You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

Okay, so I now have a computer shaped paper weight. And I have a very cute new notebook computer (now with the benefit of an external hard drive rescued from the paperweight – together with all of my data). Hub tut-tutted and has set up an automatic back up thing on the new notebook and keeps asking when I am going to take the plastic protector off the top of the computer.

I haven’t been able to do much exercise lately because work has been insane, and the few times I have had to myself it has coincided with weather far too hot. So finally got out today for a run after almost a week. Felt really good. Tomorrow I am off to try to get a new personal best on the Coolangatta Gold training. Next week is insane work-wise as well, but I am a third of the way through the work I took home this weekend so pretty good so far. When I read over that my life sounds crap, but it really isn’t. I just wish I had more time to run.

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Well things aren’t looking good for the old compuper. The couple of places I have spoken to suggest that it sounds like the motherboard is fried, something which would cost upwards of a grand to correct, therefore making the computer a write-off.

What is proving difficult is finding someone who will actually confirm to me that the motherboard is actually the problem. It appears that nobody will confirm what the problem is without me authorising them to spend lots of money. I obviously don’t want to commit to spending a lot of money to find out that the thing is not worth spending a lot of money on. One repair shop that I spoke to basically said that they have no more advanced testing for this sort of thing than the diagnostics on the website. My second opinions all suggest that the symptoms say motherboard, but I am reluctant to go out and commit to buying a new machine unless someone can actually confirm that my old one is trashed.

So now I have to find some way to buy another computer, then check to make sure that I can retrieve and access my hard drive from my old computer which contains a heap of stuff that I really don’t want to lose (such as the work on my thesis that I completed over December). At least these days computers are pretty cheap, but it is still a lot to drop to replace a piece of equipment I only purchased 18 months ago (and which is therefore 6 months out of warranty).

Add to that I don’t know when I will be able to get to a shop to buy the bloody thing which, seeing as I use it every single day is a MAJOR pain in the arse.

BUGGER.

BUGGER BUGGER BUGGER.

Lack of posting at least partially due to the fact that my computer didn’t recover from the shock of storing those photos on its harddrive. Don’t know what the problem is, but the online support diagnostic suggests that it is STUFT with some sort of hardware problem. Hopefully the repair man can get it working again, but it is only an inexpensive notebook so not really worth spending too much on.

So I am hoping it is something fixable but otherwise trying to cope with the idea that I might need to get a new computer in a hurry. The only thing that will make me really freak is if there is any major problem with the hard disk as there is too much work on there that hasn’t been backed up (including my beloved sporttracks data).

Running has been intermittent due to the weather and demands of work. Went for a CRAPPY run on Friday which didn’t last too long before I decided to cut my losses and just walk home.

Coping with localised aches and pains from my better body for men workouts. Very deceptive as the exercises don’t seem that hard and I am doing them mostly without weights on the bars. I feel fine the next day and then the day after that the particular section I have worked on starts to REALLY hurt. I did triceps on Wednesday and they are still sore. I guess I am now well on my way to fashion hell.

Well, I promised I would show what a better men’s body looks like.

We start with the bookjacket shot of the attractive models. If this ain’t enough to get you in, I don’t know what is.

T-E-A-M spells UGLY

The best way to show off those muskles is in your new pair of bike pants (and hi-tops)

bike pants

Or if you don’t like super tight pants, why not throw on a pair of cutoff shorts (and hi-tops) and head down the beach.

I like short shorts

But, but, the bike shorts show off my butt!!

but but butt

And my testicles!!!

This takes balls

If the shorts don’t work out for you, we carry an attractive line in clown pants

Send in the clowns

And in case you are wondering whether it is required to have a bad mullet to have a better body, it’s not. You just might have to look a bit constipated.

Constipated

To be fair, there is a fair bit of competition in the sexy look department.

Hungry eyes

But there is no reason to mock. TWTABBFM is founded on strong principles, such as high tech equipment.

State of the art

And if you follow all of our advice, one day you could be in honed physical condition.

Has anyone seen my teeth?

But my favourite picture of all from TWTABBFM cannot be beaten.

The only smiling one

I’m happy because I have found somewhere to rest my penis!!

Okay, so I was reading my “12 weeks to a better body for men” (TWTABBFM) book last night and it looks really good. It is nothing special, basically just a progressive program of pretty simple exercises using equipment that I have at home. You are meant to do it three times a week, but I figure I will just follow it in order and probably do two sessions a week, which means I might have to wait 16 weeks for my better body.

But the thing that is absolutely priceless is the pictures that go with the text. The author seems to have found his 15 bestest meathead buddies who hang out at dodgy gyms. They are collectively the worst bunch of unmitigated fashion disasters you have ever seen. There are tracksuit pants, muscle tops, head bands and a hilarious selection of constipated facial expressions. I am definitely going to post up some scanned images.

Today I was reading something on the ausrun forum and it got me to thinking. I had commented that I bought a US running mag yesterday and felt too weird to read it on the train because I imagined people would be mocking my in their heads for reading such a mag when I don’t look like a runner. I mean, why wouldn’t they? I know I get head-mocky on the train when I am bored.

Sport and self-consciousness. I don’t know whether this is a peculiarly chick problem (I don’t imagine it is) but I sometimes have to engage in all sorts of weird head games to get over this. I can vividly remember an occasion from when I used to run. I was wearing long tights and a long sleeve shirt and was running around the local park. And this gorgeous chick sailed towards me on the trail and I felt like a complete fraud. Suddenly I couldn’t imagine why I would bother with this whole running thing when I was clearly out of my league and obviously not a real runner. And the thing is, I was skinny then. I was running 5.5km three or four times a week at a decent clip. And I still couldn’t get over the self-consciousness thing.

This time around though (as long as I am not in the train), I have discovered the cure to the problem. It is kind of like those phobia cures where they totally confront you with your fear by throwing people who hate heights off buildings or making people with arachnophobia bathe in spiders or something. This time around, I know before I even get out there that I don’t look like a runner. I know in fact that some people who see me will think that I look faintly ridiculous huffing and puffing along. I am pretty sure that people in races who are walk/running use me as their motivation to start running again (there is no way I am going to let HER beat me). This is not me being ridiculous; I see it happening whenever I enter a race.

And you know what? I couldn’t give a sh#t. There are no mind games to play – I don’t have to have the mental battle trying to convince myself whether or not I look like a runner or fit in or don’t look ridiculous. I already know the answers to those questions. So the only thing that is left to decide is whether any of that is going to prevent me from doing what I want to do. I say no. What good will it do me to dwell on the fact that I am featuring in the bottom 5% of participants in the races I enter? The only alternative available to me is not to feature in the participants at all. If I could choose to turn around tomorrow and have all my stuff together and be as fast as I want and as fit and lean as I want then of course I would. But you know what? That is not an option which is available to me either!!

The people I have met through running are a great support in this philosophy. I turn up at fun runs and in my own head I feel more like a mascot than a part of the running group. But there are all sorts of people running all sorts of times and everyone encourages everyone else and commiserates based on their particular challenges and contexts. Which is why I only allow myself to feel self-conscious in front of non-runners on the train. Those crazy head-mockers!!

One of my hopes this year is to do some more resistance sessions. I basically stopped doing this when I got fed up with going to the gym but I want to build some more lean muscle to boost my metabolism and help with providing some stability. So on the weekend I pulled out the weights from the shed (some dumbells and a barbell) and set up for a brief easy session to get back into the swing of things.

OUCH. I seriously did one set of not very demanding exercises without even having weights on the bar, and my legs in particular are killing me. So I think that is a sign that I should really be doing this more often than once every 4 months. Hub has dug out an old book of his which is something like “12 weeks to a better body for men” which seems ideally suited to my circumstances. Actually it mainly consists of instructions as to a whole range of exercises you can do with some dumbells and a barbell with notes on technique etc, plus some plans to build up your workrate. So that actually does seem good.

So I will set out a basic program for resistance once or twice a week and will try to build in some extra core exercises as well, which should supplement the increasing running schedule nicely. Now it’s just a matter of finding the time to do this. BRING IT ON.

I have been feeling really guilty that, as much as I love nudge the garmin, I have not used very many of his functions and am simply lazy about learning how to do so. So I saved my two regular loops (the 4km and 5km) as courses in the software and decided last night to have a go at the course function.

So I duly selected the course, set it to start the course and off I went. Now, I must admit that I am catching Hub’s aversion to reading the instructions, so I was kind of going by intuition and not really sure what all of the screens were trying to show. When I started it said that I had 1.6km to the start of my course. Which, frankly, seemed weird because I was standing in my front yard which was in fact the beginning of this particular loop.

“Oh well,” I thought to myself “I am sure that there is some reasonable explanation”. Weirdtuition continued throughout the course. I couldn’t figure out what colour dot I was meant to be, the elevation profile didn’t seem to match up with what I was running and I was fast coming to the conclusion that the whole thing was a silly idea. But it appeared towards the end of the run that I was back on track because it was slowly and surely counting down the metres left until I went through the front gate again, which is the end of the loop. And I won!! I didn’t expect this, but when I won, nudge played a little musical celebration for me. How nice.

So I got back inside and said to Hub “I beat the little man in my watch”. His response was that he thought the easy way to do that would be to hold the watch out behind me as I ran (so I would be sure of staying in front of it). Hmmmpf.

Anyway, when I downloaded the info from Nudge, the weirdness was explained. He had picked up the wrong GPS nodules at the start of the run with the consequence that according to Nudge, I had run 9.61km over my 4km course, including one km in 3.51!! Even when I tried to fix all the points, it still came up as being way too long, so I had to fill in the details manually. So I still have to properly do a course with Nudge and then try and figure out all of the other cool stuff that he has to offer.

Portsea Twilight 2007

How mental does that picture look?

Okay, so the thing that nobody really told me about this race is that throughout the run you are doing one of three things – running up a steep hill, running down a steep hill or running flat along a beach. In other words, it was TOUGH. I didn’t have any particular expectations for this race. I had never run a race this distance before so I didn’t really have a bar to go by. Based on my other PBs I figured that 50mins would be outstanding on a flat course, so I was going to be happy with anything under 55min.

According to Nudge, I ran it in 54:27 so I was pretty happy with that (let’s change that to thrilled, shall we?). That included a couple of stretches of walking on the steep climbs. I caught up with morseyruns and chilliman and a couple of other people. It was a hot day, sticky and incredibly challenging in terms of conditions.

The hardest bit for me was the last 2km along the sand. With the hills I wasn’t discouraged with the fact that I found it difficult. But that last couple of km along the beach seemed to take forever and I was exhausted. That was a little discouraging – it was the easiest part of the course, the tide was out and we were running on hard sand so it was pretty tough to keep going when I was struggling to run down the people who by this stage were walking. Thankfully one of the girls running around my pace saw me stop and took the time to encourage me. But I was happy with the result.

On the way home, I stopped into the local bottle-o and bought a bottle of champagne which we are drinking at the moment. I told Hub that we are celebrating the fact that I don’t have to do that run again for another year. Check out the elevation chart.

Portsea Twilight Elevation

UPDATE – chip time is 54.26. 1147/1204 overall, 451/490 gender, 169/174 category. All these people going for top ten in their category should be competing with me for the bottom ten.

So I have signed up for my first race for 2007, the Portsea Twilight 6.7Km which is being run this Saturday. I am a little nervous about the “challenging” course, but it seems like one not to be missed and one that I might like to build up a bit of a tradition with.

I am trying to get more comfortable with running on hills. They kill me until I am dead, but I know that they are good for my running development, and if I want to run on the more interesting courses such as the Arthurs Seat Challenge, the Great Train Race and so on, then I better put a lid on my reluctance. I figure that I can run slowly up a hill just as easily as I can run slowly along a flat course.

A major aspect of my hill training has been what I have named in my head “The Coolangatta Gold Course”. Some of you might remember the movie Coolangatta Gold which I just picked up recently in a $9 DVD sale. The story (featuring a very young and buff Colin Friels) is all very brothers-vying-for-the-father’s-affection and centres around a multi-sport surf event. Anyway the unappreciated underdog brother is determined to be victorious and institutes a special training session for the run leg of the course. His goal is to run up and over the top of a big mountain, which he practices on the family banana plantation. He runs as far as he can up the hill until he can’t go any further and then marks in the nearest tree the point at which he is forced to stop and tries to beat that next time.

This translates to a training session thusly. The weekender is basically at the bottom of Arthurs’ Seat, a “mountain” on the peninsula. So I have been charting a course from my front door which goes on a gradual incline for about 1km and then joins the Arthurs’ Seat Challenge course. Anyway I figure that if I kept running, it would be a total of about 5.5km to the top of Arthurs’ Seat. But at the moment I just go as far as I can until I need to stop, mentally take a rock and mark a gash in the nearest tree, stretch and return. I am starting with my normal run of about 4km (which just means 1km of the tough hill before the turn around) and trying to build it up slowly. One of my goals is to keep improving until I can run to the peak and back, which would be longer than my current long run, but something I feel like I can accomplish in 2007.

Plus it is heaps easier when you imagine that you are a hero surf multisport person trying to beat Grant Kenny.