Week 17

We’ve just passed Easter. The time when people finish a period of abstinence from something and pig out on chocolate eggs. Although I didn’t. I didn’t give up anything for lent but I also didn’t pig out on chocolate either. I may have hit the wine a little harder than I’d promised myself I would but no fast/binge cycle like as we traditionally expect at this time.

I have now begun to think about my diet. Not going on a diet diet, actually thinking about what I eat, and why I eat it. This challenge is achieving some of its stated goals. I feel fitter. I’m definitely more disciplined, with the challenge at least, and the writing.

I can feel that parts of my body are firming up. Shoulders certainly, abs even a little bit. But I’m not losing any weight, not noticeably anyway. So with May just around the corner I will focus some of that discipline on what I buy and what I eat. Where focus goes, energy flows as Tony Robbins says and he’s done pretty well for himself.

Week 16

Like any blogger worth his salt I am, this week, taking a news story and twisting it into a clumsy metaphor. You’ve been warned.

On April 15 the World famous and beautiful French Gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire and burned for 15 hours causing a vast amount of damage but not total destruction. Global sadness was shown by many and the money and plans to rebuild it have already begun rolling in.

This wasn’t the first time that this 850 year old treasure has needed some love, care and attention. In the 16th century rioting Huguenots damaged many of the famed statues, in the 18th century the cathedral was desecrated during the French Revolution, and subsequent Disneyfication in the 20th century with a singing hunchback didn’t help either.  

While the current version of the landmark goes back to 1160 the Indiana Jones style archaeologists have traced prior churches on site back to the 4th century. So while there will be another fairytale, phoenix from the flames resurrection in coming years this icon has developed, grown and evolved to what it is now. It grew to something that survived 15 hours of raging flames and retained its grace and strength.

So we can all take a lesson from the steady incremental fortification of the cathedral. Build slowly and with strength and be able to withstand the worst that the past, present and future can throw at you.

How d’ya like them metaphors?

Week 15

This week my mind turned, or was forced to turn, to the subject of rest. Saturday April 6 saw me in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland at Maleny Dairy to complete a 13km Spartan Super Sprint. Not my first obstacle race by a long way, not the longest or the hardest I’ve done. The setting was idyllic with rolling green hills (although I hate hills when I’m racing), crisp blue skies and beautiful doe eyed cattle looking on at these idiots running around their home, climbing, throwing, carrying and crawling on their bellies through their freshly deposited crap.

Somewhere along the way, either whilst wading chest deep through creeks and dams, or crawling under barbed wire through the aforementioned crap, I must have taken a mouthful of something that disagreed with me. And what a disagreement it was. For two days I felt like I’d been used as a punchbag for the local UFC champs. At one point I actually felt like my abs were separating from my ribs (I’m not even sure if they are attached but you get the idea).

During that Netflix and definitely not chilled marathon I had plenty of time to think, reflect, plan and appreciate the effect that some enforced rest was having on my mental health as well as my body. We talk about a rest day, and sometimes a cheat day, as if they are a moment of acceptable weakness in our journey towards immortality. In reality we should think of them in the same way we let a steak rest, or allow time for concrete to set or even the time it takes dough to rise when making bread (mmm steak sandwich is on my mind now). Rest is a key phase in the growth, they go hand in hand. Yin and Yang. So with that in mind, happy resting.

Week 14

Pondering again the difficulties with fitness and travel. Planning can can cover a lot. Is there a local gym? Does the hotel have the equipment I need? Can I pack what I need? Am I confusing planning with being honest about my priorities?

Yes, was I honest about my priorities for this particular trip? No I wasn’t. I was looking forward to spending time with people I hadn’t seen for a little while. I was looking forward to having a quasi social life again briefly. I was looking forward to spending some late nights drinking and eating and chatting and putting the world to rights. And with that comes mild hangovers (I’ve never been one for hangovers, much to the irritation of a few ex partners) and getting out of bed as late as possible.

I did manage to fit in one session of swinging a dumbell in lieu of a kettlebell but it wasn’t the same and I could feel my posture and form being pulled out. The dumbell was so fat that I struggled with the grip too. So with an aching lower back and sore knuckles I threw in the towel and committed to catch up at a later time.

I’m sure there are refillable bags or vessels that could be packed neatly and used in these instances. I’ve thought about it. Steel and iron are fairly dense so 16kg is a tight package. 16kg of water is 16 liters. 16 liters of water is a big package to swing between my short legs. Maybe I’ve hit on an idea, travel kettlebells! Maybe my fortune is just around the corner.