Modern Romance

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Call me old fashioned but I believe there is a certain etiquette which should be followed in the world of dating. The etiquette being that verbal communication is king and only the weak hide behind texting and messaging.

However, the use of social media and instant messaging has changed how we interact with each other and particularly with the opposite sex.

I recall in my dating days actually phoning boyfriends up and talking verbally on the phone. To me, it was always nice to hear a voice on the end of the telephone. Nowadays, it is all about texting and blackberry messaging as the preferred form of communication.

Okay so its been quite a while since I actually dated, having been in a relationship for many years. And yes, I do text and email the husband throughout the day. However, if we ever spend time apart with work or through leisure we always make sure that we have a voice to voice conversation every day.

My teenage son has reached the age where he is now dating different girls. I don’t think he has ever phoned any of his girlfriends up to have a conversation with them, but he always has his blackberry in his hand.

The other week, he wanted to finish the current relationship that he was in and asked for my advice on how to do it.

Not claiming to be an expert on such matters, I did try and make sure that he did what I considered to be the right way of doing it, which was to see the girl face-to-face to end it. I believe that dumping someone by text or instant messaging is bad manners and a cowards way out of a situation. Apparently its common place to do this, and maybe I am just old-fashioned and need to get up to speed.

Maybe he’s right and face-to-face verbal communication will be a thing of the past.

He did however, try to undertake my method after messaging the girl to meet up that evening. She must have sensed something was wrong and messaged back stating that If he was going to dump her, she would rather he did it over text.

Thus, maybe my old-fashioned views should stay where they belong – back in the 90s.

What makes a good relationship…….great?

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Very often when I get to know new people either through work, my class at university or through other social gatherings such as sports – I often get a surprised look when I tell people of firstly how long I have been married and secondly, how long the relationship has lasted.

We got together at the end of our teenage years, which looking at that now seems very young. It certainly doesn’t feel like we have been together for nearly eighteen years, as we still enjoy each others company immensely. As we have matured from the love-sick, sweet nineteen year olds we still enjoy spending quality time together and are still the best of friends.

I never take anything for granted, my relationship included. Often I think I am really lucky to have found the perfect person for me. We are like two peas in a pod, but he made a comment about our relationship last week which summed up to me what makes a good relationship great.

He had been talking to his work colleagues and telling them about the training schedule that he has for his sport. It generally takes him out of the house four evenings a week – with two of those being late into the evening. It’s never been an issue for me, he was that person when I met him and I have never tried to change that person. After all – that is one of the reasons I was attracted to him in the first place.

So, the work colleague was amazed that he “was allowed out four nights a week” and “doesn’t your missus try and stop you”.  My husband responded to that by saying that we don’t have that sort of relationship where we would ever stop the other one from doing anything.

And I think that is what makes our relationship not just good, but great! In the eighteen years that we have been together we are both really supportive to each other.  As a collective we have undertaken undergraduate degrees, coaching qualifications, run sports teams, played competitively in our chosen sports and currently postgraduate study.  Did I mention that we have two children too?

That is what makes our relationship unique. We both have our other interests, circle of friends and careers which we agree are extremely important to uphold. After all the relationship would be really boring if we never had anything but the kids to talk about. I think the reason a lot of relationships break down are through over protective partners (either male or female) although in my experience it is usually the woman who does this.

And why? Well for some women once they become mothers they think that their lives are over. They do their living through their children, and then find that their lives are dull, meaningless and they lose their identity. I have kept up with all of my outside interests, as just because I became a parent doesn’t mean that my life grinds to a halt. After all, a child has two parents so my children have both their parents raising them, and not just a miserable mother fetching and carrying for them.

It is also really important that the relationship is still exciting and loving. Obviously in the early days it is tough to do this constantly when we are busy changing nappies and all the other caring duties that come with a new born baby. But, now that the kids are older we try and spend a lot of time together as a couple and often go out – just the two of us.

Husband is participating in the Movember moustache growing exercise for a cancer charity, and although I did try and put him off doing it he has grown one. So in my supportive role I spent a huge chunk of Saturday night painting his face so he looked like Gene Simmons from Kiss.

After all, for a relationship to survive you need trust, patience, the wife rolling her eyes and facepaint.

Kickin’ it in the Caribbean…….Preston style

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Hundreds of people lined the streets as the Caribbean Carnival parade brought an explosion of vibrant colour and a thump of drums to Preston city centre earlier today.

Brightly coloured-dressed dancers, musicians and DJs took part in a joyful parade through Deepdale, the City Centre and finally ending in Avenham Park.

After a delayed start the convoy left Moor Park to begin their journey down Deepdale Road. They were met by a crowd of keen Prestonians, waving flags, blowing whistles and vuvuzelas to the sound of the steel drums.

Around ten floats blasted out Caribbean beats as dance troupes followed behind.

There were plenty of street vendors selling carnival merchandise to the public – which added to the festival noise of steel drums, African music, freestyling MCs and the trumpets of the vuvuzelas.

Sunday afternoon’s parade kicked off the carnival, which concluded at Avenham Park later in the afternoon.

One member of the public said: “I thought it would be a washout as the rain was so heavy this morning. We were really lucky that it stopped just in time and didn’t spoil the carnival.”

The scene down Church Street before the arrival of the carnival saw an amalgamation of crowds wanting to join in the anticipated celebrations.

The diverse mix of the public shows how Prestonhas become a multi-cultural community that joins together in celebration.

The Caribbean Carnival is now the largest and longest running cultural festivity inPrestonoutside of the Preston Guild. It is well organised, creates a sense of community spirit and has now become a local institution.

Training update

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10k number one was over 5 weeks ago, and although I was feeling slightly more relaxed about number two, I couldn’t help but feel that I had let my training schedule slip.

The Trafford 10k really took its fury out on my knees, which although are feeling better than they have been in years, they did swell up and feel rather sore after Trafford.

Instead of running down the three humps during the Trafford 10k in the road with caution – I forgot all the things I had read about running with composure and caution on the downhill and instead thought it would be a good way to gain speed. So, I paid the price in the two weeks following the race.

This affected my training as I was unable to run the distances that I would have liked to. The lack of exercise then impacted on my back which became stiff, so it felt like a vicious circle. I got to a real low point as I had not run for six consecutive days and started worrying that I would quickly lose the fitness levels that I had worked so hard to achieve.

The final two weeks before my second 10k race proved really good. I managed to record my longest distance 10 days ago of nine and half miles which I was so pleased about. Who’d have thought it – six months ago that the fat girl would be able to run that distance.

I also broke the 2 stone barrier in terms of my weight loss last week which I was ecstatic about. I am hoping that the pounds loss will turn into more speed during my races.

And I keep checking out dates for half-marathons. Is it possible at this early stage of my running career to reach so high? Who knows!

The road to fat fighters

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Anybody embarking on a weight loss journey should photograph their body during the process and record their journey.

I really regret not doing this. I was too ashamed, embarrassed and in denial about how large I had let myself get since having children. The children were 14 and 9 so I had run out of excuses.

It was easier to not look in the mirror, buy bigger clothes and I was convinced that if I got too large I had a lovely husband who would tell me so. In reality my husband loves me whether I am 13 stone or 10 stone. Everybody else thought I was healthy and physically fit as I was able to run around the netball court for 40 minutes – twice a week.

As with everything people can’t make you do something – you need to do it for yourself.

D-day for me was seeing a photograph taken at the back of me at the buffet table during a work colleagues leaving lunch. As soon as I saw it, I saw a fat, frumpy council worker who shouldn’t be helping herself to buffet as she looked like she had ate too much over the years.

I felt so ashamed of how I looked.

I went home that night and looked at my husband who is so physically fit, has a muscley body which he works so hard to maintain – all the things that I love about a male and why I was attracted to him in the first place. If anything he has improved physically with age.

I then looked at myself and how I had really let myself go over the years following having children and felt about as low as I have ever felt for years.

I had turned into one of those frumpy looking mums who have let their appearances fade. There are plenty of them in the playgrounds – you know the type, they wear tight jeans and have an overspill of flab in their midriff. I had become that and it didn’t matter how many netball matches I could play, or how many sessions I could do at the gym – without losing that fat I was a frumpy, fat middle-age mother.

So, I joined weightwatchers.

I had calculated that I was going on holiday to Menorca in exactly 14 weeks from my joining date so if I could lose a pound a week then at least I would be a stone lighter for my holiday.

That was the goal I had to focus on.

Surprisingly I found the weight loss plan quite easy to stick to. I didn’t feel hungry and it was more of just watching what I ate and keeping a track of all the food I was consuming.

I could not believe it after my first week when I was weighed and I had lost 2 pounds. It was a great feeling to have achieved that, so that was the motivation I needed. My stone for my holiday was a definite achievable goal.

Some weeks I would stay the same, the weeks that I didn’t track every day I would gain – but I managed to lose a stone for my holiday.

I even wore a bikini for the first time on holiday.

So, if I could lose a stone slowly and just by watching what I was putting in my mouth, then surely I could lose another one?

It was much slower to lose the second stone but all the compliments I received from people who were noticing the weight loss gave me all the motivation I needed. I also dropped a dress size too, which felt like a milestone. I hadn’t been in size 12 clothes since I was 28 years old.

When I had lost 22 pounds in total my life would change forever. I signed up for 10k races and started running. Again, another thing I had tried a couple of times over the years but found it too physically challenging for me.

However, this time it felt easier and after running for a few weeks something clicked and I was able to just switch off and keep running with no thoughts. It felt a bit like meditating and the way I felt after each run was awesome. I felt happy, energetic and calm.

One thing about running is that even though a few times I feel like I can’t be bothered going out and running, especially when its really cold outside – I never feel downbeat and unhappy when I get home. I always have the runners high.

So, back to the present day. Unfortunately I never took those photos or wrote the logs of my weight loss journey. But, I can look in the mirror now, I feel at my peak in terms of my physical fitness and I am nearly at the weight I was when I first met my husband.

I think the husband finds me far more attractive at the weight I am now too.

But the greatest achievement ever was that I  bought my first pair of skinny jeans the other week and there was not an overhang of flab in sight.

Injury after injury after injury

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There are plenty of people in the world who abuse their bodies by smoking, taking drugs, being overweight and not exercising.

Apart from the odd blow-out at the weekend when I succumb to the devilish delights of vodka and dairy milk, I tend to look after myself. I stick to my weightwatchers eating air diet, I exercise regularly and have a mostly healthy mind.

Then why do I seem to be prone to injury at the moment. My knees flared up after my last 10k race which suspended my training for over a week. Then I had to do lots of short distances to not aggrevate them even further. I spent every evening stretching on the foam roller (which is a god send for my knee problems). So, I finally got them pain and swelling free last week and my back decided to start playing up (whilst sitting on a chair and eating my tea).

It is so unfair. I have been desperatly trying to keep it mobile, take lots of ibuprofen and do all the exercises (that I do anyway to keep my back supple) and then some more.

I have my next 10k race on Good Friday, and it’s not going to be good for me if I have to either:

a) walk it

b) crawl it

c) get pushed in a wheelchair

d) get carried round (mmmm actually depends on who is doing the carrying)

e) forfeit my place

I don’t like to be a moany old arse but aren’t injuries just the pits? I have felt so great since I started running. I feel physically and mentally a different person – so why is my shitty post 30 years body not catching up!