Friday, 10 February 2017

on running and the nuisance of getting fit

How do you keep fit?
this fellow seems to have something stuck around its neck, plastic no doubt :-(
the swans are back 
I used to be a good runner, back in the olden golden days. That's not so long ago really but it feels like eons. 'Good' of course remains open for debate. For years I went out with a running group on Thursdays and most Sundays started with a run and chat. I remember enjoying sprinting up Gardner Street with two pals from my running group, heart rate dangerously high. For those of you not familiar with Glasgow, Gardner Street is easily the steepest residential road you can find in town, it is near vertical and running up this road is a bit of a test for any Glaswegian runner. I completed not one but three half marathons. I don't know why actually because I don't enjoy races. I particularly don't enjoy shorter races. Running used to be part of my  weekly routine just like doing the laundry, and I'd happily put on my joggers three times a week to go out, not matter the weather. Fast forward a few years and you'll find me 25 kg heavier, and unable to run for more than 10 minutes continuously. I know, shocking but all that weight doesn't help. Imagine running with a child strapped to your tummy, that's how hard it feels. I have tried and failed three attempts in the last year to get back to a degree of fitness that would allow me to enjoy a jog along the river without passing out.

Anyway, I must not dwell on the past. Mine is a sad and no doubt common story. I started the NHS couch to 5 k training program. It is not fun. The music is boring, the voice over even more so but workouts are about 30 minutes each so fit in well with my manic life.

Allow me to digress for a moment here. I'd prefer the  Zombies Run! 5 km training programme but unfortunately the sessions are much longer, 30 to 55 minutes. The setting is a post apocalyptic England overrun by zombies. Your designation is Runner 5 and you are trained to become a runner for Able Township. The missions are useful, for example collecting sports bras from a derelict but deadly shopping centre (deadly of course because of gazillions of zombiefied  shoppers). On one mission, you even go in search of wool. You can never have enough knitted jumpers when there is no central heating! Once you can run 5 km easily there are five seasons of running missions that keep you fit. It is fun, there is always a good story line to look forward to and in between snippets, you listen to your own music and you can set your own time. It is quite an extensive app with options for interval training, race training and even virtual races against other Runner 5s. The sound of a zombie breathing down your neck is quite motivating :-)

Anyway, I started the NHS programme last Sunday. I decided to trust my memory for the first workout.  I followed the routine religiously, warming up, then alternating 60 seconds running with 90 seconds walking. I started feeling fed-up after about 12 repeats but kept plodding on until I reached the 20 repeats I remembered I should be doing. I thought that was a bit steep for a complete beginner. It didn't occur to me that this could not possibly be right. As it turns out, I should have done the repeats for a total of 20 minutes, which works out at 8 in total. Ah well. The Wednesday run was much shorter. I'll be fed up in about a month time, I am fairly certain of it but maybe, just maybe I can keep it up long enough to be able to use the more fun Zombies Run! app again.

In other exercise related news, my yoga practice is improving and I am pleased to say that my head balance is as 'good' as it was four years ago, when I stopped my regular yoga classes. I am however unable to do a shoulder balance and plow (one of my favourite poses), I just can't get my legs and butt up and over. I would have thought with the strength exercise class I am coerced into by my colleagues at work, my core muscles would be strong enough but not so. I tried wedged against the wall, legs up and pushing off with my feet. This worked but unfortunately at the cost of loosing control of my rectal sphincter, resulting in loudest fart ever. I was mortified. I have some secret practicing planned for the weekend.

You  probably all know that I cycle to work and back (I don't count this as exercise). For the past year or so I hated my pretty bike and I ditched it this week for a new one. The pretty bike is more a of leisure bike for cycling along the canal or through the park. It has slightly smaller wheels than your average commuter bike, hardly any gears and it has a heavy steel frame. I could not cycle up the hill home with this bike, which is pretty bad in hilly Glasgow. You may wonder why I bought the bike in the first place. I can only speculate it is my misguided sense for style that lured me into buying a pretty but not very practical bike. You know, I envisioned myself looking sophisticated with the added wicker basket (wholesome picnic packed), Paul Smith scarf gently trailing in the wind and all. I should have listened to Richard. This week I replaced the pretty bike with a Ridgeback Speed. I've had one before and it served me well. I cycled to work and back without getting of the bike once. I feel like the King of the Mountains. Must search my wardrobe for a suitable polka dot outfit.

That's it all for today. I am sometimes not sure where to go on this blog but I always fall back on the usual, which is a truthful record of my daily life. This is a mixed bag of stuff and not always but often good. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, I really love to see so many visitors. Say hello if you have time, it makes my day just that bit more fun. xx

P.S. The photos are not entirely random, I jog along the canal and river and these creatures are currently visiting.



16 comments:

  1. Zombies running, I had no idea there were things like that out there. Sadly I don't have the technology for this, but it sounds exactly the motivation I need. Although I might end up the teensiest bit terrified out there in the dark on my own with a zombie closing in on me. On the other hand it would probably do wonders for my fitness levels which are fairly dismal. Well done on the running, yoga, fitness and cycling, that is all very impressive indeed. Your image of yourself on your pretty bicycle made me laugh, that is exactly the sort of thing I would do. Hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reading this all about you was amazing experience as here in our country running out of the house specially for common housewives is not kind of easy they can use for this only their personal yards as I do for half hour daily .though I am not much overweight yet in forties it is hard for me.you are so lucky to have favourable environment to all that is good for you.
    Cycling is great exercise too.
    Hope you joining to new program goes well.
    Yoga is soul refreshing I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I live in dread of sphincter failure at my yoga class. I am certain I would burst out laughing, which would probably result in more failures. Thanks for the laugh! And the photo of the bird with the 6 pack rings around its neck is very sad. Good luck with your exercise!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's hard to get in shape when you have so many responsibilities. I've been a housewife/stay-at-home mom for almost 12 years and there's just so little time in the day for me to get away and do anything by myself. I've taken to cycling in the garage at night, using my bike on a stationary trainer. It's better than nothing, but I used to love riding outdoors and also taking lots of walks. I've never been a runner myself, but I can see the appeal. I'm proud of you for taking steps toward getting back to what sounds like an amazing level of fitness! Good for you. I wish you all the best with your training program, it sounds like a really good way to get back into shape.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I ever never been a runner, tried it years ago in an attempt to join my husband. I could do it in bits and pieces, but truthfully I never enjoyed it, I just endured it. I'm a walker, do it every day before breakfast and then an aerobic workout later in the day. I've put on weight in the last few years, part of that is attributable to medication I take and the fact i only have half a thyroid and have to take medication for that too, and partly because I probably need to give up potatoes and exercise more. At my age, and I am exceedingly old, neither of those is going to happen.
    I like bike riding and envy you you new one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember the days well when I was fit and enjoyed sport, these days my exercise is pushing a wheelchair and lugging the shopping out of the car. I keep promising myself I will get better and make some sort of effort but never do. Maybe I will join a group and do something when we move as a way of meeting new people. Do you think spinning wool could be exercise????

    ReplyDelete
  7. I optimistically downloaded the couch to 5k in January but haven't started it. I'm not sure I should try returning to running given my dodgy knees but I do miss it. I had to laugh at your yoga story... I have the same problem with yoga and pilates classes! And I always love your posts x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good on you for getting back to those running shoes. I bet you were bored with 20 repeats of the same. I don't listen to their soundtrack. I put on my own running playlist and then start the app. The woman just pops up to tell you to start running or walking. The zombie app sounds like fun. Maybe I will progress to that eventually. I feel I may be on week 3 for a while with my knees complaining from time to time. Hope you have a good weeken. B x

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm not sure why you don't count cycling to work and back as exercise. It is. Well done on getting back into the running. I'd not heard of the zombie app before and I'm not sure it'd appeal to me but it is a great idea. I walk the dog for about an hour a day and do yoga, that's it at the moment. I did try to get back into running last autumn but went off the boil with Christmas and now it's so cold and muddy..! (Excuses, excuses.) Your yoga incident made me laugh. There's nothing like a good stretch and bend to get those gases moving :-) Have a good weekend, Christina. Sam x PS The cormorant with plastic round its neck - it's probably a ring carrier from cans of beer or suchlike left lying around. I always snip them into pieces before I throw one away to stop awful things like this happening. Poor thing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow it sounds like you do plenty of exercise, I am very interested in the zombie run training it sounds like it gives the experience a bit of fun. I did like your pretty bike but the new one is lovely too. It is an eight mile journey for me to work on very busy roads and I drive. I am interested in cycling as a healthier cleaner way to travel but I am way too nervous to cycle my route to work. There are no cycle paths that would do apart from a little bit that just stops, what is the point of that? So you are an inspiration. xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Christina - that Zombies run sounds like a good way of relieving the boredom of running. I was doing quite well establishing an exercise habit before Christmas, having discovered Zumba Gold (the Gold means it's a bit slower but not much) But since I broke my arm I've done no more than walk the dog. That poor bird with the nasty plastic round its neck - sad that people are so careless with literature and this happens.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved the couch to 5 k app, I am obviously a 'follower' amd just enjoyed being told what to do! Unfortunately I fractured my foot and took a long time to go back to running, then spent a fortune on new trainers (with much input from 'specialist' shop assistants) but sadly they did not have enough cushioning in the heels, and I quickly developed Plantar Fascitis, which is just plain agony. It takes 1-2 years to subside, and some days are worse than others but i doubt i will ever run again. I do yoga, and walk the dog, thats about all at the moment. Sounds like you are doing brilliantly with your exercise regime X

    ReplyDelete
  13. very impressed by your running, my knees get impossibly grumpy when I try running so I walk fast. except not at the moment because it's cold, dark, wet..........

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well done on everything activity related. I'd love to say I was a runner but that's never going to happen (bar being chased by a zombie or Shovelly Joe). I'm enjoying yoga more now that I'm better at accepting what my body can do (or what it can't do). And it helps that most of my fellow yogis are, like me, ladies of a certain age, ie just this side of ancient. By the way, I love reading your mixed bag of stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I applaud you for trying to get back into running shape, and love your new bike. I bought a pretty bike with a basket a few years ago and finally gave it to a friend, it is way to heavy! As for exercise I am at zero right now. Everything I do hurts my neck and thus gives me a headache, and that includes yoga and now just going for a long walk. I feel my cellulite reproducing at a rapid rate.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I wish I had some advice to give about running. But to be honest I've never enjoyed running unless it was part of playing some kind of sport. I am an avid walker though, and for me the key is routine. It can take a month or two for something to become firmly established. Now if I could just apply that knowledge, and the discipline I have with walking, to going to the gym and doing some much needed stretching.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx