Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Rhona v2.0

Well now we’re 5 days and a couple of hours in to 2011 and I’ve finally managed to pin down some time to write the customary “Happy New Year; This is what I did last year, this is what I want to do this year and here’s how I’m going to do it” post. However I don’t know about you but the shine of a new year has already kind of worn off for me so I shan’t draw this out any longer than I have to before I move on. Because I have far more interesting things to write about.

I’ve got a few posts to go up in the next few days actually – I’ve been mulling over some topics which are completely unrelated to one another, so for everyone’s sake I’ll just split them up. Starting with the above-mentioned generic beginning-of-the-year blog…

I do have some goals, some big, some small and all mainly running related. Here they are:

  1. Run a half marathon (Am registered for the Great Scottish Run in September)
  2. Knock 10 minutes off my 10k PR i.e run a sub-45min 10k. (Lots of speed work… *laughter*)
  3. Run 1,000 miles in total over the year (I will use to track this – check out my new widget for it below!!)
  4. Run a race in every month this year (So far need something in March + August to fill in the gaps, then Oct/Nov/Dec as well – see Races page)
  5. Get a pay rise.
  6. Go on holiday with Badger, just the two of us (an absolute last minute deal in the summer is probably our best bet I reckon. Just rock up to the Travel Agents and say we want to leave tomorrow – whaddya got?!)

I think if I were to accomplish all of the above I’d be pretty chuffed. I also have another more ‘New Year’s Resolution’ type change to make, but it’s not really a goal as such:

I’ve decided I’d really like to get a grip on my alcohol consumption.

I’ve been a huge party animal for over 10 years now and alcohol has always had a central role in my social life. I have always had a disgustingly huge appetite for the stuff and a massive tolerance for it to match. I’m always the last one standing at the party and the first one back at the pub the next day – which is all fine and well if you’re not getting into trouble and it’s not part of a more serious problem, but it really doesn’t fit with the lifestyle of an athlete; which is what I am trying to become. You can’t be a badass runner and a badass boozer at the same time…or if you can, then you’re the ultimate badass and therefore my hero.

For one I need to be able to fit in long, outside runs at the weekend – especially during the dark winter months when Saturday and Sunday are the only days where I see daylight outside work. If I’m getting in at 6am and sleeping ’til 3pm then the chances of me getting a long run in is absolutely zero.

Secondly, the calorific content of alcohol is something I need to start thinking carefully about. Since I’m no longer a young, sprightly student with the metabolism of a greyhound my body is less equipped to shake off the 6,000 of extra beer calories I can pack in on a Friday night. And then there’s the crisps in the pub, the pizza/chips/kebab on the way home and the copious fatty, salty and greasy carbs I’d need the next day to become human again. Looking at that it makes clear where the huge increase in belly fat in the last year has come from despite maintaining a healthy amount of exercise. There’s a whole load of tailored clothes in my wardrobe that I’d really like to fit into again – and for that sadly, Guinness is not my friend.

Finally, my social life is a huge drain on my wallet – I live in one of the most expensive cities in the UK where a pint in the regular places I drink will set you back £3 – £4 for generic lager. Fancy a cocktail? That’ll be £6. If you do the maths on a heavy night out that adds up to me drinking away a lot of my salary which is nothing to write home about anyway.

So basically, I’m on the wagon for January and February to start off with. I think I need to re-learn how to enjoy alcohol and treat it as something to enjoy on special occasions. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think everyone should have this attitude – I mean partying is awesome, which is why I’ve done it non-stop since I learnt how to open a bottle with my teeth at Band Camp in 1999… But it’s just not the kind of lifestyle I can sustain right now. I also know myself too well – I won’t be able to just ‘cut back’ as I’ll be drawn back in to things gradually and it’ll be back to square one. I’ve always made decisions in black and white; not shades of grey, just like I decided I was going to become a runner – I guess I will view this change as part of this transition.

There are some people who will be reading this with ever growing looks of confusion and disbelief upon their faces (Hi Mum!) but for the most part my friends have been supportive. In fact a couple of them are even joining me – we’ve all been partying extra hard the last few weeks and to be honest I think we all just need a bit of a break from the sauce. I’m so fed up of being hungover – it’s been wonderful to be waking up clear headed and ready to go without suffering the varying consequences of whatever it was I drank the night before. It’s only been 6 days though; I don’t doubt it will be hard in the future weeks to come – after all I think the longest I’ve gone without some form of adult beverage in the last decade is about 8 days. Shocking, eh?

I’ll finish on some lighter news – what am I going to do with all this money I’ll be saving from quitting the booze anyway? Well, I’ll be taking a long LONG overdue trip to Austin, Texas for a holiday in March/April. I studied for a year at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004/05 and I’ve never gone back/been able to go back for a mixture of reasons, but now is the time and in 81 days I’ll be flying around the world again to where I left my heart all those years ago. I fell in love with the University, Austin, Texas and all her people, and I’m lucky enough to be able to stay with some of the friends I made so long ago when I arrive. I’ll be staying for 10 days and already the list of things I’d like to see and do is as long as my arm – you can expect many excited updates in the weeks to come!

That’s all for now – I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about using my awesome new Christmas gift (A Garmin Forerunner 305! Thank you Santa Paws!!) and running with an injury.


  1. My partying (such as it is these days) is also going to be majorly curtailed this year… I’m going to start trying to make it down to Dundee for the Sunday morning Hockey For All sessions, which is going to mean early starts… not looking forward to that.

    • It’s weird; a year or two ago I would have been gutted to curtail any kind of partying but I’m actually more excited about what will happen when I stop. It’s great we’ve both found a sport that we’re willing to really throw ourselves in to 🙂

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