A man after my own heart!

Obviously, the cooking classes are not the place to be getting my diet on, BUT, I do believe in compromises…Week 5 Day 2* of C25K run this evening, Thursday, my weekend night, to make up for the delicious meal and glass of wine I had yesterday. Plus, the class was a learning experience and food for my soul so can’t be that bad for me!

Oh and a great date night as Paul came too. He knows how much I love the classes and he loves to eat delicious food so it was a win/win situation for us both. Compromise!

Our main course

Our menu-

Pan fried scallops with wilted fennel and sauce vierge (I don’t like fennel at all but squeeze some orange juice on it and it neutralises the aniseed taste!)
Sea bass with soy, ginger and lime, crispy noodles and asparagus
Chocolate pot with spiced madeleines.

*Run 3/4mile or 8 mins, walk 3 mins and repeat 3 times.
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Starting out and where I want to go…

I started reading bendoeslife a few weeks ago and it made me feel embarrassed…of myself. Here was this guy who weighed over 350lbs who started running and has now done Ironmans (Ironmen?!) and I, although overweight, can barely run for 30 secs. I decided to start that evening.

Now bear in mind that I live in Dubai and this was August so it was hot..and very sweaty, BUT I did it. I felt dreadful but each day I read a few more of Ben’s posts and each evening I would walk my dogs and then go back out for a run. I finished September having logged 42.6km. If my Nike+ hadn’t told me, I never would have believed it myself.

It’s now October (and getting cooler thank god!) and I have signed up for my first 5k in November. I am very excited and now I believe I can do it! I have been following the C25K to the letter and did Week 5 run 1 yesterday. This involves 5mins of running followed by 2mins walking 3 times in a row- I did it! and a little extra as I hadn’t quite got home yet and the distance was 4.73km in just under 40 mins.

My aim for the 5k is under 30. That was unthinkable this time last month.

Now I am not saying that this blog will be the most exciting you have ever read and it may be about food/restaurants in Dubai I have been to/my travels quite a lot of the time but I will be honest and this will make me accountable as this is something I have been finding very difficult!

I am 28 years old, 165cm and weigh 80.2kg. Down 7 from the beginning of May but it’s been a rollercoaster! Have added the bouncy castle pic (embarrassing!) from a wedding on the 17th of August. I felt good at the time, although the dress was tight, it is only looking at the pictures that I realise that I didn’t look how I thought I did. I was too pleased with the weight I had lost up to then and got carried away. Ate and drank far too much and ended up putting on nearly 4kgs in 2 weeks.

My goal is to be 74kg or under by Christmas Day. 12 weeks time. This may not seem like a lot but just to be under 80 is feeling like an achievement at the moment and is something I haven’t been for about 10 years! It would also be great to be able to run a 10k by then too.

Good luck to everyone that’s starting out- let’s ROCK-TOBER!

bouncy castle

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Back once again..

It’s been nearly a year and a half since I last wrote. This was not because I was lazy but because I genuinely didn’t want to fill the internet with any more crap. After I quit my job in Al Ain, I had a pretty low few months where I worked hard to get a job doing what I liked and it just didn’t work out…whether it was the fact that I was living in Al Ain…away from the marketing metropolis that is Dubai or that I didn’t have the Middle East experience that jobs were looking for. I felt pretty useless.

I then got a job doing Business Development for a training company. Working from home meant I didn’t have to do long drives and gave me experience working with hotels and companies in the UAE, I liked the relationship building part of the job. Going in, meeting new people, explaining what we did and how we could help, it was just the final sale that I found difficult.

After Paul got a job working in Dubai, we decided to move to the big, bad city and honestly, It has been fantastic. I hadn’t realised how much I missed having girl friends around and what it was like living with choice, where to eat, drink, shop, exercise…We also moved to the loveliest community in the Ranches and although the house is a quarter of the size of Al Ain and double the price, it is home. There are good restaurants, shops, running trails, tennis courts, swimming pools and lots of other people with dogs! Plus great location for work etc.

It will be a year next week since we moved and I am finally feeling like our life is on track. I have a job in marketing (finally!) and Paul is doing very well in his. I had thought that moving to a new country (a tax free country) would mean we were immediately richer, able to go on more holidays, able to save…it didn’t.

However, this is a new start. Let’s kick on from here.


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