For a geek, no pleasure is greater than buying gear . . .

Seven months of cycling in tennis and hiking clothes . . . enough is enough! I found that even in Melbourne’s mild winter, my legs froze into icy pistons.

Cycling gear is bewilderingly complex and full of arcane terms, which of course endears it enormously to me. What could be more fun than researching cycling shorts (not bibs, a new term to me? Nah), knee warmers (who knew they even existed?) and bicycle bells (mine broke from regular use, dinging the splendid mixed traffic on the Yarra Trail).

I’ve ended up buying online (hope they fit and don’t chafe!) and going for cheapies. First gear purchases are always risky.

Now I can’t wait to test all three!


Fitness Big Year: Collapse

I kind of collapsed.

My revitalised Fitness Big Year was progressing so well. 3 cycles a week (one a little further), 3 runs a week (gradually increasing back up to 10 kms) and 3 gyms a week. Concentrating exercise towards the beginning of each day really helps.

On Saturday and Sunday I ended up exercising four times before donating blood, and on Monday I fasted, and early on Tuesday I ran for an hour . . . and by the end of that day I felt like shite and ran a tiny fever. Too much, too much. (Or I picked up a virus, another hypothesis.) The run also strained a glute muscle, necessitating a physio visit.

All’s well, etc. I slept in, mooched around, went to bed early, and this morning am coursing with energy. Hopefully just a bump in the road, for I’m keen to lock in a steady, undramatic routine.

Photo credit: trbpix via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Fitness Big Year: Getting solid

I’ve switched tack. I jog or cycle first thing each day, in the dark. This week I’ve hit my 70 km cycling target and will jog 7 kms 3 times, planning to steadily ratchet back up to 10 kms each outing. I’ve also decided to get to the gym three times a week. Nine exercise sessions a week means that on two days, I get out twice, something I’ve never attempted before. Yesterday I ran early, cycled early afternoon, and I was sore but uninjured. And my writing energy levels have increased.

I can now gaze forward at the year’s goals: 3,500 cycling kms, 900 jogging kms, 90 gym visits. Will this feeling of fitness improvement persist? Let’s wait and see.

Fitness Big Year: Some numbers

In Darwin I tried to up the ante and conquer 8-km runs. Twice I tried and twice┬áI had to part walk the last few kilometers. In the relaxing dry heat of the city’s winter, down by the water, I didn’t mind.

Halfway through the year, I’d run 365 kms, well under 50% of the 2017 target of 900 kms. If my hamstring and feet and errant mind get me back to 10-kms runs, the target remains achievable, given that I’ve also decided to run three times a week.

I’d cycled 1,800 kms. The end-of-year goal is 3,500 kms. On track.

I’d worked out 43 times. The goal is 90. Having concluded two gym sessions a week is counter productive, if I’m steady with three visits each week, the goal is doable.

I now have a much better picture of what to do each week until December 31. Isn’t that peace?


Darwin cycling: Man versus nature

See the Black Kite wheeling overhead while I navigated traffic that barely acknowledges bicycles exist. Melbourne cycling is in the crevices of a city that has tamed nature into landscaped swathes. In Darwin last week, I glimpsed a different dynamic, cowboys striving to subjugate a biosphere ready to strike back. What would two degrees of warming do to Darwin? Five degrees?

Halfway through the 2017 Big Years

Only one of the three Big Years is unfolding out as planned but all are alive and kicking:

  • Writing: I’m not fulfilling the precise daily requirements set on January 1, but boy, am I working well and hard each morning. I’m hoping soon to focus more on plans and weekly goals.
  • Fitness: all my 2017 kilometer goals are up in the air, partly due to injury, partly due to favoring writing ahead of exercise, but hey, I’m out there each and every day, and for that I should be thankful.
  • Rock music: 60 albums heard in entirety, 60 Pinterest reviewlets done. Wonderful!

Fitness Big Year: Legacy of James Fixx

Does anyone remember this 1977 book? I was in my early twenties and had just commenced working. A geeky non-athlete, I had some experience with jogging but more as a curative for my funny feet than as a real pastime. I played tennis, badly, and wished to improve, so I bought The Complete Book of Running. What a revelation! He sang the praises of pounding the pavements, he wrote about a “runner’s high,” he told stories, he provided guidance. He sold jogging to the masses when the masses had never heard of it, and the masses listened. I was one of those masses and never looked back.

“Yep, it still sells,” says Amazon.