I can’t do it.
It’s not worth it.
I’ve had enough.
So I QUIT.
Alcohol. Not the challenge.
I cannot get my head around how quickly The Big Challenge has come around… despite the fact I’ve been counting down the weeks/days/hours since about May.
It’s exactly three weeks til I hop on my bike and try and make it to Paris. (Note: TRY). Which means it’s exactly four weeks until I TRY and run a half marathon, or 13.1 miles, or 21 kilometres.
Now, training is going (whispers) wonderfully. I am IN THE ZONE. In fact I’m more disciplined than I’ve ever been in my life about anything, ever. I barely recognise myself, and my friends are certainly a little taken aback by the athlete in training formally known as idiot Jen. Jen who wants to do everything and so completes nothing. Jen who has a distinct inability to exercise self-discipline. Jen who cannot find it in herself to say no.
My diet’s changed a LOT, even from the rigid nutrition high protein low fat style thing that was happening a little while ago. That was all well and good… then I went on a yoga retreat (video to come) and it changed everything. Like, EVERYTHING. I lived on amazing fruits, vegetables and fats for a week and I’ve never felt better. I’ve continued 99.9% of it since I’ve returned and I’m telling you kids, after years of agonising frustrations, reading every book ever written about proteins and carbs and insulin… my blood sugars have never been better. I don’t think it’s the training. I think it’s the natural, unprocessed, meat-free mostly plant based diet. And I’m really not living on lettuce leaves. I’m eating my weight in almonds, I’m having an avocado a day, and there are even bloody carbs (GASP). Oats, quinoa, bananas and FRUIT! BLOODY FRUIT! Loads of it! So my protein has changed to a raw vegan version, my milk now comes from almonds not cows and I’ve got things like bee pollen and chia seeds and maca powder in my cupboards.
I promise you I’ve not become a hippy. But it’s just freaking incredible. More of that to come another time. But I’m telling you guys, it’s the answer. Even rock chick goddess Este from Haim (CAN I JOIN YOUR BAND PLEASE YOU RULE AT LIFE) who is also a type 1, agrees. We also share an extreme repertoire of facial expressions. I mean, we’re pretty much the same person. Ha.
I kinda just wish I’d uncovered all this sooner. It would have saved a whole lot of heartache from a very complicated relationship between diabetes and cake that spanned many dysfunctional years.
Ok, ok. I sound like a hippy. I’m just so zen, guys.
Back to alcohol.
Oooohhhhh glorious sweet alcohol.
It’s been two weeks since I officially quit booze, and in the three weeks before that I only drank twice. I put this declaration on my Facebook a the time so that I could be held accountable, which is coming back to bite me in the bum as I gaze longingly at the juicy glass of red my housemate is relishing on this fair Friday eve.
I cycled past a patio bar the other day and had to tell myself OUT LOUD not to do a drive by and steal the crisp cool beer out of the hands of one of its happy patrons; relaxed, chilled and soaking up the Sunday afternoon sun, instead of puffing and sweating as an oh-so-attractive vision of beetroot skin and neon lycra.
So why quit then, if it’s such a bother? If so much of your life is peppered with lovely social occasions that happen to be accompanied by a cheeky drop or two (or ten, if you’re friends are anything like mine).
My damn blood sugars, that’s why.
Of couuuuuurse it comes down to diabetes. When does anything in our existence NOT come down to diabetes?
I’m clocking SO many hours in the gym, on my bike, pounding the pavements. I’m boring myself because it’s all I’ve got to talk about – it’s currently all that my life is. Sweating and food prep. WHICH, by the way, is a full time job in itself, but one that is really quite fun thanks to my amazing new blender.
Oh my god I’m getting excited about kitchenware.
So all these countless, relentless hours of blood, sweat and tears. I’m seeing amazing gains, I feel strong and focused, I’ve been known to skip down the street post-workout post-superfood smoothie because I feel like Superwoman. But if I do all this and then drink – even diabetes friendly drinks (I’ve done the legwork on that one. Method journalism if you will), even just one or two – it will more than likely throw my blood sugars off. Because alcohol tends to send blood sugars into the unknown. And these are not just any sugars I’m jeopardising. These are sugars that currently have been the best they have for a good decade. So what if I drink? Maybe I’ll just go hypo in the night so that I can’t see or breathe properly, or maybe I will have a soul-destroying hyper the morning after that keeps me bed bound for at least an extra hour because I just can’t get up. Either way, they exhaust me to the point that I cannot train. And so it unravels.
I feel shit, I can’t train, so I feel more shit, and I continue to feel shit until the sugars are sorted, which could easily be a full day before they’ve stopped swinging from hypo to hyper and back again, which on a given day could mean losing 20k on the bike and at least one class at the gym. Do this twice a week and I’m significantly reducing my training.
It’s just not worth it.
Am I boring? YES. I don’t know what to do with myself, so I mostly train. Or read about training. Or buy food that will make training better. I’ve regressed, very much so. I’m aware this sounds like I’m hating life – I’ve said this already that I’m absolutely LOVING what I’m about at the moment. I’m focused, I’m happy, I have clarity, I’m calm and I’m nice. I’m achieving a thing I didn’t think I’ve ever be able to achieve, and now I feel like I can actually complete this thing. That’s gotta be worth more than a large white wine, hasn’t it?
BUT… I work in a very alcohol friendly environment (once work is done. We’re not all half cut at our desks), and socialising is a huge huge part of my life. We know I’m not a wallflower. I miss the Friday night work drinks. Or a cheeky Tuesday gig. Not because I need to be drunk, but these are fun things to do with people I like to hang out with. Also, every night has the potential to be tequila night in London. It’s not awful, and it’s completely my choice, but it’s not easy. But what it is, is it’s 100% all for the cause. The very, very important cause. And it’s for the donations you wonderful people have given me that I’ve absolutely no doubt are going to get me over the border to Paris, and through my final mile to the finish line in Newcastle. To complete the biggest challenge and the biggest overhaul of my 26 years of life thus far, bar nothing, feeling strong and knowing I did everything I could to do it properly.
For the love of God let’s just hope there’s a glass of prosecco waiting for me at the end!