Friday, May 3, 2013

30 before 30: #13 - do some sort of physical activity every day for a week

Most of my 30 before 30 challenges are fun, achievable goals. Some are less achievable and some are less fun. My latest accomplishment probably falls into the latter category. It started off as fun, but ended with the need for a massage and a pretty shattered body.

My goal to exercise every day for a week started strongly with the inaugural Melbourne Glow Run (which I posted about here). This activity was followed by a day spent doing quite intensive work in our garden in preparation for Winter (I'm claiming it as exercise irrespective of what anyone says!).

Days three and four comprised a 3.5km run and a 1.5km run followed by an intense strength session respectively.

Day five was when the pain *really* kicked in. I was required to do some fitness testing for a bootcamp-like program in which I participate twice a week (it's kinda like a bootcamp with very malleable, nice instructors). The testing comprised the dreaded beep test, some timed suicides, flexibility testing, max push-ups, planks etc. You know, the usual array of torture...

Although I knew that I had really improved in my fitness over the last couple of months, my body was so utterly wrecked from its five-day slamming that it just shut down and my results did not reflect any improvement. My calves cramped well before I could attain a strong (for me) beep test result and my upper body couldn't handle any of the tests - I think I held my plank for less than a minute(!) - I just gave up. I was pretty devastated and frustrated by the whole experience. On the plus side, my flexibility continues to be well above most of my teammates (yay for years of dancing when I was much younger and much more slender!).

The last two days of exercise were less intense. A couple of shorter walks and a remedial massage to end the week, complete with dry needling (which made a serious difference, might I add).

So, what did I learn? Well this:

...and also that this sort of goal is probably not conducive to my wellbeing...unless my plan is to limit my ability to walk post 30! I think recovery and rest is so important for my health and is rendered even more so by the fact that only 19 months ago my left ACL was reconstructed. I think that at most, a couple of days "on", with at least one rest day is ideal for my lifestyle/body. Whether I can stick to such an activity schedule as the weather gets cooler is another matter altogether though....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

30 before 30: #24 - make a meal for my parents

Can you believe that I managed to strike two more 30 before 30 goals off my list last week and not manage to take a single photo of my accomplishments?! Terrible, I know.

Because of the lack of pictures, you're just going to have to believe me when I tell you that I cooked a pretty delish meal for the "parentals" - my first crack at *filled* pasta from scratch. Basically, I used my colourful pasta dough approach for the pasta, but instead of spinach, used heaps of basil picked straight from our garden. For the stuffing, I used fresh ricotta, button mushrooms and spinach and seasoned to taste. Our nifty little ravioli press (which looks pretty similar to the device below), rendered the creation of these delicious morsels extremely easy.

The filled pasta was topped with a simple sauce of olive oil, garlic, a handful of sun dried tomatoes, a punnet of kumatos, fresh chili and some more basil from the back yard. All in all, I was impressed not only at my ability to make a dish I've always assigned to the too-hard-basket, but also at how simple making ravioli really is. I wouldn't recommend making stuffed pasta varieties for a first-time pasta maker, but after a couple of attempts, it's not a very big leap to move to the filled variety. 

The parentals seemed to be impressed. The fatherland was more reserved with his opinion (my guess is because of the absence of meat). The mothership, on the other hand, was effusive with her praise, insisting that I make the meal for her again. My beloved now wants stuffed pasta every night. Carb loading much?