Tonight was my first night back at the gym since April. September approaches so that break from the gym exceeded 4 months. In April I skated more than in winter and I came up with the brilliant idea that I would simply skate more and I didn’t need the gym. For a few months I did improve but then the July heat wave zapped all ambitions to be outside skating all day on my days off. So tonight I went back to the gym after evaluating a realistic approach to a potential routine. I’ll write about this, and at some point break off for a few paragraphs about Irene. Perhaps blog entries can take on more then one topic.
Last week I wrote how I planned to go to the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. I came to accept that I will not implement that routine. My morning wars with the alarm clock are too strong to expect all the sudden to start waking at 6 am singing to the birds. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday I don’t get home until 7 pm. With the sunset getting earlier and earlier I can’t expect much if any skate time after work. I’ll simply be a weekend skate dude, which is better than a lot of people get to do. Skating on Saturday and Sunday I’ll be able to maintain my mediocre skill level but I should not expect to improve. Without lights at the parks I know how to get to, I don’t have a choice.
However, my gym is in a building with lights and stays open until about 10 most nights. So my more realistic gym routine will be Tuesday, Wendesday, Friday evenings and once over the weekends. On Saturday and Sunday might be a challenge to balance skating, a writing class I signed up for and the gym earlier closings. But I think 4 days a week is better than the 3 days a week I did last winter. Most likely being consistent with this stuff is the most important part of exercise, but making plans and setting goals works for me.
When I did 3 gym days a week I tried to push the aerobics on every workout. On the light lifting, one day a week I’d do chest and triceps, on the second day I’d do back and biceps, and on third day of the week I’d simply do shoulders. My 4 day a week plan is similar but I combine the shoulders into the other workout days. That way, with weights I’m hitting the upper body muscle groups twice a week instead of just once. Aerobically it’s better too. Let’s say on the tread mill I work up to averaging 3.5 miles for a half hour on each workout. For three days that is 10.5 miles a week and for four days that would be 14 miles a week. For running I remember from my running days for general fitness about 15 miles a week is a good amount. Two other things I need to figure out are ab workouts and lifting for my legs. I’m wondering if I could get away with doing those once a week, or aim for twice a week on those as well. So that’s my goal. I know how to get in shape, I’m just not so good on follow through.
Tonight I did chest, triceps, and shoulders. On purpose I chose much less weight than I remember doing 4 odd months ago. The lifting went fine, but the running on the treadmill felt awkward. I started at a 12 minute pace and only increased it to a 10 minute pace. When I was 15 I ran a kid fun run mile in 6 minutes flat. It wasn’t an official track, but only one little twerp beat me. Ten years ago I averaged 22 minutes in a lot of 5k races. I could never do better than 22 minutes, but now that sounds pretty good. Now I’m huffing and puffing at over a 10 minute pace on a treadmill. At least I did my goal of twenty minutes on the treadmill tonight. I got out of shape fairly quickly, but there is no reason why I can’t get it back. I don’t think I’ll ever run a 6 minute mile, but getting a 8 minute pace back is a reasonable expectation. For my workout plan this go round I’m running for my aerobics because I think that is the best way to get your heart moving. Lastly about my return to the gym, the scale there said I weighed 200. That is heavy for me, so now is the time to be a gym rat, and maybe that’ll improve my skating on weekends.
Now on to Hurricane or tropical Storm Irene. I work down in the Rockaways and the Friday before the storm was hectic. From the precincts listserv I got instructions for the mandatory evacuation of the whole Peninsula. I printed out about 20 copies and passed them out. People were talking about it and some were confused. Saturday the MTA shut down so the libraries were closed. That evening my roommate and I got stir crazy and went out for dinner and to hang out with some friends that live local in the Rego Park area. The heavy storm was scheduled for 5 or 6 in the morning. So we felt okay going out for a little bit, and other people were out as well. But walking home at around midnight was a scary walk. People the next day said the this storm was nothing. But at midnight the storm was fierce, we got soaked and rattled by the wind. Next time no matter how stir crazy I get I’ll stay in during major storms.
On Sunday I could get glimpses of the storm damages from the internet, and learned a lot of people were out of power. Later in the day I saw coverage of the Rockaways being flooded. I remembered the precinct listserv and checked my work email. They had some pictures and updates. There was flooding on the main street in the center of the Peninsula fairly close to my library. All day I was worried about damage at my work. On Monday, I didn’t have to work until the afternoon, I called my library and our custodian told me the good news that there was no damage at all. I got to work on time, the transit got working good, and it was a happy day to see that the library and our customers were okay.