This photo of myself was taken exactly a year ago today.

Other than the devastating fact that this was taken in Mallorca (rather than the rainy London I find myself in right now), the next and slightly bigger blow this photo gives me is that I no longer look like that.

This photo was taken ten days into my first (and so far only) round of Whole30. Whole30 is a very quick and very effective method of achieving quite dramatic body composition results (if that’s what you’re after). You can find the reasons I took on the original challenge here, but looking at that photo I would say that my body is in the best aesthetic condition it’s ever been in.

But like I said, it doesn’t look like that anymore. I’m not saying I am now overweight by any stretch of the imagination, but in the past year my body has changed more than it ever has done before.

A couple of weeks ago, one hot afternoon (I think we’ve had at least one hot afternoon so far this summer), I came home and changed into my favourite pair of denim shorts. Or at least I tried to. I’ve lived in the same pair of stripy Abercrombie & Fitch denim shorts every summer since I bought them in California five and a half years ago. They are (or rather, were) perfect – short, but not too short, slouchy but not too boyish, light but far enough away from white. And now I can no longer do them up. They fit like hot pants and the button does not do up. I could have cried.

Last week, I did an online Nike order that included a pair of training shoes, a vest and some jogging bottoms. The trainers fit (thank GOD), but the clothes to which I’d just waved an “I’m always a small in Nike” to the laptop screen were tight. Later that week I begrudgingly made the trip to Oxford Circus to swap both items for a medium.

The final nail in the coffin for my hope of still being a size 8 came in the form of a carrier bag full of clothes from my friend Felicity. There have been many a time where I’ve raided Felicity’s far-more-stylish-than-my-own wardrobe, but not one single item in the stash would fit me now. And the clothes were so nice *cry face*

Now, I’d much rather own clothes that fit than clothes I don’t feel comfortable in, and I think the idea of owning something you’ll ‘slim into’ ridiculous, but it’s all just been a bit of an odd realisation.

I wrote about feeling body unconfident in September 2011, and I hate to admit I sort of feel the same way again now.

I really shouldn’t. In reality, my body is the strongest it has been in a long time. I cycle everywhere (as my thighs can verify), I’m running consistently good times at parkrun, I go to 1Rebel, strongdem and yoga regularly and tomorrow I genuinely believe I have a very real and very achievable chance at a 10k PB.

So I’m annoyed. I look at this photo of my improving toned arms and I’m proud. I’m confident about a race I’m running tomorrow and I’m glad. I look at my strong cyclist legs and I like them. I’m going to classes I never would have dared set foot in.

But the fact I have half a drawer full of crop tops that won’t be making reappearances this summer still gets me down despite all those things and I am really annoyed about that. Being strong and fit and healthy really should be enough.

So, this is the scariest thing I’ve posted in a while.

Way back towards the end of last year – I’m not even sure how it originally came up – myself and Harry (with some encouragement) started talking about an idea for a podcast.

If you’ve read this post or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m quite the podcast fan. There are a lot out there already, and a lot of those are truly brilliant – but we wanted to listen one that was about running… but not too serious… that recognised there is also more to life… and was by women.

Which is how ONE FOR THE ROAD was born.

We are two people who love podcasts, but have absolutely no idea how to make a podcast. We have been the definition of making this up as we go along. We have created this with zero proper equipment and zero pennies. This probably will hurt your ears. BUT it’s out there; we are up and running. We promise to get better as we go along and learn how to make a more beautiful sound.

Click the banner below to go have a listen to our pilot episode…

 

There are lots of things I know about myself. I am a control freak. I am a planner. I like making decisions and I am not afraid to do so. Once I’ve made my mind up about something, there’s very little going back on it. I’m stubborn like that.

So when something happens outside of my control and threatens to upset the carefully thought through apple cart that is my life, I do not cope well. That is what is happening right now.

I am used to change in a work environment. I work in a very fast paced industry, things change everyday, decisions need to be made and made again. I am good at that. But the one constant is that I am doing the same job everyday. I might be managing and reacting to things out of my control, but my remit and the type of things within that remit remain the same.

But now, even that might be changing. And it’s not on my terms or within my timeline. Gosh, I hate that.

Just over a year ago, I posted this photo on Instagram. Time to remember all the clichés all over again – roll with the punches, ride the wave, everything will work itself out in the end.

Oh, and write lists. Everything is better, clearer and more attainable with lists.

This morning I ran to and then did Mile End parkrun for the third week in a row. Habits don’t stick easily with me, but this is a good one and one I’m intending to keep up.

This is despite the fact that halfway around today’s second lap, I had a panic attack. Only a really little one – relatively short compared to most – but it happened all the same. I couldn’t mistake the building hyperventilation which rose in my chest, resulting in shallow, squeaky breath and tears forming in my eyes.

I’ve been asked in the past if I’m not just mistaking a panic attack for an asthma attack. Although the symptoms sound similar, they feel completely different. The best way I can describe it is that one is a result of the physical (usually cold, damp weather if I’m running) and one is absolutely the result of what’s going on in my mind.

I don’t know why today’s run would be worse than any other – I guess if I knew that it wouldn’t happen. Every so often, I just get all up in my head and the doubt swells and entirely consumes any other thoughts.

As soon as I was brought back out of the negativity and reminded why I was there, it was immediately okay.

You might think that if running makes me feel this way, maybe I shouldn’t do it. This has happened several times before. Times like the Great North Run training run along the canal in Nottingham which resulted in my then boyfriend having to come and collect me. Like the night run in Manchester last year with some of my favourite people. Like at kilometre eighteen of the Copenhagen half in 2013.

But for every run where this has happened, there are at least fifty others where I’ve enjoyed myself, run faster, run happy or – at the very least – not had a panic attack.

And really, it just makes me want to continue running even more. I know that I am stronger than an occasional overwhelming sense of panic. Just like building endurance, building knowledge or building confidence, building mental strength is just another part of the training process and another challenge to overcome. One run at a time.

At the start line of the Battersea Park 10k last weekend, I found myself involved in a chat about podcasts. I’ve got a real thing with podcasts at the moment, mostly because my headphones keep my ears warm in the chilly, windy weather.

I feel like my podcast app is pretty well stocked (mostly thanks to Steph and Harry), so I thought I’d share what I’m currently listening to…

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews

This is the first podcast I ever listened to and has been a constant feature in download charts for several years. If you don’t already listen to this, where have you been and what have you been doing? The first word on movies, I would recommend listening to this even if you’re not that fussed about movies. The conversations between Mark and Simon are always entertaining, I laugh out loud at least three times at every episode and after a while you get to know all the in jokes and recurring conversations like you’re listening to old friends. And if you do actually like to go and see a film every so often, there’s a load of accessible but insightful news, reviews and interviews. Just great. (Also good on the same subject is The Guardian Film Show – more just about film, less witty chatter around the edges.)

Dear Sugar Radio

At the time of writing this, there’s only a pilot and one episode of this podcast, which is the new radio format for the long standing and popular advice column Dear Sugar. It’s presented by Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed – who just so happens to also be the author of Wild, which is about to be released as a movie adaptation. But listening to this you wouldn’t know (and don’t need to know) this backstory – it is essentially just two warm and compassionate people offering advice to their listeners. I found them both to be highly likeable almost instantly. Probably a little bit too hippie/American/flowery for some people, but I think the episodes are just short enough to stay enjoyable.

Londonist Out Loud

A fortnightly podcast about anything and everything London. Presented by someone (N Quentin Woolf) with the silliest name but the most listen-to-able voice, the bulk of the podcast is interviews with very interesting people, along with reviews, news and music. My favourite so far has been the ‘Discovering Vanished London‘ episode where writer Tom Bolton is interviewed about neighbourhoods that have completely disappeared from London’s map.

Call Your Girlfriend

This one was definitely brought to my attention by Steph & Harry. It’s tagline is ‘a podcast for long distance besties everywhere’. I don’t know why you need a long distance bestie to enjoy this – I still thoroughly enjoy listening in on their regular catch ups all on my own. Some of the conversation is very US-centric (I don’t get most of the politics chat), but they also talk a lot of lighter subjects – Beyoncé, listener questions and my absolute fave feature, the menstruation update. All the LOLs. (Not for the faint hearted.)

The Guardian Books Podcast

This is like the University Challenge of podcasts. I don’t understand a lot of the words they say in this one either and I haven’t heard of a lot of the books they discuss. Every so often I have read something they talk about and I feel cultured and clever and involved… before it quickly descends back into me feeling like I really have to concentrate. That being said, this week there was a really interesting discussion with the author of Stuffocation, James Wallman, on the value of doing things vs the value of owning things, and how ultimately everyone would be happier if they just had less stuff. One for fans of The Minimalists and the Chuck It Challenge.

And a couple of others…

Answer Me This! 

The guys who present this remind me of the dorky groups of friends you’d find down the local on a Friday night. Listeners write in with random general (or not so general) knowledge questions, Helen and Olly answer them, hilarity ensues.

The Offside Rule (We Get It!)

A football podcast, presented by THREE WOMEN. Novel, I know.

The High Tea Cast

Back (and weekly!) after a six month break, podcast queens Sam and Leah do chat, cocktails and cake.