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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Virtual Gym Buddies: peer support for getting fit's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
6:54 pm
pshtaku in shock exercise spurt
At my new place there is a gym not 2 minutes from my flat. So in the spirit of I have no excuse I have joined the gym! And this morning and evening I walked 30 minutes to and from work so I am feeling all virtuous!

This has nothing at all to do with the new scales saying I am the wrong side of 14 stones.

Current Mood: determined
Monday, January 28th, 2008
2:50 pm
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
8:54 am
Getting back into it
2007 wasn't a great year for me exercise wise. Learning that I would never play rugby again took away one of my greatest incentives to stay fit. The fact that my ankle collapses if I try and run wasn't much of a help either. Net, net, despite doing a bit of biking I got very slack on the exercise front. I really didn't do anything much after the weather got too cold for comfortablke biking. I put on some weight and my blood pressure went up a bit. Something had to be done!

The last week or so I've got back into climbing the stairs in our building. It was pretty hard to start with but it's beginning to get easier. I did 45 floors this morning which isn't too bad. The plan forward is to keep that up and maybe do indoor training with the Nomads when that starts up. I may have to be a bit selective about some of the drills but I'd like to be fit when I start coaching again. It doesn't seem right not to set that example to the kids. I'd also like to lose 40 pounds though I'd settle for 20.
Thursday, November 15th, 2007
5:41 pm
Exercise Month: Day Three
Made it to the gym last night: 520 calories. Off again tonight...
I think the weekend will be the real test - will I be able to exercise at the cottage, or just give in and relax?
Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
7:57 pm
Which bloody idiot thought of this stupid idea?
I'm beginning to think that my resolution to have at least a half hour of vigorous exercise every day for the next month or so was a bit of a lofty ambition.
And this is day one.
Ah well, I'll let you know when I get back from the gym...
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
9:53 pm
Back on the treadmill
I've had a very lazy Summer, and actually cancelled my gym membership in August. This may have had something to do with the five kilos I've put back on, then.

I've joined the Glasgow Club, which is basically a way for the council to take £30 a month of my money on the assumption that I won't use £30 worth of their services.

I went over to Scotstoun at lunchtime, spent half an hour in the gym, and the same in the sauna and pool. I only attempted 15 minutes on the cross trainer, and clocked up around 250 calories. I'll work my way back up to half an hour over the next week or so.

Pros and Cons so far:

It's ten pounds cheaper than my private gym.
I get to use any of the facilities in Glasgow - this means not only Scotstoun, which is five minutes away in the car, but the Kelvin Hall, which is walkable, and a couple of dozen other places.
The swimming pool at Scotstoun is a decent size.
There seems to be a good selection of CV machines.

The facilities are a bit variable - the tennis and badminton facilities are out of this world, but the gym seemed a little scruffy
I'm not sure how busy it will be at peak times

That's about it, at the moment. If anyone has a favourite facility in Glasgow that I should try, let me know.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
11:37 pm
Joint supplements
I was considering taking something for my slightly creaky joints - does anyone here have experience or advice about the bewildering range of products available in the glucosamine / chondrotin etc department of Boots. Or is it a case of suck it and see?
6:37 pm
Bits that hurt
So I already knew about the neck injury, and the corresponding bits that hurt and / or don't work properly - mid-back, upper arms, sciatic nerve, shoulders and jaw. My exercise strategy for these has usually been 'ignore them and hope they will go away', or alternatively 'don't do any exercise at all'.

It wasn't until this week's walking holiday that I realised that actually my lower body doesn't work either. In particular, I've discovered that my knees are locked nearly all the time, my thighs are incredibly tense and I think I'm pronating my feet.

I'm a bit disheartened by this, and I'm unsure what to do to fix it. I said no to an operation on my neck a few years ago, because I've always been sure that the problem is down to my posture, so I'd just recreate it after surgery. But if my whole body isn't working right, what can I do about this? Are there people out there who teach thirty-six-year-olds to walk?

Please don't say yoga. Yoga pulls off the challenging double of being both boring and difficult, and I know I wouldn't do it. Other than that, my mind is completely open.

Current Mood: questing
Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
5:57 pm
Operation Get Sexy By September
And reduce stress.

And save money on gasoline.

And extend the life of my elderly car.

It's about five miles on Southern Indiana Hills (not the Alps, not Chicago Prairie) from my front door to my department door in B-ton.  Lately, I have been trying to bike in and back, or go for at least a ten mile ride on the trail behind my house every day.  (yesterday, I did a 13 mile trip)

Let me tell you, that up-hill-both-ways ride to town has been kicking my ass.  Today, when it was warm out, I was wondering why, even more than yesterday, was this trip totally kicking my ass.  Am I that out of shape?  Well, I am not at my most fit right now for sure.  Then I went and looked at how much caloric effort it takes to bike on hills five miles in about 20 minutes.  And this is what I found.  I found I am riding, caloric expenditure-wise, with the effort it takes to run between 9-11 miles an hour*. 

That might explain some things.  I'd actually try and take it easier and be more leisurely, but I've found it's less comfortable and less "natural" feeling to bike uphill a speed that doesn't make me feel like I am running short on breath.  Like, everything about the whole process seems to think that bike is supposed to go about two gear levels above what my stamina would like to go.

So, okay, that's the rate we'll go at.  And I hope it gets less gasp-ey and "more wheeee, see me bike-ey" in the next week or two.

(Every year I try and become a person who runs, and every year, my shins and ankles, which could walk forever, threaten to secede from the union.  I hate that.  I want to be determined enough to be a runner.)
8:55 pm
Running highs and woes
Well, I registered for the Loch Ness Marathon (by joining Scottish Athletics) and I'm trying to get into training. At the moment I'm trying to keep my half marathon fitness, up my weekly mileage and then start some hills or speedwork. I ran a 10-miler last weekend and felt pretty strong, but I'm having all sorts of feet problems. My insoles are completely worn out. I've had to stop wearing them altogether as I was getting all sorts of aches and pains. After my run last weekend I've had to take a break as I have pain in my right arch and ball of the foot that won't go away.

I'm desperately trying to get another podiatrist appointment. I phoned up a couple of weeks ago and was told it would be "about a month". Called back on Monday to chase it up as I hadn't heard anything, and they had no record of my previous call. All I could get was a vague promise that the person I spoke to would "leave a note" for the podiatrist. So still no appointment and I can't run at the moment.


* Try running in my old plastic 3/4 insoles and see if that helps (once my foot stops hurting - might take it for a spin tomorrow)
* Go private (costs a fortune)
* Buy some insoles off the internet (but no guarantee I'd get the right ones).

The problem is the last two options are both more expensive than necessary! I've found my NHS insoles on the internet for a fiver - but you can't buy the buggers without a prescription! Agh!

I just hope I'm not setting myself up for a case of planar fascitis...

Current Mood: frustrated
Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
6:54 pm
Steady as she goes...
10 mins cycle 50 cals
25 mins xt 240 cals level 2 random
20 mins treadmill level 5 speed 5 hill 110 cals
5 mins bike 25 cals

managed to keep my pulse down at a reasonable rate (140-160).
Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
7:06 pm
Back in the Saddle
just finished a wee sesh ay the gym.

Did 15 mins on the x-trainer on Random Level 5 and did 150 calories. Then 20 mins on the bike for 100 cals and then 5 mins wind down on the treadmill.

I think I'm going to have to go right back to basics, as I hit a peak of 170 pulse on the xt, which can't be healthy.

I watched Madagascar on my iPod, which really helped, although I think I need new headphones...
Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
9:22 pm
A cunning plan
The Loch Ness marathon is still open to Scottish Athletics members, and apparently there are guaranteed places. This would, admittedly, bring the total cost of the race to a hefty £62, but I do so desperately want to do it. I'm half-marathon fit now, I reckon I can quite realistically be ready for a marathon by October. So I've emailed the race organisers to double check I can get a place that way before I splash out on SA membership.

Current Mood: optimistic
Monday, May 14th, 2007
10:06 pm
No autumn marathon for me
I just went to the website for the Loch Ness Marathon to see if the ballot was open yet and it's already closed. I'm really disappointed - I've been planning to run that race for a year or more.

Loch Leven half marathon on Saturday. Somehow I'm not looking forward to it quite so much any more.

Current Mood: disappointed
Thursday, May 3rd, 2007
1:47 pm
Climbing up the Ladder
***More for my notes than anything else***

Last time in the Golf Society outing to Brampton Heath , I scored 11 points, which was mainly 1 points (bogie) and I think a sole 2 point (par) across 18 holes.  Unsurprisingly, I got the wooden spoon.

This time, at Aylesbury Vale,  I scored 12 points, and have two birdies (3 points each), one par (2 points) and four bogies (1 point).  So, I think I have got better, even though I managed to score points on fewer holes - especially as one of the birdies was a Par 4.
I have discovered that I'm hitting my driver so far now that I am driving through the green on Par 3 (160yd), so I have to buy a new club - probably a wood of some description to cover the gap between Driver & 5-iron.

I also discovered that I was 2 points away from the next Wooden Spoon contender, so I  really do need to concentrate on my putting to try to get those extra points!

Next time, it's Wavendon Golf Centre I think I'll have a go on this course before the Society day to check it out.
Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
8:34 am
Cold Showers
I have a ten o'clock meeting at a client's site, and instead of going to the gym, which is next to my office, and then doubling back for the meeting I decided to go for a run instead, and give myself a later start.

I had kind of noticed that the sky was grey, but didn't follow this through until I stepped outside into the rain. Not a downpour, but heavy enough to count as real rain. I decided to run anyway, since I was only going to get wetter in the shower.

Bad things about running in the rain:
You get wet
It's a bit colder (although I was still sweating after 2 minutes)
There's no one else around
People look at you a bit funny
You have to dry out your kit afterwards.

Good things about running in the rain:

I'm not sure how much this has to do with my surprise that I really quite like running, or the fact that I was only out for about 20-30 minutes, but I really did get a hit of exhilaration after about 10 minutes.
I think I need to do a bit of treadmill running just to set some benchmarks for how long I run and at what speed, but I'll be doing this again, I know.
Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
11:10 am
Running and injury
I'm just psyching myself up for this week's long run (10 miles). Looking forward to it as I get to try out my new iPod Shuffle and brainstorm for a story I'm writing. Not sure whether running today is wise, however. When I went horse riding in the Easter holidays I did something to my right knee - I think I twisted it or something. It hurts when I kneel on it, or when I bend it more than is normal in regular walking or running. It clicks sometimes too. I've been wearing a tubi-grip when it's sore, and especially for running, and it seemed to be getting better. But yesterday I made the mistake of letting Liza talk me into going to a circuit training class. Apart from the class being very, very boring (I just can't do with gyms) my knee is now hurting slightly all the time, instead of just hurting a lot when I bend it too far. Grr.

Apart from this injury and a two-week bout of illness before the holidays that kept me from running for ages, the training for the half-marathon I'm doing in May is going well. But I can't afford to miss any more long runs. One thing that I did like about the circuit training yesterday - it made me realise that I am actually very fit! I could keep going and outrun most of the people there without too much trouble. I wasn't too good at the arm and abs exercises though! I'm thinking of finding a martial arts class to get some more interesting cross-training - there's a judo class nearby that I might try next week. No ju-jitsu clubs near me, unfortunately.

Anybody know anyone running the London Marathon today? I'm thinking of entering next year (safe in the knowledge that I'm highly unlikely to get in, of course!).
Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
9:27 pm
Great Manchester Run Training
There are four free weekends left until the Great Manchester Run on May 20th and I'm hoping to at least beat my time last year of 01:08:30 if not get under an hour.

I had a crack at running a 10k route around my park, assisted by the Google Maps Pedometer site. I came up with a figure of eight route (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=813430) that doubled back on itself to go both up and down the same long incline. This strikes me as a better idea than just going 5km in one direction and then returning as, this way, if I get tired, it's never more than a couple of kilometres back home.

My first attempt at this route gave me a time of 1 hour 7 minutes which hopefully means that the three weeks I had away from the gym whilst moving flat haven't left me entirely unfit. I'm in this strange state of being able to feel that I have stronger muscles than before and yet they're hidden by excess fat. It's going to be difficult to shed the weight in the next few weeks and continue to improve my speed but we'll see how it goes.
9:06 am
Running: Eek!
The one thing my battered ipod still does is wake up at six o'clock, and if I remember to leave it in the speaker dock, so do I. I was putting on my gym stuff when it occurred to me that the bright light coming in through the curtains was sunshine, and that there’s a huge park directly opposite the new flat.
So instead of driving to the gym, I went downstairs for a run instead. This doesn’t sound like much, but I haven’t been running for, oh, years. When I was a teenager I ran at school, of course, and was briefly a member of The Springburn Harriers, until I found out that they ran in the winter, too, and that badminton, squash and volleyball all got played indoors…
The few times I’ve tried running in the gym, I’ve not been able to manage more than five minutes or so at a time, and I stuck to the cross trainer.
This morning I jog-walked to the park (about two or three minutes) and then ran across the road (to avoid being killed, mostly). First snag was that the side gates hadn’t been opened yet, and I had to run around to the front gates, keeping me in the public gaze for longer than I expected. The second was that I obviously hadn’t warmed up properly – within a few strides the calf muscle that I pulled a couple of months ago was twingeing again. I think it probably took around 10 minutes of running and walking before I was warmed up, and then I started enjoying it. I was probably running for about 3 or 4 minutes and walking for one or two. I will need to start wearing a watch. It was bloody cold (about 8c.) and the only other runner I saw was wearing gloves. I’m sure I wasn’t burning up as many calories as I would have on the cross trainer, but I think I’ll persevere for a week or so and see how it goes.
I started to do a gym v. running list, and what is seems to show is that they are complementary – the gym gives me things that running doesn’t (A hot tub! A roof! A swimming pool!) and running gives me something I can do with no planning – I can fall out of bed and be exercising in five minutes. I hope the rain stays off for this week, and we’ll see how it goes.
The only thing I’m missing out on just now is the social part of exercise, but hopefully I’ll be playing tennis tonight and badminton on Thursday, so that should help.
My hope is that I’ll be able to get into my new jeans by the end of this month as easily as I get into the ones I bought in January now. Let’s see how it goes…
Friday, March 30th, 2007
4:52 pm
swim swam swum
12 length
5 min sauna
12 lengths
5 mins steam oom
kiddie swimming lessons started so I gave up on the final 12...
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