This morning's run along the Yarra with Desi was telling.
A glorious morning for a gentle five kilometres on the Yarra, cool, sunny with a a few cotton wool clouds about the place - a gentle breeze to take the edge off the sun and the recent humidity thankfully absent. This is the sort of summer running I like to do - only ever trumped by any sort of winter running or taking a jog though the rain on a warm summer's morning.
I like running with Desi - the conversation is great. In the two years that I've known her she's come along in leaps and bounds, losing heaps of weight, running in her first 10 km event and generally embracing a healthy lifestyle. And from when we started, she's learned my trick of running and talking. Okay allegedly I can talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles, but I find it amazing that people can't talk and run at the same time. I can sing "The Sound of Music" and run - but maybe that's my cardio vascular fitness showing through. Anyway, Desi says that I have a lot to do with her reaching her goals. I'm just very proud of how far my friend has come.
Now it's her turn to give me a bit of help.
I need more running buddies!
See, I've let my running slide a bit. Okay, be honest, I've let my running slide a lot. Some of this is because of the back injury I obtained trying to place one of Blarney's twins in his cot at the end of November last year - that had to heal before I did any impact work and it's taken a while. It's only just got back to normal.
Talking with my massage therapist on the weekend, she finally cleared me to get back into doing more impact work and back to normal running.
"You really needed that time out. You've done what had to be done - if you were running regularly you'd have done yourself more injury. Think of resolving injuries like penance. If you don't give them the respect they require things are going to come up and bite you on the bum big time - and you don't want that."
So instead of doing ten "Hail, Marys" and a round of the rosary, my exercise penance has had me doing a lot of lighter weighted Pump, some spin and lots of walking so that I don't jar my back.
My massage therapist is a very wise woman.
So the last real run, the last longer run that I did was the 10 km at the Melbourne marathon in October - some three months ago. Since then, I've been going out with Desi and doing the odd, slow 5 km, as well as the odd half and hour hear and there at the gym. I've still been exercising four or five times a week - just not running - and my body really notices the difference.
My body likes to run - it doesn't have to be a fast run, but it likes it. Especially after combat class where after 45 minutes of punching and kicking, the feeling of freedom I feel when Miguel says, "Go on, run around the room!" is just magic. (I can do that - you're only running for a few minutes in this case)
And now is the time to get back into it. It's time to start doing this rather strange and enigmatic activity that puts me in the weirdo subset of "Runner".
I'm also at a point where I need to set some goals around running - and with everything working okay once more (and the dead foot from the trapped nerve in my back now gone) it really is time to set myself up a regular running routine.
So today, on arriving in the office, I put myself in for the 15 km Run for the Kids - a bit of a Melbourne institution when it comes to runs in Melbourne.
The Run for the Kids is really just a reason for mass civil disobedience. Taking you through the Domain Tunnel, down the Westgate Freeway, over the Bolte Bridge, through the Docklands and back along the river to the Botanical Gardens, the first ten kilometres of the run are on public roads that nobody can ever walk on - and it's great. Also, unlike the Melbourne Marathon events where people are out for good times and personal bests, there is more of a social feel to this event. I remember a chain-smoking, heavy drinking colleague participating one year even though their exercise consisted of walking from the car park to the office - okay, they couldn't walk for three days after, but they said they enjoyed every step if the day.
So I have something to train for. An even to get my cardio back where it was - and my weight back in check - another element in my life that I've been struggling with.
The other reason that I need to get running again - I've made an impulse purchase. A stupid, stupid impulse purchase, but something that will keep me on the straight an narrow all the same.
For the first time in my life I bought a pair of two piece swimmers to wear in Bali.
In my defence, these swimmers are not your Brazilian dental floss and postage stamp ensemble. They're a proper boned up bra and decent coverage bottoms. See.
Yes, I'm 44-years-old - I should know better, but for the first time in my life, I have the confidence to get out there by a pool and wear something that resembles a bikini. Up until now, I've always had rather patrician swimmers with racer backs and full coverage. Okay, I'm not going in for the burkini a la Nigella, but rather, I've had bathers that let me swim laps and cause no offence or give reason for an onlooker to call Greenpeace and have me thrown back in the ocean.
I'm also pretty good with sunscreen and don't spend ages in the sun. But it would be nice to wear something other than my boring, offical, "I'm-a-serious-lap-swimmer-get-out-my-way-or go-back-to-the-slow-lane" looking racer-back one piece as seen in Richmond Swimming Pool.
Anyway, I received these swimmers in the post yesterday and I tried them on last night.
They fit, but they will look far better if my podgy stomach reduces. And to reduce the podgy tummy, I have a lot of work to do. LOTS of work - but it's not an unattainable goal.
I've made the commitment to me that I'm going to look as good as I can in my new swimmers in April.
I'm not off to Bali for ten weeks - and I know I can do a lot in ten weeks. I have a 15 kilometre run to prepare for - which although it sounds a lot, having done as much running as I've done over the last few years, my body gets the hang of this really quickly and I'll be back in check in a few weeks.
I've also got the diet in check. 1200-1400 clean calories a day, minimal sugar, salt and alcohol.Yes, there will be ups and downs. There's a degustation dinner next week to attend, the odd party here, the odd dinner there. But if I can keep 19 out of 21 of my meals a week in check, I should get near my goal.
All of this should get me to where I want to be - without feeling deprived.
And I promise not to post a photo of myself in said swimmers fearing a charge from the Japanese Whaling Fleet.
As I said earlier, it's a bold move. But it's one I'm hoping to enjoy.
Anybody out there want to come running before work or on weekends with me?