True Grit

Some of you may be thinking “things have gone rather quiet on the exercise front since the Parkrun incident” but no they haven’t really.

Last Saturday Neil was off bushwalking so I’d decided to do it by myself. Heading out the door, I realised that I had a sore foot. And a blister was forming between 2 toes on the other foot.


I considered diverting to the sofa for a cup of tea and a good book, but out of nowhere, a teaspoonful of strength of character appeared and, although I didn’t do the Parkrun itself, I did 42 minutes of bad tempered walking round the local area before lurching into the Corner 38 Cafe.  It was such a joy not to be coming last.

This week we decided to give Parkrun the full bodyswerve. Neil booted me off the sofa and out the front door and off we went, using his GPS to work out where/how long etc. It wasn’t too bad and we managed to do 45 minutes without any major arguments.

According to his state of the art techy gadget, my average speed was 126.4 kph. He admitted that sometimes it doesn’t work very well.


Parkrun – Got to Start Somewhere

It’s only 10am and I’ve yomped 5km.

This morning we did the Rhodes Parkrun (  This is a body that organises free, weekly, timed 5km runs on Saturday mornings all over the world. Neil comes with me for support (ie to make sure I don’t slide off to a cafe instead).

My approach is “well it’s only 5km, it’ll be a nice walk followed by a coffee somewhere sunny”.

Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.

Got there and it’s wall to wall runners in lycra and pressure socks.  There are some slightly tubby, unfit-looking people at the back so I decide to stick near them and Neil can do the proper run.

We all set off.

The overweight & unfit immediately head to a cafe so it’s just me. The sainted Neil sticks with me.

The first 25 meters are ok, I even attempt a cheery jog but soon realise that it’s not sustainable. Neil’s competitive instincts kick into panicked overdrive because he’s being overtaken by absolutely everybody – something he’s just not used to. He shoots off, walking very fast – there’s no way I can keep up.


The view from the back

After a short but bad tempered exchange, we realise that we’re both freaked out and intimidated by the whole thing. I twice ask him if he wants to go on ahead but he stays. Amazing.

  • At the 1km point, I’m over it. Can’t see myself finishing, not enjoying it at all, total sense of humour failure compounded by sheer embarrassment at being so publicly unfit
  • At the 2km point, a perky, blonde gym-bunny volunteer attempts to provide motivation “well done – not far now…” Oh get stuffed.
  • At 3km we’re overtaken by someone in the 80-84 age category (yes, really)
  • At 4km, the sweeper at the back tells us we’re the last. (Oh really? I hadn’t realised; thank you for pointing that out….). I ask how long they keep the course open for and he says ‘as long as it takes’. Oh no. I suggest to Neil that we don’t bother finishing as I’m so embarrassed at being last but he keeps me going
  • At 4.8km we overtake a woman with a knee brace

I came in 3rd last (Neil let me beat him by a step), in 50.42 mins which surprised me . I was 183rd out of 185.  The average time to complete the 5km is 31 minutes, so clearly there’s room for improvement.

In summary, I absolutely hated it while I was doing it, but I’ll go and do it again next Saturday.  Better than going to the gym.

Like that’s going to happen ha ha.

A World of Pain

After our intro session, the  Crossfit people sent us a follow up email with some info and  some simple exercises to do until we decided to join up (rather a cheeky assumption surely?).

The exercises comprised squats, push ups and crunches with the beginner’s version being 30 of each, 20 of each then 10 of each.   I gave them a go on Sunday night and posted the outcome on Facebook:  not pretty.

Photo: Totally knackered after after a beginners Crossfit attempt:  30 squats, push ups, crunches, then 20 of each, then 10.  OMG.

The net result is that I’ve spent the last 2 days walking around like a penguin, saying ‘oof’ when collapsing into chairs and groaning when trying to stand up.

There is a very Scottish verb – to ‘hirple’ which perfectly illustrates the attempt to walk in this contracted state – a sort of grandad shuffle.  Neil watches me tottering around and says helpful things like ‘aye well, auld age dis’nae come alane’*  and I want to brain him with a blunt object.

We’ve decided not to do the Crossfit thing – ‘old and knackered’ probably isn’t their target demographic, plus the email was a bit snippy, so it was an easy decision for us to keep our $375 a month and spend it elsewhere.

I have my fingers crossed that the dosh is going to nosedive straight into my Business Class Travel to Europe Jam Jar  (current contents:  $65.50) but Neil may take some persuading.  Especially as he’ll be left in Economy ha ha ha.

Only $6,933.50 to go.
All donations gratefully received

So tonight, in gratitude for not having to go to Crossfit, I decided to have another go at the squats/pushups/crunches.   I timed myself – not having bothered on Sunday thinking I wouldn’t even finish.

Of course, tonight was worse.  Within 2 minutes I thought my head was going to explode.

Doing 30 squats isn’t funny – well it’s probably hilarious if you’re standing watching.  But then there was 30 pushups:  I cheated to get through these.  There was no 90 degree angle with the arms, no chest to the floor; it was a 5 degree bend – if I got my chest onto the floor I wasn’t confident I could get it back up again.  Then 30 crunches.  I should have just done 30 in total but thought that would be cheating (idiot), plus I was feeling guilty about the pathetic push ups.  So I did 30 straight sit ups then 30 to each side.  Repeat whole thing again.  And again.

So that’s:  60 squats, 60 push ups and a bazillion crunches.  It took 15 minutes, 36 seconds and 9 nanobots.

Head explosion imminent

Pass me a glass of Sav Blanc immediately.  I deserve it.

*In the Queen’s English:  old age doesn’t come alone.   A typically grim, dour, Scottish approach to life.  

Becoming Ert: Crossfit

Neil and I had an intro session for Crossfit this morning.

Linda over at Pingheng started doing Crossfit a while ago and can now lift 20kg.  She also posted this video showing her doing a standing start jump onto a box 1m high.  These were ‘oh wow I wonder if I could do that’ moments for me.

So last night, with our TV out of action and nothing else to do, we gave the standing start jump thing a go using the sofa:  I could get onto the cushions (30cm) but Neil got onto the arm rest (60cm).

This morning we rock up to a  warehouse in Leichardt at 8am.   We walk in and it’s not pretty:  it looks the way gyms used to look before they got all glammed up in the 90s – like in the Rocky films.   Serious, grunty work clearly happens here.

It felt totally intimidating – not just to me, even Neil felt intimidated and he’s very fit.  Most of the men and some of the women were over 6 feet tall, all in their 20s or 30s and the blokes were lifting massive weights.  The lightest bar is 6kg – the most I ever lifted at Pump class was a girly 5kg.

After some background info about how Crossfit works, Gemma gave us a practice go at each of the things we’d be doing:  rowing, sit ups, double skipping etc .  When we got to the chin ups – Neil of course does these with ease –  I just hung from the bar like a corpse:  I couldn’t lift anything except my chin.

All the time we’re doing this, the real class is doing their ‘WOD’ – workout of the day.  It looks scary.  They do lots of burpees:  drop to the floor, do a push up, jump up and do a star jump thing.  I could maybe do 1 before losing the will to live.

On to our intro workout:  we started with some skipping to warm up,  then a 500m row, squats, push ups,  sit ups and chin ups.

My back was creaky so instead of 40 sit ups I got to hang from a bar and try and lift my knees up 20 times.  There’s nothing like hanging from a bar to make you realise that (a) you have no arm muscles and (b) you could do with losing 15kg.

Crossfit has measures for how things should be done eg a push up means chest to the floor, rather than doing them with only slightly bent arms and kidding yourself.  And squats mean squatting till your bum hits the pouffe thing they put underneath you.

It was very confronting going to this:  I’m unfit, overweight and old(er). Although very pleased with myself that I cycled home from work on Wednesday, it’s really nothing in the big scheme of things.  I’ve been much fitter  in the past.

I used to walk up mountains. What happened???

I can get to 12 sessions before we go on holiday at Xmas.  The only way is up.