I have an active imagination. When I run, my mind is often running at a million miles an hours as I explore ideas with my thesis, ideas with my life, and thoughts of the future. Yesterday- it was about the Marathon.
Nothing is more symbolic to runners than the Marathon. Although there are ultra-marathons and other long distance races, the marathon is something that an average person can achieve with a years training(if they had never run before). For me, it is steeped in history. Being an archaeologist and having been to the site of Marathon, I can often visualise how terrible that run might have been. Imagine, waking up early knowing you could very easily die that day. You take part in the battle that goes for hours as thousands die around you(mainly on the other side). The Persians retreat and someone needs to run to Athens to tell them they have won. As the best runner around, you are selected to run 42km back home as fast as you can. Only there are no lovely paved roads, no drink stations an GU energy gels. Just you, running.
Whether the story is true(probably isn’t)- it makes me want to do this run even more. But, still being a larger gentleman(who will hopefully slim down more before then), this run represents the peak of my running. I was never a runner. I hated running. But in less than a year, I hope to go from completely unfit to a Marathon runner. Awesome!
So have any of you run a marathon? What would be a good time for someone to aim for in their first run? Also, does anyone know a good training schedule?
On Saturday, myself and my housemate Ash set aside the entire day to go fishing. It was to be a day of relaxation and fun. We were on the water by 7am and were chasing fish in a secluded bay some 10 minutes later. After a few small fish, we were starting to really enjoy ourselves.
It was then that we heard a person moaning. Turning around we could see a guy in the water hanging onto a kayak and loudly moaning. Unsure if he was just pissed at falling into the water or he was in a bad way we watched. A nice big cruiser went past him and either ignored him or didn’t see him. A few more moans and we realised he was in trouble. We tore over there and as we approached he starting yelling out for help and shouting he had a heart attack.
Ends up, he had a heart attack and had passed out, thus rolling his kayak. He had a surgically installed defibrillator which shocked his heart and restored it to a normal rhythm. The shock of the water woke him up. We managed to get him to a nearby dock attached to a house and we managed to direct the ambulance down to him. By the time they got there he was walking and seemed fine- in fact he wanted to go home and have a shower first before going to the hospital. We even went and found his flooded kayak and gear and dragged it onto shore.
Anyways, lucky we were there as no one else was around and he was not doing well in the water.In the end it reminds me about why I am doing this. I excavate in remote areas in Greece. I go out on my boat with my mate. I often head up to the country. Have a heart attack there and you don't have a great shot of surviving. Fitness is more than just body image. I want to live to a nice ripe old age. So yesterdays event helped clarify to me that I need to run more and get fit and make sure I stay that way. So this week, I am looking forward to running and hopefully helping my heart become a nice, big, HEALTHY, blood pumping machine!
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Ok lets be honest. I haven’t been the best runner or blogger in the world since I got back from Africa. There have been two reasons for this.
1) My girlfriend became a doctor, had her mum staying with us and then went overseas for a month.
2) I am spending more time working at the moment than Lindsay Lohan spends doing crack… which is a lot!
But anyways, my work has settled into some form of regular habit and with my girlfriend gone I am not finding myself with a lot of extra time. So look what happens, the first day she is away and I manage to clock up 11.3km.
Now at the moment, I am going to start running twice a day. My dog, who is recovering from surgery, needs to go for a walk twice daily for like 15-20 minutes. I am now measuring this and using it as my warm up. I then drop her off and run up to the gym where I jump on the machine an start running. The dog walk means that the normal time of 5-10 minutes I used to spend warming up or walking on the machine is now done and I can hit it hard to begin with. I will be doing that twice daily.. YIKES! I am also, for the first time, building in a slight bit of weights. This is just to start strengthening my arms/core as I get ready for a more physical few months.
Yesterday, I somehow managed to hurt my right calf during the day but that didn’t stop me, I decided to then walk 4km instead of run.
This, in my opinion is the main thing I do well. When I am so tired I can’t think let alone run, or when I am slightly injured, I walk a long distance rather than take the day off. Now yes, It is technically not running but you gotta remember this whole thing is about fitness and walking is excellent exercise. It also means the km keep ticking away. Keeping moving when down I think is important. I am not talking about if you are properly injured, but a corked muscle or a headache is fine.
I am heading off to Athens in a month for conferences and I am looking really forward to in from a running point of view. I am in a different city where I can run and explore(despite the fact that I know Athens very well). But on my return in June, the run kicks up a notch. The Marathon I want to run is on in September and I want to make sure I am completely ready for it. I am so excited about it, it’ll definitely be a life highlight.
But until then I need to mark 100 first year University student essays. 2000 words each. It hurts my brain. It hurts my brain so bad.
Apologies for the rambling crazy post and the lack of posts- I promise I am back to normal from now on and will post every day or atleast every 2 days.
Time: 80 Minutes
Distance: 10.5 KM
I had a lovely, long run yesterday. 10.5km is one of my longest runs in a while and the majority of it was at well over 8km/h so it was consistent. But I don't want to talk about that today.
Gym Wankers… Gym Posers… Assholes!
There are a lot of words for them but I bet you that if you have spent more than 10 minutes in a gym you would have seen one. Think Ron Burgandy in Anchor Man. Shirt off, counting loudly and then moaning after dropping the weight.
Normally they are in the heavy weights section, sitting there for 40 minutes just staring at their muscles and doing the odd set here or there. Once I was on the running machine and a guy who is a regular at the gym jumped onto the machine next to me with a sideways cap and designer jumper on. He spent the whole 5 minutes of his walk just staring at his exposed legs.
But yesterday- yesterday was something different. Something…. Special!
I was about 15 minutes into my run when a man bounded up onto the machine next to me. A brief glance at the man told me he was a poser. He was dressed in a complete matching outfit. Black, very expensive, running shoes. Black shorts, black shirt. Hair perfect. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt! Maybe he wouldn’t be a poser and would just jump on the machine and start running.
How wrong I was… He started stretching. Now the gym has a dedicated stretching room and granted people, including myself, do one or two stretches before starting the machine. But boy these stretches were something to see. He lunged forwards- draping himself across the machine while he over extended his stretch to stupid proportions. I had my earphones in but could have sworn I heard him louding moaning. This went on for 5 minutes. He did stretches I didn’t even know existed- or he just made them up.
He then started the machine. Of he went, walking at an incredibly slow speed(nothing wrong with that) and he did it for about half an hour, only slowing when he found a song he liked so he could dance ever so slightly to it.
At the end of his 3km in 30 minutes he pressed stop on the machine and I thought it would be the end of my weird fascination with him. But NO, he didn’t walk off. Instead he turned to the side, stood on the end of the machine and stared at himself in the mirrors off to the side of the treadmills…
FOR 5 MINUTES!
Not doing anything, just literally slowly turning and staring at himself. Now, I will say this and I can’t talk, but he didn’t have an athletic body. He was just normal, few kilos over weight sort of guy. It wasn’t rippling muscles- not that it should make a difference.
After the five minutes were up, he proceeded into a series of more stretches. Once again, doing them completely wrong and as large and showyoff as possible. He then finally, looked at himself one final time in the mirror and left.
Now I try not to judge people. I try to live by the whole ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ philosophy. But he appeared to be the most vain person I have come across in a while. It made me remember that I am losing weight and getting fit for practical reasons, like living longer. It’s not about the looks. But for some people it’s the opposite! Each to their own I guess but it sure made my run entertaining.
It is now roughly 5-6 days since I have arrived back from my trip and the realities of home life is setting in. Work is piling on. Friends want to spend time with me. The PhD makes me want to make love to a meat mincer.
The problem is variation. As a person, I am very set in my ways. When I make plans for something then they are changed last minute, it really throws me. Take, for example, my girlfriend. She used to live in the country and would split her time between living with me in the city and living with her mum in the country. She would say to me, “I am going to go back to my mums on Wednesday”. As Wednesday approached, she would sometimes say “Oh I may just stay an extra day or two”.
This would completely throw me. It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with her. It was more than I had already planned what inane things I was going to do when she left(stuff she hates ie fishing or watching tv or something). It would throw me completely and set me off on a whole ‘thing’.
However, with running, variation is key. When I started this whole thing I used to run only in the gym. I got bored of it and moved outside and then got bored of that. Over the last few weeks I have found an nice medium. Whereas I used to drive to the gym (all of a 6 minute walk away), I now walk it and measure my walk on my phone. It saves me time as I then don’t have to start my run at the gym with a walk to warm up. I then run for 5-7km by which time I have gotten bored of staring at the same screen or listening to the same music. I then, walk back home where I meet my girlfriend and go for a small walk with her and my dog(say 1.4km) as a cool down.
I find that by splitting my run into these small sections of walking and running, inside and out, it helps me not get too bored. Ultimately, I am covering the same distances I used to, just instead of driving to the gym, walking for 5 minutes to warm up my legs, running for 50 minutes, using the cool down function on the machine for 5-10 minutes, then driving home- I am doing the warm ups and cool downs outside, in fresh air, whilst chatting to my girl or walking my doggie etc.
Example!!!!! The other day, I went for a run and got a call from my girlfriend to say we needed some things from KMART, which is about 2km away from my house/gym. I ended up running 4-5km at the gym and then power walking(for me power walking is 6km/h or more) to Kmart, popped in and grabbed the thing, then powerwalked home. So it mean my run was half run, half walk- but the variation made me happy and meant that the next day I wasn’t so glum about going back to the gym.
So my times at the moment are not blistering as out of 9km, 3-4km of that might be walking. But ultimately, this whole thing is about fitness and the biggest problem with getting fit is losing the motivation. So I have worked out my way to keep that at the moment, and I am going to hold onto it for as long as possible. What do you do to keep motivated?
I am back from Africa with all my limbs and some amazing stories to tell. Well not so much amazing, more like- I saw a bunch of animals doing animalish stuff. I dived with Great White Sharks. I went swimming 1.5m away from the edge of Victoria Falls. I caught one of the most elusive fish in Africa. I even went running… once!
Yep- in three weeks, I ran a total of 7.1km. Now this isn’t really my fault. Many of the camps I stayed in stated in the brochures that they had running tracks in the bush with guides or small gyms with a running machine and a yoga ball. But basically, none did. Only one camp had a gym and that was right at the beginning of my trip. So I merrily went for a jog and then said to myself “Ohhhhh don’t worry, all the other camps have gyms, take a few days off and enjoy your holiday”.
So according to my database I am now some 200km behind for 1000km-2000km and that would mean I am now around 400km behind in general. That’s like 9 marathons. Ouch! But although the number is growing, I will continue on. I said I would do this until I hit 3000km and so if it takes a little more than a year- so be it.
So yesterday, less than 24 hours after getting home from 22 hours of plane trips and airports, I headed out for a walk with my girlfriend then bounced up to the gym for a run, followed by a super quick power walk to the local kmart to buy a hammer. It was what I needed to get the cobwebs off. In the gym, where I ran 3km or so, I was quite surprised by the level of fitness I had retained. Sure I wasn’t breaking down speed records but for some reason I had it in my mind that I’d be puffing along like it was my first run. So I am pretty happy with that.
But the most surprising thing about the last few weeks was my weight. Let me lay out a standard day for you at the camps we went to.
6:00- Eat small breakfast such as muffins, cereals or in some places bacon and eggs
11:00-12:00- Brunch which consisted definitely of bacon and eggs, meats, cheeses, breads, etc.
4:00-4:30- High tea which was normally ice teas with cakes or muffins.
7:00-8:00- Predinner drinks and snacks(ie spring rolls, curry puffs, finger foods etc)
8:00-9:30- 3 course dinner!
LOOK AT THAT. So basically a day consisted of eating, sitting in a car, sleeping, and much more eating.
So when I got home I jumped on the scales nervous about what I might have blown out to weight wise. I expected a solid 3kg+ gain. I took a quick breath and jumped on the scales and peered down.
I SOMEHOW LOST ABOUT .5KG! WHAT THE F*CK!
How could I have eaten that much food and still lose weight. Sure I probably lost a little muscle mass which is heavier than fat etc etc. But come on! For the last week I had bacon and eggs TWICE A DAY! WITH SAUSAGES!!!
So, funnily enough, I am now only around 1kg away from my first primary weight loss goal. So, funnily enough, my trip has enthused me to run harder and further and keep kicking down the weight. God bless Africa and god bless Bacon and eggs.