Today I tried the interval program on a regular elliptical. I also tried to increase my pace during the hard parts for an extra bit of burn. It was pretty fun and a really good workout! I’m really starting to relish the physical effort of exercising almost to my limit. I’m also starting to get a pretty good idea of what my limits are and how they’re changing. I definitely feel more powerful and energetic than I did 25 days ago! Challenge 1/4 complete!
Today I rode the stationary bike, but I decided not to let the heartbeat monitor hold me back. I chose to do 2 minute intervals for 30 minutes. It was kind of exhausting, but in a good way. I also got a lot more miles than before. The final total was 8+. The only real downside is that my butt freaking hurts! I’m not sure if it is from working out harder or the way I adjusted the seat height. I finally figured out the right setting to have my leg almost completely extended at the bottom of the pedal circle. I think that made me sit a little more forward than I previously have, which changed where on my pelvis the seat rested. There’s a little more padding further back (for now!).
My son’s surgery today turned out perfectly. The procedure was shorter than expected and there were no complications at all. We even got to see some pictures from the laparoscope! However, we spent most of the day at the hospital and the rest of the day taking care of a very grumpy toddler. Even though I think that this situation warrants an exception to the 100 Day Challenge, I really don’t want to let myself think that exceptions are possible at all. So I’m saying that hauling a diaper bag, laptop bag, wife’s bag o’ stuff, and heavy winter coats around the hospital, up and down elevators and hallways, back and forth to the parking garage, counts as light exercise for today. I’m pretty sure I walked at least a mile at the hospital.
For the way my silly brain works, it is ok to have light days, but allowing an exception once invites later attempts to justify more exceptions. Therefore, I’m still on track!
I managed to get up this morning, even though all I wanted to do was sleep all day. I was running late, but still managed to get in 30 minutes on the crossramp. I pushed myself some, increasing my pace during the hard intervals (which are also “uphill”). I’m actually a little sore tonight!
Part of the reason I pushed a little harder this morning was knowing that it is going to be a challenge to get any dedicated exercise time in on Wednesday. I am likely to spend the day in the hospital with my 2-year-old son. It’s routine, nothing to worry about too much, but I’m not seeing any treadmills or stationary bikes in my immediate future. I really don’t want to break a 22-day streak, so I’ll be looking for some sort of creative solution.
Monday marked 3 full weeks of daily exercise! Although I didn’t get out to the gym in the early morning, I found time after dinner to go run on a treadmill. I did 2.6 miles in about 35 minutes (walking and running, but mostly running), which is definitely more duration and speed than I had 21 days ago. It feels good!
I’ve been getting a little lax about telling the world about how my 100 Day Challenge is going and I can already see some negative effects from that. I find myself feeling really unmotivated to work out today, at least partly because I’ve started to lose that feeling that there are people watching who will notice if I slack off. I’m going to make a fresh effort to blog about (or Facebook, Twitter, whatever) each day until the end.
As for my recent sweating: last Friday (Day 18), I rode a bike for about a half hour. I got about 5.1 miles in. I tried a reclining stationary bike instead of the more traditional kind just to see if it was any better or worse. I found it to be less of a workout than the normal stationary bike. It might have targeted some of my leg muscles a little more directly, but I didn’t feel too tired after pedaling 5 miles.
On Saturday (Day 19), I went back to the gym and got back on the regular stationary bike. I did 5.5 miles in about a half hour. I was using the built-in heart rate monitor to let the bike control the resistance for hard and easy intervals, but it kept telling me to slow down! I guess my poor heart is not very good at getting back to resting pace very quickly. I kind of feel like I can do more than the bike’s program wants me to do, though. Next time I use the bike, I think I’m going to try a different program or just manual control.
Yesterday (Day 20), I did a nontraditional form of exercise–clearing the snow from our driveway and sidewalk. Even though we have a snowblower, it is still a fair amount of work to push that thing up and down the sidewalk, turn it around, and so on. In the past, I’ve felt a bit wiped out after clearing the snow, but yesterday I still felt pretty good afterward. I think I’m starting to see some results of this crazy daily exercise plan!
I have not yet done any sort of exercise today. When my alarm went off at 5, I just could not face the thought of getting out of bed. I had only been asleep for 3 or 4 hours at that point, as I had had some homework due late Sunday night. Now I’m stuck at home with the kids and no vehicle to transport them. Hopefully I can find some time to hit the gym after my wife gets home from work or maybe after dinner. I certainly can’t just take a walk around the neighborhood, as the North Pole seems to have taken up permanent residence over Michigan. I want to exercise, but I don’t want my exposed skin to fall off!
I got a little busy over the last few days and I haven’t had a working computer, so blogging got pushed to the bottom of the priority queue. But fear not, I have kept up with my challenge! On Tuesday (Day 15), I decided to get going on the bike part of my lazy triathlon. I hopped on a stationary bike at the Y and got going. Like pretty much all of the aerobic workout machines there, the bike has a heart rate sensor and you can also set a program for your workout (from some presets or manually). I chose “Fat Burning” like I usually do for other machines because it is a good combination of equal parts hard and easy lengths (and I have a lot of fat to burn). This bike worked a little differently than the elliptical, AMT, and treadmill I was familiar with, though. It wanted a constant heartbeat signal, which was ok because the sensor was right where I would probably have put my hands anyway. Then it used my heart rate to figure out how long to warm me up and what resistance level to set during the hard and easy intervals. It was actually pretty slick! I managed 5.5 miles in about 30 minutes–not too bad for someone who hasn’t done any serious bike riding for many many years.
Of course, I paid for it the next day (Day 16). I had noticed that my quads were pretty tired at the end of the bike workout, but they were not at all sore the following morning. I figured I was in the clear there and didn’t really even think about it before starting my workout that morning. I decided to give the AMT machine another try after having read up on it a bit. I couldn’t even really make it through setting up my workout parameters due to severely protesting quadriceps! I pushed it for as long as I could (about 3 minutes) and then waved the white flag and moved on to a treadmill. I ended up taking it somewhat easy, running about 1.75 miles and then walking about 0.25, for a total of 2 miles.
I did not get up at 5 am today to go to the gym. I’ve been shorting myself on sleep more and more over the last week or so and it all hit me last night. I didn’t get to bed until after midnight and the thought of the 5 am alarm was just too cruel to contemplate. However, I headed out right after my wife got back from work. Today (Day 17), I kind of thought about trying the AMT again, but the memory of yesterday morning was still a little too fresh. I tried a new machine called a crossramp. I thought it was just another kind of elliptical when I chose it, but it isn’t exactly. The leg motion is more or less the same, but there are no arm parts. Also, in addition to adjusting the resistance, you can adjust the incline. That makes a little outline of a runner on the control panel get lights in different parts of his legs and butt, depending on which muscles the current incline works the most. The Fat Burner preset on this machine kept a steady resistance at whatever level you set it at, but went from a gentle incline for the easy intervals (all lights on) to a pretty steep incline for the hard parts (only the quads and glutes lights on). This gave the workout a different feel that I really liked. This might be my new go-to “running” machine. I did 2.3 miles on it over 33 minutes and felt really good at the end.
The other thing I started today was figuring out about the swimming component of the lazy triathlon. I’ve never swum for fitness reasons before, so I didn’t even have an idea about what to do in a lap lane or what gear I might need. After reviewing several fitness sites on the ole Information Superhighway, I now feel like I will be able to mostly avoid embarrassing breaches of swimmer etiquette when I start doing some laps. However, I also learned that my comfy swim trunks are probably not the best thing to wear for laps and I will almost certainly need goggles to avoid crazily swerving all over the pool and crashing into the wall. Hopefully I can pick up some sort of snugger suit and some goggles for not too much money over the weekend. Then next week I can try something totally new!