Day 27 – Just done it!

This doesn’t seem to be a big deal for many people, but it’s quite a big deal for me.
Yesterday marked 366 (because 2020 is a leap year) consecutive days of doing over 10,000 steps each day.

I’d be past 500 days if it wasn’t for a pesky virus (not that one) that I got 367 days ago. I managed 12 steps that day.

I know that there is some discussion about whether the 10,000 steps thing is useful (I even discussed that myself here), but for me, it’s been very helpful to have something to aim for each day.

And while on some days it’s been very straightforward to get my goal, there have been (plenty of) others when I have really had to push myself. Which has been a huge positive. It’s helped me make some better decisions (exercise-wise, at least): I will walk to the shops instead of drive; if I need to get up out of my chair and move, I will; and if it takes n laps of the house to get to 10,000 before bed – I’m on it.

It’s been especially hard during lockdown, so I have had to push myself again to get out and about. This has almost killed me on one occasion, but also kept me sane on others.

Day 367 is actually going to be quite tough. I’m achy and tired and I really don’t feel like exercising. But that’s very much the point I’m trying to make: I will raise my game to get my steps today instead of moping around.

And that’s a good thing.

Day 18 – Exercise revisited

Or The Incredible Speed of 6000

Following the debacle of the first lockdown run, I’ve been getting better at exercising and doing small circuits of the garden Chez nous.

Some upper body weights, some online core and HIIT classes, the occasional run, a bit of cardio up and down the steps. It’s mostly been great. I’m actually feeling pretty good.

There are a few things that still need sorting out though.

This was yesterday’s workout:

Not bad. Decent figures. That distance isn’t correct though – the first run was measured on GPS and sold me short. This one relied on my steps and probably overestimated by a couple of kilometres. But this was all about heart rate and time, not about distance.

It wasn’t about speed, either. And that was a pity:

How do you like them apples?
What’s up, Usain? Can’t keep up, petal?

Yes. My maximum speed was 91.9kph. A speed I haven’t managed to achieve since heading back from Agulhas a couple of years weeks ago.

I’m faster than I look. Weird though – I don’t remember my face being dragged off my skull by the sheer, brute force of massive acceleration next to the pool. And Christ only knows what the braking distance is for that sort of speed. I’m surprised that I didn’t collide with a wall somewhere. My garden really isn’t that big.

There’s one other issue. Timing.

I’ve been timing my workouts by song. As in:

I’ll just do two more songs and then I’ll get a beer.

And when you know that you’ve only got one last song, you put in every ounce of effort you can. And then that last song turns out to be the 12 extended player of some 160bpm dancefloor remix by the Pet Shop Boys. And you very nearly die.

For 9½ minutes.

For the record though, the Pet Shop Boys are really good for getting you going while you’re exercising. Yesterday’s dance version of Love is a Bourgeois Construct got me up to almost 92kph.

Powerful stuff.

Day 3 – the worst half hour yet

The worst half hour yet.

I decided yesterday afternoon – on a whim – to try a backyard run. Other people have done it, why shouldn’t I?

I shouldn’t have done it.

It was half an hour of boredom, extreme concentration, hectic effort and very little reward.

Boredom because it was the same thing over and over and over and over again. Concentration because there were trip hazards everywhere, one of which was mobile and kept barking at me and trying to eat my shoes while I was trying to run. Effort because there were so many turns and obstacles that my average stride length turned out to be just 0.65m. That’s against my average of 1.12m on a normal run. So despite what that very dodgy looking 9:30/km average seems to suggest, there was an awful lot of hard work going into getting myself around the front and back gardens. And little reward because all I felt at the end was hot, bothered and miserable. There was no post-run glow or exaltation. No feeling of achievement. There was just one endorphin. I wanted thousands.

Still, I did it, and I’ll likely do a couple more over the next three weeks, because even though it’s not very pleasant, it does still get the heart going and it does still get the Discovery points.


UPDATE: Experts don’t like it either.

Running World Cup

I had another quick run around the blocks today, and it got entered into the running for the Running World Cup, which I think I mentioned here.

I haven’t had a lot to do with it really, but SA is top of the pile in this early qualifying round:

Some surprising entries there, with Tunisia and Romania looking like they’re going to finish high up on the leaderboard. Who knew.? Who even cared?

Incidentally, it looks like the top 16 countries qualify for the next stage (not sure what that involves yet, probably more running) and with 2 days to go, Ireland have been knocked out of contention for the moment by Bangladesh, of all places.

But clearly the main threat to SA is the Smaller European Nations, who have ganged together to make one Larger European Nation. I’m not sure is this is cheating or not, but you’ve have to argue that it’s probably very difficult to run very far in one Small European Nation because you’ll simply run (NPI) out of Small European Nation to run in. So maybe it’s fair enough.

I have a couple of days to add another run to my tally, but I have no intentions of doing so.

I’ll keep you up to date with whatever happens next. (It might not be anything.)

Exercise news

It’s going to be a post full of mixed feelings and news. Highs and lows. Plusses and minussessesus. Pros and cons.

I’m getting there. Back into gym, back into hitting my weekly exercise goals, back into feeling a bit more fit and healthy. If I were twenty years younger, putting this in much effort and doing this much exercise, I’d be a model of abs, sinew and one big bicep by now. But I’m not that age anymore, and it all take so much longer to get back into shape.

Add to that my sudden weaknesses around beer and big baguettes for lunch, and you’ll see why things could be going more quickly than they actually are. I’m going to switch on my will power for a while and see if I can improve the situation. God only knows where I’d be if I wasn’t getting to gym most days.

Augustus Gloop.

And there’s more. I’m playing some friendly football on Sunday in an attempt to get myself a bit more match-fit (hopefully) ahead of a return to the real thing towards the end of next month. The bad news about this is that it’s brought back memories of that Sunday morning friendly session. I’m going to be much more sensible this time around though: if it gets bad (and at the moment it’s forecast to be 28ºC in the shade, which is manageable), I’m going to stop, instead of trying to die. It’ll be my first kick of a ball in three months. I’m looking forward to it, albeit with a little trepidation.

Next week brings with it the start of the Running World Cup – a thing that I’m doing because I would be exercising anyway, so why not have some fun with it? My knee is doing ok on the treadmill, so why wouldn’t it do ok on the road? I’ll test it on the football pitch over the weekend and see if it survives that.

The future is bright: as long as I can start eating a bit more healthily and drinking a bit less. Sadly, neither of those things is going to happen this evening, thanks to a visit to the local curry house with the Molton Brown boys.

But who knows what tomorrow may bring?