Black Moods… everyone gets them. When I go fishing with my mate Ash, we call it the Bad JuJu. It is amazing how it happens. We will be wading up a stream fishing away when someone will hit some bad luck. It might be an amazing fish getting away or your lure getting snapped off. Suddenly, that person has all the bad luck in the world. Every fish will get off. Lines will get twisted. Swear words will begin echoing up the River valley. Then after an hour or two of pain, the other person will get a snag or something, and suddenly the bad Juju swaps to him.
Classic example- once we were about 4km away from our car down a small, secluded river valley. When suddenly my reel stopped working properly. From then on, for the next hour, I missed fish after fish, my reel got worse while my mate caught fish after fish, sometimes catching them exactly where I had cast just 20 seconds before. Then suddenly, I cast and hit a massive fish. It was the largest of the trip! Suddenly, my reel started working perfectly again and I caught several other amazing fish. My mate then snagged himself several times over… the Juju had swapped!
So what does this have to do with running? Well, its amazing that yesterday I got hit with the black mood. I was in a vicious mood. Running was the furtherst thing from my mind. Instead, killing millions was my preferred method of getting fit. But, I think this is the difference between me and a proper runner. A runner often uses running as a way to get away from it. To turn off the mind and relax and get some of the stress out. For me, I find it stresses me out even more. I start worrying about my fitness, about how far I have run and my black mood gets worse. It’s because ultimately, running is easy. You just move. In contrast, I did a bodypump class the other week. I was so angry and tired before I did it. But because I am new to the course and you need to learn all these exercise patterns etc I concentrated on the instructor and found my stresses melting away.
I think that it is ultimately the sign of a good runner. I read an interview the other day with marathon/ultramarathon runners etc and he said the one thing he does is to turn his mind off. They say how they think of other stuff… like their family etc. He also said one other thing I completely agree with- “as soon as you start counting the kilometres, it’s all over”. I think I can run a marathon. I can run around 20km at the moment and in the end, my speed actually slowly increased over the 2 hours I ran. I get into a zone. But my problem will be getting rid of the moods and the issues that plague my mind when I run. Fingers crossed I can defeat my mental demons…
There I was…. The middle of a BODYPUMP class. We were using free weights to work on our triceps and, I have to admit, the last several reps were getting increasingly hard. The instructor began to count down. “COME ON GUYS, JUST THREE MORE”. By now, your arms are burning. Sweat was dripping down my forehead and stinging my eyes. “TWO MORE LEFT”. You look around and the more unfit of the group have already stopped. “OneMOOOORRREEEE”. As everyone left completes the last rep, everyone systematically drops the weights to the floor and starts stretching… except one person.
She drops the weights and as the instructor says “GOOD JOB GUYS”, she raises a fist in the air… She fist pumped the triceps work out. I stood, gobsmacked, at what was seemingly her complete happiness over finishing a routine. Her happiness that manifested itself in a grand gestural expression that is more at home in the 1980’s sports movie than in a modern gym surrounded by PEOPLE.
I have to admit, I both love and hate pump classes. It reminds me of going on an Archaeological excavation. If you are digging for 4 weeks, you normally love the 1st week, tolerate the 2nd week, have massive fights on the 3rd week and then curse life itself in the last week. You head off and wonder, WHY THE HELL DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF? But then, the following year, you head back all excited until week 2 rolls around.
As for Pump classes, I love them all week up until like 10 minutes into the class when I suddenly begin to stare at the clock and wish the class was over. But last nights class was just all round good fun. Not only was there fist pump girl, but the instructor also said some highly funny stuff. Not funny as in she is making a joke…. Funny as in ‘what the hell did she just say?’. At one point, she mentioned that our heartbeats were going to get up to 800 beats per minute, compared to the regular 400 beats we normally have. Now, 400 beats per minute= death. 800 beats per minute is Aliens-esque chest exploding! Now I was sure I must have heard it wrong until I checked with my friend in the class who also believes she said that.
HOW DOES A FITNESS PROFESSIONAL THINK YOUR HEART IS GOING TO GET UP TO 800 BEATS PER MINUTE?!!?
Ultimately though, I have fallen for my pump class. I feel stronger after having done 4-5 in the last two weeks. With the running combined, I feel like I am getting a much better body workout and although the scales appear to slightly disagree with me, my body is beginning to slowly tone up. It’s just nice that not only does pump class have a great effect on your fitness, it also has wonderful people who turn every class into a unique event.
A series of recent newspaper articles have asked the question as to whether overweight people should pay more to fly. The idea is simple. We are limited in the size of bags we take on board(although if you have travelled in the Middle East, this rule doesn’t apply- my fiancé once watched someone take a sink on board). So it makes sense that if weight is an issue, you must also charge overweight people. How is it fair that a 60kg girl can be charged for a bag that’s 2kg over the limit when a 120kg man can walk on the plane and not pay anything?!?! But let’s be honest. Planes aren’t struggling with our weight. There isn’t a sudden increase in the number of plane crashes as planes have been overweight. No, this is all about money raising and people complaining. “Now we charge you to print out your own ticket or to have a window seat- let’s charge you for eating too much! Oh and you don’t like people touching you? Let’s charge them for that too!”
Reading through the comments on these articles, I was amazed at the diatribe against the weightily challenged. The anger was more about big people ‘spilling over’ into other peoples chairs. I know the feeling. I have been on many a flight where I have had to sit next to very big people. It does get frustrating… but it’s just as frustrating as sitting next to a child, or a person who believes both arm rests are his, or a person who snores, or a person who falls asleep on your shoulder (all of which has happened to me). So, should we charge every person who is a hindrance to our flight enjoyment?
Now, I am a big guy. I am 6ft1 and I am overwight but I cover it well. I fit into airplane seats easily and I am respectful of others peoples space. But as a frequent flyer on many long haul trips a year, I find myself both for and against the proposition.
Weight wise, I am often heavier than most people think. I lift a lot of weights and I am quite strong. I am just covered in a doughy outer layer- kinda like a SEAL! When I was at my fittest, back about 6 years ago now. I was in the mid 80’s kg. I had pecks and abs and ultimately was very fit. Yet my BMI was still either in the ‘just healthy’ or the ‘overweight’ category. I HAD ABS!!! I WASN’T OVERWEIGHT! A year or two later, I was in the low 90’s and had a more realistic body. A little bit of a stomach but generally I was still fit. I was squarely in the red now.
So let’s look at my situation. Based on some ideas thrown around, I would have been charged no matter what age/weight I was- which is crazy. It also discriminates against the tall people. I have friends who are 6ft5 and are in good shape but weight wise they would be asked to pay more for a seat. Yet I also know people who are 5ft3 and are overweight, but they won’t pay a thing. What about people who have Thyroid Problems, do they not pay if they provide a doctor’s note? What about pregnant women? Do you pay if the flight is only half full and most people have free seats? Do you pay if you are fat but you bring a child who sits next to you and doesn’t complain? This isn’t saying that fat people are innocent, the majority aren’t but weight can involve a multitude of factors.
Ultimately, a system dependent on weight is flawed. There are so many different body shapes and types that I believe it’s unfair to charge people who can’t help it. I feel very sorry to a guy who is 6ft5 and who gets stung not only for being overweight but also then can’t fit in the damn seats anyways.
So maybe, it should be based on a measurement. They have a seat next to the check-in counter. You sit in it and if any part of your body flops over into the next persons seat. BAM! YOU PAY! Once again, this has issues. I have a good friend who is of a normal weight for his age. Yet, his shoulders stick out slightly into the aisle(So do mine as I generally lean slightly away from the middle seat to make sure we both have as much room as possible). Generally on a long haul flight people will often smack into you as they are walking, or a food trolleys collide into your shoulder. YOU PAY!
What I find crazy is that people are getting upset that more and more people are taking up ‘your’ room on a plane but they aren’t blaming the real people responsible. How about blaming the assholes who are slowly shrinking seats so they can jam another row or two in?
Yep, let’s blame the airlines themselves. They complain about more weight, but of course you will have MORE WEIGHT, if you redesign planes to have MORE SEATS. Seats are shrinking! The seat pitch(Basically leg room) has shrunk 3 inches over the last little while. I recently went on a flight 14 hour flight where my knees permanently touched the seat in front of me, no matter how I sat. Then on the connecting 5 hour flight I had about 4 inches of space in front of me, primarily because it was an older plane. Ultimately, I think that airlines need to look at layouts. If more and more complaints come in about overweight folks, why not put a few wider seats in and then get the check-in folks to allocate them to the very overweight. But ultimately, blaming larger people is not the answer. Fat people are a small part of a much larger problem. The fact we have airlines now wondering if they can have people ‘standing’ on flights rather than seated, it shows the extent to which airlines are willing to sacrifice customer comfort for money. They can do this for one main reason- They are not flying economy.
I’d like to finish this post by saying I love all airlines and I hope you don’t punish me for this when I fly to Greece in a few months. UPGRADE PLEASE!
Part of Marathon training is that every Sunday you must put your shoes on, grab a few drinks, and go running for a long time. It is not really designed to help with your fitness but instead is designed to get your body use to running longer distances. It’s like saying “Hey body- You need to realise every once and a while I will get you moving aggressively for 2 hours. SUCK IT”.
So today, I popped on the shoes and set out for a run. Living in the Inner West of Sydney, there are few different directions I can run off. One of those is called the Bay run… guess why?!?! CAUSE YOU RUN AROUND A BAY!”
I had planned to run this last night and could have sworn that it would be around the 18km mark from my house. But alas, my run doesn’t seem to have been that long and I have come in around 16.6km which sucks because it is about 2-3km less than I wanted to do. But the good news, I ran most of it. On average, I ran around 8.2km an hour for two hours straight. Which means, if I ran a marathon it would take me around about 5 hours to complete it. Not a good time as I want to be around 4:30 for the marathon but hey- I still have 8 weeks of training.
Now the good points- the track was a bit hilly compared to the marathon route which is almost flat. Secondly, I wasn’t after speed today, I just wanted my body to understand it’s time to get ready. What will be interesting is that next week I am planning on running the same track and as such, I’ll be very interested to see if I run a bit quicker.
Finally, I am super happy with my performance for one other reason. Yesterday, I did a pump class and worked out hard with quite heavy weights. Today I ran 16km and I feel pretty darn good afterwards. I am about to go for a nice walk to wind my body down for the day. So as long as I wake up feeling not too sore tomorrow- I will be pretty happy with my body. I never felt overly tired today, I never was struggling massively for breath, I felt like I could have run a bit further. So, despite the slow speed and the lack of distance, there are a few things to really push me further.
So folks, remember as with all my running, this is not only about fitness but about charity. So if you have a few dollars, why not donate to two amazing charities. Just look for the link above…
Very early on when I started running, I went out and bought a series of different compression tights. I bought cheap, $20 pairs and I bought a pair of Skins. Over the few months that I used them, I regularly used to get chafage occurring. It wasn’t until one day in Target that I found a pair of undies that were tight along the legs and went down about halfway down my hamstrings. I love these underpants as since I have had them, I have never chafed up once!
However, yesterday as I got ready for the gym, I realised I had a problem. It had been a while since I have done a load of washing and all my running underpants were in the wash. So relucntly, I looked up towards my Skins and pondered if I should give them another go.
I have dropped several kilograms since I first used them and thought to myself “Hey, maybe they were just a bit too tight, maybe they will be ok now.”
As I walked up to the gym and started my run, they felt ok, although I looked like a pervert as I continuously fiddled with them to try get them sitting properly.
But by 20 minutes in, things were getting bad. Either because I was sweating or running faster, the chafe started. By 40 minutes, it felt as if someone was trying to manually light a fire in my pants- but instead of using two sticks, they were using my manhood. My run, which was supposed to be around 10km, was interrupted as I went to my bag hoping for some miracle to happen. Thankfully, I had a pair of my running underpants(clean) in my bag. I put them on and felt instant relief. As I jumped onto the machine though, I had lost it. In the 5-10 minutes it had taken me to go get changed etc, my legs had cooled down and felt like rock. I inadvertently found myself drinking lots of water(as I do when I finish a run) and now I had a rock in my stomach. 10 minutes on the machine and I realised the feeling was gone. I jumped off and went for a long walk instead.
It made me realise the age old saying that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I normally don’t suffer from sore legs after runs etc, so tights won’t help me much. Even if they did, if I was running a marathon and I started to chafe, 42 km would seem like a fricken eternity. So the moral of the story?
KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR WASHING!
A couple of days ago a friend of mine from the US posted a blog on her own website about her fitness training(a thing called Cross Fit). The blog was awesome and detailed how it’s been 6 months and she basically has a bangin body! However, something else struck me about her page. It’s was a picture which I have placed here….
I normally don’t like the whole motivational posters. But I am finding that as I train for a marathon, some of them are appealing to me more and more. The reason I like this is that it’s 100% true. I imagine fitness as a number. Imagine I am right now on 60. Each time I run/exercise, I add a measly .1 to my fitness. If I take a few days off, I lose .1 from my fitness. Ultimately, it means that as I run more and more and stick to my training, although the results are only slowly incremental, each day I am getting just a fraction better.
When I first started running in November, I could do like 5km at an average speed of 7km/h and it wore me out. By February, I had completed my first 5km in under 30 minutes.
However, after 3 weeks off and the loss of some fitness- On the machine the other day(before I accidently hit the emergency switch and shut it off-TWICE) I managed to run 3km in 18minutes, which is basically a 30minute/5km mark. Ultimately, I did hit 5km in under 30 minutes of running. I had regressed backwards somewhat but at the same time, not too much.
So back to the poster. I think the biggest issue people have with fitness is that you don’t see results very quickly. It is a slow incremental build up. But you have to remind yourself that you need to keep going and that what was your fastest time/pace will slowly, but surely, become your average time. So today, I am off to hopefully run around 9-10km and hopefully, if I push hard, I may just find myself running a sub-30 minute 5k. Let’s see how I go..
With fitness and exercise, one of the things that always help is surprises. Surprises come in many forms. For example, today I stepped on the scales and was surprised when it said I had dropped .5kg since last week. Now although I have been eating healthier, I had a large pasta meal last night and, as such, I thought that would be weighing me down. So ultimately, if I had a normal meal last night, I might even be more than .5kg down! SURPRISE!
A second surprise came the other day. I was interested if I had lost much of my fitness after 3 weeks away. So I jumped on the machine and started running. After 18 minutes, I had already hit 3km, meaning I was running around the 10 km/h mark. Now this isn’t fast for most runners, but for me it was pretty darn good, especially after so long away from running.
Finally, last night I attended the second of my Body Pump classes. All I can say is that it was a lot easier than last weeks. I thought I was going to be in deep, muscular, hellish pain again. But my body appears to have rapidly understood what is happening and today, instead of limping around, I feel pretty darn good. Like a 90% compared to the 30% I was last Friday.
It’s these surprises that help me with running. Dropping some weight makes me want to eat healthy and smash out a big run this afternoon so that in a few days, I might be even lose more weight. It also helps with my marathon training. Most Marathon guides suggest you train around 18 weeks before hand. I am coming in with around 11 weeks. Now my fitness is better than some lazy person, but I am still hesitant as to whether I can jump into the middle of the 18 week training schedule. So surprises help with that. I am hoping my next surprise comes today when I plan to run around a 10km run and I am hoping I can do it between 1 hour and 1 hour and 10 minutes. If I can, I will know the answer as to whether I am capable of joining the training program mid-way through. Fingers crossed… Until then, I am going to yell at my legs that we need to pull out a nice big run this afternoon. So if you are anywhere near Glebe and you hear someone screaming about running, you’ve been warned!
A week ago, someone posted the picture to my left on facebook. I have to admit, from all of the images I have seen online trying to promote healthy living or whatever, this is my favourite. I think it speaks oodles about what exercise is all about. I know folks who are tiny, thin, and never do any exercise. I am jealous of them, well of their metabolisms, but ultimately they don’t know what it’s like to either have an eating disorder or just have genetic crap that makes you big.
For larger people, and I include myself on this, the world is tough. Why is it that one person can eat a whole pizza or two a week and be fine when we eat one and put on a kilogram? Now I’m not suggesting that people are fat only because genetics. I am a big hater of this people who sue McDonalds because they are fat. We have to take responsibility for ourselves. Sure, genetics comes into it but you can overcome that.
People who complain about life making them fat are basically idiots. It’s like playing poker. You don’t complain when your cards are crap every hand. Yeah it sucks, but its up to you to start bluffing or putting money in to see if you can turn your crap cards into something good. I’ve played poker and bluffed my way through and won money…. Huzzah! Othertimes, I have failed. It’s just the luck of the draw.
But back to the poster. What I like is that the guy is giving it a go, even though I am sure many people are either looking at him and laughing or thinking he is crazy. When I started running, and indeed especially recently when I have said I wanted to run a marathon, people have insinuated that I am slightly crazy. If I listen to them, I wouldn’t be doing it. But instead, I am going to give it my all. I will hopefully train to the point when I can run 42km and I will travel down to Victoria and line up with the multitude of people who are skinnier and fitter than me. I will be lapped on the course. I will finish near the end of the pack. But ultimately, I if I finish, I will be proud of myself. Proud that I didn’t keep sitting on the couch but instead set a goal and achieved it.
So in the end, whoever this dude is in the picture, I commend him. I also commend the person who made this picture.
When we last left off on Friday, I had been to a pump class the night before and was suffering because of it. Little did I realise just how much pain I would be in the following days. On Friday afternoon, I ran up to the gym to go for a quick jog. Unfortunately, I was so sore that jogging was incredibly difficult. I ended up only running like 4.5km as I was in such pain that I just couldn’t contemplate going further.
By Saturday, I was in pain… deep pain… My legs had joined my arms in a world of hurt. I could hardly make it up and down stairs, let alone running.
It’s funny though…. Despite being in massive pain- it makes me happy. It says to me, ‘Hugh, you really went all out’ or something of that nature. It enthuses me to go and do it all again. Someone stupid once said, “pain is the body’s way of getting rid of weakness”, this person obviously hasn’t had a heart attack or stroke, which generally leave you a lot weaker. But anyhoo- the quote is obviously about working out and I tend to agree with it. In a less MACHO and LAME way!
It has also emphasised to me how much days off help the body rebuild. For example, last night I was struggling with my Quad muscles. But after a good nights sleep and no running yesterday, they are feeling quite good. Stronger! On the other hand, my triceps haven’t improved much. This is because I went fishing yesterday and ended up using them all day. Today I went shopping and had to lift heavy bags and boxes and as such, they now hurt more.
Ultimately, as I run further distances over the next weeks and then do even more pump classes, I will really need to think about my scheduled rest days. But at the same time, I will have to factor in how much rest I really need and how much I need to work out…. It’ll be a difficult equation but it should be interesting!
As promised- it’s time to start running and blogging again!!! So lets go.
So if you haven’t read this blog much or you just skip through it- I am aiming to run my first(and possibly only) Marathon in the next few months. It is on August 26th at Shepparton, Victoria(http://www.sheppartonmarathon.com.au/
) and it gives me about 2.5 months of solid training to get ready.
Yesterday was my first day back from Greece and so I ran up to the gym after a relatively full day. As part of my marathon training, I decided I need to not only get fit by running but I also need to lose weight and strengthen my whole body. So I decided to try a BodyPump class. It is really simple, you sort of do an aerobic workout with weights. So there are no sets or cool down periods, you will work on a group of muscles for 3-5 minutes as a song plays and the instructor yells out instructions. I had always wanted to try it as I felt like it would give me a good ‘all over’ workout.
So as I ran up to the gym, I decided to test how 3 weeks of not running had affected my fitness. I bounded onto the treadmill and started it at 8km/h. Each minute, I raised it .2km an hour. As I only had 10-15 minutes before the Pump class, I decided to try run solidly for 12 minutes straight and then let the COOLDOWN 3 minutes work like normal. I have to admit, despite not having run for 3 weeks- I was impressed. I got through 11 minutes raising it to 10.2km/h by the end. For the last minute I bumped it up to 12km/h and ran hard. In the end, I was sweating and was happy for the cooldown session but I felt really good.
As I bounded off to the Pump class, I felt quite demasculated when I was standing in a line with 7 girls and no guys. Had I joined a class that was aimed primarily at women? Was this going to be an embarrassing hour? Thankfully, a creepily fit old man and a young 6ft5 dude sauntered in and the testosterone flowed once again. After chatting to the instructor who said to only use light weights the first time, I set myself up an wondered what the hell I got myself into.
As the music started and the instructor warmed up her vocal cords- we began what I can say was one of the most tiring hours of my last 6 months. Every muscle got a work out and by the time we got to the end of a particular song and it was time to have some water and a 20 second break, I was exhausted. My main issue is some of the exercises involved body weight- ie pushups or seated squats. I can do 10 pushups, but I struggle to do them after 2 minutes of already doing bench presses. So I ended up doing the lady pushups, and although I felt like a bit of a wuss, I was glad when I did it. As we got towards the end of the class, people started stopping half way through a song, or missing every second beat, including the young man. So I felt a bit happier when I could battle through them.
Ultimately, as I said to the instructor afterwards, I used to lift a lot of weights when I was younger. But this was tougher. Yes, heavy weights are stressful, but you do 10 of them then have a break. This was just working on one muscle group for 4 minutes straight. During the class I wanted nothing more than to leave and never come back, but ultimately, it is that exact feeling that is going to take me back there atleast 2 days a week.
As I cooled down on the walk home, I felt pretty good albeit weak. By the time I fell asleep, my muscles were in terrible pain. Both my triceps are fully pumped right now[16 hours later] (where they are basically in a semi-state of being contracted) and they KILL! But the pain will subside and the next time it’ll hurt slightly less. But I have to admit, I am not looking forward to running 8km or the like this afternoon. OUCH!
So, I begin my marathon training. I am nervous and I am not sure if I will make it to the level i'll need to be by the date. But I am going to give it one hell of a try! So join me for the next 2.5 months as I battle through the pitfalls of Marathon training.