We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Farewell my furry friend

My heart is broken. One half of the pussycat mafia that runs our house is no more. Cute Bute has gone to the great big soft cushion in the sky and we're missing her. Who'd have thought that such a small bundle of black and white fur would leave such an enormous space?

I know at over 17 years old, Bute had a long and very happy life.  Bute's idea of bliss was to sit or lie in the sun until she could barely move or to sit on Ali's lap until his legs went numb.  She was one of the sweetest cats you could ever meet, a real little lady with the cutest face and an endearing manner.

Originally from the Isle of Bute, Bute and her brother Kyle were rescue cats, brought home from a day trip to Rothesay in a cardboard vodka box. They were tiny, fitting into the palm of my hand, purring away.  They spent almost their whole lives together, inseperable, but not always friends. One memorable time they were sitting by the open bathroom window. I heard a squeak; turned round to see Kyle had shoved her out the window. Luckily she was only one floor up and over a flower bed. Bute came in through that cat flap like a cat out of hell and sulked. Bute's sulks were profound but short lived.

The pussies settled into Stirling and even from her earliest days, Bute was tidy and neat. She got cleanliness and litter trays from the first time she saw them and always kept her long haired, silky coat pristine. Very rarely did Bute look less than immaculate, always photogenic; an Audrey Hepburn of a cat.

Timid and perpetually scared by anything new or unexpected, Bute spent a lot of her early years behind the settee or under the bedclothes, only venturing out when she knew I was alone. Her first time outdoors was memorable. Whilst her brother went charging off to explore the new world, Bute trod carefully, lifting each paw high into the air, trying to make sense of the springy grass. When a puff of wind blew, Bute jumped sky high; she always did have a good startle reflex that lasted her whole life.

Visitors frightened Bute, and not many people got to know her more than in retreat, sneaking out a door or under a chair; a tail disappearing through a doorway. For a lot of the time, Bute was just a lump under the bedclothes, where she felt invisible and safe.  I always wondered what had happened to make her like that.  But  Bute loved Ali and Ben, she knew when they were about she was safe. Sitting on their laps was like a throne for Bute and she sat there and ruled the roost. A floozie, through and through.

In North Berwick Bute spent a lot of time on the windowsill soaking up the heat of the radiator or sun depending on the time of the year. She and Kyle were often to be found flat out in the sunshine in the conservatory, staggering into the shade like holiday makers on a Mediterranean beach. Bute's little face at the front window was a welcoming sight to see after a long hard day at work - she always looked like she was posing for a feline version of Vogue.

Bute loved broccoli, porridge, yogurt and of course tuna. For most of her life she didn't miaow, she gave a little 'eek'. It was only in her later years when she got a thyroid tumour that Bute began to sound like a normal cat. For her tiny size, she could let her views be known very forcibly indeed. As she got older, her hips went, but she could still spring into the air to sit on Ali's knee; right up to the end she was up for her cuddle.

Who would think that one small bundle of fur could leave such a hole in our hearts and so many happy memories? But that's what happens when a pussycat steals your heart.

I did a run for Bute yesterday. A lovely sunny early run up to WhiteCraigs and back.  I cried a bit, I smiled a lot and I came to terms a little bit with things. When I came home, I was a bit further along my journey too.

Farewell Bute my little furry pal. Rest in peace.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

New dawns and old habits

One of my lovely Twitter chums, John, was reflecting on how good it felt to get back into his routine after watching the Olympics; how he's a creature of habit, happier when things are normal. I know exactly what he means.

After the roller coaster of the last few weeks, we too are enjoying life at a calmer pace this week, having a bit of a breather and a very much appreciated one at that. There's something soothing and relaxing when life goes to plan and things are sort of predictable. We get up at and go to bed at regular times, sleep better and feel more rested. We eat regular meals made of good healthy things we want to eat that keep us fit and slim and our bodies balanced.  Chores, treats and runs can be planned and balanced. Even the thought of planning and predictability soothes the mind and calms the nerves.  You could almost believe there is order and predictability in  the world!

So whilst I have almost literally been running for my life the last few weeks, this breather has given me the chance to stop and reflect. As I looked up and took a metaphorical deep breath I realised that things have changed. I have a new routine. And it feels good.

To get through the days, I've been running more in the early mornings.  I was waking early and worrying or writing lists of things to do in my head.  It started as a 'why not run rather than lie and worry' run and ended up as 'run to start the day with a physical and psychological burst of all that is great about being alive'; living each day as a personal best.

I love the early morning when the world is in bed and I own the beach. Every run is different and special. And I know that the dawn chorus of Twitter runners are out there too. It's a great feeling that I'm out with my virtual family, my ain running folk all of us relishing the sun rising on our running.

At first I worried that I wasn't fitting in a long run, I've just not had a chunk of time to fit it in. But at the same time, I'm running more often,  and there's more than one way to eat a potato (my new cat friendly alternative phrase given the feline fun we've been having). On Friday I was working at home so I allowed myself a 5 mile instead of a 3 mile run. Voila! I increased my weekly mileage easily with 5 or 10 minutes added here and there. If I can't do longer I'll just do faster or hillier. What's great is the extra run is giving me a bit more flexibility.

I am dead chuffed. If I'd tried to squeeze an extra run into my routine when things were ticking along nicely, I'd have struggled. But along came a whole train load of crises to kickstart me into a new regime,  opening up new possibilities and the dawn of a new routine.

Whoever said that you should never waste a good crisis hit the nail on the head. Crisis, mayhem and chaos mean you have to do things differently and come out of your old routine and embrace the new order.  Suddenly, like it or not, you have to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, you have to adapt or go under.  It's a turbo charged spring cleaning opportunity to cut out the stuff that holds you back and needs to change.

So I managed four runs this week, 16 and a bit miles.  Two 30 minute-ers and two 5 milers, all but one in the early morning before breakfast. The 5 milers were the fastest runs, I think that might be the Innov-8s which are really superb to run in. I also a nice long walk with Ali today up to Dirleton for a lovely lunch at the Dirleton Gallery coffee shop - very well earnt.

The Edinburgh Festival finishes tomorrow. This year we managed to see 4 great shows, a personal best and a sign that we're getting a bit more balance in our lives.  Playing Politics, Suggs, Sandi Toksvig and Paul Merton and his improv chums really hit the spot when we needed something to laugh at. Next year we plan to do a few more shows.

So that's it for another week. We're all still here. Vile Kyle (black cat) has made yet another death defying recovery and is eating up the world's tuna stocks. His sister,  Cute Bute, is not quite as jolly; her turn for the vets tomorrow. Age does not come alone and I know that the outcome is inevitable, but every day extra is precious.

Wherever you are, whether you're mid crisis or in a nice comfy routine, keep well, keep happy, run strong.

Take care