Thursday, 23 April 2009

A Tale of Three Runs

This week I returned to the gym for the first time since Easter. Chastened by my weigh-in last week, and with the advantage of an additional free night (because French doesn’t start for another two weeks), I was determined to undo the bad work I’d done in the previous weeks, fun though it was.

I headed to the gym on Monday, fearing the worst. After my 5 min rowing warm-up, my worst fears had been realised. I was knackered already.

It got worse when I hopped on the treadmill for 15 mins of running at 12kph on a 4% incline. After three minutes I had a stitch, but simply thought I’d run through it. But the bloody thing hung around for the remaining twelve minutes and added some more friends, like Breathlessness, Aching and the Loping Gait.

It was a struggle to get through that and I spent much of the remainder of the session recovering from it and re-acquainting my shoulders and abs with weights and core strength exercises.

On the Tuesday I woke in quite some pain, but spent the day at work willing myself to go for my 10km run that night. I ran it too, passing a speed camera on Thomas Road but not daring to run in front of it and hear its controller laughing at my lack of speed. I got puffed and had my second wind disturbingly early in the run and reacquainted myself with the Loping Gait in the last couple of kilometres. I thought I was in big trouble to get through it by then, but I managed to get home.

In fact I came home to an empty house, which was just as well as I was sweating everywhere.

On Wednesday I was back at the gym and when I hopped off the treadmill after 15 minutes I felt absolutely fine.

In a way that was a bit scary – in two weeks I’d fallen behind a bit in fitness, and caught up noticeably within a week. But its very easy to fall off the wagon!

Just to be safe I went for a second 10km run tonight to compensate for my lethargic fortnight, and came home again dripping in sweat.

The result? I'm back on track baby! Down to 88.5kg!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Nightmare Week

It was always going to be difficult. ToMarto Cup, an annual three day cricket match we play over Easter, was always going to intrude into my New Years Resolution.

The previous week, as I may have mentioned, I didn't get a chance to go to the gym. I reconciled myself by running ten kilometres on Wednesday. I don't think I mentioned that I was 89kg last week, which was as good as could be expected.

Er, I'm sure I mentioned that last week, but with very little other exercise to report, I have very little to talk about.

So ToMarto Cup, which involves a weekend of cricket and decadence off the field (lots of booze and plenty of food, and also heaps of greasy recovery food), was never likely to give me a boost on this quest.

Easter, which had no exercise except for the cricket itself, was followed by a Tuesday in serious recovery. I hadn't recovered much by Wednesday (when I had planned to run 10 km again) - in fact I was surprisingly sore in the body after cricket (rather than in the head after the booze and karaoke that followed). I felt like I'd somehow pulled a shin muscle. Do shins even have muscles? I was in no state to run.

Chastened by this (that's almost certainly not the right word by the way), I was very keen to get to the gym tonight. As I got within about 50m of my house, I reached down for my keys and I'd left them at work. No access to a car and therefore no way to get to the gym (it was too late to run).

So no gym work or running at all in the last seven days. As I went to weigh myself, all I could cling to was the vain hope that the cricket would be enough to keep my weight at least stable.

I'm on 92kg.


Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ahead of the Curve

It’s not a curve really, is it though? More of a diagonal line.


I have entered my weight loss progress into an excel spreadsheet throughout the year so far, and I’m tracking my progress. I’ve had some difficulty loading it onto the website so far, but as you can hopefully see, I’m ahead of the curve at the moment. I’m on 89kg, while at constant rate of loss I need to be on 92.1kg to be on track.


But being ahead of the curve is to be expected. In fact, I wonder if I’m far enough ahead at this stage.


Obviously when you change a diet and exercise regime your body takes a while to accommodate the changes…


Hang on, let me stress that this is completely uninformed speculation. Some will probably call this completely ham-fisted.


… anyways, my layman theory is that once these changes occur and your body has adapted to your lifestyle, it stabilises again.


Even before I finished that sentence I could see holes in that theory. Useless. When someone has an unhealthy diet with heaps of fat, and the energy/calories you put into your body is more than you take out, when would you possibly stabilise your weight? Seems nonsensical to me in that respect.


But maybe it is still true for losing weight, exercising and changing your diet. I can’t lose weight like this for ever, so my body must stabilise at some stage.


I dunno. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not celebrating too hard about my progress so far. I think the second half of the year will be much tougher.






Monday, 6 April 2009

Inappropriate Barber Banter

I think as a barber you have two jobs: to cut hair and to offer a bit of friendly banter while you’re at it.


So when I came to the barber today, and a younger chap came to cut my hair, I was expecting a bit of both. And I’m not impolite enough to ignore him when he speaks, I’ll gladly pull my weight conversation-wise too.


The chap is definitely not an old-school white-coated scissorman. He’s got a head like a porcupine – spikes everywhere, but keep that wax away from any heat – and arms covered in tattoos.


He points me in the direction of a chair and I sit down there. But before I know if he’s nicked off to chat to his mate. He ambles back and we get down to business.


He starts quietly. In the background the proprietor is talking about the hooligans in Freo, and the amount of litter left out in North Freo, including a broken shopping trolley. He’s got photos on his mobile, which he shows to his customer. For the record, I consider this to be too deep an involvement conversationally for the customer. This crosses the boundary from banter to venting one’s spleen and belongs on talkback radio where no one important has to hear it.


Anyways, my spiky friend (I have to call him that as he’s armed with scissors), starts cutting my hair and vaguely starts borrowing the conversation we can both hear, and talks about the deros and druggies in Freo, and how there are too many drunks there. He’s very uncommitted to the conversation because, I suspect, he is not sure whether I’m an older, more conservative bloke who doesn’t go out (not bloody likely) or if I’m young like him (which is correct, only I’m way cooler). Either way I’m likely to have a strong opinion about his plagiarised topic of conversation. But I dead-bat his comments, making the right noises but nothing more.


After about two minutes he says to me “sorry mate, just gotta make a call.”


A bit unusual mid-cut but I sat there, hair half cut, hoping he’d remember to return. Somewhat surprisingly, the call was personal – to his sheila, returning her call. He got the message bank, and after he left a message he started talking to me again. “’Call me back when you’ve finished’ she said. ‘Call me back when you’ve finished.’ And now I call her back and she doesn’t bloody pick up.”


I looked up and him, with my hair half-cut. Clearly he hadn’t finished.


Not to be outdone, he started talking about his sheila, and that they’re about to have scans and tests for their first baby. Still unsure of which side of the Freo-hooligan watershed I fell on, he meekly asked if I had kids.


“No mate. Not that I know of.”


Its an old joke, and one I’ve made very often. Took him a while to get it though.


I wished he hadn’t.


He started talking about his brother. “He’s probably got a few he doesn’t know about. Man he’s stupid.”


I was dumbfounded. He continued.


“Yeah, my brother was with this girl, and you know they were going for it and she said ‘yeah, yeah this is all good, just don’t come inside me’ and he said ‘no worries’ but what does he do? Comes in side of her”


This, I’m sure you’ll agree, went beyond banter (or venting spleen, or any form of polite conversation).


Mercifully, his phone rang again. It was his sheila. They organised to have lunch together in a couple of minutes. Thankfully, it didn’t even take that long to finish my hair. I was out of there like a flash.


Barbers and hairdressers can I guess get derided for the lack of qualifications necessary for their profession, but after this it’s safe to say you can tell the difference between a good one and a bad one, certainly in terms of the banter they employ with their fare.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The First Big Milestone

Anyways my expectations of progress were not great when I came to stand on the scales this week.

And the run home tonight - done after I wrote the previous blog entry - was harder than I thought. I hadnt taken into account the traffic lights along Loftus St which caused me to stop and start, and I also forgot how hilly Loftus/Thomas St was along this stretch.

And I started running not long after rowing 2km on the ergo in about 7:25. So I was broken before I started.

But my expectations were exceeded. I've broken through my first milestone.

I'm into the 80s baby! 89kg!

As Kim Jong-Il would say, it was inebitable... in-in-INEBITABLE!

I knew I would.

And I do.

Last night instead of going to the gym, I arrived home exhausted and, as is common, was in two minds as to whether to go to the gym or not. Normally when I have these thoughts I realise that every small decision is important, and that to miss one would be the thin end of the wedge – I’d find ways of justifying missing trips to the gym in the future, until I failed to go at all. Usually that’s been enough of a deterrent for me.

But I went to my room to get changed and just made a snap decision. It was time for a night off, so I’d give it a miss.

I made this decision fully cognisant that I would be mired in guilt as soon as I got to the point of no return. I even considered, albeit briefly, that I could go on another 10km run. But I had the house to myself and I settled down with a good book and relaxed for the night. I didn’t even have the TV on.

From a cerebral point of view it was a fine night – Dad would be proud – but I didn’t exercise. And I feel guilty.

Damn it.


That has just made me more determined to try something else that will ensure I use my time more efficiently. I don’t know why I didn’t do this before actually.

I took my gym bag to work, and tonight, for the first time, I ran from work to the gym, and from the gym to home. It turns a one hour trip to get from work to the gym via home into a 15 minute run. And the run home is almost an identical length. That, of course, means I have a warm-up and cool down routine sorted also, and more time at the gym to do my main programme (not to mention using less fuel).

So it’s a winner then. All I have to do is to remember to pack my bag and bring it with me, and to remember to do my French homework at some other time (I usually bring it to work, in a different backpack).


This week (Thursday to Thursday) I did less exercise than usual. The gym tonight and a casual hit of cricket on Tuesday is pretty much it for me. I plan to do another 10km run tomorrow of Saturday – I had planned to do the Bridges Fun Run but I found out it’s on Sunday rather than Saturday, which is no chance for me given I have a large night coming this Saturday.