Category Archives: Getting Fit

Gold Coast Marathon Update April 2010

Ok, I’m waaaay behind here.  The GCM is in two months time and I’m still staggering around like an old man… on valium.

BUT, having said that, I have made some purchases of late that have been a big help.  The first is an elastic knee thingy, which has stopped my left knee from aching after running.

Then there is the water bottle holder which I sling around my waist.  I use a 1 litre bottle, as I learned very quickly that the 600ml bottle that came with the holder jumped about like a branch in the breeze.  The 1lt bottle rests on my hip and doesn’t move an inch. 

The bike pants help stop chafing at the top of my legs.  Very important after 5 k’s.  No more running like Mr. Crabs for me! 

And in spite of my misgivings I lashed out $15 on a nylon shirt a few weeks ago, and have been very happy that I did.  Sweat doesn’t ‘stick’ to the nylon, and as a result I’m a lot cooler now when I run. 

The only remaining purchase to make is for a new pair of shoes.  While I’ve been pretty happy with the New Balance boots, they are nearly a year old now, and the bouncy bits are starting to flatten out.  I was very impressed with the shock absorption qualities of the Asics I bought last year, but I returned them because I couldn’t stop them from slipping off my heels (unless I tied them reeaal tight, at which point it was minutes before my toes went numb).  Might have another go, you never know, they might have changed the model to something more user friendly for those of us with ‘duck feet’ !

Now that I’m kitted out, all I have to do is work on my running distance and speed, while avoiding injuries, people with colds, potholes, out of control motorists, dogs, etc…  simple stuff 🙂

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1/2 Marathon Training Update

It’s all ‘Headology’

The other day I was sitting at home after walking the dogs to the shops and back (our usual morning routine), and I started beating myself up about not going for a run that day.  Again. 

The Gold Coast marathon is approaching rapidly, and I’m still not training hard enough. 

Why?  What’s stopping me? 

Excuses R Us

Instead of finding ways to ‘DO’ it’s kind of easier to justify why you can’t. 

Sitting alongside my computer desk is the walking machine my wife has hired for a couple of months.  We’ve all had a chop on it.  It’s a medium size unit, and the few times I’ve tried to run on it has caused it to make some unhealthy noises.  So, I walk instead.  3 to 5 klms, at 6 kph.  And while it’s better than doing nothing, it’s still not helping me achieve my goal. 

Sure, it’s keeping me fit-ish, but not in a competitive running way. 

So, why not run.  Well, there’s the weather.  It’s hot.  The rain has kept most of us indoors.  Then, when the rain stops, the mossies, flies and other bities swarm all over us as soon as we open a door.  It’s really miserable outdoors at the moment. 

The gym.  Yep, I’ve hit it a few times, and run on the big machines down there, but lately, I’ve been focussing on the gym as a place where I do my upper body workouts.  Something I’m actually enjoying this time round, so I’m very reluctant to mess with those routines while I’m having so much fun doing them! 

I’ve been cycling pretty much everywhere on my days off, walking to work, walking the dogs, and generally keeping fairly active, but the running goal is making me feel pretty guilty.  Sure, it seemed like a good idea last year, when the weather was cool, the sun shining, and all the bitie creatures snug in their homes, but lately, I’ve started thinking, “Mate, you’re not going to make that 21 k’s.  Forget it, it’s too hard anyway.  Pick another goal.” 

This morning that voice was pretty strong, but I didn’t want to listen to it.  I really want to do this run, but how?  How can I get some running time in?  

Sporticus to the Rescue

While I was having an internal mental debate in my head between the Good voice and the Bad voice, the tv was blaring away in the background.  Distracted, I turned in my chair and saw this chap:

‘Sporticus’, the alter ego of Magnus Scheving, creator of the Lazytown tv show. 

“Man, he’s one fit lad!” I thought to myself as I watched him hop, jump, dash and hurl himself about the screen. 

He picked up a deck of cards and flipped through them, “I wonder which exercise I will do today?” he asked as he selected a card.  “Running!” he exclaimed then began to run rather vigorously on the spot.  Fast running, slow running.  Running with high kicks.  Knees up running.  Intense running.  Running like his life and career depended on it. 

My eyebrows climbed over my head in amazement.  Here was the answer to my problem!  Running on the spot.  Ok, it’s not ideal but it’s a hell of a lot better than ‘sitting on the spot’, or ‘being in a spot’. 

Amazing to think that when I needed an answer to a pressing problem, tv solved it.  Homer was right, “Is there nothing tv can’t do?”   

Now What?

Well, I figure, that all I need to do on days when I can’t go for a run, is to grab a towel, put on my sandshoes, and run on the spot for at least 30 mins.  Can I do that?  Yes I can.  I don’t need to travel anywhere, I can do it indoors away from the bities, I won’t be tripping over the dogs, and best of all, my family can enjoy my presence while I work out… which is a good thing right? 

It may be boring as hell, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.  Even if there is no direction!  I’ll keep you posted…

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Marathon Update

No idea who this is, but we have the same running style... slow and painful.

Let’s just say that this Summer has knocked me for six.  The heat was so bad that just walking down to the running track left me exhausted, and after 1/2 an hour of running on the treadmill at the gym I needed floaties to get off the machine. 

But this week, a bout of cooler weather (belting down rain!) has seen me out and about a little more.  Still miles behind schedule though.  Each time I pull on the running shoes the dogs go into a frenzy, because it’s walking time.  I have tried a few times to run with them, but it’s hard to get into a rythym when they want to stop every ten feet and pee on things! 

Anyway, as the big day approaches, I’ve measured out a few road runs which I’ll get into this week.  I’ve worked out that I’m not a treadmill, or oval runner, as I tend to get bored fairly easily.  And I’m quite looking forward to pounding the streets, from light pole to light pole.  With a bit of luck the heat will stay away until I can get my routine sorted.  

The only other thing to sort out is the chafing at the top of my legs.  It’s only a small section of skin, but geez it hurts when it starts to burn.  So I end up running like some sort of perverted crab…  Will slip on the bike pants and a pair of running shorts over the top and see if this helps.  Apart from that, all else is good so far, and I’ve just got to work on increasing the distance I can run.  At the moment, my longest without a break is 7 k’s. 

This Easter, the Road Runners are holding their annual Good Friday Fun Run.  This year I’ll sign on for the 10 k event, with the goal of running the entire length without stopping (not even for a toilet break this time!).

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Fitboxing Fun

Yesterday I struggled awake at 5.30 am, sat on the edge of my bed then thought, ‘Not today.’  Another run postponed due to heat and tiredness. 

Instead I walked the dogs to the shop, got the papers, did some scribbling, then, because I was feeling guilty, decided to go to the gym and do an aerobics session.  A quick check of my schedule revealed that at 9.30 am they were doing a Fitbox class.  Right on!

There were two blokes, me and some lad who looked superfit, among a class of women of varying ages.  Three of us were first timers.  We did some warm ups, learned a few basic positions then teamed up with a punching partner. 

I got Betty (yes, her name has been changed!)

Betty has been a keen participant of these classes, and it shows.  She has a mean right.  Real mean.  We take it in turns to punch, jab, and uppercut each other, glove to pad.  The counting thing is my downfall.  Thankfully Betty counts while she hammers the pads.   

At the halfway point, I’m in a lot of pain.  Every inch of my clothing is dripping with sweat, and my punches are definitely losing their ‘oomph’.  Speed is also not my thing by this stage.  Betty is not only fast, but still hitting with considerable impact. 

During a break, I apologise to the entire group for anything I may have inadvertently done, or said to them in the car park prior to the class.  I don’t want any of these people upset with me… ever. 

The other bloke in the class has had some boxing training in the past.  The loud smacks coming from his gloves reverberate around the room.  I try to match the sound, but can’t keep up the pace.  My arms are turning to custard, and I can’t seem to catch my breath. 

In spite of the pain, the fact that I can’t count, that I’m often leading with the wrong hand, and my left arm refuses to play the game on the uppercuts thanks to an old break, and that I’m being outpunched by a girl, I am actually surprised to find myself having a good time. 

Betty is encouraging me, and I crack jokes.  We push eachother a bit harder.  Then we swap with the rest of the group.  One woman is literally shaking, her arms are like jelly.  I sympathise and don’t hit her gloves too hard, and count faster than she is hitting.  We are both happy with this 🙂 

At the end of the class the Little Pocket Dynamo running the session laughs and says, “You won’t recognise your own handwriting for a while!”  She’s right.  My hands are shaking so much I think I’ve contracted galloping palsy. 

It’s the hardest workout I’ve done in a long time.  Apparently we burned more calories (approx 2300) in that session than an hour on the treadmill.  I’m hooked.  Well, hooked, uppercut, and jabbed.

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Running 10 K’s for Fun, and Ruan

Sunday morning, 15 of Nov, I lined up with I don’t know how many other runners to go on a 10 k run which was titled, Run for Ruan.  Ruan Burger (yep, his real name) is a local finance advisor, and had the idea to host a run for charity, namely childrens cancer.  Good for him. 

I have never run 10 k’s, ever.  And I still haven’t.  I have run, jogged, walked, crab-walked, and staggered 10 k’s though. 

On the day I was feeling pretty good, ate brekky, took the dogs for a walk to the shops, then drove down to the carpark at Bunnings with my wife and mate Rob from Brissy.  There were a stack of people lining up for the 5 k event, and what seemed to be an equal number doing the 10 k. 

It was hot.  So I downed a stack of water.  I also asked where the water stops were along the route.  The consensus seemed to be that there was one at the 2.5 k mark, and possibly another at the 5 k turnaround mark.  No worries.  I was glad I had not decided to carry a water bottle.  I had another couple of cups of water. 

After some group stretching / warmups we were given a briefing of the route, which I possibly should have listened to… instead I was giggling at a mate who was telling jokes.  Then came the countdown… and we were off. 

My goal was to run for as long as possible before walking, and by the 2 k mark I was still feeling pretty good.  Lo and behold I pulled up alongside a walking Ruan, clapped him on the back and said, “Go slower mate, it’s not a race, the goal is to finish, not win it.”  Speaking of which, some superfit young fellas had streaked ahead from the get go, and were moving like greased lightning at a pace that I could have sustained for about 40 metres before dropping dead.  Oh, to be ‘that’ fit! 

At the 2.5 k mark I scoffed down a couple of cups of water as the heat built up.  Crossing the Police Creek bridge the water sloshing about in my stomach made its’ presence felt lower down… I pulled up at the set of toilets in the park, then thought, ‘Nah, keep running, you’ll be right.’  I hit the track again, but my bladder sent out another emergency warning signal, so back to the dunnies I fled.  A minute or so later I burst back out through the door, a relieved and slightly lighter man. 

The track wound on, and I got to the 3 k, then the 4 k mark.  Lots of runners were walking, and we were being passed by the runners returning to the start.  Geez they were still moving quick, and many of them waved and smiled, or offered a ‘Goodonya mate!’ as they passed.  Runners are certainly a friendly bunch… 

The 5 k mark beckoned, and when it came into view I was slighty dismayed to see that there was no water on offer… should have been listening to the race briefing, because I can’t remember the jokes now.  Turned and kept going.  But something else was wrong ‘downstairs’.  Chafing on my upper left leg on the inner thigh.  I hadn’t counted on this.  And it was starting to hurt.  Add to that the heat from the rising sun and the lack of a cool breeze and things were starting to hurt much more.  At this point I stopped running and had my first walk, about a hundred metres later I started to run again.  My plan was to take it easy until I could find a tap to get a drink from, then up the pace again.

The path wound on, and when I got back to the shady park I found a tap, guzzled down several litres of water, wet my head and back, and took off.  I was feeling supercharged by now, and on my MP3 player, Aerosmith were hammering out ‘Living on the Edge’.

Crossing the Line!

The 7 k mark passed, then the 8.  I passed some people!  At the 9 k mark, my MP3 player died.  So did I.  I strode for about another 100 metres, then lifted for the last 800 metre run to the line.  My wife and mate would be waiting for me and I didn’t want to cross the line at a snails crawl.  As I hit the carpark, I could hear people clapping and yelling out encouragement… LIFT!  I crossed the line, as a nice lady took a snap, and made my way straight to the drinks truck where I consumed my body weight in water. 

My wife took a snap on her mobile phone (don’t ask me how to get it onto the computer) while my mate patted me on the back.  Home to the pool where I peeled off and dived in.  Did a few laps walking, swimming, feeling great.  Later that day we hit the beach, where the salt water stung my chafed leg, but did it a world of good.

The end result?  Well, I’m mentally ready for the Gold Coast Marathon.  As an added bonus I will be better prepared because I’ll buy a pair of those running pants to prevent the dreaded chafing (or hopefully lose enough weight and the tops of my legs will stop rubbing together), and get an MP3 player with a longer life battery!  Also the GCM is held in the middle of Winter, so overheating won’t be a problem… probably, and I hear they have thousands of toilets available, so I’ll empty ‘the tank’ before the run this time!


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Springing a Fetlock

Well, it had to happen sooner or later… I pulled a muscle in my leg, and it hurt… a lot. 

I quite like interval training day, the day between my day and night shifts.  I get up early, wander down to the school and rip out 10 – 15 laps of the oval in the following way:  jog, sprint, jog, fast run, jog/sprint, jog, jog, sprint, etc.

I’ve really come to enjoy the sprinting part.  The build up, the explosion of movement, legs and arms pumping, the wind roaring in my ears.  I probably look like someone has set me on fire and I’m running for my life, but I don’t care.  I really enjoy the sprinting, and afterwards, the feeling of achievement is palpable, knowing that I’ve had a top workout. 

Then it’s back home, do my laundry, a few householdy jobs, some scribbling, then beddy byes for a few hours before walking to work around 5 pm.  Good plan so far. 

On lap 3 yesterday, I felt something ‘move’ in the top of my left leg.  Then the pain started, just a little, as I gazed down at the top of my leg something went ‘twang’ and I hobbled to a stop.  Damn, damn, damn!  Being male I gave it a bit of a rub, a bit of a stretch and started running again.  Slow speed, no worries.  Sprint?  Damn, damn, damn!  No more sprinting today for you my son. 

In the end I managed to do 5 k’s, had a drink, walked home, walked the dogs and had a shower.  The hot water felt good on my aching thigh muscle, and I’m pretty sure there’s no major damage.  The walk to work yesterday was fine, a bit of a twinge now and then.  At work this week, I’m in charge of a machine that has just over 200 stairs from top to bottom.  It was a bit of a trial getting up and down those staircases t/out the night but no biggie.  As long as I didn’t do it at speed. 

Walking home this morning the leg wasn’t a drama, even pushing it a bit up the last hill to my house didn’t give me grief.  The question is, will it be right by tomorrow afternoon for the last Road Runners meet I’ll be able to get to for a few weeks? 

I’m not too sure.  Should I go?  Or should I rest up?  I can do the 5 klm run, but at a reduced rate, but was hoping to the 2klm run at speed.  Don’t think so.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to let you know either way 🙂

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The Gladstone Road Runners

The term Fun Run is a bit of an oxymoron.  A bit like the words Army Intellegence, and Work / Life Balance, some words just shouldn’t be uttered in the same sentence. 


Regular readers of this blog will know that earlier this year I set the goal of being able to run 10 klms by December, and I think I might have written that I’d be deliriously happy if I was able to run 5 k’s.  At that point in my life I could run 1 klm, not very quickly, and would have taken days to get over it. 

As the year raced by, my running goal took a bit of a back seat, and I’d hardly done any running, but having written it down and made myself accountable to an online group of ladies (with kicking boots) at the ol’ Craig Harper forum, I thought that I’d better get my arse into gear. 

I’ve been running regularly for the last couple of months, and am surprised to find how much I’m enjoying it.  Last week I summoned up the courage to ring the President of the Gladstone Road Runners ( ) and learned where the group would be meeting for their weekly run. 

Each Thursday afternoon at 5pm ‘ish’, they get together, and the runners can choose between a 2 and a 5 klm run.  So, at the appointed time, I pulled on my old workshorts, a pair of clean socks and my tattered runners, and joined them down at the marina.  There were a lot of ‘older folk’ assembled down there.  Very fit looking, wiry, and healthy ‘older folk’.  They were all friendly, keen to give me advice, and made me feel welcome.  Nice! 

I signed up for the 5 klm event, and soon set off with several others.  It was great!  Up til this point I’ve only jogged around the school oval.  The run through the park, over the bridge and along the waterfront esplanade next to Auckland Creek was magnificent.  The weather perfect, and the runners around me gave me some encouragement or cracked the odd joke from time to time which took my mind off the pain in my left knee. 

The pain disappeared altogether eventually, and in the last kilometre of the race I picked up the pace and ran home in just under 27 minutes.  5 klms.  I’m 5 short of my goal of 10 but I can’t tell you how happy I am with this achievement.  According to my shift roster, I’ve got a couple more Thursdays off over the next couple of weeks, so I’ll continue to join this dedicated and friendly band of joggers.     

It’s good to run, and have fun 🙂

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Training Notes

There were two things that I learned in the last few weeks – 

Illness:  The tri-athlete who gave me some tips also warned me that you will get ill a lot more, because you’re constantly pushing your body to the edge, so fatigue will cause you to fall victim to any viruses getting around.  Ha! I thought, I’ll keep popping my magic vitamin pills, that’ll keep me out and about.  Nope.  Over the weekend I hit a wall, literally ran myself into the ground, then woke up with a bit of a sniffle, which rapidly turned into a head cold.  Tired an snuffly, I’ve been mooching around the house thinking about what training I could do in this condition.  In the past I’ve tried to push myself a bit harder when crook, with some terrible consequences as a result.  So, I’ll continue to mooch around the house, and take it easy this week.  Which is annoying as I was starting to hit my stride as well…

Did I mention it's bit dry here in Gladstone?

Did I mention it's bit dry here in Gladstone?

Music:  A workmate asked me how I could possibly train without using an MP3 player to keep me pumped.  So last Friday I plugged a new battery into my MP3 player, worked out what songs will play, and deleted those that didn’t (don’t ask me why, it’s just another battle between Greg and technology), and set out. 

Did it work?  Well, I ran the first 10 laps in the record time of 18mins 50 secs, and only walked 1 lap out of the 15 total.  I was started to flag a little at one stage, then the opening power chords of Airbornes’ song ‘Diamond in the Rough’ pounded into my brain, and I lifted as if by magic, fatigue forgotten for the moment.  Brilliant!  I’m convinced, and once I can work out how to get the MP3 to work reliably enough to play my personal motivational music then I’ll be a world beater 🙂  

But not this week.  This week, I’ll rest, relax, and try some mental imagery.  If I can’t physically run the course, then I’ll try the NLP exercise of envisioning my training run.  Hey, if it worked for John McCain’s golf game, then it can work for me!

If you want to know how Johnny improved his golf game without using a club, then stay tuned.  It’s an interesting story.

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Marathon Man – Month 2

This morning I woke from my slumbers at 2 am, rolled over then sat up as my headache punched my brain through the pillow.  Changing position helped a little, so I lay down and submitted to a restless slumber for a few more hours before dragging myself out of bed just before dawn and popping a couple of headache tablets.  Full moon again.  Aha.  My maternal Grandfather suffered from this affliction as well, every full moon he’d get a ripper headache.  I suppose it could be worse, as there are plenty of other hereditary illnesses that make a monthly headache pale into insignificance.

Sitting on the lounge in front of the tele, sipping my coffee, and watching what passes for news these days, (fluffy crap about celebrities, upcoming movies, and sporting results – big deal!), the thought crossed my mind, ‘You don’t need to run today.’ 

Shuffling to my feet I got dressed, slipped on my sandshoes and wandered down the road to the oval as Mr. Sun poked his head over the horizon.  15 laps, come hell or high water.

The school groundskeeper wandered over at the end of lap 10, as I approached my water bottle standing on the track which marks my start and finishing point.  He smiled, and I pulled up to introduce myself.  He asked if the sprinklers were bothering me.  “Hell no!” I replied, dripping with sweat, “leave them on mate, please!” 

We got to chatting, and he told me that he used to do tri-atholons, suddenly, doing those last 5 laps wasn’t so important.  He asked about the event I was training for, then gave me some great training tips and pointers.  How good was this?!

And to think, if I’d submitted to my inner critic, I’d still be sitting like a mushroom in front of the tele, cringing in disgust as the ‘beautiful people’ chirpily blathered on about meaningless crap.  Instead I made a new friend, who has a wealth of experience and tips to share.  I was so inspired that I jogged home, uphill the whole way, then took the dogs for a brisk walk afterwards.  The headache is just a dull shadow of it’s former self, but overriding this is the feeling of general wellness, and achievement.   

I don’t know what’s motivating me, and I don’t care… well, I do care, but whatever it is, it’s buried deep in my sub-conscious, and it’s working 🙂  I’ve got a sneaking suspicion though, that it has something to do with the fact that I wrote down on my ‘Goals List’ for this year, Run 10 klms.  Every morning, when I go to the toilet I look at that list, and at this point of the year, it’s kind of nice to be ticking off some of those goals. 

I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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Gold Coast Marathon: 1st Month of Training

This morning, marks the last run for July ’09.  This weekend, after my nightshifts, I’ll kick up the number of laps around the ol’ school oval, and see how I go. 

Shoes, unlike knees, are easily replaced...

Shoes, unlike knees, are easily replaced...

My running adventure has been a case of ‘So far so good’.  The knees aren’t playing up, I haven’t passed out, and my motivation is still surprisingly strong.  I’ve been quiet happy to get up early, eat the breakfast of champions (a banana and a cup of coffee) before ambling down the street to the oval, do some quick warm-ups then stagger out my 10 laps.  This morning I managed to get through all 10 laps without slowing down to a walk at any stage.  This is in stark contrast to my first run where I ended up walking at least 3 laps!  


I’ve been greatly encouraged at how quickly my fitness level has increased.   

The best part about running though, is the amount of ideas I seem to get while I’m pounding round in circles.  Inspiration for writing projects, jobs at home, family stuff just pours into my brain.  Unfortunately by the time I get home, it’s like I’ve been struck by a huge Stupid Stick, because I can’t remember most of it.  The answer:  carry a notebook and try jot down stuff on the run… that should be an interesting exercsise.  Will let you know how it works out… if I can read the writing!  🙂

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