Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last day of 2020, 12 days of Christmas #day7, and RED January 2021

It is the last day of 2020... and it would be easy to say good riddance and jump onto the bandwagon of trying to bundle up occurrences of the last 12 months as if the flip of the calendar to 2021 will remove all the bad stuff. Sadly life is not that simplistic, and much of the changes 2020 brought will hang around in one form or another for many more months / years to come. There is way too much that I could write about the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic but I simply don't have the will to commit it all to a blog post, especially on a blog called 'on the move' which is ostensibly about following my efforts to get and stay fit. There has been acres of text written else where about the pandemic and other major world events I couldn't begin to do them justice.

What has 2020 been for me? Firstly a year of little blogging (well lets face it hardly any blogging at all), it has been a year of little running, and it has been a year of hard work at work responding to the changes of working from home. It was a change that I made well, perhaps too well, as I let it remove some of the base (hidden) activity from my day - the commute, the walking for lunch, going to shops on the way home, walking between meeting venues.... most all of that took place within a handful of metres of each other - commute = walk to front room, lunch = walk to the kitchen, shopping = all done once a week or online, moving between meetings = shutting one browser tab and opening another one.

2020 became the year of YouTube, as I found that I watched more than ever - Peter McKinnon, Matti Haapoja, Becki and Chris, Casey Neistat, Rich Roll, the minimalists, Matt D'Avella, Kevin Stratvert, The Body Coach, Yoga with Ness, to name just a few (I am not listing links, just stick these into the search engine if you are curious, though most are hardly niche, and have large followings).... don't worry though I have consumed lots of cinematography, vlogging, and camera skills videos I know my limits and won't be going all 'YouTube' any time soon.

So 2021... for me it has to be about me regaining and moving towards fitness again, a sustainable fitness, a fitness to live my own life relatively well... I have gotten shockingly far away from that this year and need to recover. There is the kind of fit for life stuff of glossy multimedia and then there is just the plain being fit to live your life... and I am solidly aiming for and in need of the latter. I need to be able to move without pain and aches, lift without worry, walk without being winded, run a short distance without difficulty. Yes, this year I got there, to the place of such poor levels of activity that my base / basic fitness all but completely dissipated. 2021 thus has to be about genuinely getting moving. So that is where my walking 5km or more a day started some days back, as that first small step, and today's instalment was as follows (borrowed from my Strava feed)...

The one with all the kilometres - 12 days of Christmas #day7 ("seven swans a swimming" - well no not today, too icy!)

On the seventh day of Christmas my true sent to me... a bunch of stuff we needed from the shop. It was in no no no way a way to sneak a long walk this morning while everyone thought I was simply doing vital shopping.

It was lovely out, if tricky under foot with cheeky black ice in places. Loads of people out again, and sadly too many groups thinking they can out wit the biological fundamentals of viral transmission which was... well anyway let's not get sweary or rant about their selfishness (there's twitter for that, apparently).

Ended up being a magnificent 7km because when I looked at the distance it really did beg to be rounded up again... honest!

... and to keep things moving tomorrow we start RED January... "This January, the RED community will be challenging themselves to get active every day. Whether running, swimming, cycling or choosing a favourite fitness activity, REDers will be going the extra mile to support themselves and others. Their fitness and fundraising efforts combined with your generosity will help Sport in Mind reach and empower people to experience the life-changing benefits of physical activity."

Whatever you are doing have a happy and safe New Year's Eve 🤗

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Days 5 and 6 of my Twelve Days of Christmas walking

The one with the sunshine and a sunny peg catchup - 12 days of Christmas #day5

Twas the gap between Christmas and New year and all were out a walking, a running, a cycling, a squelching merrily in stick mud. In other news I walked into another peg, Phil, and had a fab chat about all things lockdown, running, walking, Christmas and partners off chasing reindeer (or finding Comet anyway) 😁

It was great to run into a fellow Peg, Phil, for a quick (socially distanced) chat about the range of running motivation in lockdown and the peaks and troughs and coming and going of motivation through this difficult period. Notably he had found some new ways of training with the club and a handicap run series that had been set up. I realised that I had worked so much that I didn't really engage much with things like Facebook, the internet, and training on online with the running club... they just seem like a stretch too far too far for me with everything going on. I thought that it would be a poor substitute for real club nights, but clearly it had worked well for those that went for it.

Beautiful day for a stroll along a suggested route that I actually took a wrong turn on, nice was.... muddy! On day 5 of the 12 days there definitely weren't any gold rings to be found, five old things maybe... but another walk ticked off and another small step in the right direction

The one that just had to be rounded up to 6km - 12 days of Christmas #day6

Did the route that I was supposed to do yesterday, although to keep things really spicy I did it in the reverse direction... I know right? Proper daring stuff! It was busy out on the paths and tracks again this morning with good conditions for running (I mused as I walked!). Second day in a row I spotted two elite athletes zip by, always inspirational to notice their ease and grace of movement... I run just like them when I run - honest!

Spotted another (former) peg as I walked but recognised them too late to say "hello", and then realised that I would get home in that annoying distance of 5.6km and had to round it up to 6km by carrying on for a bit (as you do). Well it was the 6th day of the 12 days after all and 6km seemed fitting, and no 7km will not happen tomorrow before you ask.

Halfway through the 12days of christmas now and enjoying myself quite a bit.... which is nice!!

Monday, December 28, 2020

The out and back walk imagining I was running - 12 days of Christmas #day4

The one where I kept wondering how far I would have got to if I was running! There was a tiny cameo from fellow Pegasus runner, Julia, and I found myself wishing I was running so that I could have doubled back for a chat... although to be fair that would have been just as short lived as she is very quick 😊

This is now ten days of covering 5k plus on foot everyday, and while as an ambition it felt 'small' with it hardly being a training plan per se, it seems to have worked. Trying to 'do' 5k a day for a period has given me just enough push to get out and active with little risk of me feeling that it was not possible. Until now I haven't declared what I have been up to because I have noted the personal trend that if I explain an elaborate plan in a blog, instagram post, or tweet then it often fails - there is a name for the phenomena (which I forget).

Lovely day out and nice to get out and enjoy the morning... daydreaming of running. On the run front, I have a way to go yet, and will be c25k'ing when I get to that point. Like the start of a good marathon run I'm starting slow, and reminding myself if it feels slow it probably isn't slow enough for a strong finish!

In other news the Wormshead 10k that is the only event I have entered in 2021 (I forget where I am with my Brighton marathon deferred deferral), has been postponed from February to October. Given that I am miles from fit just now, I can only say that I am happy with the extra time to prepare, but I do feel for the organisers having to plan an event in these difficult times of SARS-Cov-2 uncertainty and disruption. Having said what I said about grand plans falling over I will though say that the Wormshead event is my 'a' goal for the year because it is just a plain fun, tough and well organised event.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Strolling, just strolling...

There are places to start and then there are places to start. After the realisation of just quite how bad my fitness is at the moment I have decided that it is just a case of getting moving again, and by moving for the moment I mean walking. For each of the last four days I have covered 5km (3.1miles) or more on foot, mostly with the dog for company, and with no targets in mind other than just getting some walks done. They say if it isn't recorded on Strava it never happened, so here they are on Strava (sort of)...

So the 19th of December I hope will be a turn around point from the routine that I had established for the last many weeks of sitting on a chair in our front room for the vast majority of the day and working without barely a stretch for hours and hours. I didn't consciously decide not to move, it just sort of snuck up on me, as getting on with work has been a brilliant way to try and ignore the madness in the world just now. There is so much wrong with just sitting, and I am fully aware of the potential consequences of so much inactivity, but it just felt better to get on with stuff as fast and as much as possible. I am feeling the consequences of my poor choices and hence I am trying to bring this thing back around to the simple tenet of this whole blog - me being "on the move". Movement is good for all forms of health and I just need to keep it simple and get moving.

Happily for me I think all I need do is re-connect with the Pegasus Running Club crew in a couple of weeks time and they will spur me along. They are fab and have already been asking after how I am getting on... running clubs much like any social grouping around an activity are just the best thing for community and shared wisdom.

From here, more walking, then perhaps its back to a blend of couch to 5k and / or the running form, elasticity and strength training of RunRx and /or club runs... to be honest I purposefully haven't chosen what comes after the walking as I really am determined to take this one step at a time (cliché not intended) to make this a proper change... so for now we walk! Which is nice!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

When a walk around the block winds you

 There is nothing quite as sobering a recognising just how unfit you are, and when walking around the neighbourhood with your dog leaves you feeling more than a little winded then that is that bit more sobering all together. I have not run in a long time, the longest time since I started running, and like many during the recent SARS-Cov-2 issues have been much more sedentary than usual - working from home (the ability to work is a blessing), not commuting, not walking to get lunch, not being able to meet up with clubs easily, wanting / needing to shield relatives, and sitting for huge parts of the day I shouldn't perhaps be all that surprised. I haven't (to my knowledge) had 'the virus' but seemingly have been doing myself a considerable amount of harm.

Today I walked and I Strava'ed it (for the first time in weeks recording an activity) and was drawn to the feeling of having worked much harder than the distance covered would normally have told me I had. I recorded my walk for one reason - a running club member (the chair person as it happens) mentioned in the week that they had missed the quirkily titled Strava outings. Some switch in my head went off, and I realised that I had been telling myself there was no need to log activities cause the tool was not all that... when really I had not been logging activities because I would see how little I have actually been doing.

Where to go from here? I guess the only way is up, but it feels like it is going to be a long way and hard work. When I was last in this condition it was around the turn of the millennium and I hadn't started running yet... 20 years on and it feels like its going to be decidedly more difficult to find fitness again. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Long walks and new tilt at the couch to 5k training app

Lockdown walking everyday

During the COVID-19 lockdown here in Wales we have been doing a one hour family walk as our one permissible exercise a day (before that was eased slightly to allow more exercise if needed). We have been very consistent with it and it has certainly paid off for the dog as we have covered more and more distance and more and more 'exciting' new routes. I only wish that the lockdown has done for my physique what it has done for the dag, she was badly ill just before the UK (belatedly) triggered the lockdown and so we've had the job of getting her back to fitness... she has done that and then some (she looks the doggie equivalent of ripped just now!).

All of this and the running below is being tracked by my Strava account, which for me has had something of a usage revival of late. Presumably Strava are one of those companies that have seen a positive impact upon business from the current pandemic situation.

Friday C25K week one run 1 - 3.39km 29:59

The one where he thought stuff this let's go!  I have been itching to over the few weeks but my foot (still rubbish) and the one exercise a day lockdown stopped me.

So I opted to restart the BBC backed C25K (this time with the DJ Jo Whiley narrating / coaching / coaxing), and so it seemed that I just had to go out and run. Having hooked up the wireless headphones and phone eventually and there was no other excuse really.  It was a gorgeous day for a run, and was only interrupted by me turning back to pick up a dropped card from inside my phone case, d'oh!  This time I'm making no comeback promises or goals, but run one get done!

Sunday - C25K week one run 2 -  3.71km

The one with the corrupted file (that I have had to delete) - this one was an interesting run where my GPS watch tried to tell the world that I had developed super powers and flown to southern Russia and back! The Strava track that I tried to upload and edit absolutely blew the calculations within my account to bits with records, times, and runs all going awry. So all I was left with was deleting it and entering a distance and time.

The actual run was quite different from the first and was more of a mental effort to complete, the new narration was helpful but I was aware that I was wrestling the instructions a bit. I think my body was also letting me know that this return to running though easy to imagine would be trickier to achieve. Still the GPS shenanigans afterwards made me laugh (in the end!).

Sunday - C25K week one run 3 - 34:51, 4.06 km

Had to delay the third instalment of my new couch-to-5k journey because of a foot injury caused by turning my ankle over during a family walk (!).  Basically I gave all of my ligaments in my ankle a nice wrench while on a gravel path, which was nice.

The eldest offspring (who has not gotten enough exercise, like most of us, during recent lockdown weeks - Joe Wicks has had his time in our house I'm afraid) said she was happy to come too and so we set out with me relaying the instructions from my headphones to her as we went.  She was very pleased with the 5 minute warm up and even more pleased to discover that my pace was considerably slower than she'd thought and that she could cruise along through the 60sec intervals.

We had good banter around the way and had to navigate a couple of unplanned turns thanks to the sunny weather bringing lots of people out onto the paths of the estate.  We were taking it in turns almost to spot a possible close pass and move us this way or that to make sure we were out of peoples way.  Think there were quite a few smiles from people recognising that a poor ole Dad was being shown how its done by a pre-teen.

By the end I think I may have found myself a c25k buddy, that I will believe that once we've done a few more (she is a pre-teen after all!?! hehe).  My foot seemed pretty well behaved although for some reason the pace was a bit quicker than I had originally planned.

Friday, January 03, 2020

RED January 2020 - day 2

RED January 2020 day 2 - starting afresh - second consecutive year of RED January

It was a long time ago now that I started running and that was walking and running around a local park until I felt that I could run constantly for longer and longer periods... and that is where I am today, learning to run again. I know how to run continuously as my mind and body retain the memory and can mimic how I used to run happily for some time, but because I am unfit and untrained it would not take many runs before I become broken in some way. So I am telling myself I am a beginner and starting at the beginning - where any good run should start. I am over the phase of being frustrated that I can't go out and run a 10k with relative comfort two or three times a week, and I have made peace with the fact that I weigh too much for my body to cope with running how I would like to.
@REDJanuaryUK 2020 is a fundraiser for MIND, the Mental Health Charity please do support them if you can. The link below take you to my fundraising page...
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
So this #REDJanuary is all about the process of (re)learning and enjoying the idea of being a new runner. I will walk a lot, I will simply stop if I need to, I will though keep going gradually and patiently. Too many Januarys have shown me that charging at the target like a crazed cartoon bull will only lead to me missing the red cape completely and flying into the anvil hidden behind. My goal is to do what I did years ago and just go out and learn and build incrementally. I have races bought and paid for, but I will simply go and have fun - and carefully forget that I have ever been a runner before.

Happy January peeps, take those resolutions slow and steady, and by next January you will be relieved at not having to make the same resolution again.  This text was first posted on my Strava feed "Andrew Hollins" (by me; with the details of my run session - of course), and then on my Instagram feed "andy_hollins" (with a picture - of course).