Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Fat Man Rides Again!!

Saturday I got really depressed about not being able to work out. My beloved Mrs P held my hand, wiped my face, and then took me out to the Indian buffet. Nothing lifts a mopey boy's spirits like a good woman's love and all the curry he can eat.

I slept my blues away and on Sunday made my first trip to the gym since the big slip. My toe hurt to bend, but had stopped throbbing. I didn't want to put any stress on it, so I didn't lift weights. That left walking, but I could not imagine the cardio benefit of limping on a treadmill. The elliptical machine remained a mystery to my feet, so I decided to try the recumbent bike.

I figured out how to move the seat and checked out the console. All the trails and mountains and whatnot made no sense to me. How can you talk about miles on a bike that stands still? I finally settled on a program called "cardio" and put Meat Loaf on my headphones. Before I knew it, I was pedaling like a bat out of, well, you know. I spun the pedals for an hour while the console coached "Keep Pedaling!-----Need Heart Rate!---Grab Handles!----Who's Your Daddy?" It was a little weird.

The program adjusts resistance to keep your heart rate at the training level you set, so it has to monitor your pulse constantly. I was surprised at what a good workout it turned out to be. I was not surprised that I could barely move when I was done. I stretched, finished my water, and made my way to the locker room. When I took of my sock, I was shocked. My toe looked like a plum. The bruise went from the joint almost up to the nail and more than three-quarters of the way around my toe. Forgive me, but I've decided to spare you photos.

Monday the bruise had faded, but was still pretty ugly. I made it through the work day without it feeling any worse, and by evening, the bruise was a much less angry color. I went to bed early and decided to try once again to wake up and go to the gym early Tuesday morning.

For some reason, the alarm woke me. Usually I just give it a well intentioned wack on the snooze button, then go back to sleep. Instead I tip-toed out of the bed and made my way to the car. There were a LOT of people at the gym at 6:00! I changed and found an empty bike. This time I had a chance to look around a little. There were not many familiar faces, but plenty of very determined ones. I am continually amazed and inspired by the way the people around me work. I got a chance to really watch some people on elliptical machines and started to make sense of what their legs were doing. Of course, you don't really want to spend too much time watching people at the gym. You start to feel like a stalker.

Work was just painful. The toe was ok, but the legs were screaming. Turns out I still haven't reached that magic place where a workout gives you more energy. The funny thing was, by mid afternoon, I was really jonesing to get back. I went right after work, and lifted weights for the first time in a week. I stepped down the reps and stepped up the weights on all the machines. I also tried the elliptical for a cool-down. It went pretty well, and I felt like I really started getting the hang of it.

This morning I did not go to the gym early, but I felt GREAT all day. Maybe that energy boost is on a delay? After work, I did an hour on the elliptical. I used the "Cardio" program and yes, it was a real workout. On both the bike and the elliptical I could feel different muscles working - especially after I was done.

Right now, I should be in bed, but I'm so happy to be back to work. I just wanted to let you know.

The heart, the mind, and the toe are all bruised but unbroken -- and the healing goes on.


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