My own tri :-)

On Sunday, I wanted to go for a swim and rallying the family to get ready to get out of the house was proving too difficult. In order to make great use of the beautiful Sydney sunshine, I decided on a slow ride to the beach (I usually like getting the heart rate up and tearing along as quickly as I can). I left everything at home except a beach towel in my backpack. I went down the path of simplicity – no phone, keys, wallet or other belongings!

I can confidently say I still suck at it and still don’t like swimming, BUT decided to spice things up yesterday by adding in other elements of a triathlon (Cycle and Run)! After my slow and stuttery 350m in the water, I went for a soft-sand run, doping 3.5 laps of the beach I was on (later calculated to be 1.2km total).

As I had done the swim and the run, I was left with the cycle – so I rode home (again, at a leisurely pace).

This was mostly a spur-of-the-moment morning, as I’d only decided to go for a swim the night before; the actual decisions made on the day were mostly free-form and made from a just ‘do it’ perspective. Lesson: You don’t have to overanalyse every decision you make – just make it and move on. 🙂

Swimming

As you may know, I’m comfortable going for a ride (2010 Gongride) or going for a run (my 2010 City 2 Surf story), but leave the swimming to others. I’ve read numerous articles on how great swimming is for you as it’s low impact but a great all-over workout.

I don’t like swimming.

Let me go back a little to fill you in. At school, when they had swimming carnivals (and ‘everyone’ had to participate) I was one of if not THE slowest swimmer. Always last in the last race and likely the last out of the pool. Although some may say it probably scarred me in some way back then, I don’t think I’ve done too badly today for it. I’ve hardly swum in the intervening years, happy to splash around and ‘knowing’ how to swim should the need ever eventuate!

Have I mentioned how I do not like swimming?

As part of my journey to becoming better, one of my main focuses was on exercise – dusting off my bicycle and getting into the cycling, also including some running (check out my 2009 & 2010 goals). 3 weeks ago, I needed to get out of the house (working from home has one major drawback, sometimes you can go a long time without leaving the house, and it does start to mess with your mind and sanity) – it was a beautiful morning, so I packed up the boys and we went to the beach. I had a desire to just go for a swim. After hating it for so long!

I do appear to have absolutely no co-ordination for swimming gracefully. Mentally I know the moves to make, but together, it just doesn’t work. So I plodded along, making the moves, stopping every 15-20m but continued to work at it for a total of approx 300m. I then repeated this feat the following week, and again yesterday.

After 3 early morning swims, I don’t like swimming. I tolerate it. In the words of the Zombiefit team, this is my “ISuckAtThis” exercise!

What about you? What sports/activities do you tolerate in your journey to betterment? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: It’s OK to not be great at everything, in fact I don’t believe I am great at any sport in particular, I just happen to dislike swimming and enjoy running. Please do not see this post as an attack on ‘swimming’ – it’s my view of one of the activities I’ve been performing of late.

Edit: I have just written a quickie post about my own mini Triathlon – read it here: “My Own Tri

http://myproactivelife.com/?p=255

Expanding my exercise regime

I heard that one of my friends (Roger Lawrence) had taken up a new challenge in time for Christmas. It didn’t take much for me to decide (being the proactive fellow I am) to join him on his quest to be able to perform 100 pushups by Christmas.

Boys & Sand
Boys & Sand

I invested a few $ in the official app to help me stay on track with the challenge, and so far it has not killed me. I decided to do this to help support Roger (and I found out later, our mutual friend Robin Dickinson), but also to improve one of the 2 things I believe everyone should have: health and fitness. I’ve never been one for feats of strength but know this will benefit me in the future 🙂

Sandringham
Sandringham

Last week I decided to look into completing at least one triathlon (swim, run, cycle) in 2011. Many of you know of my exploits on a bicycle or my penchant for a half-marathon or 2, but nothing about swimming: namely because I have a strong dislike of swimming. In our family, my wife is the swimmer, and I’d be more than happy to do the swimming on behalf of…but it doesn’t work like that! Swimming is my “ISuckAtThis” activity, probably through no fault of its own. I know at school I hated the swimming carnival where they forced everyone to have a go, even when ‘having a go’ included near drownings on a regular scale!

To make the most of the great weather we had on Sunday morning, I took the boys to the beach where they played in the sand and I cranked out 10 laps of the swimming enclosure (approximate 300m or so). I know my form is crap and I had numerous stops (no-one said they were nonstop laps ;-)) but did complete what I set out to achieve. I am not sure how well I will go with the swimming in the future as my breathing sucks and my form is bad, both of which I hope to make better in the future.

It helps that the day started out perfectly – you can see from the pics that the day was simply great, weather-wise. I’ve decided to give swimming a chance; what sport, activity or exercise would you say is your “ISuckAtThis” that you could work on to become better at?

* Edit: I neglected to mention that the idea of the “ISuckAtThis” is not new – I was introduced to it through the Zombiefit Workout of the Day.

My 2010 MS Gongride review

At the Start of the 2010 MS Gongride
At the Start

Yesterday I completed my 3rd MS Sydney to the ‘Gong bicycle ride, as a way of staying fit, being part of something wonderful and raising a few $ for research into MS.

I was riding extremely well and even commented to my riding buddy Kenny that I was riding much better than last year – in 2009 I had walked up a few of the hills as I was buggered! We’d been stopping at the major rest stops along the way for a stretch, a feed and a rest. We’d discussed various topics, commented on some of the gear and bikes we saw along the ride. Up the hills I would power my way past a number of other riders, and hang around somewhere near the top for Kenny (more a testament to having shoes that clip into the pedals than anything else :-))

Loftus pit-stop
Loftus pit-stop

However, after 70km of the 90km, my right leg cramped up and I could barely ride up any of the remaining hills – some so small you’d swear I was being a wuss! I decided to just keep on pedaling until I reached the finish as I had plenty of gears to help me along. Up the hills I was riding as slow as 8km/h (I’ve famously said that when you ride at less than 6km/h, it’s easier to get off and walk, and I was determined to not have to walk!), but on the flat I was still able to ride above 20km/h. Up the hills I had nothing much left and at the time I thought I’d hit the wall.

I did finish the ride as I don’t stop until I complete my goal!

During the ride I made sure I had a decent rest, food and drink. By the time I had finished the ride I’d drunken more than 4L of water. Perhaps it still wasn’t enough? On the train ride home, Kenny remarked that I didn’t seem my usual self; usually I’d be bouncy and chatty but I just wasn’t – I just wanted to be home lying on the couch. Something was up, but I could not put my finger on it, and I don’t think I worked it out until today.

On the ride
On the ride

I have had a headache on and off since the end of the ride, as well as feeling exhausted. This isn’t normal, and am wondering if this is a carryover from the cold/flu-like symptoms I’d had a couple of weeks ago? Tomorrow, if I’m not feeling much better, I’ll go and visit my doc.

So, what lessons did I (and can you) learn from this?

  • Don’t give up – despite feeling bad, I did feel the sense of accomplishment for continuing to stick out the ride. Time will tell if this was the right thing to do. To me, it was.
  • A continued, small amount of effort can still reap great rewards. Despite riding at 8km/h at some stages, it still helps you progress towards your goal. Sometimes you’ll RUN towards your goals, sometimes you will CRAWL. No matter which it is, you will eventually get there.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t – If you’re not feeling well, consider how that affects everything – and get yourself to your doctor.