Hello, my name is Sandy.

OK, March is over

It's April now, and I wanted to punch in the rest of my March Month of Fitness progress. Here goes:

  • 13 Mar: Nothing. I was sick. :(
  • 14 Mar: 20 pushups, 20 situps
  • 15 Mar: Walked to and from D&D (1.5km)
  • 16 Mar: Ruck walk (3km @ 5kg)
  • 17 Mar: Ruck walk for geocaches (6km @ 5kg)
  • 18 Mar: Ninja Academy
  • 19 Mar: Indoor football
  • 20 Mar: Geocache walk (4.5km)
  • 21 Mar: Frogstand training (30sec)
  • 22 Mar: TKD training
  • 23 Mar: Sick again. Walked to and from D&D (1.5km)
  • 24 Mar: Frogstand training (30sec)
  • 25 Mar: Nothing. This was my sickest day.
  • 26 Mar: Indoor football (felt like poo but scored a goal!)
  • 27 Mar: Frogstand training + ruck walk (4.5km @ 5kg)
  • 28 Mar: Casual fitness with my work besties
  • 29 Mar: Walked to and from D&D (1.5km)
  • 30 Mar: Slacked off lalala!
  • 31 Mar: Ruck Jacob's (5 laps @ 5kg)

I'm happy with how this campaign went. It's shown me how to improve fitness quickly in a short time with consistent practice, and that being sick may stop you from doing some things, but you can still do other things if you measure all your actions carefully.

When studying up on colds and flu last year, I came across some advice that said you can keep exercising as long as it's not your chest giving you trouble. So I pushed through my sinus problems this month, gently of course, and came out all right in the end.

So now, after just 4 weeks of a rounded fitness routine, I can ruck with 5kg, do 5 laps of Jacob's with 5kg, and frog for 30 seconds (my goal is 1 minute). Check it out (via @wearehumaan):

frogstand with a fitness buddy

Ps. I got some lovely news the other day — an online publication accepted one of my flash fiction pieces! It should get posted sometime this or next month, and I'm looking forward to sharing the link with you. :D

Pps. Ack! And I meant to send out Soft Signal this week too, but got so caught up in work, exercise and story-writing that it completely slipped my mind. How unfit of me!! Oh well, maybe next week.

Month of fitness check-in

March Month of Fitness has been going well. In the last two weeks, I've upped my backpack weight to about 5kg (double what I started with!). This puts me a third of the way to my goal, and halfway to my next milestone.

The days after backpack training, I've noticed I wake up relatively pain-free. As in, I don't start the morning with my usual shoulder and upper back aches. Not sure what that's all about. I've read rucking can help with relieving back pain, but I'm not sure how reliable this information is. Must remember to ask my physio next time I see him... though I hope I won't have to see him for a long time yet!

Getting fit through play seems to be the emerging theme of this month-long campaign. Here's what has counted as exercise over the last 12 days:

  • 1 Mar: Ruck walk (1hr @ 4kg)
  • 2 Mar: Ruck Jacob's (4 laps @ 4kg, 1 lap w/o)
  • 3 Mar: Stretching in front of the telly
  • 4 Mar: TKD training, Ninja Academy
  • 5 Mar: Indoor football
  • 6 Mar: Sailing a catamaran on the Swan River
  • 7 Mar: 30 pushups, 30 situps
  • 8 Mar: Ruck walk (90min @ 5kg)
  • 9 Mar: Ruck hill walks of Mount St (3 laps @ 5kg)
  • 10 Mar: Indoor skydiving
  • 11 Mar: TKD training with sparring
  • 12 Mar: Indoor football

The most boring workouts have been the pushups and situps, but they're the quickest and easiest after a long, busy day.

There's a 2-hour karaoke session that belongs in there somewhere too. Singing (shouting) like you mean it seems to be physically taxing. I'm counting it as a workout for core and aerobic fitness.

It's been good to focus on something without worrying whether it's useful to anyone else. That facet of creative guilt — wondering whether the things you create deserve to exist — is tiresome. Exercise, so far, has been a nice, justifiable indulgence. :)

Two weeks (and a bit) to go. Wish me luck!

Rucking heck

I haven't blogged much lately because I've been spending heaps of time wrestling with my writing. My novels, my gigs, all that stuff. Turns out, when it comes to fiction, I'm a slow ass writer.

But I'm not here to complain about my word rate. No one needs to hear that. I'm here to complain about how sore I am after my first bouts of "rucking" this week.

"Rucking" is when you train with a weighted backpack. Military folk do it, I think some police folk do it, and apparently it's a social thing too. I don't know much about all that. This came about because I was talking to a mate about hiking and he told me to expect an all-day 15kg load. So... yeah, #goals.

I'm not so hardcore that I'd run a mile with 20kg strapped to me (yet?). Just started with 2.5kg at Jacob's Ladder. That's two 1.25L bottles of water in a backpack while alternating single steps, double steps and jogging singles between flights. I can't decide whether that sounds hard or not, but doing it was certainly a challenge!

my 2.5kg rucksack

Oddly, I didn't notice the extra weight. I just felt tired and very short of breath. If I didn't know I was wearing a weighted backpack, I would have just considered myself unfit. It got me thinking about fighters who deliberately put on weight so they can fight in a higher weight class. From what I've heard, they feel slower, say it's harder. I never understood that til now.

My recent-ish trip to Brunei and Singapore sapped a lot of my fitness. I did attempt to keep up my training, but the humidity-induced fatigue and the laziness from constant eating got the better of me. I did manage 20 pushups 3 times a week, but that's not much compared to what I should be doing to hit the level of body health and fitness I want as I approach my late 30s.

watercolour of the Singapore merlion

Anyway, I've been feeling the loss of cardio fitness this month, so you can imagine how my first run of Jacob's must have gone, even with a small amount of extra weight.

It was a temperate day with a cool breeze. I managed 3 laps with the backpack on, plus 1 extra lap without. Piss poor effort, and my legs are still jiggly a day later, but I'm proud I gave it a go. Followed up the next day with the same pack on a 1-hour walk around the neighbourhood. Things started hurting, then stopped hurting not long after. :) I've been wanting to try exercise with extra weight for a while, and hope this breaks the seal for me.

This month has been busy but unfocused. Again, I blame that on the trip overseas, and having many things to do and think about.

Next month, however, is my Month of Fitness, featuring at least one bout of exercise every day. Should be a nice sequel to last year's 4-week fitness thing. This is my small promise to track and share as I go.

If anyone else is focusing on fitness in March, hit me up on twitter and we can complain about being sore together. :)