The last two weeks have been an interesting introduction to getting fitter and turning the clock back my middle aged body.  Getting up earlier than I used to so that I can go for a run or a ride before work has been both easier and harder than I thought.

Last Friday I didn’t go for a ride in the morning, Jane was taking the kids to compete in the NZ Secondary Schools Cycling champs down in Palmerston North and Friday morning was the last day that I would see them for 4 days.  So I stayed home and spent a little more time with the family before they all headed off for 4 days.  It wasn’t a difficult choice, not going for a ride, as the whole point of getting fitter/healthier is to ensure that I can spend quality time with the family in the future.  It was made even easier by the fact that it was raining quite heavily at the time so I just decided to ride when I got home from work that night.

Except I didn’t…  and then I didn’t on Saturday either, and I woke up on Sunday and all I could think about was the fact that my exercise stats for would be broken, I wouldn’t have achieved what I set out to do.  Motivation is a strange thing, for some people it appears that they can motivate themselves really easily, others seem to rely on others to motivate them, or at least how others perceive them.

I’m not sure what motivates me, I’m pretty sure that I’m not motivated by others, or others perception of me.  I’ve never been much of a team player, I was never that good at ball sports which meant that I just didn’t see the point in taking part in something that I wasn’t very good at.  I’ve always preferred to be active in ways that pit me against me – Rock climbing, tramping (hiking), even when I ran or biked I would do it to go somewhere, never competing except with myself, making myself go that little bit harder/faster than I had previously.

So I guess that means that I’m internally motivated, but the challenge is going to be maintaining that motivation for the next 16 months.  I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m sure I’ll explore this theme more over the coming months.  My motivation on my run today was simply to get to the next driveway up the hill I was running up, one driveway further along than I had the last time I ran in the same time I did previously.  Even better was the view when I turned around to come back down again.  That was motivation enough today.


The View when I started my descent
The view when I started my descent

The week that was..

So the second week has gone by and I’ve actually achieved all my training goals.  I made a conscious choice this week not to aim for a distance when I ran but to go out for a specific time, which seems to have worked and as a result I have also increased the distance I’ve run.  The bike work has been fun, and my last ride of the week saw the first half done at a decent pace – although the average was pretty much the same as I then ran out of steam and plodded my way home.

I’ve got to say that spring is definitely the best time to be out in the mornings when the sun is shining and the paddocks are full of lambs and calves.

  • Monday – Run 2.1km
  • Tuesday – Bike 9.8km
  • Thursday – Run 2.9km
  • Friday – Bike 14.1km

Blisters and Beautiful Mornings

Yesterday I got my first blister…  my own fault really I just grabbed the first socks that I could lay my hands on in the dark, but old wafer thin socks just don’t cut it when you are wearing in new shoes.  Within the first 300 meters the blister had formed and burst, not good.  Still it was a great morning run, the sun was out and the rain had stopped from the last few days, as I walked/ran along the country roads around our house there was mist in the distance over the paddocks.  It was a great morning to be outdoors and getting a bit fitter and even with the blister couldn’t take away the awesomeness of getting out and doing it.

As for the blister, well its shown me that I need to invest in a few more decent pairs of socks.  When I bought my socks from Mike at Shoe Science in Albany, I also got a free pair of Balega socks for joining their Ambassador program, and its these socks I used for the first run in my shoes and not a blister to be seen.  I’ll do a proper post about Shoe Science at a later date, but I can only say that the service has been excellent and recommend that anyone looking for a new pair of running shoes go and look them up.


The week that was – or holy s$%& that hurt

Last week was my first week of training for my BHAG, and I have to say it hurt.  Getting back on the road to fitness is difficult, getting up early to do it before I go to work is even harder.  My training last week was the following:

  • Monday 1.5km run
  • Tuesday 6km cycle
  • Wednesday Rest
  • Thursday 1.5km run
  • Friday 10km cycle
  • Weekend off

When I was putting the plan for the week I remember thinking that a 1km run was pretty rubbish and the 6km cycle was a bit light, but by Wednesday I was pretty much unable to walk down steps.  Which would be fine, but we have a number of steps at home, I have to walk down them to get to my car, which I appreciated more than I have for a long time…

Monday and Tuesday were really hard, not just the getting up exercise but the recovery.  I couldn’t believe just how hard the run was, I felt like my lungs were attempting to eject themselves out my throat so they could trip me up and kick my butt back to bed.  The ride on Tuesday was more of the same, just unable to breathe and my leg muscles were on fire.

I had a meeting in Auckland on Thursday which meant that I wasn’t able to get on the road in the morning, but the upside was that I did manage to get into a really good running shop in Auckland and get myself a pair of running shoes, my Converse All Stars were not really coping with the damp grass that I run on in the morning.  When I got home from work I threw on my new shoes and went for my run, unfortunately the new shoes didn’t really provide much assistance to my old body, but I’m sure I’ll start to appreciate them more when my lungs and body start to toughen up a bit.

Fridays cycle was moved to Saturday as it was raining cats and dogs on Friday morning and I didn’t have any lights for my bike (or at least I do have lights but they have been loaned to the kids and are no longer where they should be…)   The ride on Saturday was really refreshing after the other exercise sessions during the week.  In fact there were even small glimpses of “the zone” when the muscles had warmed up and and the wind was from behind and I could just zoom along enjoying the scenery and my thoughts.

All in all it was a relatively successful week of exercise, in some ways easier and harder than I had anticipated.  Getting up (I’m not a morning person) was easier than I thought, but its only now that I am actually trying to get some fitness back that I truly understand just how far I have slipped and how far I have to go.



In the beginning there was light

Hi, welcome to my story of how I am going from middle aged, unfit and overweight to competing in the Coast to Coast 2017.

I’m a fairly typical NZ guy who was once quite fit, I grew up in the country, cycled to school, ran to university and walked and ran to work when I moved to the UK on my O.E.  and then something happened, the work hours got longer, the beer more often and then suddenly I wasn’t fit anymore, and I was getting fat, but that’s OK, I was still slim(ish) and fit(ish) so I didn’t need to change anything and just watch what I ate and do a bit more exercise and what do you know, I just got a little fatter and a lot less fit.

Then I turned 44 and I realised I couldn’t run for 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to be physically sick… I had turned into the guy you wanted to meet a bear with – you know, I don’t need to run faster than a bear, I just need to be able to run faster than the slow guy – I am that guy now…

So I set myself a Big Hairy Arsed Goal (BHAG) to enter and compete in the Coast to Coast race in 2017.  The Coast to Coast is an adventure race held in late summer in New Zealand and involves 36km of running, 140km of cycling and 67km of kayaking.  Its a big ask and I will be documenting my path to the race over the next 18 months.