getting fit

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.  

Week 8 – Saturday – Day 1 of the 100 Pushups Challenge

The One Hundred Pushups Challenge gets you to a point over 6 weeks where you can do 100 consecutive pushups.  The schedule is 3 sessions a week so mine are on Saturdays,  Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I’m doing the ones on the toes rather than the knees, just because I like to make life really difficult for myself.

Each session has 5 sets of pushups with a minute in between for recovery. Today was 2 sets of 6, 2 sets of 4 and the final set was as many as you can manage – I got to 6.

Only 99 to go...

After the 1st round I got fed up waiting for the recovery minute to pass and would have started too early but Neil said it might be better to wait.  He was right – the second lot of 6 were definately a bit wobbly and the other sets turned into a rapid, progressive loss of control.

There’s an awful moment just after you start the pushup when you realise how much weight your arms and back are going to have to support.  You feel how feeble your arms are and how they’re the only things preventing an undignified impact, nose-first with the floor.  Neil videoed it and it was pretty ugly.  My arms had sussed it out and didn’t want to bend at all so there was a fair bit of derriere going up and down.

A pushup probably only lasts about 5 seconds but in that space of time I came to bitterly regret all the cake/chocolate/alcohol I’d had over the past week.  This is A Good Thing – a wake up call to make me realise what my body goes through carting myself around all week.  It would be very grateful if I lost 10kg.

uh oh....

This was advanced wobbling on the last pushup. I was very glad to stop.

Overall that was 26 semi-reasonable-ish pushups.

So, as I was sitting around feeling rather smug, I thought, what’ll I do now?

Linda at Ping Heng had suggested doing the 200 Situps Challenge  after Easter but seeing as there’s no time like the present, I got started on that as well.

I’d put myself in the middle category in terms of ability but it was too easy – I didn’t bother with the recovery periods, I just went through the whole thing.  I’ll switch to the difficult one on Tuesday.

In gratitude to my poor arms, we’re not having any Chateau Collapso tonight and Neil’s making his chicken bhuna curry – the healthiest evening we’ve had for a while.

I don’t know why but the foot is still sore despite all the stretching, wheat bags and massage.  I’ll have to go back to the physio or maybe it just takes a while to settle down.  A bit fed up with it all but at least I’ve got other things to focus on while it sorts itself out.  Tomorrow is Pump and then yoga with a different instructor.  Hopefully a bit more serene than the last yoga class.