You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2006.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 105kg
Total weight loss – 2.5kg
This week’s weight loss – 1.0kg

Happy with this. My eating still wasn’t ideal and I always tend to have a really bad eating day on Sundays which is kind of annoying as I weigh in on Monday morning. This is the last week that my run/walk program has any walking in it, so I am steadily increasing both the amount and intensity of exercise over time. Hopefully that has an effect.

I am still chugging away on the C25K. I debated not commenting on this because I didn’t want to jinx it, but it is not that difficult, and increasingly I am getting the feeling looking at my plan for the week that it is something I can accomplish. Just the fact that I have been able to do whatever the plan has dished up to me so far is giving me confidence that it is structured in such a way that I will be able to do what it dishes up in the future.

Definition of progress – you know that your management of lower leg pain is working because the pain is recurring in a different spot. Heh.

Anyway the fitness is going reasonably well although I was huffing a bit on last night’s run esp when going up hill. My reward for completing the C25K program is the purchase of a flash mp3 player. And I have planned out my training program to run up until the Queen of the Lake in August where I plan to run my first 5K race. Mainly I think I will be allowing the joints and ligaments to get used to running three times a week while increasing my time a little bit especially on one of my runs so that I can start talking about “my long run” like the other hip running geeks.

My reward for completing the Queen of the Lake (well it is not really a reward just something I want to get and seeing as I will probably be buying it with my tax return, I won’t even be waiting until the Queen of the Lake to get it) is some sort of distance meter (whether a Garmin or a Timex or a Polar one) so that I can measure how far I am running for without a hassle.

The urge to rebel came late with me. At heart, I really don’t have the need to do the “bad girl” thing. I never really drank alcohol while underage and my flirtations with drugs were so laughable as to be rather naff.

So I was never tempted to join my friends in year seven and eight who snuck cigarettes while sitting on the middle of the oval (hiding in plain sight, I guess). I didn’t like the smell and couldn’t see the attraction. Plus I had the sort of moralistic attitude to self-abuse that only the young and naive can have. I had grown up in the era of the squeezed out lung and the worst of the anti-smoking advertisements. In primary school I had so many “healthy body” classes warning against smoking that I could recite them by rote. I was a swimmer at that stage and prided easy breathing above all else. I couldn’t see the attraction of making yourself unhealthy.

A few short years later the attraction became clear to me. Smoking was (and is) cool. After finishing year 12 and going overseas, I began dutifully ticking off the list when I accomplished things I shouldn’t be doing. Drinking till I puked. Check. Dabbling with pot. Check. Petty theft of souvenir glasses from famous bars and breweries. Check. Crude photos taken with naked statues that could not be shown to mum and dad. Check.

In Europe, everyone smokes (or at least they did when I was there). Cigarettes are cheap and the culture of smoking is embraced. It’s not like in Melbourne where the pathetic masses are forced to huddle in the cold on street corners while pig-sucking the last few puffs from their winnie blues. It is all cafes and dim lighting so that the smoke can lazily spiral into the air. It is strong coffee and unnamed shots of pungent liquor served with a cigarette on the side of the plate. It is classy cigarettes of all shapes, sizes and smells, none of which is ever purchased in cartons. It is a smoke handrolled impossibly thin so that the ash barely glows when taking a drag. It is exotic cigarettes with exotic smells flagged only by a single gold band.

Or, in the crowd that I was more likely to run with, it is crumpled softpacks of crumpled cheap cigarettes lit with one hand while with the other hand drinking amazingly flavoured vodka from the jam jars that your fellow young thugs had snuck out of their parent’s basements while sitting around a roaring campfire in the woods somewhere. Or a leisurely smoke while wandering through the snow covered city streets at 2am in the morning just back from seeing some incomprehensible polish jazz band while flirting with a sweet pommy boy impressed with how well you can speak the local language.

In short, I started smoking.

There were moments when smoking was as cool as it was then. Inevitably, on another trip to Europe standing on the balcony of my student room. The room was the size of a shoe box, but the balcony had a fabulous view across one of the greatest cities in Europe. Every night I would practise my newfound skill of rolling my own and stand on the balcony in the cold and look out across one of the cities that never sleep. And there were other times as well. But smokings potential for coolness in Australia had already passed, and smoking is something that you have to be ashamed of for 90% of your life, except when going out for a big night when all your non-smoker friends start scabbing smokes off you.

And, to be fair, I had always hated that I was being incredibly unhealthy. I always had in the back of my mind that it was going to be doubly hard to get fit and start running together when I was destroying my lung capacity at a rate of knots. I had attempted to quit a bunch of times. But it just didn’t work out. It was the subject of a heap of silent and spoken New Years’ Resolutions. Then one day, Hub said something about it and all of a sudden, I wanted to make sure that I could do it. Damn it, I was thirty years old and had been smoking for over a third of my life. And so I quit.

I had one bad moment a week after quitting when I fished the smokes out of the bin and had one more. But apart from that, it was surprisingly easy. With the help of some quitting lozenges and a bit of willpower, I managed it.

And when I passed the point that the books said I no longer had any traces of physical addiction, I began to believe that I had managed (or could manage) to quit. Within a month or two, I had joined the gym. If I could manage to do that after all these years, then I can sure as hell manage to get myself fit again.

If you, like me, are not accustomed to sleeping whilst rugged up and yet have recently commenced a beginner’s running program, then these cold nights in Melbourne may have caused some stiffness and soreness in your legs, hampering your progress. Here’s one hint for minimising the problem.

In lieu of pajama pants, take your daggiest pair of fleecy track dacks and put them on. The fleecy tracksuit material is soft against the skin and intriguing for any significant others who may be sharing the bed with you. Next, take two large boxer dogs and arrange them in a loose pile over your lower legs, paying particular attention to ensure that their soft mooshy faces are arranged to cover any identified sore spots. Doze off to sleep and awake with warm and ache free legs!!

Today as I try to get out of watching the clock and try to just enjoy (Hah!) the run I bought myself The Crappiest Radio In The History Of The World(TM). I didn’t want to spend a lot of money as my reward for finishing the couch to 5K plan is to buy myself a decent flash MP3 player. And I couldn’t find the many radios that we seem to have around this house sometime. So it would have to be TCRITHOTW ™.

It was one of those players that had a scan function to find the radio station. The only problem is that the station would spontaneously scan to a new station whilst I was running along. So I would hear a third of a song and then it would switch to some foreign language station.

At least it kept my mind off the clock.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 106kg
Total weight loss – 1.5kg
This week’s weight loss – +0.5g

Step right up and join the amazing expanding woman!! That’s right, if you follow expanding woman’s scientifically formulated program, you too can do three cardio sessions and two weight sessions a week while PUTTING ON WEIGHT.

Bah humbug.

PS. This week will be making a few dietary changes which are going to be a pain in the arse in the sense of inconvenient, but hopefully will make a difference.

So I took the plunge this morning and bought a new pair of runners. When you are obviously not a sporty person it is sometimes pretty difficult to walk into a sports store and speak intelligently about what you are doing. You feel like you can hear their internal response when you say that you want to buy a running shoe (“Yeah right, like you run!!”). Intellectually you know that they are there to sell shoes so they are going to be encouraging and friendly to you even if they think that you are a galumphing heifer. But you still feel stupid.

The last time I bought a pair of shoes I went to a Rebel sports, which was a mistake. It was hard enough to get someone’s attention to speak to me, and the advice that they gave was basically “Yeah, that shoe’s okay, in fact they are all good”. I felt so terrible that I just tried to get out of there as quick as possible.

As I have been doing my C25K, I have had various aches and pains including in my legs. And I realised how stupid it is that I don’t even know what type of foot I have and I have no idea whether my shoes (which feel okay I guess) are actually helping or harming me. So I went to Athlete’s Foot and did that test thing that they do. I tried on a bunch of shoes and walked around in them until I was happy. And now I know that I have the right shoes for me and I can keep track of the kms I put on them so that I can make sure I change them over before they wear out.

And now I have one more reason to make sure that I keep this up. I have just spent a lot of money on a pair of shoes so if I don’t keep running, that will be a big waste. Onwards and upwards fellas!!

[I did the third run in week 4 of the C25K today and felt pretty good – I even did an extra 3 minutes at the end. Then when I checked my program for next week I realised that this whole week I had been doing the program wrong and leaving out an extra minute of rest in the middle of the run. Whoops. No wonder it was hard.]

Since I have started this blog, I feel much more interested in writing about my exercise and lifestyle change stuff rather than trying to lose weight. Obviously that is a big part of what I am trying to do, but whenever I begin to obsess over my weight I begin to feel like a big fat whiner. So I will still post the weekly weigh ins and so on, but in my mind, the weight loss stuff is just a bonus for the other stuff going on.

I don’t want to get to the point that if I am not losing weight, I am not enjoying this blog, even though I am getting fitter and acheiving my other goals. So my commitment is that I want to continue on with this whole journey whether or not I succeed in losing weight. If in a year’s time I am the biggest fun runner in the country, well that is better than I am now. I won’t stop trying to lose weight, but I want to avoid it becoming the focus. I don’t want to count calories or points, I just want to increase the amount of fruit and veg, increase whole grains, increase water, and limit junk, fat and sugar. If I focus on health and activity and improving my physical capabilities, then I know that my body shape will change for the better.

Well after my fear I managed to do alright and complete the whole session without cutting short any of the run sections. Because my run sections are now more than a couple of minutes, I realise I have to break the fixation with checking my watch to see how much time I have to go. The early very short runs have led to be basically counting down the time (Are we there yet?) – a habit I am now trying to break.

I read an article in a magazine about visualisation and using chants and mantras to create a rhythm to keep going. I tried it, but the positive ones (I-am-too-strong-to-stop) didn’t work at all. I just didn’t find myself believable. Too strong? If I was too strong then would I be wheezing up a lung after running 4 minutes in a row?

What did work was self-abuse. “You are pathetic. I can’t believe that you checked your watch just then. Are you really so puffed after 4 minutes that you want to give up? You big baby. You looked at it again!! You only ran for 30 seconds that time. What kind of loser can’t run for 30 seconds without begging to stop?” It worked very well and I shamed myself into not stopping.

As stupid as this sounds, I am pretty proud that I jogged for a total of 16 minutes last night.

Okay, provided that my training plan continues as anticipated, I have tentatively set a goal for my first race, being the Queen of the Lake 5km which is on 6 August 2006. The Albert Park lake course is nice and flat so not too bad for a first go. I have figured out that my jog/shuffle pace is about a 7.5 – 8 mins per km pace. So assuming that I can actually maintain that pace when jogging non-stop, that gives me a 37.5 to 40 min 5k. The running part of my brain says this is very slow (I used to get pretty annoyed if went much slower than about 25 min for a 5K).

But I have looked up the results from last year and have determined that of 365 runners in the 5K there were about 30 that finished slower than that pace (incidentally a 25 min time would have put me in the top 40 or so runners). They were all probably walking, but at least I don’t think I would be the last person across the line. With any luck having another two and a half months of training under my belt I could do better than that again.

If not this run, then I will try and find a 5K race which suits some time around August/September. I think my aim will be to run it in under 40 minutes but I won’t be too fussed. For a first run my main aim will be to finish, to run the whole thing and to feel relatively good whilst doing it.