Hasta la vista, 2012!

This time last year I was in Australia with my family, jet-lagged, a bit sunburnt, and enjoying the fact that I was in a country experiencing summer.  I was in bed by about 10pm, and woke up at 5am on New Year’s Day for a run.

Like the party animal that I am, I am again preparing to spend midnight in my bedroom, but checking out the city’s firework display from my window and drinking the bubbly currently chilling in my fridge.  Part of that is by choice (I refuse to go to a bar only to wait 30 minutes to get served an overpriced warm beer in a plastic cup, all whilst inhaling the body odour and farts of the drunk people in the filled-to-way-over-capacity room).  Part of that is because I promised Ian we would stay in and do sexy things.  And a new reason I’ll be staying in?  I’m pretty sure I somehow pulled a muscle in my neck, for the second time of my life, and of the year.  Amazing.

Looking back at 2012, I’ve had a lot of firsts: my first half marathon (and 7 more), my first 10 miler, my first 13.1K, my first 17.5 miler, and, most importantly, my first marathon.  I didn’t think too much about signing up for a lot of races (in fact, I was a bit drunk when I signed up to some), but I’ve thought more carefully about next year’s schedule so that I don’t neglect Ian during so many weekends, and also so that I have some time to rest.  I have also learned the meaning of the word ‘rest’, and despite struggling with the concept, am improving with the idea of not working out every day.  Sometimes.

In 2013, I hope to continue racing relatively frequently, as well as incorporating some races outside of Scotland (Paris and Houston, I’m talkin’ to you!).  I also want to try out a few duathlons and triathlons, and if I enjoy them, I want a road bike.  A pretty one.  With flower decals on it.

Anyway, I’ll keep it short and sweet, and just say that I hope everyone has an amazing end to 2012, and here’s to an amazing 2013!

Ways to annoy me: #1

1. Bring your gross disease anywhere near me.

People generally go to gyms to become more healthy.  Just in case that isn’t clear enough, allow me to demonstrate what I mean in a more visual way:


Obviously this will not be the case if you go to the gym and walk on a treadmill for ten minutes before treating yourself to a muffin for your hard word, but I’m willing to give most gym-goers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to effort versus laziness.
If you get into the habit of going to the gym regularly, it’s safe to assume that you will notice other regulars.  At my gym, there are several: some who use the gym, some who attend the classes, and some who happen to work there.

There’s this one chick who spends more time in the changing room applying make-up and checking that her ass looks good (it does, annoyingly) from literally every angle than in the actual gym working out.  She does not sweat.  Ever.  And she can regularly be found doing bicep curls with 1kg weights near a mirror whilst making pouty faces at herself.  It’s hilarious.

There are also several men who hang out in ‘Testosterone Corner’, lifting, squatting, and grunting at various stages throughout their visit.  They’re the type whose arms, when fully relaxed, do not hang by their sides.  They also have necks as thick as tree trunks.  Or my thighs, if you needed another size comparison.

These kinds of people I observe, but tend to avoid starting a conversation with.  We clearly do not have the same end goals as each other.  Others, like those who are usually at the classes I attend, I do interact with.  Some of these people have already featured in this blog (Teri, Ronnie, Ishbel – to name a few), but others have not – mainly because they don’t run.  While this doesn’t make me think any less of them, other things do.

Like when they turn up at the gym with the intention of taking part in a group exercise class (think enclosed, sweaty, humid environment) and they are clearly suffering from some form of the plague.  I’m not talking about a couple of sniffles and a runny nose here, I’m talking full-on coughing fits, teary eyes, a deathly complexion, and with a body composition of roughly 3% human, 14% snot, and 83% contagious germs.  This kind of sickness is so bad people visibly recoil in horror when an afflicted person enters the vicinity.

For the past few days, ONE OF THESE PEOPLE has been coming to the gym.  Despite friends telling her where she should go (home, to bed, immediately), she laughed off the very suggestion that she should miss an exercise class, and coughed/spluttered/wheezed her way through the hour.  Everyone else edged towards the walls in an attempt to steer clear of the infection zone.

She has continued her reign of terror, threatening widespread disease and suffering mere days before New Year’s Eve – a time when people typically like to enjoy celebrating with friends and you know, not being stuck in bed and feeling like shit.  I’m not even one of those people (I’ll probably just stay in – forget overpaying for warm beer in plastic cups that I had to wait 30 minutes to be served), but I would still appreciate spending my last week of holiday sans infection, thank you very much.

Thankfully, most of the classes I go to are off for the ‘festive timetable’, and by the time they start back Mistress Mucus should have recovered, but it doesn’t make me any less annoyed that people rock up to the gym without considering other people.  In fact, it usually has the effect of making me forget any positive qualities you might possess  and rate you right around the level of Ian Brady or, say, Gary Glitter.  And you don’t want to be in his gang.

Five years, No cigarettes.

Five years ago today I decided to quit smoking.  Again.  The difference between this time and any previous attempts is that I knew this time would be for good.  Why?  Because I’m stubborn, and competitive, and I was really annoyed at my ex.

Me and my friend Jeremy at the after prom party, ten years ago (gross), holding a cigarette (also gross).

Me and my friend Jeremy at the after prom party, ten years ago (gross), holding a cigarette (also gross).

You see, 5 years and one week ago, I split up with my ex-boyfriend of 5 years.  When we met, we were sort of compatible (I was obese and nobody else was interested), but as the years went by, we both realized we had pretty much nothing in common.  I liked being active, he would moan that his knee hurt after ten minutes of walking.  I wanted to eat well, he lived on (incinerated) oven pizzas and packets of Doritos.  I hated coffee (still do), he could not function without about a gallon of it.  He wanted to have sex with me (and ended up finding it elsewhere, it seems), I wanted to have sex with hot strangers on the subway, hot strangers at the gym, hot strangers at the supermarket, hot strangers on TV, etc (but like a decent human being, did not indulge).  He smoked, I wanted to quit – again.  It is very hard to not smoke when you are living with/dating a heavy smoker.

My ex was also extremely annoying when he got drunk.

My ex was also extremely annoying when he got drunk.

The split was immediate – I think we exchanged one paltry text message before ceasing contact altogether.  I was so happy to be rid of him, and I was also pretty disgusted with him.  When I quit smoking, my disgust for him fueled my willpower, and I can honestly say I haven’t had a single cigarette since the day I quit, although there have been a couple of dark moments when I have walked behind a smoker and inhaled deeply, for old time’s sake, and no, I am not proud of myself.

Since I have quit, I am apparently 13% less likely to die of all smoking related causes, and if I stick with it, in another 15 years all my risks will be that of a non-smoker.  So I’m a quarter of the way through.  I have also, apparently, saved a whole bunch of money, but my bank balance would disagree with that.  But the best thing about remaining a non-smoker (or ex-smoker if you want to get picky) is that smug feeling whenever I speak to a mutual friend who has spoken to my ex and can confirm that he still smokes.  It makes me smile.  And that might make me sounds like an asshole.  And I’m fine with that.

Christmas Day 2012 – The Gifts

Now that we’re in that lull between Christmas and New Year where shops (and my gym) think it’s totally OK to dick me about and open whenever the hell they want, I have a lot of time to myself.  Translation: I’ll probably be updating this frequently.

Christmas day saw us (me and Ian) wake up around 8, and then make the adult decision to go back to sleep for as long as possible.  This only lasted until 9:30 am, when we dragged ourselves through to the living room and had breakfast.  I indulged in toast with brandy butter.  If you have never had brandy butter, your Christmas is lacking.  Then we moved onto presents.

Now, I am not usually inundated with gifts.  My family lives thousands of miles away (in Texas, and Australia, and Italy), and we don’t really bother sending birthday/Christmas presents.  Instead, I get spoiled during my annual visits, which suits everyone because things aren’t overpriced and there are less crowds.  But being the only person in my family in the country isn’t all bad, because I occasionally get pity presents.

Case in point: my colleagues pretty much all have children/family to buy stuff for and get stressed about.  I have Ian.  I felt kind of bad, so bought them relatively inexpensive (but thoughtful) gifts and put them into their pigeonholes at work with a card saying ‘from Santa’.  While they eventually figured out who ‘Santa’ was (one of the gifts was a lanyard from the Natural History museum in Houston, where I had been in October), I never confirmed my role in the gift giving.  Anyway, on the last day of term, I arrived to see a sack (a John Lewis carrier bag) with four gifts and a card saying’ Merry Christmas, from ‘The Elves’.  I know I have a soul, because I got a little emotional at that.

Anyway, 4 gifts from work, 2 from Ian, one from my Fetch Secret Santa, two from Grant (we usually agree beforehand whether to buy gifts for each other and a budget), as well as a gift from Ian’s mum.  I had scored this year! I did also get a secret Santa present from work, but it was so disappointing that my friend actually bought it off me for £1 when I let him use my washing machine, so that will not be mentioned again.



Pictured: Ryan Gosling colouring book (Grant), coasters (Grant), CW-X Revolution tights (Ian), tea-towel, marshmallows, hot chocolate packets, Shakespeare sticky notes (the ‘Elves’), lap counter/timer (Ian), and Australian money (in card from Australian grandparents).

Not pictured: Mango liquorice (‘Elves’ – eaten), Ian’s mum’s gift (worthy of its own post that will feature further on), ‘Liell’s present’ (more on this to come as well) and Fetch Secret Santa gift (ditto).

I was exceptionally happy with Ian’s gifts, and took the tights out for an 8 mile Christmas run.  The air was crisp.  The sun was shining (though the Scottish winter sun is low/blinding).  The drunks were still out from the night before, but otherwise the streets were abandoned. The photo below was taken several hours after my run, but it’s pretty, so it stays.

IMG_20121225_173938What I did not realize about the tights (translation: I was blinded by all the pretty colours and did not fully read the product description because I assumed they’d be like my other CW-X tights), is that they have been designed to be thin.  Very thin.  14% lighter than your average tight, apparently.  I squeezed into them and admired the aforementioned pretty colours:

IMG_20121225_111510And then I did the obligatory ‘how does my ass look in these’ pose in the bathroom mirror to conclude that the answer was ‘visible’:

IMG_20121225_111640Yes, that’s my right butt-cheek, adorned with festive red and white underwear, and a particularly sheer panel in the running tights.  A quick search online let me know that I was not the only one to think parts of these tights were verging on ‘indecent’, but whatever, RAINBOWS!  Reasoning that hardly anyone would be out on Christmas day, I opted not to go commando/change into nude underwear, and to just go for a run.  Of course I ran into a small group of kids I teach about half a mile from home.  Of course I did.

Back home and showered, I gave my attention to my Fetch secret Santa gift.  When I opened it, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it.  At first, I thought it was a scarf, but I realized it was just a loop.  It was too big to be a buff, but too small to be a snood.  It was very cosy, and a very nice colour though:

IMG_20121225_135757With some experimentation, I figured out a way to wear it that was comfortable, and flattering.  I am still not sure if this is how it was intended to be worn, but this is how it’s going to happen for me:

IMG_20121225_173734Sidenote: my hair is actually curly, but I choose to straighten the crap out of it because it is also very fine, and goes limp very quickly.  Essentially, I look a bit scrappy.

And now we move onto Liell’s present.  Liell is a friend of ours who has featured a few times so far in this blog.  He is an interesting character, and highly entertaining, but also eternally puzzling.  Anyway, Liell decided that it would be ‘hilarious’ to ‘wrap’ our Christmas present in Plaster of Paris instead of traditional wrapping paper.  Maybe this has something to do with him being a Jew (a sort of anti-Christmas silent protest, if you will).  I would bet it has more to do with the fact that he thought it would be a fun thing to do.  At the time.  On Christmas Eve, we were presented with this:

IMG_20121225_141959And on Christmas day, Ian and I had no choice but to open the present like this:

IMG_20121226_185459Despite getting plaster dust all over the packaging (and somewhat destroying the packaging in the process of unwrapping), we emerged victorious:

IMG_20121226_185523A children’s puzzle toy.  Definitely worth the effort, Liell.  Thank you.

And finally, we move onto my gift from Ian’s mum.  I did not get too excited about this gift for two reasons:

  1. Ian repeatedly told me, “Don’t get too excited about it.”
  2. Ian repeatedly reminded me that he had the receipt.

Last week, Ian ran out of fresh boxers and asked to borrow a pair of underwear to last him until he could get home and wash some clothes.  Obviously, I gave him a sensible pair of white briefs that came as part of a set with a cute bra, and that I have worn a grand total of zero times.  His mother, seeing the delicate item in amongst his washing, somehow got it stuck in her head that this is the type of underwear that I wear all the time, and that I could do with some more.  Which I guess it kind of sweet, but mostly a bit weird.  Like, it’s weird if my own mother buys me underwear because it’s something that touches my vagina, and my vagina is something used for sex.  Sex and mothers DO NOT MIX.  Nevertheless, my final Christmas present was a pack of these racy numbers (and a gift receipt):

IMG_20121226_190059Also, please ignore the Bambi pyjama bottoms.  They were cheap and the fabric is unbelievably soft.

All in all, a very successful year, gift-wise, even though Santa, the lazy git, never put anything in my stocking.  Not even coal.  How about you guys?  Did you get any amazing presents?  Or better yet, any seriously bad ones?  Seriously, you can vent about it here.  I will definitely not take a screenshot of your complaints, stalk you and your relatives aggressively, and send the gift-giver a copy of your complaint.  I will definitely not do that.

More Festivity, or Festive Cheer Part 2! (working title)

Megan recently posted a ’25 Days of Christmas’ thing, which is essentially one of those e-mail surveys that everyone loves filling out in the hopes that other people will read their answers and think ‘what a cool/hilarious/kindhearted/badass/quirky [delete as applicable] person s/he is, gosh darn it!’, except people just delete your answers and waste 30 minutes thinking of their own super meaningful responses.  Yeah, it’s like those.  Except it comes in picture form.  And has a Christmas theme, would you believe it?

Anyway, because I’m not out drinking with workmates I hardly know in gale force winds and horizontal rain, I’m looking for something rock n’ roll to do on my Friday night, so whilst I haven’t answered every question (you’re welcome), I have chosen to indulge myself a bit.  Enjoy.

Favourite Christmas movie

Being a teacher, my answer at this precise moment in time is: None at all, I would not be upset at all if every Christmas film ever made went up in flames right this minute.  But, if you asked my 9-year-old self this question, the answer would have been ‘Home Alone’, because I had a major crush on Macauley Culkin (I know).  I even rented ‘The Pagemaster’ from Blockbuster when it came out.  I’d like to think my taste in men has improved, but you can be the judge:


2012 Christmas wish list:

These tights.  Because who doesn’t love rainbows?!
A Kindle Paperwhite.
A lap counter for my rekindled love of swimming.
An all-inclusive vacation to Hawaii/anywhere hot and with beaches.
Nothing that has to be used in a bathtub (I only have a shower).

Favourite Christmas song:

It’s a toss up between ‘Fairytale of New York’ and whatever The Darkness’s festive tune was. (I’m obviously not a Christmas song buff).

Best gift:

Easily the Sony Dream Machine Radio/Alarm/Cassette player that I received when I was about 11 and lived in Ponca City, OK.  So futuristic.  I loved that thing.

Sony Dream Machine

Sony Dream Machine

Favourite Christmas decoration:

Could it be any other?  I bought this baby the day before I ran the Loch Ness Marathon:

IMG_20120930_230247 A Picture of Christmas décor:

Well, I’ve already posted a picture of my tree (3 feet tall as my apartment is miniscule and cannot accommodate anything larger), so I’ll post my ‘card window’.  I don’t have enough surfaces to leave cars about on (and I find it too cluttery), so I slot my Christmas cards into my wooden blinds in my living room.  It’s not like having them closed blocks out any light, since I’m in Scotland, and I literally cannot remember how many days ago I last saw the sun.  Maybe Sunday?

IMG_20121221_212152 Favourite Christmas tradition:

When I was young my dad would make popcorn and we would use a needle and thread to transform it into tinsel for the tree (and eat the leftovers).  I think that may have been the only ‘tradition’ my family had, considering we never lived in the same country for more than a couple of years.  I have started a new tradition with Ian, though: good food for Christmas.  Last year was fajitas, this year is shaping up to be a spicy mustard chicken dish.

Wrapping paper or gift bags:

Wrapping paper.  Don’t be so fucking lazy.

Hardest person to buy for:

My dad.  Seriously.  This is a conversation we had before Christmas one year:

Me: Dad, what do you want for Christmas?

Dad: Nothing.

Me: Daaa-aaaaaaaaad.  Seriously!

Dad: I wouldn’t mind a Porsche.

Me: [dramatic sigh and eye roll] Dad!!!!

Dad: I don’t know, get me a copy of The Economist.

On Christmas day, under the tree, a few mysterious parcels would appear labelled: To John, From John.

My dad’s name is John, by the way.

Post a picture of an old Christmas card:


This one is from my grandma (on my dad’s side).  Her birthday was on Christmas day, but she died in 2010.  This card would have been from a few years before her death when she still remembered/was able to write back to me.  I used to write her letters throughout the year, and sometimes I get the urge to write to her, and then remember that I can’t.  Anyway, this makes me glad that I’m a hoarder of personal stuff.

It’s also pretty hilarious to come across a bunch of old love letters from my ex with such gems as “you are the centre of my universe” and “I love you with every fibre of my being”.  Seriously.


 When do you open gifts?

Christmas morning, after some champagne (or whatever cold, alcoholic fizzy stuff that comes in a green bottle happens to be in my fridge).  When I still lived at home my brother and I could open one gift on Christmas Eve, but these days I don’t really get enough gifts to make that viable.

Do you travel over the holidays?

Yes, if possible.  I’ve managed to escape Scotland’s harsh weather for the last two years, going to Houston for X-mas 2010, and Australia in 2011 (which featured a ‘delightful’ Christmas dinner courtesy of Qantas).  This year, however, I’m stuck here, which is not ideal, but it does mean I get to spend time with Ian and friends while they all have some time off work.  Plans are already underway, however, for a Texas Christmas in 2013.


New Year’s Day 2012 – Australia

So how about you guys?  What do you want for Christmas?  What traditions do you have?  What has been your favourite present of all time?  Does Christmas music make you angry?  If you receive a gift with ugly wrapping paper, do you hide it behind gifts that you have wrapped for others just so you can’t see its ugliness?  Or is that just me?  Do you always get a shitty secret Santa present?  One year, the person who got my name made a mistake and thought they were buying for someone else.  I can’t say battleships was the best gift I ever got.

One year anniversary, shins continue to irritate me.

Today I got a notification from WordPress letting me know that a year ago today I first created my account.  Clearly I was looking for some form of escapism from the daily grind at work near the end of term when kids start to literally go crazy about Christmas.  Every year, this pre-holiday mania chips away at my sanity until I am eating smarties (British M&M’s) out of holiday sized tubes for breakfast, and the laying out any leftovers on my desk in front of a class, and picking away at them in order of colour (orange always comes last because they taste like chocolate orange).  Have I mentioned how deliriously happy I am that I finish at 3pm on Friday?  If not: I am.

Anyway, back to the anniversary…  I am actually relatively surprised that I have remained fairly diligent about updating posts (even though I am now 100% convinced that my parents have no interest in what I write here, and only check when I fly several thousands of miles to visit them and FORCE them to read sections).  I think it’s like the adult equivalent of not turning your flour baby into pancakes over the weekend.  Well done, slut!*

In running news, my shins are still assholes, and I haven’t run in a week.  I have, however, taken to the pool to fill my evenings, and am pleased to say that despite having about, oh, 15 years between now and my last training session with my swim team, I don’t suck hard.  I can actually hear my old coach (Dave Strah of the Ponca City Sailfish, FYI) nagging me to “kick more” when I notice my legs floating effortlessly behind me as my shoulders burn.  If he ever self-googles, this might come across as creepy.

Anyway, I’m beginning to feel festive and despite my mortal shins, I am happy about a lot of things:

  • If the world doesn’t end, as the Mayans apparently predicted, then the days here start to get longer, and I really like daylight.  A lot.
  • If the world DOES end, my home insurance is due to be renewed on the 22nd, so I guess there’s always a silver lining.
  • It’s nearly Christmas break.
  • I get my secret Santa gift at work tomorrow.
  • I finished my fourth year reports today!
  • I am so tired that stuff that might normally stress me out just seems to initiate crazed laughter.
  • I just might re-discover the meaning of ‘a good night’s sleep’.
So.  Close.  To.  Sleep.

So. Close. To. Sleep.

*Note to self: shortening ‘medalslut’ in order to create a term of endearment does not work.

Wildhearts Aberdeen Santa Run 2012

Time: 28:30

Position: 3rd female finisher! This has been edited.  See comments below.

Medal: Yes, and it has finally changed!


I have a soft spot for this run.  It’s a fun run, but there are some sad types (translation: me) who take it seriously.  When it started in 2008, I was the first female finisher.  Just.  I stopped after the ‘lap of honour’ around Pittodrie Stadium to bestow a kiss upon the lips of my boyfriend, was briefly overtaken, and then someone shouted at me to “Keep going, you’re not done yet!”.  I regained my position and finished ahead.  Here I am coming to the end of my victory lap in 2008:

santarunThat’s the smile of someone who knows she’s winning something.

The following year I missed out the run.  The third year, I finished second female.  In 2011 I was second female finisher again.  This year?  Well, I had planned to take it easy and just enjoy it as a fun run.

Originally I was meant to be running it with Danielle and her husband, Pat.  Unfortunately, Danielle had recently seen an osteopath who told her that she couldn’t run (or even walk) the 6k race.  Still, we had planned on going to Nando’s afterwards, so her husband was still going to run, and she would spectate/cheer, along with Ian, who, despite my best efforts, refused to run.

Ian and I were picked up just before 12 and made it to the stadium with about 40 minutes to spare before the start.  We got our Santa suits on (I brought my own heavy duty belt as the plastic ones just do not hold up well at all), and then Pat went to go and put his extra stuff in the car.  The problem is, he also kind of left the car key in the car.  The only car key.

Photo: Ronnie

Photo: Ronnie

At about this time, the supremely cheesy warm up was getting ready to start.  I found Ronnie outside (he wasn’t taking part as he’s still injured from going over his ankle during a trail run at night), and some familiar faces from Fetch.  I decided I would try and run with them, since I had left my music in my rucksack with Ian.  Unfortunately, after the sloooooooow beginning, I managed to lose everyone.  It isn’t particularly easy to spot people you know when everyone is wearing a Santa suit.  So I had no choice but to plod along at my own pace.

Luckily, the sun had decided to come out (it was dark, gloomy, and chucking rain horizontally earlier in the day).  It was cold, so the felt suits weren’t too unwelcome, and the cold breeze from the North Sea was actually kind of refreshing.  I picked off runners one by one, but made a conscious effort to ignore my Garmin completely (success, by the way).

The course snakes around the upper and lower promenade along Aberdeen beach, so you get a couple of opportunities to see who’s in front of/behind you.  At about 5k, I started noticing the leaders along the promenade below.  I kept my eyes peeled for any women, and when I only counted 3 in front of me (plus one ‘unsure’), I was annoyed I’d started so far back at the start and had taken it easy (ish) so far.  Obviously, I sped up, but there wasn’t much of the run left.

Screw you slutty Mrs. Claus! (Photo: Ronnie)

Screw you slutty Mrs. Claus! (Photo: Ronnie)

By the time I had reached the stadium for the final lap, I had overtaken one of the women, but the rest had finished.  I focused on staying strong until the end, despite the cold rain and wind pummeling my face (yes, the weather had turned), and managed to overtake a couple of guys before finishing.  I was pretty pleased to come fourth, but I’ll definitely go back to my more aggressive starting position if I return next year.  Like I did in 2010:

santa run 2010By the time Pat and I had run, a recovery van was at the car and a man was expertly fishing keys out of Danielle’s car with a hook on a wire.  Quite an ambitious attempt, but within a few minutes we were sitting in the car, sheltered from the rain.  As planned, we continued on to Nando’s for some well-earned Sunday grub where we talked of school, old phones, and haunted castles in Scotland.  Natural conversation, obviously!

Afterwards, Ian and I said goodbye to Danielle and Pat, and headed home on foot.  There were some beautiful rainbow clouds in the sky, but my smartphone did not do the best job of capturing them:

IMG_20121209_184728What the clouds actually looked like:

rainbow cloudsSource

And with that, my 2012 racing calendar comes to a close!  I wonder how much more I can fit into 2013?

Frequently googled questions

I’m sure I’ve come across a post that dealt with questions that cropped up frequently in search terms that led to their blog, and at the time i thought it was a fun idea, but unfortunately the majority of the search terms that led to ‘medalslut’ were filthy.  however, since i’ve been around for nearly a year, there have been a few non-sexual search terms that have cropped up more than once.  today, i endeavor to answer six of them.  enjoy.


What do you do with your race bibs?

I stick mine in photo albums from Paperchase, since they are the perfect size for pretty much every race bib I’ve received, although I have seen some pretty sweet ideas online.

One of my favourites is the idea to use old race bibs to wallpaper a room, and I would totally do this if I was living in a house that I thought I’d be living in for several years.  However, I live in a one-bedroom apartment that has a kitchen smaller than a bathroom and literally no free space, so wallpapering half my living room would make it appear tiny and cluttered.  One day…

Another neat way of using your old race bibs is to have them transformed into a sports bag.  Although I’ve never used them, Races R My Bag have some nice looking bags on their site, and if I was ever feeling particularly indulgent, I would consider having a bag custom made!

Midpack Runner also has several (some serious, some not so much) uses for your old race bibs.

Do you get a medal for Tough Mudder?

No.  You DO NOT get a medal for Tough Mudder.  Things you DO get for completing a Tough Mudder:

  • Orange headband.
  • T-shirt.
  • Beer.
  • Bruises/cuts/scrapes.
  • Mud in your ears/nose/mouth/buttcrack.
Tough Mudder headband on the medal rack

Tough Mudder headband on the medal rack

How do I life model in Aberdeen?

First of all, I think it’s important to point out that life modelling isn’t a walk in the park.  The biggest obstacle is not being naked in front of a roomful of people and listening to the instructor (if it’s a taught class) go around and tell people that “the waist should be thicker” or “she has folds (just another word for fat rolls) there, don’t airbrush your drawing”.  The biggest obstacle is pain, followed closely by extreme boredom.  Parts of your body are going to fall asleep and your body’s natural reaction is going to be to want to move it.  Muscles you didn’t know even existed will ache, and you’re going to want to change position.

Unless you luck out and there are mirrored walls in the studio (a la Aberdeen College), the easels will be facing away from you, and once you’ve studied every square inch of the room, you will be alone with your thoughts.  For hoooooouuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrssssssss.  For this, I found it helpful to play games: go through the alphabet and think of a (song name/artist/food/animal/band/celebrity/sport/whatever) that starts with each letter – you cannot advance without coming up with something.

Also – the sheets, chairs, mattresses, pillows, etc. that you perch yourself upon?  Other naked people have been there first.  With their naked bits.  And if these props are in a big studio with several classes?  Probably not washed regularly.  I’m just saying.

So how do you enter this glamorous profession, I hear you shouting at your screen?  Well, I found an ad in the University job center for a local artist wanting models.  I phoned him up and modelled for a Saturday morning class for three hours.  I did that a few times, and modelled for him privately (he has his own studio at home), and then pretty much called every place I thought might need an artists model and gave them my details.  And they pretty much all phoned back.

You see, a lot of people think it’s an easy way to make cash, so they sign up readily, but after one or two sessions the novelty wears off and they quit.  This means that places trying to find models are usually desperate for someone reliable.  I think the only time I never showed up for a modelling job, I had gastroenteritis and was crapping/vomiting so much I didn’t eat/leave my apartment for about 3 days (and had to cancel a supply teaching job which would have also yielded a chunky sum of nice money – disappointing).  What I’m trying to say is, don’t be a flake.

And now, a list of places that I know of that offer life drawing sessions that might be worth contacting if you are still interested in life modelling:

Aberdeen College: you will need to fill in a full disclosure (takes 2-3 weeks) since you’ll be working with ‘young people’ (16+, apart from the evening class that has seniors from a local school – that was a bit awkward during my teacher training).  They have work throughout the day as well as an evening class (last I worked in was a Tuesday from 7-9pm).

White Space: Informal evening class (usually a Monday or Tuesday evening) for members of the local community.  The room gets cold in the winter (even though there are always heater in life modelling classes), but I am extra sensitive to the cold.  If you’re fat, you’ll be grand!

Gray’s School of Art: As an art school, they offer life drawing, obviously.  I’ve never worked there though – they offered the lowest rates at the time, I don’t know if that’s changed!

Limosine Bull: This was probably one of my favourite places to work.  Informal evening classes, and if you went regularly the same faces would appear (and bring you sweets!).  It looks like their venue is changing, but they still offer life drawing classes.

Peacock Visual Arts: I worked there once or twice, years ago.  A brief scan of their website doesn’t show any life drawing classes just now, but maybe worth a try.

Once you can show you’re reliable, you’ll probably start getting asked by people in the class about other classes/projects.  I’ve danced to music for a class in Stonehaven that liked short drawings, and modelled privately for several people.  The classes are where you start out, but the informal groups are way more fun (and let you choose your own poses, sometimes).

How do I avoid weird tan lines when running?

Well, the way I see it you have three options for this:

  1. Run at night
  2. Wear a zentai suit
  3. Run naked.

Is my physiotherapist a slut?

To answer simply, I don’t know.  Ask them out for a drink after work and if balls are being cupped under the table, then maybe.

How do I prevent logo cracking on my 2XU tights?

As far as I’m aware, you don’t, unfortunately.  But it shows they’re being used, which shows you’re not lazy.  So wear your crack with pride! (And if anyone actually finds a way to prevent cracking, let me know)

Festive Cheer!

As I type this post, I am full of festive spirit (beer)!  Christmas is only 17 days away, and I’m starting to get excited (having banned even a sniff of the ‘C’ word in my classroom until December).  I get really cranky about Christmas stuff being on display/Christmas music being played/literally anything to do with Christmas if it isn’t December, because I think that all the overexposure sucks the joy out of the holiday.  So my ban on Christmas until recently means I am extra stoked this year, even though I’m staying here in Scotland for a change (last year I was in Australia, and I started this blog just before I left, and the year before that I was in Houston).

Because I’ll be staying at home this year, I figured it was about time I get a Christmas tree.  Now, my vacuum cleaner broke about a week and a half ago (I have since bought a dustbuster as a miniature hero to step in until the Dyson engineer can come out), and my flat is tiny, so there was never going to be a real tree.  Most artificial trees were also way too big, and by the time I hit the shops, most of the small ones had sold out.  So I was glad that, a few nights ago, on a whim, I went to a shop a little out of the way and managed to bag their last 3 foot artificial tree in stock.  And to those of you with houses, no, that is not a typo, my tree is three feet tall.  Behold the beauty:

IMG_20121206_205513And yes, it sits on top of some shelves, but I have a tree, and I have presents (including one from my Fetch secret Santa!) underneath it.  That, for me, is commitment to the season!  As is my chosen headwear for today:

IMG_20121208_175749Now, this wasn’t for any old walk about Aberdeen city center.  No, no, no, this was to go and watch my friend Dylan, and my other friend Iain (who I go to spin class with) sing in the Granite City Chorus at Aberdeen Art Gallery this afternoon.  The group sang a half hour set of Christmas songs and were really good!  Despite the fact that my friend Dylan has been singing with the group for well over a year, this is the first time I’ve seen them perform:

IMG_20121208_171728I also have a feeling Dylan is the youngest member of the group…

In running news, my butt building has been going well, and I had a sports massage on Thursday where I was told there was a noticeable improvement to my shins and calves.  They had been feeling pretty good during my few short runs so I thought I’d try a 5 mile run on Friday night.  Along the icy pavements.  And at points in cold, sleety rain.  This is what the streets looked like on Wednesday night:

IMG_20121205_224209It snowed more overnight, and after people walking on the sidewalks the next day, combined with a very cold following night, it became like trying to walk on a wet ice rink.  At some points during my run I was literally pulling myself along the ground using a wall next to the sidewalk (so not my fastest 5 miles), but there were still some runnable sections.  Apart from the conditions, the run was fairly good.  Not much shin pain, not too out of breath.  And then I woke up this morning.

My left calf has been unbelievably tight and tender today, so I’m not sure if it’s just sore from the massage and run, or what.  I managed to do a step class and Body Pump this morning without much issue, but I have a Santa run (thankfully only 6k) to get through tomorrow, and possibly a few extra miles earlier in the day, so I’d really like the pain to go away!  I’ll hit the foam roller a bit tonight and slip into something sexy (compression socks) tonight.  Hopefully that’ll help.  If not, tomorrow is going to be a bit sore.

Hope everyone else is having a good weekend in the run up to Christmas!