getting buff

Monday, May 29, 2006

WWI the eighth

Starting Weight - 107.5kg
Current Weight - 105kg
Total weight loss - 2.5kg
This week's weight loss - 1.0kg

Happy with this. My eating still wasn't ideal and I always tend to have a really bad eating day on Sundays which is kind of annoying as I weigh in on Monday morning. This is the last week that my run/walk program has any walking in it, so I am steadily increasing both the amount and intensity of exercise over time. Hopefully that has an effect.

deege said this at 12:44 pm | 3 comments |

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Getting there

I am still chugging away on the C25K. I debated not commenting on this because I didn't want to jinx it, but it is not that difficult, and increasingly I am getting the feeling looking at my plan for the week that it is something I can accomplish. Just the fact that I have been able to do whatever the plan has dished up to me so far is giving me confidence that it is structured in such a way that I will be able to do what it dishes up in the future.

Definition of progress - you know that your management of lower leg pain is working because the pain is recurring in a different spot. Heh.

Anyway the fitness is going reasonably well although I was huffing a bit on last night's run esp when going up hill. My reward for completing the C25K program is the purchase of a flash mp3 player. And I have planned out my training program to run up until the Queen of the Lake in August where I plan to run my first 5K race. Mainly I think I will be allowing the joints and ligaments to get used to running three times a week while increasing my time a little bit especially on one of my runs so that I can start talking about "my long run" like the other hip running geeks.

My reward for completing the Queen of the Lake (well it is not really a reward just something I want to get and seeing as I will probably be buying it with my tax return, I won't even be waiting until the Queen of the Lake to get it) is some sort of distance meter (whether a Garmin or a Timex or a Polar one) so that I can measure how far I am running for without a hassle.

deege said this at 11:59 am | 5 comments |

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The demon weed

The urge to rebel came late with me. At heart, I really don't have the need to do the "bad girl" thing. I never really drank alcohol while underage and my flirtations with drugs were so laughable as to be rather naff.

So I was never tempted to join my friends in year seven and eight who snuck cigarettes while sitting on the middle of the oval (hiding in plain sight, I guess). I didn't like the smell and couldn't see the attraction. Plus I had the sort of moralistic attitude to self-abuse that only the young and naive can have. I had grown up in the era of the squeezed out lung and the worst of the anti-smoking advertisements. In primary school I had so many "healthy body" classes warning against smoking that I could recite them by rote. I was a swimmer at that stage and prided easy breathing above all else. I couldn't see the attraction of making yourself unhealthy.

A few short years later the attraction became clear to me. Smoking was (and is) cool. After finishing year 12 and going overseas, I began dutifully ticking off the list when I accomplished things I shouldn't be doing. Drinking till I puked. Check. Dabbling with pot. Check. Petty theft of souvenir glasses from famous bars and breweries. Check. Crude photos taken with naked statues that could not be shown to mum and dad. Check.

In Europe, everyone smokes (or at least they did when I was there). Cigarettes are cheap and the culture of smoking is embraced. It's not like in Melbourne where the pathetic masses are forced to huddle in the cold on street corners while pig-sucking the last few puffs from their winnie blues. It is all cafes and dim lighting so that the smoke can lazily spiral into the air. It is strong coffee and unnamed shots of pungent liquor served with a cigarette on the side of the plate. It is classy cigarettes of all shapes, sizes and smells, none of which is ever purchased in cartons. It is a smoke handrolled impossibly thin so that the ash barely glows when taking a drag. It is exotic cigarettes with exotic smells flagged only by a single gold band.

Or, in the crowd that I was more likely to run with, it is crumpled softpacks of crumpled cheap cigarettes lit with one hand while with the other hand drinking amazingly flavoured vodka from the jam jars that your fellow young thugs had snuck out of their parent's basements while sitting around a roaring campfire in the woods somewhere. Or a leisurely smoke while wandering through the snow covered city streets at 2am in the morning just back from seeing some incomprehensible polish jazz band while flirting with a sweet pommy boy impressed with how well you can speak the local language.

In short, I started smoking.

There were moments when smoking was as cool as it was then. Inevitably, on another trip to Europe standing on the balcony of my student room. The room was the size of a shoe box, but the balcony had a fabulous view across one of the greatest cities in Europe. Every night I would practise my newfound skill of rolling my own and stand on the balcony in the cold and look out across one of the cities that never sleep. And there were other times as well. But smokings potential for coolness in Australia had already passed, and smoking is something that you have to be ashamed of for 90% of your life, except when going out for a big night when all your non-smoker friends start scabbing smokes off you.

And, to be fair, I had always hated that I was being incredibly unhealthy. I always had in the back of my mind that it was going to be doubly hard to get fit and start running together when I was destroying my lung capacity at a rate of knots. I had attempted to quit a bunch of times. But it just didn't work out. It was the subject of a heap of silent and spoken New Years' Resolutions. Then one day, Hub said something about it and all of a sudden, I wanted to make sure that I could do it. Damn it, I was thirty years old and had been smoking for over a third of my life. And so I quit.

I had one bad moment a week after quitting when I fished the smokes out of the bin and had one more. But apart from that, it was surprisingly easy. With the help of some quitting lozenges and a bit of willpower, I managed it.

And when I passed the point that the books said I no longer had any traces of physical addiction, I began to believe that I had managed (or could manage) to quit. Within a month or two, I had joined the gym. If I could manage to do that after all these years, then I can sure as hell manage to get myself fit again.

deege said this at 12:35 pm | 4 comments |

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Handy Hints

If you, like me, are not accustomed to sleeping whilst rugged up and yet have recently commenced a beginner's running program, then these cold nights in Melbourne may have caused some stiffness and soreness in your legs, hampering your progress. Here's one hint for minimising the problem.

In lieu of pajama pants, take your daggiest pair of fleecy track dacks and put them on. The fleecy tracksuit material is soft against the skin and intriguing for any significant others who may be sharing the bed with you. Next, take two large boxer dogs and arrange them in a loose pile over your lower legs, paying particular attention to ensure that their soft mooshy faces are arranged to cover any identified sore spots. Doze off to sleep and awake with warm and ache free legs!!

deege said this at 9:05 am | 8 comments |

Monday, May 22, 2006

running playlists

Today as I try to get out of watching the clock and try to just enjoy (Hah!) the run I bought myself The Crappiest Radio In The History Of The World(TM). I didn't want to spend a lot of money as my reward for finishing the couch to 5K plan is to buy myself a decent flash MP3 player. And I couldn't find the many radios that we seem to have around this house sometime. So it would have to be TCRITHOTW (tm).

It was one of those players that had a scan function to find the radio station. The only problem is that the station would spontaneously scan to a new station whilst I was running along. So I would hear a third of a song and then it would switch to some foreign language station.

At least it kept my mind off the clock.

deege said this at 9:41 pm | 0 comments |

WWI the seventh

Starting Weight - 107.5kg
Current Weight - 106kg
Total weight loss - 1.5kg
This week's weight loss - +0.5g

Step right up and join the amazing expanding woman!! That's right, if you follow expanding woman's scientifically formulated program, you too can do three cardio sessions and two weight sessions a week while PUTTING ON WEIGHT.

Bah humbug.

PS. This week will be making a few dietary changes which are going to be a pain in the arse in the sense of inconvenient, but hopefully will make a difference.

deege said this at 10:20 am | 2 comments |

Saturday, May 20, 2006

new shoes

So I took the plunge this morning and bought a new pair of runners. When you are obviously not a sporty person it is sometimes pretty difficult to walk into a sports store and speak intelligently about what you are doing. You feel like you can hear their internal response when you say that you want to buy a running shoe ("Yeah right, like you run!!"). Intellectually you know that they are there to sell shoes so they are going to be encouraging and friendly to you even if they think that you are a galumphing heifer. But you still feel stupid.

The last time I bought a pair of shoes I went to a Rebel sports, which was a mistake. It was hard enough to get someone's attention to speak to me, and the advice that they gave was basically "Yeah, that shoe's okay, in fact they are all good". I felt so terrible that I just tried to get out of there as quick as possible.

As I have been doing my C25K, I have had various aches and pains including in my legs. And I realised how stupid it is that I don't even know what type of foot I have and I have no idea whether my shoes (which feel okay I guess) are actually helping or harming me. So I went to Athlete's Foot and did that test thing that they do. I tried on a bunch of shoes and walked around in them until I was happy. And now I know that I have the right shoes for me and I can keep track of the kms I put on them so that I can make sure I change them over before they wear out.

And now I have one more reason to make sure that I keep this up. I have just spent a lot of money on a pair of shoes so if I don't keep running, that will be a big waste. Onwards and upwards fellas!!

[I did the third run in week 4 of the C25K today and felt pretty good - I even did an extra 3 minutes at the end. Then when I checked my program for next week I realised that this whole week I had been doing the program wrong and leaving out an extra minute of rest in the middle of the run. Whoops. No wonder it was hard.]

deege said this at 3:09 pm | 2 comments |

Thursday, May 18, 2006

new beginning

Since I have started this blog, I feel much more interested in writing about my exercise and lifestyle change stuff rather than trying to lose weight. Obviously that is a big part of what I am trying to do, but whenever I begin to obsess over my weight I begin to feel like a big fat whiner. So I will still post the weekly weigh ins and so on, but in my mind, the weight loss stuff is just a bonus for the other stuff going on.

I don't want to get to the point that if I am not losing weight, I am not enjoying this blog, even though I am getting fitter and acheiving my other goals. So my commitment is that I want to continue on with this whole journey whether or not I succeed in losing weight. If in a year's time I am the biggest fun runner in the country, well that is better than I am now. I won't stop trying to lose weight, but I want to avoid it becoming the focus. I don't want to count calories or points, I just want to increase the amount of fruit and veg, increase whole grains, increase water, and limit junk, fat and sugar. If I focus on health and activity and improving my physical capabilities, then I know that my body shape will change for the better.

deege said this at 2:33 pm | 0 comments |

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Did it!

Well after my fear I managed to do alright and complete the whole session without cutting short any of the run sections. Because my run sections are now more than a couple of minutes, I realise I have to break the fixation with checking my watch to see how much time I have to go. The early very short runs have led to be basically counting down the time (Are we there yet?) - a habit I am now trying to break.

I read an article in a magazine about visualisation and using chants and mantras to create a rhythm to keep going. I tried it, but the positive ones (I-am-too-strong-to-stop) didn't work at all. I just didn't find myself believable. Too strong? If I was too strong then would I be wheezing up a lung after running 4 minutes in a row?

What did work was self-abuse. "You are pathetic. I can't believe that you checked your watch just then. Are you really so puffed after 4 minutes that you want to give up? You big baby. You looked at it again!! You only ran for 30 seconds that time. What kind of loser can't run for 30 seconds without begging to stop?" It worked very well and I shamed myself into not stopping.

As stupid as this sounds, I am pretty proud that I jogged for a total of 16 minutes last night.

deege said this at 10:39 am | 2 comments |

Monday, May 15, 2006

First 5K

Okay, provided that my training plan continues as anticipated, I have tentatively set a goal for my first race, being the Queen of the Lake 5km which is on 6 August 2006. The Albert Park lake course is nice and flat so not too bad for a first go. I have figured out that my jog/shuffle pace is about a 7.5 - 8 mins per km pace. So assuming that I can actually maintain that pace when jogging non-stop, that gives me a 37.5 to 40 min 5k. The running part of my brain says this is very slow (I used to get pretty annoyed if went much slower than about 25 min for a 5K).

But I have looked up the results from last year and have determined that of 365 runners in the 5K there were about 30 that finished slower than that pace (incidentally a 25 min time would have put me in the top 40 or so runners). They were all probably walking, but at least I don't think I would be the last person across the line. With any luck having another two and a half months of training under my belt I could do better than that again.

If not this run, then I will try and find a 5K race which suits some time around August/September. I think my aim will be to run it in under 40 minutes but I won't be too fussed. For a first run my main aim will be to finish, to run the whole thing and to feel relatively good whilst doing it.

deege said this at 3:14 pm | 0 comments |


In the spirit of my herculean running (jogging/shuffling/stumbling) adventure, tonight I move to the next week on the program. And this one is scaring the bejeesus out of me.

This last week I found the step up pretty hard. My first repetition of the week three program (which only requires you to run for a grand total of 9 minutes anyway!) was pretty difficult and there were times when I definitely wanted to stop. I got better over the rest of the week and when I went on Saturday I stepped it up a bit. When I am into this a bit more, Saturday will be my long run day. For now it is the day when I try to work pretty hard and step up pace and resistance so that I can manage the step up to the next week. So I spent most of the program heading up hill, with a couple of down hills right at the end during what was my warm down walk.

As a result, I found that my fitness (as judged by the amount of time that I spent outside of my heartrate range) was improving. A brisk walk will keep my heart rate at about 140-145 while a jog always puts it over 160. So I judge my fitness by how long it takes to return below 160 when I take my walk sessions. Even though the length of my jogging sections is increasing, the time taken for the HR to go down is decreasing. Yay for me!!

So this is the program for this week (3 times) - brisk walk warm up 5 min, Jog 3 min, walk 90 sec, jog 5 min, walk 90 sec, Jog 3 min walk 90 sec, jog 5 minute, keel over in cardiac arrest. Wish me luck!!

deege said this at 11:34 am | 0 comments |

WWI the sixth

Starting Weight - 107.5kg
Current Weight - 105.5kg
Total weight loss - 2kg
This week's weight loss - +1kg

Bugger. And there I was nice and happy that I had a loss last week. I don't really want to go mental with the food thing at the moment with tracking, counting and measuring, but if this continues then I will go down that path. Although, finding reasonable alternatives to the couple of crappy meals that I seem to have every week would be a start. I mentioned to Hub yesterday my thought that if I was given the option of doing all of this exercise and continuing to get fitter as I am but not lose any weight, would I think it was worth it? The answer is of course that it would be totally worth it.

deege said this at 11:19 am | 0 comments |

Thursday, May 11, 2006


How frustrating is it when you try and do the right thing and do exercise and eat well and it leads to you getting injured? At the moment I have put my neck out a little, mostly due to the weights and exercise I have been doing. As a result I haven't been able to do any weights and exercise until it settles down a bit. It doesn't really make sense. I would never have hurt myself if I had continued sitting on my arse on the couch!

I did go for a gentle walk last night with the dogs (when what I wanted to do was to go to the gym or do the next instalment of my running program). At the moment I no longer feel like I want to throw up (always a good sign) and am just feeling a little stiff. So I think that a bit of movement would actually probably be good for it so I am planning to go to the gym tonight and do a weights session, knocking two weights off all of my upper body reps. Hopefully that will allow everything to have a bit of gentle movement and will continue to improve.

Of course, there is the matter of eating half a box of pizza shapes when sitting on the couch last night feeling sorry for the fact that I couldn't do any real exercise. But we will set that aside for the moment.

deege said this at 12:49 pm | 0 comments |

Monday, May 08, 2006

Run buffgirl Run! See buffgirl Run!

I think you either instinctively understand running as a leisure activity or you don't. I have always liked it, but I am the only one in my family that feels that way. I don't know why. It seems like the last thing most sane people would be interested in doing. And it is the sort of exercise that always makes me want to kill myself whilst I am doing it. If it doesn't, then generally I feel like I am slacking off and I trot away to do some hill sprints until my head is about to explode.

When I was seven or eight I used to jog around our circular driveway and up and down the hill to the road with those self-satisfied little puffs of controlled breathing that runners do. I kept it up intermittently but was involved in a bunch of different sports for most of my teenaged years and it was a passing flirtation.

When I was in year twelve I saw an ad for the Sussan Women's classic, a 10K race they used to have here in Melbourne (I think it has morphed into the Mothers' Day Classic now). A friend and I kind of said "Djawanna?" and, after receiving a note from our PE teacher to say that we were fit enough not to keel over at the starting line, we were off. I ran that race in about 53 minutes, a time which remains my PB for a 10K.

From there my race running career started and continued off and on for the next four or five years. I amassed several t-shirts and became used to people saying things like "Did you really run 10K this morning? You don't even look puffed!!" But I knew that I wasn't really all that fast and felt stupid when I turned in crappy times, even though I still enjoyed it. I never trained properly for races or even with any sort of direction and it never occurred to me to do so. But in the pantheon of people who weren't serious runners, I was pretty good. One year two of my sisters and I went in a 10K together and I beat both of them comfortably (they didn't actually even like running or do it that often, but I still felt heaps superior to them).

Even when I couldn't be arsed getting up on Sunday mornings to run a formal event, I still used to go jogging as my exercise. We lived near a park with walking trails which meant I could easily run a loop of between 3K and 6K depending on how I was feeling. Sometimes I would go more often than others, but generally I kept it up and maintained my fitness with jogging for the 5 and a half years that I was at University. My fitness and skinniness would change depending on how committed I was being to exercise but I spent my university years comfortably within the healthy weight range for my height and often quite a bit fitter than that.

Then I started work. I went from juggling part time job, university classes and other commitments to sitting at a desk from 8:30am to 6pm five days per week. And while it certainly simplified my life, it also meant that I had lost the ability to easily find a spare three quarters of an hour in my day to go for a run. Previously I could find a time after classes or before work and manage it in such a way that it didn't intrude on the time that I had with Hub. Suddenly my only time was in the evenings, and spending time exercising by myself would happen at the expense of spending time with him.

It didn't take long before I was no longer fit enough to run and I put on weight at an alarming rate. Between the end of university and the end of my first year at work, I had increased two dress sizes. That included the couple of months in between finishing university and starting work, which, in honour of the fact that I would soon be joining the professional masses, were devoted to sitting on my arse and eating crap. The weight gain slowed down but continued, interrupted only by a few bursts of activity which righted the ship for a couple of months at a time.

And (except for my abortive experiment with Fitne$$ Fir$t) the couple of occasions when I tried to get into regular exercise again, the thing that I wanted to do was start running. Walking to me doesn't feel like exercise, and power walking would require me to wear pink and have a ponytail that you can flip from side to side (or alternatively to become John Howard). So jogging was the go. The problem is that I am now crap at it.

When I first started running properly in high school, it wasn't easy but it certainly wasn't difficult. I was fit and healthy enough that I could turn to a friend and say "Let's do a 10K run next month!" and I could actually do it. Now a good 30kg heavier and the owner of a pretty sedentary lifestyle, when I went out and tried to work my way up to going for a decent jog, I was humiliatingly bad. I found it harder because I used to be able to do this reasonably well. Suddenly (okay, over the space of 5 years, but it seemed sudden) I had gone from being a regular jogger to being someone who couldn’t hold it together for more than a minute at a time.

Hopefully this time I will do better. I still feel humiliated. I am up to week three on the Couch to 5K program and am finding it hard. Yesterday I did the week 3 program for the first time and I felt dreadful. I was checking my watch to see whether my allotted time for jog had passed. I would check, convinced that I was very close to the end of the jog, but finding that I actually was only half way through. I felt a huge sense of achievement at the end of the session. Why? Because I twice ran for 3 minutes without stopping (even though I desperately wanted to).

So now instead of continuing to feel proud of myself and congratulating myself on being able to run for 3 minutes instead of the 90 seconds that I could manage last week, I can't get past the fact that I am still only running for a maximum of three minutes at a time. And that, even though my session yesterday was 30 minutes during which time Chuck says that I had an average heart rate of 154, I only jogged for a grand total of 9 minutes.

I suck but I am still pretty proud of myself. And, if I keep going, next week I should be able to jog for a grand total of 16 minutes. And the week after that I am scheduled to do my first 20 minute non-stop jog. And another four weeks after that I will be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping three times per week. And maybe sometime between now and then I might start to think of myself as a runner rather than someone who is trying to become one.

deege said this at 12:38 pm | 0 comments |

WWI the fifth

Starting Weight - 107.5kg
Current Weight - 104.5kg
Total weight loss - 3kg
This week's weight loss - 1kg

Yay, finally. As long as I get a loss every couple of weeks I will be happy as there are certainly other indications to suggest that I am reducing in size and increasing in fitness. Today I noticed that I can rather strangely turn my watch around on my wrist while it is still done up. Odd that wrist size should be an indicator of weight loss.

The weight/size isn't exactly falling off me but enough that I notice it. I left my "big" jeans at our other house so have been wearing the smaller jeans this week and surprisingly enough fitting into them. Shall try on the "big" jeans this week but hopefully they will be unwearable and destined to be put away so that they can be used for the weight loss cliche "after" photo (I can't believe I fit into these pants! They are three times my size!!.

deege said this at 11:23 am | 0 comments |

Friday, May 05, 2006

run ugly

One of the shoe companies (I thought it was Nike, but I can't find it on the site) has a motto "run ugly". That is kind of the way that I have been feeling lately. BTW I still feel a bit silly talking about going for a run when I am only up to running about 90 seconds on followed by a 2 minute walk. I am actually walking more than I am running, but still.

The other night it was pissing down rain when I was due to go out for a run. In the aid of trying to avoid/minimise some impact/beginner injuries I have been having, I am running exclusively on nature strips and avoiding the concrete. So I was doing my run soaking wet and splashing through mud and puddles. I get back to the house and my shoes are covered in mud and my feet were soaked through as were all of my clothes. And I felt GREAT.

Somehow coming in on days like that I feel much better. If I feel like shit when I am schlepping around in perfect running weather I just feel unfit. But if it is crappy weather then there is a reason why I should feel shit and consequently, I feel terrific.

PS last night I did my 25 min session around an oval which meant I could keep track approximately of how fast I was going. If I was accurately keeping time, my part jog mostly walk pace would see me doing a 5K race in about 44 mins. When I am running the whole time I really would like to get my time down around 30mins. Based on my current (jog/shuffle) pace, that is not out of the question, particularly if I increase the speed a bit when I get into the routine.

deege said this at 3:05 pm | 0 comments |

Monday, May 01, 2006

WWI the fourth

Starting Weight - 107.5kg
Current Weight - 105.5kg
Total weight loss - 2kg
This week's weight loss - 0kg

I used all my best tricks this morning - I weighed myself about five different times, standing on different parts of the scales. Then I went to the toilet to see if that made a difference. I got a lot of different results but most of them were 105.5kg so that is the official one.

Part of the problem is that my scales only measure half kilo increments if you weigh more than 100kg. So I might have actually had a little bit of a loss, but it is not showing up. Of course it might be that the occasional crappy food which I have eaten this week has caught up with me.

This coming week I am going to work really hard on what I am putting in my mouth.

deege said this at 9:38 am | 0 comments |