Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reunited, And It Hurts So Good

The last time I was in a gym, my left knee was growing “cartilaginous intra-articular bodies” which “float freely within the synovial fluid.” Ah…the good old days. I had a debridement and synovectomy in June 2010 to remove the nasty buggers, but the surgery precluded me from using my favorite piece of cardio equipment: the arc trainer. And if I couldn’t use the arc trainer, what was the use in going to the gym? (Yeah…I’m all or nothing like that sometimes.)

My daughter, Cassie, started hitting the gym early on in her last pregnancy. She worked out until the day Mae was born in February and then picked it up again five weeks later. She’s invited me several times to join her, but I’ve been doing a lot of biking and walking this summer, so I told myself I didn’t see the need. The truth is, I was afraid my body wasn’t up to it. I mean, back in the day, I used to hit the arc trainer hard for 45 minutes every time I worked out. I cranked that baby up to a resistance of 50 with an incline of 4 or 5. Burned 600-700 calories. What would I be able to do now? Ten minutes? Fifteen?

But Cassie inspires me so much, and in keeping with my promise to take better care of my body, I told her I’d join her at the gym today. After all, no goal gets accomplished without a starting point. Even the most fit people in the world had to start somewhere, right? I remember my starting point. I went into exercise kicking and screaming. I started out walking a half-mile around a track. I was exhausted! But that half mile turned into a mile, then two miles, then three, then I started walking 4-5 mph, then I started strength training, then I joined a gym and fell in love with the arc trainer, then I got a bike, then I started hiking… When I walked into the gym this morning, I felt the same joy each that every one of those exercise moments had given me and I was ready to hop on the arc trainer and start over.

All the biking and hiking I’ve done this summer paid off in a fabulously empowering 40-minute cardio workout. I did 20 minutes on the arc trainer, staying between a resistance of 25-35 with a few minutes at 50 just as a reminder of where I want to be again. Then I hopped on the treadmill next to my lovely daughter, who was running, and I walked 20 minutes at varying inclines and speed. Even got it up to 5 mph because I could.

When I was done, I went downstairs to the weight room and it was like being home. I forgot how much I love the weight room, too! “Hello 15-pound weight. Oh there you are bench where I do my crunches from hell.” *sigh* There’s no place like home.

Five hours later, I’m still high from the gym. My legs are a little sore and my abs are still screaming from the workout I did a few days ago, but it’s all good. I’m starting over and I welcome the challenge.

(Now if I could just get that Peaches and Herb song out of my head…)

6 comments:

Shelley said...

Nice! Love that you have a gym buddy in your daughter, too. :)

Miss M said...

Thanks for the reminder of how good exercise feels!

debby said...

Oh this was just the post I needed to get me back in the gym after a week away of indulging just a bit too much and feeling a little like you described.

LauraJayne said...

Congrats! It must feel really good to know how good of shape your are in despite what you thought! I always think that exercising outdoors is WAY harder than indoors physically - even if mentally it deosn't feel that way!

Melissa said...

Yep, there's nothing like a good workout - I've known it for years and still hate to admit it at times. I've been into spin classes lately - not because I like them, well except when they're over. :-)
It does feel like a good workout though. I have to go easy on the "jumps" with my knee, but it is energizing.

NewMe said...

What about the elliptical trainer? It's supposed to be gentle on the knees (except when you have the knee problem I do, but that's another story) and it's a great cardio workout.