Tag Archives: exercise

Pool pony races

Pool Pony Racer by Andrew Gills
Pool Pony Racer, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

My sister and I had scheduled our regular weekly trail running session last night. But she sent me a message during the day to tell me she had bought pool ponies. For those unfamiliar with pool ponies, these are blow-up rubber horses that you ride in the swimming pool.

As soon as she told me about the pool ponies, I suggested a change to our training regime: pool pony races. It proved to be a fun full body workout.

We raced up and down a 25m pool on the pool ponies, which worked out our legs, arms and core. It takes a lot of balance to stay on a pool pony when the person you are racing tries to pull you off. And I’m sure laughing while exercising is tough on your abs too.

We also did a few laps kicking on kick boards and a few laps riding on the pool noodles. It was one a fantastic and fun session.

I’ll be resting for the next two days to prepare for Saturday’s 200km road cycle. It’s expected to be 32’C (89.6’F) so I will need to be well rested and hydrated for it. Today and tomorrow will be long busy days (tonight I have volunteer commitments after work, then tomorrow I leave home at 3:30am and won’t return until 10pm because I have to travel interstate for work). So when my alarm went off at 4am to go cycling this morning, I turned it off and slept in.

Total: 45 minutes pool pony racing and other pool activities.

Pilates and another walk

I left work at 5pm today because my partner was home after a week of night shift. We’d promised each other an evening walk and I was excited about it all day.

We walked a 3.5km loop through the vacant paddock, down the gravel road between the tall gum trees and back through our pretty neighbourhood. We caught up after being ships passing in the night for a week.

After dinner I did my pilates exercises. This is one of the positive outcomes of my injuries. The physio has given me a series of pilates exercises to help me strengthen my core. Every day I have been doing three sets of ten repeats each of:
– leg slides
– leg lifts
– clams
– wall gluteals
– about prep.

I find the exercises challenging because my abs are weak, something that was probably compounded by the total abdominal hysterectomy I had in 2002. But I am noticing increased abdominal control, which I know will be beneficial when I start running again.

So today’s total is actually 8.5km (this morning’s 5km plus tonight’s 3.5km).

A ride with friends

Quiet roads and cheerful company

I haven’t been road cycling with my running friends in a little while. Our schedules just haven’t linked up in months. So it was a great pleasure to meet up this morning to enjoy the early morning sunshine and quiet roads together.

The girls met at a coffee shop in Redland Bay at 5:30am. I was running late so they met me a kilometre or two down the road. The sun was already rising steadily into the sky and the humidity was starting to thicken the air. For the first section of our ride, we rode with the early morning commuter traffic. Fortunately, the roads here in our area are wide so the cars and trucks could wizz by without scaring us.

At about the 6km mark we turned left down quiet semi-rural roads. We spread out across the entire road, making the most of the opportunity to talk and laugh. I used my mirror to keep an eye out for potential traffic behind us, but we had the road to ourselves for about 5km.

Back on the main road, we rode towards the commuter traffic for the rest of our loop. We passed a few horses and cattle, as well as wide empty paddocks of grass and trees. The last section of our ride took us over the seven sisters; seven short sharp rolling hills. After whooping down each hill we rolled as far up the next as possible before cranking to the top and whooping down the next hill. It was a lot of fun.

I left the girls at the coffee shop because I needed to head a work commitment to rush off to.

Total: 31.34km cycle

2,000km cycled this year!

Image courtesy of Bigjom / Freedigitalphotos.net

There was a time when I didn’t think I’d even pass the 1,000km mark in my cycling mileage this year but this morning I passed the 2,000km mark.

My cycling has definitely evolved this year. Back in January I was cycling to train for triathlons. I was focused on the Kingscliff Olympic distance triathlon with its 40km cycle leg. Through February and March I started focusing more on speed and increasing my distance so that I could complete the 40km cycle leg at the Byron Bay Olympic distance triathlon in May. While I did get faster and fitter on the bike, it was hard work.

As the weather cooled into April and May I switched my attention to my mountain bike as I trained for the Adventure Race Australia. I had a few fun times and gained a lot of new off-road skills. At first, mountain biking was a bit scary because gravel is more slippery than the road but I got the hang of it by the time Adventure Race Australia came around. Then I kept mountain biking in the lead up to the Tre-X Off-Road Duathlon in July.

In July I made the switch from triathlon / duathlon to trail running. I did a few long rides as endurance training for trail running but almost immediately switched all my training to running. I had a few running successes with the 50km Flinders Tour trail run in July and the Perth City to Surf Marathon in August before injuring myself in early September.

Since September I’ve been clocking up the miles on my bikes. I’ve also done my first ever bicycle mechanical maintenance by replacing the chain and cassette on my road bike. I recently joined Audax Australia, a long distance cycling club with which I hope to complete some endurance cycling events. I have also started cycle commuting again after a few years absence.

I now am falling back in love with cycling in the same way I fell back in love with running in July. It’s becoming a way of life again like it used to be. A happy way of life.

Ironically, it was completing the 50km trail run and marathon in July and August that gave me the confidence to teach myself basic bicycle maintenance. And it’s the ability to maintain and repair my bicycle that is giving me the confidence to tackle long rides and to fully embrace cycling as a form of transport.

It’s going to take me a while to get back to running long mileage again. Hopefully that gives me time to find a way to balance my desire to participate in both sports in a way that allows me to stay injury free.

Total cycle today: 12.9km to work + cycle home.

Mountain biking with friends

image

Heading down Grass Trees track

R messaged me yesterday afternoon to invite me out mountain biking in Bayview  Conservation Park with M, a mutual friend’s husband. I jumped at the chance for some social exercise.

At 7am we saddled up and hit the trails. We rode a mix of fire trail and single track enjoying a yarn and laugh along the way. R and I managed to stay upright but poor M ate dirt three times. He didn’t hurt himself though so it was funny.

image

Goanna in tree

We saw a goanna while out riding. R spotted it. All I heard was scurrying in the bush and I hoped it wasn’t a big snake.

Total: about 15km mountain biking.

A solid gym session

Image coutesy of idea go / Freedigitalphotos.net

I never thought I’d like going to the gym to do weights but I have to say I am enjoying it. I feel strong when I pump iron. I don’t lift big weights because I don’t want to get huge but the weights I lift are a suitable size for me right now.

I am not a big fan of stationary aerobic equipment but I am learning that they can be beneficial. For example, I’m sure my road cycling will improve through my use of the stationary bike. The stationary bike encourages me to spin. There are no obstacles, hills or corners to negotiate so I can teach my legs to keep up a higher than usual cadence without complaining. I’ve always been the type of cyclist who pushes big gears and breaks bottom brackets. Perhaps a few months watching the cadence metre on the stationary bike will encourage me to become a cyclist who is able to spin efficiently all day long instead of being the guy who keeps having to stand on the pedals up every little hill and then rest my legs on the way down.

The rowing machine also has good purpose for me. I can use it as an alternative to cycling and swimming to recruit more muscles to the aerobic exercise. It’s not all that exciting sliding back and forward on the spot but I do get a kick out of watching the measurements on the display. There’s an instant gratification to being able to see that I’m rowing at 43 strokes per minute or passing each 500m mark. Also, rowing is a sport I just don’t have the equipment to do out in the real world. Not only do I not have a boat, but even if I did it would quite difficult to get it to the water on my motorbike. I can feel my back and thigh muscles toning as I use them to row.

And, of course, there’s always the guilty pleasure of checking myself out in the mirrors as I lift weights in the free weights room. 😉

Today I started with 10 minutes on the triathlon-style stationary bike, riding at 110-115 RPM and covering 5.4km. I followed this with 10 minutes on the rowing machine, stroking at 43 strokes/minute and covering 2,180m.

I completed 3 sets of 8 repetitions in the weights room:

Exercise Weight
Incline dumbbell bench press 12.5km / dumbbell
Leg curl 45kg
Seated row 35kg
Bent arm pull-over 7.5kg + barbell
Chin up 6 + 4 + 3
Dumbbell bicep curls 10kg / dumbbell
Back ext Body weight
Decline crunch Body weight

I completed my workout with a 5 minute cool-down on the reclining stationary bike, riding at just 90RPM and covering just 2.1km. I usually try to do 10 minutes after my weights workout but I didn’t have time today because I was getting a lift to work.

Total: Weights +

  • 10 mins stationary bike @ 110-115RPM covering equivalent of 5.4km
  • 10 mins rowing machine @ 43 s/m covering equivalent of 2,180m
  • 5 mins reclining stationary bike @ 90RPM covering equivalent of 2.1km.

Bike and gym

Image coutesy of digitalart / Freedigitalphotos.net

I felt a little bit like the character in this image when I rode my bicycle down to the YMCA this morning. Sure, I was riding a road bicycle, have olive skin and dark hair, and it was drizzling but other than that, this could be a self portrait. I didn’t bother getting dressed up in my cycling kit, preferring to just wear board shorts and t-shirt for the 10.2km ride to the gym.

For the most part, the ride felt good. My legs definitely aren’t used to the pedaling motion anymore after not cycling for a few months while I’ve been focusing on my running. So I felt like I was getting a workout. My left foot did complain a few times but it felt good when I focused on maintaining a consistent spinning motion, rather than jerking my feet around with poor technique. I certainly preferred being out on my bicycle to sitting on the stationary bike.

My gym set was solid today. I’m still working out what weights work best for me so stuck with the same size dumbbell for the dumbbell exercises. I don’t want to jump up too quickly so just went 1kg heavier than last week when I did almost the same series of exercise. Over the coming weeks I will naturally find the correct weights for me for each exercise. I figure I keep increasing them together and some muscle groups will tell me ‘stop’
while others will allow me to continue increasing until they reach their optimum point.

Exercise Weight
Leg extension 25kg
Scissor leg lift Body weight
Dumbbell overhead press 8kg / dumbbell
Push up Body weight
Plank Unable to complete due to foot pain
Dumbbell shrug 8kg / dumbbell
One arm dumbbell row 8kg / dumbbell
Leg curl 35kg
Lat pull down 30kg + 32.5kg
Tricep extension 30kg
Crunches Body weight

I’m feeling good at the gym. I feel like I’m doing the right thing for my body (regardless of whether I am injured or fit).

After my workout I cycled back home. I rode slowly because I don’t want to overdo anything on my shins or foot, and because I want to remember the joy of cycling.

Total: 20.4km bike and weights