Fitness freak

Aside from walking well over a hundred miles whilst away, and throwing myself off various heights, I didn’t have a lot of exercise in the last few months. With warmer weather and plenty of options, I’ve flung myself back into exercising. Until I started this entry, though, I didn’t realise how much I’d been doing. Here’s a few snippets of the action…

I’m sure snails are overtaking me. I’m running up the smallest of gradients but have been reduced to a crawl, caused by the toll of the last six miles. What the heck was I thinking? I’ve never done this hilly course before, and having not donned my running shoes for nearly two and a half months, I’m out of practise. My quads have weakened in the interim, and I simply have no power left in them now to lift up my heavy legs. This is pain. My two mates (whose idea it was to drag me here to their course, and are a good few years younger and fitter) are so far ahead that I’m starting to wish I brought some binoculars. How did I run that marathon? I resort to reciting my inspiring mantra to keep going, which, as always, helps. I want to quit – but I can’t. My calves have tightened up fast as they take on all the extra muscle work, and they’re starting to worry me, but I’m determined to finish this. I don’t quit, unless I have, or feel certain of, a serious injury. Anything else can be overcome mentally. Eventually I catch them up. Only male bravado prevents me from collapsing in front of them.

I can barely walk, so I’m not sure it’s such a good idea playing footy tonight. However, here I am, stretching and running and pretending I’m ok. Hopefully I’ll be put with some of the fast guys in this 6-a-side, as I won’t have a prayer in catching them otherwise. Small men are currently buried beneath my calves and having a long, vicious knife fight with my muscles. I’m hoping that my accuracy has improved from last week, though. I proved it’s not only fitness you lose in a break, but your sharpness too. I try a few painful shots and begin to loosen up. Doesn’t feel like I’m gonna score, though. In my florescent yellow bib, at the speed I’m moving at I might get mistaken for one of the lanterns you see by small roundabouts. Then fate decided to show up and give me a hand, at the same time ruining someone else’s hand. As the ball rebounded from a rocket shot, it looked like it might drop nicely for my left foot. However, my colleague decided to attempt a move that should really only be tried on an XBox or Playstation. After leaping about three foot in the air, slicing the ball with his audacious overhead kick effort, he landed awkwardly right in front of me. A second later, he yelped as his hand decided that its existing angle it’d been at all his life was boring, and that it would try this new, unnatural angle. Match stopped, ambulance called, game over. A dislocated elbow and broken wrist certainly beat my aching calves. Teach him to try that in a Man Utd shirt…

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch ouch! Oh c’mon! I’ve only gone less than half a mile and already my calves are complaining. Back on one of my usual runs after a nice rest, I thought I was fine. Do I turn back? I can’t complete my expected five miles tonight like this. Why was I so Bertie Big Bananas with that seven-miler the other week? I knew I should’ve gone with something smaller for my return. Now, I could be messed up for a while. Will I do myself serious harm? Keep going. I don’t quit, remember? Just cut the run to a more manageable four miles and keep at it. Painfully, I manage to get home after completing the shorter distance.

1..2..3….4………..8….puff….9….grunt….10. Now for the next set of press-ups.
I decided a while ago that although running was great for my lower body, my upper body strength left something to be desired. Not being a fan of gyms (does anyone really get their money’s worth, or are they just a slave to them?) I’ve never really worked on my upper body. Sitting at a desk all day typing hardly works the muscles, either. Recalling an embarrassing rubber ring ride a few years back where I fell off in the water and just couldn’t lift myself back on, I thought it was well about time I did something. So, taking some advice and keeping in style with my changes for the better, I decided to commit to doing press ups every day. Currently at four lots of ten at a time – each lot in a different hand position – which will then build up to more and more. Plus, I’m starting on sit-ups soon. Yes, it doesn’t sound particularly challenging right now I’m sure for some of you, but I have to start somewhere. I haven’t missed a night in three weeks, despite a couple of them being when I was pretty drunk! (coordination was lacking, but for some reason you don’t feel the pain as much!) Are they working? Well, I am feeling the benefits already, and although it may never turn me into Popeye, if I can increase the repetitions and make me stronger then I’ll be happy with that.

I haven’t done this for months! It’s just like riding a bike. Funny that, because that’s exactly what it is – I’m back on my bike again. After getting one to help with the marathon training, then having to mothball it due to knee problems and then the onset of winter, it’s nice to go out on it again. Wind in my hair, tarmac flying by, bugs splattering my face. Ahhhh, the joys of a pushbike. This will help with my quads and those pesky hills.

It’s getting light, the birds are singing, my feet are hurting and my house still seems a million miles away. This is my third walk tonight – from mate’s house to the pub, from pub to club, and now from club to home. That’s a lot of miles to walk in shoes; this last leg is three miles at least. The weather’s good, but it’s now approaching 4am and I know I should be home tucked up in bed like any other sane person. In another universe, Andy is fast asleep having taken a taxi home. My only consolation is I will wake up tomorrow with a heavier wallet. Still, at this rate I may have to buy some new legs.

Sunday. My mate comes round to drop off the Inbetweeners DVDs, which after a couple of episodes viewed the other day, seems a cool programme. He then reminds me of our badminton appointment on Monday. Crap. I’d forgotten about that. Haven’t played since early last year, and I remember being pretty bad then. Fitness was ok, but general power was poor, coupled with dodgy eyesight meant a few large losses against my friends. Tomorrow could be embarrassing…but then maybe I’m fitter and stronger now? Time will tell…

So, walking, running, cycling, playing footy and badminton, and doing press-ups. I’ll either end up super fit and strong, or super knackered and injured. Life was so much easier lying on a beach…

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