Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I know it has been a week since I have written and I would like to apologise for my neglect. It seems that not only am I struggling with the discipline of running, but I am also struggling with the discipline of writing about my training everyday. The truth is I do have the time, I have just chosen to spend it sat on a sofa watching movies, but no more… I will not neglect you again.

So instead of going back and playing catch up, I am giving you now a week a review:

Thursday 6 December 2007

Knowing that I had no time in the evening to run, I decided to get up early in the morning and do my run then. Going to the gym at 6.30am is a funny thing as the place is dead, the girls on reception usually so perky are croaky and quiet, and there are 50 free treadmills to choose from. After a decent night sleep the run was ok, but my limbs are not quite up for running in the morning. I think they prefer a full day’s warm up before hitting the pavement.

Friday 7 December 2007

Again I decided to give the morning running thing another go. They do say that running in the morning is the best, but my body just does not agree with the sentiment and after getting half way through the workout I had to settle on speed walking instead of running.

Saturday 8 December 2007

I took Saturday as one of my days off this week and enjoyed a relaxing weekend with the family. However, I noticed that my right ankle was swollen and had a large bruise on it. Time to put your feet up and relax. I just hope that the swelling goes down by Sunday. Big run on Sunday.

Sunday 9 December 2007 – Weigh In

So again I did not lose any weight this week. Yes it is a bit annoying, yes I feel somewhat frustrated, but I am not deterred. After all, am I doing this to be able to run a marathon, losing weight is not really the aim, although the more weight I lose the easier the runs will be. In any event there is little more I can do about it. I mean I am sticking to the workouts, sticking to the diet, so what more does the god of the scales want from me?

Today was a big day in our running schedule. Today we were running for almost the entire 30 minutes, only walking for 1 minute every 5 minutes. We were nervous, but excited and promised ourselves that we would give it our very best shot, but not give up on ourselves if we extended one or two of the walking times in between. Sadly we just did not get that far. Half way into the run I was feeling tired and my ankle started to ache. I carried on and tried to run through it, but as I stepped onto my foot to begin the 4th repetition my ankle gave way and I almost fell in pain. We walked a little more and, determined to finish the run, I tried to run again, but by this stage it was painful to put any pressure on my foot and I had to give up.

I could feel the tears swelling up in my eyes again, my face flushed red with disappointment and I lowered my head in shame. Another run this week that I could not finish.

“You are not crying!”

It was my sister

“I am serious you are not crying! You hurt your ankle, you are not going to try running on it again and you are not going to cry about it. It happens, it sucks, but we will do this, even if we have to do the week over again.”

I just don’t want to do the week over again

“Well at least this is all happening now.”

What if it happens during the marathon?

“Well then I will let you cry.”

Monday 10 December 2007

A very much needed Rest Day

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Knowing that I could not run I decided to head to the gym anyway and use this time to work on my weights and do other cardio that did not put so much pressure on my ankle.

I did 30 minutes on the Elliptical trainer, followed by a series of weights and exercises and then finished up by session with 30 minutes on the bike. I felt pumped and happy as I walked home. Yes my ankle still hurts, but I am not going to let it get me down. It isn’t broken, so it is not like I am going to be out of action for 6 weeks. 1 week tops and I will be back to normal and can start the week again. Only annoying part is that the training schedule originally finished before New Year. Now it looks like I am going to be spending New Years t-total and training. I guess it’s all about dedication… and “dedication’s what you need” so said Roy Castle.

Wednesday 12 December 2007

So I did something stupid today. I was running late for an appointment after work and so even though my ankle was sore I walk fast and hard the 20 minute walk that I needed to reach in 10 minutes. I was supposed to meet a friend at the gym afterwards, but after I got home and got undressed for the gym I saw how swollen my ankle had become and the pain was throbbing through my leg. There was no way I was going to run, cycle or walk on this thing tonight. Instead I decided to swap my rest days and give myself another day off my foot.

Do I feel like I am slacking off? Yes. Do I feel like a hypochondriac? Yes. Am I disappointed in myself? Yes

But so help you if you tell me I am slacking off! You try running on a bruised and swollen ankle and then tell me I am slacking off!

(Deep Breath)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fat Girl Running

So while everyone else has been eating their Chanukah doughnuts I have been training as if everything is normal. It is pretty pathetic when you decide to treat yourself and the best you can do is a tuna fish sandwich and a tiny piece of chocolate without feeling the guilt, but I guess I should be grateful for it in some way.

Anyway today was a good workout day. I felt pretty good running on the treadmill today, well I did have a great view to distract me. (Note to oneself time to switch sides of the gym to run on. The far side definitely has the better view…). In addition, my best friend showed up half way through my workout, and although I have restricted my running to either with my sister or alone (that is if no-one is spying on me) because I am still shy of running in front of others, I realised that it is actually nice to run with someone you know next to you. Although, I do find it hard to run and talk at the same time on the treadmill without feeling like I am about to fall off.

After the run I went home and as I place my dinner of lemon and garlic chicken on the table and began flicking channels, I came across a documentary that really caught my eye. In 2003 James Peak, an overweight self proclaimed slob, decided to lose weight by running the London Marathon. He set himself 5½ months to get in enough shape and run the full Marathon. His video diary is a hilarious look at what it is for someone who has no fitness to set a goal such as this and struggle through the lack of beer, fags and curry (all very important to the average English male) and get to the finish line. I was astounded to watch his documentary, aptly named Fat Man Running, as he not only finished with a painful knee, but he finished in 4¾ hours, beating Frank Bruno by 200 yards! Some achievement by anyone’s standards I think.

Since I watched it, I have spent the last few hours searching for this man on the internet and facebook, but sadly this man seems to only have made one documentary and then disappeared back into obscurity. Shame, because I would have loved to talk to him about his training. Anyway even though I could not find him, I hope somewhere out there, perhaps in London, he is reading this and enjoys the shameless plug I am giving him and I want to say that it is nice to see I am not the only nutcase on this planet. Please do check out this link and watch the videos. I promise you, if I don’t inspire you to get off your arse and run, then he will!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is Big brother watching?

Today I was not in the mood to run. To be honest all I was in the mood for was snuggling in front of a good movie with a pint of Haagen-Dazs and a large doughnut. I was not in the mood for going home, getting on my gym clothes and running for 5 minutes every 4 minutes for 30 minutes, but in the end that was exactly what I did. Remember I am learning discipline by doing exactly what I am told, and as the schedule tells me that today is a run day, well then that is what I am going to do.

It was a struggle. Sometimes after a rest day my muscles feel full of energy, ready to burn and the first run back is bursting with adrenaline. Today however, my muscles were heavy and tight and I sweated through the entire workout just counting down the minutes to the end.

Just as I took a deep breath and stretched out, relived and looking forward to go home and have a hot shower, I turned to see a friend running on the elliptical behind me. As I moved to go talk to her I heard my name being called. It was her boyfriend. As I spoke to him I noticed that my personal trainer was running next to him so made a swift exit. Swift it was not as almost every person I walked past was someone I know and everyone asked the same question, “How’s the running going?”

I smiled, I chatted, I tried to forget that I was bright red and sweating, but as I stood at my locker and heard the voice of people I recognised I suddenly became really paranoid… Am I being watched? Everyone knows. I haven’t kept it a secret. Are they spying on me to make sure that I am not just making it all up?

Time to get a grip and enjoy a guilt free glass of wine… it is good for your heart after all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Week 4 – The Results

Weight: 94.5 kilos

Yup, nothing changes. My weight stayed exactly the same and the truth is to me it is like water off a ducks back. Well how could I feel down when I am now running more than I am walking? Yes you read correctly. We have now entered the second part of our training program that takes us from running and walking an equal amount of time to running for the full 30 minutes and then on to 2 miles. So how can I be blue about a few kilos when I can see true progress being made in my running distance and ability? Besides my tight jeans are now no longer tight; in fact they are pretty loose around my legs and bottom.

The thing bothering me at the moment is the reason that I am doing this. I mean I never talk about colon cancer in my blog, so how can I be spreading awareness when I am not talking about it. Even my dad is telling perfect strangers that his two daughters are running a marathon to lose weight!

So how do I change this gross misrepresentation of my intentions and my goal for this run? Well I could get in contact with my local Colo-rectal cancer society, but try as I may I cannot find one. It got me thinking…

When my friends go travelling they do their research. How? They get themselves a copy of the Rough Guide to the country they are planning on going to, they go and look on the Lonely Planet website and find people with the travel bug like themselves. They can even search the country and find many links to local guides and information about the country. But someone with cancer trying to find out information… well where do they go?

When I Googled Colon Cancer I got the general information about the Cancer, the causes, the symptoms, the treatments, but there is no section on ‘I have colon cancer so what should I do now?’ The truth is the more I read the more I realise that the experts have no clear answer to that question as more and more research is done on the disease and newer and newer treatments are emerging.

This is both positive and worrying to me as in there are clearly developments being made, but what is happening now on the ground for people battling it now? Where is the Rough Guide to dealing with Cancer?

On my run I thought about what it would be like if there was a central website that connected all continents, all forms of cancer and all those who suffer with it. I am now wondering if and how I could make this happen…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 3 - The Results

Weight: 94.5 kilos

I lost two kilos this week, so all those who saw me and said, “Wow Channah you are looking thin!” you were right. Although it means slightly less to me this time around. I remember how excited I was the second weigh in when I saw I had lost 1.6 kilos and I remember how gutted I was the week after when I put on 1.1 kilos. This week I looked at the scales and simply saw a number. I think I was pretty indifferent to it, or at least no way near as excited as when I managed to finish the 4 minute run routine yesterday. It is just weight. It is not really what I am working towards, although it is a nice cherry on the cake.

It especially so as I can really feel in every run how much additional weight I am carrying around. With every step I think to myself how much easier it would be if I was not schlepping around at least 20 bags of sugar around with me. I walk next to my sister, run in the gym next to a slim and toned girl, and all I can think to myself is, 'Yeah I could do that too without working up a sweat if I dropped a few pounds.' I am not being bitter. I have no one to blame for this state of affairs other than myself, and I accept that. I so too accept that it takes time and what I am doing by definition will help the pounds fall off and in turn help me run quicker and for longer.

It is a long process. There are going to be many hurdles ahead, but I am ready to face them one by one and so too feel the benefits of the weight dropping off kilo by kilo.

Two weeks ago I went to a friend’s house to catch up with the girls, and as I left after a night of drinking water while they drank wine my hostess turned to me and said, “Channah I am so shocked and impressed. I’ll be honest; I never thought you would make it past the first week.” I laughed and was so amused at the truth of her statement and thought to myself, ‘Damn I should have made bets! I could be raking in the cash!’ Now I am so sure that I am going to finish this thing. I admit in the beginning, I was filled with self-doubt and fear, but now I know I have nothing to fear… I have the greatest friends and family supporting my every step; I am running side by side with my sister who never lets me down and who I would never let down; and I now believe in myself. I believe that I can do this… and I cannot wait to get to the finish line!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Yes yes yes!! I did it! I managed to do the 4 minute run! I did it with no-one there to drag me on, no Dalya to tell me 'yes you can do it', I did it all by myself and I feel pumped!!

Tomorrow is weigh in and I do not care what the scales say! I can do this!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Tough Lesson

Thanksgiving taught me a big lesson; Do not go out for dinner to anywhere, other than a restaurant where you already know what you are going to eat, without eating first.

After spending just under two hours shaking with hunger as the turkey was ravaged within thirty minutes of being put out, trying to quench back the tears because seriously what kind of person cries over food? Eating the fresh salad that was available, but feeling totally unfulfilled. Explaining to people that I am hungry because there is no food and although there clearly is food around the vegetables fried and baked in a thick fatty crust is not something I could put in my mouth right now. Being told, “Fuck it, the chocolate cake is really good why don’t you eat that,” and so giving in and having a bite only to feel physically sick because all my body wants is protein and everything else just tastes dry. Realising that as supportive as people can be they cannot empathise with being hungry when they are stuffed full and still enjoying the rest of the food that is around. Eventually deciding to leave, even though it seems rude because I’m getting paler and paler and feeling sicker and sicker, and walking home trying to stop myself from retching from lack of food, I decided that there was no-one to blame but myself so I should just suck it up, not cry and simply learn a tough lesson from it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You call that running???

We are in our third week of the program and it is certainly not getting any easier. My trainers are still giving me troubles, although I am wondering if I am being too hard on them as it is only a little rubbing, or if I am bring too soft on them as I am only running for 30 minutes at the moment… what happens when we get to running for a full hour and more?

Other than the footwear we have also been struggling with our footing somewhat. In the program they make a big deal about the jump from 30 seconds to 1 minute of running (within the 30 minute walk/jog routine) and although it was difficult the first time we went up to 1 minute of running, by the second time we could both handle it with relative ease. The same when we upped our running time to 2 minutes, but now at the 3 minute mark we are both struggling. As I explained on our run on Sunday we could not finish all the runs, so too when we tried the run again on Wednesday, we simply could not complete the run. After the second rep we decided to lower our running time to 2 minutes for the last half of the routine.

Now I am looking at my schedule for the next few days and tonight and tomorrow are supposed to be 4 minute runs. We are almost at the stage where we are supposed to be walking and running for the same amount of time, and we cannot get passed the 3 minute blip!

Part of me thinks that realistically we should not try to do the 4 minute run, but instead keep working on improving the 3 minute run, but then I am scared that we will just get in a rut of 3 minutes and not progress any further.

Then I am wondering to myself, how on earth am I going to be able to solidly run for anything between 4 to 6 hours if I cannot even run 3 minutes? I am filled with self doubt, but then I know I am not the first person to start training for a marathon. This is possible, and I am counting on ending it with Jazz hands and a big smile on my face, but right now I have a nervous flutter in my heart that maybe I have bitten off a little more than I can chew. Again, thank goodness I have my sister doing this with me! Seriously when they tell you that you can never do these things on your own and you need a running/ diet buddy they are right!

Ok so I am going to stop beating myself up for today and instead I am going to skip the run tonight. Don’t worry I am just going to swap my rest day on Saturday with today. So tonight instead of running, I think I am going to just go for a long walk… before enjoying my first ever Thanksgiving dinner (I am English so I am being forced to go dressed as a red-coat).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Words of Wisdom

After my meltdown on Sunday night I sent a very bitter and upset email to my nutritionist asking for some wise words to keep me going. The next day the following email was in my inbox, which I would like to share with you all as it keeps me going… and maybe there are those of you out there who could do with some words of wisdom to keep you going… just like me.

Channah Boo
Sorry you are feeling so come some words of wisdom :-)

  • A change in diet (esp. an increase in fibre) can be painful in the short term as your body adapts; that is not a reason to return to old ways but to understand that we spend years messing our bodies up so we need to pay the consequences as they return to their natural ways. I've SOOOO been there!
  • Bloating, retained fluid and poo can add lots of weight. The best way to judge progress is if you clothes are getting looser over time; weighing scales are a big silly for women. Once you feel your bowels are empty, weigh yourself again. I always tell my eating disorder clients that +/- 2-3kgs's doesn't count so much. Where are you in your cycle?
  • Don't berate yourself for boohooing on the jog; pat yourself on the back for going on the jog and NOT sitting in eating cookies!
  • More on the body and how we abuse it: Doesn't it appear comical that we treat ourselves like crap and expect our body to continue working, yet when we suddenly decide we are going to be all healthy, and it doesn't obey, we get upset??? GIVE IT A CHANCE! This situation is YEARS in the making so will take months of roller-coasting to improve. Most of the time you'll see the results you want, but sometimes the universe will send you challenging results to test you and see how committed you really are. YOU SHOW THEM CHANNAH! You are doing this primarily for health and the weight loss is the cherry on the cake!
  • It's ok not to feel happy right now. Be sad. But don't abuse yourself. Green tea is an excellent choice and let me just shout from the rooftops the benefits of gallons of peppermint tea for whipping out the poos and farts!
  • You may have a few weeks of intermittent weird gas ahead of you; I promise promise promise it will ease up. Your gut muscles are trying to regain their tone after a long period of lower fibre diet and inactivity!

With muchos love, pats on the back and a dose of keep-it-up


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Week 2 - The results

Weight: 96.6 kilos

(WARNING: Do not read if you are offended by the words ‘Constipated’, ‘Poo’, ‘Wind’ or words that relate to them)

I feel totally deflated. On top of the pain of my bloated stomach, I feel like someone has punched me in the gut. How could I have put on a kilo when I have been working so hard? It makes just no sense to me. The cruel hand of fate I mentioned last week certainly has had the last laugh, it is just so unfair. I worked my ass off, sticking to the program, constantly tweaking my diet with my nutritionist friend and to what end? A bloated stomach, a definite lack off pooing for 2 days and a weight gain of a kilo!

I tried to be happy for my sister’s weight loss, and I am happy for her, but as soon as I got on the scales all I could think about was the weight gain and how I was going to have to publish it on my ‘bloody blog’. My parents tried to say words of advice, “maybe you ate something wrong...” but I would not hear it. I had truly worked hard at this. You know when you have cheated, and I am sorry, but the small sized portion of desert I ate on Friday night which I had previously agreed with my nutritionist does not count as cheating!

Anyway, I had to shake it off because we had a run to do and Sunday is generally our toughest day. It is the day we take it up a notch and today we were upping our jogging time in our walk/jog routine of 30 minutes from 2 minutes to 3 minutes. On Saturday night we just completed the 2 minute routine with only slightly more ease than the day before, so we were both nervous about going up to 3 minutes. We made an agreement that we would give it our best shot for the first repetition and then if it became too hard we would reduce the time back to 2 or 2.5 minutes.

As we warmed up my sister gave me a pep talk to get me to shake off the blues of my weight gain.

DALYA: You know it could be muscle growth
ME: I know
DALYA: And you are bloated
ME: I am
DALYA: Come on Channah you know you are working at this. So what you had a set back are you just going to quit?

And so with a fighting attitude we started our routine with the 5 minute walk, which we did faster than before, and moved into the first 3 minute run. I am not going to say that it was easy, because for sure it was not, but we ran together and our determination got us through the first rep. Into the second rep we maintained the fast pace of our first walk and then again completed the 3 minute run. We were pumped full of tenacity. Two more reps to go and we would be done. We could do this!

Into the third rep I knew I was tired and I knew that Dalya was tired, but we were determined. We were going to do this. But 2 minutes into the run my legs would not move any further. I felt like someone was stabbing my buttocks and despite my attempt to cry through the pain I simply could not go on. As we slowed down to a walk I did not feel defeat, I did not feel deflated as I did when I saw my weight on the scales. I felt angry. You know when a child has a screaming fit when they cannot have the toy they wanted. Imagine that child crying, wailing and sobbing. That was me. I carried on walking just as fast as the first walk, only I was holding my hips and crying like a baby.

Dalya turned to me and tried to comfort me, but I could not be touched. I was so embarrassed and yet I could not stop the tears. We carried on walking out the third rep and then made a final attempt to run the final rep. Again we only managed 2 minutes.

As we walked the cool down home I could not speak. I was so damn angry. The truth was I did not feel so tired. I could have run more, but my legs... my legs could not carry on and so I had to give in. I took deep breaths to try and quell the rage boiling inside me, but when I exhaled all I got was more tears.

DALYA: Talk to me
ME: I can’t

Dalya grabbed my hand and made me stop in the middle of the street and then my sister eight years my junior hugged me. It was a long hug and for a moment I forgot that we were stood on a main road with other walkers, joggers and cars passing by us wondering why two girls were hugging each other in running clothes.

DALYA: Why are you crying?
ME: Because it was bad enough that I put on weight, but you know this was never about the weight it was about doing this. And we could not even complete the 3 minute run.

DALYA: But we knew this before we started. We didn’t even think we would be able to do the first rep and we managed to do half the whole routine! And Channah you know that this time you walked faster that you ever did any of the times before and you kept a decent pace throughout all the jogs. I never had to slow down for you this time. You worked so hard this time and even if you are not proud of your workout today I am! I am proud of my workout today too!
ME: I know Dalya, but you don’t have to write about your failures in a blog.

DALYA: What failures? And who are you afraid of failing in front of? Your friends? This is not about your friends or our family being proud of you! That is not why you did this. Is it?
ME: No

DALYA: You did this for people who like you, never thought they would be able to do something like this. You did this to prove that if you can, then anyone can… Channah that is inspirational! You inspired me. I would not be doing this if it was not for you! We are all working at our goals because of you and you should feel good about that instead of feeling all this unnecessary pressure.
ME: I guess
DALYA: You guess?

I turned to her and smiled

ME: I guess if I can do it then really anyone can. But not everyone has you doing it with them Dalya.

To my darling sister Dalya: You are my inspiration! I don't know if I could do this if I did not have you by my side! If anyone in the Raánana area is looking for a personal trainer this girl will be fully trained in roughly a years time… at least she will be after having to deal with me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 11 - Raw

So I have finally calmed down about my nightmare trainer problem. It really is not a nightmare. I can take them back no problem and perhaps I was too hasty in trying out my new shoes and should have given my poor heels a little more time to heal.

So instead today I decided to take some positive steps to solving the problem without taking the shoes back right this second. I mean I really did not give them a chance. So in my lunch break I headed to the mall and managed to find that proper running socks are not the ‘sports’ socks that Marks and Spencers sell, nor are they the cute little trainer socks.

Proper running socks have padding. Padding that covers your heels and other areas that might potentially rub against your shoe. What if I had had these socks in the beginning? Would I have had to take back my first pair of trainers? Well I am going to test them out tonight so I will let you know.

I realise that I have spoken a lot about the training schedule and how the actual running is going, but what happens the other twenty three and 10 minutes of the day? What about my diet? Well the diet is still a work in progress. A lovely friend in the States has been helping me work out a diet that will suit the training program and me as I progress, but at the moment I am just enjoying food. This does not mean that I am stuffing my face with cakes though. I would like to state for a fact that this is something I have managed to avoid, despite many temptations of Birthday cakes, leaving cakes, and returning from holiday chocolates that have been flowing around my office in the last week alone.

When I say that I am enjoying my food I mean that I am enjoying the flavour of food more. I have been adding garlic and lemon and lots of vegetables to my skinless chicken to replace the fat, I have been eating raw fish and salads made with herbs instead of dressings. In this way I am enjoying the taste of all things natural and you know what I realised? I realised that the natural flavour is actually better.

It tastes real, fresh and it does not make you feel sick. The one issue is you really have to be in the mood to chop 6 different types of vegetables, marinate chicken and stand over the stove for an hour to feed one. I do agree, buying a burger is definitely easier. But I found a new fast food replacement… Sashimi (Raw Fish). I love it so much I have made it a bi-weekly take-out regime. Raw fish is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fats (the good fats) and other nutrients like selenium, niacin and vitamin B12, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin B6. Ok so I have no idea what all of these are for, but it sounds very healthy to me!

Plus it seems like everyone is going raw at the moment, even Gordon Ramsay has been talking about the benefits of eating raw foods; increased energy, radiant skin, lowering of body fat. Sounds like a win win situation to me. They have been opening raw food restaurants all over the place, London, New York… so when is some bright spark going to bring it to Israel! Tel Aviv… pretty please!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Sucks

Tears are streaming down my face. This is after the walk of shame I did home from the gym choking back the tears. Or should I say the hobble I did back from the gym after trying out the second pair of shoes that I bought after the first pair cause deep blisters in my heals.

I let them heal for a few days, wore old trainers that didn’t rub against my heals and yet half an hour into my work out, which I would like to say was going pretty well, I just could not take the pain anymore. I stopped, tried to readjust my socks, replace the band aid I had put on for extra padding, but the band aid had rolled up and stuck to itself and my socks just did not help.

I don’t want to go back to the store again. I have had enough! What is so damn wrong with my feet that ‘professionals’ cannot find a pair that wont cause me pain enough that result in my sat here crying like a baby and feeling sorry for myself.

It’s just so fucking unfair!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Week 1 - The results

Weight: 95.5 kilos

So in terms of weight I did it. I lost 1.6 kilos this week, which works out at 3.5 pounds. I was so happy I near leapt off the scales onto my sister in joy. I had felt it over the last couple of days in my tight jeans which are getting less tight, but I half expected that by the usual cruel hand of fate it would have resulted in nothing. Thank goodness I was wrong.

To be honest I was pretty much looking forward to the weigh in. That was going to be the easy part. I was not, however, looking forward to the run. After Friday and the struggle to run a minute I was pretty resigned to the fact that I am not a runner and never would be, but I would still carry on because, well because of all of you. But then a funny thing happened. As we started to run (today was again 5 minutes walking and 1 minute jogging) I found that I could do it. I then realised that we were in fact running up hill and still I did not want to die. By the third round of running I realised, as I stretched my thighs out and connected with the road, that I was in fact running. I was not slowly jogging behind my sister today. I was running alongside her, even at times sprinting slightly to catch up with her and although it was certainly not easy it was not actually that hard.

I was buzzing so much at the end of the run that my sister and I did a celebratory high five before going home and doing 80 sit-ups. Watch this space… I might actually do this!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Just a minute

On Fridays I head to Ra’anana to go jogging with my sister Dalya who is doing the training program with me. We sadly live in different cities, so running together is not always practical, however I make the effort twice a week to go to her so we can practice together. When we met on Sunday it was the first day and the Weigh-in. Now it is Friday and the first day we are going to jog a minute. I think I described the general jist of the schedule, however just in case I didn’t I will recap.

The training schedule begins with walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week. Within the first month this changes to walking and jogging for 30 in alternates of 5 minutes walking and 30 seconds jogging, rising within the first month to equal time walking and jogging. I’ll explain the second month when we get there.

So, in keeping with the training schedule, Friday was the fist day that we walked 5 minutes and jogged 1 minute. We called it the minute run. Now one minute does not seem like that much more than 30 seconds. It is normal to say phrases like, ‘just a minute’, ‘in a minute’, ‘it will only take a minute’. Only a minute! I now have second thoughts about the true meaning of a minute. A minute when you are rushing to finish off a paper before your time runs out can seem like second, but when you are jogging; when you are learning to jog, a minute feels like forever.

Dalya had the watch and pretty soon took on the role as personal trainer. This was fine by me. I just did as I was told… seriously who would have though I of all people would enjoy this! Anyway, not having a watch to watch the minute pass by was painful. At first I simply waited for Dalya to tell me when the minute was up, but after 45 seconds I would get all John Mcenroe on her and should, “You can’t be serious! The minute must be up!” Then as I did not believe that she was checking the watch in time I decided to count myself to test her. Of course once I got to 50 seconds I could barely concentrate on breathing never mind counting as well. So I gave up and decided that the boss was right.

By the penultimate rotation of walking and jogging my sister turned to me and asked me if I wanted to vomit. I didn’t really want to vomit. I just had the most almighty stitch going through my side. Come on Channah you can do this! Yes I can!

So I pinched it in, took deep breaths, walked for 5 minutes and then as the 30 minute training session came to a close I ran.

“Channah I am very proud of you.” I am kind of proud of me too… Oh lord how am I going to run 2?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Shamless Plug

Ok, I know this blog is about preparing for a Marathon, but I have to say a big thank you to the wonderful people at Pro Sports store in Tel Aviv:

Dear Pro Sports store workers and Manager (The bald male one and also the blonde female one, although you were not in the day I returned my trainers)

I would like to say a big thank you to you for helping me in my time of need. When I walked into your store with trainers that I had run and sweated in three times, no less, I was nervous that you would take one look at the soles and tell me to get on my bike. However, you did not so much as check the laces, for you were not concerned with the shoe. No, you were concerned more about the giant blisters at the back of my ankles, you were concerned more with trying to help me and solve the mystery of the girl with the attacking shoes.

Thank you for bringing out band aids and thick socks so I could at least attempt to try on a new pair of trainers without wincing in pain. Thank you for understanding that a girl who has only just started an 8 week training program cannot give up just because of a blister, no matter how deep it is. Thank you for taking the time to try to work out the mystery of my feet. I know the original trainers appeared to fit perfectly, and I loved them too, but when it hurts it hurts and no-one can argue with the holes in my heal.

Thank you for you patience as I held my head in my hands wondering what would my mentor suggest without being able to call anyone because I left my phone in the car. Thank you for re-assuring me that if the pair I took later on also cause me problems you would change them again whether I tried them out in the gym or on the road.

Above all thank you so much for your understanding and your care. In return I promise that I shall recommend you to everyone I know and put a shameless plug on my Blog.

Thank you again and again


To get the best service when buying running shoes I suggest you head straight to:


121 Hahashmona'im Street, Tel Aviv.

The store is open Sun-Thur: 10:00- 19:00, and Fri: 09:30-14:30.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No pain no gain?

I have just come back from the gym. It is my 4th day on the programme and the first day we actually jog and I am close to tears. Not because of the work out. The work out I could handle if my bloody shoes weren't rubbing great holes into the back of my heals. Bare in mind that this is with blister plasters on my heals and thick winter socks for extra padding!

I have given them 3 days and I am beginning to wonder how long it takes to break in a pair of running shoes? I am also wondering whether I am a huge fool and should have taken them back after the first walk when they were rubbing and I am wondering if it is now too late to go crawling back to Pro Sport and ask them to exchange them and somehow find for me trainers with a lower back. Damn my tiny feet and low ankles!

I am looking at them now and wondering how it all went so wrong. "How you tricked me, you evil shoes! When we were in the store you fit like a glove, I felt like I was walking on air and now... now I make you work you stick the knives in my heals!"

The only thing stopping me from burning them right now is the knowledge of how much my mum and dad spent on them.

Does anyone out there have any advice? Shoe Fairy please guide me… I have a training session tomorrow!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Here we go! - The weigh in and the workout

It is Day 1 of the training program and I am psyched up and ready to go. Dalya and I arranged that on Sundays and Fridays we would run together in Raánana and then the other 3 days of training we would do on our own. Although the Learn to Run training program said that the first day of the week (Monday for them) was a rest day, we decided to start on Sunday and yet keep Monday as a rest day. So in the morning I packed my gym bag, headed to work and spent the day counting down the hours until I would meet with my sister and begin training.

We had also decided that we wanted to make a proper record of the change not only to our fitness, but also to our bodies so we decided that Sundays would also be weigh-in day.

I will be honest, I was a little nervous. I had not gone to the gym for over two months and I knew that I had put on some weight, but as my scales at home had run out of batteries I had no idea how much weight I had put on.

Stepping onto the scales I held my breath and hoped that by some miracle I had only put on a kilo or two. But when I looked down I found that I had in fact put on a total of 7 kilos, approximately 15 pounds. I could not believe it. Tears weld up in my eyes and I just wanted to give up then and there. Dalya stepped on the scale and was also disappointed. We had both let ourselves go and in so doing had let ourselves down.

I thought about getting back in my car, driving home and getting into bed to cry, but then I looked at the training book I had put together and saw the pictures on the front cover. The first was a picture of myself just before I moved to Israel, my fat picture. It was taken when I was at my heaviest. The second was a picture taken a year later, just before I went back to England the first time, when I was at my lightest. I was now somewhere between the two, and I realised that I had a choice. I could go home, give up, feel sorry for myself and carry on heading back down the old road to my old self, or I could face my fears, stop beating myself up and instead of feeling sorry for myself start to think positively about myself. I was making a positive change and I at least owed it to myself to see it through and give it everything I have.

I carried on as planned and we next took 'before shots'. As I said we wanted to record this journey properly and therefore to see how far we would ultimately come, we wanted a proper record of where we were. So here is where we are, or at least where I am because although I may be enough of an exhibitionist to put my vital statistics for the world to see, I don’t expect the same of Dalya… not without her permission anyway. (Deep Breath):

Channah Graham
Weight: 97.1 Kilos
Height: 158 cm

So we headed out on our first walk. Ten minutes warm up followed by thirty minutes speed walking and then a ten minute cool down. Dalya had the watch and was therefore in charge of our work out, so all I had to do was do as I am told… I am getting good at that. So as Dalya was the boss I was left to concentrate on just walking and of course to obsess over my ridiculous weight gain. How did I put on the weight so fast? Did I really eat that much? Maybe it was just because I stopped training for so long. Maybe I was more stressed about my Dad getting sick than I thought. Maybe I am just naturally gluttoness and lazy. Not really how I would like to be described or seen to be. So I guess if I don’t want to be seen that way I should do something about it.

Besides, I reminded myself, why did I decide to do this in the first place? I wanted to do something positive, spread awareness of Colon Cancer, while at the same time get myself in shape and I guess prove to everyone that I could. So why on earth would I quit?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Making Plans

So I had done my research, asked all the right people and now I had to put it all together into a training programme. The only problem is every website I got to when I Googled ‘Marathon Training’, ‘Marathon Training for beginners’ or ‘How to start running’, I found that the average training schedule was aimed at someone a lot further down the fitness road than me. In the words of one website, “It takes on approximately 26 weeks to train for a marathon. It can take longer depending on fitness level.” 26 weeks? 26 weeks! Talk about over-estimating my discipline and under-estimating how out of shape I have become. There is no way I am at that level. I cannot even run!

I needed a training schedule that would start me at the very beginning… walking. So I searched and searched and searched and after thinking perhaps this was so crazy a challenge that not even the internet could help me, I came across a site called Running Planet. Finally a website that acknowledged that people who want to learn to run, by and large have not run before.

On the contrary this site embraced those like me and I found the “8 week Program for Beginning Runners.” The Learn To Run program aims to take you from walking 30 minutes a day to running 2 miles. Just think in 8 weeks I could be running 2 miles! Ok so it is not quite the 26 miles I am aiming for, but before you run you have to learn how to walk/jog. I had found my schedule and so on Friday afternoon Dalya and I sat down and made a calendar for the next two months. We are going to be walk/jogging for 5 days a week for 7 weeks until the last week when we will be running the full 30 minutes. The thought that I could get there so quick makes me nervous, scared and the fear factor is a constant on my mind, but I have made a commitment. I have told enough people that I cannot back out and there is this blog and then there is my PR friend who is getting me to write letters to magazines, charity organisations and even Oprah. No this is one thing I cannot back out of

So instead of thinking of a way out I am instead doing as I am told. I am simply following the program. I am doing no more and no less than is required of me and in that way I am learning discipline and, of course, how to run. Training starts on Sunday… wish me luck!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Best Foot Forward

You never knew me before. You never knew me when I would hide all my goals under my magical cloak so that no-one could see them, so no-one could judge them, so no-one could see me ultimately fail. You never knew me before when I would never ask anyone for help for fear of looking stupid and because ‘I knew’.

But then as I began to do what I realised I didn’t really know I discovered that people could and would be useful. Talking about my goals was not a sign of foolishness, but a sign of courage; asking people for help did not mean I was weak, but showed strength of character. I too realised that in the past I may have asked the wrong people for advice. Not necessarily because they didn’t have a vested interest in my success, but because they like me claimed ‘they knew’, when they had never done.

This time I sought out those that knew because they had done it before, and I discovered that no question is ever a stupid one and the answer to every question was helpful, useful and lit a fire so far up my ass that there was no way I was going to talk myself out of this one… not yet anyway.

In the beginning I spoke about my ‘crazy’ scheme with friends and was surprised to find that not one of them said anything like, “You better actually go through with it this time.” On the contrary they were full of awe and support. Then once they got past that part one or two had referrals of people who they knew would be able to help. Well everyone can give you advice on the diet you ‘just have to do’, or exercise that ‘will work for you if you stick to it’, but ask a room full of people about training for a marathon and the general response is, ‘I could never do that!’ That is apart from the one or two who actually have or are in the process of training for one.

So this is pretty much how I was introduced to the girl I am going to refer to as ‘my mentor’, an girl who by her own admit ion said, “It’s a lot of work, but it is addictive… you just cannot stop.” This was after she came second in a 10k run… just an average Friday morning for her I think.

I was so excited I bombarded her with an email asking questions about training schedules, realistic goals, and nutrition, anything I felt would better assist me. The next morning I opened my inbox to find an essay containing truly useful tips on training schedules, running groups in my area, websites that would help with training and diet and even the offer to run with me on a regular basis. I was just trying to absorb all the information when I received a second email:

Oh and the most important advice I can give you is:


You must go to a sporting store and have them watch your gait and they will recommend a type of running shoe that you need.You can't skimp on the running shoe. It's way too important. You need the proper support for the way you run/walk (or else you will get knee problems, shin problems, ankle problems, aches/pains and so much

Pro Sport on Hachashmonayim St. is very good. Go there.

So I arranged with my sister and mother that first thing Friday we would go and buy new trainers. This came with the promise to my parents that as the one item they would be financially assisting us with, this would not be just a fad that we give up at the first hurdle, but that we were taking it seriously. We made our vow and Friday we headed to Pro Sport full of excitement.

I don’t think I have had my feet measured since I was 10 so I was pretty excited to get the full service again, but I really did not expect what was coming. I think I had envisioned a store with floor to ceiling running shoes; however this place was not the case. It had about four different brands of running shoes, but for each brand there was around twenty to choose from. How do you choose? Well you don’t. The expert chooses for you. How? Well, first you take off you shoes and socks and stand on a mat that kind of looks like a weighing machine so that he can see that arches in your foot. On the wall was a large screen where a picture of the sole of my foot made up with coloured dots appeared once I stood on the mat.

Now you have to understand that in my day I was a bit of a dancer. I did gymnastics and was always very proud of my point and the perfect dancers arch to my foot. Imagine my dismay when I was informed that after years of living in flip flops and All Stars my feet were now flat. I HAVE FLAT FEET!!! No there surely was some mistake. But after we checked and double checked I realised that my feet are in fact flat.

Deflated I moved on to the next test which was to walk on a treadmill while my feet were filmed and once again shown on the giant screen so the whole store could see my ankles moving. I have regrets that I did not film the experience to put it here for you to see, but at the time I was mortified enough that the people in the store were staring at my ankles that I completely forgot about the camera in my bag. Anyway, the good news is that despite my flat feet I walk perfectly straight, which is a great improvement as I was always told that I walked with a slant inward.

After the tests were completed I was given a choice of four different trainers that were best suited to my feet. It may sound like an easy decision, but each shoe was more comfortable than the next and in the end I was stuck with two different brands of shoes, one on each foot and I simply could not make a decision.

In the end the manager had to softly nudge me to make a decision as they were supposed to have closed a half an hour before. Finally I looked at my mother and then looked at the salesman and said, “Which is the cheaper of the two.”

So here they are the new tools of my trade… my babies.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

In the beginning

I would like to state for the record that I am not thin, nor am I fit, nor am I in any position to run a marathon and to be honest as I sit here creating this blog and thinking about how I am going to explain myself to you all, I am not really sure how I even thought I would be able to do this. I mean me run a marathon? You must be crazy!

Well the question of my sanity could probably be discussed for hours, but that is really not the issue at hand.

As some of you might know, my father was recently diagnosed with Colon Cancer. As a girl who comes from a family history of Heart problems this came as a huge shock and I saw the 'C' word looming in front of my eyes like a scarlet letter and I was afraid.

I could not show I was afraid, because when you are sat in a room with someone who is actually battling the disease it seems rather insensitive to steal their thunder, but I was afraid for me and afraid for my dad. I did not show it though. Instead I began on a rampage of what my father and I referred to as tumor humor... how to make light of a lump. Now a few months on, my father is recovering from surgery to remove the tumor and is awaiting a date when he will begin Chemotherapy. They say the best is yet to come... (The humor was not removed with the tumor)

So when I went to see him a few weeks ago to say that I wanted to spread awareness of this underestimated Cancer by running a marathon, his initial reaction, as any sane person who would take one look at my more than voluptuous figure, was laughter. Well making him laugh has always been my goal ever since his diagnosis, so this reaction I felt was fair at the time.

Then a week ago, after being spurred on by my brother and sisters who all thought it was a great idea, I approached my father again without the use of visual aids this time.

ME: So Dalya and I have decided that we want to start training for a Marathon. We have no expectations that we will be running 26 miles in 26 weeks (Having never run in our lives), but we are determined to do this.
Dad: You are really going to do this?

(I could hear the pride in his voice)

ME: Yes we are... at least we are going to try.
Dad: Well I think that is great! Although as the one who is actually dealing with cancer, perhaps I should do the run.
ME: Why don't you?
Dad: Well I am going to be doing Chemo so I don't think running might be something I am able to do... but I could ride in my wheelchair alongside you shouting, "You call that running! Move it! Move it! Move it!"

My plan is to move it. To go from not even running for the bus to running for a cause that I truly believe in, with a goal to spread awareness. Plus the way I see it is everyone is a winner: We spread awareness of Colon Cancer in the hope that more people go for testings regularly, We get fit and healthy and in turn perhaps inspire others around is to do the same and of course I am looking froward to dropping a a few dozen pounds on the way!

As this is such a huge challenge I have decided that I am going to map my journey and write about my experience, because seriously if I can do it then anybody can!

Of course I am pretty nervous about the challenge that lays ahead of me. I am scared of failing. I am scared of quiting. This is not like my idea to learn to play the piano or guitar that can be easily swept under the carpet with a lame excuse. This time I have to go through with it to the bitter end and I am terrified. However as I said to my friend last night, the reasons to do it outweigh the one pathetic defeatist reason not to do it. So here I am... I think I am going to vomit!