Day 82 – Poisoning and Hedging

Today I do the gardening for tomorrow it must rain!

But first, I had to climb on the roof. For weeks now there have been scrabbling noises overhead in the bedroom and the study. There have also been signs of rats in the garage.

Sweaty work on blisteringly hot tiles, but someone’s gotta do it, and it’s gotta be me. Luckily there was a nice breeze to keep me cool.

And next I had to trim the hedge once more. I feel so sore in my arms after; it’s heavier than it seems while I’m doing it. As long as I keep going till I’m done it’s okay, but now I’ll be unable to use my arms for the rest of the evening. It’s a good thing I have an ergonomic keyboard so that my wrists can just rest or I would not be able to bring you this post!

Below some miscellaneous images of the aforementioned jobs.

And now I’m going to relax before tonight’s outing. More on that tomorrow.

Day 81 – Weights and Measures

I blogged earlier about the FitBit Flex I got for my birthday, and it has been a tremendous help in monitoring my physical activity and my sleep. I tap it into sleep mode before I go to bed, and tap it awake in the morning, and then it tells me on my account exactly how restlessly I might have slept.

It was a revelation to discover that I didn’t sleep as much as I thought I did, and it has been a help in making me more aware of when I stay up too late or wake up too early (and how often it happens… it remembers everything!)

Today, I ordered the Aria scales made by FitBit as well. Basically the same principle applies; I step on the scales, they check weight and body fat, and then send all the details to my account for tracking.

So far, I have been successfully tracking my weight through manual entry, but $150 seemed like a small price to pay for the extra convenience for something I do daily.

2013-10-05 - Weight Graph

When I started tracking my weight I was at 87kg. I did some research to pick a target weight, and although BMI is a terrible measure for someone with the amount of muscle I have in my legs, the top-end of the healthy range is 76kg, which seems like a good target.

I set the weight target in my FitBit account at 75kg, but at least at the moment I’m going with the assumption I’ll allow for a reasonable band between 75-77kg. If I drop below 75kg, I need to eat more to get back above it, when I rise above 77kg, I need to watch what I eat. That should be manageable.

In my earlier post about weight I talked about the importance of weighing daily and not panicking over the bumps along the way.

When I look at my monthly graph I can tell exactly where Wednesday is.

Wednesday is our night with friends and food and board games. And we always eat more than we should. But we just don’t care… we’re such rebels!

Between my weight measurement on Wednesday morning and Thursday morning I typically gain about a kilo. Which I then lose again without any extra special effort over the following 2 days, because most of that extra snack-weight just doesn’t get absorbed by the body at all… it just… travels through, so to speak.

But as you can see in the image above, if you keep measuring every single day and only focus on the long-term trend, you’ll be less likely to lose heart. Despite the Wednesdays and other slips along the way, my graph has a fairly steady downward slope.

At the moment I’m at 82.8kg; when I pass through the 80kg marker I intend to have a little party to celebrate. Which will show up as a bump to 81kg the day after 😉

On the exercise-side of the equation, I’m still trying to rebuild a solid gym routine. At the moment I’m back to about 4-5 classes a week. I hope to end up with something like:

  • Mon – Weights in Pump class
  • Tue – Cycle class
  • Wed – Pilates Reformer
  • Thu – Weights in Pump class
  • Fri – Cycle class
  • Sat – … probably rest, maybe Pilates …
  • Sun – Yoga

I’ve found in the past that an even mix of strength, cardio and flexibility classes seems easiest to keep up week-on-week.

Day 60 – Five Stars for my Feet

I’ve regularly been taking walks to get to my 10,000-steps-a-day goal. The FitBit has been very demanding of me, and I have been very obliging. Today was the longest walk so far; I’m starting to drive to different places to start from so that I don’t get stuck looking at the same scenery over and over again.

Today, I started from Quakers Hill Station and did a substantial lap around the suburb.

I had decided a week ago that I wanted to walk the length along the railway line between Quakers Hill and Marayong, and either walk back or use the train to return. But scoping out the area at night I wasn’t sure this was a suitable night walk… especially because I like to get lost in my headphones while I walk which leaves me with little sense of my surroundings.

So today, my chores already done, I decided that I may as well go for it in the remaining daylight. All told, I started my walk at about 3:26pm and I made it back to the car by 4:41pm. Inbetween my pedometer went from 5915 steps made earlier in the day to a staggering 14925 by the time I was home again where my PC could tell me what the FitBit had counted for me.

I Like the Odd Roof on the House
I Like the Odd Roof on the House

What I enjoy most about the walks whether they are during the daylight or in the night, is really seeing the areas that I otherwise only ever drive through at more than 50km/h. The houses, the flora and the scenery all become a lot more interesting when they do not leave streaking trails through my viewfinder.

One thing that struck me today is the overwhelming oddity of the houses along Railway Road with the looming M7 in the background. The area where this cuts through Quakers Hill is one that I rented in quite a while ago. Back when there was no M7 even being constructed. It really dwarfs the houses when I looked at it from todays perspective.

Walking Under the M7
Walking Under the M7

Although to be fair, they have done an excellent job at isolating the noise, because even when I was walking right underneath it didn’t sound like there was a major highway overhead.

I also came across a couple of entries and exits that lead to the cycle path along the M7. The sign declared that I could reach Castle Hill and Mount Druitt by taking the ramp; I’m not entirely sure whether I am prepared to believe either is a simple trip on the bike.

It didn’t feel like Marayong was as far away as I had expected, but just as I was climbing the incline towards the station my wrist band buzzed merrily suggestion that I had in fact already covered 4000-odd steps. In my mind this meant I was about halfway, but in reality that wasn’t quite true.

Still, at that point the sun decided to return when it had been threatening to rain. I was entirely prepared to return home soaking if need be; I don’t mind the prospect of rain when I am on my way home… I only detest it when I am on my way somewhere else.

Does This Indicate a Rough Neighborhood?
Does This Indicate a Rough Neighborhood?

As I turned onto Quakers Road it dawned on me how close I’d be coming to Illabo Street where I once rented. I considered walking up that way until I realised it’d be up-hill and closer to Railway Road where I had just passed than where I was walking now.

Still, it made me fondly remember the wooden floors, and slightly less fondly the musty smelling air-conditioning unit in the wall, and the one time where the real estate agents were showing potential buyers through and decided to lock the door behind them with a lock that I didn’t have the key for.

And I came right past Quakers Court where I used to go for groceries and chips (not necessarily at the same time).

The suburb seems to have barely changed.

Over the M7
Walking Over the M7

Except for that M7 again… this time I got to go over the top. It looks even roomier and sprawling on foot than it does as you zoom along it at 100km/h. It’s one of the few pieces of road infrastructure in Sydney that has been designed to accommodate whatever the future might demand of it. If the need arises they can easily fit another 2 lanes in each direction for additional traffic.

The last stretch of my walk went through Douglas Road, where the nominal shops of the centre Quakers Hill are. It looks like a bit of a sad bunch, but there are some delicious smelling Indian stores and take-aways along the way. The smells reminded me that I hadn’t officially had lunch, and it was getting close to dinner time.

As I turned the corner and started walking back towards the station, I saw a bench with some kids in the distance. I wasn’t paying too much attention until one of them started madly waving at me and tried to tell me something over the noise in my ears.

*unplug one ear*
Me: “What was that?”
Kid: “Mister, can you loan us some money?”
Me: *glances at little store they are sitting across from*
Kid: “You look rich!”
Me: “Sorry kids…”, *keeps walking*

I admire the guts, and I even admire the hopeful attempt at terrible flattery (I guess it is possible that to a kid his age my sunglasses and bluetooth headset might have exuded wealth beyond belief), but I’m not sure I should be encouraging them to beg for money from strangers on the street by giving in.

And now my legs have that wonderful weary feeling to them. I think it’ll be a few more weeks before the walking is sufficiently routine for my legs to catch up completely.

Day 55 – Whose Silly Idea?

And the answer is of course, Holly.

But I was a willing participant, so I’m not going to blame anyone too much here.

Holly wanted to try a cycle class, and I knew how horrendous they are when you first start (all cardio is, on the first attempt). Originally we were to have our first try last week on Tuesday for a 45 minute class, but we missed out on that. This week I was originally thinking the same class, except I realised I would be on my way to Melbourne tomorrow evening.

So, we decided, Monday, 1 hour. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, someone took my legs and replaced them with noodles… that is what! Holly coped a bit better with the class than I did. Or should I say, she pushed harder and ended up equally wasted, so in my book, she wins this round.

I think the funniest moment of the class was when I said I was going to skip out a little early, she looked at her watch at 6:20pm and was trying to berate me for skipping out only 20 minutes in.

She had forgotten we started at 5:45pm.

I don’t think her brain was still working at that point. Neither was mine.

It’s a strange property of cardio classes that when you do them well, halfway in my brain stops responding to anything more complicated than following instructions coming from the front of the class. And even that is a challenge.

Hopefully a few more classes will get my fitness back to where I can make it through an hour, but for now we are going easy on ourselves.

Day 53 – FitBit In The Dark

Most days I don’t get to my 10000 daily steps. My FitBit is very happy to point out how far I fall short. Tonight, 3500 steps just didn’t seem like an acceptable total.

So I went outside and had a walk in the dark.

I didn’t quite make 10000, but I think I got close enough for my comfort.

Add on top of that a nice solid 36 minutes of being “very active” apparently, and I almost feel like the FitBit dashboard is complimenting me. Below are some shots I captured along the way with my mobile, so excuse the poor low-light quality.

I may make night-walks a more regular part of my routine. Or at least walks in general. It’s very satisfying when the FitBit does its happy little buzz when I meet a goal and I don’t feel that nearly often enough!

Day 47 – Gardening

I always hurt myself with gardening implements. I’ve got soft IT hands, unaccustomed to hard labour. 😉

It’s a good thing I don’t do this for a living.

Photography is a much safer outdoor activity for me.

Day 44 – Lost My Legs

Tonight I was in my second Pump class since my long streak of horrendously missed classes. Last week I took it a bit easy on myself, but this week surely I’d be back up to full speed, right?


I think the squats and lunges killed my legs. As I came out of the class I worried I was going to stumble and collapse in front of Holly. You can never show weakness to gym buddies because they are merciless 😉

And there’s some good news there… sounds like she’ll be able to keep up her gym habit for a while longer. She’s keen to throw some cycling on top of the weights classes, and I never say no to a challenge, so here we go!

I just may end up draped on the couch a bit more often.

Not that this is a bad thing either. Just letting everything relax with the dull ache of the exercise still in my legs feels just great to me. I guess it’s that natural exercise high.

I’ll sleep well in any case.

Day 32 – Missed It by That Much

I went out for a long walk through the park. I wore my walking shoes. I brought the tripod. And then I barely used it… I think I may have one or two sharp images in the following collection, but I guess the focus of today’s lesson was elsewhere.

I shot all the following pictures with the 24-105mm lens, in Auto-mode, but with manual focus. I didn’t adjust the eyepiece beforehand, and I probably should have. Still, it was good practice overall.

I walked enough to get up to 8588 steps as well… so there’s that.

A Walk in the Park

I must go put some of the latest lessons into practice, or at least try to. I am going for a long walk through some reserves and see what I can shoot along the way.

Two birds with one stone if you ask me; I’ll get to get my step count up (currently 1046 for the day), and take some more photos. I’ll have to pack a little spray-bottle if I can to try that as well, although I do not want to pack too heavily considering the walk ahead of me.

You can expect todays’ 365-post to be a fairly picture-heavy post (again?)…