Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stationary Bike and Treadmill Hell

The other night Waddler and I went to see the movie "The Spirit of the Marathon".  On the way there, Waddler asked how my EN training was going.  I replied "good, I actually like the interval training."  I then went on to explain how going hard and fast for 10-12 minutes straight helps relieve the boredom on a bike trainer.  Another added benefit to interval training is after the interval is done, the riding just seems easier.  My only hiccup with my training is not the training itself but the disruptions/obstacles I come across when I try to train.

Unfortunately, I have to make a trip to Decatur IL,  which  is 3 hours south of the Chicago area, every week or every other week for business.  Sometimes I drive 3 hours to the warehouse, do my work and then drive 3 hours back home in a single day.  Other times I stay the night and go back the next day.   Somehow I usually find the time to squeeze in my work-out but other obstacles abound as I find myself stuck in "Stationary Bike and Treadmill Hell".

Decatur, unfortunately, is a depressed industrial town.  With the exception of McDonalds you will hardly find any chain restaurants, stores, or fitness facilities in the city.  Locally owned stores and restaurants are all that can thrive.  This isn't a bad thing; I'm all for the small-business owner's's just that options are slim in Decatur.  I have found a decent fitness center literally across the street from the warehouse that has a decent selection of workout equipment (or so I thought).

A few weeks ago, after working in the warehouse for the day I headed over to the fitness center for a bike workout.  As I was climbing the stairs to where all 4 of the stationary bikes were, I overheard an instructor mention a spin class that was starting in a few minutes.  My ears perked...there was a spin room?  Hmmmm.  I kindly asked the instructor if I could join in.  He was extremely pleasant but explained I wouldn't be able to spin since the class was already full (via prior sign up).  My shoulders slumped and I quickly deflated.  He then suggested that if there were any open bikes from someone who didn't show he would come get me.  Ok....coool.

Meanwhile, I went to the bikes and picked one.  Two minutes into spinning, my butt was killing me!  I adjusted seat... no good.  I adjusted seat a second time, still no good.  OMG, this hurts!  I was staring at the clock and hoping the instructor would come save me from this torture.  Fifteen minutes into the painful ride....I had had enough with bike #1.  I hopped onto bike #2 to find out that it was just as bad as bike #1.  Did I mention that bike #1 and #2 did not have any pedal straps.  The resistance was at a relatively low level but I felt like I was mashing the pedals.  Smooth and easy wasn't happening today.

After 10 minutes on bike#2, I switched to bike #3.  The seat still sucked but at least this one had foot straps.    I managed to do about 20 minutes on this bike but still struggled with the resistance levels.  I was uncomfortable with the my position on the bike and my legs were burning.  Again, I had had enough.   Onto bike #4.  5 minutes on this one and I called it day for the stationary bikes. On days like this, I sorely miss my bike, Sharkie.

I then went over to the treadmills to get in a short run.  It was a high-tech machine and for the life of me I couldn't get it started.  Push start---check....push incline---nothing....push speed---nothing.  Over and over again I did this scenario and the belt wouldn't budge.  I had no clue what I was doing I just kept pushing buttons.  Eventually the belt started moving and I got in my run.

Last week, I was in Decatur for the night and decided to run on the treadmill in the fitness center of the hotel due to the threatening rainy skies outside.  As I walked into the tiny room with 3 pieces of fitness equipment all which are old and decrepit, I immediately felt the heat.  It was like a frickin' sauna in there!  I looked around for a thermostat.  Nope.  I turned on the lonely fan in the room which was pointed down.  I tried to point the fan toward the treadmill, but the fan was broken and would only cool the floor below.  Oh how lovely.  Regardless, I was determined to get my workout in.  Within minutes I was sweating buckets.  It was suffocating.  Luckily, I had one of those "easy" workouts where I needed to stay in zone 1 for the whole run.  Of course, my heart rate skyrocketed to high levels--way too high for a zone 1 workout.  I walked and my heart rate came down .  I welcomed the "walk" at this point.  I again started running and managed to keep my heart rate down for the majority of the work out.  

Well, today the weather in Chicago area just plain sucks.  It's windy and cold and rainy.  It sucks.  My game plan was to go  to my fitness center and jump on a spin bike then run 25 minutes on the treadmill.  I looked at Sharkie in my bedroom and remembered how crappy it is to ride on spin bikes and stationary bikes.  So I changed my plans.  Plan #2 was to ride Sharkie for my bike workout for an hour and then drive to my fitness center for the run portion of the workout.  My fitness center is about 10-15 minutes away.  

I had a great workout on Sharkie and then I looked outside.  I convinced myself that it didn't look so bad.  Screw it...I'm not going to the fitness center.  So I bundled up for an outdoor run.  I must have looked like a crazy person...who in their right mind would run in weather like this? Me.... I am usually such a sissy about riding or running in cold, crappy weather. I hate it.  But the thought of another treadmill gave me enough motivation to brave the elements.  Bring it on!

Surprisingly enough, it didn't seem too bad.  It was cold and really windy.  Just pain crappy.  The rain started mid-way through my run.  But I was ok.  I was ok and it felt good.  And I finished.  Another little milestone for me.  Mentally, this was great for me...I feel as if I am getting tougher and will get more and more comfortable with the my outside workouts.


WADDLER26.2 said...

Holy S**t---you ran outside!! Good for you-see you are made of iron!

IronSnoopy said...

That determination will serve you well on race day!

Hopefully you can maybe map out some runs down there? Or join a running club to run with the day you're down there? Or heck, just buy a TM for your office?!

Nice job on being tough. You rock!