Friday, 29 October 2010

A pain in the a**e. A qualified success...

I did my little run on Wednesday. 5mins brisk walk to warm-up, then 5 mins light jog (uphill), 2 mins walk, 5 mins 'run', 5 mins walk then 5 mins 'run'. A gorgeous, blustery day (for some reason I've never minded running into a headwind. It feels as if I'm 'leaning' on the wind which is very comfortable. Must be my own peculiar biomechanics I suppose) with warm sunshine and a cool wind. 
You would have noticed the inverted commas in the word 'run' back there. To be honest, rather than 'run' I had more of an 'active shuffle' thing going on, but it was definitely not walking and it was as quick as I've covered the ground for a long time.

You won't believe this, but while I've been hors de combat, the council have been out and made all the lanes around here steeper. In fact, thinking about it, I expect all councils do this so they can watch the struggles of runners and cyclist's returning from an enforced layoff. Well, they did a good job around here, I can tell you.  I felt like one of those, let's be charitable, chubby, souls being forced to undertake an exercise regime on one of those 'Let's Torment Some Fatties' reality TV programmes. It was ghastly. Not quite hissy-fit, burst into tears and stuff my face with comfort chips ghastly, but depressing nonetheless. I'm definitely at Level 0. And on top of that, the day after, I had an ache deep in my right, ahem, buttock which seems not to want to fade away. Great.
So why, with my Level 0, achy-arse, Max HR = 205 (something wrong, surely), utterly unfit condition am I strangely drawn to ultracollie's kind offer to accompany him on the Kentmere Horseshoe next weekend? Must be the thought of the 'very, very easy pace'. Mind you, it'll have to be. I can't do any other. Yet.

Smileyrating: 10/10 for getting out at all. 1/10 for the resulting experience!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

On twingettes

Five and a half hours walking with Mrs HF around Caw and Stickle Pike (near Coniston) on Sunday. 
An hour's weights at the gym on Monday.
And nary a twinge the whole time. Yippee!
Things are looking up.
I'm still getting the odd twingette but that's it. These happen at the weirdest of times - like when hitching my rucksack up on my back in order to tighten the waist strap. Or when putting a lightbulb in an overhead fitting. Or squatting down to tie a shoe lace. It's profoundly irritating.
Anyway, I think it's time I began to consider turning myself from victim to runner. I've been hunched over my computer today, so now would be a good time. But it's raining. Maybe tomorrow. Better not rush these things. Tomorrow's forecast is looking better anyway, so I'm thinking of, say, a 10 min walking warm up followed by a couple of minutres running to see how it goes and then gradually extend the time. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Smug, moi?

Gym today. Lots of cross training then weights and core. I was at one with my inner Plank. Feeling really good about it too.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

One more step forward...

Just had a great couple of days. Yesterday Mrs HF and I took advantage of the gorgeous sunshine and walked for 3 hours - one and a half along the river to lunch at the famous Wilf's in Staveley, then one and a half back. With not a twinge from my midriff the whole time. This may not sound much, but it's such an improvement on just a few short weeks ago where I struggled to walk at all.
Today, we went to the gym. Did fast-ish walking on the treadmill, some weights and some core strengthening. I've discovered I can do the core exercise known as the 'Plank' without a twinge. Which is great, because it is brilliant for core stability, but also a bugger because I've got no excuse not to do it!
So, once again, the slow grind towards some form of fitness begins. I hope I can sustain it this time.

Friday, 8 October 2010

A funny way to spend an evening...

Here's something to try:  Go into the garden at 6 o'clock tonight and find yourself a nice knobbly bit of lawn. Put an empty garden compost bag down. On top of that, put a sit mat and sit on it; then recline with your shoulders and head resting comfortably on, say, a rucksack. Stay there until twenty past eight, watching the sun go down and the stars come out.
If you replace 'lawn' with 'marshy Lakeland fell', you'll get an idea of how I spent last evening. I had my first proper experience of 'bodying'for the Lake District Mountain Rescue Dogs, (see earlier blog). My job was to make myself comfortable 'hidden' behind some clumps of rushes and wait for the brilliant dogs to find me.
It was a beautiful evening. The sky was largely clear, but as the sun set, it set on fire a huge bank of cloud blown in by the cool easterly breeze. I lay back, comfortable and relaxed.
My radio squawked into life. It was Ollie, who was directing the night's training: "Ollie to Body Steve - Einich (dog) and Joy (handler) are on their way. Don't do anything. Play dead". "Body Steve to Ollie. Copy that. Play dead".
I lay back and watched the shadows creeping up the hill opposite. Within seconds I heard panting and the drum of footsteps and Einich, a border collie, thundered in, ran over me, licked my face and sat by my right ear barking furiously - just as she was supposed to do. A few minutes later, Joy hove into view and we both extravagantly praised Einich and rewarded her with a few throws of a tennis ball which she absolutely loves. In this way she learns that finding people is the quite best fun she can possibly have in her life.
Pretty soon she was off - there were two more 'bodies' out there to find - and I resumed my tranquil observation of the waning light and rising stars. It was so beautiful.
And so the evening passed, with Einich being followed by Sam (a large, very handsome border collie with the most almighty loud bark) and Kitt (a small border collie but so fast and agile and incredibly intelligent). It went dark and got colder as the breeze picked up. I put my hood up and my gloves on and watched as the handler's headtorches pinpricked the darkness.
The dogs all found me on the way back. This time I could sense them coming by hearing the panting and the footsteps and by seeing the flashing red lights on the backs of the special jackets they wear.
At about eight twenty it was over. Pack up, headtorch on and trudge back to the car with the other bodies, comparing notes; "Were you cold?", "Did you get midged?", "Did Sam bark as he should?".
What a brilliant introduction to this fascinating world. Training continues year round, through rain, snow, hail and gales. And I hope to be out there with them, lying on the ground for them to find.  For them it's play, but of course it's critical play. The dogs have already been called out 56 times this year. And the nights are drawing in...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

On the mend again...maybe

Well, it's been a funny ol' time. For a couple of weeks I've not wanted to blog because I've been pretty despondent about my state of health and fitness and wanted to spare you a self-pitying whinge.
In a nutshell, my doctor thinks I've had an unusual post-operative complication whereby a nerve or nerves are, in some way, being stimulated into firing, leading to random bolts of searing pain along the surgery incision. The result has been weird and unpleasant. I'd be walking along when, out of the blue, wham! I'd wince and lurch all over the place before carrying on until the next attack.
Unfortunately, this coincided with a holiday to St Ives. This is very hilly, with lots of steps, which seemed to set it off quite a bit! (Here's a picture I did, inspired by the view from our apartment window, based very loosely on on the styles of two of the St Ives artists, Bryan Pearce and Ben Nicholson)

Mercifully, though things have improved a lot this week and I did the shopping today with only a few twinges. I think it'll be a while before I dare risk running though.

Whilst in St. Ives we saw some exquisite Maggie Hambling paintings in a gallery. They were small oil or acrylic image of waves and were full of movement and life. So I thought I'd have a go...
Hmmm. Keep practising I think! If you've got this far, I might as well inflict one last painting on you...
Just to show I need a lot more practice with watercolour too!