Tag Archives: Rest day

Walking among the gum trees

Gum trees by Andrew Gills
Gum trees, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

Powder puff clouds rolls across the sky, promising another hot summer with the possibility of evening storms that I am pretty certain won’t eventuate. That’s one of the many things you can learn from a morning walk; how to read the sky.

The gum trees here in our estate seem taller than they were when we moved in almost four years ago. They are racing in their quest to outgrow each other. Some are probably getting close to 20m tall but have yet to develop the girth that comes with years.

Perhaps they are like humans. We grow tall before we gain weight. Then every decade it gets that little bit more difficult to shift the inches from our waist-lines. Unlike gum trees, which grow healthier as they grow fat, we need to keep moving to prevent ourselves falling to the same fate.

My partner asked me to find her a slightly longer walk. She has conquered the 4km distance and is ready to walk the extra ten minutes an additional kilometer will bring. So I do. And we increase our shared walk to 5km.

For the rest, today is a rest day. It’s Friday. A day to celebrate the coming weekend and all the possibilities the 48 hours of free time brings.

Total: 5.12km walk

Rest day and shin splints

I decided to take a rest day today and to go cycling tomorrow morning. I was going to do things the other way round but what’s the fun of life without some spontaneity. The rest day has been fabulous. I slept in a bit, went to work and am about to go home to chill out until my partner gets home from late shift.

In other news, my shin splints are causing me a bit of bother. Despite all the physio I had in the second half of last year, they are now worse than I can ever remember them being. (Note, that’s definitely not a criticism of the physiotherapist who was really great).

It hurts to walk when they aren’t strapped though I am running pain free during my weekly trail running sessions when the shin is strapped. Clearly, the lengthy period of rest from running didn’t do the trick so I’m not entertaining that idea again. I’m not going to run more than once a week though.

I’m stretching my calves three to five times a day, doing my trigger pointing and also rolling the calf out on my foot ease at least every second night. Hopefully it helps stretch the muscle so that the pressure is taken off the connective tissue around the shins.

I am in two minds about going back to physiotherapy. I spent well over a thousand dollars there in the second half of last year and am no closer to a cure. I’ve had periods where the pain has gone so it might help but every time the pain just comes back. Actually, what happens is that when my shin isn’t sore, my sacroiliac joint plays up. And when my sacroiliac joint isn’t sore, my shin plays up. So there’s definitely something cyclical going on.

I am considering buying a pair of compression garments to wear when my shins are most painful. Perhaps it will provide enough support to relieve the pain in my shins. The only thing stopping me is not knowing whether they will actually work or whether I’ll be throwing more money at something else that doesn’t quite work.

I’m not upset at the situation. In fact, I’ve had shin splints since I was 17 or 18 years old so I’m sure I can continue to live with them. My biggest concern is that they turn into stress fractures. But hopefully with my training focus shifting to cycling and paddling, rather than running, the risk of this will be reduced.

So that’s it from me on this rest day. If anyone has any ideas for my shins, I’m open to suggestions. Tomorrow morning I am getting back on the bike for one last ride before my 200km night Audax cycle on Saturday. I’m a little nervous because there’s 2,500m of climbing and I’ve never ridden more than 160km before.


Rest day

What’s not to like about Fridays? I finish work an hour early. Tomorrow is Saturday. And I have my weekly day of rest.

Enjoy whatever you are doing today and remember to take the occasional rest day to let your body recover 🙂

Total: A big fat zero!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas by Andrew Gills
Merry Christmas, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!!

For those on the other side of the world, it’s currently 6:40pm here at my home in the future (for those in the US and UK). I can report that:

  • Santa safely left Australia enroute to later timezones; his sleigh laden with gifts
  • there will be far too much food and you’ll either need an afternoon nap to let it digest or have a fridge full of left-overs (or both)
  • the drinks all taste better at Christmas parties (though I didn’t drink any alcohol myself)
  • there will be the odd minor drama when someone who hasn’t seen someone else all year buts heads, but it will all be resolved quickly in the spirit of Christmas cheer (we were fortunate to be largely spared of this in our families)
  • most people will make the effort to have a joyous day
  • the annual Christmas traditions will bring back memories of the times you’ve shared with your families and friends; you’ll have watched children become teens, teens become young adults, couples grow closer, new people will have joined your family, some people will have left and the same old stories will probably be told at some point.

And at the end of the day, you’ll feel like you ate too much, exercised too little but, hopefully, will feel satisfied and content.

Merry Christmas from Down Under. Training resumes here tomorrow 🙂

A couple of rest days

I’ve taken the past two days off training because my sacroiliac joint is giving me trouble. I whipper snipped (I don’t know the non-Australian-slang term for this activity) the borders of my lawn yesterday for the first time since May. It only took half an hour but it did enough damage to make walking painful so I wasn’t keen to try running. My partner has a similar back injury to me and she later told me that she doesn’t whipper snip for the same reason.

This evening I replaced the brake cables on my mountain bike. That felt like quite an accomplishment after riding all year without brakes.

As 2012 draws to a close, my partner and I are taking stock of our current life and financial situations. Our lifestyle has changed drastically the past three years and the dreams we had back then are vastly different to those we have today. We are starting to feel more certain about the direction we would like to take for the next half decade and, without saying anything more, 2013 is going to be a huge year of exploration for us.

I’m going mountain biking tomorrow morning. The physical exercise will do me good.

A rest day

City Cycling in Brisbane by Andrew Gills
City Cycling in Brisbane, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

After my social cycle and run yesterday morning, I overdid things a bit. A friend came up from Tasmania so we went out for a short City Cycle ride along the Brisbane River. While it was fun, I think I overdid things a little bit. The ride from the City to New Farm Park was fine. Then we caught a ferry to West End. But the ride from West End back to my motorbike in the City was just too much for my current state of physical fitness.

Not enough to cause me concern but enough to force me to take a rest day today. So instead of going walking with my partner, I relax at home catching up on some television shows I recorded during the week, enjoying breakfast and catching up on blogs. Later today I will clean the house and do our Christmas shopping. Maybe we’ll even put up the tree this year (if I can find it).

Today’s total will be: 0km but a happy day



Holding a black headed python

Mum organised a reptile man to come show her many grandchildren some native cold bloods. So I jumped in and had a hold too.


Holding a carpet snake

The snakes and crocodile were all young animals. The black headed python was 2 years old and can grow many more metres. The carpet snake was 1 year old and can grow to 4m long and 30 years.

It was a very cool afternoon with my own grandchildren (yes I have grandchildren in my 30s), siblings, daughter-in-law, nieces, nephews and parents.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I’ve plans for geocaching and to service my motorbike (I’ve never done any motor mechanics before so it could be interesting). But for now I’m chilling out with the reptiles.

Taking things easy

I’ve not had much to report the past few days because I’m trying to take things easy. I’ve been working from home so that I can stand at my kitchen bench instead of sitting at my desk. This has been relieving some of the pressure from my SIJ. I have also seen a fantastic lady who does Chinese medicine, including cupping, remedial massage and acupuncture. I think that, combined with my ongoing physio treatment, has helped a lot.

I am no longer in continual pain, having now three specific pain points that flare up with specific activities (such as moving from sitting to standing or riding my motorbike). I hope this is a good sign.

I think my excessive walking the past few weeks is partly to blame for my back not healing as quickly as I would like so I have just been doing a daily 3.5km walk with my partner on flat ground (I am on strict instructions not to walk hills). I have also done a bit of geocaching on my motorbike with short 500m – 1km walks to find caches.

I am hoping to stick with this plan for the next week or two in the hope my SIJ finally settles down. I will have to actually go to the office tomorrow and a few days next week. But I am going to balance this with some work from home time. I am also going to buy myself a fit ball in the hope this encourages me to improve my posture and take walking breaks away from my desk.

All-in-all the current easing status of my back pain has helped to stop the black dog from dragging me away. I am starting to get back in control of my emotions and feel positive again. The decision to focus on adventure racing next year is a good one for me: I love racing and it gives me something healthy to focus on. The thing I have missed the most since my last race on 26 August is the feeling of being a race participant. And I just can’t wait to get that buzz again. Even if it will end up costing me many dollars to enter all those races. It’s still cheaper and more fun than psychotherapy 😉

I hope to have something interesting for you in the coming weeks. My physio is quite keen to get me back out on my bicycle or doing some light running as soon as possible. He’s going to help me work on an improved running technique too, which is super exciting.



QiGong moves (from Spiritual Wake Up website)

QiGong moves (from Spiritual Wake Up website; click for link)

I took tai chi classes in 2006 and 2007. I started with a form of tai chi that was based on kung fu then moved to Taoist tai chi. While I preferred the teaching style that was used in the Taoist tai chi classes, I always preferred the more masculine kung fu style moves. The other thing I liked about the kung fu style classes was that we learned the 18-move qigong routine.

I have returned to my practice of tai chi on-and-off over the years. At first I tried to remember the tai chi sequence but without instructor guidance I kept getting the routines from each style mixed up in my head. So I have focused on the qigong routine because I can usually remember most of the 18 moves and it’s less critical when I forget some because they don’t have to connect to make sense.

When I first started training again last year, one of the first things I did was return to qigong exercises. I practiced them regularly until I got more confident with my triathlon training (which was then my sport of choice). I even completed a qigong routine before my early races to help calm my nerves. But then, for some reason, I stopped doing it. Perhaps life just got too fast.

This morning I practiced my qigong for the first time in over a year. It must be something I return to when I need it. It’s Friday so I’m not walking today; I’m letting my body rest. The qigong was a nice restful activity to start my day.

A special place


I am an All Hallows’ Girl. It’s where my journey to self-actualisation and sporting passion really took off. Ironically, it’s also a girls’ high school with a strong Catholic and feminist foundation.


Today I didn’t train. Instead I came to my old school’s annual Past Pupils’ Mass. It’s my first time to the mass and my third visit back to the school from which I graduated in 1996.


It never feels odd or uncomfortable to be here at my old alma mater. The women from all generations still embrace me as one of them. It gives me strength and reminds me of the kind of man I want to remain. One who has courage, determination, compassion and love.
These are the attributes the women here learn and carry. It’s something that I also find on the ultra marathon track. And something I value above all else.

Tonight I am going to Lamington National Park to support my running friends and volunteer at the Lamington Classic. Perhaps it’s a way to pay forward what I have today received.

All Hallows’ School was more than a place of education. For me it was a place where I learned that I can do anything, that I love to run and that service to others is a gift that is a privilege to give.

What is your foundation? Who or what inspired your path?