Month: May 2011

Back to the Gym

Today was my 2nd spin class ever.

The first was about 4 years ago and I promised myself that I’d never put myself through anything like it again.

It was a Sunday morning class in a dark, pokey room full of completely insane, competitive new mothers out to prove something (not sure how I ended up in a class of new mothers).  They were egged on by a maniac of a female instructor who raved about how many calories we were burning REALLY LOUDLY. The techno-crap non-music was deafening.  Absolute hell on earth.

Today was a much better experience. My colleague Tony got me there (I wouldn’t have made it without him – so thanks Tony :)) and once in the room, I found Michael as well :), so at least I was going to suffer in the company of decent people.

The instructor was great – not shouty and not fervidly trying to whip everyone up into some sweaty motivational zone; even the music was ok.  It was rather hard but 10 minutes after it finished I felt great and wanted to do it again (soon, not immediately).  Never thought I’d feel like that about spinning.

A small point:  if you happen to be on a bike that’s right in the eyeline of the male instructor, don’t wear a baggy v-neck top unless you want to scare the living daylights out of the poor sod when you get to the standing up on the pedals bit.

It’s fine if you’re under 30 and gorgeous.

Otherwise, best to keep it all tied down and covered up.


100 Pushups and Plank Challenges Update

100 Pushups Challenge

Am up to 63 pushups on my knees – not all at once of course, but broken down into 20, 10, 12 and 11 with 1 minute breaks in between for arguing about how many I’ve actually done.  Neil dozes off sometimes – I’m doing all the hard work and he can’t even keep it together long enough to count from 1-10.

Plank Challenge 

Am currently at 1 minute – had a bit of an improvement over the weekend when Neil did it with me and made me laugh so much doing ‘plank dancing’ – basically showing off how easy he found it – that I got to 45 seconds without noticing and then hung on like grim death for the final 15 seconds.  I’ve got a bit stuck on 1 minute and haven’t improved since Saturday even though I’ve been doing it every day.

Neil showed me the reverse plank (with your front facing up).  He could manage this really easily but I couldn’t persuade my backside to leave the floor; it was like it was stuck to the carpet.

Guessed later that perhaps there is no such thing as a reverse plank and it’s Neil amusing himself at my expense.   Hmmmm.

How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

Back at the physio today; more massage agony, more acupuncture, more strapping.  It is getting better but it’s unbelievably slow and is driving me a bit nuts. 

It’s now nearly 6 weeks since I stopped running and I know more about Elisabeth’s personal life than I really need to. But I’ve appreciated her wisdom and have learned a lot about how stupid people can be (err, that might be me then) about something as ‘simple’ as running. 

So based on my bitter experience, here is my guide to effectively prevent yourself from running a half marathon:

1. do absolutely sod all research about beginning to run – nothing, zilch, rien – don’t even bother to Google.  After all, jeez, it’s only running, how hard can it be???

2.  dig out any old pair of volleys and head out the front door on a ‘training run’.  This means joggling past the local cafe several times thinking you’re impressing the neighbours.  But all they’re wondering is ‘what is that daft tart up to now?’ before returning to their lattes and the Fin Review.  This is Sydney; it’s brutal.

3.  ignore the note in bold print on the training schedule where it says that it assumes you already run 5-10km a week.  Because that’s only for  sissies. 

4.  make no allowance for the fact that you are no longer 24 years of age, nor a size 12, and haven’t been for quite some millenia

5.  ignore the possibility that your body may harbour resentments  against you which have accumulated over the past 24 years of misuse.  Wobbling round the block (in front of the neighbours) is the final indignity.  Now it’s payback.

These approaches will generally stop 99% of the population in their tracks; literally.  Because the next step is crawling into the physio’s office with shin splints, PF or worse. 

I thought that going from 3 minutes to 60 minutes jogging in just over 4 weeks meant I was a genius.  It didn’t.  It meant something else entirely, which my self-esteem is still trying to avoid admitting.  Five letters, begins with I, ends in T.  The other letters are D, I and O.

Injury was inevitable.

But today I signed up for the City to Surf  (14km) on 14 August and expect to walk and jog it – and that’s just fine.  I’ve learned my lesson.

My Estee Lauder Encounter (nothing to do with running)

Kathryn had had a makeover at Estee Lauder.  I was too late to book but she said they would do a 2 minute makeover if I asked.

Having decided that eyeliner is Just What I Need Right Now to Make My Life Perfect, I trotted up to the shops and hit the EL counter in high anticipation of a premier experience.

There was no-one there except a late 50s-ish EL person with a bit of Hammer horror going on – lipstick overdrawn round her lips, randomly applied blusher and way too much eye make up which had become rather smudged after a long day spent on very high heels, which must have been murder on her corns.

I said that my friend had had a makeover yesterday and that she’d mentioned they were offering 2 minute make overs.  She looked at me as though I was completely stupid and didn’t say anything.  So I asked ‘are you’?  She said ‘what?’.

The voice in my head said ‘walk away right now ’.

We finally got some joint understanding on what a 2 minute make over might look like (eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara) and she got started. She didn’t look too happy though.

But I’ll give her this: once she got going, she was very enthusiastic. The eyeshadow went on like she was painting the side of the Queen Mary. The mascara took aaaaggggeeessss to apply but didn’t seem to make any difference, as my eyes had disappeared under all the eyeshadow.

Then we were onto the piece de resistance, the eyeliner.  She was wearing some herself – it was trowelled on like the road markings down the Hume Highway so I had an inkling of what was coming.

I didn’t want to look in the mirror. I wasn’t going to look like the the picture of Liz Hurley that was unfortunately beside me.

She said ‘what do you think’?  She was obviously pleased with her work and I didn’t want to be rude, so said that I didn’t think it really worked for me.

She looked disappointed.  I left without buying anything and after asking her to remove it all.

It wasn’t until I spoke to one of the Bobbi Brown girls that I realised that this poor woman wasn’t actually a make up artist, she just rang stuff up on the till. But because no-one else was there, she was trying to be helpful.  I felt terrible.

A lesson learned on both sides I think (definitely on mine).

Essentially Inert (Anag.)

I’ve worked out why Neil’s always been so keen that I exercise a lot.

It’s to stop me spending money.

If I’m knackered from cycling home or exhausted post-Pump class, I can’t be out knocking back cocktails at Verve or slapper-spotting* outside the Ivy with Kathryn after 3 glasses of pinot gris.

While I’m out enjoying myself rather expensively, Neil’s at home doing interesting things like working out an anagram for ‘essentially inert’. He came up with ‘retail intensely’ which has unfortunately put the wind up him a bit.

Soon the credit card statement will be left lying around in obvious places but I’ll fail to have my glasses on and so won’t notice the numbers; there’ll be a lot of audible tsk tsk-ing as he pores over bank statements and then we move into the final phase where we drive well out of our way to do the shopping at Bi-Lo instead of Coles. I always know I’m in the dog-house if we’re in Bi-Lo.

It’s just a matter of time before the sporran gets welded shut again.

Back to the gym for me.

*a really easy game that the whole family can play

Plank World Record

Went to Pump yesterday and the instructor mentioned that a 68 year old had broken the world plank record –  33 minutes and 34 seconds.  He said immediately afterwards ‘it was really, really hard”.  Maybe the reporter should have given him 5 minutes to get over it all before going for the in-depth killer comment.

I do wonder how he passed the 33 minutes.  Reading Dostoevsky in Spanish perhaps?  Or memorising Pi to the 1,000th decimal point?  Or singing every entry in the Eurovision Song Contest backwards?  It would have to be something fairly hefty to get your mind off the agony.

I had my third go at the planking word record this evening and managed 44 seconds – 3 seconds more than Friday, which was 3 seconds longer than Wednesday. The consolation is that it must be doing some good.  Surely.

Still on 20 straight pushups which were very hard after yesterday’s pump class, but at least I’m doing them properly now.

Next physio session is Tuesday so doing the stretching twice a day and doing the frozen peas or frozen water bottle on my instep all evening.  I know my calf muscles are a bit stretchier but I can still feel the instep.

On a philosophical note, Neil and I have been discussing ert-ness.  On a scale of 1-10, I think Neil’s a 9 ie mega-ert, but he thinks he’s only a 6 (which leaves me not even on the scale).  I’m blaming my father’s side of the gene pool.  A couple of years ago, the doctor gave him a pedometer to encourage him to become fitter.  One day he got to 16 steps.  In a whole day.  I was appalled but Neil said that he must have an amazing bladder.

An interesting thought but perhaps not one that I need to dwell on.

Plank Challenge

After yesterday’s pushups, Neil came up with the insane idea of doing a Plank Challenge.

Planks are the worst form of torture.  I really admire people who can hold this position for ages.  I can’t – if they stick it on at the end of a Pump class I usually don’t even try.  I just lie on the floor in a little known variant of yoga’s ‘downward dog’ position, known as the ‘dead dog’.

After spending the evening rolling my instep over a bottle of frozen water, I did my calf muscle stretches and then had a go at a plank.  37  seconds.  I thought this was heroic for a first go but Neil just laughed.   Linda can  hold it for over 11 minutes.

While I’ve been typing up this blog entry, Neil’s been amusing himself doing his own plank challenge.  He can’t remember how long he went for ‘before I got bored’ but it was well over a minute.  He’s just offered to do it again if I don’t believe him.

Sometimes I could just spit.*

* Not at him, just generally (usually).