Friday, May 4, 2012

Fortnightly Fitness Fridays - Musings on the Olympics

It is 12 weeks today until the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get excited.

You see, something odd happens to me every four years. Most of the time, and my recent semi-conversion to Australian Rules Football aside, I have very little interest in sporting events. I am interested in the big marathons when they're on, but they aren't even broadcast on free-to-air Australian TV. I adore watching gymnastics, but again we don't see much of that between the Olympic games. Most of the time, sport tends to pass me by.

When the Olympics starts up, that all changes. In addition to gymnastics, I enjoy the diving and am inspired by the running events. The nice thing, though, is that my enthusiasm actually goes beyond those specific sports. I like the whole event, the whole atmosphere associated with the Olympics. I just love it.

London Olympics

A previous London Olympics - source

With this, I also start to become somewhat grandiose about my own athletic abilities. Don't get me wrong - I don't start thinking I'm going to make it to the subsequent (or any) Olympics. That would move me beyond grandiose to frankly delusional. However, I start thinking that I could do bigger things in an athletic sense. I become enthusiastic about the athletic world and quite captivated by the abilities of the human body.

I run a bit harder. I lift slightly heavier weights. I find myself doing cartwheels. Last Olympics, in fact, I turned a great many cartwheels because my PhD office came off a long hallway that was perfect for cartwheeling after hours. It added great fun to the hours I spent working on weekends, and no one else was ever the wiser.

runner2 by shokunin - Part of set of Silhouettes based on sports, in a nice vibrant colours of Ubuntu palette in Inkscape.This enthusiasm doesn't tend to last much longer than the Olympics, but for one month every four years, I am completely into the spirit of sport and all that goes with it.

This year, I have started thinking about it early. If I have this boost in motivation, perhaps I should aim to put it to good use. You know, do something more than cartwheel down work corridors.

This year, here is what I would like to do:

  • Run the 14km Run for a Reason race on Sunday May 27th this year. I have already signed up for this (eek!). I'm running under a work-arranged team, which means all money raised goes to medical research. 
  • Cycle at least once per week, outside. This really isn't that hard. When I do it I love it, but when I get out of the routine weeks end up passing before I get on the bike.
  • On a related note, buy a basket or other carrier for my bike. I alternate between driving, walking and cycling to the weekend fruit and vegetable markets I visit, and cycling would be far be the best option if only I could sensibly carry what I buy. This is about as far removed from the Olympics as you can get, but it's exercise-related and thus I list it here!
  • Do dedicated stretching or a stretch-based class once per week. I stretch after every workout but if I'm not going to make it to a pilates or yoga session (and in all likelihood, I'm not), I would like to at least do something more focused myself on a regular basis.


And there we have it - not the Olympics, that is for sure, but things I would like to do nonetheless. I haven't listed cartwheels but I'm quite keen for some of those to make it in too :-)

How do you feel about the Olympics? Do you have any sporting goals of your own for the next few months?



20 comments:

  1. I actually completely forgot all about the olympics! oops!

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    1. You're clearly more laid back about it than me :)

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  2. I will be in London just a few weeks before the Olympics, I'm really excited to see what it is doing to the city. I do find myself becoming somewhat of a sport tragic during the Olympics, I just admire the dedication that people put in to get to that elite level.

    My only sporting goals is to keep walking in the morning as it gets colder and colder. I failed that this morning, bed was so much nicer than -2 outside.

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    1. I'd forgotten that, with the timing of your trip! How exciting - I imagine London will be buzzing.

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  3. Lul at the thought of you cartwheeling around academic corridors!

    I really love the rack and panniers I have on my bike. For work commutes I only fill one bag, but when we ride to the asian grocery or I cycle to markets, it's good to have both to distribute the weight, and also if we buy big/lots of things, there is plenty of room. My pannier is a "deuter rack pack uni" if you decide to go that route.

    Also, (I must be in an advice-y mood today!) I have found that podcasts are useful when I've not got the motivation to regularly attend yoga/pilates classes. There are lots of free ones, and it's a bit more structured than just doing it on my own, so I find I do more and try harder.

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    1. Thank you so much for those bike suggestions - really, really helpful. I'll look up your one! I like the idea of podcasts for pilates / yoga, too; I'd never thought of that. Thanks!

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  4. Your enthusiasm is infectious. I don't follow sorting events at all, but there ate definitely some fun things at the Olympics.

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    1. There are :) Some odd events, too!

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  5. I absolutely love the Olympics and I believe the athletes deserve our support. I also begin to think that perhaps it's not too late for me to be a marathon runner or maybe I could join the Masters and be a swimming champion but like you say, after the Olympics the enthusiasm wanes and I ease back into doing very little, but, for a few weeks every four years, I'm MOTIVATED! XX

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    1. Yes! You sound just like me :) For those few weeks, anything is possible!

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  6. I think that the Olympics are so exciting. I can't wait to watch them! I think they also motivate me even though I know that I am far from being an Olympic caliber athlete. :-)

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    1. Me too :) It's amazing how good some of the Olympic caliber athletes are!

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  7. I love to watch the Olympics! Summer and Winter :) I think the actual competitions are fantastic, but I also love the back stories of the athelets.

    This summer I hope to get back into running more often. :)

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    1. I'm with you - the history for some of the athletes is pretty fascinating. And inspiring in itself.

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  8. YES i'm stoked for the olympics!! and i think they should inspire us all to reach for our own goals, even if we know we'll never end up at the actual Oly's the message is to stretch ourselves. i'm always motivated by these fantastic athletes and u have an AWESOME plan ahead...great goals and u'll get there girl. :)

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    1. Thanks Cait - and yes, the level of motivation from Olympic level training is pretty huge!

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  9. I find that every four years when the olympics comes around it finds me in a different mood - sometimes I watch religiously, sometimes I barely notice them at all and sometimes I quite enjoy all the politics around it - mostly love the swimming and gym.

    It would be nice to think of all those office lights on around the city because workers are taking advantage of the opportunity to cartwheel down the hallways :-)

    RE your goals - good luck with the marathon and with cycling more - I am trying to cycle at work at least once a week so am saying some prayers to the weather gods to hold off while I ride. I find that if I don't cycle often enough my wheels go slack and then I feel even less fit - do you find that too or are you more organised in keeping them pumped up? I also used to have panniers which were great for market trips but I foolishly loaned them out to someone who had no respect for people's things and they just disappeared. But I do recommend them and have been told a basket at the front can make the bike unbalanced.

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    1. Wouldn't that be lovely, a city full of cartwheeling workers? Much more fun than being stuck at desks!

      I actually make Mr B pump up my tyres :P It's one of those things I'm terrible at doing - so before him, I was like you and they ran down and then it was far less enjoyable when I did ride. Good to hear you have found panniers good too, it sounds like they may be the better option than a basket. Thanks!

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