Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Did I really climb all those stairs?

My calves have gone on strike! I've been hobbling around like a little old lady. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

I nearly rang Krissi on Monday night to suggest we did weights on Tuesday morning. Instead I decided that an extra night's sleep would make all the difference. It didn't. Going up the stairs at Krissi's was torture, but there was no way I was catching the lift! Practically before I said "good morning" I said "my calves hurt, I don't know if I can run". I explained that I was telling her now to prepare her for the inevitable moaning and groaning that would accompany any attempt to move my legs that was faster than a hobble.

One thing you have to admire about Krissi - she doesn't waste sympathy. I "ouched" all the way down the stairs. It made no difference. As soon as we hit the footpath we were running.

We headed off in a different direction to our usual run from her place. Now, I really don't like new runs. I like them even less when I don't think I can run. We started off slowly so that my calves had a chance to warm up. Between my misery about my sore legs and my misery about not knowing where we were going I was a sad and sorry specimen of a runner. Fortunately for Krissi, I moan a lot less in real life than I do when I'm recounting the run. Well, I moan less out loud. Krissi chats away to distract me while I have an internal dialogue along the lines of "I hate this. My breathing is fine. I hate this. My legs are warming up and don't hurt so much now. I hate this. I'm running quite well really. I hate this. I don't really have any reason to stop. I hate this. Oh, this is quite an interesting route. I hate this."

Finally we crossed suburbia to the running path that we usually start behind the War Memorial. It took us just over 15 minutes to get there. I didn't know how far along we'd go, but I knew we wouldn't turn around until we'd been out for half an hour. By then my legs were fine and I'd stopped complaining to myself every step of the way. In fact, I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

At the half hour mark I was ready to turn around, but Krissi reminded me that we'd run up a long 'false hill' on the way, so we'd be faster on the way back. She suggested that we run to the turnoff just past the start of the horrible hill. Up I went, thinking "I'm never faster on the way back" but knowing better than to mention it. I was also looking forward to running down the long hill. It was every bit as good as I'd hoped.

We ran for a little more than an hour, which was a fantastic effort on legs that hadn't wanted to get out of the car.

Later that day I was back to hobbling like a little old lady, thinking to myself in amusement "I do this for my health!" The world is a crazy place!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Plan - Complete a blog entry

I nearly got through the whole of the first paragraph of my exciting tale about my morning run last Tuesday. I don't remember what it was that interrupted me but it's taken me until today to get back to it.

Normally I run with Krissi on Tuesday morning, but this week I had a meeting in Melbourne to attend. There was no way known I could fit in my usual PT session and get to the airport on time. I was all set to skip it when I realised that if I got out of bed a little earlier than usual I'd be able to squeeze in an hour's run. I told Krissi and TB the plan. I find that if I tell someone that I'm running I then feel obliged to get out there and do it. Given that I've been really struggling to run on my own lately, I needed to know that they were expecting me to run as extra motivation.

It worked. I was out running just after 6 am. I headed off towards the Kaleen shops, as that's the direction I went when I first started running again. I figured it would be a good measurement of my improvement. Now, if I'd written this on Tuesday, as originally intended, there'd be a lot more detail about the run, but this is definitely going to be the condensed version.

I ran most of the way, which I was really pleased about. I stopped for a brief walk three times on the way out and only once on the way back. The 7.5 km run took me a few minutes under an hour. I quite enjoyed it, even if it was suburbia for part of the way. I prefer running on bike tracks or trails, but footpaths are ok when there's not a lot of people backing out of their driveways. There were quite a few people walking or riding their bikes but I was the only runner out that morning.

The moment I was proudest of occurred at the top of a hill. I had enough breath to say goodmorning to a woman who was waiting for her dog. Normally Krissi is in charge of greeting people. I do this kind of puff, pant, look anguished thing and, if I have enough energy, a feeble wave. Saying goodmorning after running up a hill was quite an improvement.

I was also pleased that on the way home I took the tough route up around the road to my house instead of cutting across the park. There's a hill both ways, but one is much harder than the other. Mind you, I asked myself "What would Krissi choose?" which made the choice easier. I could have asked "What would TB choose?" but he's already dragged me up along the road because it's tougher.

On Thursday I had bootcamp at lunch time. It was the last session, and it was as tough as ever. We started off with the skipping, followed by the starjumps, power squats, half burpees and pushups. I was exhausted! Then Billy had the weight plates out for us to carry. My shoulder is still sore, so I begged off this one. While the others were running back and forth carrying weight plates, I was using the resistance band, and pulling Billy across the lawn. I realised that I'd only thought I was exhausted earlier.

After that, the whole crew did the resistance band stuff. They were different variations. I was teamed up with Billy again. Not easy, let me tell you. Usually your partner takes pity on you and lessens the resistance. I think Billy was probably taking pity on me but he still worked me harder than anyone else has for that session. To finish we did squats. And we did squats. And again. Sheesh! A few stretches, and we were done. I think I'll sign up for this again next year. It's been great working out with my team mates, and it's a good break from my desk.

I was going to go to Circuit at the War Memorial with Brad after work, but I got caught up there and didn't make it. I think it's probably just as well, as I was a bit stiff and sore later in the day.

On Friday I wasn't feeling the best but I made it to PT. Krissi regularly says she'll work with whatever I have left and that she's happy if I give 100%. I thought, you never know, I might feel better after exercising. In fact I did. It's amazing how that works out.

It was pretty much the usual session. 25 mins on the bike. Today we just built resistance for 1 min intervals after the warmup. I think Krissi was being kind to me because I had told her I wasn't feeling well. It was still a good workout. After that we did squats. I handled the weight comfortably, which means my knee is in good shape. I'm really happy about that. We did the weird back exercise. I was having form problems with this one, because I had it in my head that I had to lift the weight higher. Now that I'm concentrating on lifting with my back and on raising my elbows rather than my hands, it's working a lot better.

I am constantly amazed by how the human body adjusts to what it is doing. With chest presses I've been doing three sets of 10 for some time now. Sometimes I only get to 8 on the second or third set, but 10 is the goal. During the first set on Friday I was lifting really well. As I got to about 8 Krissi told me that my goal was 12. I was feeling good, so I expected that I'd be able to lift the 11th and 12th time without any trouble. No way. My body was used to 10 and that's all it let me do. I squeezed them out with Krissi's assistance, but there was no way I was going to do them on my own.

We did 2 sets instead of 3 as we were running out of time. I didn't make the 10th at all on the second set. It just wasn't there. Krissi stretched me and I headed off to work. Another good PT session.

I had been going to run on Saturday morning but it was raining heavily so I skipped it. I didn't even bother to think about it today as we were moving furniture for a friend of TB's. I was mainly carrying light stuff while the guys did the heavy lifting. TB's friend lives up three sets of stairs. That was 48 stairs in each direction. I must have been up and down them about 25 times. By the end I was really having to make myself go upstairs. There was a steep driveway as well. I was glad that I wasn't pushing the trolley with the fridge on it or carrying the lounge.

Normally I would have avoided helping, but I figured it would be a good workout and I'd be saving TB some hard work on his weekend. There were four guys there, one who mainly packed the truck and three who carried. I figure I saved each of the three guys about five or six trips, given that they would have carried more stuff down at a time than me. While TB and the guys drove over to unload the stuff I headed home and collapsed!

I'm hoping TB has enough energy to cook dinner tonight!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Quiet week

It's been a quiet week on the exercise front. My morning bootcamp finished last week, I missed the midday bootcamp because of a work trip, and hockey is over until next year. My regular six hours of "booked" exercise has come down to two PT sessions, one bootcamp and a circuit session. I'm going to have to find some self-motivation and get my backside out there. Mind you, I did enjoy spending most of the week without the aches and pains that accompany bootcamp.

On Friday a week ago I had my usual weights session with Krissi. To my relief she had her new exercise bike. It's more like the cycles used in spin class at the gym. Krissi cranked up some RPM tracks and we were away. It was a really different session to the old bike. I certainly ended up dripping with sweat. I don't think I'm fit enough to do an RPM class as I was dying after 20 minutes. Krissi regularly ends up training a ghost for the second half of our sessions.

This week I got on the bike and the seat was broken. Yes, you guessed it. Stairs. I was running up and down stairs like they were going out of fashion. On the down side of the equation, my run is kind of a quicker version of walking, as I'm convinced I'm going to fall. I am starting to pick my feet up faster though, so I'm getting more confident.

The first set of reps involved running up two flights of stairs, doing squats at the top, then repeating. I was puffing away like a steam train as I did my 20, 15, 10 squats. It was such a relief to have the rest break. The second set of reps was similar, only it was 10, 8 and 5 pushups. The third set seemed harder, as Krissi had me coming up the steps two at a time on the second flight of stairs. I struggle with two stairs at a time. My explanation is that I'm short, although I think it's really that I never do it. The first time I didn't know what to do with my hands and had to fight to keep myself from grabbing the rails. I realised that if I used my arms the way I did for single stairs at least I wouldn't be grabbing out. It made such a difference. I found it so much easier to do the two steps at a time.

I don't know what to call the exercise at the top of the third set, so I'm going to try describing it. Basically I did a "run, run, run, run, run" on the spot, then got down flat on the ground when Krissi said "drop". The first time I got to my knees and then down. Krissi showed me how to do it without kneeling, as that was better for my knees. It was a struggle not to kneel first so we both had the giggles at some of my contortions. The third time Krissi wanted me to stop leaning on my leg as I stood up, which introduced a new set of contortions and giggles.

Minor aside: TB is reading an article about a Carlton Football Club bootcamp to me while I'm typing, which is making it hard to concentrate. It certainly sounds a lot tougher than the bootcamp we've been doing. I suggested he send it to Krissi and Brad as they might get some ideas for us. "No way!"

Now he's looking at Princess Park renovation photos ... this is sad. I've just had it explained to me that it's "Visy Park" and I'm being given the opportunity to solve the "Who am I?" Why do I suddenly have the urge to go to the Western Bulldogs website?

Back to business.

I had meant to go to the gym regularly to do weights, but I haven't managed it lately. Fortunately, I've been doing upper body work at bootcamp, so I am still seeing improvement from week to week with my chest presses. I've found this particular exercise quite educational over the past twelve months and I'm glad we've gone back to it with this particular program. It's the first exercise I ever reached failure with. It's also the exercise where I've learnt that I still have more left even when I think I don't. I seem to be able to mentally dig a bit deeper and push a little more than I could before, and I'm seeing the benefit of this in my running. I've also learned that the body recovers its strength amazingly during the rest between sets. That helps a lot between uphills.

I didn't exercise at all last weekend, unless you count shopping and gardening as exercise. Actually, weeding the garden involves a lot of bending and squatting so I think you probably can count gardening. I had a long day on Monday, as I worked in the morning and then went in the truck with TB from Canberra to Sydney and back. I asked a while ago if I could go with him one day, as I had never driven that road before. TB thought I was crazy to suggest it, however, after several weeks of "Where are you? How far away is that? How long will it be before you get home?" he realised that it might save him a lot of explanation.

I really enjoyed the trip. The view from the truck is great. In case any of my readers know anything about trucks, TB is driving a heavy rigid truck. It takes a bit of climbing up into the passenger seat. TB was quite amused to see me struggle my way in and out of the truck. I did find that my lower back got quite tired with all the sitting. Thank goodness for having learnt at the gym that your back starts to "help" when you're getting tired. I was able to turn on my abs and straighten up my posture to take the pressure off my lower back, so I didn't end up too stiff and sore.

On Tuesday Krissi and I went for a run from Braddon to Lyneham and back. It was amusing to be running back towards home after driving to Braddon. I was tempted to call in on TB but I didn't think Krissi would let me stop long enough to have a coffee. It was a good run. We covered about 7.5 km in just under an hour.

On Wednesday I was up at stupid o'clock to catch the first flight to Melbourne and I was out until stupid o'clock having dinner with workmates. Somehow on Thursday morning I managed to head out at 6 am for a run along the Yarra. At least I didn't have a hangover to contend with as I'd used the "I'm running" reason for drinking water all night. The other benefit of the "I'm running" reason is that I then feel obligated to back up the claim by actually going for a run. It was another good run. I enjoy all the activity along the river. I found myself running rather than jogging, so when I got to the "do I do another loop" decision point I decided to skip the loop and see if I could keep the pace up all the way back to the hotel. It wasn't much faster than my jogging pace but it felt quite different to be running.

Next week I'll have my usual PT sessions, lunchtime bootcamp, a 'circuit' at the War Memorial, and whatever running I manage to get out there and do. I'll have to try to organise myself to get to the gym as well. With all the Christmas lunches and dinners coming up, I'll have to be exercising to make up for the celebrations.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Weekly update

I keep meaning to write up my blog but then I get intrigued by Facebook or distracted by The Age. Sometimes real life interrupts me. Fortunately, there's the quick update option instead of the "capture every second of the day" option.

Last Sunday was our last game of twilight hockey for the year. We don't start again until mid-January. The Blue Geckos decided to celebrate the end of our spring fitness activity in style with pizza and beer. Fortunately I did a bit of running during the game! I was well outclassed skill-wise on the field, which added motivation to my current plan to train next year. Let's hope that idea lasts across the summer break.

On Tuesday I had my bootcamp followed by PT run combination. I should just call it my "I'm going to need an afternoon nap" combo, as I was exhausted at work. We had a boxing cardio session for bootcamp. It was like the run along, stop, choose a card, do the activity session, except that the activities all involved boxing.

It was a good fun session but it was maybe not the best preparation for an hour run. I really didn't want to run. Ten minutes in, legs moving even if they were tired, breathing fine, mind completely out of it. Krissi was chatting away to me, but the distraction wasn't enough. I simply didn't want to run. I proposed a quick walk instead. Ha! As if!

Krissi kept me going, along past the sailing club and all the way up one of the long hills. She then completely amazed me by telling me I could walk after the top of the next hill. Before I could express my surprise, she then added a condition - if I really really needed to walk, then I could. We made it to the top of the hill and kept going. I don't know how it worked. Somehow having permission to stop made it ok to continue.

It was tough though, for the whole run. I was amazed how my mind would keep noticing how tired my legs were. My lower back started to ache. My shoulders were tense. Every time I conquered one problem, my brain would sneak in a new one. Fortunately Krissi was there with me. When I'm having a day like that I don't know whether or not I'm really hurting. I kept checking my breathing, which was fine. My legs kept turning over. If I didn't think about it, my back and shoulders were ok.

I was hoping Krissi would turn around sooner than usual. Of course not. Mind you, she didn't make me run any further than I have before. We turned around just past the nursery. It seemed like a long way back to the car, but we made it. All up, I managed to run for just over an hour even though I didn't want to run. That's got to be good for me when I eventually run a half marathon. (Shh: I'm not quite admitting this to myself yet. I'm planning to give the Canberra Half a go next year.)

Even though I was exhausted on Tuesday at work I managed to spend half an hour weeding the garden and I vacuumed! Yes, for those of you who missed the Facebook update, I bought a Dyson on the weekend. Wow!

I gave myself Wednesday off exercise, apart from a little walking. Today I had the double bootcamp. This morning we had our final session, so it was the fitness assessment. I was less apprehensive about the beep test, but I only made it one level past my starting point. I thought I couldn't go any further, but I didn't actually throw up when I stopped, so I think maybe I could have managed another level. I did more pushups and situps, ran the time trial 3 seconds faster, and was slower in the agility. Overall, it was a good result.

The one I was most pleased with was the 1 km run (almost 1 km, but let's not be precious). Last time I went out too fast and had to stop to walk a couple of times. This time I managed my pace a lot better, which made for a much better run. I can't say that I was enjoying it. In fact, I would have stopped half way if I hadn't had to face Krissi and TB afterwards. I was surviving it though, which makes me realise that I can run faster. It's all about managing my pace.

I was quite tired at lunchtime, which surprised me. Maybe I went out a bit harder this morning than I thought. With Billy, we did the usual skipping, three sets of 2 minute intervals today, followed by star jumps (I am so good at them!), power squats (not so good), bottom half of burpees (hopeless) and pushups (not as many as this morning, but still respectable). After that we did pulling people with the resistance bands. That's a lot harder than it looks. We finished off with two sets of boxing. It was a great workout.

I'm feeling really good right now. I just have to keep up the exercise now that one of my bootcamps has finished. Time to get my backside out running on my own I think.

Friday, 21 November 2008

PT session, ten pin bowling, housework and gardening

I hate being late, which means that I'm often early. This morning I was too early for PT, so I ended up filing my nails in the car. That's one of those "I really should do it more but I don't" things that takes no time but seems way too much trouble. Once it's done though, I find myself wondering why I don't do it more often.

When I got to Krissi's she was in the doorway waiting for me. She was checking that I hadn't used the lift! Sometimes I think "I'll play with her head - I'll call the lift and take the stairs" but I get over the impulse quickly enough. Mind you, I like to catch my breath before I go in - no chance of that this morning.

Instead of going up to the studio, Krissi told me to leave my stuff on the dining table and take my water with me. I was immediately apprehensive. What was she up to? I noticed that she didn't have her shoes on, so we weren't going for a run. We wouldn't normally take water bottles with us either. Krissi led the way down the corridor to the stairs! You guessed it. I was running up and down stairs.

Now, I have a fear of falling and stairs bring it out in me. I believe I have a perfectly good reason for this. My brother, when he was a toddler and I wasn't much bigger, helped me when I said "Watch me Mum, I can jump down the stairs" by giving me a push. I landed three steps from the bottom of our Queenslander house. Ouch! Fortunately, Krissi didn't push me to run fast down the stairs. I have been noticing lately that I can slowly run down stairs where before I used to have to step carefully. I've been quietly pleased by this, as it's a sign that I'm trusting my balance more and more.

Running up was a different matter. Krissi encouraged me to lift my knees, to drive my feet off the stairs, to use my arms and to think "fast feet". I flew up those stairs. If I'd known that five pushups were waiting for me at the top, I might have gone more slowly. Three reps and a rest, followed by stairs with dips, a rest and stairs with squats. What a warm up.

I know who to thank for it. The exercise bike broke when Peter was using it. I'll have a word with him at bootcamp on Tuesday. Grrr!

After the warm up it was up to the studio and squats with the bar. I was up to 8 in the first set when Krissi stopped me and switched me over to lunges. I'm not at all sure that this squat/lunge combo is a good thing, but I managed three sets. The next exercise was hamstring curls. For once I could really feel my quads when I was doing them. I think my legs were worn out!

We moved on the chest press. I got through the first set of 10 on my own. Krissi didn't even touch the bar lightly. Three sets of those of course. I struggle more with the second set than the third, which always amuses me. Then we did the weird back exercise. Krissi told me that Peter was pleased nobody was watching him when he did it. I so know what he means. It must work though, as my back has been feeling tired all afternoon.

Finally we got to the stretching. I was taking my time getting down on the mat because I was expecting abs work. If I'd realised it was stretching I would have been down there a lot faster.

Later in the day we went ten pin bowling with work. It was a lot of fun. I've also mentioned housework and gardening as I'm counting calories. I've discovered that I can eat more if I count my housework and my gardening. LOL.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Bootcamp and Mandarin podcasts

This morning it was raining and the alarm didn't go off. Not that the alarm not going off was a problem as I am trained into getting up early now. It was waking TB that made me feel slightly guilty, particularly as I knew the rain was pouring down. He had expressed less than his usual enthusiasm for bootcamp the night before because of the weather. He'd also had quite a stressful day, with a major family issue being sorted out at long last.

You did note the word "slightly" in the middle of that rambling paragraph. Yes, I woke him up. He complained about me waking him when it was raining, but I was over the whole guilt trip by then. I did think about going without him, but I decided that harmony at home was more important than exercising in the rain street cred. I also decided that getting up was a better option than keeping TB from his much needed sleep. Of course, the rain out our way stopped right on 6:30 am. Ouch! Fortunately, half way through the day I looked at the weather radar and saw that the weather was moving across Canberra from my side of town. Hopefully, it was still pouring at 6:30 am at Lennox Gardens. I guess I'll hear all about it from Krissi tomorrow morning.

I took my bootcamp gear to work for my lunchtime session, but I was hoping it would continue to pour rain all day. No such luck! At 11 am, Billy called to see what the weather was like out our way. Enough people wanted to do bootcamp, so it was on. That's when I checked the weather radar, as a last ditch effort to avoid any exercise today. No such luck. All the weather was missing us, until after lunchtime.

With everyone else in, I had to get my act together. Wouldn't you know it? It was a fantastic session. It started with the usual skipping and jumping warmup. I can skip for two minutes now, which I'm really pleased about. We did two sessions of skipping followed by two sessions of jumping. I think we did 2 mins followed by 1.5 mins of jumping. I am able to jump back and forth across the rope for the whole 2 mins now. How cool is that?

We then did a 2 mins on, 1 min rest set, starting with star jumps, followed by power squats, the bottom half of burpees and pushups. I killed the star jumps. Everyone else was way impressed but I knew it was all down to being able to run. Not that I let anyone in to my secret. The power squats are a challenge, but I kept on going through them. I was a disaster in the burpees. My tummy was in the way, so I did little jumps. I also found my arms tired really quickly. I did the best pushups I've done for some time.

Then we did some running. I was last, as ever, but I handled it fine. We had to slow jog or fast jog, depending on the instruction. In the middle we did a few power squats, then finished with a "burst". I was "bursting" away, miles behind everyone else.

After that, we put on the gloves and boxed. I boxed first, and my arms were simply dying. Usually, we swap over in the middle, but we did two sets of boxing before swapping. When it was my turn to hold the pads, my arms were still dying. I could certainly feel the burn! I somehow survived, mainly because Kirsty doesn't hit that hard. Thank goodness.

After that we did another set of starjumps etc, 30 secs of each without stopping. It seemed much easier than the 2 mins, even though we weren't having a break. It was a fantastic bootcamp session. We were all really pleased with how we did. The whole group tries hard. I thanked Lisa for getting me there after the session, as I had so much not wanted to do it.

When I got home tonight I did another half hour in the garden. I find the squatting to weed is really good for me.

I've discovered some free Mandarin podcasts on iTunes. I had already booked some cd's from the library, but I'm on a waiting list. Isn't it great that there's so much stuff out there for free?

Now for my next challenge. Learning to speak with inflection. I get so confused. It's just as well that so many people around the world speak English!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Bootcamp intervals and PT run

This will be a quick update. This morning we had an intervals session at bootcamp. This was the session with the cones that are apart different distances, smaller to bigger. You run up and back, dropping down a distance each time. You get to rest until the next interval starts.

The first interval was 40 seconds. I could make the longest distance in 26 seconds, so that was a comfortable set. The next time, because the faster runners were waiting so long, the intervals were 30 seconds. I was able to survive the longer distances, but we dropped to 25 seconds on the third set. I was starting at the long end, so I really struggled through the first three intervals, without managing a break. I skipped the fourth, then joined back in and finished the set.

After that we used the harnesses, and did the running against our partner's resistance. We had to run hard for 10 seconds, then they let us go and we sprinted 20 metres. That was a lot of fun. We had four turns each before doing our cool down. Oh, I managed the warm up better than usual today too, which I was happy about.

Once bootcamp was over, I headed across to the War Memorial while Krissi packed up. I had an ulterior motive as I wanted to go to the toilet before we set off on our run. I scared the poor cleaner again ... poor man.

Krissi and I headed off on our usual run around the base of Mt Ainslie. I wasn't at all sure how I'd manage, particularly after an interval session. Krissi has this "I'll work with 100% of what you've got left" approach, so I figured I'd see what I could do. My legs were tired, but we managed to run for just over an hour. It was a slow 7.75 km, but I was pleased with it. I really had to struggle to keep my legs turning over during the second half of the run. I ran the whole way, without stopping!

I was so tired afterwards that walking to the car was a major effort. An excellent day's exercise.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Morning run and trip to China

This morning I made it out on my own for a run. Yay me!

I nearly didn't go. The devil that sits on my shoulder reminded me that I hadn't mentioned it to anyone at home in Deer Park. TB thought I should wait a week to let my blister heal properly, so he wouldn't criticise me. Nobody would know I didn't go. The angel on my other shoulder reminded me that I'd mentioned it here in my blog. The devil piped up, "You've done that before - they won't be surprised that you didn't get out there." It really was teetering there in the balance.

Add into all this that I've been working hard on managing my food consumption all week. I've been faithfully writing everything down, good and bad, as a baseline against which to assess my progress. I really want to lose the weight I've regained over the past eighteen months. I really love to eat. If I'm going to have it both ways I have to get out there and run.

I stopped listening to the angel and the devil and started listening to me. What did I want to do? I wanted to run.

It was just a little run, half an hour around Kororoit Creek. It was an important run though, as this is where I first ran for half an hour without stopping. This is where I used to think I was going to die before I made it to the bridge, five minutes into the run. I was remembering all that as I jogged around the course. I noticed how much easier it was to run up the hill on the far side of the bridge, how the temptation to turn off at the other bridge instead of doing the big loop wasn't there today, how I didn't even notice that I was running along Station Road instead of burning with embarrassment that people driving past could see me lumbering along.

I decided that I'd only do one loop this morning, another baseline. I didn't even check the distance when I turned off my Garmin. I'll see that when I load it up onto the pc. For today, it doesn't matter. I got myself out there, I ran and I enjoyed myself. I didn't notice any blisters. I stretched properly when I got home. I was really proud of myself.

My other exciting news today is that TB and I are going to China in February next year. We booked the tickets this evening. You've got to love the Internet. I'm so excited!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Weights session

Yesterday I had my usual Friday morning session with Krissi. I am sure that part of the reason that I enjoy this so much is that I expect to enjoy it. It's certainly not because of the way I struggle during the session or my muscles hurt afterwards.

Krissi's home studio is up two flights of stairs. I'm not game to catch the lift up unless I have my bike with me, so I dutifully struggle up the stairs each week. Usually I have a few creaks and aches on the way up, but yesterday everything felt fine. Why then, was I struggling for breath when I got to Krissi's door? A similar thing happened to me at work the other day, but that was three flights of stairs. I was puffing away as I went past all these people's workstations, trying to regain my breath and stop blushing at the same time.

To add insult to injury, there's another flight of stairs to get to the actual studio. I followed Krissi up, listening to her complain about how hard the stairs are some mornings. I had a little inward chuckle as I followed this amazingly fit woman up the final flight of stairs. Mind you, Krissi had competed with a team in a 12 hour mountain bike race over the weekend, so I think she had a valid reason to complain yesterday.

I started off on the exercise bike, as we discussed the benefits of those amazing bandaids for blisters. For the first ten minutes, which is meant to be a warm up, I'm able to talk. Once we get to the intervals I rely on Krissi to do the talking while I do the sweating. Krissi told me all about the bootcamp session that I missed. I'd heard TB's version of the scavenger hunt as well. It sounded like a lot of fun.

I sweated so much that I figured I could finish PT after the cycling. I suggested it to Krissi. Her solution was to turn on the fan. Trainers!

For a change I did dead lifts. Getting the form right was quite a struggle. When Krissi demonstrated her back was like a lever, dead straight. My shoulders went over straight away. Krissi gave me a few tips on technique and I managed to keep my back a lot straighter. It helps that Krissi has a picture of the perfect guy on the wall for me to look at. When I started, the bar felt quite light, but I had to put it down after six reps. I did two sets of 12 reps altogether, before moving on to chest presses. Same bar, same weight, 10, 8 and 10. A couple of sets of jack-knifes, one minute plank and I was done. Phew!

I've packed my running gear for Melbourne .. just have to get out there tomorrow morning. :-)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Bootcamp and blister

I only made it to one of my two Thursday bootcamps today. Yesterday, on my rest day, I managed to get a huge enormous blister on my heel. OK, it was a little one, but it hurt like a huge .. you get the idea.

When I got up this morning I put a bandaid on my heel and taped it. No joy. It still hurt once I put my shoes and socks on. I even tried two pairs of socks. TB, who managed to survive me with blisters at the Queen Vic Markets in Melbourne, suggested that I stay home. As it was meant to be a cardio session, I decided that I would take his advice. Of course, it was a scavenger hunt, which is one of my absolute favourite sessions. Oh well. Another time.

I nearly left my gear at home however I'd packed it the night before so I took it to work with me. I wasn't feeling at all confident about being able to wear my runners at lunchtime. Two of my workmates were looking for a can of harden up for me. Yep, I was getting lots of sympathy. I decided to try my shoes on about half an hour before bootcamp. To my amazement, I couldn't feel the blister. Now, it may have healed dramatically in the five hours between bootcamps, but I'm giving all the credit to the magic bandaid I put on when I got to work. I invested in some of those "healing" bandaids a few weeks ago. I haven't been at all convinced that they work up until now.

It was 30 degrees today, so we were all wearing our sunscreen and hats. We also made sure we had plenty to drink before we headed outside. It's fun doing this with the people at work as there's a lot of mutual encouragement before and after bootcamp sessions.

We started off with our usual skipping warmup. We seem to be skipping for longer, which has got to be good. We then jumped over the rope for a while. It seemed like quite a while but it was probably only two sessions of one minute.

After that we did some boxing. The person with the pads called a number between 1 and 8, the other person punched that many times and then shuffled around in the direction of the last hand they used. It was a good workout. I'm not sure how long each turn was, but we got to box twice. I was encouraging my partner to hit through the focus mitt instead of aiming for the front of it. She was doing a pretty good job by the end.

We then did the running against the resistance band. That's quite an exercise. We normally run all the laps, but Billy encouraged us to power walk the last lap. He didn't say so, but I think he was paying attention to the heat. We each took two turns at that, then we were back to squats. Phew! Billy loves his squats. I've got to admit, I can stay down longer and go down further now.

What I have noticed, and this has come from running and not stopping, is that I have more stickability with the different exercises now. It's as though I've realised I've got another gear that I can get into, and I can do more for longer no matter what it is I'm doing. When I was powering along with the resistance band I could tell I was in the same headspace as I was when I was running up those hills around Mt Ainslie and it kicked in again when I was struggling to stay down in the squats.

Tomorrow I have PT with Krissi. I so enjoy my weights session with her. I'm in Melbourne on the weekend, so I won't be playing hockey. I'm going to take my running gear down with me and go for a run around Kororoit Creek. That's a plan!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Hockey, gym, boxing and running

If I updated my blog more frequently it wouldn't sound like so much exercise!

On Sunday night I played twilight hockey. It's a mixed comp, with a max of 5 men on the team. Fortunately we had 7 men and 8 women, so we were able to sub regularly. I started on and played the first half, so I was glad of a break at the start of the second half. When I went back on, I played inner, which was fun for a change, as I'm usually a defender.

During the game I had one of those "Wow, all this exercise is paying off!" moments. I took off after someone, sprinting as fast as I could. Now, normally this means that I'm trailing the other player and getting further behind, but I actually caught up with them and then stayed with them! I didn't make the tackle, but gee I put her under pressure. I was going to tell her how excited I was that I kept up, but my sensitive side stopped me when I realised she was 20 years or more younger and might not appreciate an "old lady" making that comment.

On the way home I had another of those "WATEIPO" moments. I may have mentioned before that there is a hill on the way to my house from the hockey centre. It's always a struggle to walk up it after a game of hockey. I plod along, lifting up my feet, which feel like lead in my hockey boots, asking myself "What on earth do you think you're doing, running around on a hockey field? Why didn't you drive over to the hockey centre?" etc. This Sunday I was walking up the hill realising that it was much easier than it had been before. I was so stoked I forgot to show TB my injuries. Don't worry, I showed him a couple of days later when the bruising looked impressive.

I didn't check the bootcamp timetable before I went to the gym on Monday night. If I had, I might not have been so enthusiastic about doing an upper body workout. It's been quite a while since I made it to the gym, so I was determined to get there on Monday. There were new faces everywhere, behind the counter and around the gym. After being a regular there for so long it was quite strange to be anonymous. Fortunately I soon ran into a few people that I knew and the place started to feel like "my" gym.

I pretty much did my old workout, cutting the leg work right back to one set of walking lunges and one set of hip abductor exercises. My right shoulder has been sore since carrying the 20kg weight plates and dragging the tyre, so I paid attention to it to make sure I didn't make it any worse. I only had to cut one set of one exercise back from 12 reps to 8 reps, as it was getting tired. I managed to get quite a sweat up while I was working, which was a good sign that I was pushing myself hard enough. I find it all too easy to slack off a little when I don't have a trainer watching me.

On the way out of the gym I had a huge smile on my face. I was feeling so happy. You've got to love that exercise high.

On Tuesday morning we had a cardio-boxing session at Lennox Gardens. After our warmup we were put into groups of three, one punching, one holding the pads and one doing a shuttle run. We went through a series of one minute each doing four different punches, jabs, hooks, uppercuts and jab/hook combinations before our first real break and then did another series of one minute doing crosses, uppercuts, and a four punch combination. It was hilarious trying to do the four punch combination. I couldn't get the pads right for my poor punching partner, although I was trying hard. She was punching faster than I could move them.

After the cooldown, Krissi and I went off on our run. My legs felt like lead from the beginning. Krissi was taking me off somewhere new too, which meant that I didn't know what to expect. The first run somewhere I'm always a little anxious. We headed off towards Parliament House so I had seen the first part of the run before. That helped me to relax. Mind you, I was feeling whingey. Luckily Krissi has a complete lack of sympathy for minor whinges. I was able to moan "My legs don't want to do this" without her saying "Oh you poor thing, we'd better stop now."

As we jogged along I was paying attention to the fact that I'd never managed to do this part of the run before without stopping to walk. I didn't think it was worth mentioning to Krissi, as we're both over the "Oh my goodness, you haven't walked" commentary now, but I was internally telling myself how great it was. I don't think I'm ever going to get over the fact that I can run now. And, when I think about it, why should I?

The first part of the run is a bike path which turns into a pathway as it nears Parliament House. Even though we were shaded by trees most of the way through this section, it's a lot hotter when we run now. I was wishing I'd drunk more water before we started. Fortunately, there was a bubbler at the top of the hill when we reached the road immediately around Parliament House. We ran around the back of the building on paths, through a car park and over a bridge before reaching another path to run on. It almost felt like we were out in the country, except there we'd just crossed a large intersection and there were people walking along on their way to work. We made our way towards the front and then ran down towards Old Parliament House. It was as though we were doing a tourist route.

It was amazingly pretty. We were in among the trees, running on beautifully kept paths, and then we were running beside and around attractive well-maintained buildings. We ran across the park, on the far side from the tent embassy, down across reconciliation place and through the middle of the flags, facing across the lake towards Anzac Parade and the War Memorial. It was like running in the middle of a set of post cards. We ran along the edge of the lake back to Lennox Gardens.

When we got back to our stopping place we were ten minutes early, so we did another lap of Lennox Gardens, which was a bonus as it meant we got to see the cute duck family again. Once my legs would have said, "Stopping place means you have to stop" but they have the ability to go a little further now. When we did finally stop we'd been running for 55 minutes. It was such a lovely run.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Personal Training

It was one of those "just five minutes more" mornings today that make me realise why I have a personal trainer. It would have been all too easy to roll over and go back to sleep, except that Krissi was waiting for me. I'd gotten all my gear ready the night before too, which seems to make it so much easier in the morning.

I was in surprisingly good shape after yesterday's double bootcamp effort. My calves were reminding me they were there and I felt tired all over, but I wasn't in pain. When I arrived at Krissi's I told her I was feeling like spaghetti. She laughed, that evil personal trainer laugh that they must teach them at the start of their course, and said that she'd work with whatever was left in me.

My legs felt really tired when I started warming up on the bike but they were working ok after five minutes. Maybe they weren't going as well as I thought though. Once I'm warmed up I usually do six sets of intervals, but Krissi let me off after four sets. I wasn't expecting that, but I didn't argue.

My absolutely favourite part of PT is the stretching. Krissi gave me a good stretch today. Usually I feel the stretch but I don't feel that it's painful. My left hamstring had me almost gritting my teeth today - not because of pain but because it was a strain to stretch it. Fortunately that was the worst of the stretches, either because I relaxed or because my other muscles weren't so tight.

Krissi had me do some squats with a light weight and some calf raises before getting me to get myself into a strange position for some flys. She had the bench set up on an incline. I was behind it, with my head leaning against the end of the seat, my knees bent and with my arms down straight with elbows slightly bent, holding 3 kg weights. From there I was to lift the weights by squeezing my shoulder blades together. I gave it a go, and it was a good thing that my head was leaning on the bench, as my legs ended up shaking away. Krissi told me that she'd given me this exercise because she figured out that the only part of me that I hadn't exhausted the day before was my back. (Exhausted is my word!) When I did the second set I was shaking so much that we were both giggling when I tried to get the 12th rep out. Some jack-knives and I was finished. Thank goodness.

At work today we were all comparing pains. Just as Billy had promised, people could feel their shoulders. My gluteus hurteus muscle was making itself known today too. I can't work out why my butt ends up sore - I exercise it all the time by sitting on it! I'm starting to feel a few other aches and pains. Nothing that a good night's sleep won't cure I hope. Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday and I can sleep in!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Double bootcamp

This morning's bootcamp was a hike up Mt Ainslie. I quite enjoy this particular session, even though it's always hard work. TB was pretty sure we'd be working harder than usual, as we have two trainers for this bootcamp. His theory was that one of them could be harrassing the people at the front of the group, that is, him, while the other could be looking after the people at the rear, like me.

We all gathered in the car park behind the War Memorial. I was wearing my warm hoodie as it was cool again, but all the others decided to brave the elements. Water bottles in hand, we headed off across the road as Krissi explained what we would be doing. We were walking up the first section as a group. Once we got past the steepest part we were running the rest. It all sounded quite achievable. I had no idea if I'd be able to run that far, but I knew that I could do better than I had the last time I tried running on the mountain back in August. Mind you, looking back at that blog entry, I did better then than I remembered.

I found I handled the steep part better as well. I'm clearly a lot fitter this time around. All that running has made a difference. It got a bit hot, so I had my hoodie around my waist by the time I got to the point where we were stretching before we started running, a view station on the way up the hill. It had a stone wall around the edge, behind which I left my hoodie. I made an emphatic mental note to pick it up on the way down, reminding myself that I'd have to climb the steep part again if I forgot it. (Actually, I thought TB would have to climb it for me ... blush.)

Heading off for the run, I was surprised at how easy it seemed after Tuesday. I ran for a couple of sections before I stopped for a work. My competitive nature kicked in, as I made sure I ran further than the girls in front of me before I stopped to walk. I told myself that I might be slower but I could run uphill for longer. I got myself back running again quickly, and only stopped a couple more times on the way. I walked the long set of stairs near the top and told myself I'd run the last path after the stairs finished. I realised that there was a section of path before the last stairs of that section and decided that I'd run that bit too. I was really proud of those few metres as they were an extra I hadn't planned to do.

In my mind I was going to stop when I got to the final set of stairs, but Brad was there so the vanity effect kicked in and I ran them. I stopped at the lookout but Brad encouraged me to walk up to the car park, then run across and run up the final flight of stairs to the next lookout. It was such a relief to finally stand still. I have to admit that I didn't really look at the view. I was too busy catching my breath to appreciate it.

On the way down I picked up my hoodie, so I saved TB the extra run. I must see how he reacts to my dastardly plan. It should be amusing. I was walking down the mountain with Peter. He inspires me so much as he has arthritis and yet still runs up mountains. He's not steady going downhill and neither am I, so we've developed a habit of walking down together. After a while Krissi came along with Fiona and said "Kathy, you want to jog the rest of it, don't you?" I said, "No, I'm fine" before I realised that Krissi wanted me to jog the rest of the way down. I decided that it was easier to jog than to protest, so off I went with Krissi, while Fiona kept Peter company the rest of the way down. It was good to jog some of the way, however once we got to the bridge we had to turn around and jog back up until we met the last group. I was pleased to see that I managed the jog on the steep bit. I'm thinking that it's time that I tried running the whole way up the mountain. I'm sure that I can make it if I take it one small stretch at a time.

While I was running up the hill I was thinking, "There's no way I can survive bootcamp at lunchtime after doing this," however I turned up anyway. Billy had warned us that it would be a hard session, suggested we all make sure we ate something a couple of hours beforehand (never a problem for me) and that we bring along a sports drink. We were dragging tyres. When we got there I went to help with bringing the equipment over. Billy asked me how I was feeling. "Apprehensive!" He laughed. What is it with personal trainers? They always smile more when you tell them it's hurting!

I carried a 20 kg weight plate over from the car. I brought it over with two hands and rested it on my tummy. Imagine my reaction when the first serious exercise we did, after the skipping and jumping warmup, was carry two 20 kg weights across the lawn and back again. While jogging!

Billy had us using our arms like levers, explaining that this would help us to strengthen our grip. With the right posture and tight abs, our bodies would do the work instead of our arms. Amazingly, he was right. I was able to carry the weights across and back, while jogging. Mind you, I was by far the slowest in the group. Still, I was doing it. I had to make myself take my last turn as I was exhausted.

After that we dragged the tyres around. Each tyre had a 20 kg weight on it. Dragging them was as hard as it looks. At one stage my arms and legs were going but my tyre wasn't. We did one lap, then Billy let us do a lap without the weight. I asked him to put it on again for my third lap as I really wanted to do it the hard way one more time. I felt like I had something to prove. It was an internal thing that surprised even me. I guess I needed to know I didn't have to have the weight taken away. Afterwards Billy came up to me and complimented me for doing that, which I appreciated, but I'd really done it for myself and nobody else. As I said, I don't know where it came from.

A few squats, which I handled better than last week, even after all the hill work, a few stretches, and bootcamp was over. We helped carry the equipment over to the car. Billy always seems surprised that we do that, but the whole group just gets in and helps. We've never even discussed it - we just do it. I work with some lovely people.

This evening I have a sore butt and my shoulders are feeling pumped. I'm off to have a warm bath after I water the garden. Fortunately TB suggested leftovers for tea, so I won't have to cook dinner. Apparently he liked my pasta bake!

Personal training tomorrow morning and then the weekend. I'll have hockey on Sunday and I'm hoping to find the willpower to go out for a run on either Saturday or Sunday morning. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Bootcamp and long run

Even though Tuesday was a public holiday in Canberra TB and I were up bright and early for bootcamp. The schedule said interval training, which had me feeling quite apprehensive as Krissi and I were going for a run straight afterwards. Knowing how hard an interval training session is, I was wondering if I'd be able to run for an hour afterwards.

It was a chilly morning - you'd never know it was meant to be Spring. I braved the elements in a nice warm hoodie and I had a long sleeved top for my run later. We went for a warmup run around the oval. I was struggling immediately to keep up with the others. I felt even more worried about my PT session, particularly as I'd been so stiff and sore on Sunday evening. When I stood up after I finished blogging I was hobbling like a little old lady.

After the warmup run and stretches, we jogged as a group around the outside of the marked oval, which was about 300m long. The purpose of this lap is to check out the ground to make sure we're aware of any trouble patches. After running on the Campbell High School oval during the last bootcamp, this place looked like heaven. They play AFL on Reid Oval during the winter, so it's kept in good condition. As we jogged around Krissi told me that it was up to me whether or not I took the interval session a little easy as we were going for a long run afterwards. I didn't pay much attention to the word "long" as all my runs with Krissi seem long to me.

We ran a second lap around the oval at our own pace. TB ran off ahead of the group while I dutifully brought up the rear. As we finished we were given numbers, which were used to divide us into teams. I ended up in the same team as TB, which I was pleased about. Krissi explained the concept of the intervals session, and I was suddenly glad that I was the slowest runner in the group. We were doing a velodrome session, where the team would run around the oval as a group, dropping the slowest runners off at the end of the second lap, then the next slowest etc, until the fastest runner ran a lap on their own. While the others were still running, the people who had dropped off would be doing exercises in the middle of the oval.

I ran my two laps, then did a lap of crunches, a lap of pushups, a lap of squats and another lap of crunches. After the faster runners had some time to recover, we did the session in reverse, picking up a runner each lap, then finishing with two laps for me. More crunches, pushups and squats for me, but I was feeling a lot more confident about my run afterwards. As for TB, he did a lot of running. That's what you get for being fast!

We stretched and chatted at the end of the session. I was keen to head off and so was Krissi. She suggested I eat something, but I didn't want to after my experience at the fun run on Sunday. We drove over to the other side of the War Memorial, which surprised me, as it's a five minute walk. I thought Krissi must have another appointment after me, but I soon found out why we were putting the cars near our finishing spot. Krissi was taking me for a "long" run.

Because it was a public holiday, I didn't have to be at work and Krissi's next client had moved their session to Thursday, Krissi was taking the opportunity to take me for a run right around the base of Mt Ainslie. Now this is a run that my running buddies have spoken about with awe and fear. Krissi herself had told me that she cried the first time she went up one of the hills. I think she is probably exaggerating, but even the thought that she might feel like crying is enough to impress me with the magnitude of the task. Mind you, she's been preparing me mentally for this over the past few weeks, as she's been telling me about the various sections and how they are all achievable. We've even run nearly one third of the way up the horrendous hill. I have to admit that I've dropped to a walk the two times we've done that, but at least I knew what it looked like.

Krissi told me that the run was just under 10 km. We'd been running just under 7 km along there in approximately an hour. Krissi thought we would be out there for about an hour and a half, which seemed like a long time to me.

I felt absolutely fine when we started the run. I was warmed up from bootcamp. I checked out how I was feeling, just as my Chi Running book advises. No aches and pains anywhere. Still, as I ran along beside Krissi I was thinking up all the reasons why I couldn't do the full run. My knee would hurt afterwards, I would have to walk all the hills, etc, etc. I didn't want to embarrass myself by giving up immediately, so I thought I'd see how I went on the way to the turnaround point.

I chatted away to Krissi while this was all going on in my head. Before I knew it, we'd come to the part of run where there's a high, middle and low road. We've been taking the middle road. I threw up half way up the hill the first time we did that, and I stopped the walk the time after that. To my amazement I was running up the hill and chatting. I figured I'd shut up, relatively speaking that is, and try making it to the top without stopping. I succeeded! I shared my milestone with Krissi, who was keenly aware of what was happening. We had a mini celebration in the way you do when you're running. (Me: "Pant, pant, that was an achievement." Krissi: "Well done Kathy.". Me: "Pant, pant")

I was still thinking that I'd make up my mind about turning around at a particular point on the run when, all of a sudden, we were there. I hadn't realised we were so far along. I knew I was feeling great so I really didn't have any excuse to turn around. The run was so much easier than Sunday's had been. I was really enjoying myself. I figured that I'd keep on going.

The horrible hill was pretty much there. Krissi gave me a pep talk about how to get up the hill. The plan was not to look up, as the top of the hill seemed so far away. The part I'd already run was as steep as it got, and there were a few "flat" bits that would give us a rest along the way. I was to take it slowly but steadily. We made it to our furthest turn around point and I hadn't stopped to walk. I was really proud of myself but it was pretty hard work. The temptation to stop and walk was so strong. Then Krissi said the magic words, "Xxx didn't make it all the way to the top the first time she attempted it." I decided that I would attempt to get further than Xxx before stopping. I just forgot to ask where it was she stopped, so I ended up running all the way to the top.

I asked Krissi about stopping for a water break at the top. She kindly told me that I was going to have to drink my water while I was catching my breath on the downhill. We've been talking about that, as so many people, me included, feel as though they must stop at the top of the hill. Krissi is intent on curing me of the habit!

We got to what I thought was the top, just behind some people who were walking their dogs. They took the path that veered to the right, which went up again. I thought "Oh no, it keeps on going" but fortunately Krissi was quick to reassure me that we weren't going the same way. She had carried our water on her running belt, so she handed me my bottle and fed me a sports bean. Now, I've never had sports beans on a run before. They are fantastic! In retrospect, I'm a little amused that I became so excited by an orange jelly bean. It tasted so good and it was so refreshing. Krissi only had four sports beans and she kindly gave me three of them on the way around the mountain. In fact, she would have given me her fourth bean too, if I'd asked for it. How lovely is that?

Once we got over the top of the horrible hill, Krissi warned me about another part of the run that was psychologically difficult, a series of hills that looked tougher than they really were. After that was a section where you were in what looked like the middle of nowhere, reached a recognisable landmark, and then kept thinking you should be back at the War Memorial.

After the horrible hill there was a lovely long downhill to run, with fantastic country views. It's hard to believe that you're in the middle of Australia's capital city when you're running through bushland with not a building in sight. I settled in and enjoyed that stretch, particularly as I knew there was more hard work to come.

I was glad Krissi had warned me about the deceptive hills, as the sight of them would have convinced me that I was done. By this stage I really wanted to make it the whole way around the mountain without stopping. I gritted my teeth, took the hills slowly and made it up all of them. The next section didn't worry me so much as I worked in the building that was the recognisable landmark and I'd been running on some of the tracks in the past. What bothered me was that my legs felt like lead.

It was quite understandable. I haven't run for more than an hour for about 18 months. My longest recent run was 8.67 km on much flatter ground. I'd just done an hour of bootcamp (even if it was an easy session). No wonder my legs were tired.

That was the whole point of the run, to take me past what I'd been doing already. Krissi wanted to move me further from my comfort zone. She certainly succeeded!

As we wended our way along a few different tracks on our way back to our starting point, Krissi told me that the finish would appear sooner than I expected. I thought she was being extra encouraging, but she was right. Before I knew it, we were there. I was so glad! I went to turn off my Garmin and realised that I hadn't turned it on properly at the start of the run. My amazing run, complete with impressive elevation profile and I didn't have a record of it. I had to laugh. Oh well. It looks like I'll have to run it again so that I get one. (Krissi sent me hers. I just have to work out how to load it into SportsTracks. Don't worry, I'm an IT consultant - I'll figure it out eventually.)

I am so proud of myself for doing that run. The thing that I'm most proud of is that I ran the whole way. That's a major achievement as I used to be one of those run/walkers. It's taken me a long time to be able to just run as my legs seem to make the decision before my brain gets involved. I even stopped to walk a couple of times on Sunday.

I was exhausted all day on Tuesday though. Thank goodness it was a public holiday!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Bootcamp, personal training, fun run and hockey

Bootcamp is going to be pretty much a theme for my blog over the next few weeks. TB and I have signed up for six weeks of 6:30 am starts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I'm also doing a Thursday lunchtime bootcamp for 10 weeks at work. It's keeping me fairly busy.

This Thursday we had a circuit session at Reid Oval in the morning. While I love doing bootcamp at the War Memorial or at Lennox Gardens, Reid Oval is so much better for running activities. The even ground is a real bonus with agility work as well.

This is a session I've done a few times now. There was a new station (a recovery jog) and a minor change to one of the activities (a sprint at the end of the plyometric jumps). I really enjoy this session and I love seeing how much I've improved over time. For example, there's an activity with five cones in a pentagon around you. You start in the middle and jump between the cones and back to the middle, going one way around and then the other. I used to struggle with this one, pausing between each jump, landing heavily, and squashing the cones more often than not. Now I rarely squash a cone, I land lightly on my feet and I can complete the jumps in both directions without stopping.

There are other signs of improvement. During the warmup, which involved a lot of jogging around in a circle, Brad had us bending over to touch the ground with the appropriate hand, when he called out 'right' or 'left'. I didn't realise that some of the others weren't touching the ground until TB and I were chatting afterwards. I was too busy making sure I didn't fall over as I bent over to notice what the others were doing. I was pleased though, knowing that I'd managed to do something relatively easily that other people struggled with. I know that sounds as though I am competing with them, which I am a little, but I'm mainly pleased because it's a sign that I'm more flexible and that my balance has improved. Back before I lost weight, if I dropped something on the ground it was a major struggle to pick it up. In fact, I used to be intensely embarrassed if anyone was around to see me as I levered myself down and back up again.

There's a ladder exercise that we do, where we step into each rung with both feet as fast as we can. I realised on Thursday that it was a great abs workout. I hadn't noticed that before, probably because I was concentrating on coordinating my feet and swinging my arms (trust me, it helps). I found that if I wanted to go faster I had to tighten my core.

After bootcamp I headed off to work. I like getting there early after exercise, as that means I can used the shower in the disabled toilet. It's so much more pleasant than the shower down in the basement, but we're asked not to use it between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Lunchtime bootcamp was a lot of fun too. Billy had medicine balls with him, that had me worried, but the exercise we did with those was quite achievable. We started off with some skipping and some jumping across the rope. My knee was fine so I was able to skip the usual way. We then swung the medicine ball over our heads and threw it down on the ground to bounce it, catching it on the way up, then swung the ball in the other direction. It was more fun than it sounds. I liked the big thud as I drove that ball into the ground. Mind you, I thought I was doing the exercise properly but Billy managed to find an improvement for me. Isn't it always the way with personal trainers?

We then did the running with the bands that we did last week. I teamed up with Kirsty again and we powered away. It seemed easier this week, probably because I knew what I was doing and I knew when to expect to get a rest. We then went and found a gutter and did some jumping. I thought 'oh no, my poor knees will never survive more jumping' but they were fine (and still are). It was hard work though. We also did squats. Billy loves his squats. This time we held the skipping rope above our heads while we squatted. It certainly keeps you upright. I'm enjoying the change of pace with this second bootcamp but I'm a little apprehensive about next week. Billy is bringing tyres / sleds. It sounds a little too boot for me. Still, I'll have a go. You never can tell.

On Friday I had my usual PT session with Krissi. My legs were so tired when I did the bike warm up, but I got through it. I've gone a little backwards with the chest press - I have only been doing one weights session a week lately, with work trips to Melbourne, boot camp starting and so on. After talking it over with Krissi, I've decided that I'm going to try to get to the gym at least once a week to get my other weights session in. I'll be focussing on arm work when I'm there.

I sometimes wonder am I enjoying personal training too much. I certainly work up a sweat, so I figure I must be working hard. I feel great all day afterwards. It's just that I enjoy it at the time. Isn't it supposed to be hard work that you dread? Have I got this all wrong?

This blog post was going to stop here, but I lost my internet connection, and half the post last night, just after I wrote that I was going in a fun run and hoped to run 6 km in 45 mins. Well, the run is over. I managed to get around in 43:54, which I was really happy with. I also managed to run along behind a group of Canberra Raiders for a short while. You have to love eye candy.

Krissi did the run with me. She wanted to push me a little harder than when we run on Tuesdays and I enjoyed the company and motivation. Mind you, the only time I voluntarilty accelerated and started to run past people, I immediately got back into the pack. Yes, there were a couple of people between us and the Raiders, obstructing my view. I'd told Krissi about my valiant attempt to run faster last year when the Raiders went past, so she was quietly laughing at me. We managed to stay with them a short while - it's probably where I picked up the minute that I ended up under my goal time.

I found the run a bit hard today, but I still enjoyed it. Krissi pushed me along and encouraged me to keep a steady pace, which really helped. Krissi and Brad didn't sign up for the run, so they left me just before the finish. I tried to run faster up the straight, even though my legs didn't think they could. It's amazing how having all those people there helps you find something more though. At the end of the run I got through the finish line and a few steps away before I started to feel as though I simply had to throw up. I lost some of my breakfast, found that I desperately had to go to the loo, and headed straight over to the gym without telling the others where I was going. A kind lady grabbed me a cup of water when she saw me throwing up, and another gentleman offered to get me one. I was incredibly grateful to them both, but I didn't actually look up to see their faces when I thanked them. I hope they have lots of good things happen to them both this week. They certainly deserve it.

After my emergency dash to the loo I felt a lot better and found the others. Lola and her friend Julie had finished a few minutes behind us. Jess and Fiona both did the walk. Normally they would run the 6 km, but Jess is expecting her first child in early December and Fiona carried her two year old in a backpack. We had arranged to have morning tea after the run, while the announcements were happening. I'm glad we did that, as it was a pleasant and relaxing way to finish the event.

Today's event was special to us, as it's a year ago since Lola was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. In fact, she wasn't able to do this run with us last year, as she had just had surgery, but she did come out to encourage us. It was fantastic to have her run with us at this particular event. She's finished all her treatment, her hair has grown back curly to her disgust, except that it could have grown back patchy so she's not complaining, and it's just a matter now of keeping an eye on it all. Which reminds me, it's twelve months since I last did a proper breast check. All you women out there reading this blog ... self-examination this week!

I got home to find TB working on the garden. I grabbed a mattock and gave him a hand to plant our brand new row of thujas. These are conifers that are going to form a privacy screen between us and the neighbour. We went for the cheap 10 for $60 option, so they are tiny. It will take a few years before they form any sort of screen. Still, it's the beginning of our front garden, which also has a magnolia and a lilac planted in it. We have two daphne bushes and six azaleas in pots under the tree ferns out the back. They are destined to be in the front garden when the thujas are forming some shade.

After that, I had hockey. I walk over to the hockey centre. It's about a kilometre, which is a good warm up. Usually I run around one of the fields before I play but my legs didn't think that was a good idea. I did plenty of running though - the other team were fast! Well, everyone else is fast compared to me. Still, it's a lot of fun. I staggered home - the hill up to our place seems to grow while I'm away - and now I'm contemplating a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Lots of exercise today

It was a hectic day today. Bootcamp this morning, followed by PT and a lunchtime walk. I'm feeling really tired now.

Bootcamp was at Lennox Gardens, which is a picturesque location, right beside Lake Burley Griffin. A popular meeting place for people heading off on runs with the ACT Cross Country Club or FIT (Females in Training) as well as for cyclists, it's also a great spot for bootcamp. This morning we had boxing, which I really enjoy. There's something about hitting things that is incredibly satisfying.

We warmed up, then did a series of box, exercise, hold the pads, exercise. The boxing sessions involved crosses, hooks, uppercuts and then a combo. The exercises were jumping lunges (small lunges, small jump, not as easy as it sounds), squats and starjumps. I still get the old "oh no, star jumps, I'm no good at them" feeling, but I managed the twenty star jumps each time without any trouble. Isn't it funny how your head plays with you? You'd think my mind would have caught up with the fact that I'm fit and healthy and well able to do a few starjumps.

After that we played ambush, which I love. It involves one person doing the boxing and the others taking it in turns to tag the person, run away, turn around and choose a pad position for the person to box. Anna, new to boxing with Krissi and Brad, was boxing first. She was in fits of giggles as she was running around and then boxing. I enjoyed seeing her have such a good time as I always feel like that when we play ambush.

After boxing I had my PT session with Krissi. Last week's run was a bit of a disaster as my knee was sore and we ended walking. This week we headed off on a flatter course and my knee was fine. We ran for 1:05 and I managed comfortably. That's the longest run I've been on so far. I really got into it today. The start was a little tough as my legs felt like lead, but I was breathing easily and my upper body was relaxed. I told my legs that it was ok to be tired but that we weren't stopping.

Krissi and I chatted away as we ran. I was also doing quite a bit of sightseeing. It was a beautiful morning. The sky was blue, the trees look so lovely with their new leaves, and there was no wind. It was picture perfect.

I got to work to find out that Lisa and Kirsty were keen to go for a walk at lunchtime. I didn't think I'd be up for it, but I decided to go with them when I realised that I was a bit stiff and sore. I figured that the walk would help me loosen up. We ended up walking briskly for 15 mins until we reached the top of a hill and then turned around and went back. I'm really glad that I went. The girls are good company and it's always good to have a proper break from work at lunchtime.

I'm waiting for TB to arrive home from work now. He was not at all keen to get up this morning for bootcamp, so it will be interesting to hear how he pulled up. I'm going to have a rest day tomorrow as I have the double bootcamp session on Thursday. I'm quite looking forward to sleeping in!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

More bootcamp, PT and family photos

On Thursday I did bootcamp twice! I was so hungry all day. Oh, and tired too.

In the morning TB and I headed off to Lennox Gardens for bootcamp with Krissi. It was a cardio session. It was the session with the medicine ball, where we head off in a line of pairs. The pair at the back carries the medicine ball until the trainer blows a whistle. At that point they hand it to the pair in front of them and run to the front of the line. On a double whistle, the whole group runs to the trainer. The first one there takes a card and the group then does the exercise. We ended up doing a variety of exercises, including pushups, walking lunges and crunches. There were a few "run to x" type selections and a couple of other group activities (overhead medicine ball relay for example).

I remember that I used to think this session was much harder. The difference for me is that the running isn't such a chore. I was enjoying myself this morning, so much at one stage that the people behind me were trying to get my attention to pass me the ball. Instead of paying attention I was running along, checking out the people rowing on the lake.

My knee held up fairly well. I looked after it when we did the walking lunges, so they (the lunges) didn't really hurt until the second half. We were running on the flat today too, which helped.

After bootcamp I headed off to work where I had a second bootcamp session lined up for lunchtime. I told the instructor, Billy, about my knee and he immediately diagnosed that it was an ITB problem. It always amuses me when people are so sure what your knee problem is, but his diagnosis matched with what I was thinking. I really can't remember hurting my knee. Given how much tender care I take of it I am sure that I would have noticed. Referred pain seems like the probable cause.

Anyway, it was smart telling Billy that my knee was sore, as he modified a few exercises for me. We started off with a skipping warmup. After checking whether or not I was feeling any pain when skipping, he got me to jump and turn the rope, rather than jump over the rope. I still got a workout and my knee didn't hurt as much.

We then used bands to pull each other along. Well, the person in the band tried to run while the other person held them back. Wow! What a workout. I was exhausted after my turn. A few turns of this was followed by boxing, another turn at the bands and squats. Billy likes his squats. At the end of the session, after we stretched, he massaged my ITB for me a little. It really hurt!

It was a great workout, and there's a real feeling of teamwork amongst the participants. In fact, I went walking at lunchtime on Friday with a couple of the girls who are doing the bootcamp. I could have gone for a run with a couple of the guys, but I was too too tired.

On Friday I had a weight session with Krissi. It was a fantastic session. We started off on the bike. Normally I warm up on level 6, then we dial it back to level 4 for me to do my intervals (one minute hard, one minute easy). On Friday I did the interval work at 6. It certainly felt a lot harder. I was sweating away in no time.

I talked to Krissi about the ITB suggestion. It made sense, given that I'd increased my running but hadn't really stretched last week. We discussed that the underlying problem was probably one of the poor muscles that I hadn't stretched. Krissi gave my legs a good stretch after my warmup and another at the end of the session. I am really pleased to announce that my knee is hurting a lot less!

Mind you, having a sore knee doesn't mean that you get an easy session from Krissi. I did three sets of fitball lunges with 7.5 kg weights. My arms felt like they were going to stretch to the floor during the first set. I didn't notice them in the second and third sets as my legs were shaking like jelly. I also did a couple of sets of calf raises. I love doing calf exercises at the time, as I am a little vain (cough) about how great my legs are, but I wish I hadn't done them for the next few days. Ouch!

I was exhausted when I got to work but I'd told Lisa I'd go walking with her at lunchtime. She and Kirsty were planning on a serious walk. I hadn't taken a change of clothes with me, so I got back into my sweaty PT gear. I promised to walk down wind from them! We headed off to the Campbell Shops. It took us 25 mins to get there, so it was a pretty decent walk by the time we got back to the office.

I slept so well on Friday night!

On Saturday TB and I were in Melbourne. We went to the Vic Markets via Southbank. I walked across town in sandals rather than in runners. More blisters. Breaking new shoes in is definitely no fun. I ended up buying some daggy thongs to wear back to the car. Thank goodness for the thongs though, as I haven't been able to wear shoes for the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday the whole family got together for a family portrait. It took a bit of organising, but it's done now. I'm looking forward to seeing the results. The photographer was fantastic. I'll post the photos in Facebook once we get them from her.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Boot camp, PT and a sore knee

This morning I had boot camp. I'm now doing two boot camps, one with 1-2-1 Personal Training (Krissi and Brad) two mornings a week, and one with the people from work (one day a week). I also have two PT sessions a week and twilight hockey, so I should have a base of six hours exercise a week plus extras for the next six weeks. Good going, hey?

This morning was the fitness assessment with 1-2-1. During the warm up jog my knee was a little sore. I haven't done anything to it recently, so I'm a little at a loss as to why it's hurting. It seemed ok after the warm up so I got stuck into the assessment activities. I made it to 4-1 on the beep test. I felt like throwing up when I finished, so I didn't feel as though I'd piked too early. I may have been able to push for one or two more levels but I don't think I would have lasted any longer. I managed 20 pushups on my toes and 31 on my knees in two minutes. I also managed 37 situps in two minutes. I have no idea what time I did for the agility test but I did the km time trial in about 6:22.

After boot camp I had my PT session. I was supposed to be going for a run. We ran the first part, but my knee was hurting on the uphills. We persisted a bit, but when it started hurting on the downhills we dropped back to a walk. I don't remember hurting it. Maybe it's referred pain from something else. I hope it sorts itself out.

I have boot camp twice on Thursday, which should be fun if my knee isn't still hurting. I'll keep it iced and see how it goes.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Gardening and running

I've discovered gardening. I hadn't realised just how much fun it was until recently, when TB asked me if I'd like part of the garden to grow vegetables. I enthusiastically said "show me a shovel" and I've been spending time in the garden ever since.

I find it all amazingly relaxing. Every morning and evening I go outside and examine my garden closely, checking to see that my plants have made it safely through the day or night, without being eaten by snails or succumbing to frosts. I've developed a warrior-like approach to insects and weeds. I talk away to the various plants, telling them that they'll thrive in their new location and admiring their sturdy growth. It's all a hoot. TB is a little taken aback by the gardening monster he has managed to unleash.

We're going to landscape the front garden shortly. There are some trees that are the wrong type for suburbia, with roots clogging drains. They are coming out soon. TB is drawing up plans and we've started to buy the larger plants. So far we have a magnolia, a lilac and a row of thujas sitting in the midst of my vegetable garden in pots. There are also a couple of daphnes in the fernery out of the sun. We've been looking at paving and at garden seats. It's all new to me, but TB has worked as a landscaper and as a paving contractor. I had no idea of the cost of building a garden from scratch. It's also interesting to watch TB plan it all out. At the moment we have some poles in the back yard, representing the heights of the various trees. We've been watching with interest to see where the shade is at what time of day, so that we can be sure that we don't end up planting sun-loving plants in full shade or vice versa.

As for running, I've been out several times with Krissi now. I imagine my blog while I'm running but I'm just not finding enough hours in the day to write them up. Most weeks I've only run the one time but I made it out twice this week, once with Krissi and once on my own. The run on my own was in Melbourne on Friday morning. I was there for work with a group of people. We stayed at the Travelodge at Southbank. I headed out at six am and ran around the Yarra for 50 mins. It was a lovely run. I've really been struggling to get out there without someone else, so I was particularly pleased by this run.

I had brunch with some of the running girls this morning at a nursery. How's that - combining gardening and running? :-)

I've been reading all your blogs but I haven't been commenting much. I'm enjoying hearing all your news. Keep it up everyone!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

More running

On Tuesday morning Krissi and I met behind the War Memorial. We'd had a contingency plan in place, in case the stormy weather continued, but the morning was lovely and clear. Chilly, mind you.

We walked up to the path where we were going to run. I was quite relieved by that. I felt anxious about the run, as it was going to be a little hilly, but I shouldn't have worried so much. It was hilly in places, but nothing I couldn't actually manage. I was soon enjoying the scenery. It's lovely running through the bush on a well maintained dirt track (thank goodness so many Canberrans use all these trails) with blue sky overhead.

At one stage we saw a couple of kangaroos right beside the path and Krissi started waxing lyrical about how lucky we were. I found myself thinking "TB would love this" but when I checked in with him later in the day he assured me that he'd been perfectly happy in bed while I was out running.

At one stage on the way back I found myself having to walk up a hill. I just couldn't get my feet to keep going. Krissi tried to encourage me to run, but they were in charge. Fortunately, that only lasted for a short while. All up, we were out running for just over 50 minutes. We travelled about 6.7 km during that time.

The last part of the run was up a steep hill. Krissi assured me that I'd be able to run up it quickly because I'd be able to stop at the top. I don't think I was quick exactly, but I did make it up. I was really pleased by that.

I had the usual "I feel good" feeling all day. :-)

Tomorrow morning I think we're going for another run. I'll dress for it any way. It's best to be prepared for anything where Krissi is concerned.

Last night I went to the gym and did some weight training. Pretty much the routine I was doing with Julia.

As for the month of me, I went to a birthday party I wanted to go to, even though my parents were visiting. I only went for an hour, but I did go. I also went to work late on Monday - I saw Mum and Dad off instead of rushing in to work. It was a great way to start the week. On Tuesday I forgot to do anything for me! How could I forget? I had a perfectly enjoyable day but it was pretty much business as usual. Mind you, it's a good feeling, knowing that a 'BAU' day is so good that I didn't realise I hadn't spoiled myself.

Yesterday was a great 'month of me' celebration - the new Ecuador Dark magnum. I treated TB to the Colombia Cappucino magnum. That looked pretty good too, so I think we have to swap flavours another day. Today I treated myself to lunch away from work. I decided that the person I'd most like to have lunch with was TB. Fortunately, he agreed with the idea, and was prepared to make me lunch, so we had a steak sandwich at home. Sigh, you know you're getting close to 50 years old when your idea of a good time is lunch at home. LOL.

I'm off to a fashion parade tomorrow evening. One of my girl friends was literally stopped in Myers and asked to be a model. They are even giving her $120. How cool is that! Mind you, she's a bit stressed. I am sure she'll enjoy it once it's happening.

Yum, TB has just shown up with chocolate icecream. That's more than enough to distract me from thoughts of running. :-)

Friday, 12 September 2008

Month of me

I ran today, so my post was going to be all about my run, but I realised that I hadn't posted since August. Rather than tell you all about my run (7 km) I thought I'd tell you about this fabulous idea that I unashamedly stole from Kathryn.

Basically, the idea is that I have to do something special for myself every day during my birthday month. I teamed up with a friend at work, whose birthday is the day before mine, and we're celebrating the "month of us". It's been great fun, doing this with someone else.

So far, in no particular order, I've managed to:
1) moisturise my dry arms and legs
2) wear my night time perfume, which I love, to work during the day
3) walk around in my runners all day at work instead of swapping to my work shoes
4) share the Koko Black chocolate "spoil" for two with my friend - we loved it
5) have a luxurious bath
6) plant a vegetable garden
7) put flowers in my vegetable garden
8) drink better quality red wine than usual
9) buy myself a trashy mag
10) buy someone else an indulgent farewell gift without thinking about the price
11) cook a lasagne
12) get my eyebrows shaped

Tomorrow's my birthday. I love having a fuss made, and today I was fortunate enough to arrive at work to find balloons, flowers and champagne. There was also a chocolate birthday cake for afternoon tea.

I made it quite clear to TB that I like a fuss made for my birthday. I figure that you've only got yourself to blame if other people don't know that something is important to you. I may have made more of it than it is, because TB invited my parents up for the weekend. I think he is worried about the level of fuss required, and is relying on them to help him provide it. Personally, I'm delighted that he has invited them.

On the running front, Krissi took me out for a run this morning. I haven't run since the last time I posted. For someone doing a Running Challenge, that's a pretty abysmal effort. I'm not counting hockey the other Saturday, although I do think I ran pretty well during the game. In fact, I was still running at the end, which was a major achievement. We lost, so hockey is over until the twilight competition starts, but that's ok with me. I don't know how I would have managed hockey this weekend.

Krissi had her work cut out for her this morning. I'm struggling mentally to get out there. Physically I'm fine. In fact, I felt quite guilty, as Krissi is recovering from a bad chest infection. She was coughing and spluttering while I was complaining! Still, she got me running for over 50 minutes. On Tuesday, we're going for a run around the base of Mt Ainslie.

We had a bit of a heart to heart on the way back home today. I told her that I was fine running with someone else but that I was really struggling to get out there on my own. Krissi suggested that we run for the next few PT sessions, to rebuild my confidence. I'm delighted with the idea, as I love how I feel after a run. All day today I was so proud of myself. I had a blister and the ball of my foot was sore, but I didn't care. They were badges of success. Mind you, I was pink all day. I wish my skin wasn't quite so fair.

I'm not quite sure what to do about the blisters. I've been getting a blister in the same spot lately. Maybe my shoe is too tight. I'll try relacing it and see how it goes.

Hopefully I'll be posting again soon!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Hockey, Bootcamp, PT and a run

First of all, TB came out running with me tonight. That's awesome. I am so pleased. My goal is to get out there running but it's not as easy as it sounds when you're out of practice and it's cold outside. I came up with a plan to overcome the "it's easier to stay inside where it's warm" factor this evening. I phoned TB before I came home from work to tell him that I planned to go for a run. My reasoning behind the phone call was that if I told someone else my plans it made it much harder for me to change them. I never expected him to join me.

I arrived home, prepared some stuffed mushrooms (yum) and then got myself changed into my running gear. I invited TB to walk with me as I know it's hard for him to run at my pace. He decided to run with me though, which was terrific for me, as it meant that I kept running the whole way. I also didn't have to think about where we were going. I told TB I wanted to run for 30 mins so he chose the route.

We went along a route that we'd walked in the past so I knew what to expect in terms of hills. We were a little faster than he'd expected, although it was a slow run overall. We were out for 25 mins and covered 3.25 km, including a few long hills. We've stored the run in Sports Tracks so that we can do better next time. I have a feeling I have my own personal cheer squad for running now. At least for a while I hope. :-)

As for hockey, I played on Saturday. The woman I was marking was so much faster than me! I just couldn't keep up. After struggling for a while I was moved over to the other side of the field. The girl who took over my job managed much better. I was feeling a little disheartened until I realised that I was 28 years older than her! Mind you, the fast chick was older than me. Sigh. We were beaten 4-0. Still, it was a good workout. There's one more game this season, unless we accidentally manage to get into the finals. It's possible (we win, someone else loses) but not likely. After that, I'm planning to play social hockey on turf over summer.

It was the last bootcamp for a while. We did the fitness assessment. I crashed and burned on the beep test. I was running along and suddenly felt sick. I pulled out much earlier than I expected rather than throw up. I was quite miserable about it, as I'd really looked forward to seeing how much I'd improved. Anyway, once it had happened it had happened. I guess it was a 'suck it up princess' moment. Most of my other measurements were lower, because my form has improved so much. For example, at the first session my pushup count was 20 on toes, 18 on knees. On Monday I managed 15/15, but they were much better pushups. I did manage to improve on the agility test, which is something I always like to see.

As for PT on Tuesday, it was my second last session with Julia. My knee was a little sore from Monday night (walking lunges after the fitness assessment) and I was really tempted to ask for a free pass on the leg work, but I decided to tough it out. I survived the squats and walking lunges (so much easier indoors). The chest superset seemed easier too. Julia had a sore back so I tried to make sure I collected the weights instead of her. Easier said than done, as she has the habit of looking after her clients instead of the other way around.

Now that bootcamp is finished I'm trying to work out what I'm going to do to keep my activity level up. If TB will run with me a couple of times a week, that's going to be a big help. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Personal Training with Krissi

I had an awesome PT session this morning. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I am just so strong when it's that time of the month. I was smoking hot!

After getting myself there without being too early (it's no fun sitting in the car when it's cold) or too late (I hate being late!) I climbed the two flights of stairs to Krissi's apartment. My knee was grumbling slightly on the stairs but didn't make any noise at all on the flat, which delighted me, particularly the day after Mt Ainslie. Mind you, I was puffing by the time I got to the second floor. I waited at Krissi's door, subtly catching my breath, and trying to look like I'd just arrived. I don't know if I fooled her at all, but I felt better pretending that I wasn't a beached whale.

The session started with the now fairly usual 10 mins warmup on the bike followed by 10 mins of intervals. I have the resistance at a higher level during the warm up, then it gets knocked back a couple of levels while I go fast for a minute, recover for a minute. The 21st minute is meant to be flat out, and Krissi had me changing my grip today. I had to admit to her (when will I learn? when will I learn?) that I found today's session easy, so she's going to crank it up a level next week. Sigh.

We then moved on to squats. I've been doing my squats with 40 kg on the bar, so that's where we started. It was easy, so we upped the ante to 45 kg for the next two sets. Usually I wobble all over the place getting used to an increase in weight, but I didn't wobble at all today. The last few reps were hard, I was panting and I was sweating, but my form was good. Yay me!

We followed this up with hamstring curls. Apparently my form was good, which is always nice to know, but I was finding them hard work. My hammies and glutes were a bit tight from yesterday's hill climb. I got through the three sets and Krissi had me straight over to chest presses. All I really wanted to do was lie there, flat on the floor, for the rest of the session.

Once I was on the bench though, I was into the chest presses. I did the first set without any trouble. I expected to, because we hadn't done any arm work the night before. On the second set the weirdest thing happened. I pretty much failed on the 8th rep, then did the 9th rep without any trouble at all. It's not at all what you expect to have happen. I struggled through the rest of the set making it to 12 with a mixture of assistance from Krissi and sheer determination. The third set followed pretty much the same pattern, although I didn't manage any reps on my own after I started needing help at 8.

Then it was abs work. Krissi has me doing these crunches, pushing a small pink ball up into the air (20) followed by oblique crunches, pushing the ball towards her hands while keeping my butt on the floor (20). They sound harmless but it's a good workout. I then did a lousy bridge. My form is much better but my abs were exhausted. Still, it's all progress. I staggered down the stairs, jumped into my little car and tootled off to work, feeling incredibly virtuous and amazingly strong all day.

I'm completely knackered now though. I'll be tucked up in bed in no time.