Tales of the Scales (Week 9)

So, today was ‘weigh in’ day and I have to say that I wasn’t hopeful.  I’d been checking my progress almost every day and the signs weren’t good.  Though this did make me more determined to stick to the plan and cut out any extra goodies.  Beer consumption plummeted to just the two cans all week (and these were after my long run last Tuesday), though wine consumption did increase slightly.

My target for this week was to get down to 75.7kg (or just under 167 lbs) and the scales hovered between 75.8 and 75.9 before settling on the lower figure.


So I didn’t quite make it and my graph is red. 😦


So my action for this week is to do a little more exercise in between my runs and hopefully that will make the difference.

As for training, I managed two runs last week:
– one of 21.1k (or 13.1 miles).  I started with the intention of running out along the Rhone riverside for 1 hour, then turning back for the 2nd hour.  On the way I got to thinking that, if I’m to run a maraton in sub-4 hours, then I should be able to do a Half in 2 hours.  So I was pleased to see that in the first hour I’d done 11k.  But, on my return, I struggled over the last 5k and finished the Half in 1h 59m 20s.  Although this might look quite good, there was absolutely no way that I could have done it all over again!!
– my second run was a gentle 8k up to Les Haudères and back to Evolène, which I have to say had a very positive effect on my legs for today’s 25k run… (which I’ll have to tell you about next week).

I also did a walk up to Les Haudères and back and I think this must be the first time in many a year that I’ve run more than my plan.  🙂


Evolène Carnaval

It seems the whole of the Valais has descended upon our village today, as it’s the last weekend of the Carnaval.  There’s a real party atmosphere, with stalls, lots of drinking (of course) and a band playing, though some of you may be alarmed at the fairly gruesome images to follow.  The masks are designed to scare away the evil winter spirits, but they can also have that effect on some young children too.   As you will see from one of the images – the figures are only human, so don’t have nightmares – especially over pictures 4 and 5 !  😉

For info, the masks are all made out of wood and hand carved and painted by local sculptor Hugo Beytrison.   He also creates incredibly intricate wooden sculptures of birds and animals from huge tree trunks with a chain saw!


Tales of the Scales (Week 8)

When I was in the Corporate world, which was almost 2 years ago now, we used to hold Daily and Weekly Operational Review meetings (or DORs and WORs for short).   The idea was to spend no more than 15 minutes each day or 1 hour each week to review how things were progressing versus our team objectives – via Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs for short).  I guess many of you will already be familiar with this process and I’d like to follow this concept through in my Weekly Review of my weight loss programme, posted last week.  To save you looking it up, the aim was/is to lose 1kg, or just over 2lbs, per week leading up to my Zurich marathon on April 9th (i.e. Week 14) and reduce my 77.7 kg (171 lb) slightly paunchy frame of last week to a more lightweight 70.7 kg (156 lb).

Now, what most of you will not be so familiar with is the style of reporting – whereby each KPI is reported in some form of visual or graphical form and the latest position is either green or red.  (This makes it very easy to see the latest position at a glance).  There are no ‘almost made the target’ or amber traffic lights in this system.  You either made the target or you didn’t.  And, if you didn’t, someone in the team (in this case me) has to take an action to do something about it.  In extremis, if the latest position stays red for any length of time, then someone would volunteer, or be volunteered, to carry out a Go, See, Think, Do (GSTD) exercise to get to the root cause of the issue.  More on that topic maybe if anyone is really interested.

Getting back to the plan… I vowed to cut out that extra piece of toast in the morning, cakes and biscuits with coffee and tea throughout the day and one less beer every night.  This is Plan A and I have a Plan B, or even C, if I don’t quite get there.  Hopefully we’ll not need to use Plan D, which involves the dreaded ‘S’ word – Salads!

So how did it go ?  Well, I did only have one slice of toast all week and I resisted those delicious cupcakes upon return from my run last Tuesday.  BUT, the freshly baked scones were too good to  miss, so one of them went down very nicely as part of my ‘recovery’.  And over the next 2 days, those 2 cupcakes were far too good to throw away and so they disappeared too.  Then on Friday we were invited to our neighbours for coffee and it would have been rude to refuse a slice of the most delicious apple tart.  On Saturday we were invited out for dinner, so you can imagine… though I did skip on the dessert.  My beer consumption has gone down, though wine consumption has increased.

So how did I do ?  Drum roll please….

The scales  do not lie…


This represents a loss of 1.2 kg.  So, my graph is green and no further action required on my part (other than not to be so weak when it comes to those cakes!)


Since were also talking marathon training here, I thought I’d add another important measure, which is the amount of exercise I’ve been doing.  After all weight loss is not only about the input, but also the output as well.  So below is the number of kilometres that I’ve run each week this year.  Since that’s not very much, and I have been walking quite a bit, I’ve decided to show both together, versus my ideal running plan (i.e. what I would like to do if my ageing legs were up to the task).   Note that the weeks in this chart run from Monday to Sunday.


Walk from La Luette to Bramois

Although I should have been out running today, my legs didn’t feel like they’d recovered from my run last week.  So I decided to go for a longish walk lower down our valley from La Luette to Bramois, near Sion.  Underfoot conditions varied from ice to snow to fallen leaves and small stones, with one or two obstacles to overcome.

Spring must be in the air as I saw not one, but five, separate, Tortoiseshell butterflies (all too quick for me to get a picture) and a small lizard relaxing in the bright sunshine, (until I came along anyway, when it shot under a stone).





Vevey to Montreux Lakeside training run

So, today I took some of Judith’s deliciously scrummy cupcakes to a friend, who works in my old office block in Vevey.   With a snowless, flat (more or less) running route all the way along the lake to Montreux (apart from a short road section), I decided it was too good a training opportunity to miss.  

I’d read the other day that the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux had been ‘improved’, shall we say, by the addition of some green paint to his jacket, so I decided that he, or it, would be my turning point.  With classic Swiss efficiency though, the offending paint had already been removed, as you will see from the picture below.  There were also the usual temporary sculptures to admire in Montreux – this time with a gymnastics theme. 

It’s only 1h 10mins drive away, but the contrast between the “Swiss Rivieira”, as it’s known, and our rural home here in Evolène, couldn’t be more marked.  The multi-million dollar apartments and 5 star hotels were gleaming in the, albeit slightly hazy, sunshine.  Also, when I left home the temperature was minus 1 degree C (30F) and in Vevey it was 9 degrees (48F).  Though on the way home, the thermometer in my car rose to 14 degrees (57F) as I approached Sion. (It always is a few degrees warmer there).

In terms of the ‘run’, I stopped when my old GPS watch said exactly 15k (or 9.3 miles) and, because I took my camera and had to stop quite a few times, (see dips in the pace chart), it took me 1h 33mins 27 secs.  Having told a few people recently that I was one-paced, I did my best to ignore the camera and up my speed at 12.5k for 500 metres and 14k to the finish but, with tiring legs, it only made a small difference. (See blue blocks on the Pace chart). 


Less weight = run faster…

It’s a simple formula, right?  The less weight you carry the faster you should run (or the easier it should be to run further).  Well, at least that’s my logic.

For some time now I’ve realised my weight has been steadily increasing.  We all know the signs – abs (if I ever had any) disappearing and turning into a paunch, trousers too tight, etc. etc.  I know why of course.   For the past few months I’ve been over-indulging and not getting enough exercise.  Two runs this year (of about 9k / 5 miles each) do not constitute a fitness regime – especially with a marathon to run on April 9th…

One of the problems was that I had no idea how much weight I’d put on, as we have no bathroom scales.  That is, until last weekend when I bought some.  So this morning was the day of reckoning – and I weighed 77.7 kg or 171 lbs or 12st 3lbs.  This may not seem much to some, but my standard weight (when I was younger and more active and had scales available to measure) was 70 kg or 154 lbs or 11 stones.  So that’s an increase of about 10%, which is quite a lot to cart around a marathon.

So, in the hope that my logic is right, here’s the plan:  (I’m sharing this with you all to make sure I stick to it… )

I’m aiming to lose at least 0.1 kg per day between now and the 4th April*.  That’s about 5kg or 11 lbs in total.  However, ideally (and we all like stretch targets don’t we?) I’d like to lose 1kg or a little over 2 lbs per week, making 7kgs or 15.5 lbs in total.

How am I going to achieve this target?  Firstly, by cutting out that slice of toast for breakfast and biscuit(s) with my coffee in the morning, then no cake with afternoon tea and finally by reducing my evening beer/wine intake.  Plus, of course, I plan to get out there and do some more running!   Tomorrow, I’ll be in my old stomping ground of Vevey (where there’s no snow on the ground) and I’ll be doing a long(ish) run along the beautiful shores of Lac Léman (aka Lake Geneva to some).

*I will be updating this blog every Tuesday, from now until the 4th April, to let you know how it’s going.  Wish me luck!

As you may know, I don’t like to post anything without a picture, so here is a view of (the eastern end of) Lac Léman, taken from our old apartment in Mont Pèlerin.  Vevey and the Nestlé HQ are in the middle at the bottom, with Montreux towards the end of the lake on the left.



Riverside Walk to Les Haudères and back in the snow…

We always enjoy welcoming friends and family to our chalet, but it does mean that we tend to repeat certain walks – especially in the winter, when many of the higher paths are covered in deep snow.  So today, Judith’s sisters, Charlotte and Kate, her husband Niall and I set off along the riverside path to Les Haudères.  After a nice lunch in the Hotel Veisivi, the falling snow didn’t stop us walking back home and looking forward to a slice of one of Judith’s delicious cakes!

Arolla to Les Haudères in the (soft) snow

As expected, the sun was shining brightly today, so it was an ideal day for Ian and I to do the walk from Arolla to Les Haudères.  Judith very kindly dropped us off at the Kurhaus Hotel and, from there, it’s pretty much downhill all the way back to La Gouille and then Les Haudères (where Judith picked us up again).

Although these pictures may look ‘cold’, the temperatures in the Valais region are unseasonably warm at the moment, at 4 or 5 degrees (at 2,000m altitude).  In Sion, down in the Rhone valley, it was 15 degrees.  Barmy I call it!  🙂