This morning was the last Group Outdoor Fitness Challenge session. We went through the tests we did during the first session. There were two main differences this time - it was freezing and we all knew what to expect.
It was supposed to get to -3 overnight, but I think it only got down to 0. I had rugged up - two pairs of socks, two pairs of capri running pants (was I ever wishing I had longer pants), four layers under my warm jacket, gloves and cap. I was so glad I was wearing the extra clothes, as there was a lot of waiting for other people to be tested.
We're going to get the results shortly, but I do know that I improved in two of the four tests. Last time I got to Level 3-2 in the beep test. This time I made it to Level 4-1. There are 8 stages in each level, so I ran the 20 metres 7 more times before stopping. I was almost throwing up after I finished, so I was confident that I'd tried hard. I had better form for the pushups, so I didn't care too much about the numbers, but I went from 26 to 31 in the minute. I was pleased with that too. I lasted 1:28 mins in the plank position, which is good for me. I don't know what time I did the last time. I know I'm running faster, so I'm expecting an improvement in the agility test too.
I was really sorry that the challenge was over. The experience has been wonderful. The trainers handled the group well. We were at all sorts of stages with our fitness, and they managed to keep us all engaged, challenge us all to improve, and built a real sense of camaraderie amongst us. There was a wide variety of activities and I had my eyes opened to just how many different ways there were to exercise outdoors. I also discovered that I can push myself further than I thought I could. Mind you, I keep discovering that.
I went to the gym this evening and did my strength program. I realised that I hadn't done it for three weeks, so I was expecting that all my niggly aches would have gone and they had. Every time I take a break from doing weights I'm surprised by how much I can do when I get back into it. I guess all those muscles have had a good chance to heal.
I've mentioned before that I've been a bit worried about a couple of the leg exercises and my knee. I didn't know if I was imagining it or not, but I'm going to have to stop doing these ones. My knee was tired on the way home and I could feel that I'd strained it a little. I don't know if it's the one legged squats or the step ups. The squats worry me as they need a lot of balance, however I felt fine while I was doing them, and I wasn't wobbling as much as usual on my left leg. I've also dropped the height of the bench that I'm stepping up onto, and it seems to be going well, but I'm warm by the time I get to that exercise. Seeing that I can't tell which exercise is the culprit, I think the safest thing to do is to discontinue both.
I was a bit worried about my personal training. I'd dropped off the schedule and the people behind the desk didn't know what was going on. I hadn't heard from the gym or from Leanne. I'm pretty easy going by nature, so normally I would put up with things for a week or two. In the past I've been stuffed around by the gym every time my trainer has changed and I've ended up feeling used and abused. In fact, I've been stuffed around so much over the past two years that I have more personal training sessions than I have weeks left in my gym contract and that's got another 11 months to run.
I was proud of myself this time though. Yesterday I actually complained about not being contacted by anyone about the change. I spoke to the assistant manager. She did the usual "it's the trainer's fault, nobody tells me anything" complaint handling that drives me around the bend. I shifted over to my work persona, which isn't quite as easygoing, and made it clear that the gym management were responsible for their employees and that I expected them to sort it. She told me I'd have to speak to the manager the next day as there wasn't anything she could do to help me. I left the gym feeling pretty cranky, but guess what. It's sorted. The manager phoned me this morning, my trainer then phoned me, and my sessions are back in the schedule. I was completely charming today, thanking everyone concerned for sorting it out. It's so much easier to be charming when you get what you want, isn't it?
I was blathering on about the Global Corporate Challenge yesterday and kathrynoh asked how we were measuring our steps. The GCC issue a pedometer and it's the best pedometer I've ever used. It's extremely simple - all it does is count steps. Along with being simple, it's sturdy. I dropped last year's pedometer heaps and it kept on going. Unfortunately, I managed to lose it when I was travelling to the Gold Coast a few weeks ago.
This year's pedometer appears to be even better, but I'll have to mistreat it a few times before I make the final call on that one.
As for where to wear them, that's been a real matter of trial and error, especially as my shape keeps changing as I lose weight and gain muscle tone. It's best to wear it near your hip. I wear mine half way between my belly button and my side. I wear it on my underwear as my clothes all seem to have a different idea of where my waistline is.
We now have a name: Thales Flying Turtles. Apparently there were lots of teams called the Flying Turtles. Imagine that. Our name is not a comment on the length of leg of any of our members, but more suggestive of a steady and determined progress. We went with the Winston Churchill quote.
By the way, we've made it to 98th place. It seems our athlete is on the mend. I love this stage of the challenge. It's staying up in the top 100 / 50 / 20 that takes effort, particularly as some teams bank steps so you're never really sure that you've done as well as you think you have.