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I have a job which is sometimes a little insane. I work at the certain end of my industry which is actually better for work-life balance. Yet even so my work life has demands that many of my friends who don’t work in the industry don’t understand. These last couple of weeks it has been way beyond that.

I have been working what feels like around the clock – particularly once you fit in study and other commitments (even leaving aside poor Hub and the dogs). For the first time in my life it has occurred to me that the high blood pressure issues I have had might be stress related rather than lifestyle related.

And I am starting to remember what a stress relief running can be. By the time I started this job I was already not a runner. And yet tonight when I got home before 7pm for the first time in 2 weeks I felt weary to the bones but also incredibly eager to get out for a run. The run was so so, but just the fact that I was out there made the world of difference to my outlook.

PS. Plus, my garmin arrived which is totally cool.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 103kg
Total weight loss – 4.5kg
This week’s weight loss – 1.0kg

No comment. Got rid of most of the gain from last week and trendline continuing downwards. So, happy with that.

Well today was another great milestone. After building up since I finished the C25K, today was the first time that I ran for an hour non-stop. I kept going for a couple of minutes so that I could finish 8km. Woohoo!!

I felt pretty comfortable during the run, though sitting at the MCG in the cold this afternoon managed to leave me a bit stiff and sore (but at least we beat carrt’n). So I think that all of my long runs from now on will be at least 8km in preparation for the Spring into Shape series, though I will keep building up the distance until I get my long run to about 90mins.

My training pace has increased enough that I am having to rethink my goal for the first SiS as I just about beat that goal today in an easy training run.

The only bad thing about this is that as I run longer distances, I am starting to get really bored with running the same courses over and over again, which I do because I have measured how long they are. So it is great luck that I have just ordered myself a Garmin 205 to measure my distance for me. So now I will be able to run whereever I want and still keep track of my distance. And I can draw those cool little maps that people put on their blogs.

I am incredibly reluctant to spend too much on clothes at the moment (unless they are technical Ts), but sometimes it is impossible to avoid. I have plenty of options in the rewards drawer, even after this weekend a garment which is one size fits all, but which apparently exludes me from the definition of “all”.

At the moment I am in a “clothing gap”. The gear which says one size is mostly too big and the gear which says the next size down doesn’t quite fit. Bugger!! This is all okay for casual clothes where I can work around some of these problems. But work clothes are more difficult. At the best of times I only keep about three suits to wear for work. At the moment I am down to two pairs of grey slacks and one suit jacket. Which means that it looks like I am wearing the same thing every day.

So I reluctantly took the payrise out for a shop today to get a couple of mix n’ match items which will hopefully last me through till the three pairs of dress pants in the rewards drawer start to cooperate.

I have two problems with shopping. The first is at the point when I take the clothes off the rack and can’t bear to choose a size which I feel bad about. So, although not totally surrendering reality, I choose what I like to call an “optimistic size”. The second problem happens when I am in the change rooms averting my eyes from the magnifying mirror from hell and find that the optimistic size doesn’t fit over my butt/boobs/head/bingo wings so I crack the sads and decide (again) that I hate shopping. If I win the changeroom game, I lose the sizing game and vice versa.

So it was really nice to grab an “optimistic size” and find in the changerooms that it actually fit (except for the fact that the pants need to be taken up, but I really don’t expect that getting buff is going to do much to lengthen my legs).

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 104kg
Total weight loss – 3.5kg
This week’s weight loss – +1.5kg

Okay, remember how I was happy last week that I had had six weeks in a row of no gains. I appear to have angered the weight loss gods as well. By tomorrow I predict I will have been cautioned at work, had a massive fight with Hub and received an urgent bill which I can’t afford to pay.

Okay, so in the last week I might have made some comments about my training speed improving rapidly and mentioned that sometimes the timing of a run is just perfect.

I seem to have angered the running gods. So, after tonight’s run, I would like to mention for the record that sometimes running can be totally difficult, totally painful and totally unpleasant.

That is all.

One of the things that I have to keep working on when changing to a healthy lifestyle is that I am changing my lifestyle, not myself. Whatever plans and decisions I make, it is still little ol’ me who has to carry them out.

When I joined a gym previously, the only time I could really use the gym was in the morning before work. And I hate getting up early. So I resented the gym and hated it every morning when I went, and when I didn’t enjoy it very much at the gym, it was easy to get out of the habit.

When I plan in my head what I am doing, it is tempting to schedule in a run or going to the gym at a time I should know is totally incompatible with my personality. Example. At the end of a long week I never feel like doing anything other than sitting on the couch. So I should have known better this week than to plan a run on Friday. I instructed Hub that I would get home from work, put the dinner on and nip out for a run while it was cooking. It was no surprise that I got home and welded my butt to the couch and didn’t move.

There was a time when this would have filled me with guilt and started me on the road to self-recrimination and hand-wringing. But this time it was just a reminder that changing my lifestyle doesn’t change my personality and it doesn’t change the way that I tend to react to the demands on my lifestyle. It was a reminder that I never feel like exercising on Friday evenings, which is why that is scheduled as a rest day.

Similarly I know that I will rarely get up early to exercise, so I don’t schedule exercise in the mornings. I know that although I am an obsessive list maker, any changes to my diet which depend on me tracking, counting, weighing or documenting will be commenced enthusiastically but will fail after a couple of weeks.

So on Saturday I wasn’t too concerned when I began to think that I didn’t really feel like going for a run that afternoon. But after a little while when it got to about that time on Saturday afternoon when I normally head out, I began to get an itching to go. It was run o’clock. So I headed out for a particularly exhausting dog relay. It’s a special workout that requires you have three dogs and the inclination to only run with one of them at a time. The changeovers are a killer.

I had a crappy day today – I was tired and travelled to our branch office which meant an earlier start. Spent a boring morning in court and my clients had to do a deal which they didn’t like – never good.

I was really looking forward to my run tonight. And when I got started, I noticed I was rabbiting off at a pretty fast pace. I didn’t even know I had a fast pace. Seriously, up until now, when I have tried to crank up the pace, it just seemed like I didn’t have any other gears. Tonight I felt like I was pushing myself, but I knew I could drop back if I became uncomfortable.

But that was before I began to check my splits and realised just how much faster I was going. That was when I decided to run my full 4km loop and see whether I could beat my best training time. My normal loop is not hilly but it does have some decent “inclines”. It is definitely not a flat course.

And when I got to the 4km mark, I had beaten my best time for that distance by over 3 minutes. And my average pace (for a training run) was faster than my Queen of the Lake pace by about 20 seconds per km.

Running rocks.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 102.5kg
Total weight loss – 5kg
This week’s weight loss – 0.5kg

And you know, the last time I gained weight was WWI the twelfth back in June. It’s taken longer than I had hoped to see a difference on the scales, but I am not complaining about 6 weeks in a row of either a loss or stay the same.

So a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have known what a technical fabric was if I fell over it, and I would have thought that cotton was the go for exercise. Oh, how naive I was.

I have been having some recurring problems with my shirts rubbing my upper arms when I run (which really hurts). I bought some bodyglide, but Hub has started using it and I haven’t gotten around to buying a stick of my own.

So in a truly terrifying display of consumerism, I have gone out and bought an array of technical Ts at various sales and bargain prices. Em kindly passed on an event T which fits me so must have been quite voluminous on her. Plus I have bought a bunch in various sizes which should see me covered (so to speak) until I am too small to properly fit a Brooks shirt in a “Medium”. Must say they aren’t quite as warm as a cotton T, particularly with the icy wind we had last week.

My rough plan for the Spring into Shape series is to keep doing two to three midweek runs for a total of about 60-90mins and increase my long run to about 90 minutes. I calculate that I should fall over the line for the first race, and then try to do it more comfortably for the second and the third.