Measured.

Everyone makes new goals for the new year it seems. I’ve seen distance goals made, event goals, new personal bests at parkrun goals – everything.

Today I ran the New Years Day double parkrun challenge of Champion Lakes parkrun at 7:30am and Pioneer parkrun at 9:30am. I ran Champion Lakes in 30:37 – major winds down here today, so I was pretty pleased with that time, and then I backed it up with volunteering as tailwalker at Pioneer.

I’ve been active every day Tuesday through Friday, and tomorrow I’ll be at Pioneer again because it’s the regular weekly parkrunday. Tuesday I rode my bike for the first time since February 8th 2015. (Interesting fact: I rode my bike once in 2014. I’ve ridden my bike 4 times in 2015, and I rode 17 days in 2013). Tuesday was a test ride – I rode alongside Jeremy and then a group of friends as they ran. Nothing seemed to cause any issues – I’d had Jeremy adjust the front derailleur Monday night because it wasn’t shifting chainrings cleanly but on Tuesday it appeared mechanically sound.

I’d clearly lost all my cycling fitness – cardiovascularly I was fine, but that cyclist muscularity that I used to have has left me and I was stuck pedalling at about 20km/h on the flats. I could go a bit faster when I reached an incline because going up hills gets me up out of the saddle and I could manoeuvre easily and all that sense memory came flooding back, but the ability to pedal around 27-30km/h on the flats will require some work to return.

At 6am Wednesday morning Jeremy and I met Chris Hoy Poy and Ben Harris at Bickley Brook Reservoir to run part of one of Ben’s training routes. We ran 11km (that included about 100 metres of rounding up next to the cars at the end) and 294m of elevation gain – a bit less than one third of Six Inch’s elevation in under a quarter of the distance. These trails, plus relentless training is why Ben Harris is a bloody good runner.

I’ve saved the course to my Garmin so that I can go out there and do it again. As the trails are less than 10km from our house, it gives me the option of going and doing proper trails instead of running along the banks of the Canning River – which, don’t get me wrong, is lovely, but it’s hardly hill repeats, is it? In the loop Ben gave me, it’s got a vicious switchback section that will help me improve my descending on rough difficult trail; the steepness seems to try and throw you off the hillside as you descend, and near the start we went up an absolute bugger of a steady steep incline that would be ripe for hill repeats – getting used to powerhiking up, and then thundering back down.

Anyway, yesterday Jeremy rode to the WA Marathon Club to be their lead cyclist for the New Years Eve run. I caught the train to Burswood station and then rode my bike from there to the clubrooms just before the start of the run. It was a lovely evening, and at 9pm we set off back home on our bikes. There was a severe weather warning issued around 2pm for the Perth Hills region for 90+km/h winds from 1am through to 9am, but looking at the 24 hour history those started earlier in Perth but didn’t hit anything like what was forecast for a bit east. (Indeed, it gusted the worst at 8am this morning just as I was finishing Champion Lakes parkrun; 44km/h). Either way, Jeremy and I rode home into a headwind the entire way home.

But during the ride nothing hurt! My shoulders, my back, my neck and my right leg didn’t hurt or ache or make me wish I was on the train instead. I didn’t want to cry from the constant burning ache of it all, and my toes didn’t go numb due to compressed nerves. It was awesome, even with a stonking headwind. And best of all – I got to wear my Oakleys. I’d wanted curved Oakley sports sunglasses since I started cycling back in 2006 but was never able to get them because my prescription wouldn’t allow it. So last night I wore my Oakleys with the yellow lenses in them all the way home. Because the curvature of the lenses blocked the wind I had no wind induced tears – so damn cool.

This morning saw us drive to Champion Lakes to run their parkrun. Jeremy and I set out together but soon got chatting to a parkrun tourist from Albert Melbourne parkrun, Brendan Peel. He’s the first parkrunner to have run a parkrun in every Australian state or territory, and in doing so created the Peel Club. (Other parkrun clubs are the Cowell Club, after Chris Cowell, who was the first to run 100 different parkruns, and the Freyne Club, after Paul Freyne, who was the first to run 250 different parkruns). The chance to hit three different parkruns in two days was too appealing and Brendan jumped on a plane to Perth for New Years.

After Champion Lakes I drove Brendan and another parkrunner, Mandy, to Pioneer and then headed off to put the cones out on the course because whilst Jeremy was Run Directing at Pioneer he was also running the 6-7km from Champion Lakes to Pioneer with a bunch of other parkrunners. As I set off my body protested and when I started up the hill I came across a mass of tree bark and leaf litter brought down in the strong winds. I stopped to clear some of it off the course and when I went to set off again my body wouldn’t let me run any more. So I put the cones out and semi-cleared a few more parts of the course at walking pace.

For the run itself I’d volunteered as tailwalker and I was really glad I had, I just slowly went round, and as I walked I thought about whether I wanted to set a goal this year. I decided I didn’t want a distance goal, because I’d sort of had one in 2015 and in August I realised that if I wanted to make it I was probably going to make my injuries worse, and doing that for an arbitrary distance number seemed like a spectacularly dumb idea.

I didn’t want an event goal either; as I’d also had that in 2015 – I wanted to run Six Inch in a better time than I had in 2014, but that wasn’t going to happen either.

I thought about what I’d enjoyed on my current break from work – I’d enjoyed being active, and I particularly enjoyed that I’d managed a bit of a streak – Tuesday through Friday, being active every day. My brain immediately put the kibosh on a running streak, or a “being active” streak, because at that precise point I was slowly moving proof that I need recovery days.

That was when I decided my 2016 goal:

In 2016 I want to be active more often than I am inactive. As there are 366 days in 2016, I want to be active for at least 184 of those days; for 50.27% of the days in the year, I want to have moved.

There has to be rules to this though:

Activity can be measured as walking, running, cycling, swimming. If I magically develop some amazing sense of balance and start rollerskating, then that would count too. It has to be active movement.

Pilates sessions or something similar counts – if I manage to find a yoga class that doesn’t make me want to roll my eyes in irritation, then I’d count it. If I did what I’ve done over the break and do a bunch of the pilates exercises in my loungeroom then that would count.

Just getting 10,000 steps on my Fitbit doesn’t precisely qualify – meandering around the shopping centre wouldn’t count, but if I was to walk around the park down the road from my house (perimeter path is 1.8km long) then that would count.

I always feel better if I’ve done something, but this will mean that I don’t feel obliged to break myself in order to succeed. I’ll endeavour to do this month by month; so at the end of each month I’ll tally up what I’ve done and see whether I’m on track.

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