Dedication Leads to Results

Day Eleven – Friday the 10th of February 2012

This morning I hit a potential hurdle to my training, I slept in through my alarm. I woke at 6:05am and tried to get ready to get to the gym, my lack of preparation the night before lead to me not leaving the house until 6:25am. I realised whilst driving to the gym that I wasn’t going to get there in time to do the full 30 minute ride, do a good a stretch and have a enough time to wash and be out at Mater Dei College in Edgewater to start teaching by 7:50am. I was really disappointed with myself for not cutting the grade for my morning session, I knew that come the afternoon I wouldn’t feel like doing a session but that to keep to the regime I really did need to push through and be dedicated to the tasks. My hope from yesterday’s session was to see if I could reach the 15km in 30 minutes and I was determined not to miss the opportunity to give that a go.

Come the afternoon i didn’t feel like going to the gym however after a swim at the beach and Melissa heading off to her Eucharistic Adoration hour I left for the gym to complete my daily training.

I got to the gym by 6:55pm and was on the bikes just after 7:00pm. I had a good feeling as I started that today was going to be the night I broke the 15km mark, I had no idea at this point in time what I was going to have achieved by the end of the 30 minute mark. The first five minutes started well, my intensity was good with me having the rpm sitting comfortably over 100 and an average power output of 168W. I was happy with the distance I had covered, at 2.6km I was on track to make the 15km mark with me moving at the same sort of speed that I was doing my 10 minute ride for. I was wondering at this point in time as to whether I cold keep this intensity up for a full half an hour or if my body would die.

At 10 minutes into my ride I had managed to keep the intensity just over 100rpm and a similar power output to at the 5 minute mark. I had ridden 5.4km n the time meaning my average speed would have been 32.4km/h. I was now heading into new territory and I knew that it would take a serious effort to keep the work rate up as the tiredness started to set in, to counter the fatigue that I was starting to feel I lifted my work rate to being between 103 and 105 rpm. I started trying to concentrate more on my breathing, the movement of my legs both pushing and pulling as well as racing against the clock. By the 15 minute mark I found myself in position of having ridden closer to 8.5km than the required 7.5km to make the 15km mark, my thoughts turned to maybe it being possible to not only make the magic 15km but pass the 16km mark…if only I could push on.

One of the tactics I always do when training is continuously reassess my progress as I am training, I believe that this helps me get more out of the sessions and stretches me to achieve more than I have before. At this point in the ride I set myself the target to have passed the 10 km mark by the 18 minute mark, I figured that if I could reach this then maybe the 16km would be in my grasp. By the 18 minute mark I was just short of the 10 km mark having ridden 9.8km, it was time to increase the intensity again to really go for it. My rpm reached sitting at 110 for the next 7 minutes (until the 25 minute mark), during this time my pulse was up at 180bpm but I was feeling really good. I passed some milestones in this 7 minute period passing my previous best PB for the 30 minute ride of 13.8km in the 23rd minute. I did miss riding the 15 km in 25 minutes but the 15km mark came up at 26 minutes and 17 seconds.

Now the real challenge started – I had a taste of success and I wanted more!

I raised the work rate again to 122rpm on the bike which I kept up for the remainder of the ride. The 16km mark was passed just before  hit 29 minutes, now it was a matter of far could I get in the last minute? I kept pushing, desperately hoping to get the 16.5km as this would mean travelling at 33km/h on average which I would be very happy with. As the clock passed over the 30 minute mark and I pushed stop on the timer I had ridder a total of 16.28km. My average rpm was 109rpm and my average speed was 32.56km/h. My average heart rate was 162bpm.

During my cool down over the next minute and a half minutes I kept a track on on  my pulse and it had returned down to rest inside this time.

My legs felt very tight when I got off the bike so I did my 20 minute stretch through all the muscles holding each stretch for a good 30 seconds.

Today’s session yet again has proven to me the importance in not only setting goals and reassessing and resetting as I train but more importantly the rewards that come from being dedicated to the tasks that you set yourself. Basically for me it seems that the more dedicated I am to anything the greater the results I end up seeing and I continue to surprise myself with how far they get surpassed by.

Overcoming the Feeling of Apathy

Day Ten – Thursday 9th February 2012

I found today’s session a real struggle to commit to actually getting done. We had our indoor soccer game last night, which we won 4-3, at 8:45pm but by the time we got home, had dinner and cleaned up it was 11:40pm. I have been so good at getting to bed no later than 11:30pm but knowing that I hadn’t seen a lot of my wife during the day I decided it was more important to sit up and spend some time with each other. This meant that I wasn’t going to get to bed until at least 12:30 and whilst an hour might not seem like a big difference it is when it means that you are getting at a maximum four and a half hours sleep instead of five and a half hours.

The alarm went off at 5:15am and I felt like I had just gone to bed, I considered my options for the day…do I get up and do the session now, do I go back to sleep for a bit longer and then get up as I don’t start work until 12:00pm today or do I skip it all together? After some deliberation I decided on the second option and reset the alarm for 6:30am to get myself an extra hour of rest.

The alarm went off at 6:30am and I found myself in the same position, thinking of the same options I had an hour earlier. I wanted to do the session but I really couldn’t be bothered and was trying to find every and any excuse not to get up and do it. Luckily, I recognised this and fought against the apathy to get out of bed, get ready and head off to the gym.

I arrived at the gym at 7:00am and headed for the cycles. Today’s session was going to be another one like Tuesdays as my knee is still feeling quite stiff and sore. I set myself the target of trying to ride 15km inside of 30 minutes, a target that I knew would really push and challenge me. I set off at a slow pace loosening off the tired muscles from last night’s game. By the 10 minute mark I was already behind having only ridden 4.2km at an energy output of 128W and revs of around the 80rpm. I knew that it was still possible to make the target but would need to pick up the pace if I was going to make it. By the 10 minute mark I had ridden 9.0km at a revs of around the 90rpm and energy output of around the 134W. At this point I knew that to make the 15m mark was probably going to be beyond me, I did want to get as close as I could to this magic mark so I increased the work rate again to 100 rpm and an output of 150W. By the 30 minute mark I had fallen short of the set goal by 1.2km having ridden 13.8km inside 30 minutes, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t reach the goal but I do know that this will leave me with some room to grow. Tomorrow’s session I might have to see if i can make up that 1.2km difference and hit the 15km mark.

To finish with I did a series of stretches, I am finding my legs are really tightening up a lot throughout the sessions and my knee ends up being quite sore. After strecthing for the 20 minutes or so everything feels like it is getting looser and I headed home. I have a lot to get done today, hopefully this session gives me the burst of energy and focus I need to get through the day and my attitude to overcoming an apathetic view will carry over into my other asks for today.

A Compulsory Missed Session

Day 9 – Wednesday 8th February 2012

Unfortunately today’s session has had to be missed due to a few things that really are out of my control.

I went to the doctor’s just over a week ago for a general checkup and he sent me off for a series of routine blood tests (nothing seems to be wrong thank goodness). After yesterday’s session I headed off to the Pathologist to get these done, upon reading the information sheet it appears that I am not allowed to physical exercise for about 24 hours after having the tests. As I don’t want to do anything silly I decided it would be best to follow the medical advice and not do a morning session (maybe that’s a sign of me getting older).

I do have an indoor soccer game tonight at 8:45pm, I think that in tomorrow’s post I will include how the game went and in particular how I went after the blood tests from yesterday.

Back in the Gym

Day 8 – Tuesday 7th February 2012

Today I managed to get back into the gym for my first cardiovascular workout in a gym form for a week. I decided that it was time to give the knee that was injured in last week’s indoor soccer game a bit of a push to see how I will pull up tomorrow as we have a game on tomorrow night as well.

My alarm went off at 5:15 am and I managed to get out of bed and start to do all my preparation for the gym session. The knee was feeling a bit sore so I opted for the ride for a half hour workout with a decent amount of stretching to finish rather than the intense cross training routine that I will work back up to.

I arrived at the gym just after 6:00am and headed for the bikes. I started with the intention on riding for 30  minutes without any breaks at a medium intensity. With the effort level on 6 I began my ride and kept a pretty consistent speed for the first 10 minutes of 84rpm with a power output of 134w. at the ten minute mark I had travelled around the 4 kms, my legs were still feeling quite stiff and sore but I wanted to get the most out of the session so I increased my work rate. By the end of the 30 minutes I had ridden 13.8km with the rpm sitting around the 93 mark and my output being around 148w.

After finishing the ride I headed to stretch out my very stiff legs for the next 15 minutes.

Today’s session I am quite happy with, I am thinking I will continue to gradually increase the workload over this week to hopefully have it up to the full load by the start of next week. The only thing that will stand in the way of this is injury, fingers crossed I can get through tomorrow night’s game unscathed!

Crunching in the Afternoon

Day Seven – Monday 6th February 2012

I did another session today that was away from the gym. I had a gig last night which ended up throwing out my entire evening routine and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. I knew right then that the 5:00am start for the gym at 6:00 was not going to be a possibility at all so I had to put other measures in place to ensure that I would get some sort of fitness training done today.

My initial plan was to go straight to the gym after finishing at Aquinas, this week my teaching schedule isn’t at full capacity yet so it would prove a rare opportunity for an afternoon session. Unfortunately after completing my teaching at Aquinas, which included another two students who just enrolled today, I didn’t have enough time to get to the gym as well as get down to ECU Mt Lawley to pickup my books and name badge for my University course I start on the 27th of February and then be back at my music studio ready for a 4pm lesson. It meant I went with plan C – the abs and arms workout.

This workout I have been doing recently when time has been tight just to ensure that I do some sort of exercise if time gets too tight. Today’s session was a good one with my abs really tightening up and starting to cramp during the second set of the repetitions. I managed to complete the three sets of 30 sit ups  to work my abdominals (full crunches) with 3 sets of 20 pushups in between each set. I don’t know why but today I just found the exercises more challenging than usual…however I am happy for that to be the case as well.

Tomorrow I am really keen to get back into the gym and do a full cardio session, it will be a bit of a challenge as I need to fast tonight for 12 hours as I am having some routine blood tests done first thing tomorrow which would be after I have done my session.

Enjoying the Good Things of Life

I believe that it’s an important part of every training program, in fact just every life in general, to be able to stop and reflect on how you are going. It’s important to not just reach your goals and targets but also to reflect on are you enjoying the journey of life you are on? Are you reaching your goals and a the same time being able to be a good person?

It’s no good in life reaching all your goals, making your targets and achieving your dreams if you don’t take time to stop and smell the roses along the way. Appreciation of the people, the opportunities, moments and “little things” in life is what makes it all worth living…a life where you achieve all your goals can still be a life not lived fully due to a lack of gratitude and taking the time to appreciate the journey.

My Sundays are the day I am trying hard to set aside for this purpose, as a result these are my rest days from Fitness Training 2012, as a result my Sunday posts will be a bit different to other days. On the training side of things, I am happy with how my first week has gone to date. There have been some challenges to overcome, mountains to climb (metaphorically and literally) and some successes as well. This year is looking very exciting from a training point of view and I will continue to take it the only I can, one day at a time.

Sundays have become an increasingly important day for me to spend time with my wife, due to our weird work commitments it is the only time in the week we can definitely and regularly spend time together. We have a habit of going to mass at 8:00am in the morning at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in City Beach before heading out to have a coffee, whilst out at coffee we sit and talk about everything and anything we want. Sometimes the conversation is light and funny and other times it gets quite serious and intense, most weeks it actually swings from one to another numerous times during this time we spend together. The important part of this habit on a Sunday is not the topic of conversation but more of a spending time totally present to the other person and appreciating who they are and who God has created them to be. This time is one of my most favourite events in the week to the extent that I actually have it scheduled into my diary as being important and sacred time.

Today was no different, we headed out to Dome in Scarborough, one of our frequent hangouts on a Sunday morning, for our hangout time. We love going to this place because the view is brilliant with it being located right on the beach with beautiful views. As always, our conversations were great fun and really enjoyable. I appreciate that I have been blessed with such an amazing wife who I get to share all of my life with.

After finishing coffee we have headed home and we just got to hangout with each other sitting on the couch for an hour or so. We usually have a family lunch on Sunday which Melissa is currently making something for as I write this post. Spending time with family is another one of the things we do on a Sunday to stop and enjoy the good things in life as we have both been blessed by coming from amazing families. Later on today we might go for a walk in a park, stopping to enjoy the beauty of nature…something I am still learning to do as it doesn’t come naturally to me like it does to my wife.

A man that I know and really respect once said in a talk I was present at “Gratitude leads to Generosity and Generosity leads to Wholeness”. I want to be someone who lives a whole life, the way I can do this is by first being grateful and to do this I need to stop and appreciate these good things in life. The more I stop and reflect and appreciate the good things in the life I am finding the more of the things I want to achieve that are important to me are actually being accomplished.

I hope that today you will stop and make at a minimum a regular weekly time to slow down and appreciate the good things in your life. I’d love to hear about what those good things are and how it has changed your life as I am sure it would end up being an inspiration for me as well.

A Day of Recovery

Day Five – Saturday 4th February 2012.

Today I woke up and was still feeling quite sore from the mountain climb the day before. With my knee still not feeling 100% right I decided ti would be better to have an easier exercise day rather than a difficult and high intensity one.

My session today was a repeat of the one I did on Thursday which consisted of sit ups and push ups in three sets without any break in between each set. I managed to repeat the exact same program as Thursday managing 3 sets of sit ups each with 30 repetitions being completed alternately to 3 sets of 20 pushups. My arms and abs are still feeling a bit sore from the Thursday session so I am sure come tomorrow morning’s rest day this feeling of soreness will be multiplied even more.

Climbing Mount Toolbrunup

Day Four – Friday 3rd February 2012

Today’s fitness training was breaking new ground for me. I climbed a mountain, well what is called a mountain here in WA which in reality is just a big hill.

My wife, Melissa, and I had decided for our day off to drive five and a half into the south of WA to the Stirling Ranges and climb Mt Toolbrunup, one of the peaks down there which is around 1040m asl. We took with us Melissa’s three youngest siblings with us as we thought that they would enjoy the experience too. To achieve this task we left home at 4:40am, the plan was to pick up the kids and be on the road by 5:00am which was a success. We headed down and arrived at around 10:30am, the weather wasn’t looking too great with there being quite a bit of moisture and a light mist falling.

At the beginning of the ascent I was a little worried of my knee that I had injured at indoor soccer on the Wednesday night, I wasn’t sure how it was going to hold up largely because I wasn’t sure how steep the climb would be and what the terrain would be like. We started the ascent and for the first half and hour to forty five minutes the ascent was steep but it was possible to walk it without being on all fours. Very quickly I had stripped off from having my jumper on  back to my t-shirt, the knee was holding up ok but there quite a few slippery parts and a lot of lose rocks that I did have to keep my footing on. Very quickly it became obvious that I was the weakest climber of the entire group and I found myself at the back, this didn’t overly bother me as it meant that I would be able to climb at my own pace and keep my footing.

At about the forty five minute mark we came to our first part wear we had to scramble across the rocks. The ascent became a lot steeper in it’s incline, the lighter and more agile ones of the group just speed up the incline and before I new it I could just see them off in the distance. By this stage the mist and weather had started to come in a lot heavier and the visibility was probably down to about five metres in front and behind us, this is probably because we had very little protection. My legs during this part were really burning and it felt like it went on forever. A few times the ground levelled out and it was possible to walk again upright, I found that I couldn’t see anyone in front by this stage, so for a first time climber it take me a bit longer to work my way up the lose, slippery rocks and over the path which wasn’t too well marked. The climb continued, I felt like I was falling further behind and my legs were getting more tired, my knee was going ok just at times was hurting a little but my calves and glutes were really starting to burn.

I managed to get up to this ledge and lost the track, I eventually found it again and continued up, the weather had really come in and I was ready to go back. By this stage the others had reached the summit (unfortunately this was not the case for me) and I managed to call out to them for us to start back down.

The journey down was just as difficult as the way up, a lot of the rocks were very slippery and lose and scrambling backwards equalled a lot of crawling on my backside all the way down the mountain. Once we reached the pathway I found that going slowly was very important, I had to exert a lot of energy and control to not go too fast otherwise I would not be able to stop and in places the path was quite narrow with a long drop in front of it.

By 1:00pm we managed to make our way back to the car, tired, wet and very dirty. This session today I think is probably one of the most challenging I have done so far. Tomorrow I am sure that I will be feeling sore and stiff. Now it’s time to go and have a beer!

The First Hurdle

Day Three – 2nd February 2012

Today’s session proved to be the the first hurdle in my 2012 challenge. My alarm went off at 5:30am and I got up ready to do the session only to find that I could barely put any weight on my right knee without there being a lot of pain.

Last night we had our usual indoor soccer game, a disappointing 4 – 4 draw (the other team scored the equaliser right on the final siren). In the first half of the game I got a hard knock / jazz to my right knee when an opponent came in for a challenge on me. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, with my body warm I could still run and it caused me no problems at all. Last night things had started to stiffen up quite a lot before bed but I wasn’t expecting it to get as bad as it feels this morning. After some deliberation as to whether I should go to the gym or not I decided it would be best not to and I would workout at home in a different way later in the morning.

Today was going to prove to be a good day just to do some basic core work. I did three sets of 30 sit ups with 3 sets of 20 pushups in between the sets. Even doing this amount I felt restricted because of my knee, it isn’t a lot but I have kept up with getting something done and achieved for the day.

Tomorrow’s session was going to look different again with Melis and I planing on going hiking. I guess now a part of that will depend on how the knee is feeling tomorrow, I think it should be alright…fingers crossed!

Working Out the Stiffness

Day Two – Wednesday 1st February 2012

I decided that today’s session at the gym was not going to be a high intensity one. I do have a few reasons why I thought that this would be a great idea;

  1. I want to manage my body over the entire year and not get injured
  2. I have an indoor soccer game tonight that I will probably do a high running workload
  3. I went to the beach last night to celebrate Mary Haydon’s, my wife’s younger sister, birthday and whilst we were all mucking around with a tennis ball in the water both of my calves cramped up, my left one really badly.

The plan was to get to the gym at 6:00am before my regular coffee in West Perth with my good friend, Sam Cleary, at Epic Coffee (great coffee by the way) at 7:00am. I didn’t end up getting to bed until after 1:00am making the 5:30am alarm too early for my liking, the session therefore got moved to being after Sam’s and my catchup.

I got to the gym by around 8:25am and was ready to start by 8:35am as I needed to get changed and all that sort of thing. Today’s session, as already mentioned, was going to be a sole focus on stretching out and loosening up my tightness from Day One’s workout. I hopped onto one of the bikes, my aim was to ride at a medium intensity for 30 minutes and then follow this with a good 15 minutes of stretching. With the bike set on a resistance of 6, I set out and was managing around the 87 rpm mark with a power output of 134 watts. My legs felt like lead weights and it was difficult to keep a good rhythm, I did manage to get into the swing of things by about the 5 minute mark and managed to maintain an rpm between 86 and 91 with watts around the 134 for the entire 30 minutes. Some moments in the ride were quite challenging with my legs going through phases of feeling heavy and then fine.

After having finished the 30 minutes I had worked up a bit of a sweat, which I wasn’t really expecting, and headed over to the stretching area where I worked through all the muscles groups in my legs, each stretch I repeated twice and held for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Tomorrow’s session is planned to be a more intensive one, these first four to six weeks I am thinking of doing nothing but cardiovascular work, alternating between an intense session and then a light one. The weights sessions can wait for a little while before restarting, my first aim is to get rid of this excess 5kg I am carrying.

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