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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Workout: Day Thirty

So here we are, all the marbles and all that.

Today was an interesting bit of entertainment in that I went into today's session knowing that there was no way that I was going to pull it off... but I was determined to bust my ass going as far as I could.

If there's one thing I've learned over these last 30 days it's my limitations.  As temporary as they may be, there hasn't been a spot yet where I just suddenly blow past all prior expectations.  I'm a worker, I get that now.  Diligent, hard-nosed.  Once I set my mind to a goal, I get there.

But it takes time.

So today when I stepped on that treadmill at 17% incline at 4.2 miles per hour... well, I actually laughed at how quickly it set about kicking my ass.  Within 5 minutes I was drenched and those new muscles I've gained on the front of my shins (seriously, my shins bulge out now... it's weird, but cool) started burning like they were covered in napalm.  I pushed onward until the edges of my feet were almost coming off the treadmill, crossing the 10-minute mark before slowing things down and lowering it.

Unlike most of the other instances where I'd been pushing myself and then slowed it down I know that here, in this instance I pushed myself to the absolute limit.  I hung on as long as I could.  There was no 'okay, we'll just take a rest' it was 'push. Push. PUSH' past the point of hurting.

Weird as it is to say, I'm pretty proud of that moment.

My legs at that point were burning so bad that I can honestly say that I considered calling it a day right there -- you see how easy it is?  In the midst of a personal high it's still so easy for those ideas of 'well, good job, let's hit the showers' to snake their way through and bubble to the surface.

Instead I slowed it down a tad, dropped the incline to something I knew I could manage (ended up being 15% at 3.7mph) and I walked the fire out.  In fact, I ended up walking for the next 40 minutes at that speed; catching my breath, getting my strength back.

See, one other little trick I've learned recently is that when I've got a setting that's just kicking my ass, well, I don't let it get the last laugh.  For the last 10 minutes of the session, after 50 minutes of being tired and sore and worse, I pumped it right back up to 17% incline at 4.2mph.

I pushed it back and I hung on for dear life.

Half-walking, half-jogging, trying to figure out a way to dampen the tinderwood that my muscles had become.  Of course, by that point there wasn't much that I could do except put one foot in front of the other and try to keep myself standing.

Again, not the most graceful of events... in fact it was the most brutal ending that I've experienced so far.  By the end of it I was barely standing; breathing like some rasp-throated beast as I counted out the final seconds.

And yet, as the cool down started and the incline began lowering itself back to base position, I couldn't help but feel... energized.

After so many years, after so many attempts to get myself into shape I finally feel like I have a real understanding of how my mind and body work -- how they work in tandem, how easily they can throw each other under the bus, or, more importantly, how I can best use both to get to where I need to be.

And through that I also feel like I've come to understand the darker side of my nature - the part of me that wants nothing more than to go with the flow, to take the path of least resistance.  I've learned how easily these seemingly harmless notions can sneak up and how seductive they can be when I'm at my lowest -- how easy it can be to just let go.  Yet I've also learned how to spot them when they show up, how to be vigilant and I'm learning how to harness that fear toward something productive.

Reminding myself that being 'easy-going' can be a great trait, as long as it's tempered with ambition; as long as there is some sort of balance.

For a long time I've been going with the flow and then getting frustrated at myself for not being where I'd dreamed I'd be by now.  The sand in my own shoe, so to speak.  Letting my own listlessness wear me down.

You know, it's an interesting thing, being alone on that treadmill -- with no one to blame but myself when I falter.  Through the sweat and pain there are real moments of introspection, if I let them come.  And heck, I know I've needed it lately.
There are decisions I've been putting off, and some that I've been afraid to make -- some that I'm still afraid to make... but I feel like I have a better understanding of what's ahead of me now.  A better understanding of what I want and what I need to do to get there.

It's going to take work.  Endurance.  Passion.

And a bit of luck.

(But that pretty much comes with the territory)

On a lighter note, it also doesn't hurt that I managed to get myself into a shape other than round.

Here's today's stats:
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 169
Max Heart Rate = 188 <-- Still strong at the 188 mark.  That's fine with me 'cause 190+ is NOT fun.
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.2 mph
Avg Pace = 15:30 /mile
Distance = 3.87 miles
Calories = 1291

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.13 miles
Calories = 24

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 169
Max Speed Units = 192
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.2 mph
Avg Pace = 15:30 /mile
Distance = 4.00 miles
Calories = 1316

All-in-all, adding in yesterday's count and today's (1289+1316 = 2605) and subtracting it from what's left (450) I end my 30-day journey having burned a total of 32,155 calories in 27 days (30-3 rest days)!

So, what does that mean for yours truly?

Well, remember that belt loop that I went down?  That officially took me from a size 40 to a 38 (which fits rather nicely at the moment, no pinching or digging in).

Weight-wise I started this thing at 230 lbs and, as of my last weigh-in, after my workout tonight (at 7pm) I'm 221.5 lbs (using one of those fancy medical scales).

30 days, 32, 155 calories burned, 1 belt size lost and down 8.5 lbs.

Not too bloody shabby.

Tomorrow I'll be tackling that 17% at 4.2mph again, but I've got something else in store for you all.

It's time I took this blog back to its roots, back to the 'blue-haired' passion that I started out with and feel like I sort of lost along the way.

I'm going to take a bit of a break, about a week; enough time to finish up my pitch-bible for Pipeline and then I'm going to start my next spec script.  On here, step-by-step from beginning to bitter end.

If you're interested, come on back, 'cause it should be quite an interesting experiment.

See you next Wednesday!


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