jack: (Default)
Since I started work in bar hill (about 3 months now, eek!) I've been going to the gym here twice a week.

I think I have very slowly started to improve again. I have a long way to go to regain my previous best. I'm not sure if the improvement is due to more reliable running with treadmill, or due to doing weights more strenuously as well.

The paradox of improvement seems to apply to many other parts of my life as well. I'm not happy unless there's something I'm working towards. If I'm failing I'm not *happy*, but if I have *no* pressure, I'm listless in a different way.

I have been slowly learning how to vary the amount I intend to do each day. Some days that's "get changed, reply to emails, go to bed" and sometimes it's quite a bit, but if there's some connection between what I intend and what I do, I feel a lot better, regardless of the actual amount.

I still find it very hard to fit things in though. Ideally I could do things like housework in the edges and gaps, 5min here and there, but it doesn't usually happen as well as it might. Every so often I try to set good habits, and things improve a certain amount, but still short of what would be better.


Feb. 16th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Went to the gym attached to the hotel and spa in bar hill.

It's small, but fairly nice and has a swimming pool with jacuzzi and sauna because spa.

It was busy at 5:30, but fairly quiet by the time I left.

Of course, it's a bit ridiculous starting to go to the gym instead of running outside just when the evenings are getting lighter. But I felt that if I was driving to work, it would be easier to arrange than jogging (and useful because I'm not doing cycling about).

And in fact, I felt like the treadmill and weights both worked my muscles harder than I'd been managing without equipment. Which is good, because hopefully I will start improving again. But bad, because I'd hoped I'd have figured out how to improve without them by now.

They rent towels for 50p. I'm trying to decide if it's more efficient to bring one or rent one. I like the no-hassle of picking one up, and not having several towels drying at home and trying to decide if I can reuse them or if they need to be in the washing. And not to add several towels to the washing load. But if I'm driving, the overhead of bringing a towel as well as gym things is a lot lower. And even if I needed to buy a couple of extra bath towels they would probably pay for themselves. Any thoughts?


Mar. 11th, 2015 12:45 pm
jack: (Default)
Last week I did a full press-up for pretty much the first time ever! I did 15 on the trot, and managed it a couple of times since.

I think I accidentally got indoctrinated into two contradictory ideas, that press-ups were surprisingly hard but that everyone could do at least some if they tried... and I really couldn't, I could just about get off the ground, but only by levering myself up one part of the body at a time. And I was embarrassed to think about that.

But I started doing occasional press-ups from my knees, and for a little while I've been doing sets of those, plus sets of sit-ups, and last week I suddenly felt inspired to see if I could do a full press-up, and apparently I could! I could hold my body straight, but it was hard work for my arms to do even 5. But that's probably good practice.
jack: Icon of football players (football)
Jack: Dear Treadmill, you have two jobs.
Treadmill: OK! I am ready to serve!
Jack: Job #1: be out of the rain!
Treadmill: I can handle that! I go faster and faster and faster, but somehow I always end up in the same place.
Jack: Thank you.
Treadmill: Yay!
Jack: And job #2: go at a particular speed.
Treadmill: I can do that, that's easy!
Jack: OK, go at 8kph to start with.
Treammill: What?
Jack: 8 kph. 5 mph. 2m/s. Go!
Treadmill: What, I don't know. Is that faster than stopped or slower than stopped?
Jack: Faster!
Treadmill: OK, 0.5 kph. Is it faster than that?
Jack: Yes!
Treadmill: OK, how about 1 kph. Is it faster than that?
Jack: Yes, lots faster!
Treadmill: OK, how about 2 kph. Or 3 kph. Is that better?
Jack: Yes, but keep going. I can't run this slowly!
Treadmill: OK. 4. 5. 6.
Jack: Great.
Treadmill: 6. 7.
Jack: OK, nearly there.
Treadmill: eightnineteneleventwelve.
Jack: Agh, stop!
Treadmill: 12.
Jack: Go back!
Treadmill: eleventennineeightsevensix.
Jack: Agh, not so far, the other way.
Treadmill: eightnineten.
Jack: Wait, wait, wait.
Treadmill: OK, 10.
Jack: Slower than that.
Treadmill: 9.9?
Jack: Slower than that.
Treadmill: 9.5?
Jack: Slower than that.
Treadmill: 9.0?
Jack: Slower than that.
Treadmill: Eight-point-five-eight-seven-point-five-sev-
Jack: Whoah!
Treadmill: Seven point five?
Jack: Up a little.
Treadmill: Seven point seven?
Jack: Up a little.
Treadmill: Seven point nine?
Jack: Up a little.
Treadmill: Eight?
Jack: Yes! Now stay there for 28 minutes.
Treadmill: Why 28?
Jack: You had TWO jobs. Everywhere else in the world EXCEPT a treadmill I can run "a little faster than this". Why can't my treadmill do "pick a particular speed and stay there". (I'd also love "choose two speeds and alternate between them, no, seriously, even if I touch the screen NEAR that point, don't accidentally forget one of my speeds and replace it with something twice as fast" but I've given up hope on that one.) It has a WHOLE touch screen for badly-implemented games, TV, internet-with-no-social-networking-sites, etc. Why do you have to set the speed solely with PLUS and MINUS buttons that go straight from "sluggish" to "way too much inertia"?
Treadmill: :(
jack: (Default)
Holy freaking blasphemy, that was cold. The blackboard said 17 degrees, but I've been spoiled by swimming inside for six months, and I almost couldn't force myself in. It was ok after 10 minutes, but before then it seemed burningly cold, all through my limbs.

June is summer, right?

I stuck to my principles and said, even if it's painful, it's much better to go in in a rush and get acclimatised rather than spend ages immersing yourself millimetre by millimetre and going "eek". But I had to nerve myself up a bit first.

The lengths are really long, too! Swimming 100m is fairly easy now, but I had to remind myself to keep going, and I couldn't stop for a break every 25m if I was swimming a bit faster than I could maintain.


May. 28th, 2013 10:04 pm
jack: (Default)
Last night I went hashing.

What's that?

It's sort of like drinking beer, except the beer is a long way away.

Oh no! How do you get to the beer?

You run from where you are, to where the beer is.


No, you follow a convoluted trail.

Is it very convoluted?

Only a little bit. If you're not sure how it works, you can normally just follow everyone else.

But in principle, how does it work?

You look for little chalk marks or bits of flour and follow them. Every so often, there's a false trail, but it's designed to be obvious after a couple of marks and easy to get back to the real trail. Ideally the fast runners check everything out, and by the time they're on the right track, the slow runners just follow them. And then there's beer.

Wait, can't I just go straight to where the beer is



OK, yes. But that's not hashing, that's just drinking. And breaking and entering, if you drink the hash's beer.

What if I don't like beer?

The extent to which you have to participate in the culture of drinking beer varies, but you don't have to actually drink beer (especially if there's a medical or safety reason).

Can I just turn up and run and chat to people and go home before the beer and/or before the group bonding stuff


Really? Without someone saying "that's not hashing, that's just running"?


What if I can't run very fast?

I can barely run 5k in 40 minutes on a treadmill, and I was at the back, alternating jogging and walking, but didn't feel like I was completely left behind by the other stragglers. If you're slower than that, it probably wouldn't be fun, but if you're faster than that it should be easy.

What if I don't like beer OR running

You probably won't enjoy hashing.

So... I just sort of turn up and follow everyone until I find some beer?

More or less. Some hashes you just turn up, others you pay a couple of quid towards the supplies[1].

Does it have weird traditions and things?

Yes, though not more so than any other random Cambridge society.

[1] ie. Beer.
jack: (Default)
Couch to 5k, succeed! )

I always cut gym posts because they're often very obnoxious to people who don't want to read them all, is there anything else I can do to make them less intrusive?
jack: (Default)
Yesterday I tried jogging at a slower pace, 7km/h (4.3 mph), and I jogged for 25 min, which is incredibly much more than I'd ever managed before. I think my previous record was about 15min, and I usually only do 5 or 10 minutes, even going quite slowly.

Combined with the warm up I did 3.5km, about 2 miles which is obviously the furthest I've jogged continually too :)

I'm very excited because it's nearly up to half an hour, and if I can jog that long, even slowly, I'll feel more confident about jogging outside without a convenient clock.

Gym: 16min

Jan. 16th, 2013 07:46 pm
jack: (Default)
Today I (cycled to work AND) jogged for 16 minutes continually, up from 1 minute a few months ago. I feel really good, but trying to restrain the impatience to get up to 20min and 30min, when I feel I could say I could jog without stretching the truth.

I didn't bring my headphones, so the main challenge was staying distracted enough to ignore the good-muscle-pain, although by the end I was starting to feel I was running up against my cardio limit and my tendon-risk-limit.

Although, while I'm getting used to going to the gym, I still keep feeling like an interloper -- maybe this is for people fitter or thinner or richer or posher or more confident or better than me. I don't think that's true; I have every reason to go to a gym (or exercise in another way, whichever I prefer). But I still keep having to squash my hindbrain down.


Jan. 9th, 2013 12:41 pm
jack: (Default)
1. Over Christmas, Rachel took me running outside twice, and it was really pretty!
2. Over Christmas, I lost track of when weeks ended, but Beeminder kept me maintaining an average of twice a week.
3. Everyone was right, the gym really is really busy in January.
jack: (Default)
The other day, there was a fire alarm at the gym. I was half way through changing, and was sensibly able to slip on shirt, stuff everything into bag, and grab shoes during the first twenty seconds of everyone looking at each other and thinking "is this a test which is going to stop after 20s".

So everyone trooped outside, and I managed to be neither freezing, nor burning, although I had to put my shoes on outside. The staff were actually very organised, having thermal blankets for people who had to come outside in gym clothes.

I wondered what happened to people left in the swimming pool, but it seemed they were able to gather with the lifeguard just inside the fire door, with a clear escape if necessary, but not actually going out into the december air yet.

I was glad the alarm wasn't a couple of minutes earlier, or I would have just started getting changed, and not really have time to covered, nor able to go back through the swimming pool.

However, although I was able to grab everything else, I failed to grab my hat, and hat to wait until it was over to go back to get it. I am not quite Indiana Jones yet :)
jack: (Default)
Today I went swimming before work. I felt unbearably smug :)
jack: Icon of football players (football)
I went to the gym, fulfilling my "twice weekly" resolution on the last two days of the week. I did the treadmill for half an hour: 5 minutes walking, then 25 minutes alternating walking (5.3km/h or 3.3mi/hr) for a minute and jogging for a minute (7.8 km/hr or 4.8mi/hr).

I felt really good. I was bathed in sweat, and felt like I'd had a really good workout, but my legs didn't hurt, and I didn't feel ready to collapse afterwards.

I felt really pleased at being able to do half an hour, even though that was alternating walking and jogging, because a month ago I'm not sure I could have quite done it. So I really have got better (a little bit). And I've got up to a time that's reasonable for a gym session, so I don't need to worry about that as much, and can concentrate on increase speed or proportion of jogging.

I wasn't sure in advance I'd do half an hour. Last time I went up from 20min to 22 min, and I didn't want to promise myself too much and renege, so I said I'd do the same again since it'd been a week since I'd done it. But after 22 minutes I felt fine to continue so I reset the machine and did another 8. Yay me!

I couldn't have done much more, though. I tried to continue the penultimate set, and started to feel "I can't breathe, I want to throw up" quite soon, so I went back to walking until the final set. But I can hopefully increase the proportion a bit, going to 65 s jogging, 55 s walking, etc.
jack: (Default)
I went swimming at lunchtime! I felt super-productive.

I managed 20 min of swimming, doing 20 laps = 0.5km or 5/16 of a mile.

I still need to practice the routine though. I went out for an hour, 10 min each way travelling, 10 min each way changing and showering, and 20 min swimming. But that meant I had to nibble a sandwich while working, which isn't really perfect for sandwiches or for work.

But if I can do it at lunchtime, or before work, I can get a little bit of refreshing exercise and still have the evening free. Either way involves leaving the house somewhat earlier, but if I shower at the gym, and get 20 minutes of waking up out of the way, I can probably leave the house earlier without feeling that just means an hour more of work (which would be nice, but doesn't really drive me to get started at 8.30).

I got some prescription fog-proof goggles and they're awesome! They're not quite right (the prescription doesn't do astigmatism), but I never quite got the hang of opening my eyes without getting them full of water, or ever bothered to buy some decent goggles, so being able to see even after I duck my head under is really wonderful, as is being able to see people's faces, clocks, signs, and where I'm going. I think I need one of those funny nose-clips next.

I look really strange with goggles on: they make my head look tiny, and my back looks giant and hairy when I'm wet. But hey, everyone else could see that all along, and seemed perfectly happy with it, so there's no point worrying just because I can see myself too :)


Oct. 30th, 2012 09:11 pm
jack: (Default)
I signed up for the gym, and went swimming, although I'll have a proper induction on Friday.

It feels really good to have swum for an hour, and really good to think "that's plenty, I don't have to push myself absolutely as far as I can, I can leave now, have an evening of other stuff, and come again later in the week, even if only for half an hour."

I swam 65 lengths -- does anyone know if they're 20m or 25m? 25m is the standard, but I can't judge if the pool is shorter because I usually swim at Jesus green. Fitocracy says "yay".

It's ever so strange being in public without my glasses. I can see people, but I can't see faces, so I can't tell if someone is looking at me, so everyone seems very generic, I feel obliged to plaster a goofy grin on my face in case anyone looks at me and thinks I'm scowling because I didn't realise, and it's easy to stare at people I'm thinking "is that a fuzzy pink blob or a person" when I'm completely visible to them.