The Start of a New Chapter and Challenge

Day 29 – Tuesday the 28th of February 2012.

Today’s session is the first one where I am finally doing my full workload for the year with University going back. It’s the first time that I have study for ten years so it will be interesting to see how I go with study, fitness training, teaching and continuing my daily posts on the sessions…I love a challenge!

Todays session was a cross training running which was supposed to consist of 20 minutes of running followed by a 15 minute ride. I was up at 5:30am without much difficulty and by 5:45am was in the car and off to the gym.

I arrived at the gym just after 6:00am and by 6:05 was on the treadmill beginning my 20 minute run. I have decided that this week it would be best for me to have another week of building stamina and endurance in my legs rather than increasing distances and speeds. I have kept the same limitations as I had last week being 5 minutes on 7.5km/h followed by 5 minutes on 10, 12.5 and then 10km/h to finish. The run went quite well, my legs did hit a sort of wall around the 15 minute mark feeling very heavy and tired, the reduced speed back to 10km/h was definitely appreciated by my body.

The cycle was supposed to be a 15 minute ride aiming to see how far I could ride. My goal was to try and break the 8.5km mark inside this time as I knew that this would be a great way to start building towards breaking the 17km mark later in the week. I started off alright and was making ok distance for time averaging between 550 and 600m per minute. I couldn’t keep this speed up however and by the 10 minute mark my legs were so fatigued they just died and I needed to stop, a bit of a disappointment but showing that there is more work to be done I guess.

The biggest test for me now proves to be keeping consistent with my full work load having finally kicked in. Doing the gym sessions should be fine with them being first thing in the morning, the difficult part will be making the time to blog everyday on it. I feel it is important that I do as it is a form of keeping me accountable to doing the exercise and a record for em to look back on in the future months. Some of the posts I might end up shortening to make it easier for me to get done, I just guess it’s going to take a whole lot of organisation of my time to ensure that I get everything done.

Falling Short of the Benchmark

Day 28 – Monday the 27th of February 2012.

Today’s session was one of those unfortunate ones where I just missed setting a new personal best by a small margin. These sorts of days always disappointment me as I love smashing out new best distances and pushing the expected achievements even further. At the same time, the distance travelled in today’s session was only just beneath my all time best distance over the 30 minute bike ride which sets me up perfectly to hopefully smash out a new best and push through the 17km mark later in the week.

The day started off really slowly with me not wanting to get up out of bed at 5:30am, despite being now four weeks into the challenge I am still struggling to get into a good routine with getting out of bed easily. Maybe I need to look at changing a couple of things in my life routine wise such as getting up at the same time on the weekends as during the week to try and get my body in a regular routine. I guess I will need to have a think about that one and whether that is a viable option or not for me moving forward.

Once I had managed to get out of bed and get ready I found myself arriving at the gym in Subiaco by 6:00am, I had made good time traffic wise and knew that this could be a good sign for a great session to come. By 6:07am I was on the cycle starting my ride. I didn’t make the same mistake as in previous sessions with regards to speed and I got my revs up to the 110rpm at the very start of the ride. I wanted to try and hold this as a base over the entire time which I failed to do with the first 5 minutes sitting between 105 and 110rpm. By the Five minute mark I had travelled a total distance of 2.63km which I was fairly happy with as a starter, I had been aiming for the 2.7km but felt that it would possible to make it up as I kept going.

I tried to raise the revs to consistently be sitting at 110rpm which after some struggling did manage to do. By the 10 minute mark I was sitting at having ridden 5.6km, a distance that I was fairly happy with and if I could keep up this pace, if not increase it, then I would come close to a new PB.

My next aim was to see how far i could ride by the halfway time of 15 minutes, my base distance for this time has become 8km over the past few weeks due to me always wanting to ride at least 16km in the time frame. I came pretty close to missing this benchmark today with me only riding 8.02km inside the 15 minutes. Disappointed I knew that I needed to make some calculations to set regular benchmarks to try and make the distance up, I had 9 km to ride in 15 minutes. I needed to ride 3km every 5 minutes or .6 of a km every minute to make the 17km mark by 30 minutes. I set off trying to reach this goal.

The first two minutes I managed to stay on distance for time and added an additional 1.2km, after this I feel a little off the pace and by the 20 minute mark had fallen behind by 100 metres. I tried to lift the intensity to get back on speed by the 25 minute mark but had just fallen further behind to be 130m behind the pace. I knew at this point that it’d be tough but wanted to really give it a good shot. By 28.5minutes I had ridden over just shy of my required speed, I had managed to keep from falling further behind in the distance. Although I tried to lift the rate further I just couldn’t be consistent which resulted in me ridding 16.87km by the 30 minute mark.

I had missed my best distance by 400m and still couldn’t break the 17km barrier. One of the positives I can take out of today’s session is in the past five minutes I managed to keep the distance for time to actually get over the 17km mark, in fact, if I managed to ride at that speed for all 30 minutes I would break the 18km mark.

I guess I will just have to keep pushing myself, this 17km will go it is only a matter of time.

A Country Drive to A Soccer Game

Day 27 – Sunday 26th February 2012.

Today’s rest day has certainly been an eventful one with events including a trip to Donnybrook and Melissa’s next preseason soccer game all being a part of the day’s proceedings. It has certainly made for a pretty full on rest day for both of us!

The day started with us attending mass at 8:00am before getting in the car and heading down to Donnybrook for one of Melissa’s friend’s 30th birthday lunch. The trip down took us about two and a half hours and was an enjoyable drive with us getting a lot of time to be able to sit and talk about everything and anything that we felt like all the way down. After having arrived down there we really enjoyed ourselves with the group that had gathered being great company.

Unfortunately, we were limited for time with Melissa needing to be back in Perth for her preseason soccer match at  6:00pm, she needed to be at the ground by 5:00pm to warmup with the rest of the team. I am sitting in the car writing this post as Melissa is warming up and preparing for her game, it has definitely been an eventful and full on day for the two of us and some would think not much of a rest day. I have really enjoyed myself and it makes me think that there is much more to resting than just sitting around and doing nothing. Importantly today we have gotten to spend uninterrupted time together where we have been able to communicate and share life deeply. A day like today is a great way for us to continue to buld on our marriage with us getting to openly communicate and share life experiences that we will look back on in years to come. Yes, this is my last weekend before the hectic pace of the year really sets in with university being back tomorrow, however, if a day like today ends up building strength into my marriage then that is a much more important way to spend time than any amount sitting around relaxing.

From New Highs to New Lows

Day 26 – Saturday the 25th of February 2012.

After having reached a new high yesterday in my training session by setting a new personal best distance inside of 30 minutes on the bike I reached a new low today by missing today’s session altogether. It is quite disappointing when these things happen, especially when there is no real reason for me having missed it other than me wanting to stay in bed for an additional hour and a half. Some people would say that perhaps I needed the extra sleep, unfortunately I would have gotten a good six hours if I’d gotten up at 6:30 when the alarm went off so really I feel like it comes down to nothing more than me being slack and not disciplined in my approach.

I had hoped after not doing the morning session that I’d get a chance for at least go for a run at Lake Monger and do a small 7 – 8km run…it would only take me around the 30 to 35 minute mark at the most but with the hectic pace of the day after it got started from teaching to uni study followed by a rehearsal and then off to watch the Perth Glory lose to the Brisbane Roar I just never got the chance.

Tomorrow is my scheduled rest day which I will quite happily take, I guess all I can work on is trying to get back to that magic six sessions in the coming week, I only managed four of my sessions in this week so there’s a little bit of work to do now to make up for the lost sessions.

A New Benchmark

Day 25 – Friday the 24th of February 2012.

It is funny how each day really seems top yield different results even when my preparation is identical, or i think it is anyway, each day. Last night I must have gotten a really good few hours sleep because I woke up at 3:30am feeling really refreshed and ready for the day, then at 4:30am and again just before my alarm went off at 5:30am. Whilst getting ready I did feel a little drowsy but that quickly passed and I headed off for my 30 minute cycle session.

A arrived at the gym just after 6:00am and headed for the bike to begin the session, I really wanted to make today’s session a good hard one as yesterday I had been so disappointed with my ride. Very quickly I had the revs up at around the 110rpm mark which I managed to get into a rhythm where it would sit mostly at this speed, sometimes I noticed it slip back to between 103 and 105 but I always managed to pick it straight back up again. Everything this morning felt good and was running very smoothly, I felt that at this early stage I was already in the zone which was reflected as I passed the 5 minute mark and had covered 2.73km, I was up .23of a km on my usual efforts at this stage.

I decided to keep pushig myself at the same intensity for the next 5 minute interval to see what the outcome would be. Although this was my intent I actually found that for 30 second intervals my revs was heading up more towards the 115rpm, it kept fluctuating between 110 and 115. By the 10 minute mark I had travelled well over 5km, in fact it was around the 5.48km mark, it appeared that I had increased my lead by a little more.

I found myself already at this point, only a third into the ride, of setting myself short term targets by breaking the ride into 5 minute lots of distance I wanted to have reached before the next 5 minutes. My first target was to have ridden 8.5km by the 15 minute mark, I knew it would be a push but thought it really would be possible. As I approached the 15 minutes I just missed the distance having travelled 8.48km. My next target was the 11.5km by the 20 minute mark which I did manage to achieve, I actually managed ride 11.6km by the 20 minute mark.

I had never found myself in the position I was in before, it was very likely that I could set a new personal best for the ride today. This knowledge proved to be a motivator and I increased the intensity to 120 rpm, I actually tended to sit at around the 122 revs continuously. My next target was to bring up the 14km by the 25 minutes mark, this would give me a good tilt at the record. I passed the 14 minute mark by 24 minutes and 55 seconds which set up the need to only ride 2 km in 5 minutes. This motivated me even further and I increased the intensity further to 125rpm, my next target was to bring up the 15km by the 27 and a half minutes  which I managed to just make that limit. I kept pushing hard and managed to bring up the 16km by the 28 minute and 30 seconds.

A new PB was definite at this point, it was only a matter of how far I cold ride in the last 90 seconds. As the clock passed 9 minutes and 30 seconds I had set a new PB by passing the 16.48km. I tried to giver the intensity even more but couldn’t push it any harder than I currently was so I just kept the same intensity and focus. As the clock ticked over the 30 minute mark I brought ip a distance of 16.93km, I had just missed the 17km mark which is disappointing on one level but very exciting as it was a new PB of almost an additional 500m.

With this great result I am confident that riding 17km inside the 30 minutes is definitely a possibility. Tomorrow’s cross training session is supposed to be the final session for the week before my next rest day. I hope that it as a good a session as this morning’s has been. There’s no greater feeling than setting a new benchmark to try and live up to for future sessions.

A Struggle to Commit

Day 24 – Thursday the 23rd of February 2012.

Today’s session was juts plain hard to commit to doing, I don’t know if it was because of a lack of energy due to my fasting yesterday for Ash Wednesday, the soccer game last night at 9:20pm or the cold I seem to have at the moment but something made getting to the gym that little bit harder this morning. When my alarm went off at 5:30am I struggled to get out of bed and got ready for my gym session, after having some thoughts about skipping the session and just going back to sleep.

I arrived at the gym right on 6:00am and got into my 20 minute run by 6:05am, I was still feeling pretty lethargic and tight from the game last night ant not being awake but started the run on the same settings that I have been doing throughout this week with five minutes consecutively on 7.5, 10, 12.5 and then 10km/h. I found it a bit harder this morning and thought about stopping at the 15 minute mark but managed to push through, my nose being blocked  was not helping my breathing…I guess that this is one of the joys about being back teaching.

At the end of the run I got onto the cycle for my 15 minute ride, I was feeling much more awake now but still was uncertain how the ride would go. This ride is the hardest one I have done so far, my legs just felt like led weights and it was difficult to even get the rpm around the 100 mark consistently. By the 5 minute mark I had managed to do just on 2.6km which is under what I needed to bring up 8km in the time period. I tried to lift the intensity but just physically couldn’t this morning so I found by the 10 minute mark I had only gone 5.5km. It was looking like the distance I would travel would at best be 8km, this did disappoint me a bit but decided that all I could do now is push. I tried to lift the intensity and managed to get it to fluctuate between the 100 and 105rpm mark, I just couldn’t get above this today for some reason. By the 15 minute I had travelled 7.93km, this is one of my worst distances over this time but today I just couldn’t do anything about it as my legs just wouldn’t move.

I am happy that I managed to commit to going to the gym and giving everything I had to the session. It is always disappointing when you don’t managed to achieve a new best or even live up to previous performances but I guess that this is similar to life where just because you put in a lot of effort doesn’t mean that you always achieve what you want immediately. It’s all in the journey of making it that really makes the person.

A Solid Session

Day 23 – Wednesday 22nd February 2012.

Today’s session was one where I didn’t manage to set any new personal bests, it was just a good solid session on the bike. I had my 30 minute ride today on the bike seeing how far I could ride, and whilst it was no PB I was happy with the overall distance, especially considering the slow start I had at home this morning.

I set my alarm a little earlier last night than usual as I needed to get petrol on the way to the gym. I know it was a risky endeavour after Monday’s incident but last night it was a choice between getting petrol at 10:00pm or spending time with my wife, the time with Melissa was the much more important thing to do. I ended up sleeping through my alarm and only getting  out of bed due to Melissa prodding me at 5:35am, I knew that I had to get to the gym and stop for petrol….things would be tight this morning but I was sure with it being a cycle session that it was still possible.

I managed to get to the gym and be on the bike by 6:15am, so 15 minutes later than I would have liked. I started the session and found it difficult to get into a good rhythm above 100rpm with me only having managed 1km by the 2 minute mark (on track for a 15km distance instead of the targeted 16.5km). I tried lifting the revs for the next period but found it fluctuating between the 100 and 105rpm continuously, by the 5 minute mark I had travelled 2.6km so I had pushed a little ahead.

The next five minutes on the bike was also a bit of a struggle to get consistent speed, I just couldn’t keep the revs at the 105 mark which resulted in me only having travelled just over 5km by the 10 minute mark. It was going to take a lot to make up the lost distance already. I pushed hard and got the revs up to 110 for the next ten minutes, I passed 5.3km mark by 10 minutes today was proving a challenge. By the 15 minute (half way mark) I had managed to increase my speed enough to be approaching the 8km mark, this I passed at 7 seconds after 15 minutes. I was still behind where I wanted to be but slowly getting back on track. it was too early to try and lift the intensity any further so I pushed on.

By the 20 minute mark I had travelled 11km, I started trying to do the calculations in my head as to whether or not I’d be able to have a go at setting a new PB despite the slow start. I raised the intensity to 115rpm and managed to hold it there throughout the next 5 minutes and managed to pass the 13km just after the 25th minute. I raised the intensity again holding it around the 120rpm for the last five minutes, passing the 16km mark at the 28 minutes and 30 second mark. I knew that there wouldn’t be any new PB today but wanted to push myself to see how far I could get. By the 30 minute mark I had ridden 16.41km an effort that I am not too disappointed with.

Tomorrow’s session is a cross training one, I will look forward to pushing myself a little harder n both the run and the cycle and seeing what results will come from it.

Back in the Groove

Day 22 – Tuesday 21st February 2012.

When the alarm went off this morning at 5:20am the last thing I felt like doing was getting up and going to do my session. I had a terrible sleep last night due to the overnight temperature not dropping very low (I think the minimum was around 24 degrees centigrade). Whilst I felt like I had no energy and didn’t want to do the session I didn’t hesitate with getting up and getting ready for the session.

When I went outside I noticed how in the space of a week the sun all of a sudden seems to be rising much later, it was daylight with the time being 5:40am but the sky still very much had that reddish / orange glow that does when the sun is just coming up. It is one of the nice things about getting up so early, you get to enjoy the sunrises and the stillness of the city as it slowly awakens from its slumber.

I arrived at the gym just before 6:00am and was on the treadmill by 6:05am, today was a cross training session that would consist of 20 minutes running, 15 minutes on the bike and then a good 15 minute stretching time. This week I had decided that it was time to increase the intensity of the running by pyramiding the speeds. I started on 7.5km/h for 5 minutes and then followed this with speeds of 10km/h, 12.5km/h and then 10km/h for five minutes each. I paid attention to how long it takes to do a km at each one of those speeds with it working out that I was running at 8 minute per km followed by  6 and 4 minutes 18 seconds for each of the consecutive speeds. My legs felt pretty good during the run and I wasn’t short of breath either, this week I will keep this routine and not increase speeds further until next week’s session to keep with my gradual building approach. Over the 20 minutes I managed to travel 3.31km at an average speed of 10km/h.

The cycle this morning I found quite challenging largely because I couldn’t get into a good rhythms today. I got the speed up to 100rom and sat for most of the time around the 105rpm, I just couldn’t get it to sit consistently above this rate. I don’t know whether the increasing the intensity of the run had an effect on my legs but there was something this morning that just stopped me being able to push through. I did have some problems with the bike as with the effort level self resetting back to one from six on a couple of occasions meaning I had to keep watching and correcting this which was very annoying and probably one of the factors that played into not being able to find that rhythm. I did manage to ride 8.1km in the 15 minute time slot, whilst not a new PB it’s still an alright distance to have covered in the 15 minute time period.

Failure to Plan Equals Failure to Achieve

Day 21 – Monday 20th February 2012.

Today is one of those days that I hate writing a post to keep myself accountable in this challenge as I did not do my required session. I woke up at 5:30am but really didn’t feel like doing my session. Normally this feeling alone wouldn’t be enough to stop me doing a session, I’d normally suck it up and get on with it, but the fact that there were a number of other things I had failed to plan and organise the night before prevented me from being able to get over the apathetic feeling.

I had prepared my gym bah the night before as I have been throughout this training regime, what I had forgotten was that there were instruments that needed picking up from my music studio before I could teach today as well as needing to put petrol in my car to get through the travel I’d need to be doing from home to Aquinas, out to Mater Dei and then back to the music studio before going to a rehearsal and finally arriving home by 9:15pm tonight. I needed to be at Aquinas by 7:30am for th first AJO 2 rehearsal for the year and, knowing I wouldn’t finish at the gym until 6:50am at the earliest just made it all too hard.

I am annoyed at myself as it’s the first session I have missed since coming back from hurting my knee and it is disappointing that it was my own disorganisation that has lead to this missed session. It has reinforced my need to prepare and plan everything the evening before to ensure that I have no objections in the way to me doing my session first thing in the morning. Al I can do now is learn from the experience and try not to repeat the mistake as I move forward to tomorrow’s session.

Loving the Rest Day

Day 20 – Sunday 19th February 2012.

Today’s rest day was one that was extremely enjoyable and very relaxing, so relaxing in fact that it has proven me difficult to get the energy and enthusiasm to actually write my daily post!

I woke up this morning feeling quite tired after having a gig last night with Odette and Mercy and her Soul Atomics for an RTR fundraiser that was being held at the Grey Door Gallery which is located upstairs at the Claremont Hotel. I didn’t end up finishing the show until after 1:00am and it was more like 2:00am before I got home and closer to 3:00 before I managed to get to bed.

After having celebrated Mass at Holy Spirit in City Beach we skipped the usual coffee so Melissa could do the preparation needed for her mum’s surprise birthday lunch, this really suited me as it meant I got an extra couple of hours sleep. We headed off to Melissa’s parents’ place for lunch and enjoyed the company and celebratory atmosphere over lunch. I always enjoy lunches we have, talking with and listening to the diversity of her siblings and the conversations that take place is always one of the experiences through my week where I learn many things. I believe you can always learn something from anyone, it’s a matter of always having the ability to acknowledge that everyone has value and experiences that can be a valuable addition to my life journey.

As I write this I am sitting in the car waiting for Melissa’s practice soccer to begin at a local park in Noranda, as we’ve taken just the one car it does give me the chance to do some work whilst waiting for the game to start. It’s quite hot so I think I will stay in the ld car in the air conditioning for a while. I am really enjoying being able to come along to Melissa’s game and support her, she continues to amaze me with her toughness and ability to grow and develop as a soccer player.

Tonight we’ll be heading out to a good friend’s welcome home celebrations in East Perth. This really will be the perfect end to one of my rest days with everything important to me from God, to family (between my family last night and Melissa’s today), Melissa and friends all getting a look in.

The training regime will continue tomorrow at 6:00am with a cycle session. I am still going to do another couple of weeks of basic cardio work rather than any weights in my attempts to get my fitness up. The cycle sessions will stay the same, hopefully I will be able to set a few more PBs this week as well. I will raise the intensity on my run this week, still running for 20 minutes but probably pyramid the run into five minute intervals with 7.5km/h, 10km/h, 12.5km/h and finishing on 10km/h probably being used.

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