Take it outside

Hi – how are you? Did you have a good Christmas, a happy new year? I hope so. I’ve not been around to ask you these questions because of my determination to take a proper break from work. I haven’t written for well over two weeks and though putting the tools down felt odd at first, I soon relaxed into things. Until my Dad bought me a DeWalt drill for Christmas and that led me to toolish adventures of different kinds. More of that another day. Perhaps.

I went for a run with Carole on Friday morning. She runs often and I’ve not done so since leaving school. When I was at school I was one of the saddos who volunteered to do cross country running. Yep – I did it by choice, I enjoyed the grinding muddy trudgery enormously.

Why did I agree to this run on Friday? Well I’ve learned not to say no to Carole 😉 and I thought doing something out of the ordinary would help me get my getting ready for work head on. And those of you who’ve been around here a while will know I’ve done some fairly serious cycling before now. Riding up huge French mountains, 100 mile time trials, that kind of thing. After a couple of nasty moments on my bike a couple of years ago I’ve fallen out of love with cycling somewhat. I’d like to get back, so this short run is the beginning of a return to some fitness. I’ll set me a few small goals and let’s see how I get on – more of that down the road.

What struck me most about this short run was the simple beauty of being outside. OK my shortness of breath bothered me too sometimes, but simply being outdoors is fabulous. The picture above is taken at my outdoor gym. I confess I joined a regular gym once. I hated it. Smelly, impersonal, stuffed with toned and buffed showoffs – I’m never going back.

Did you make any new year resolutions? I hope not – new year resolutions suck. And if you are thinking that a healthy body makes a great double act with a healthy mind then I wish you well. And please – take it outside. Gyms suck your enjoyment and your soul and dump them somewhere unspeakably damp, smelly and horrible.

How did I get on yesterday? Well I made it all the way (3.6 kilometres) without stopping, Carole tells me I did pretty good and that will do for me. Thanks for the encouragement Carole. Hello fitness, I can see you way off there in the distance and I’m coming to get you.

Update: Hat tip to Mervyn Dinnen for pointing out this article in the Telegraph about gym rage.

Update: Hat tip to Jorgen Sundberg from Link Humans for pointing out this article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a backhanded list of reasons to help get the best out of the gym, I like these two observations:

“Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.”

16 thoughts on “Take it outside

  1. Tony Nicholls

    Similar story for me. Stopped working for two weeks but now back in the saddle. Also stopped doing my favourite sport, hill climbing, some time ago and am determined to get fit and ‘do’ a big one in my 50th year. As you say, hello fitness, here I come!. And yes, most of it will be done outdoors.

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Hello Tony – happy new year and thanks for your visit and comment. Here’s to a motivating 2012 and I hope your big one is huge 🙂 Happy training.

      Reply
  2. Lee Robinson

    I’m with you there too. I couldn’t afford to join a gym when I gave up work and moved back to York so tried to walk places more. Then when I started uni and wasn’t eligible for a parking permit but lived a 50 min walk away, I started cycling. And I’ve been loving it. 6 miles or so a day and it’s making a huge difference to my fitness and weight. Who needs a gym in the run up to a wedding?!

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Hi Lee, happy new year and wow isn’t this one going to be super huge for you eh! When we worked at BT I used to love cycling the 15 miles into Central London. A great excuse to stay fit and get to work. Low cost and good for you. Congratulations in advance 🙂

      Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Morning Jorgen – thanks to you for the article link. It’s funny in itself and funny because most of the reasons to use a gym they suggest are more about getting out there and keeping/getting fit outdoors. He he – cheers!

      Reply
  3. Lucy Thorpe

    I hope your stick with the running – I am a real convert. I always work better after a run and last year did the Maidenhead half marathon – it really enhances your mood which is great for us home workers who can go a little mad sitting at the computer all day (sometime shouting at it!)

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      well done to you – that’s fab! I hope to retain the motivation – feedback like this is a big help of course so thank you. I managed 5.5k in 31.27 on Sunday morning. I didn’t think that was too bad.

      Reply
  4. Natalia Thomson

    Glad to hear you had a good break from working over Christmas! I also had a two week twitoliday and it was bliss!

    Reply
  5. julia briggs

    Doug……you and me both. Have just started couch to 5k (which I keep on writing with a £ sign…..hmm) which you download onto your iPhone.

    Handy hint. Have felt a lot happier since donning my bright pink visibility vest – nothing to do with visibility, but just think it makes me look like a serious runner. The matching bracelet thingy is a must. Got them less than 1/2 price. Look ridiculous but just putting them on makes me feel fitter………worth a go?

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      He he – pink, nice idea 😉 Mind you I quite like looking unserious – expectations are lowered!

      Reply
  6. Chris Plush

    Aha!! So we have finally converted you eh? Well done Carole!

    As you know, I am a bit of a runner (or hobbler might be more appropriate these days) and so the joys of outside is not new to me. But 3 things are new to me recently in my little world of running ….
    1. DON’T put music on. Yes it’s dangerous if a tractor is coming up behind you and yes your ear drums bleed blah blah blah but actually – the world actually “sounds” really nice and you’ll miss all that sensory bonus if you block it out with “Eye of the Tiger”.
    2. Don’t do the same run. Having just moved to Devon from Oxfordshire, I am like a kid in a muddy puddle. It’s so much fun running when you have no idea what is around the corner (yup, that tractor again).
    3. Have a target. If I have the choice of running on a dark, wet evening or eating pies, I’ll eat pies. If I know I have the Exmoor 1/2 marathon in 3 months time I’ll run.

    Pink running vest? …… err ….. not for me ……….. tractors aim for it!!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your running career!!!

    Cheers

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Super feedback! A bit of a runner – you’re having a laugh mister marathon des sables – you are one of the toughest nuts 🙂 I know.

      I enjoy not having music on when I’m out and about. I don’t much like that isolation thing.

      I will get into running different places. Right now I’m still enjoying being able to hobble a bit quicker than last time. Variety is the spice of life eh wot!

      Mmmmm, pies. Have I got that last one right?

      Reply
  7. Doug Shaw Post author

    I posted the following as a comment on another blog today. It kinda fits too well here not to repost, and hey – it proves I ran again 🙂

    I get inspiration from many people, and many places. I had a great meeting earlier today; let me tell you about it.

    The birds whizzed from tree to tree. I saw agile and heard their conversation.
    The trees sighed in the bluster. I saw resilience and heard their conversation.
    The winds bowled across fields. I saw flow and heard their conversation.
    The horses pounded the paddock. I saw power and heard their conversation.
    The road rose to meet my feet. I saw a way forward and heard…my laboured breathing.
    The girl in the parked car opened her door on me. I saw it coming and had no conversation, just a wee smile.

    I returned from the meeting with no notes, no actions, and no follow ups. In fact I hadn’t uttered a word throughout. And that meeting has set the tone for an inspiring productive day.

    Reply
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