I am working damn hard

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And it is paying off, for the most part. First, on a non-athletic front, the thesis is going well. The supervisors are confident that it can be published as a trade edition, meaning that it will be a proper book. Hopefully it will become a text book for some classes on complex adaptive systems, philosophy of science, modelling as a modern version of thought experiments, or sustainability science. We’ll see.

 

But on the athletic front, I have done some serious working out every day this week so far! I have carried on with the Spartan 30 day abs/core challenge, which today focused on hips and butt rather than abs. Not only it is important not to do the same thing everyday, it is important to not work the same area, so this was a nice change. I also did a few pushups, pull ups and dips, with weight offset for the pull ups and dips.

I jogged a slow and asthmatic 4K on Tuesday, ran a relatively slow 7.5K yesterday, and did a bit of interval training this morning. Tomorrow will be a no-running day to give me enough rest before my 10K race on Saturday.

And, since I know you are dying to see it, here is my belly. I took this photo in the gym after my morning workout. I feel like it is reassuringly flat, but not particularly muscular, or at least not visibly muscular. I have the rest of this month to change that.

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Back on track…

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So, my fitness plans have been pretty well derailed by a lot of stuff, only some of which is no bueno. For example, I have been laid low by the dreaded hay fever, which is triggering my asthma something terrible. Then, I travelled to Austria to see some friends get married, which means I ended up eating a hell of a lot of really rich food and drinking several metric ass-tons of alcohol that I would not normally have consumed. However, I had a great time and kept active while there with some swimming, biking, and hiking. Finally, I finished writing the final content chapter of my thesis (the crowd goes wild!) but had to put in some serious hours to get that done and dusted on time, which left little time or energy for the fitness plans.

 

But all of that is now behind me. I signed up here to receive a workout of the day in an email from Spartan races. They do those obstacle course type things, which I would love to try someday but there are none near me. I also signed up to do their 30 day challenge, which this month is about core and abs. So today’s combined workout was a 2 minute dynamic warmup, 10 minutes running, 1 minute burpees, 5 minutes running, 2 minutes burpees, 5 minutes running, 30 butterfly situps, 30 pushups, and 20 pullups with 20 kilos weight offset. I imagine that I will be feeling that soon enough.

 

Irritatingly, my sports bra managed to malfunction again, fortunately near the end of the running portion of the workout. One of the hooks on the back (and there are many, many hooks) came undone. It didn’t seem to affect my chestal stability too much, but meant I wasn’t totally relaxed for all of the running. Boo.

 

I think the six-pack abs challenge I have going with my colleague will have to end at the end of June rather than at the beginning because I am not prepared. By which I mean, I do not have six pack abs right now.

 

 

 

On another note, I also signed up to do a night time 10K race this weekend. I have never done one of those before, but it could be good fun. It is a Nike sponsored race, which means it costs a bit of money but tends to include a nice t-shirt and to have good facilities. Nike used to do one of my favourite races when I lived in Barcelona, so I am expecting good things.

Then there is the 14K race the week after. I don’t think I will have trouble running the distance, but it will be interesting to see what my time will be.

 

Right. Belly shot tomorrow, and I shall keep you posted on the daily workouts.

 

Keepin’ on keepin’ on.

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I have been particularly active so far this week, running twice and going to the gym in the morning twice too. I have also been especially good at doing core work on the RSI prevention breaks that my computer enforces, alternating between crunches one day and planks the next. My planks are now up to 1 minute and 10 seconds. Crunches are much easier. I hope to keep it up.

 

Yesterday my partner and I had planned to run 8K after he got home from work, but he called to say that a meeting had run long, making him miss a train, and that I should run on my own. Which I did.

 

I borrowed his GPS device so that I would have some idea of how far I had gone and how fast I was going, which reinforces my desire to get a proper GPS device for myself. I am looking at this all-singing, all-dancing new Polar one, coming soon. Of course, I could just buy the GPS unit that is compatible with the current Polar heart rate monitor/sport watch that I have now… and maybe a flow link to connect the whole business to the web to track data better over the long term… and maybe a new chest strap in small (or extra small) so the bastard thing will fit properly… but the new one is so… shiny!

 

Anyway, using the borrowed GPS device, I found that I actually ran 8.32K, in a reasonably fast time. This means that I am on track for the running plan I created for the 14K race in June. Friday is the next run, also 8K, and then a 12K on Sunday. I think I can do it. I can even do it without purchasing any new gear.

News! And olds.

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I have several things to share today.

  • First off, it seems like I have exercise-induced asthma. Bummer. But the inhaler seems to help and at least this means that I am not gasping for air and feeling like a panic attack for no reason at all. It also means that I am not wheezing and panting through some sort of serious heart related issue, which is a relief. You know, a doctor once looked at an Xray and told me I had a small heart. What am I, the Grinch?

I forgot to take my inhaler yesterday, so when I went to the gym I did a bit of gasping and realized how much better I felt on my runs over the weekend when I used the inhaler. It also makes a huge difference in heart rate since I was well up into the mid 180’s without the inhaler, but only mid to low 160’s with it. I have an appointment tomorrow to get a final diagnosis, but I am pretty sure the doc will just give me a refillable ‘scrip for the inhaler.

 

  • Second, since I did that 8K run with the vibram 5 fingers (my rubber gorilla feet shoes) I have had a bit of a twinge in my right calf. Not painful exactly, but a bit stiff, especially when I have been at rest for a while. It also seems to swell up when I am running, again, not exactly painful, but certainly a weird pressure feeling. I shall have to watch that carefully and be sure to stretch well.

 

  • Third, I took another body fat percentage reading with the pinch-tastic callipers. I am now 20.4% fat, apparently. That is less than 1 percent change. I had hoped for a bigger change, since I am aiming for 18% body fat and also since I seem to have dropped at least one clothing size (my clothes were a bit to big to begin with anyway, so now is the time for belts!). I forgot to weigh myself at the gym yesterday, but I will try to remember again today. I think I can try to get my body fat percentage checked at the gym too, but with an electrical resistance measure instead of the pinch method. Might give a different reading.

 

  • And finally, I am seriously craving everything inappropriate. Bacon and cheddar scones? Yes, please. Chocolate by the heap? I’ll take two. That’s right. The red menace has return to scupper my plans. Damn you, physiology! It is also throwing a spanner in my mental works, which is making it very hard to write the current chapter on chaos theory for the thesis. Nevermind. Victory will soon be mine. In the meantime, I am trying out hazelnut milk in my morning oat-goodness. I like it. I like it a lot.

I should have posted this belly shot yesterday, but whatever. I haven’t heard any complaints about my lack of punctuality yet.  I can feel the muscles really well now but they are not quite showing… At least not in all lights. Anyway. Enjoy!

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Best title yet

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I have been having a rough time of it lately, so I skipped some runs and cut the runs I did do a bit short.  I have also been trying to maintain a lower heart rate while running, but that is not easy for me, and it means I am constantly being beeped at by my polar or that I have to keep checking on my heart rate, all of which prevent me from getting to runner’s zen… which means my heart rate doesn’t get to fall in zen. Bah.

I have gone to the gym a couple of time though. I had been avoiding it because the place was lousy with January starters. You know the type, the New Year’s Resolutionaries. But most of them have cleared out by now, and they are especially absent first thing in the morning on a weekday. I had never been to the gym on a weekday morning, but I rather liked it and will probably try to make a habit of it. I think it can help me in this particular life goal or personal challenge or whatever you want to call it, but could help me in life in general. I feel quite good at the office today, better than I normally would at this time. Breakfast will be a tricky one though, because I can’t do some serious sporting on a full tummy. Must look into options.

At the gym I usually do either some treadmill running (with incline at least 1%) or some rowing machining, plus some core exercises like planks, superman situps, russian twists (now that the gym has medicine balls!) and proto-dragon flags. I am somewhere between the first two levels of dragon flag training, and hoping to progress rapidly now that I can use the padded bench at the gym more often.

 

I also do some weights, mostly weight offset pull ups and dips, but also chest presses. I need to look into what weight exercises are best for strengthening the back and shoulders and improving posture. Typing this damn thesis out is killing me.
I am liking my new pink and black, almost lacy sport shorts pink shorts more and more. I do need to take off the plastic toggles on the sides, because when I walk on the treadmill to warm up or cool down my arms brush against the hard plastic and that is going to bug. I also need to add pocket, but I think I have just the thing. An old set of Phillips sport headphones came in a little mesh drawstring bag, so I think I might just pin that to the inside. If it works well, I will sew it in. The pinkness of the shorts might also be making the gents in the weight area a bit uncomfortable, which is a bit funny.

So here are some belly pics, two in fact since I missed a week.
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Not doing too badly, I guess, but I think I have hit a plateau and need to kick it up if I am to push through. But I think I can do it. I just need to finish off a handful of things on my to-do list that are creeping around in the back of my mind and preventing me from really making the most of my time, both when I want to focus and when I want to relax.

Awww, thanks.

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Thanks to me that is! I bought myself a few new items of workout wear. Two new pairs of sport socks, two new lightweight sports bra/crop top thingies, and a pair of shorts. All have blindingly bright colours and (excluding the socks, which are just socks) they also have feminine details and sexy backs (the crop tops have lace on the back). It is too cold to be wearing any of this outside yet, but I will give it a debut in the gym over the weekend.

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I have been making a lot of progress on my thesis, have been keeping up with my training calendar, have been eating super healthy (if you ignore the chocolate bars… hormones again, damnit!) and have been keeping the house remarkably tidy. I also finished a couple of little, personal projects and have generally been a very good self. So I decided to reward my self.

But, since I am not keen on owning two much stuff, I also put something into the give-to-charity-shop box at least one item for each of the new things I got. One in, one out. Keeps it under control.

On another note, I wore my heart rate monitor on my walk to work today. It took me 25 minutes, 45 seconds, and I had an average heart rate of 137. According to my monitor, that is 89% of my max heart rate, putting the majority of the walk in my 3rd sport zone and burning 189 kCals… but that sounds totally bonkers to me since I was just strolling at a regular pace.

Anyway, I shall run later today, when I hope to do the majority of the run in my 4th sport zone. We’ll see how that goes.

On the road again…

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Tuesdays coooooome agaaaaaaiiiiin.

I hope you are singing the song in your head now, and that you will get that song as an earworm for the rest of the day. Also I hope you get the original version. Metallica did a nice cover, but I say original all the way.

Being Tuesday, here is my belly!

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I am working from home today, so when my Work Rave sheep told me to take a break I went for a wee jog. So my picture shows my  running tights, heart rate monitor belt and a snazzy sports bra. Mmmm. Elasticated lack of motion…

While we are on the topic of heart rate monitors, why in all hell is the belt so fecking huge? I mean, who is this thing designed for? Sure, there are very large people out there, and they might represent the largest (ha ha, a pun or play on words) client group who is keenly interested in the details of their heart rate while exercising, but I doubt it. I see a hell of a lot of very central tendency sized people at running events with heart rate monitors, so the largest group of customers is probably average sized people with sporting hobbies.  So what about the small people who are also keen on knowing exactly what their heart is doing right now? People like… oh, I don know… women athletes?!?   You might think they are rarer than hens teeth, what with all women ever obeying outdated stereotypes and all, but trust me, they do exist. I know that I am on the small side of average for the female of the species, but not by much. So why can I not get a heart rate monitor belt that fits off the shelf? I do not expect to have to jigger the belt of a pretty pricey piece of equipment just to get the bastard not to fall down on me mid-run. I learned the hard way, after it fell down on me mid-run. Safety pins were all that was needed to get it smaller, but they tend to leave a little red mark so are less than totally ideal as a solution for the really long runs.

Snort. But if you want to follow the running portion of my new training plan, see here. I have created a new running plan on myasics. It seems to say that I have a half marathon scheduled for April, but I do not. I just thought a half marathon in under 2 hours would be a reasonable goal for me at this point.

After running, I came home, snapped a photo, sat down to blog and ate some excellent chickpeas (or garbanzo bean) and turnip green curry with wild rice. Delicious.

And since I am working from home today, I also taught myself how to fold fitted sheets, put on a duvet cover using the magic burrito method, and did two loads of laundry on the work rave induced breaks. Ace!

Next time, I hope to have an update on the running, tales from the overcrowded-in-January-gym, and a discussion of sports bras, perhaps the true origin of boob loaf.