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.

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