When Facebook Actually Leads to Good Things…

I’ve wanted to get back into some form of regular exercise for a while. The Bloke and I are fortunate enough to go out on a lot of day trips and date nights, but working from home means that I spend a large amount of my time sitting. I like sitting. I’ve adopted our living room space as my office which allows me to work from the comfort of the couch while binge-watching the latest series of whatever is available on various streaming services.

Unfortunately, while I find this extremely soothing for the soul (especially on a rainy Monday morning when everyone is battling their way through the traffic on the way to work), it isn’t particularly beneficial for the body and as a result my health has started to suffer for it. I repeatedly mentioned to The Bloke that I needed to start being more productive, but even the thought of it has proved to be rather intimidating. Continue reading

Suzie Does Aerobics…

I think I may have done something that I may possibly regret in the immediate future…

I’ve signed up for a low impact aerobics class.

Oh dear.

My weight has been a source of frustration for years. In my youth I exercised almost every day – I swam for a club, played on badminton teams, reached my brown belt in karate – and as a result I was strong, slim and could eat and wear whatever I wanted with little thought. Continue reading

On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading

Great Birmingham Run 2015: I Did It!

In a moment of madness earlier in the year I signed up for the Great Birmingham Run… all 13 miles of it. As a cheese eating, chain smoking carb lover with a large bottom it wasn’t the most sensible decision I’d ever made, particularly when I followed my sign up and payment with two months of procrastination!

Over the summer, I started training regularly, building up my fitness levels, stamina and distance with several of my friends, and I started to feel a lot more confident about it. I purchased some decent running gear, changed my eating habits a little and lost weight. It was looking good!

Then, in September, I went to Barcelona, and managed to burn my feet so badly that they swelled up to double their size, taking a fortnight to go down, which was a bit of a setback. I started running again once they had gone down, but then was hit with a bad dose of the flu and a nasty cold, which knocked me out for the two weeks leading up to the race.

However, yesterday was the big day, and I was determined to do it even if it meant walking! My mum came down to stay so she could watch me run, and she and The Bloke planned to go to various parts of the track to cheer me on. It was perfect weather, being quite cold, and when I arrived the atmosphere was electric, with thousands of runners from all over the country warming up and getting ready.

As we set off, I felt good. In fact, for the first seven or eight miles I felt reasonable – I went at a steady pace, controlled my breathing and made sure I wasn’t putting too much pressure on my knees. I saw The Bloke and Mum at the 3 mile and 8 mile mark, and saw several of my colleagues and students cheering us on along the way and it spurred me on to carry on. However, by mile 9 I was beginning to hurt. Nothing bad, just a mild ache in my thighs, so I slowed down and kept going. By mile 10, however, it was getting worse, and I hit the wall that I’d heard so many runners talking about. By mile 11, the only thing I could do was walk – we hit the mother of all hills and there was no way I’d be able to make it up there by running without passing out. In fact, I walked mile 11 and mile 12 and it was agony – I felt every single step and it seemed to go on forever. By this point, all of those around me did the same thing – we took advantage of the Jelly Babies that were being handed out to keep up our blood sugar levels, made conversation and cheered each other on, and it lifted my spirits.

And then we saw the finish line at the bottom of Broad Street, and we started to run. I could see The Bloke and Mum waiting and cheering, and as I crossed the finish line I felt an enormous sense of relief. By this point, I couldn’t feel my feet or legs, I was shaking and desperate to get my medal and go home. I got a huge hug from both of them, and they were very patient as I hobbled my way to get a taxi.

13 miles.

I managed to do it in under three-and-a-half hours, exactly the time I had been going for, which I was really pleased about. However, despite stretching down and following all the recommended steps afterwards, by yesterday evening I had completely seized up from the waist down. I didn’t know that I was capable of hurting so much!

Still, I bloody did it, and I’m proud of myself! Will I do it again? Never. However, I may just sign myself up for a 10k next year… Possibly.

There’s still time for you to add the the huge amount of generous sponsorship that has already been donated to the Just Giving page I have set up, with all proceeds going to Dementia UK, in memory of my grandfather…


Thanks to all of you who gave so much support over the last few months, and to everyone who joined in my live tweeting yesterday during the race!


Runspiration Update

imageIn a moment of what I’m now considering to be temporary insanity in April, I signed myself up for the Birmingham Half Marathon, taking place in October. As a smoker with a penchant for cheese and about 60lbs of excess weight on my ass, the idea seemed utterly ridiculous – at the time I found it difficult to climb a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath. There were a number of people around me who must have been thinking the same thing, responding with ‘really?!’ and wry smiles when I told them what I intended to do.

I must admit, I procrastinated for a while after that, using excuses of a busy workload and being tired to avoid getting into any form of training routine. I did a single run in May (and when I say run, I mean I walked for half of it while I coughed my lungs up), managing 1.36 miles (2.2km), and that was it. Continue reading

Run Forrest, Run! Or Maybe Not…

imageIt’s Bank Holiday Monday, and I’ve been looking forward to today. As my day off is on a Tuesday, it means that I am only working for three days this week. Winner.

After my decision to sign up for the Birmingham Half Marathon in October, I spent some of the weekend preparing to start training. I went food shopping and made a plan of healthy meals for the week, I downloaded the necessary apps onto my phone and I created an epic playlist of songs that will hopefully keep me motivated and uplifted as I’m trudging my way around the park. And yes, I included the Rocky theme. Why? Because I actually attempted to run up the same steps that he did when I visited Philadelphia in 2010, and only made it about a third of the way up before I had to stop, catch my breath and walk the rest of the way as I was so unfit, so it serves as a reminder that I need to get moving.

I decided to start with the 5K fitness plan that I have used before. After some searching, (and after going to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron at the cinema, which was awesome by the way), I located my running gear, charged my phone and did my stretches. I was surprised at how nervous I was – I’ve done this many times before, but I think that it’s different because I am actually training for something rather than just to build up my fitness levels and I have made myself accountable by letting everyone know what my intentions are. Indeed, today I was going to channel my inner Forrest Gump.

My five minute warm up walk had been fantastic. The weather was beautiful and I felt psyched, ready to pound the pavement, and I was loving the tracks that I had blasting into my eardrums. When the ‘start’ beep began, I started to jog at a leisurely pace, then walked, then jogged at the timed intervals that my app suggested. I realised that it was going to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, and my positive attitude quickly evaporated once I had reached the first walk/run cycle. I hated every single second of the rest of the journey. I know that my body is carrying extra weight, but I felt heavy – it seemed really difficult to lift my feet off the floor.


Twenty -five minutes and less than two miles later, I arrived back at my door. My face was purple, I was struggling for breath and I had sweat pouring from places that I didn’t know could sweat. My legs were already giving me and indication that I am going to be a little sore tomorrow and all I could do was gasp at The Bloke and asked him to get me a glass of water while I collapsed on the couch and coughed and spluttered on an unsuspecting cat, who was rather indignant at having her sleep interrupted.

Gorgeous. Forrest Gump, I am not. Not yet, anyway.

However, it’s a start, and everyone has to start somewhere. I’ve set myself a challenge, and I’m going to bloody well do it. I just wish that it was possible to lose weight and get fit by eating chocolate and watching television instead, which would be far more fun!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks


13 Miles? What Have I Done?!



In a moment of utter madness today I agreed to sign up for the Great Birmingham Run, a half marathon, in October.

13 miles. Sh*t.

One of my colleagues excitedly asked me if I wanted to join the rest of the faculty, who had all agreed to take part, and before I had time to think I found myself agreeing to it. If my friends can do it, so can I, and I can raise some money for a good cause too.

Indeed, I’ve been inspired by a number of people recently. My friend Rob has just completed the London Marathon and as I was watching the highlights the other day in the hope of seeing him, I was thinking to myself that I would like to do that one day. My friend K, who is now thankfully in remission from breast cancer, is doing the Race For Life with her daughters in June.

But 13 miles? Sh*t!

When I was in my teenage years, I was extremely fit. I swam for a team, played badminton for a team and had my brown belt in karate. I did horse riding and represented the school in cross country. I had a strong, muscular body. I even had a six pack.

However, when I went to university, I stopped exercising, drank lots of alcohol and started smoking more, and consequently put on weight. Lots of weight. The Freshman 15 became more like the Freshman 50, and over the years it has continued to increase. My six pack has turned into a barrel. At the age of 33, I am now overweight, unfit and extremely unhealthy, and I absolutely hate it.

Before my 30th birthday, I bought a dress to wear for my birthday night out. It was strapless, black and so expensive that I almost cried when handing the money over. However, it was just a little bit too tight, highlighting the least flattering parts of my body, and so I decided to start running to lose some weight.

I remember that first attempt. I bought the recommended running apps, sorted out an inspiring playlist, gave myself a goal and set off with a positive attitude, determined to do at least a mile. By the time I had reached the end of my road, I thought I was going to die. My face had turned bright purple, my heart was beating out of my chest and I was covered in sweat. I turned round and walked back home.

I had done less than half a mile, and had walked half of it.

However, over a period of months, I gradually built up my distance, until it got to the point where I could do 5km without breaking a sweat, and I found that I actually started to enjoy it. Actually, that’s a lie, I enjoyed the feeling that I had after I had finished the run. I hated it when I was actually out there.

It worked – I wore the dress and felt good.

Three years later, I have slipped back into old habits. I’ve put on the weight I lost, and then some. My smoking has increased again, and I have turned to food as comfort in times of stress. I’m tired all the time, I can’t fit into any of my favourite clothes, and I have started to dread the warmer seasons because I can’t hide my wobbly bits underneath hooded sweaters.

I’m not concerned about being ‘thin’ – I think that women of all shapes and sizes can look equally as beautiful – but I want my strength back again. I want to be able to fit back into flattering clothes again. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to pass out every time I run for the bus. I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but never really followed up with anything. Now, I’m paying money (which I never joke about), I’m making promises to my friends, and I’m making myself accountable to thousands on readers online. Now, I have to do it. Indeed, I need to do it.

amyAt the beginning of this year I set myself some small goals that I didn’t initially share with anyone else: change my job, and lose some weight. I’m well on the way with the first one, and this weekend will be the start of the second.

But 13 miles???? SH*T! Do you think they would let me run it horizontally?

Advice is needed here people…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and dont forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

How To Gain 60lbs In Five Years


This was me when I was 16 years old. While it isn’t obvious from the picture, I was a slim and healthy teenager. I ate good, home cooked meals and exercised daily – I swam for a local team, I played badminton for a local club, I had achieved a brown belt in karate, I liked horse riding and I represented my school in netball, cross country running and badminton. My appetite has always been huge, but my weight and health was never affected because of the active lifestyle that I led.

Sixteen years later, my reflection bears no resemblance to the naive, frizzy haired person in the picture. I moved away from home when I was 18 and by the time I was 23 years old I had gained almost 60lbs. My clothes no longer fitted me, others had started to comment on this obvious weight gain and my confidence was shot. For those of you who are wondering how I unknowingly achieved this, here is a step-by-step guide. Continue reading