Marc’s 30 Day Squat, Abs and Push Up Challenge


In Which I Try, and Fail, So Try Again Harder

Last week I was looking on blogs and fitness sites and stuff, looking for advice on how to improve my running. Nearly all the sites advised the same thing, IMPROVE YOUR CORE.

I did a bit of research, got distracted by kitten videos, then did a bit more research. There were a lot of exercises that I recognised, Squats, Push Ups and the like, but loads that I didn’t. (Supermans, (Supermen?), Oblique Twists, Bridges.) Then, when I was looking into the exercises, I noticed a picture came up for a 30 Day Squat Challenge.

You start off on Day 1 doing about 50 Squats and by the end of the 30 Days you get to about 250. I also found an Ab Challenge, again 30 days, with a couple of easy to do exercises on it. (Again doing more and more each day.)

I did the first 3 days no problem, then day 4 was a rest day. At the end of day 5 I remembered that I’d forgotten to do the exercises that day, so decided to carry on as normal and skip the next rest day so that I’d catch up. At the end of day 6 I remembered that I’d forgotten to do the exercises on that day too. Bugger.

The problem, I realised, is that I’m easily distracted. (Along with being addicted to Biggest Loser, I’m now a fan of Extreme Couponing and Bitchin’ Kitchin. Normally one of these on at all times so easy to get way-laid.)

Which brings me to this:

Marcs 30 Day Squat, Abs and Push Up Challenge

30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge

Click this link to download the 30 Day Challenge for Word

A no gym, no equipment, 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Abs Challenge, 30 Day Push Up Challenge, 30 Day Fitness Challenge, all in one!

I gathered together all the info for the Squat Challenge and the Abs Challenge, (found some info for a Push Up Challenge too, because they help with your core), and made a chart.

Do I know what I’m doing? Not really. Do I have any medical knowledge? None. Should you follow this Challenge? Up to you. Can you sue me if you get injured? Nope! Like I said, I have no medical knowledge and if you take this challenge on, it’s on your own head. (And shoulders. And Abs. And Core.)

Weigh yourself before you start the 30 days, then again after you’ve done Days 10, 20 and 30. Make a note each time on the chart. Measure yourself too before you start and after Days 10, 20 and 30. Measurements can be a better inclination of weight loss and fitness than weight alone. On the Challenge I’ve written to measure Hips, Waist, Chest and Torso but feel free to add more.

Take a photo before you start, front and side, and then take the same photos in the same clothes after day 30. If you want to, you can send me the photos and I’ll put them up on here so you can show off.

Remember to eat healthy (you can out exercise a bad diet) and keep hydrated. If you feel like it’s too much, half the numbers shown for each day. If the number ends in a half, don’t do half an exercise, round it up. So if it says 15 Push Ups but you’re doing half the numbers, do 8 Push Ups.

You can copy and save the picture above, or click the link underneath the picture to download the Word document.

Print it out, stick it on a cupboard or the fridge, and cross each day off with a big red pen so your progress is there to see.

Don’t wait for the 1st of the Month, or a Monday, get going!

Good luck!

British 10k Recap – 14th July 2013 (And a recap of our London trip)


In Which I Get VERY Hot and VERY Sweaty

(This bit is about our trip down and what we did the day before the race. If you just want race stuff, scroll down. I don’t mind. *sigh*)

Saturday 13th July

The night before we’d dropped Indy off at Susan and Ironman Tonys house to cat sit for the weekend. Hannah has just got a kitten called Nahla, who decided to chase Indy around their house, growl at him and pretty much bully him a bit. Wouldn’t be so bad, but she’s 10 weeks old and he’s massive compared to her! They got on better by the end of the weekend though, so don’t be worrying or phoning the RSPCA or anything.

Our train left at 6:50am and at about 7:50am I went to the buffet car and got a drink and a bacon sandwich each for me and Sarah. (Because I’m a good husband.) It only took a little over three hours to get to London and it was bloody hot when we got there. Straight out of Kings Cross Station, down to the tube, bought tickets, onto the tube where is was STUPIDLY hot, off the tube, up the escalator, over the road, into the hotel, check in please! (Think I might begin a career as a travel writer.)

“Sorry Sir, you can’t check in for another three hours.”

Bugger.

We left our bags in a luggage room in the hotel and then made our way to Starbucks to come up with a plan. As the tube was so so sweaty, we went for a walk along the Thames to see what we could see. Over the river we could see the London Eye, but at £20 each decided not to have a go. We walked along to St. Pauls Cathedral and went for a nosy. There was a street sign (St. Pauls Walk, I think…) with a bloke posing on it, shouting to his wife.

“Use the viewfinder. Look through the viewfinder. USE THE VIEWFINDER!!”

Bet he doesn’t buy his wife a drink and a bacon sandwich.

We crossed the Millennium bridge to the south side of the river, and made our way under London Bridge (wasn’t falling down), passed the Belfast Battleship thing, passed a girl doing a sort of Kate Bush dance recital (looked like a mental) and up to Tower Bridge, which we walked across back to the north side of the river and had a shufty at the Tower of London.

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We were both very hot and a little bothered by the amount of people so decided to tube it back to the hotel instead of walking. Arrived back at the hotel just before checking in time, got our room key then went to our room where Sarah managed to pull the curtain off it’s rail.

After chilling out (literally, had the air-con as cold as it’d go) we set off again in the direction of Piccadilly Circus via the tube. (I love the tube, it’s brilliant. It’s like a puzzle and transport all in one, plus you get to go underground and get on fast trains and who doesn’t like that?!)

We wandered around for a bit taking in the sights then went to Pizza Express for some food. After some lovely pizza and ice cream we walked up to the Queens theater where we had tickets to see Les Miserables.  I had a beer, Sarah had a Pimms. At the interval, we both had another ice cream. Both really enjoyed the show, the actors must’ve been boiling because we were hot just sitting there watching. Afterwards Sarah bought the Les Mis CD and we made our way back to the hotel, and an earlyish night.

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Sunday 14th July

Got up and got my kit ready. I was a lot less nervous about this run than I normally am, which I put down to not thinking I’d be running a PB. What with 25’000 other runners and 30 degree heat, I wasn’t going to push it. I ate a flapjack whilst we walked to the tube. (Yay, tube!)

The race was starting quite near to where we went last night, so found our way there easily. We then followed the crowd to where the entrance to the run was advertised. After going through the baggage drop (didn’t have a bag, except Sar… I didn’t have a bag.) we made our way along The Mall which ended in Buckingham palace. (The road ended before the Palace. You don’t go through it. Probably get told off if you tried.)

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The crowd surged to the right, and so did we. (So does Prince Phillip) Made our way alongside the park and to the start of the race which was packed. We arranged a meet up point for afterwards, then Sarah went and sat in the park (for a nice relaxing hour or so) while I lined up. (For a nice hour or so of running and sweating.) Think I can see now who had the better idea.

Race time was scheduled to began at 9:35am but with the amount of people I didn’t expect to start til after 10. (10am, not 10 people.)

Up on a balcony was a bloke with a microphone that kept talking about stuff but I wasn’t really paying attention, I was more bothered about trying to find a place to stand in the line up that was out of the direct sunlight. He then introduced Katrina (from Katrina and the Waves, most famous for ‘Walking On Sunshine’ and ‘Love Shine A Light’ and… that’s it I think.) The music started, and Katrina started singing a song that I had never heard before, and judging by peoples reactions, NO ONE had ever heard before. I was texting Sarah while I was waiting and she text me saying she’s Googled the song from the title (Sun Street. Anyone?) and it was a Top 30 hit 30 years ago. I think it also explains why Katrina was met with utter utter silence, when halfway through the song she shouted ‘SING IT!’

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“Katrina, do you fancy doing a bit of a sing song to get the crowd going?”

“Yeah! I’ve got JUST the song!”

“I think I know the one you’re gonna say, with it being as warm as it is, and seeing everyone WALKING ON the street in the SUNSHINE…!”

“That’s the one! Say it with me!”

“Walki…”

“SUNSTREET!!!

Whispers to colleague “See if Banarama are available, will you?”

 

Katrina (and she waves)

Katrina (and she waves)

Anyway, after a while of waiting the run began (Katrina sang ‘Love Shines A Light’, and then ‘Walking On Sunshine.’ I think ALL her songs have either the word ‘sun’ or ‘shine’ in them. Not checked, so don’t go telling people that.)

The race was started in waves, to ease congestion on the route, and so I didn’t get going til about 10:20. Straight down Piccadilly and passed the Ritz we went, before turning right and then left a bit. The amount of people running meant that, no matter how well it was organised, there were places where the roads weren’t wide enough for all the runners so most people (including me) had to walk in quite a few places til it thinned out.

It was hot.

Luckily there were about 3 or 4 water stations on route so didn’t have to go long before getting a drink. I tried to keep my water rationed as much as I could, then pouring what was left in the bottle over my head before the next water station, where I got a full bottle. Seemed to work quite well, as I stayed hydrated throughout the race.

Loads of people were eager to run off and over take other runners, which I fully understand, but what I don’t understand is those runners that overtake you, get in front of you, then slow to a walk RIGHT IN FRONT OF WHERE YOU ARE RUNNING. If you’re going to walk, move to the side of the road, not to in front of me. I saw about five people get tripped due to over eagerness of over taking too. Serves them right, don’t force your way through the pack, wait for an opening. You aren’t an elite. (And… breathe…)

Saw St. Pauls Cathedral and Tower Bridge (shouldn’t’ve bothered walking on to see them yesterday) and then I was on my way back to where the run began (and where Sarah was sunning herself in the park.) The crowds on the route were fantastic, there was hardly any part of it that wasn’t lined with cheering families. (Not that people without a family aren’t allowed to cheer. I’m sure they cheer just as well. Again, not researched this.)

Another water station came into view, and I was sweating enough to fill every single empty water bottle that lined the streets of London. Again, I’d made sure I’d kept a bit of water in my bottle to pour over my head before taking a bottle. I looked to the water station and it was manned (boyed?) by Scouts and Cubs, all about 9-10 years old.

AHA! Said a voice in my head. (And not just because they’d be another 80’s band better than Katrina and the Waves.)

AHA! I wonder if I can get a few boys to soak my sweaty body with water! (NEVER thought I’d think or type that. I wonder if it’ll come up in the ‘What people searched for to find my blog’ thing at some point?)

Anyway, I reached for a bottle of water with my left hand, and as I stretched I put my right arm underneath the outstretched hand and threw all the water I had left over a child that had given up his Sunday morning to help out charities and thousands of runners, with no gain for himself.

He was drenched.

Straight away, the retaliation came. He threw water at me, as did the next waterboy, and the next. It was brilliant, and cooled me down fantastically. JUST what you need in 30 degree heat. (If you were a runner at the back of the race and the water station had run out of water when you got there, blame the Scouts.)

Tate Modern passed on the other side of the river, as did the London Eye, then we went passed Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. (Where, the next day, myself and Sarah walked by. There was a loud mouth American tour guide and Sarah said we should tag along. I said he might be crap, which was then verified by someone in his group pointing at the Houses of Parliament and saying ‘Is that where the Queen lives?’ The tour guide looked up, thought for a second, then said ‘Yeah, yeah it is.’ Idiot.)

I could hear the cheers of the announcers at the end of the run. I looked to my right, and could see where it finished. Once around this round-a-bout, passed Westminster Abbey and I was done. Except, no. Once passed Westminster Abbey, down a road and back up that road, THEN round the round-a-bout and finished.

01:07:28 – My second slowest 10k yet, but as I never tried to get going because of the crowds and the heat, that was fine with me.

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I got a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade and made my way to the baggage bays where the medals were. Sarah called me and said she was near the palace, so I told her to wait where she was and I’m make my way up. I picked up my medal and then jogged up the Mall to where she was watching the changing of the guards (or something.)

We then made our way back to where the run started and walked along the same route that I had run just over an hour before. We found a Burger King and I filled up on unhealthy post race food which tasted wonderful.

Afterwards we got back to the hotel where I showered and changed and Sarah had a nap. (Must’ve been hard work, sitting in a park.)

The afternoon was spent pretty much going around the touristy bits of London that we hadn’t seen yet, plus a beer for me and a Pimms for Sarah. She’d earned it.

Amazing People


In Which I Talk About A Couple Of People You Might Not Of Heard Of But Will Probably Tell People About

My marathon running training is going quite well, and to plan at the moment too. (Which is new!) I’ve done a couple of 5 mile runs home, which is roughly 2 miles of uphillness, followed by a nice stretch of 2 miles down hill, then a mile of steady uphillness to finish.

The first 2 miles has a couple of proper hills in which are good training (I keep hearing) but the best part is obviously the downhills. I when I get to this part I feel like holding my hands up in the air and going WHHHHHEEEEEEEEEE all the way down, but as it takes about 15-20 minutes I’m not sure that I could WHHHHHHEEEEEEEE for that long.

The first time I ran the 5 miler I did it in 55:45 and the second time I did it in 54:00. I’m running the same route home tonight, but it’s due to get up to 26 degrees (78F) and have forgotten my water bottle, so might cut it short to 3.5 miles then run to work in the morning to get the miles in.

My training plan for Monday is a steady 7.5 miles and have worked out a route along the Leeds-Liverpool canal to run where it’ll be flat all the way. Not going for hills because that runs about distance, not time, but Monday supposed to be even hotter than today so will have to get up early to go run. Feel free to join in!

Anyway, back to the title of the blog and to your lesson for today. That’s right, it’s not just entertainment here, it’s education too! (Edu-tainment!)

Madonna Buder

Have you heard of her? If so, you can go play outside for a bit while I talk to the class.

Madonna Buder is an athlete. A triathlete, even. Actually, she’s an Ironman triathlete athlete. She didn’t start training until she was 48 years old and since then has completed 45 seperate Ironman events, and over 300 triathlons.

Impressive already, but it gets better:

She’s the oldest person to complete an Ironman event (The event was Ironman Canada) and she finished in 16:32:00.

She was 82 years old.

Those aren’t the best things about Madonna Buder though. The 2nd best thing about her is that they have to keep creating a new age bracket for her as she keeps entering the Ironman events.

The best thing about Buder, however, is this:

She’s been, since the age of 23, a Nun. (Nicknamed, obviously, ‘The Iron Nun.’)

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Madonna Buder ‘The Iron Nun’

Cliff Young

In Australia, they used to have an Ultra Marathon which goes between Sydney and Melbourne. It was 544miles (875k) and was said to be one of the toughest in the world. Before the race was officially run for the first time, the fastest anyone had run between the two places was around 7 days.

Ultra Marathoners and elite runners, 20-30 years old, turned up and the day of the race, as did Cliff Young.

Cliff Young

Cliff Young

Cliff was a farmer. A 61 year old farmer. With arthritis in most of his leg joints. A 61 year old farmer who turned up to race the 544miles in boots and overalls instead of running shoes and shorts.

Obviously, the reporters descended on Cliff and asked him what the hell he was thinking. He told them that he lived on a farm and had 2’000 animals, sometimes he’d have to run after these animals for a couple of days, sometimes three days, before getting them all herded together, so the way he saw it it was only a few more days of doing the same.

The gun went off, the pack went off, and Cliff did a sort of shuffle-walk-stumble run thing. He was left well behind by everyone else.

After 17 hours of running, the Elites and Ultras bedded down for the night, the plan from the get-go being that you ran as far and as hard as you could for 17 hours, slept for 7, then repeated til the end.

When they woke up in the morning to start again, they were told that Cliff Young, in his boots and overalls, was a dozen or so miles in the lead.

He hadn’t slept, and hadn’t stopped.

Turns out that when Cliff said he chased sheep for 2-3 days, he meant continually, never stopping, never sleeping. For three days at a time.

He wasn’t caught for the rest of the race, finishing in a time of 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes, a full 10 hours in front of the closest Elite and close to two days ahead of the record for the fastest run between Sydney and Melbourne.

They presented him with a check for $10’000 for winning the race, and he was shocked because he didn’t know there was any prize money. He felt bad about keeping it saying ‘Everyone else worked just as hard as me’ and so divided the money equally between all the runners.

At age 63 he ran 150 miles within 24 hours.

At 76 year-old he attempted to run AROUND THE EDGE OF AUSTRALIA but had to stop after 3’800 miles (6250k) as his only crew member (who was driving the route) passed out from illness. (That’s about the distance from one side of America to the other, and then halfway back again.)

At 79, he became the oldest man to finish a six-day Ultramarathon, and it was while he was dying of cancer.

Cliff died in 2003, at the age of 81. He never kept any of his prize money, and gave it all to charities or friends.

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On A Lighter Note

Sometimes you only hear of someone dying when the radio plays a few of their songs that you haven’t heard for a while. Yesterday, they played ‘Right Here Waiting’ by Richard Marx in the morning. ‘Haven’t heard one of his songs in a while!’ I thought.

In the afternoon, they played ANOTHER of his songs. I got on to Twitter and looked to see if he had an account.

Richard Marx: Alive!

Richard Marx: Alive!

PHEW!

Dragon Boat Racing


In Which I Get Right Wet

A few weeks ago Ironman Tony asked if I wanted to join in with some Dragon Boat racing for charity. I said yes, because, well… Dragons. Had no idea what a Dragon Boat was, so did a bit of a Google and came up with this:

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I’ll be honest, it didn’t help.

Googled some more, and found this:

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That. Looks. BRILLIANT.

On Saturday we (Me, Ironman Tony, Sarah, Susan Marion and Hannah) made our way to Leeds (Clarence Docks I think it’s called) and met up with Ironman Rob, Karen and Riley, and a few others too to take part in the annual Dragon Boat race. 

There were (Including us) 16 teams of 16 (I think) and you were guaranteed three races in the Dragon Boats, with the ones that recorded the best times going onto Semi Finals and then Finals. One team where all dressed as Where’s Wally (or Waldo, for you Americans) and another were dressed as Spartans.

After a quick talk from a girl with a clipboard about safety and how to row and stuff, we were in out life jackets, paddles in hand, ready to get on a Dragon Boat. The aim, when paddling, is to put your paddle straight down into the water, pull it back to your hip, then repeat, in time to the drum that was on the front of the boat and being drummed by a member of our team. (ONE! TWO! ONE! TWO!)

We didn’t do too bad in the first race (not too good either) but won by a second or so. I didn’t get too wet either, I think I only got splashed once and that’s because the person in front of me seemed to have trouble with keeping time. Can be quite hard sometimes, counting to two I guess.

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After the first race is where I think it started to go wrong. Beer happened. 

Lots of beer happened.

Between races we were waiting maybe an hour or so, possibly a bit longer, and as it was a semi-warm day and a Tesco Express a few minutes away, we took advantage of the Beer and Cider offers. 

By the time we were called for our second race, we were a bit tipsy. We started off strong on this one, but halfway down we all went out of sync and ended up losing the race. Also, we all got wet due to losing the rhythm. Ah well, time for more beer.

By the time the third race came around, we were more than tipsy. Slightly drunk, perhaps, and that’s not a good idea when combined with a boat. This time the other boat set off faster than us and everyone on our team was happy to give up trying halfway down the canal and so we drifted, splashing each other and recorded the slowest time of the day. Absolutely soaked.

We all had a lot of fun though, and that’s what these things are about. (Said like a true loser…) After the third race we stopped and watched all the others go on to the final and cheered them on, then had to help some of our team members finish their beers as they had an actual full sized bin full of ice and cider and beer. It was tough. :D

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I think it was the Where’s Wally’s (Waldo’s) that won, but not sure because I couldn’t find one to ask.