Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fitness

So, as I've probably alluded to several times now, one of my major concerns about stopping riding and coming to Oxford has been about falling horribly, miserably out of shape. I was a little fat child growing up and have very bitter memories of not being able to run a mile and having to shop at speciality stores because I was quickly outsizing normal retail (and you think I'm joking...), and so am a little more paranoid than most, I think, about getting soft again. It's not about being fat, but it's about wanting to be able to keep on leading the active lifestyle that I've come to love so much.

So far I've been pretty bad, and besides a few desultory jogs and polo outings (and a LOT of worrying) I haven't been doing a whole lot physically. Add that in with the British penchant for cream-based anything (I actually had cream-based raita last night - new levels of disturbing officially achieved), chips (that's fries to us Yanks, and they are actually served at every meal at my college - one time the designated vegetarian dinner was actually pasta with red sauce, garlic bread, and fries - WHAT), and delicious biscuits and candies... and we've got ourselves the making of a situation.

When I saw a report on the USOC fitness test on Eventing Nation, then, it was a good jolt to get serious again about staying in shape. Kiki and Ringo are currently getting fit and ready in South Carolina - how stupid would it be for me to get back not strong enough to give them the ride they deserve?? I took the test myself today (minus the sprints because the actual test they did was never really explained and it was pouring down rain today so I elected to stay indoors). Results were:

Planks - 1:00
Pitiful!! The best at the USOC testing was 7:00! Though I honestly think that that's kind of insane. I think a good goal for me would be 2:00 by the end of the quarter, because even getting 1:00 today was... rough. I've never been very good at these (I used to have to do them for crew and squash), which probably means that I'm not as strong in my core as I want to admit, and so it would definitely something that, if I improved, would have a concrete effect on my riding.

Squats - 100
You know, I was pretty happy with this one. Sure, it doesn't even start to come close to the 360 that Jennie Brannigan and Doug Payne laid down (!!!), but I was pretty pleased to at least break into triple digits. Squats, while not great for keeping legs slim and non-pants-exploding, help me a lot with staying strongly balanced over my feet even as the angles of my body change (always something I need to work on, as my natural balance isn't anything to write home about), and so have been a fall-back rainy day exercise for a while now. I think a good goal for the end of the quarter would be 150.

Sprints - ??
I didn't do the sprints because I have no idea what the format was that they used at the USOC tests. I was never a sprinter in high school, anyway, and so would probably supplant this part of the test with just trying to get out and run more - I used to run track and cross country in high school, but got super burnt out and went on literally 3 runs total in the period between November 2006 and January 2011; in light of that, any participation is a win! I can currently do one lap and some change of the 1.5-mile loop by the Stanford house, and would like to be able to do two laps comfortably by the end of the quarter.

Just like the USOC riders who will get retested before Rolex, I'm going to work over the next few weeks and retest myself at the end of the quarter. Here's to a stronger, fitter me by then!

7 comments:

PonyNut said...

Good luck! I am working on the same thing too. Cheers to being fitter when it comes time to ride again :-)

Suzie said...

The sprint format was 20m down, 20m back...

I was actually planning on doing this,too! Maybe after the week of hell has completed...

Leah said...

At the end of 2010 our barn held a friendly fitness competition. There was money on the table for motivation :)

We tested,
Timed 1 km run
The number completed in 60 sec:
pushups, situps, burpies
Timed up to 3 minutes:
V-Sit, squat, plank front, plank side

It was very motivating to keep improving and I could definitely tell how it was helping my riding. Of course if I could only get back into the groove now that the competition is over...

Leah said...

The competition was who improved the most so you weren't competing against those fitter than yourself.

Maybe you could start a friendly competition with your flat-mates...

Andrea said...

When I went to NZ I had the same concerns because I wasn't riding there. I started working out a bit.. then every day... then twice a day... three times.... four! I hiked mucho kilometers every weekend over rough terrain and I worked out like a maniac every other day. I was ridiculously in shape, it was scary. And seriously addicted to working out. I bet that will happen to you too!

Deered said...

Have you discovered Deep Fried Mars Bars yet?
Yes, apparently the scots invented them - they bater up a mars bar and deep fry it... heart attack on a plate, I've a small piece of one - it's incredibly rich!

Katherine Erickson said...

Thanks guys! And Deered, you're killing me because that sounds rich but AMAZING!! I hope I never cross paths with one of those, for my own safety... =)

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