First of all, thank you all so much for your supportive comments about me doing battle with my need to begin exercise and my enormous distate for doing so.
To that end, I've pulled up my big girl panties and decided that I've really got no other choice. Actually, that's not true. I do have a choice. I can choose to do nothing at all and end up in a wooden coffin (or maybe a wicker one, not decided yet...) ending my days prematurely in the fires of the local crematorium (or maybe buried in a field with a sapling at my head, not decided yet...).
It's quite odd, though, throughout my life I've had spasms of being really quite fit and exercise-y - when I was in my early teens I used to both swim for my local town and also played hockey for my school. But then I went to sixth form college and discovered performing in bands on stage and boys and eating disorders and alcohol and smokable drugs, so exercise went right out the window. It wasn't until I was in my very late twenties that I and my first husband ('The Artist') decided we wanted to take up Wu Shu Kwan, a form of full-contact Chinese kick boxing. We did it for 2 or 3 years, from about 1989 to 1992, and it was pretty bloody full on. Classes lasted 2 hours twice a week that involved god knows how many sit-ups, push ups, practising of forms (kata in karate) and then, finally, one-on-one sessions of sparring with each other (we wore pads but it could still hurt). We both got about halfway up the belts but then I had to stop because I kept damaging myself too much, and kept dislocating my ribs. Apart from the injuries, it's probably the fittest I've ever been. Fun too, 'cos I got to hit boys who were bigger than me.
In about 1993 I signed up for tap dancing classes at the University where I was working and did that for about 10 months and in the following year I started hanging out with the future TLH (he worked at the end of my corridor - you can read a potted version of our getting together here) and one of the things we did was play squash against each other. But then I split up with The Artist, got together with TLH for real and we discovered other, more...um, 'interesting' sorts of exercise and we thought 'sod the squash, let's just do this loads and then go out to restaurants and eat our bodyweight in steak and ice cream' which, I think you'll agree, was absolutely the right thing to do. Trouble is, we've not stopped doing it since. The eating, I mean. We've been together 17 years now so the other more 'interesting' exercise has calmed down somewhat.
And I really think that was the last time I did proper exercise, 17 years ago. Blimey. That's quite a long time ago, innit.
Goodness, this has been a longwinded way of getting round to actually documenting what I've been doing. So why don't I just stop blathering and get on with it, hm?
So then, my new exercise regime started last Saturday when I went swimming with my good friend Sam. She's far fitter than I am (she does a lot of power walking and swimming) so when we got into the pool itself, she went off to the medium fast lane and I plodded along in the slow lane. The pool, incidentally, is lovely. It's low chlorine because it uses fancy-schmancy modern technotrickery involving ultraviolet light to keep the water clean. It also has a unisex changing area which, surprisingly, didn't bother me in the slightest as everyone gets their own cubicle, i.e., no communal changing areas, so it's no big deal. The pool is 50m long but it has something called a 'transversable boom' which goes across the width of the pool and can be moved up and down its length to divide the pool into two different sizes. It's mostly used to divide it into two separate pools of 25m each which means one side can be laned off for the 'serious' swimmers and the other can be a free for all splash pool for everyone else. It's a really good idea. Like I said in my previous post, I only managed 10 laps but it was a start. So that was Saturday.
Sunday - I didn't do anything. Bad Mrs Jones. In my defence, though, I don't want to go hammer and tongs into things and end up doing myself a mischief. Softly softly catchee monkey. Or some such bollocks.
Monday - I was really good and did my first ever run. I put on my proper running gear, strapped my iphone to my arm, plugged in the headphones and stepped out the door to do my first Couch to 5k session. About 5 mins walk from my house there's a big area of open fields where everyone walks their dogs so I decided I'd go there. The Couch to 5k (C25k) app claims to be able to get you to run 5 kms within 9 weeks if you follow their training. The app suggests 3 sessions a week and, for the first week, each session is exactly the same: a brisk 5-minute warmup walk (this gets me to the dog fields), then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 mins, finishing with a 5 min cooldown walk. In the second week it's 90 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. So, you see, it seems really quite sensible, nothing too difficult and within reach of even the lardiest couch potato. Except that it was bloody hard work. You really appreciate those 90 seconds of walking. I would tell you more details but I hadn't got hold of the GPS add-on for this app (I have now!). You have a playlist of your choice playing and a voice interrupts to tell you when to run, when to walk, when you're halfway through, when you're about to do your last run, and then when you've finished - it's really easy, you don't have to think what to do, the voice will tell you.
Tuesday - I managed about 45 mins of digging and hoeing at the allotment, and then followed it up with 30 mins on the Wii Fit doing hula hooping, step aerobics, running on the spot and boxing.
Wednesday - I was going to go for my second run of the week but it started raining so I decided to go for a swim instead. I can only get to this particular pool if I've got the car and, fortunately, TLH had to attend a business meeting oop north by train, so I had the car yesterday. This time the swimming was easier. I've decided to try and increase the number of lengths I do each time by 2, so yesterday I swam 12 lengths in about 20 mins and I found I wasn't quite so out of breath at the end of each lap. Progress? or just not swimming as fast as possible as I was doing on Saturday?
Thursday (today) - sunny/cloudy but not raining. Huzzah. Today was my second C25k session. And this time I'd got the GPS add-on working so I can give you a lot more detail:
Distance: 1.7 miles
Walk pace: 19:23/mi (i.e., it would take me 19.23 mins to walk a mile)
Run pace: 15:46/mi - oh yeah, I'm not jogging fast!
Calories burned: 195
All a bit slow at the moment. According to the app, the goals I should be working towards are, obviously 5k in distance, a run pace of about 9:41 mins per mile (I've just realised they're mixing kilometres and miles!), and a walk pace of about 12 mins per mile.
I've set my own goals for weight loss (I want to lose about 2 stone/28lbs, if possible) and I've been making a concerted effort this week to look at what I'm eating and, especially, portion size. I'm eating way more fruit that I normally do and cutting down on carbs, and I have a reward for myself in mind for when I'm down a dress size. I'm going to buy myself this gorgeous frock:
Or possibly this one:
As for tomorrow, Friday, well, currently not sure what I'll do but I may take the slightly easier option of half an hour on the Wii Fit (don't have to pay any money for that, unlike the pool, and I don't have to go outside, unlike the running!).
The purpose of this post has been to log what I've been doing as a permanent record but I have to say, if you've managed to read this far without being bored out of your tiny mind, then you have a level of stamina I can only aspire to...
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