Our Round the Bay runners Michael Fox and Victoria Robinson face some hard truths in week two of training.
Three days in, two runs down and 36 muscles I never knew I had. Or didn't have, as the case may be. I am so sore and stiff I have been hobbling all week and cursing this blog and all my let's-get-fit-and-go-running-and-do-marathons-and-maybe-one-day-I'll-climb-Mt-Everest enthusiasm of last week.
It started out well. I'm following the Round the Bays' running schedule, and it seemed achievable. The very first day was a rest day - that's my kind of training plan.
Tuesday was D-Day. So named because of the damage to my muscles, the dehydration I was suffering from over-indulging during the long weekend, and the general feeling that even death would be preferable to running for 30 minutes straight.
I was actually surprised at how far I managed to run without stopping for the first couple of blocks. And after that? Well let's just say for the rest of the "run" I alternated between walking while clutching my stomach, taking long, wheezy breaths, and a slow jog-limp with a style similar to what you might expect from Quasimodo if he were ever to strap conspicuously-white sneakers to his feet.
Speaking of shoes, I have to say the most pleasant part of my jog was definitely my new runners. They were purchased, mostly, because my desk-buddy at work cast her critical eye over my former trainers and told me straight up that they looked like Spice Girls shoes circa 1997. To be fair, I'm pretty sure my parents bought them for me in 2001, when I was 16, so she was just a couple of years out.
My new sneakers, while reminding me of the time Ross from Friends bleached his teeth make me feel a bit like I'm running on clouds. Technology has definitely come a long way in the last decade. I'm just hoping they save me from serious injury from all this crazy exercise I plan to put myself through over the next six weeks.
Because, while my muscles feel like someone removed them from my body and gave each one a Chinese burn, I am committed to continuing. I've had heaps of encouraging comments from friends who for some reason seem to believe I can succeed. Even the most skeptical "8.4km is a long, long way..." is followed with a cheering "but you will be able to do it". So I'm sticking with it. But I may need to find myself a masseuse.
» Follow Victoria Robinson on Twitter
With training for Round the Bays underway I figured it was time to face some hard truths.
In order to make the training worthwhile I decided I needed a target time, and to do that I figured I needed to know how fit I am.
That required me to run, walk or stumble 8.4 kilometres (the race length), so with some trepidation I set off from home in Takapuna on Wednesday.
In all honesty I was a little concerned about how I would fare. I'd shot out for a couple of shorter runs the week before and then all I could think about as I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other was a breather and a swim at Takapuna Beach.
But those runs and a couple of games of touch must've helped, and as I wound my way along a path plotted on Google and with my iPod periodically reeling off the distance I'd covered, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the damage caused by an extended period of inactivity wasn't as bad as I feared.
In a plodding gait that's not going to win me any cross-country titles, I wound my way 8.5 km around the streets of Hauraki and Belmont in 47 minutes sans stops for "stretches".
It wasn't that easy - my arse was hanging out at times, my shirt was soaked by the end, and my legs were a bit fatigued the next day - but it was a promising start.
I even overtook someone. She was 40-odd but that's neither here nor there.
In saying that, there's no denying things have slipped a bit.
As I explained in my previous blog I was on a slippery slope, with other things getting in the way of keeping fit - something which seems a semi-accepted practice in New Zealand when men grow up, get married, have kids, get busier, drink more and exercise less.
Sport becomes something you watch rather than get amongst and conversations centre around past exploits on the footy field or running track and sentences beginning with "Back in my day..."
I'm not saying it's the same for everyone and I'm certainly not saying it's overly common among people in their mid-twenties, but it is a trap.
One day I may grow a paunch to sit my beer on but I'm in no hurry to reach the sit-around-in-my-layzboy-talking-about-past-sporting-glories-while-sending-your-son-to-fetch-a-beer-from-the-fridge-and-pinching-another-handful-of-chips-and-dip days.
So I'm encouraged, but also sobered by the fact I now realise I have to set myself a pretty hard target to make this worthwhile.
I'm thinking 37 minutes? It's a complete stab in the dark but knocking 10 minutes off after five-odd weeks of training seems reasonable and sufficiently challenging to ensure I train hard for it.
I'll keep tabs on my progress and might even revise that down, but at this stage if I beat that I'll be fairly happy.
» Follow Michael Fox on Twitter
* How's your training for Round The Bays going? Are you struggling in your second week of working out? Leave your comments and fitness tips below.
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