Going Cold Turkey – #marafun

In #marafun, Features, HOME, LIFE by Sam Prance

#marafun is a feature in which novice marathon runner, Ellie Smith, will open your eyes to the trials and tribulations of long distance running. A word of caution – this feature will be prone to mood swings and short outbursts of intense self loathing. However, it will also cover the joys of exercise and whatever the weather, Ellie will still be running and writing…

I seem to be a fan of self inflicted pain but this week I’ve managed to recruit members. March is the month of going cold turkey and here’s why you should too.

Pancake Day is undoubtedly one of the best days of the year and yet it is cruelly followed by the hardships of Lent. However, I have devised a scheme which could make Lent that little bit more appealing. It seems like an appropriate time to quote the wise words of the legendary Scottish figure, Raven, so “Let the challenge begin…”

10afa01805407f6058d5828ac5f1bef641f8904e2ff0031467ad0666ec57e8d5Whilst procrastinating on the train up to Edinburgh my flatmates and I devised an ingenious fundraising idea. Lent is about giving something up but we have all chosen each other’s vice. You know when you have chosen the right vice from the reaction. Cue protests, swearing and pure anger. The first person to fail has to pay £50 to my Breakthrough Breast Cancer Marathon fund and then the second person has to pay £40 and so forth. If no-one breaks (very, very unlikely) then we will each put in £10 and as there are 6 of us in my flat, this will make a nice dent in my overall fundraising target of £2,000. So, frankly I am counting on them being weak! However, the mere mention of a competition and they are changed women.

Like a bizarre AA meeting I introduce you to my weird and wonderful flatmates; the habits they have renounced and their progress one week in.

“Hi my name’s Samara and I’m addicted to sugar. I’ve found a loophole: cereal. Itactually contains about 4 teaspoons of sugar a bowl but my flatmates are too stupid to pick up on this. The mere mention of chocolate makes me break out in a cold sweat.”

“Hi my name’s Bella and I’m addicted to TV and Netflix. I never actually realised how long a day is. 24 hours is a long time. I have no idea what to do with myself – I’ve actually been in the library?! I check Buzzfeed obsessively and the only way to make this bearable is to sabotage my fellow flat mates. But I will NOT give in…”

“Hi my name’s Sophie and I’m addicted to Social Media. This is a nightmare; I’m completely out of the loop. I know that I had at least 3 photos taken of myself at WhyNot this week but I have no idea what I look like. I missed 2 pre-drinks this week and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a few friend requests pending.”

“Hi my name’s Ayshah and I’m addicted to smoking. I have a dirty, dirty secret. It was involuntarily forced out of me today… I had a drag. Shameful. Weak. I am disgusted with myself. I vow to be a better person from now on.”

“Hi my name’s Matilda and I’m addicted to wine. Wine was once referred to as the sweet nectar of the Gods. Therefore, it is sinful to make me give it up. I curse my flatmates for this wretched evil which they have inflicted upon me.”

And then there is me. I have given up cereal, cereal bars and caffeine. Caffeine. It could have been in my bio. Not only do I love mini eggs, Ryan Gosling and Russia…I love and I mean LOVE coffee. Maybe I will sleep better, maybe I will save money, maybe I won’t experience terrible caffeine cravings. Or maybe I will die. One week in and I have already fallen asleep in all of my afternoon lectures, I have effectively become addicted to hot chocolate and I am unresponsive before 11 in the morning. This is potentially harder than the marathon.

10000029_10203359409290983_745634213_nSo if you are looking to give up something for Lent; stop making excuses, get your flatmates in on the act and make sure that there is something to play for. Choose the amount of money and make sure that it is high enough so that it acts as a serious deterrent if only for keeping the bank balance healthy. Then, either choose a charity or have a collection pot and treat yourselves at the end with the winnings.

This week I have had to have a bit of R&R. Unfortunately I have picked up an injury on my left knee, commonly known as ‘Runner’s Knee’ which can be caused by a variety of things such as increased mileage, running on concrete or a lot of downhill running. I knew Arthur’s Seat would be the breaking of me…on the plus side, surely I am a certified athlete now that I have ‘Runner’s Knee’ and therefore will bask in the glory of knowing that Paula Radcliffe and I are becoming more and more alike?!

1980624_10203359464852372_88388716_nSo this week I have been hitting the swimming pool and the gym so that I don’t lose any cardiovascular fitness. Swimming is a great way to keep fit and if you have problems with your joints or are mildly injured then there is nothing to stop you from getting in the pool and doing some lengths. I didn’t appreciate the aggressive jab to the right rib which I sustained during one of my swims from an enthusiastic ten year old boy but my war wounds are a sign that I am still very much in training. I may not be running this week but I will be doing that Marathon whether I have to run, walk, hobble or crawl it.

This week in the gym I have been listening to:

1. Jill Scott – Golden

2. Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) – Blu Cantrell

3. Giving It All – Bondax

4. Good Luck – Basement Jaxx

5. Lovely Day – Bill Withers

So I’m off to tackle another week. Hopefully I will be back running again and hopefully I will be a better person this time next week now that I have kicked my caffeine habit. I sincerely doubt this. I feel like I am in Lord of the Flies but it’s a dog eat dog world out there and I leave you with a final thought…

‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’ – Fred Devito

Ellie Smith

Ellie Smith is 20 years old and she is currently studying French and Spanish at the University of Edinburgh. Ellie has a sense of humour similar to that of an immature ten year old boy and sites Blades of Glory as one of the best films ever made. She is obsessed with Russia, Mini Eggs and Ryan Gosling. The Holy Trinity in her eyes.

If you’re interested in getting involved with PTL – drop us an email on prancingthroughlife@live.com.

(Image sourced from: www.quickmeme.com)