Hi! My name is Rachel. I’m an Italian/American/Australian immigrant living in Scotland, where I am constantly cold (and frequently complain about it). I moved around a lot as a kid, and I’ve lived in a few countries around the world (Indonesia, Venezuela, England, the USA), but have been in the UK since I was a teenager. I like a lot of things about the UK (free health care, self deprecating humour, castles, not having to tip), but I would love to move back to the states at some point in my life.
When I moved here during high school I decided to stay for University. At home, my mother was a food Nazi (no fizzy drinks, no junk food, healthy healthy blah blah blah) so as soon as I lived without parental control I hit the high-calorie fun food. In a big way. From being a varsity volleyball/basketball/soccer player, I went careening into obesity thanks to overindulgence. Please see Exhibit A:
I went through my chub-phase always telling myself I could lose the weight if I wanted to, all I’d have to do is try. This was pretty comforting. It made me believe I could stop being ‘heavy’ just as soon as I put some effort into it. No problem. In my mind, I was as fit as I was at school, just carrying some extra weight. Denial is so cringeworthy when I look back on that time!
The turning point came when I went on holiday to Australia to visit my grandparents in 2004. The plane journey was horrible. It was like trying to stuff a handful of play-doh into a thimble. Damn tiny seats, am I right? I went through the holiday feeling overheated and uncomfortable, and I hated every photograph of me. But the real stiletto in the balls? Having my own grandmother walk past me making brownies in the kitchen, slap my butt, and ask, “How long do they take?” I told her they’d take 25 minutes, and she replied, “You’d be better off spending 25 minutes on the exercise bike in the garage.” Cold.
As soon as I got home I signed up to the gym. And kept going. I lost about 80 lbs. over the course of a year, and a lot of that was due to running. I learned to love it: it helps keep me feeling good about myself, it allows me to feel in control, and you don’t feel so guilty eating a curry and washing it down with beer if you’ve had a good sweat earlier in the day. I was back on form. Obligatory ‘Exhibit B’ image:
Now, apart from not living in a dive studio flat in Camden with a total w*****r, and minus a few piercings acquired during my ‘I’m so freaking alternative’ phase, I continue to run. I also continue to photograph poorly.
In 2012 I collected – big style. My initial aim was to run 10 races, but I got a bit carried away. Much to the annoyance of my delightful boyfriend, Ian, who I should add at this point can bench press me and is the reigning Mr. Moorings champion. He’s kind of a big deal. Here we are in 2009 at Hallowe’en:
[Aside] We have twice ventured into the world of sailing. We lied about our experience the second time and nearly drowned without the stability of the fun boat. We also sometimes go
munro bagging hill walking. Hillwalking is particularly enjoyable when you’re encased in clouds, can’t see where the cliffs start, are soaked to the bone and it’s freezing. I feel ‘sheer joy’ oozes from the photo below:
I am also slowly converting my friends to the way of running. In 2012, I managed to get a few friends doing their first 10k/half marathon/marathon with me, some of which were milestones of my own, and I met new running friends along the way. In particular, special mentions go out to Ronnie, who enters races as recklessly as I do and provides transportation to most, Ishbel, who I used to run faster than, and who is currently crushing my best times with the ease and graze of a gazelle, and Teri, who ran an amazing half marathon on a whim after a total of 3 miles training!