It’s time for my mid-year report card and it’s a mix of the good and not-so-good. Some targets achieved; others missed. But overall, despite all the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve made some good progress over the past six months, even if it’s not as much as I’d have liked.
Here’s my summary of how June went for me.
Saturday 6th June
If you’d told me two years ago that I’d miss going to both the gym and Parkrun, I’d have laughed at you. But I do.
Exercise is now as much a part of my daily routine as bacon, eggs and coffee. Every morning – weekdays and weekends – I wake up early to go for a longish walk to set myself up for the day. Every Sunday we go for a scenic family walk, typically 6-8km. One or more of the kids regularly join me for a lunchtime or evening stroll. I’m hoping they can be persuaded to accompany me on runs again occasionally.
Getting fit was something I did for myself. But staying fit is about providing a good role model for the kids as much as it’s for my own benefit.
Wednesday 10th June
Well, well, well. When I started out on this journey 20 months ago, I could barely squeeze into 38-inch waist trousers. Today I pulled on a new 32-inch pair of shorts and thought, “That’s almost a bit loose.”
How far I’ve come!
Saturday 13th June
My calendar reminded me that today I was meant to be doing a full ‘classic’ Tough Mudder event. Oh well. Maybe next year.
Ever since the pandemic started to take hold, I’ve known it wasn’t going to happen. But seeing that notification pop up on my phone reminded me that doing Tough Mudder was always about the journey rather than the destination. Knowing I wouldn’t be tackling the course has been a big factor in my fading motivation over the past three months.
Not that I didn’t know this already, but I really do need goals to focus on. I’ve mentally resigned myself now to cruising to the end of the half-year and then starting afresh in July.
Sunday 14th June
A small milestone today. It was the first time I’ve managed 30,000 steps in a day since 9th March; two weeks before lockdown started. It also meant I clocked 150,000 steps in a week for the week for the first time since the start of March.
Ultimately they’re just numbers. They don’t mean that much. But I’m pleased nonetheless. Compared to how little I was exercising during the early part of lockdown – in the first week of April I barely managed 78,000 steps – it’s an indicator that I’m back exercising at pre-lockdown levels again, even though the gym’s still closed.
Saturday 20th June
I ventured out on my first run in nearly eight weeks today. It wasn’t long (2.5km), it wasn’t fast and it hurt afterwards. But it was neither as slow nor as painful as I’d feared.
My cardio fitness felt okay, I was just lacking a little in stamina. It’s a start.
Tuesday 30th June
And so what has turned out be a real up-and-down month comes to an end.
I’m limping across the line as far as the middle of the year is concerned. My motivation to exercise has definitely returned – I’m back up to 20,000 steps a day again. But I’m also too prone to binge-eating. Where previously I would have six good days a week and then a day off at the weekend, now it’s more like every other day is a treat day.
Consequently, my weight is slowly starting to creep back up – two pounds in the past two weeks. On the one hand I’m quite disappointed. But on the other hand, I always knew the day would come when the weight loss would plateau and I would put a little bit back on as I settled back into some form of steady-state. It looks like I’ve now reached that point, just a few pounds earlier than I’d planned.
I at least still have the strong motivation of wanting to keep my new ‘thin person’ wardrobe. But I’ve realised that I’m content with where I am now. I’m still carrying some excess timber, but I’m okay with it – and, more importantly, I’m happy. That will do nicely.
Progress this month
At the mid-point of the year, it’s a real mixed bag in terms of the three goals I set out for myself back in January.
I achieved my sub-30 minute 5km time at Easter. Although I did then set a further target, I’ve since put that on hold.
Instead I’ve been focussing on maintaining regular high-intensity cardio exercise, and I’ve settled nicely into a regular rhythm of three sessions a week. I’m a couple of sessions behind where I should be halfway through the year but I’m in the ballpark and, more importantly, enjoying it.
The one area where I have slackened off is my weight loss. In the end, I made it only halfway to my mid-year goal after adding back a couple of pounds this month. I’m disappointed in myself for not maintaining my self-discipline but pragmatically I know I’m in a good place – just not quite as good as I’d been hoping for.
So now I need to decide how I want to tackle the second half of this year. As we start to emerge from lockdown and some semblance of normality returns, I can feel my mindset resetting too. I’m not yet sure exactly what I want to achieve by the end of the year – but I will definitely be setting some goals. Watch this space.