Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hit the Ground Running

Two days off, plenty of fluids, overwhelming amounts of orange juice and Golden Seal and I was back at it today. I had felt a little rough when I woke up this morning, but a bit of a walk, a hardy breakfast and a good nap had me feeling better than I have since Saturday.
My appointment at the gym was at 4 and I arrived with some time to spare. The trainer I worked with, and have met before, took my blood pressure and talked to me about what I wanted to accomplish in today's workout and future ones. My blood pressure was a bit high-132/91-but since I am still fighting off the rest of that weird flu/cold thing, I wasn't surprised it was so high. My resting heart rate was also high at 73 beats per minute, but the same reasoning could explain that away. Also, I walk to the gym and I am not a slow walker. My heart rate could have been elevated due to the activity prior to arriving at the gym. Resting heart rates and blood pressures can, as I explained before, be attributed to sickness and the body working hard to keep or make itself healthy.
I started the workout with a ten minute or so light ride on an upright bike. The recumbent bikes do not work the correct muscle groups that I will need wen cycling 20 kilometres during a triathlon race. Although the ride was light and short, it warmed me up enough to need to take off the hoodie I was wearing and I moved from the bike over to the treadmill.
The treadmill and I have a love hate relationship; mostly it is me hating it. I think I have described the feeling of running in place for long periods of time as like being on a huge hamster wheel. I keep running and running, but never get anywhere. Apparently, if you are sighted you can watch the screen and images of where you could be running appear, but this visual stimulation does not do me any good. It is so boring! However, since running is my weakest leg of the triathlon race, I need all the help I can get and the treadmill and I will learn to love each other; or at least a sense of tolerance can be reached.
Since I had been sick and still did not feel 100 percent, the treadmill was set at 9 kilometres an hour and I ran to 3 kilometres, with the goal of running without stoping. The last two times I have run at 9 kilometres, my calves have cramped and I have either had to slow down significantly or move into a walk. Today I wanted to reach the 3 K mark without slowing and definitely without any walking. Surprisingly to me, I made it to 3 K feeling pretty good with minimal cramping. I felt like I may have been able to get another kilometre or two out at that pace; very encouraging.
After completing my run, I made sure to walk for a good ten minutes, letting my heart rate come back down. If there was one thing I learned from the sport scientist that accompanied our team around when I was swimming, it  was that warm down is one of the most important components to being a successful athlete; that and hydration.
I moved from the treadmill to the Gravity Pull Down machine and set about a few different exercises that worked my triceps-imperative to balancing on the bike and follow through during the swim-my Lats,-muscles that are important during the swim-and chest press. I also worked other aspects of my arms, back and chest as well as my core all on the same machine. I really like that the machine has so many areas it can target and that it is your own body weight that you use to cause resistance. It makes sense to me to use this machine since pulling/dragging/moving my own body weight is going to be my greatest resistance out on the course; aside from waves, uneven terrain and other athletes. The last set I did worked arms/back/chest as well as core. It is those small, intrinsic core muscles that will keep me straight in the water, balanced on the bike and upright during the run. Core was something that I feel I probably could have worked harder during my swimming career and it is something that I am ensuring I do not neglect this time around.
All in all, I think it was a very successful workout and I feel as though I gave myself enough time to get healthier without taking off too much time. Tomorrow I will attempt to get in some pool time, but it all depends on whether lanes are open at the time I am there. If that fails, I will get in a good cycle workout; now that I know that the gym is equipped with upright bikes.

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