Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pounding away

I've now completed three-and-a-third weeks of the six-week fitness challenge I signed up for at the gym. It's going pretty well, I think. As usual, I'm enjoying the weights more than the running. but the running is all right, especially since I started remembering to bring my headphones with me. I can't listen to music while running on a treadmill (I always try to match the rhythm of the music, not the treadmill, which isn't a great idea) but I can watch TV. Countdown is surprisingly good to run to - all those ticking clocks make the time go by more quickly!

I'm noticing the same patterns I remember from before: lower-body exercises are easy; upper-body exercises that use free weights (all dumbbells in this case) are harder but progress is being made; and upper-body exercises that use machines are hard and deeply unrewarding. I think it may be simply that the machines are designed to accommodate much broader shoulders, but aren't adjustable in that direction. Maybe I need to find dumbbell exercises to replace those, too.

The only disadvantage to the dumbbell exercises is, again, perfectly familiar - I'm always the only girl in the bench gym. I'm really not sure why, as you do see the occasional woman in the Olympic gym, and lots of women use the machines. Or maybe the place is full of women on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and I just don't see them...

I've been increasing the weights for every exercise except the dreaded upper-body machines, and I've increased my average speed for the interval training. I've also noticed an improvement while cycling. I haven't lost any weight to speak of, though. Hmmmm.

The disadvantage of all this gymming is that I tend to come home pretty tired, which has (as you can see) had a knock-on effect on my blogging. Often I just don't feel like turning the computer on. Maybe this will change as my fitness levels improve - let's hope so.

Notwithstanding my poor blogging record lately, I seem to have garnered an award.

I know for some people this sort of thing is old hat, but I have never (to my knowledge) been given an award before! Thank you, Warty Mammal.

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Actually, I will need to think about who to hand it on to. And work out whether I am being recognised for my attitude or my gratitude. I think I probably do better on the latter.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A blogless month

Yes. OK. I don't think the February daily posts were meant to be. It's been a while since I've gone a month without posting at all.

February was a rather depressing month in many ways. The weather was horrible. Lots of credit crunchiness on the news and on everyone's blogs, and the Australian bushfires. We are lucky not to live in such a flammable country; we're also lucky in that we, personally, haven't felt the effects of the economy in any serious way.

Lucky in many ways, in fact. I wish everyone else wasn't having such a bad time, though. (We're also worried about J's grandfather, who hasn't been well.)

What have I been doing while I wasn't blogging? Well, J's brother visited and we went for a snowy walk at Vane Farm, a nature reserve in Tayside.

(Click to go to my Flickr and a lot more photos - it was a beautiful day).

Then his parents came up for a weekend and we went to Crail (in Fife). J's grandfather was stationed there during WWII, so it has a bit of historical interest for the family. (This photograph does not fully capture how cold and windy it was.)

Harbour at Crail

Apart from that, I did a lot of knitting:

Two socks

Halley's Comet Hat again

This is my latest - the Halley's Comet Hat designed by Marnie McLean. It has a pretty flower (or comet, I suppose) on the top:

Halley's Comet Hat

It's the first lacy pattern I've knitted and I'm very pleased with it. I also went to the Woolfish festival in St Abb's on Saturday and bought lovely handpainted and hand-dyed sock wool, so probably more socks are on the way...

The other thing I did this month is get back into the gym. My old gym is offering six-week basic training programmes, including a free one-hour induction. I've been out of the gym long enough that I felt I needed a refresher course, so I signed up. The induction was excellent (thanks, Bob) and I'm now halfway through my second week of weights and interval training on the treadmill.

I'm somewhat irritated by how weak and slow I am, but nonetheless, I've now been running more times than in the whole of 2008!

My fourth blogiversary was last week. 2008 was not a good year for fitness, mostly because I was working too hard (I seem to remember this happened last time I did a Master's degree...) Let's see if 2009 can be better.