Monday, March 8, 2010


I'm just back from Pump class. Literally and metaphorically, I'm pumped.

Last year, Pump Class was the thing that spurred me on to better things. After years of having gym membership I avoided all classes other than boxing or circuits. They all looked too hard, there were too many people in lycra looking too cool for school - I'd rather bash away on the treatmill or the cross trainer, walking. Then I discoved Pump - quick, light weights working all of the body. But I built up slowly, until at the end of last year I was doing the squat track with 20 kgs on my back, with ease.

That lead me to Spin, another 45 minute torture session using a stationary bike with gears - you come out looking like you've had a shower in sweat. The person who leads the class is often called the Spin Nazi. Spin Nazi's often take 5-6 spin classes a day. You may think I'm mental for wanting to do a marathon - these people are plain certifiable.

I still won't go to Body Attack - that still looks like a sponsored epileptic fit from outside of the aerobics studio.

Today was great. My favorite Pump instructor, George, took us. George is a bit of a legend. You watch his short, nuggetty, hairless body pump up and down, shouting encouragement in his super-optimistic way, you can't help but enjoy the class. George is also a trolly dolly, oops, cabin attendant for one of the national airlines. On a number of occasions I've been greeted by George at the gate on the way to heaven knows where and have received extra apples, free booze, papers from this lovely guy. His partner, also named George, is often on the same flight. He brings a bit of fun to the travel I do.

I really get on with weights -  more than I do running. I love how after doing weights everything feels toned and tucked in and how you can feel a slight tightness the next day. It goes with my body type, that broad-shouldered, stocky, slim-hipped type - good peasant and breeding stock. It's your thin-limbed aristocrats who run.

So I'm equiped with the body of a Romanian Olympic shot putter. I'm also equiped with some of the items runners, who own a body like mine, require to run without pain.

My current pair of Asic Kayanos are ten kilometres off dying. They smell dead. I've worn off all the tread on the balls of the feet and they're going through at the toes. Most annoyingly, I only bought them in November. Thankfully, I'm on first name terms with the guys at the Athlete's Foot in Collins Street. I pick up the ones I have on layby tomorrow. On chatting to my stepdad yesterday he couldn't believe that runners would ever wear out, or that anybody would spend nearly a week's rent on a pair of shoes.

Then there's the trusty heart rate monitor. Not everybody uses them, but it's been a fantastic investment for me. For those unaware of this exercise lark, getting your heart rate up is what burns calories. The fitter you get, the lower the heart rate over certain exercises. Also, the older you get, the lower you need to keep your heart rate. So for me - when running, if I can keep my heart rate at 75-85 %, or 135-150 beats a minute, I can go on all day. When it gets over 160 bpm I really know it and the breathing gets laboured. Once it gets over 170, I'm cactus. So, this little watch face helps to indicate when I should either speed up or slow down.  It's not without it's annoyances or problems.

In the gym yesterday while on the treadmill it way trying to tell me that I was sitting on 175 bpm - and I was really fine, I was barely panting. Do I trust my body, or trust my watch? I ran on a bit, but it continued to show a too high heart rate. I think there was some interference from another HRM wearer. It wasn't fun. As soon as I stepped away from the tready, my heart rate went back to 120 bpm. Daft piece of plastic crap.

But most of the time, I really couldn't do without it.

You can get heart rate monitors that show you how far you have run. They guys I go out with have lunchtime have them. "Gotta get a Garmin" they tell me. I'm happy to track my route on Googlemaps thanks.

The last piece of equipment I need is my trusty sports bra, actually two trusty sports bras. For me, running without these, both of them, at the same time, would mean black eyes, back pain and many, many strange looks. I have more chance of getting a snog off the Pope than I have falling flat on my face. Without the industrial scaffolding that keeps me in place, I could never run, let alone exercise. I have watched women on the Yarra track, flying along, breasts flying in all directions - the boys I run with love it. I have no idea how they do it. I'll continue to strap myself in, lest I knock somebody out.

Card of the Blog: Justice - the cosmic butt kick card, taking responsibility, learning to adjust, throwing out the old to let in the new.

Kilometres walked since 29 January: 105 km
Kilometres run since 29 January: 61 km
Currently reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Weight lost since 29 Jan: 1.4 kg

p.s.  Eight days in, still not chocolate, ice cream and chips (or Bejewelled Blitz) Doing well actually.


Kath Lockett said...

I run, but certainly don't have the body of an aristocrat. I've a sticky-out arse that dwarves can shelter under, thighs generous enough to strangle any of the said dwarves should they become too curious and hips only a dairy farmer could love...

Oh and I with you on the shoes and the good running bras too. I tend to 'blow a flattie' re running shoes twice a year and bras need to be industrial strength underwire jobs to keep. the. girls. down.

Pandora Behr said...

I think you're probably being hard on yourself there Kath. I know we really should just love that we run despite our misgivings. I love fun runs for this fact - all shapes and sizes, all ages. It's a great leveller (and not just the cement bras we strap on)