Friday, 28 May 2010

Swimming - progress update

In the pool this morning: 32 lengths front crawl = 800m

I started being able to do 3.

Yeehaa. Take that sucker!!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

No I do not want to see my nipples!

Brief rant time.

I've just been to a local designer outlet.

Now why oh why are T shirts made of such thin material that you can see your nipples through them? Isnt that a basic design flaw? I mean, we're not all teenage boys with bony concave chests. Once they're over the age of 30 most men have some padding in that area. And no, I dont want to be able to see my nipples or anyone else's, thank you.

I keep thinking that it wasnt always like that. That it's the result of manafacturers cost cutting and attempting to make T shirts at the lowest cost possible. But maybe it has always been this way. Who knows.

Anyway you would have thought that there was a space for quality T shirts in the market.You know, ones with a high thread count that feel good and dont show what's underneath. But that just doesnt seem to be the case. Even the Tommy Hilfigers of the world get their stuff made in China and Bangladesh. It's probably made in exactly the same factories as the middle-of-the-road suppliers.

*Sigh* Still - it IS kind of fun to see how much you can make your nipples stand out ... ie how perky you can make 'em ...... lol .........

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Maybe I should become an eccentric?

I've been spending time recently finding out about wetsuits and the like. Wetsuits appear to be vital for open water distance swimming. Particularly if it's a) early on in the season (which is late April-Sep) and if b) you havent acclimatised yourself to swimming in cold water.

Triathlon associations mandate their use if the sea temp is 15 degrees or less. In Dover last weekend the water temp was about 11. The temp probably wont get over 15 until late June.

Having said which, there are some who regard wetsuits to be for wimps. The Channel Swimming Association dont believe in them. Indeed, anyone who wants to make an "official" crossing of the English Channel (from England to France) has to do it just in their trusty speedos. And wearing an industrial tub of vaseline :)

Channel swim training started off in Dover harbour a couple of weekends ago and nobody there was wearing anything more than a cossie.

(Of course they didnt stay in the water long!! Apparently the water sessions were 2 * 30/40minutes each day. So I guess it's the principle that counts ;) )

There seems to be something very eccentric about all this. They say that "you have to have a touch of the loony about you to be an open water swimmer". So it could be just the thing for me!!

On which subject, I love the following video : (Old Man in the Sea)

The equivalent for running appears to be the Hash House Harriers movement. Those guys are also loveably eccentric. Maybe I'll try that in the autumn/winter.

(Hashing usually involves meeting up at a pub and then going off for a run. It's a bit like hunting - one guy acts as a hare and the rest of the runners are the "pack" that go after him. There are a lot of rituals and silliness attached to it, and of course a fair amount of drinking :) Hence the motto of my local hash club - which is that they are "A drinking club with a running problem" .... lol ..... )

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Swim challenge

I've always harboured this crazy wish to do distance swimming. I think it started ten years ago when I swam between two islands in Fiji. It wasnt very far (about 750m) but I always remember the beautiful blue skies, the glassy blue ocean, and the wonders of the coral reef about 10ft below where I was swimming.

Of course - I live in England. Where the water temp is a lot cooler than in Fiji! So I have never taken the idea anywhere. Still - it's been niggling me. And recently - doing some research - I've realised that there are many wonderful places to swim in the UK. Once you get past the issue of the water temperature! It also seems like a great focus for me. I want and need to get away from just focussing on weight loss numbers and look at the whole thing more holistically.

Anyway, I've started training in the local pool. I've found a program at which builds you up to a swim distance of 1km. I'm currently on session 18 of 48, so my goal is to do the distance in late July or early August. Wish me luck! After that I'll be looking for an outdoor swim of around that distance.

(I'm going to be a bit late to do the swim challenges that the training program is targetted for. Which is a shame. But not too late to find something juicy to do later in the season)

In other news : I've been working recently on my press ups. You know the real ones - not the girly knees-on-the-floor versions (hehe!).

Todays total : 9. I swear I struggled to do one back last November....

(One day I'd like to do the 100 press up challenge. Man that would be a buzz. But first things first... baby steps and all that....)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Running - it's getting freaky ...

OK I'm sore today. Like dont-want-to-move-off-the-couch sore. But man I still feel gooooddd.

Circuits on Wednesday was hard. Really hard. Usually we all pair up and go round the room doing exercises at each of the different stations. Not this time. This time we did the following :

* Warm up : boxercise. I've done boxercise with blokes before so I tried to find a girl to do this part of the workout with. They a) hit with less force and b) take the sane approach - rather than trying to bust your pads with their punches they realise that you're only warming up and they take it easy. Unfortunately all the girls had similar thoughts, and paired up with each other :) That left me with Ian, who is 6ft 5, has been boxing since he was 16 and hits the pads HARD....

- then we went on to the main course -

* Circuits. This time there were four "stations", each with three different exercises at them. On the first circuit we did Exercise 1 at each station : on the second circuit Exercises 1 and 2 : on the third circuit all three Exercises. To keep things moving , we did it in groups of 3.

To add some spice the PT (Lloyd) made Exercise 1 at each station the hardest! Eg at one station it was :

Exercise 1 : burpees for a minute
Exercise 2 : star jumps for a minute
Exercise 3 : squat thrusts, bringing knees to chest (again for a minute)

Doing it in groups of 3 was interesting too. If you're lucky in a pair you can team up with a mate and then "pace" each other. In a group of 3 (especially if it's guys), there will always be one of them who wants to "go for it" (sometimes it was me!). Harder to cheat. (This of course may well be complete b*shit - it could just have been the weirdoes in my particular group).

* "Cool down" - OK usually when we've done the circuits we just lie down on mats and do some stretches. Not this time. This time it was "You think it's over! Hah!.. "

Instead we had to :

- Squat against the wall for a minute
- Side planks - each side for a minute
- Forward plank for a minute

I was sweating so much that I couldnt get myself set for either of the side planks ... :) Not that I had the strength to do them anyway ... lol ...

Funnily enough when I left the class I still felt really good. There's a good spirit of camaradarie at the class. We realise it's tough and we try and support each other. Lloyd the PT is also fantastic at keeping everyone motivated during the class.

The soreness though started last night. This morning (Friday morning) my legs just ached and I felt like I was about 70 trying to get up from the chair...

But here's how things have changed. Instead of wimping out I went to the gym this morning and decided I would do just some simple stamina building. A long run on the treadmill at whatever speed I could handle.

Now I havent done anything above 30 minutes on the treadmill recently. But I thought "What the hell let's aim for 45". Before I would have considered that crazy talk : " increase your time by 50%. Are you mad??" But now ... well my body is just able to do it. It was tough (and I had to do it a bit slower than usual - at 6.2 mph) but I did it.

I forget sometimes with all the interval training that it's great to do stamina training from time to time. It shows me how far I've come.

Still ... I just hope I can get out of bed tomorrow!! (well heck I have to - I'm organising a dance social tomorrow evening!)

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Biking in the garden shed

So ... there are a couple of girls at my Wednesday circuits class I'm kind of interested in.

Needless to say the first question in my head is - are they single? The second question (given the sort of town I live in) is "do they have 4 kids and an ex who is always coming round to cause you hassle?"

In a bid to find out the answers, I decided to do a second exercise class with one of them. In a garden shed.

It turns out that the personal trainer who organizes the circuits has also built himself a fitness studio at the bottom of his garden. In what probably used to be the garden shed.

I had thought naively there would be just me, the trainer and a couple of others (including this lovely girl) in the shed. Err no. Turned out there were about a dozen of them. All ready to go and pumping.

It was a spin class. Which - even after five months at the gym - I have never done before. Yes it took a woman to get me there :)

Believe me I got HOT. And I dont mean under the collar.Even though I was near to the ceiling fan in the centre of the shed it was still pretty tight in there. I tried pacing myself. But there's something about having driving music, twelve other people cycling as hard as they can and a red faced trainer bellowing out encouragement that ... well taking it easy becomes no longer an option ...

So by the end of the spin session I was whacked. Pouring with sweat. Not exactly what I was expecting - I thought I'd have a light session and then turn on my charm with the gorgeous young lady in question.

Unfortunately I also discovered that she did have a husband - and three kids at home. I should have known *sigh*

Still, it's not every day that you exercise in a garden shed. And at least I had some fun in the process!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Friday update

Weigh In :

Friday 26th March 210 lb (95.5 kg)

Bummer. The first time Ive gained weight on the current "journey".

Still : today I ran 30 mins on the treadmill @ 6.5 mph. After an hour of pilates.

It's great to know I can.


And I'll hold on to that :)