You are browsing the archive for 2010 May.

On yer bike!

May 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

Rightyho – it’s been two weeks now and my cold has finally cleared up leaving me with just a little cough – which is mildly irritating as it’s not a ‘real’ cough but more of a dry tickle. I have caught a few of the “WTF?” looks being thrown at me across the office so I assume it’s moving from ‘mildly irritating’ to ‘bloody annoying’.. but alas there is nothing I can do about it.


*cough cough*


I went back to gym last week and even managed two short runs which were very pleasant. I didn’t want to overdo it because I had been on some rather potent antibiotics and I do worry about the effect they have on my body, so I wanted to make sure they were all out my system before I embarked on anything too strenuous.


The second run wasn’t as good as the first one though, my calves were quite tight and sore and the air was so cold my lungs were on fire, but I pushed through it and felt much better afterwards. My aim is try and run further each time and to try run more often a week. Weather permitting of course…


However, on Sunday I hauled out the old mountain bike and dusted it off and headed off to Koeberg Nature Reserve with Aimee as she promised to take it easy on me for my first proper bike ride in years. She is quite the rider and I was a bit worried at first because I really am a novice, so I wouldn’t be able to go as fast as her and I am nowhere near as fearless as she is.


I had a nasty fall off my bike at the beginning of the year when I went for a short ride and ripped open half my hand which was VERY einah! I had to hobble home literally with chunks of flesh hanging off my hand and it took ages to heal, so when I saw my first downhill I admit I was more than a little nervous.


Fortunately however Aimee is a very patient teacher and the longer we rode, the more hills we came across and the bolder I got with the downhills. I was also wearing gloves this time so felt a little bit braver! :-)


One thing is for sure, riding is hard work! Especially the up-hills! There were a few that for love nor money could I get up… it was ridiculous. I woudl like to think I’m pretty fit, but I’m clearly not ‘cycling-fit’ cause halfway up a hill the bike would just stop and I would teeter on it for a few seconds before realising that short of a miracle, I was just not going to make it up the hill. So I’d have to get off and push the bike.


And of course AS IS MY LUCK the reserve would be EMPTY until I got off my bike to push it up the hill and then dozens of cyclists would come pouring over the hill… like they’d been WAITING for me to dismount. Uncanny really. 


Although I can’t fault them for their manners, not one cyclist gave me a dirty look or was anything short of friendly and encouraging. They’re a WAY friendlier bunch when you’re on a bike than when you’re in a car! :-)


However, I should have known Aimee would not let me off easy – and it was only after she told me we’d only ridden 10km that the reality of just HOW LONG 21km really is hit me. It’s FAR!


It was also about this time that my toosh started hurting. Mostly because it’s not used to balancing precariously on a small bicycle seat for any amount of time, bouncing up and down on rocky roads, but also because I wasn’t wearing proper cycling shorts with that lovely padded bit to cushion the blow a bit.


I do have a pair but it was SO cold when I got changed that morning that anything less than long pants seemed ridiculous. So there’s another lesson learned…the hard way


Yet again my body proved that it is capable of a lot more than my mind believes it is and I finished the route (not in record time of course, but in one piece and with a smile while is what should really count anyway, right? :-)).


And although sitting is not much fun at the moment, and I’m sure gym later will be an interesting experience with my aching muscles, it was fun to try something different for a change and I would really like to do more riding as that’s really the only way I’m going to get any more confident on the bike.


If you haven’t been to Koeberg Nature Reserve though I do highly recommend it, it’s a beautiful place with lots of wildlife (I only saw a mouse but that doesn’t mean they weren’t in the bushes pointing and laughing at me…) and there are hiking trails as well. Aimee and I hope to attempt one of the trails there for a run sometime as well. Although the goal is to one day cycle the long route and run the short one. But that’s just crazy talk… right?!?! 


Unfortunately the nature reserve is now closed until the end of the world cup for security reasons….. at least my derriere can recover and I’ll have to fill the gaps with running and gym until then.


Which reminds me – my gym timetable (Virgin Active) now has a class titled “Streaker training” which sounds intriguing… anyone tried it?

Running on empty

May 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

Despite my best efforts, last week I came down with a cold. And anyone who loves exercising as much as I do will know what a real pain in the @ss that is.


It progressed quickly from a sore throat to a full-blown tissue-grabbing fest overnight and three days later I have lost my voice completely and the only sound I can make is a very un-ladylike barking cough.


But apart from the fact that I feel terrible, I feel worse knowing that I cannot exercise for a whole week until I am finished on the antibiotics. The experts often offer different advice on when it’s safe to exercise, and the general rule of thumb is that if it’s just in your head (i.e. you have a runny nose and congestion) then it should be ok to do some gentle exercise. But when it’s below the neck and in your chest, then it’s better to just rest and give your body time to fight it off before you hit the gym again.


Personally I think if you’ve got a runny nose and are sneezing a lot you should still NOT exercise because that increases your chances of making everyone else around you sick… and the thought of climbing on a gym machine that someone with a runny nose has just been on sends icy shivers down my spine…


If you’re not sure about your symptoms though, read this article or ask one of our experts for some advice. Alternatively, just wait it out and only exercise again when you’re feeling better. But make sure you still stick to a healthy eating plan while you’re not exercising or you’ll have a lot more exercising to do when you’re better!!


Keep warm and stay away from red-nosed tissue holders – we are a grumpy bunch!

Running to the beat

May 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

Friday again! At the risk of sounding old, time really has flown this week! :-)


Yesterday I was at a gaming conference for work ALL day, so when I got home I was very stiff and tired and exercise did not seem as good an option as collapsing on the couch with a good book! All the geek talk and the numbers really can take it out of you.


However, it had been raining all day (all week actually) and although most of the roads out my side of town were nearly flooded, by the time I got out there, there were blue skies. So it seemed too good not to put on my takkies and hit the road.


Since my running buddy Aimee is sick at the moment I haven’t run in a while, and running on the treadmill just isnt’ for me. Literally… my calves have BIG issues with the treadmill and get themselves all twisted and knotted at the mere thought. So while I’ve been very busy at the gym, I haven’t run in a while.


And being a relatively new runner, I have never run with music. Odd i know, but there it is! Usually when I run it’s with Aimee and it seems rather rude to plug in my earphones when I’m running next to her!


So yesterday I decided to try it. And wow… it’s really good. The music really gets you going and even when I was getting tired I would just change to a more upbeat song and somehow it would re-energise my body and keep me going. I cannot actually believe how much fun it was, that if my legs were not quite stiff today I would hit the road again this afternoon – it was THAT much fun.


Obviously the type of music you listen to is rather important, and depends entirely on your taste. I am not much of a doof-doof fan and find no use for it other than spinning classes, so my choice is a little more…um… hardcore. Nothing like a little hard rock or heavy metal to make you feel like you’re punishing the road rather than the other way around!


I ended up running further and faster than I had intended, but it was so worth it. There really is no high better than the one you get from running…


Anyhoo, I hope you all have a super weekend and do lotsa fit, healthy stuff! Except for the mum’s – you’re allowed a day of total indulgence on Sunday! Happy Mother’s day to y’all!

Anyone for a swim?

May 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I donned my swimming cozzie and hit the pool at the gym. Mostly because when I get there the pool is full of kids, and we all know what kids do in swimming pools…. *shudder*


 However, I have decided that to round off my gymming I need to add a few swim sessions a week not only for fitness but also because it’s great for toning as well. Also, if there’s ever a good motivation for getting fit and eating right – it’s seeing yourself in a swimming costume in a full length mirror at the gym. YOWZERS!!

 Unfortunately though I am having some serious trouble convincing myself to get out of bed in the mornings and get to the gym.

There is something cruelly unnatural about climbing out of bed at 5am when it’s not only dark, but rain is thrashing the windows outside and it’s knee-knocking cold. To then creep quietly through the house to an even colder room and put on a swimming costume just doesn’t seem ‘right’.

And at 5am when that alarm goes off, my mind may say one thing, but my body just pulls the duvet tighter… so for the past few mornings I have lost the battle.

I swam a bit last summer, but nothing too hectic. But this year I have been following the blog posts of Shape magazine’s latest fitness diarist who I think I actually have seen on a few of the trail runs I have done. Her programme seems quite intense, but a lot of fun as well. Her aim is to do a triathlon in October.


Let’s be clear here though, that is NOT my aim. Should it happen, then great, but I seriously doubt I will be able to do something as demanding as that. But stranger things have happened right? This time last year I never thought I could run around the block… and look at me now! Running aroud the block with a smile! haha! :-)


Anyway, she is doing it with the help of a personal trainer from what I understand, which is something I would love to be able to do, but alas I just haven’t found ‘the one’. I had the use of one for a few weeks when I lived in Joburg, but to be honest they reeally weren’t too clued up and may have done mroe harm than good.

That’s not to say I distrust all personal trainers. On the contrary, there are a few at my gym who not only are wonderful adverts for their profession, but I have heard them speaking to their clients and they appear rather clued up too.

But is it really worth it? Do you have a personal trainer? If you do, or have had one before, please let me know how it worked out for you and what it was like. Pretty please? With dumbbells on top? :-)

PS Check out this cool website on swimming coaching.

Barefoot running take two…

May 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hello all from a very wet and chilly Cape Town!


Just a reminder if you haven’t checked out Dr Ross Tucker’s second installment in his series on barefoot running then check it out here.  Again I can only marvel at the way he breaks down the science behind it all for us mere mortals! At this rate I might be forced to try it out!! :-)



Why runners run races

May 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Morning all from a very misty Cape Town – so much for ‘sunny and mild with a light south-easter” :-)


So did anyone manage any nice runs/rides this weekend? Aimee and I had big plans for a cycle ride on Saturday morning but unfortunately a big night out on Friday put paid to that idea!


I really wanted to go for a run but just could not motivate myself at all, which really isn’t good, I need to get back into it. Someone, somewhere once said “You will always regret the runs you didn’t do, but never the ones you did” – or something like that. It’s Monday morning, give me a break :-)


That reminded me of a news story that came through recently about why people run - and the difference between why men run and why women run. It’s no surprise to most runners that they run for the sheer joy of it, but it was interesting to see that there was a slight difference in why women run and why men run.


Basically the study suggested that women run marathons to feel good while men run for competition and to achieve personal goals. I may not be a marathon runner yet, but I can relate to this… I’m just happy to be part of the race and finishing it is more of a personal accomplishment than a time-determined goal. Although this may change with the more races I run as I’m sure the ‘its just for fun’ moments will be overtaken by the ‘I must better my time’ ones! :-)


The research showed that women were more likely to give reasons related to weight concerns, psychological coping, such as “to improve my mood,” or life meaning, such as “to feel at peace with the world.”


Whereas men were more likely to give reasons focused on competition and personal goal achievement, such as “to see how high I can place.”


Typical huh? :-)


Anyway, for now I think I just need to focus on hitting the road again. Our rainy season is about to start and I want to be running fit before that so I can’t have that as an excuse!


However I am still being very strict about going to the gym and I bought some goggles at the weekend so I can hopefully start swimming in the mornings. I’m not sure how busy the pool will be at that time, but I’m hoping it will be fairly quiet.


I must say though, goggles are really not the most becoming of exercise accessories… much along the lines of those lovely padded cycling shorts (which feel more awkward than they look I’ll admit, but I often have to check I’m not wearing them the wrong way around).


The things we do to get fit! :-)



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