A Good Start!

Managed to get up at 5:30am despite staying up until after the bells speaking to my boyfriend and G-Dawwwg online, and then tolerating the extra-drunk locals cheering and partying into the early hours.  I would be lying if I said I was bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Still, I know from experience that I would have felt guilty if I didn’t power through the morning’s run, so I managed a respectable 7.41 miles (roughly 11k) for my first run of the new year.  It was a bit harder than yesterday after 2 days of long (ish) runs, and also because it was freaking roasting!

Party remnants

Evidence of last night’s overindulgence littered the streets along with the shopping trolleys (don’t worry, no more trolley shots!).  There were, however, a couple of walkers and a cyclist tearing up the streets of Albury at sunrise – good show! This guy, on the other hand, was clearly not going to be up for vigorous activity today.

Looking a bit worse for wear

The photo is a bit blurry because I was taking it on my phone, and I was vibrating by trying to stifle giggles, because I’m so mature.  And in case you were wondering, he had on boxers and failed to rouse during my total lack of respect for his privacy.

After the run, it was a shower and some food before heading off to Ettamogah Wildlife Sanctuary.  I can’t say I was expecting too much, but it was actually pretty good!  There was a tiny penguin (can’t have been more than a foot tall), loads of kangaroos, including one with a joey in its pouch, koalas, emus, dingos, peacocks and reindeer.  There was also a ‘reptile handling time’, but it basically consisted of having a small python draped over your shoulders and letting it wriggle around for a bit while people took what can only be expected to be horrible photos of you looking like a total dork.

Kangaroos attracted to the food pellets

Kangaroos are hung

Sleepy koala

A word of warning: if you are ever in the position to feed kangaroos, watch out for their talons!  Holy crap!

After all the animal excitement, it was back home to take in the washing from earlier (clothes actually dry here in Australia in like an hour, not 2 days like Aberdeen!).  I also had some time to relax and soak up some of the sun (but not too much, it was nearly 40 degrees).  I even planned some strategic chair shifting outdoors to avoid getting a trucker’s tan.

Now, fed and about ready to jump into fresh pyjamas, I’m feeling good.  I am also appreciating the cool evening breeze.  A lot.

Hello 2012!

Happy New Year to everyone (even if you’re not quite here yet)!  As I don’t have any resolutions, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to focus on important happenings in January (apart from spending time with my family until the 5th)!

Me, gran and Julian

During my weekends I’ll be taking an Exercise Theory course (the final exam will be in February).  This is a necessary course before I apply to do my ETM (exercise to music) course, which will enable me to teach fitness classes.  This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but unfortunately I haven’t really had the spare cash until now (and even now, I’d be lying if I said I had money to burn).

In addition, January holds a couple of mention-worthy dates.  Firstly, the Cancer Research UK Race for Life will be announcing their race dates for 2012 in the New Year, so it would be a good idea to get in early.  Another important running date is January 16th, when entries open for 2 of the races I hope to do this year.  These are the Baker Hughes 10k in Aberdeen and the Xodus Ythan Challenge.  I’ve done the 10k 3 times before, but I’ve always managed to miss out on the Ythan Challenge.  I’m told entries are filled within a couple of weeks, so I’ll be ready to enter on the 16th!

I will also be celebrating my 4th anniversary with my boyfriend in January – isn’t he a lucky boy!

How to make Smokers Hate You – #287

Casually mention to your younger brother, as he purchases a fresh pack of cigarettes, that today marks 4 years since you quit.  And then, just for fun,chime, “And did you know smoking makes you impotent.  And you’re single, right?”

Don’t get me wrong.  Smoking, when I partook in the filthy activity, was totally enjoyable.  Totally.  I could easily puff my may through 20-40 cigarettes a day (more if drinking), and my bank balance felt it.  Oddly, on a crisp winter’s day, standing outside admiring a fresh blanket of snow making everything seem clean, nothing topped it off quite like blacking my lungs and dusting the pristine ground with fag ash.

I quit using nicotine patches.  I had also just left my smoking ex boyfriend and wanted to prove to myself that I was better than him.  And that smoking was for (balding, university drop-out) losers.  That tactic was very effective.  On December 27th, 2007, I slapped my first patch onto my left butt-cheek, felt the burn (seriously, those things hurt), and waltzed into town feeling pretty smug. I’m going to save so much money.  I’m going to smell amazing.  I’m not going to have premature wrinkles or lung cancer.  Thoughts like these kept me motivated through the inevitable bad days, even if the saving money part was a complete falsity – I spent more on scented body lotions, candles and perfume than I ever would have on cigarettes.

The best part about quitting on the 27th was the fact that when everyone else was gearing up to make their New Year’s Resolutions happen, I had a head start.  On January 1st, I was well on my way, not dreading the start.  I’d quit last year!  No problemo!

4 years on and I’m glad I stuck with it.  I enjoy running (obviously, as this is a blog about running) and smoking is pretty detrimental to running.  I also enjoy not  looking terrible, so while I have frown lines that have existed, I’m determined to prove, since birth, I’m in pretty good nick for 27.  Definitely not a Faces of Meth contender.  I also realized a few weeks ago that the price of cigarettes (in the UK) has exceeded 7 pounds, which is just ridiculous.

It could be argued that there are downsides to being an ex-smoker.  I tend to find that the smell of smoke bothers ex-smokers more than non-smokers.  I also find ex-smokers are more viscous and patronizing when they pass comment on other smokers.  And, in complete honesty, there are some days where you think maybe I could have just one…

Clearly, the downsides are negligible and the benefits to your health, such as lowered risk of coronary disease, lower risk of cancer, and white teeth, make it worthwhile.  And obviously smelling good is a useful tool in the act of making friends and attracting partners.  But the best thing about quitting smoking for me?  Knowing that my (balding, university drop-out) ex boyfriend doesn’t have as much hardcore determination as I do.