Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tales from the Front Line

Honestly, some people should just not be let loose in a gym. We all know the types - the grunters, the equipment hoggers, the people chatting on their mobile phones. Last night it was a woman waving her legs around half-heartedly on the abductor machine while READING A MAGAZINE! I mean, come on honey, if you have enough energy and concentration to complete your set of weights and read at the same time then you're just not working hard enough. If I were her trainer, and sorry, but there's no other words for this so skip the next couple of lines if you're easily offended, I would want to bitch-slap her.

Tonight it was the woman doing chest press on a bench with a couple of 10kg barbells. Her form was so atrocious her press looked more like a wounded fly. Her partner was hovering over her head and I was wondering why he wasn't trying to correct her form, until he took her place on the bench. Lifting weights that were obviously far too heavy for him his technique, if possible, was even worse. I turned away then turned around again just in time to see him twisting sideways as the weights he was holding dropped to the floor perilously close to his kidneys. She was standing close to his head, just watching. Obviously spotting was an unheard of concept as well. Sheesh.

Ok, whinge over! As for me, I'm still clearing my throat more often than a tobacco smoker, but the energy levels are creeping back. I even started wanting to exercise and feeling that slight frisson of anticipation. I had no muscle soreness to speak of after Monday's run and charged my way through Dee's RPM class the next morning. We did the usual hill for track 2 instead of the prescribed format, then track 3 was another hill consisting of a series of challenging intervals with standing rest breaks in between. After the second interval, which was particularly gruelling, the music died right down and everyone paused to rest. Amusingly there was a clearly audible and collective gasp of relief as our lungs collapsed into recovery mode. I've never heard a class in a more unified state of agony.

Still feeling fresh I skipped out of work at 11.10 to do Mike's Balance class. Even that seemed to go well, although the balance through my right ankle is all shot to heck again. My back seems a lot better though and I think all the twisting I've been doing between workouts is really helping. I noted particularly that my hips weren't cramping up the way they have been. Apart from the dodgy ankle and sacroilleac the rest of me seems to be in fairly good shape.

True to form it poured down on Wednesday. The Internet news sites were full of tales of flooding and general disaster, which made for a great distraction from work. Unfortunately, although Wellington was spared the general distruction that hit other areas of the island, outside it was hosing down and extremely wet. My motivation was in danger of failing me, particularly after two glasses of wine and some potato chips at work farewell drinks for one of my managers. However there's this little voice in my head, and I acknowledge that it's partly coming from a place of fear. This little voice keeps telling me that I'm the only person watching out for me now. I'm the only one making myself lift weights, making myself get out there on the footpath. It was enough to have me heading off out of the office after 5 and walking the few metres to the gym.

By that time the rain had almost stopped and there was no wind. However two glasses of wine and fatty carbs do not a good run make. I told myself I could keep the run short, but only if I did an interval session. It's been far too long since I've run the lamp post gauntlet. So intervals it was, and did they ever feel horrid. From the gym I ran down as far as Herd Street to warm up. After that it was sprint two lamp posts, jog two lamp posts past Oriental Bay. Oh, except for the "OMG I really need to go to the bathroom NOW" dash to the public toilets by Freyberg. It's taken two and a half years but I am now officially a runner ... Yes, I know, TMI.

I think I've mentioned before that I hate my Adidas Formotion shoe laces. I've never had laces that come undone as often as these do. I've tried every mechanism of double-knotting known to the Boy Scouts Association but last night was just one of those nights where they refused to play ball. So I had a couple of stops to fix those, and two "I need to reassess my pre-run hydration strategy" stops for water. On the way back to the gym I threw in a couple of longer intervals - the length of the Chaffers building, then the distance of Te Papa down the promenade, then the length of Frank Kitts. I also threw in a couple of three lamp post sprints for good measure.

The thing with intervals is that they will inevitably feel horrid and slow and nasty, particularly without a group to guage a sense of my relative speed. However afterwards there's always a sense of pride at having just willingly put myself through something so unpleasant, and the runner's high kicks in regardless. I was well-pleased and I knew that every little bit will be helping me prepare for a sub-two half.

I really wanted to do my Thursday Duck-bashing without the Duck this morning, but I had two external meetings first thing early in the morning and there wasn't enough time to gym, shower, eat and meet. Instead I got myself through work then convinced myself to head next door again by promising myself I could do a half hour on an exercise bike then see how I felt. It was still pouring down outside and it was more than I could do to force myself to run.

Of course, after a very hard half hour hill session on the bike where I bumped the level up to stupid heights I was warmed up and a bit psyched. As a result I raced off upstairs and put myself through the first of Duck's three programmes, the one that is mainly upper-body focused. And being as fired up as I was, I cranked the weights up and threw in some extra pull-ups. The shaky arms afterwards were were both gratifying and reassuring. Perhaps I won't turn into a muscle-free wimp zone after all ...

I'm hopeful that next week will be more of the same but that the quality of the runs will increase as my lungs reinflate. Tomorrow I plan a hill run and on Saturday I'm going to limit myself to a Balance class. On Sunday I'm meeting up with the weekday runners to do Belmont Park. Unfortunately due to time constraints I'm going to have to limit myself to 10km, but the trail is likely to be a mud bath so I'm sure it will be challenging enough.


Marshmallow said...

Oh gawd, it totally pisses me off when I see the magazine readers in the gym - and they seem to be on the machine I want to use, which doubly pisses me off! What's even more annoying is that MY AUNT is one of the said people; New Lynn doesn't provide free magazines to read, so she goes and buys her own(?!) to read in the gym. Heck!

That lampost gauntlet sounds pretty awesome - you'll need to show me how its done when I'm in Welly next (goodness knows when that will be, but I love the place so much that I will definitely be making a trip down there again).

And I hate my New Balance shoe laces. They're just so freaking long. Yes, I could buy shorter ones, but whinging seems so much easier a the time. ^_^

Sass said...

I think I get more annoyed by the layers-of-makeup, hair down girls. Argh it would drive me mad to try and sweat through that muck (although, they might not be worrying about a pesky thing like sweating at the gym;p). And omg there are some really irksome technique things that get me in pump too (no no don't push your pelvis forward when you get up from you squat and don't overextend backwards when you come up from your dead row!!). Mind you, then I start thinking about how my techique probably isn't so awesome that I can critique...