Saturday, November 22, 2008

Santa Belly Challenge to lose 10 lbs between 20 Nov and Christmas

With swimsuit time threatening on the horizon (a trip to Mexico in January) it is time to make another dedicated effort to slim down. Join my online challenge at Buckeyeoutdoors!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit to admit that I'm back to low-carb, as Atkins is anathema to the running community. But I know it works. It's really the only way I've been successful in losing a significant amount of weight. And I'm not doing any serious running training, just the commute run 3-4 miles across London, and weekend dog runs and I seem to have enough energy for those. I'm not doing any speed work, hill climbs or long runs until after Christmas.

So far its gone well and I managed to get through the first week without the headaches I sometime get when my body goes into ketosis. I did read that people that travelled with the Alaskan Inuit and ate their blubber-based diet, found that it took a couple of weeks for their bodies to adapt to burning fat instead of glucose. But then they claim that their endurance came back- and they were dragging heavy sledges across the ice with ease. Hmm, I just have to drag myself to work in the morning or keep up with the dog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weekend in Paris 6-11 Nov 2008

My boss asked me if I'd go to a meeting for her... well if I have Paris. Yeah! So I added another meeting with my French Govt counterpart on Monday and voila, a weekend in Paris! Billy joined me on the Eurostar, through the Channel Tunnel.

So far so good, but I brought nice clothes and decided I wanted to feel like a Parisian, instead of a gawking tourist, as I have on previous trips.... big mistake! My trendy street shoes were incredibly painful as Billy and I walked ALL over Paris.

Whatever was I thinking??? No one I knew saw me! Why didn't I just wear comfy running shoes!! After abandoning Billy during two days of meetings, I knew we'd want to explore together on the weekend, so I decided to skip running kit.

So my favorite places were the ones where we stopped walking!! Little out of the way restaurants, the Picasso Museum and an eclectic exhibit, "Academia" at l'Ecole des beaux-arts.

Paris is so cool and Parisians know it. Definite advantage in collaborating with the Germans in WWI, they didn't bomb it like the Blitz in London and Napoleon III's architect, Baron Haussmann, demolished most of Paris' medieval narrow streets, replacing them with grand monuments and parks with 12 avenues leading out from the Arc de Triomphe.

We walked from sunrise to sunset - far more than my 30 min requirement on Kelownagirl challenge.

But I was barely shuffling by the time we got back to the Eurostar and I had to take most of the week off running as my feet still ache!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Yorkshire Dales 19-25th October 2008

The Dales Way is an 84 mile long-distance footpath which follows the lovely Wharfedale valley through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park all the way to the Lake District. With only a week we knew it would be a challenge - of logistics at least, with a campervan to move along with us, as well as the dog. Fortunately the forcast was rain and everyone else stayed home -we saw very few people, some days no-one!

We wanted to find hideaway spots (hidden away outside of commercial campsites) but the first commercial campsite we happened to look at was so deserted, we felt like it was ours alone and there is no delying that a warm toilet, shower and dish washup area are a plus.
The outcrop is predominantly Carboniferous Limestone and the "Yoredale Series" of layered limestones interspersed with shales and sandstones, capped on the higher fells by Millstone Grit. The first day we walked along a stream valley,Troller's Ghyll near Appletreewick, and sometimes the flow totally disappeared into caverns and then later the dry valley would suddenly have a river emerging from a spring.
The second day we raced down the dirt lane and just manage to catch the local bus to the ruins of Bouton Priory (that training paid off!) and walked back to Appletreewick. Then the next day we bussed up to Grassington and walked back. The autumn colours were beautiful and both days the rain held off almost until we made it back - just in time to head for the pub!

When the limestone was at the surface, we walked across an other-worldly "limestone pavement". Nelly didn't like jumping between the blocks!
Finding a place to camp in Barden was harder, and we finally negociated a spot snuggled up against a stone barn with some privacy out of the weather.

Then we headed up into the deserted upper Wharfdale valley where Billy chatted with this stonewall-mending air-guitar player. The rain settled in, so we drove the loop to the north of the national park, stopping off at the Wensleydale Cheese factory where we saw the most walkers in the whole trip!
National Parks are different in the UK than the US. People live in the parks and own the land here. Wilderness is hard to find, but the picturesque stone-cottage villages are really inhabited with craft workshops, antique and other speciality shops, hotels, pubs, restaurants and caf├ęs. Some tourist tat, but not alot.

The best day out was the last when we made a 12 mile loop up Flintergill and around the village of Dent. I liked the history of Dent which was at one time a veritable power-house of hand-knitting, the profits from which provided an often essential addition to their meagre farming income. The "terrible knitters of Dent" would knit during church (shock!) and until the early 19th century the men, women and children would knit by holding one of the needles protruding from a belt, and with the other in the right hand, the left hand was free to do another job, such as churning the butter or wrapping the cheeses.. Cool, I'll have to try it for knitting and walking!