Last Day

I cannot exactly say that 8 weeks felt like the blink of an eye. They definitely felt like A-Long-Time-tm.

And I feel a little guilty about how little of consequence I have done with it, but not too much.

I have managed to re-establish a workable gym routine that had been suffering from too many interruptions last year from around August till November. I can actually do Body Attack again without dying, and my legs feel mostly okay after an hour.

I have read a half dozen fairly lengthy books from the large pile I was indirectly gifted by my former co-workers (a gift certificate well spent!)

I have watched way too many movies, way too much TV, and had a few nice do-nothing days along the way too.

And most importantly, I feel completely relaxed.
Which bodes well for tomorrow, the coming month, and the years beyond.

Campaign Monitor, here I come!
I must remember to take pictures along the way.

Day 357 – Bad Form

9 – The 100 Worst Athletes in Sports History

Sprains beget Sprains.
Injuries beget Injuries.

About three months back, on a trip to Melbourne, I sprained my back. I’m still not quite sure if I can blame the Novotel beds for that, or if it was the unfortunate twist in my Economy Class seat on the flight home as I tried to get off my hooded sweater.

My left shoulder and back were agony, and I blogged about them at the time.
Continue reading Day 357 – Bad Form

Day 356 – 100 Reasons Why Sports Suck

10 – 100 Essential Things you Didn’t Know about Sport

I really just cannot get into watching sports.

I think soccer back in the Netherlands traumatized me. Every summer. Every single damned summer. Soccer would displace all other programming on the television, pushing Star Trek and Babylon 5 out-of-the-way… for men pointlessly kicking a ball around.

I could have somewhat respected the seasonality of all this, if it weren’t for the German channels, the British channels, the French channels and the Luxembourg channels all showing the same match at the same time with a bouquet of voice overs of every linguistic variety.

Overkill.
With nothing “decent” to watch for the likes of me.
Continue reading Day 356 – 100 Reasons Why Sports Suck

Day 298 – Shouldered Burden

68 – 100 no-equipment workouts

Physically, today is off to a tough start.

I’m not sure whether it was intentional or not, but this morning my two classes instructed by Nikki were very heavy on the upper body, and specifically the shoulders. My Saturday morning routine consists of a 30 minute class at 9:30am, then a stroll on the treadmill to recover, and then another 30 minute class at 10:30am.

I barely made it through the shoulder exercises in my second class.
Nikki was laughing.
I suspect it wasn’t entirely an accident.

I nearly dozed off with my Kindle and my coffee at Michel’s. The second time I almost fell asleep I decided this was a sign for me to do the shopping and go home.

The shopping list was longer than I expected. Late mothers-day-shoppers forced me to park further away than I normally do. The bags I ended up with were heavier than expected. I had to stop 5 times along the way to the car to let my shoulders relax and my hands recover.

I’ve been napping and heat-packing ever since I got home. I think it is paying off. My shoulders feel like they’ll survive. I hope I’ll be up to my Yoga tomorrow.

Day 274 – Gym Songs

92 – 100 Best Workout Songs of All Time

This list cannot possibly be right. It’s absolutely clear that the no.1 best anything-song of all time is “Everything is Awesome”. Ever. (Also: do yourself a favour and go see the LEGO movie!)

Having said that, there are some good work-out songs on that list.
Ones that I’ve specifically enjoyed hearing around the gym, below.

98. Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
Perhaps a little up-tempo, but it kinda works with a weights routine. As long as the weights are modest, because otherwise it might kill.

66. Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother
Better tempo for weights on the off beats, or alternatively punches on all the beats. Maybe a bicep routine? Or just running on a treadmill.

47. Live and Let Die – Guns N’ Roses
Maybe lunges for the slow parts and some heavy cardio for the fast parts? Or just pretend you’re James Bond and you’re running for your life. That’d do the trick.

24. Unbelievable – EMF
Rowing. Definitely rowing for this one.

16. One More Time – Daft Punk
That moment… just when you think you perhaps should leave the gym. One more time through?

9. Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
Push-ups till you actually bite the dust.

I may actually have to see about turning these into a playlist for the gym, or for walking at night. Haven’t done that for too long either. And now, sleep.

One more day and then 10 days not.

Day 258 – No Sprain, No Gain

I made it back to the gym!

It felt great!

Until it was over; then I felt a bit worn. And now I feel exactly how it feels to not have been to the gym properly for 2-3 weeks. But that’s also a good feeling in its own way. Nothing quite like heavy weary legs to feel I’ve done what needs doing.

I was expecting to have to go much easier on my shoulder tonight. It’s been getting sore overnight, and tingling arm when I’ve slept on my left side. Instead it seems like the exercise did my shoulder some good.

I wasn’t sure if my form was okay, but Nikki assures me I was as straight as I always am. I put a little less weight on the upper-body exercises, but not that much less once I felt it was going okay. I’ll see how it feels tomorrow. My abs are liking this work-out less than my shoulder actually.

I was hoping to think through some complex thoughts tonight, but the brain-fog has got me bad. I cannot quite focus. But that too is relaxing.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to properly separate my work day from my home day.

Next time I hope my home day is a bit more productive.

With a functioning brain.

PP Cardio

How bad could it possibly be?

I mean, it’s only a 30 minute class.

And I do quite a bit of cardio already; it’s never easy, but it’s no longer actually hard either. I’m sure I can do this.

As a matter of fact, I’ll do two 30 minute classes back-to-back to fill the usual hour I spend at the gym.

Oh, how wrong I was.

The instructor was very nice about it, but what it comes down to is, this is definitely a solid step up from Attack or Cycle in the cardio-department. And today I was glad to be sitting most of the day.

Even so…

The stubborn voice in the back of my head is saying I just need to keep going to this class till I make it all the way through. And I think I agree. Let’s see how next week goes.

Why You Should Walk

Scrumpy

But first a short digression.

Have you ever heard of Scrumpy? No? … Go to your local liquor store, do yourself a favour, and look for some.

Essentially, it’s apple cider, only better.

You know how a good cider can have just the right amount of sweetness? Not too sickly sweet, but also not too tart or sour? … You know how it just smoothly slides down your throat and makes you feel like one is never enough?

It Kicks
It Kicks

Okay, Scrumpy does away with all that; it is slightly too bitter, it rasps your tongue in a not entirely comfortable way, and it makes your head swim like the bouncer at the local club just decided it wasn’t your day… and yet… you still want a second one. Make that a third!

Scrumpy is a disorienting experience that’s very hard to resist. And it’s also why this post probably will not make as much sense to you as it did to me inside my head as I was writing it.

Walking

I have walked regularly for a while now. I think it was the FitBit that kicked me into gear. It may sound silly, but after a while with a FitBit I have started to want to please the dashboard. Every time it sends me a big smiley face when I make my goal for the day, it reinforces my desire to walk the next day. To make that 10,000 steps. To make the very active minute quota.

But I bore easily, so added on top of that I’m trying to walk as many streets as I can. Some I hit more often than others, but I try to add side-streets that I haven’t tried on each subsequent walk.

It is proving a great way to see things I normally don’t see.

To get a perspective I normally lack.

Distance

I still remember one of the earlier visits by my mother to Australia. (I’m originally from the Netherlands, so family have to make a 20-hour journey to come see me)

I had just started renting all by myself, and as you might imagine, being all by myself on the other side of the planet, furniture wasn’t accumulating like it does when you have aunts, uncles and grand-parents with things they don’t really need any more (that is: want an excuse to replace… any excuse will do).

After talking about the local home-maker centre I had been to in Prospect, we decided to go have a visit and look at some lounges that I had seen.

We took the train to Blacktown, and had a walk from there.

Anyone that knows the area will already see the problem with this statement. But we asked passing cars about the distance, and they keenly suggested that it surely wasn’t more than a 15-20 minute walk away.

We don’t mind walking. So we walked.

For those less familiar with Australian/Sydney geography; the distance between Blacktown Station and Prospect Home-Maker Centre is about 4.5km; a good 60 minute walk in a hilly suburb.

Scale

My point is this.

When your main way of moving about is in a car, you lose your sense of perspective about the world around you. Everything seems closer. Everything seems smaller. Because the point about driving is to minimise the amount of time you spend in your car.

Larger Than Life
Larger Than Life

What made me think of that story on my walk today were the signs and toll gates along the M7.

How large would you say they are?

Okay, your car needs to fit through, so larger than a car. Actually, larger than a truck. But how large really?

Who cares! Zoom! Look, I’m through.
Who cares how large it is!?

But as I was walking along the M7 today, the path came level with one of those great big square green signs we all see every day as we drive past an exit. How large would you say one of them is?

Standing right next to it, I was startled to realise it was easily twice as tall as I am. And just about as wide. And yet, even standing next to it, in my memory it was much smaller.

Details

I am starting to notice how many details I miss in the car. Beautiful spots along the way, comfortable benches set away from the traffic, short-cuts carved out between blocks of houses.

The problem with driving is that it is about destinations. There is nothing separating A from B, other than a high-speed blur that distorts the world.

It’s hard to get an appreciation for how large your neighbourhood is until you try to walk through it. Around it.

And in the process you’ll discover that between A and B there are stretches of distances that also contain places.

Sunset
Sunset

And you’ll get to enjoy noticing things you otherwise never notice. And you’ll get time to see things you otherwise only glimpse. And you’ll get to smell the world! Which in summer can be a very worthwhile experience in its own right.

And then… once you get home… you’ll get to crash on the lounge in front of Breaking Bad and do nothing, smug in the knowledge that you did more today than most other people did.

Day 84 – Heaven in a Bowl

Coming back from a long weekend is never easy.

I upped the ante by packing in a Cycle class at the gym when my legs had barely recovered from their stretch in Yoga on Sunday. I am running with the philosophy that I should keep my scheduled class regimen intact until my legs just decide to comply and give in.

Dinner and a Drink and some News
Dinner and a Drink and some News

Still, there is nothing as good as getting home after a class, sitting in front of the TV with some dinner and a drink, and stretching my legs braced against the coffee table. I used to hate stretching until I started to do it more seriously as part of Pilates and Yoga classes. Now, I like nothing better than that feeling of my muscles slowly relaxing out of their tension as I brace my leg and flex my foot.

There is something wonderful about the heavy feeling in my legs after a good class that makes it so much easier to fall asleep at night.

And moreover, it is so much easier to sit still in front of a computer when the last thing my legs would like to do is move. It’s so much easier to focus deeply when the occasionally nagging ants in my legs are gone.

My Friend Ben came to Visit
My Friend Ben came to Visit

Second to the stretching were a few scoops by my friend Ben. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie has sat in the freezer for a long time now, and it would seem that the moist brownie pieces have actually partly dried out. It actually seems to add a certain something to the ice cream I think.

I contemplated another scoop, but I’m getting better at recognising when that’s a bad idea. I could finish it, but I wouldn’t feel exactly happy afterwards. So I guess it gets to survive another long cold winter.