Hogmanay, Australia: Supermarket Sweep!

Ah, New Year’s Eve.  A day full of hopes and ambitions waiting to be crushed.  Last year I was in Houston and stayed in with my brother watching trash TV and eating pumpkin spiced pancakes.  This year?  Well, it’s 8:40pm,  I’ve just stuffed my face with pasta, butter and cheese, and I’ll probably crack open the bubbly for a sly glass or two before hitting the snooze pad.  The joys of jet-lag.  At least my plans wont be detrimental to my scheduled run tomorrow.

This morning I managed 12k.  I had to leave at 5:37am, just as the sun was rising, in order to catch the last of the ‘cool’ air (24 degrees at the start).  I ran a similar route to my 11k, including the old track, but managed to run a bit further to round the run up to 12k.  Along the route I noticed the shopping trolley I had noticed on my first run.  I had seen a few more shopping trolleys during my stay, so I decided to take a photo every time I came across one.  This forced me to take more camera stops than I thought possible.  For the sake of brevity, I have omitted the photo of the shopping trolley from my last run.

Technically Shopping Trolley #2

#3 - Upside down!

#4

Double Trouble! #5 and #6

#7

The 12k today was also much easier than the 11k the day after I arrived.  Probably since I had time to acclimatize to the heat.  Probably also due to the fact that I hadn’t just stepped off of a  plane after a 30 hour journey.  My heart rate was lower, I didn’t feel tired, and when I got back to the house I didn’t feel like I was completely spent.  Good news as 12k is about 7.5 miles.  I would like to comfortably run 10 miles by the end of January.

Tomorrow morning I hope to be doing the same thing I did on January 1st, 2011: running.  As long as I can rack up 10k, I’ll be happy.  After all, it is a holiday and I’m entitled to take it a bit easy.

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.