At the moment, I am marking first year essays. I have around 100 essays to mark each about 2000 words long. I have to add comments, write notes and correct grammar. Marking is one of those things that takes forever and can either be great fun or a terrible pain. It is painful because you can get a few average essays in a row and it really bums you out- especially if you are reading the same thing over and over. However, strike a good one or two and you feel great for the student! I often wish I could meet these students so I can give them a high five.
But what I find interesting is the fact that despite sitting on my ass doing nothing all day and just reading- it can be exhausting. For example, the other day I marked the entire day and they just happened to be all average essays. By the time I got to the gym, I felt like I had already run 10km. My knees were aching and I was in a such bad space mentally. I ended up running at like 8km/h spliced with lots of walking.
It’s funny how physically taxing mental work is. Whenever I teach, it is usually 2-3 hours in a row in the late arvo. Now just to get through it, I usually have a litany of drinks in my bag to help pep me up. A water to start- followed by a diet coke- followed by red bull. As I walk home from class, it normally feels like my legs are dead and that I am just exhausted. Why is it that when we are mentally fatigued our body decides it wants to get in on the party?
So- I write this looking down at a box stuffed full of essays to mark. Hopefully, by the time I have run I might have gotten through 15-20 of them but it’ll more likely be less. I just hope I can fathom the run this afternoon as the next week or two gets even more hectic!
Oh well- one thing to look forward to is Game of Thrones. I have the house to myself this weekend so I plan on watching 2-3 episodes a night. Any good? Let me know!
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.
Time: 44 Minutes
Distance: 4.1 KM
Time: 80 Minutes
In less than a week, I will be in Cape Town, South Africa. This trip, which originally was going to be a end-of-phd trip and is now just a ‘kinda close to finishing phd’ trip is going to be great. I need a break. A break from Sydney, a break from work and a break from the usual things that clog up my life.
I will also probably not run that much in the next few weeks. Now a few of the places I am going have treadmills etc so I will do a few runs but obviously no where near as many as I do around here. This could be good/bad. Good- because my body will have time to rebuild after a punishing few months. Bad- because I will come home to a massive deficit and also I may lose some of my fitness.
One thing I am tossing up is that one or two safari places I am staying have a run you can do which is outside the fences. That’s right, you get up and go for a run with a few of the local staff members, through the African bush. It scares the hell out of me. Why? Because I know someone I am travelling with will mention my running to the guides and suggest I do it with them. However, not only do I not want to be eaten by an animal. I also don’t want to run with the guides. NO I AM NOT RACIST. It’s just when I run, I run small distances and break them up with a walk. Ie Run 1km, walk 100m Run 1km. I have a feeling that they don’t do that. They probably run 5 or 10km and just smash it out. So the question is, do I give it a shot or do I go sit by a pool and have a beer while they go for their runs. Time will tell…
Time: 108 Minutes
Distance: 9.0 KM
As I have mentioned in the last few weeks, in about 1.5 weeks I am heading off to South Africa on a lovely little holiday. In preparation of this, I decided it was time to buy some new jeans, as the ones I have at the moment are massive and make me look like I have dropped a load into my pants.
However, I am slowly losing weight(5kg/10pounds in like 2 months) and considering my goal is to lose another 10kg or so(22 pounds), I didn’t want to buy a pair of jeans which would become obsolete in the next few months.
So I made the judgement call and decided to buy jeans from Kmart. I have nothing wrong with Kmart clothes by the way. But with jeans, I always feel a nice, expensive pair of jeans looks the bees knees. Jeans are one thing that I’d like to pay a reasonable amount for because you can dress them up, dress them down,… OMG I AM METROSEXUAL!
I bought the cheap jeans with the idea that it won’t cost me much and as such if I lose weight, I won’t feel like I have wasted some money.
Anyways, I headed there with the girlfriend and found a pair of black jeans. I instinctively reached for the 102cm(40 inch) easy fit jeans. At my peak I was wearing 107easy leg jeans. They were big on me but because I was so chunky I hated the way smaller jeans were too tight etc.
Anyhoo, I picked up a pair of the 102cm jeans but underneath was a pair of 97cm jeans. I paused for a second, what if they fit me?!!? I doubted it but picked it up anyway, if not to see how much more I needed to lose weight. Off I trundled to the change-rooms and I tried to pop on the 97 cm ones. They slid up my legs to my thighs fine. As I pulled them around my thighs I was nervous. I have always had massive thighs and generally I had to get a large size pants not due to waist size but due to my thighs. I had little hope for these jeans as they were also regular cut rather than loose fit(which I ALWAYS have bought in the past because of my thighs).
However, they slid over my thighs pretty nicely. I was confused at this point and said to myself “SURELY THEY WILL NOT CLOSE- they feel way too tight to close”. But as I pulled that little metal button around to the hole, it made it.
So I had just fit into a pair of 97cm, regular cut jeans. They were tighter than I was used to, but as I walked out to show my GF, she said they fit well. The tight feeling was because A) They are new jeans and are still stiff, B) They are not loose fit and instead are designed to fit my body a bit tighter. She asked if I could sit down in them, which I easily could with no discomfort, and as such, I had found my new pair of jeans.
After walking out of the change rooms, I looked at my girlfriend and the first thing she said to me was “I am so proud of you”. I realised she knew what I was thinking as it ended up that I had a huge smile on my face. This is the first time in years, probably since I was 24-25(or even younger) that I could fit into jeans that are under the magical 100cm mark. It’s the general size I used to fit into when I was thin, because as someone who is very broad and with huge hips, I don’t think I have ever fit into anything much smaller!
I should have realised it anyways. When I measure my stomach with a tape, I measure around my belly button, which obviously sticks out more than under my gut where my pants sit. I have a 103cm belly and it juts out a bit so obviously my true waist would be smaller. But I seem to have never made the connection.
On weightloss shows they always say you need to have a reward set of clothes. A nice dress or suit that you want to fit into. I didn’t realise it, but yesterday, that happened to me. I fit into pants that well, people of normal sizes fit into. It’s not saying that I am not still overweight and as I mentioned above, I still want to lose around another 10kg. Instead, the jeans were simply reminding me that I am changing, I am getting fitter and I am losing weight! It made me want to run even further, lose even more weight and keep those centimetres tumbling down. It acted as a boost to my moral and in the end, all it took was a quick trip to Kmart and a pair of cheap jeans!
Funny- as I read this over after writing it, I have this feeling of warmth and a feeling of wanting to get out and run. This feeling is amazing and hopefully I can draw upon it when I am tired/sore and not wanting to exercise.
Time: 45 Minutes
Distance: 6.5 KM
Time: 46 Minutes
Distance: 6.1 KM
Time: 31 Minutes
Distance: 2.9 KM
Time: 60 Minutes
Distance: 8.3 KM
Time: 20 Minutes
Distance: 1.8 KM
If you haven’t been paying attention (You’ve got some nerve…) you’ll know that two things have happened in the last week.
The first is that my run was supposed to have hit 1000km…. problem is that I had only hit around 750 of those.
The second is that I decided to split the run up into 3 parts. Very simply each part consists of 1000km or approximately 122 days. Ultimately, it means nothing. But mentally, it helps me break it down and also means that yes I am still 250km behind but fingers crossed this upcoming 122 days I can run say 1100km and claw some of it back.
I even made a nifty database screen for this 1000km. Yep, it tells me everything but highlights how many more km I have run than needed. I hope that number jumps up significantly. At the moment is on 2.7km.. HUZZAH?!?! Kinda wish it was 50!
Yesterday also marks 2 weeks till I travel overseas. In the meantime I have to tutor 15 classes, edit my PhD, write a conference abstract and also get ready for my trip. So I have no idea when the hell I am going to run but all I know is I GOTTA DO IT!
Time: 72 Minutes
Distance: 6.3 KM
Time: ? Minutes
Distance: ? KM
Today, day 122, is a milestone for this run. Why? Because today, I should be running my 1000th kilometre. Indeed, by the end of today I should be on 1002.7km. Instead, I am currently on 741.2km with my run still to come this afternoon. I have set myself a mini goal today to run 11.5km. That’s a big run but it will mean that I will only be 250km down- a nice round number.
Now this deficit, which has increased slowly but surely over the last month or two, has upset me. I had hoped to be in front of it, especially with the second half of this year appearing to slowly fill up with overseas trips and work. 250km is a lot to make up. It means that when I don’t run or I don’t run far, it upsets me and I get annoyed that the number will grow. It’s always in the back of my head, gnawing away at me.
Ultimately, I should be able to overcome it. I still have another 243 days left, which means I just need to run a few extra kilometres a week. I need to make sure that these next few months, I cut some of this deficit away so that I have a shot of finishing this event.
In order to do this, I have decided to throw away my past 122 days. Yep, I am going to seal it in a box, never to be looked at until towards the end of this thing. From tomorrow, I am going to treat this as a new run, so my kilometres start on 0 and my deficit is 0. I am going to bust my ass and make sure that I get that deficit into negative numbers etc.
For this run, I keep all my details in a database. So I am going to separate the data (after todays run) and start it afresh. Obviously, the 250km will be in my mind. But if, say, after a week or two, I have run more than I have needed, it will act as a positive and I will feel more happy knowing that the big deficit is on its way down.
I also need to bust my ass for the next two weeks! Why? Because I am going away to Africa on the 22nd of March till the 11th. That’s a long time. I should be able to run a number of times during this trip, but I am guessing I wont be able to run as much as I do here. So I need to get my ass into gear and smash out a number of big runs in the next week or two- to make sure when I get back from my holiday, the deficit doesn’t grow to massive proportions. Wish me luck…
Time: 68 Minutes
Distance: 9.1 KM
As I type this, two men are currently drilling into the outside of my unit. Of course, since my unit is made of concrete slabs, the sound reverberates throughout the whole building and, well, it’s bloody loud!
I’ve been thinking about the future a lot recently. A lot of this stems from being only a few weeks/months away from handing in my PhD, the thing that has consumed my life for the last 4 years. It also stems from me turning 30 this year. It has also got me thinking about exercise…
When I was 20ish, I weighed around 108-110 kg. I was overweight and the two years of poor food that I was eating at University meant that I had really let myself go. Every month I would try something that would help me lose weight- “Ok, from now on I will do 100 sit ups every day” “Ok, I am going to walk every night for 1 hour”.
It never worked as I always gave up. I remember going to a party and my mate Murray poking my stomach, which now hung over my belt when I sat and saying “Jeez whats that”. A few months later, I decided again that enough was enough and decided I would join a gym. I told my then girlfriend about this decision and she just chuckled at me and said “Yeah… ok”. It hurt but it was a legitimate response considering my previous attempts. But I decided I wanted to try prove her wrong. So I signed up to the gym and started exercising. I lost a few kilograms that first week (water no doubt) but stepping onto the scales and seeing that difference was all I needed, I got hooked.
By my 21st birthday, I was 84-85kg, I had pecs and even a hint of abs.
However, a few months later I started to put the weight back on again. I had begun to move from weightloss exercise to muscle exercise. I remember I got to the point where I lost my kneecaps in muscle.
However the weight gain also was due to me going through a particularly terrible bout of anxiety attacks which resulted in me even going on meds. It caused the end of my relationship and really altered my life. I got over it, but the weight slowly kept creeping up.
In September 2010, I decided to start trying to lose weight after peaking the scales at a massive weight. Since then I have probably lost around 15kg(33 pounds). Five of those have been since the end of January when I have started to really think about my eating habits.
Seeing the weight melt away, albeit slowly, gives me renewed vigour. I doubt I’ll ever get down to 85kg again, I am almost 30. But something in the normal healthy range would be great.
So how is me discussing the past have anything to do with the future? Well, I am wondering how much this run will change my life. Lets say I get to 3000km. Let’s say I get to my goal weight. I celebrate, have some drinks and wake up the next day. Will I continue running or will I simply say “Yep it’s over”.
Running has changed me a lot in the last few months. I’d like to think that the day after I hit 3000km, I will tie on the shoes and go for a jog. I’d like to think that this has changed my life for the better and that Hugh, who would never be a runner, will continue to do so. Has this changed my life to the point where as I will always be a runner? I have to admit I am addicted now, I have a love/hate relationship with running but every day I grow a little fonder of it. By the time I get to 3000km, will I be at the point where it is something that I will need to do… not just want or like last time will I stop exercising and slowly get fat again?!?!
Time will tell- hey, maybe I’ll just try and run 4000km next year instead.