OK, so I did it this morning – the bleep test that is. I realise now why my daughter told me that she wanted pictures, so here below (if they come out OK, haven’t worked out how to put pictures up here yet) are some pictures of the before, during, and after. Firstly, it was ugly. It is now about an hour later, and I think my heartbeat may just be back down to its normal level. So here is a picture of the before:
I tried to do it with my iPhone, hence the earphones, and had already surprised myself being the technophobe that I am (wait and see what happens next!!) that I managed to rip the file via iTunes in the first place:). So with my carefully measured 20m path set out between two of the dog’s toys (dog watching bemused from the house in case she runs up and nabs one of the toys and spoils it for me), and thankful that there is room in the back garden to do this, I begin.
I get to stage 1, part 6, and am thinking “this is easy”, when what is this, the Manic Street Preachers start playing on the iPhone! Totally bemused, I stop, set the beep test back up again, and start again. This time I get to Stage 1, part 7, and then holy shit (!), I am hit with Mott The Hoople “All The Young Dudes” (no comments on my musical taste please:)). I am ready to either give up, or throw the iPhone over into next door’s garden, or both. I look at it, perplexed, and decide that it must shuffle or something when you run with it (you can tell here that I have never ever run with this before – in fact I cannot remember the last time I ran for anything – I think it was when I was University about 20-odd years ago). My heart rate is already up, and I am not happy! I decide that running with an iPhone is a waste of time.
I cobble together a much better solution – I burn the bleep test to a CD-R, and decide to do this the old fashioned way. Armed with an old ghetto blaster, and an extension cable, I put a chair in the garden half way between the two dog toys, and plop the CD into the ghetto blaster, and bang the volume up to maximum. I am away! It is way too loud, and can probably be heard three streets away, but I care not, I am not stopping for anyone now, and pray that the CD player doesn’t have some sort of shuffle feature as well. I decide not to run too close to it:).
At about 800m or so, probably level 4 or 5, I start to feel my breath shortening (note chair in foreground with the CD player on it!):
I pass level 6 without difficulty – I can feel my breathing, and the frustrating part is that the ‘running’ bit is fairly easy, there is no real pace involved. I get then half way through level 7, and whilst I can make the distance easily, I feel myself breathing so heavily that I decide to call it a day. Here I was a moment later:
And yes, that is pain on my face.
When I recover, I input my details into the VO2 calculator. The score was 37.4 for those who want to know, which equates to 7.3 on the test itself, which is apparently right about average for my age. I’m not hugely proud of the result, and it tells me two things:
1. I have a significant amount of work to do to build up my stamina if I am not to get so utterly exhausted on Kilimanjaro that it totally ruins the experience for me.
2. I am at least ‘average’ which considering I really do so little regular exercise gives me a little bit of heart.
Lastly, not that I was deluding myself or anything, but I vow to get properly fit over the coming weeks and months. I will do the bleep test again (however much it is not fun) in probably eight weeks or so, and hopefully the result will be a reasonable improvement. I decide to contemplate this further, and pop round to the pub for a Sunday lunchtime pint or two. I do have time on my side, don’t I?????