It's only January 5th and I'm feeling fitter already.
I got a heart rate monitor for Christmas so Monday's task was to set the time, date, etc and also tell it how old I am and what my height and weight are. Surprisingly it didn't laugh out loud at the info and so I proceeded to have a 30 minute ride on the exercise bike to test out the monitor and measure my heart rate throughout.
I tried to be in the aerobic range while I cycled but it was hard as I was also being coached by the real triathlete of the family about keeping my knees over my feet rather than stuck out at the jaunty angle I was using. Also I had to try not to glaze over as we got in to the realms of cadence - I really am interested but it seems there is so much information coming at me at once that my brain is suffering a little bit of overload. (It is only small anyway and so is easily challenged by technical details!).
It's Tuesday, and, spurred on by my success on the exercise bike and the fact that I could still walk when I came down stairs in the morning I promised to do more exercise today. We started to plan the days events, I had to go to work for 1pm so we decided we'd swim together at the late night session at the local leisure centre - adults only 9-10pm. However he had a little something to show me first - a first step towards improving my running technique.
Instantly another example of brain overload came to light when the son described the "100 up" exercise which he is going to do every morning. The easy version is to walk on the spot, lifting the knees high at each step, you are bare-foot and try to put the ball of the foot down slightly ahead then the heel follows. The arms are held at 90 degrees and you do 100 steps moving your arms as you would in a running action. When you get fitter you are meant to do it running on the spot. This exercise helps to cure you of heel-strike as you practice ball of foot-first until it becomes second nature. Hubby and son realised I had problems visualising the exercise when I asked which arm you move when you step on the right foot. Hubby did a demonstration, I asked again and he seemed to think it hilarious that I couldn't get it - but we had the last laugh at his expense, as when we analysed his action he'd been doing it wrong! So he and I had a lots of fun while we did "Spotty Dog" walks up and down the hall - the son is too old to have seen the wooden tops so just watched us in a bemused, tolerant fashion, much as we used to watch him when he was a toddler - my how times change! So now I finally understand the "100 up" and have promised to do it every day.
After work I got in at 6.45pm and we had a reasonably early tea, then down to the swimming pool and in the water by 8.50. And now I have to tell you I made some amazing progress. First of all my overall distance was 40 lengths which is 1KM - how about that! Also I tried to improve the technique, I was still doing breast stroke but it was slightly better - I tried to visualise moving well through the water and remember that the more relaxed you swim the easier it is. Also with a little coaching from the son, I had a go at real front crawl - not the head up all the time effort from my youth, but putting my new goggles and even newer swim hat in the water. I only managed about two thirds of a length but I did have a kind of light bulb moment and suddenly when I went back to breast stroke I could co-ordinate the bobbing and breathing much better - it made the last 6 lengths much easier. Just for comparison we did some interval training and I discovered that in the time it took me to do 5.5 lengths, the younger generation had completed 12 and had started his recovery period. But I persevered, and every time he set off for the next set, so did I and I kept up the 6 per set so felt really pleased. When we got out I actually felt my legs belong to me and I could walk in a straight line and no threat of throwing up (contrast the session before Christmas). Typically Em wasn't on duty in the pool so I couldn't have a chat and show off my improved level of "fitness". We came home and I ran in the house yelling guess how far - and guess what it felt great to say I can swim a kilometre ( I think I was 27 the last time I did that).
It's now Wednesday and I have done my "100 up" and been for a brisk walk for 25 minutes through the wind and rain, so that's 3 days in a row now.
This is where the bus comes in - after waiting all these weeks for a bit of training, one session comes along and then so do another 2 - I am feeling very pleased with myself. I will hopefully keep going now.