I’m going for a walk…

On Friday 10th June 2011, I am going for a walk; but not just any walk.

walking...

I decided that when I had the time I would go for a walk to see how far I can go within a certain time. Rather than plan, plot, scheme, re-plan, deliberate, discuss and re-re-plan, I’ve decided to just go for a 10 hr walk this Friday and see how far I can go (roughly the amount of daylight available in Sydney at the moment). It’s been dubbed the Freaky Friday Footslog.

This walk is going to be the first fundraising activity I undertake to support my participation in the Black Dog Ride 2011. All donations will go to the Black Dog Institute to fund their ongoing research into mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.

There won’t be much in the way of structure to this walk but I do have some guidelines:

  • I aim to meander through suburbs and stop for rest breaks as & when needed
  • I will carry food & water with me, but may stop for a hot chocolate somewhere along the way
  • I should be able to keep a sustained walking pace of 5km/h, for aย distance of 40-50km (factoring in breaks, traffic lights, major road crossings, etc.)
  • And in the theme of throwing planning out the window, at the moment I have no idea how I will get home.

Let me know if you’d like to join me or recommend any suburbs to try and wander through (and don’t forget to donate if you can! :-))

ADDENDUM: 5:30pm Friday 10th June:
I’m back from the walk! Here are the stats on what I achieved today. Unfortunately you can’t see the entire route as the app crashed after approx 28km, but The big numbers first:

  1. 28km in 4:37:55 avg pace 9:56 min/km (the big part)
  2. 1.3km in 12:47 avg pace 9:49 min/km (this was ‘rushing’ to get some lunch ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  3. 9.98km in 1:39:03 avg pace 9:55min/km (the return journey to 3pm)

Total: 39.28km in 6:29:45 avg pace 9:54min/km.

  • My legs are sore, and so are my feet, but I feel good for doing it.
  • I did not reach the 40km mark but believe I can do better next time with a different pair of shoes and better weather at the end.
โ€œOh, my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I’m at home and at ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I knowโ€ – Henry Lawson

CrackOfArse

This week, I participated in something known as the “CrackOfArse” challenge, set out by Amelia Burton, which is to exercise for 5 days straight between 5:30am-7:30am (The term is an Aussie slang amendment of the ‘Crack Of Dawn’). There was no limit or stipulation on what type of exercise you could do.

Since my departure from full-time work, I’ve felt it important to continue with a routine of waking up and getting stuck into the day and decided to join in. It wasn’t difficult, and it led to me including my boys & wife in some of the exercises!

My #CrackOfArse Week!

Monday: 7.5km run
Tuesday: 2km walk/run around my local park with Mr5! (followed by a session with my wife that included Weighted swiss ball crunches, Dumbbell lunge, The clam, Sumo Squats, Kneeling semi-planks and Saxon side bends, along with some sprint boxing.
Wednesday: 7km cycle
Thursday: 9km walk: Brisk at first, then walked the boys to school, followed by a semi-brisk return.
Friday: 30km cycle into the city with my buddy Jeff Marsh.

I felt wonderful for it, and it helps to stick to the routine – I’ve read a few stories & spoken to people who found it difficult to get out of bed when there was no ‘work’ to do. That won’t be the case with me – I still have too many things I want to do to be lying in bed! If you are on Twitter, I recommend following Amelia and keeping an eye out on the next #CrackOfArse challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

Size does matter

There are some things in life where size doesn’t matter. There are also some things in life where it does.ย Many people have noticed the change in me and immediately ask me how much weight I’ve lost. The truth is, I do not know. I cannot tell how how much I weigh today! As I’ve mentioned in the past, weight loss is not my goal. Fitness and health is. And this is where for me, size does matter.

Last year, I bought a slim-fit Medium (M) shirt for the first time in as long as I can remember.

Today, I bought a pair of pants with a waist size of 87cm. 2 years ago I was buying 102cm pants

Today, size does matter to me, as it’s one small way of proving that my approach to a healthier, fitter, more proactive life is working! ๐Ÿ™‚

Warrior Dash 2011

Today I participated in the Warrior Dash in Glenworth Valley, NSW. This is the only Warrior Dash in 2011 outside of the USA, and touted as “The best frickin’ day of your life’, how could you not want to give it a go?

Me and my Turkey leg :-)
Me and my Turkey leg ๐Ÿ™‚

My verdict?

Absolutely glorious fun! Obstacles and mud were the order of the day and there were very happy people all round, in all states of dress (or undress) and covered from head-to-toe in mud. Mud, glorious mud! I ran the race with my buddy Ben and once I got stuck in the mud and lost my shoe, I knew Ben would have gone on ahead. The odd thing is, once I caught up to him he told me he was attempting to catch me as he thought I was ahead of him! Still, the mud pits, water crossings and obstacles were all a great challenge and helped me scoot past some of the field, even with only 1 shoe! I had made the decision to stick with Ben and race together rather than blaze ahead and achieve a great time.

Ben’s friends Alison and Shaun came with us and ran in the next wave, with Alison achieving a sub 42-min run! For some reason the men’s resiults were broken so neither Shain, Ben or I found out our time. It wasn’t a worry as we’d had pies (the meal of champions), Turkey legs and beer and were all very happy bunnies!

What I learnt:

  • Dried-on mud does keep you warm…for a short while
  • Dried-on mud causes chafing
  • You won’t be the first nor will you be the last – there were sprinters, walkers and everything in between. This is something anyone can do of almost any fitness level. I promise you will have fun should you wish to do it ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The black mud was the worst – it stains and stinks and removes shoes very easily!
  • I lost a shoe in the black mud and donated my remaining shoe to Shoes for Planet Earth. I hope there is a one-legged person out there who can make use of the right shoe!
  • Turkey legs are pretty meaty and filling, and were a great way to end the day ๐Ÿ™‚

If you get the chance to run in one of these, I strongly recommend it! What’d you do this weekend?

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

My City2Surf 2010

Coming just 2 weeks after my Sutherland2Surf 11km run, was the 40th running of the City2Surf. I was running with a few friends from work this year and one confidently said “keep your red beanie on so I know when I pass you! Confident words indeed!

This year I started in the green start group as I had cracked the 100min mark in 2009. My goal was to beat 75mins in 2010 (see my Events tab). I completed the run in 75min, 51 secs. Although I did not crack a below 75min time, in my last 3km I cranked out 3×5 min-km! This was also a 2010 goal, to eventually run a 5min-km.

Running, (and most sports actually), are a mental game, and I played my own mental game very well in those last 3km. I am very proud of my achievement, and will surely do better in 2011.

If there’s one take-away from my run, it’s to keep pushing yourself that little bit more, and a little bit more after that, as you probably do have it in you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sutherland 2 Surf fun-run

Andrew at the Finishing lineThis past weekend, I completed another of my 2010 goals – to complete the Sutherland2Surf fun-run. This is an 11km run from Sutherland to the Wanda Beach surf club. I entered the run for the first time in 2009 and enjoyed it, so went back for more. I also saw this as a good opportunity to see if I had done ‘better’ in 2010 than in 2009. The quick story:

  • 2010 time: 56:59.
  • 2009 time: 58:46.

I did not ‘train’ for the event specifically, preferring to keep up the riding and exercise regime as best I could. I turned up on the day and went for a run, and had a great time. And this here is the importance of exercise to me – it has to be relaxed and fun. Sure, I can get all serious about something (turn on a ‘race-face’ and psyche myself up) – but that’s not what it’s about for me.

There are many people who fixate on numbers. I posted the times at the top to get it out of the way, but I don’t go into these events worrying about numbers. I often get asked ‘how much weight have you lost?‘ as part of My Proactive Life – I cannot tell you as it was never the main focus of my project! In any case, theย  purpose of my run was to have fun. During the run I wasn’t always feeling like it was ‘fun, but I did enjoy myself! I especially liked how my boys wanted to be there to pick me up at the end of the race ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, onto the run!

I decided to run to music this time as many reports suggest you can go further/faster/better as your mind is distracted and does not let you focus on negatives like how much you need the loo, or how thirsty you are! I ran to a Podrunner workout track known as 135-175bpm Upward Mobility. As the name suggests it increases in tempo as the song progresses – the music started out relatively slow (for my liking, I like things in the 150-160bpm range) but soon built up. The mixes are approx 1 hour in length so was perfect for this run. My goal was simply to run to the beat. Every beat = a foot striking the ground. And for the most part, I did it!

I did walk whilst having a drink at 2 of the 3 drink stations (no-one looks coordinated trying to drink from a paper cup whilst running…no-one!) but for no more than a minute, then straight back into it. I found the music took care of my feet allowing me more time to enjoy the scenery and talk to myself. I thought about various things during this run, some of which you’ll hear about in future blog posts/twitter updates, here are some of them:

  • There’s a moment during a run where you hear nothing – the feet of everyone around you seems to hit the ground at the same time, creating ‘pockets of silence’. They don’t happen too often but are perfect little slices of silence you’d never expect during a run!
  • Even though it was a chilly morning I was glad I dressed simply; some people were overdressed and carrying their gear with them.
  • Anyone who runs with a pram/child is a hero. Anyone who does it AND pulls away from me is a LEGEND!
  • I tend to notice just how much incline/decline there is in a road whilst running; more so than when cycling or driving a car.
  • I feel as one with the terrain whilst running – something you don’t feel in a vehicle
  • I feel a silent camaraderie with the other runners – for a small period of time you share space/time with other people whom you may never be in close proximity to ever again or paths could cross at any time in the future.

I didn’t achieve my (2009-set) goal time of 55 mins, but that’s perfectly OK; I enjoyed myself, completed the goal and know the benefits from the endeavour will stay with me for a while. If you’re a regular runner (or cyclist or exerciser), let me know your thoughts and what you think about whilst exercising! ๐Ÿ™‚