…of intervals. I went to workout with The Other One this morning–that was my attempt to make something I do very privately a little more public and social. I had to run after class to get to my room, change, and get to the SRC in ten minutes, but I made it just as The Other One was pulling up in her car. She brought a book. A book. Now, I can’t even drink and walk at the same time, so reading small print on a page while trying to keep my balance on a treadmill is completely out of the question for me. Not only that, but exercising is my time away from even reading. It’s my time away from the girls on my floor, my profs, my studies, everything except music, which I only listen to when on treadmills these days.
The wonderful thing about treadmills is the fact that I didn’t have to care a fig that she was walking much slower than me, running slower than me, and not running on the same intervals I was. That made the problems I had when I worked out with Andrea a couple of months ago disappear; nothing is more fucking annoying than a nagging voice of “Let’s go slower” and “Slow down, Lissa” for an hour and a half while I’m trying to get my walk on. I also kept my headphones on, which The Other One complained about, because she wanted to talk. But I’m pushing myself hard enough that keeping up a conversation would exhaust and annoy me rather than pleasantly distract me. I sort of saw this whole arrangement as The Other One wanting someone to help motivate her to go workout, just like she uses a co-worker to motivate her to stay on the Atkins diet. That’s fine, within certain limits. I’m not going to attempt to drag her out of bed if she doesn’t want to go, but I’ll cajole her into doing the whole hour when we’re there. I’ll let her complain to me about the aches and pains, and we’ll pass suggestions for improvement back and forth. But using that time to chat about how much she dislikes the Thorn’s own George Dawkins (I’m not surprised she doesn’t much care for him) is not really my idea of focusing on the non-intellectual and -mental for a while.
I’m working on this little nine-week program that is (theoretically) supposed to take you from being a couch potato to being able to run about 5 km. Each week is labelled and is a little set of three self-contained, thirty minute workouts, so just doing the program gets you the minimum amount of exercise recommended for good health. For those of us that are really out of shape, it’s very much “repeat weeks as neccesary” until comfortable before moving to the next week. At any rate, I’ve been stuck on, like, Week 1 (pathetic, I know) for about two weeks now with no noticable gains in ability. When I did the workout the past couple of times, however, I started out with a fast-paced 35 minute walk before going into the intervals in order to increase duration and mileage and all that. No luck on getting better at running. Until today. Today I decided to do the intervals first to make sure I would complete them, just in case I copped out and decided to quit after only thirty or forty-five minutes. The good thing was this: while I was tired by the time the last bit of running came up, I was able to go extra on the last interval without feeling like my lungs and windpipe were refusing to expand fully. I also recovered much better on the walking stints between running, much better than I had previously. I even had energy to throw in some high inclines on the remaining thirty minute walk. This is good; I was started to get a teeny bit discouraged there. I had thought of being tested for exercise-induced asthma for a variety of reasons, but remembering a Bill Cosby joke convinced me not to: “‘I’m not going to the doctor, man.’ Well, why not? ‘Cuz then I might have it.'” That sounds silly, but I don’t have it if I don’t get told by a doctor and have to fill the prescriptions and puff the inhalers, which means I don’t have something else to worry about (other than falling, twisting or pulling something, etc.) that will give me an excuse to slack off. I’m just fat and out of shape. I’ll get over it.
I’ve discovered that I like to watch people run. I figure they look a hell of a lot better doing it than I do, and the differences in styles are fascinating. For instance, there’s a guy that’s on the Thorn staff that is down in the SRC just about everytime I go down there. He comes in, stretches a bit, runs about 400 meters, lifts weights, runs about 600 meters, and does lots more stretching. He’s a very compactly built guy–not particularly buff, but not that lanky sinewy strength, either. When he runs, he sort of throws his shoulders back, holds his arms tight against him, and just sort of bounds around the track, very controlled and tight in movement, but not really overly tense. He looks like a tight ball of energy bouncing around the track. It’s fascinating to watch. There’s another guy, a professor here, that gets on the treadmill and runs steadily at a good clip for about 45 minutes at a time. He’s quite the opposite; tall and sinewy, his hands fly around loosely when he runs. You definitely wouldn’t want to be right beside him on the road or anything. He’s equally fascinating to watch, as he’s got that long-distance runner’s build and doesn’t seem particularly exhausted after lifting weights and running for 45 minutes. (I only know these times because I stay in the SRC even longer than they do.) Then there’s the girl that gets on what I think is called an elliptical machine and stays even longer than I do, reading and “walking” on the machine without holding on (I must just have abnormally bad balance, but it took me a while to get the hang of treadmill walking without holding on–it’s different from road walking and much different from road running) and without seeming to deviate in her straight posture and steady pace. She has short spiky hair and a slight “punk” look about her, but actually has a very soft voice (I expected her to have a hard or tough voice) and is very nice (we’ve chatted while toasting bagels in the morning). Every single day I’m down there, those three show up, all within the hour.
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