Working out -- 06/16/11

Over the past couple of years I've sort of slowly been gaining weight and slowly getting out of shape. Yes, those are probably related trends. My Achilles tendon problems at the end of 2009 and early in 2010 didn't help... and then my two bouts of surgery last summer (Achilles tendon repair & reattachment and then hernia repair) and the recuperation periods didn't exactly help either. I did manage to get through two 5k races in the fall, but they were mostly jogging with a bit of walking.

And then I slacked off....

During the winter and early spring I would work out for a few days (mostly weights and exercise bike) and then stop. Somehow I stumbled (walking a couple of uphill sections) through a three mile race in early March. Mostly, when Jill and I would go for a "run" around the neighborhood, we would get through the first mile and then at some point in the second mile I would need to walk for a quarter mile or so... and would stop after two miles.

Running used to be fun... but now it was work... and I found myself avoiding it... which, of course, meant that I wasn't improving my fitness and stamina and therefore it remained work instead of fun.

But finally I've been pushing myself to work out daily. (Of course sometimes this means counting two or three hours of yard and garden work as being my workout for the day -- even though there might not have been much of an aerobic workout there, there were certainly a lot of calories burned and muscles exercised.) And -- gee, guess what -- it has begun to pay off. Wednesday evening, just before dark, I went out for a run and did three miles without any walking breaks. It was still work, but I was so totally psyched that I felt great when I finished and now I believe that in a couple more weeks I will begin to enjoy my runs once again.

I also joined our local YMCA this week. When I was working on the island (which is how Rhode Islanders describe commuting over to Newport) my office was only a block from the Newport Y and I had a membership there for about three years or so and would sometimes go there and use their fitness center or would go down to Second Beach for a run and use the Y for a shower. The problem was, lunchtime was when the fitness center was most crowded... and if I was running, then I was paying for a very expensive shower... so I eventually gave up my membership. But I decided that, although I do have a treadmill and an exercise bike and a workout bench and some weights in the basement, that's still not the same as a full range of Nautilus equipment to allow for the isolation of the different muscle regions.

Also, the Y has a pool.

So Tuesday evening I stopped by the Y and signed up.

And look at this motorcycle...

No, that's not a change in topic.... That bike belongs to Herb, the guy who gave me my orientation tour of the Nautilus equipment when I went back to the Y on Wednesday to use their fitness center.

He provided a very useful explanation of each machine. He uses them all himself and has a great combination both theory and practical application. He rides his bike all around, not just to commute to his part-time job at the Y. In fact, he and his wife have gone across the country on his bike, including having ridden through the Death Valley area where my brother does his annual JDRF fund-raising century ride (a hundred mile ride -- actually, I think it is 105 miles start-to-finish).

Anyway, I'd forgotten how good completing a series of Nautilus exercises can feel. (Amazing, but more than a decade has passed since I last did a Nautilus workout... I think sometime in 2000 is when I let my Y membership lapse.)

Oh, by the way, Herb just turned 85.

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