Hi there! How are you? I meant to post last Sunday for the Weekly rundown link-up as usual, but the week had been quite meh, I was busy and I struggled to get a post together so in the end I decided to skip it. But I’m back and I WILL keep posting these updates.
Last week’s rundown, short and sweet
Last week I felt unwell on and off, likely effects of that old sinusitis that I had during the first days in Italy. But I went to the gym, did a good bike ride with Zwift on Tuesday, and did some nice walks, about 5k on Tuesday and 4,5k on Saturday. There were cows and at least some autumn colours (if you squint a little bit, lol!).
On the Sunday we went to Limerick to check out the new Decathlon shop. Some shopping was done – although perhaps I don’t need yet another 3/4 zip top? But, those prices! And honestly, in November in northern Europe you can NEVER get too many long sleeved tops with fleece lining! (And again, at those prices!)
This week’s rundown
This week has been good but busy. I’ve enjoyed lifting, walking, heel raises, DOMS, music and photography.
Yet another storm hit Ireland but for once, county Cork was spared. We “only” had yellow alert and I didn’t even notice since the storm started overnight and in the morning there was only some normal windy weather. But the storm had wreaked havoc in Galway and some other counties and some 80 000 households were without power.
Here’s a summary of my activity of the week:
Monday – gym + new heel raises
Tuesday – indoor cycling, 10 km + beach walk
Wednesday – gym
Thursday – walk, 5 km + cycling, 7 km
Friday – gym
Saturday – walk, 9,6 km (!!)
Sunday – misc
Monday – gym day
Today’s warmup was with lunges and bodyweight Bulgarian squats, before moving on to real Bulgarian squats, and more.
- Bulgarian squats, barbell 25 kgs
- Sumo squats, barbell 30 kgs
- Chest press, 10 kg dumbbells
- Overhead tricep extension, 4 kg dumbbells
- Dumbbell pullovers, two dumbbells 9 kgs
- Bicep curls, 5 kg dumbbells
- Forward raise, 5 kg dumbbells
- Lateral raise, 5 kg dumbbells
This was the first time I did Bulgarian split squats with some decent weight since March. I did them a while back with dumbbells but it’s so much more difficult with the bar! It didn’t go particularly well, but I didn’t expect that either and I need to keep trying and working on them. I got some light support behind my back from my trainer to help keep balance and I did three wobbly sets. Many times I feel I’m back to where I should be with balance after my injury but NOT when it comes to doing Bulgarian squats. I’ll continue doing balance and stability exercises at home (and I’ve decided Bulgarian squats is one of them) and I’ll get there eventually.
The chest press seemed heavier than usual, but I went straight from the chest presses into the first set of tricep extensions – and it worked ok so I must have been in decent form after all. Tricep extensions have been really hard for me in the past, perhaps because of my previous problem with left shoulder. Now they worked quite well. It’s been a long time since I did them, and even longer since I did ordinary bicep curls!
Tuesday – cycling & camera walk
I started using Zwift for indoor cycling again last week and liked it a lot better this time. My Zwift ride last week was a great guided interval workout that really made me push myself. This morning I tried something called “Hilly loop” that was supposed to be 9,6 km and it sounded like a good enough challenge. It had some really challenging hills for sure! But there’s something about Zwift I hadn’t understood – you get alternatives on which way to go and I thought you could choose whatever and still be within the route, but it turned out if you don’t pick the pre-chosen direction, you get out of the loop. I stopped at 10k and was happy with that.
Later in the morning, I went with my camera club friend to a nearby beach that is absolutely lovely. We were there in February and during my injury of course I couldn’t get there so I couldn’t wait to get back! I didn’t do much in terms of walking (1k maybe?) but had a good time with the camera.
Wednesday – gym day
Today I finally felt back to normal, with good energy and oomph in the gym, actually the best session I’ve done since before we went to Italy. I warmed up with squats and inchworms before moving on to these:
- Split squats, barbell 25 kgs
- Romanian deadlifts, barbell 30 kgs
- Dumbbell row, 15 kgs
- Barbell row, 25 kgs
- Chest press, barbell 30 kgs
- Inclined flyes, 9 kg dumbbells
- Shoulder press, 6 kg dumbbells
- Upright row, barbell 17,5 kgs
I had a bummer last week when I mostly failed doing lunges with the barbell. It was so hard to keep balance and I totally lost confidence. But my trainer is doing a great job working on getting me back to (at least) everything I was able to do before the injury, so today I got to do the same setup (barbell 25 kgs) again but with split squats instead. It’s so much easier to keep the balance with split squats, perhaps because you don’t need to switch leg all the time – or because I felt much more confident today? I actually haven’t a clue. I stumbled a little bit in the middle of the second set but generally did quite well.
I felt good with the RDLs, and had a blast with the rest of the program. I repped out at the end of the third set of chest presses, and was totally exhausted for the shoulder presses, but managed 5-7 reps in each set. For the upright row I felt good and could do full sets although the very last reps were quite hard. Like they should be!
Thursday – walking & more
I started Thursday morning with coffee and heel raises. After doing soleus heel raises for a long time, they’ve now become a lot less challenging, and even the single leg standard heel raises now feel quite easy. I’ll follow my physiotherapist’s advice and do them with dumbbells, but I’ve also decided to move on to single leg soleus heel raises and I’ve started them this week. I’m determined to make these feet strong!
It was also time for a walk, no matter the weather. I went towards what I call the cow road but turned back when it started raining too much. I finished with 5 km, so it wasn’t too bad. Although I can’t say it was a good morning for walking, I felt good moving my legs, and I really need to walk a lot more than I have in recent weeks.
Thursdays are meant to be cardio days, so I decided to try another loop on the indoor bike. I chose something on Zwift called “London loop” – a virtual ride through London just as it sounds like. I enjoyed it, but after several km riding uphill and the map showed several more km uphill, I was absolutely exhausted and decided 7 km was good enough for today. I haven’t really learned how to interpret the difficulty level of all those loops yet so will need to do some Zwift studies before my next ride!
Friday – gym day
Today I warmed up with bodyweight squats and then got a new warmup exercise, the Pallof press with a resistance band. It’s a core stabiliser exercise and can be used to get ready for heavier lifts like squats and deadlifts. I soon understood why I got to do this. Here’s the exercise list of the day:
- Back squats, barbell 35 kgs
- Deadlifts, barbell 30 kgs
- Dumbbell pullover, 1 dumbbell 17,5 kgs
- Good mornings, bar 17,5 kgs
- Chest press, 10 kg dumbbells
- Renegade row, 6 kg dumbbells
- Shoulder shrugs, 8 kg dumbbells
- Lateral raise, 5 kg dumbbells
So we’re moving on from 30 to 35 kgs for my squats! I remember lifting that… ages ago. I’m so grateful to be getting back to my strong self. The deadlifts were still 30 kg but sort of felt… easy? Well, easy enough to not struggle with them. The chest presses finally went better today than they have in a while and I didn’t get close to failure until in the last set, and I felt strong doing most exercises today. Listen carefully now – even the effing lateral raise went better than usual!! The exercise I struggled most with was the Renegade row. I managed two full sets and had to stop on maybe the 7th rep on the last set. But I love doing them.
Today it was definitely time for a proper walk, for two reasons. The obvious reason was, well that I need to walk more and get my distances back on track. But also, on Friday afternoon I received a new toy. 🙂
My standard zoom lens died some year ago, and I decided to enjoy life with only prime (fixed focal length) lenses because they are so much better than zooms (at least at the prices I’m ready to pay). After I started being out and about again after my injury I’ve been missing a longer lens, and started looking into options. Then on Thursday morning I ordered this Olympus 45 mm/f.1.8 from a local-ish shop. There’s a huge advantage of buying local – other than supporting a local business – and that is that delivery is fast. I received my new lens the day after.
Look at the wonderful size of that thing attached to the camera!! The big lens to the left was previously my only option for shooting beyond 25 mm (unless it was for macro). The new lens is about the size, and weight, of two tin jars of lip balm… what’s not to love!
Sadly Friday offered bucketfuls of rain all day so I had no opportunity to go out and play with it which meant the first real test shoot would happen during my Saturday walk.
After we came home from Italy I’ve walked mostly 4-5 km in one go, but since I want to get back to longer distances, I planned to walk maybe 6-7 km and then start building from that.
I went towards the next village, and planned to turn back before getting to the actual village. But with a new lens to play with? Despite the strong wind the weather was nice and I was getting close to the pier, so why not go all the way there?
I ended up walking 9,6 km! This is by far the longest walk I’ve done since before my injury. Can’t say the last few km were pleasant, but I was ok and my feet were mostly fatigued, especially the left (obviously). After resting a little bit at home I was fine.
It was a lovely walk and I regret nothing!
Sunday will be busy… I need to get some cleaning done, really need to do some proper music practice done, and my plan is to also do some core & balance exercises. And in the evening we’re going to a gig in a pub in town. With my new lens! It should be a good day.