cross training is good for me

… even though I’m not enjoying it as much as running.  I’ve been able to run 2-3 times per week up to a maximum 6-8 miles without too much pain or discomfort in my left leg.  It’s annoying, but I’m beginning to figure out other workouts to enjoy too.  Pain is a good teacher.

I’ve been biking more lately, including some challenging not-too-technical mountain bike excursions.  This past weekend my friend Landy and I did a nice 28-30 miles around Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville.  It included a good bit of climbing.  Afterwards, just for kicks I ran a loop around Bridle Trails State Park (5 1/4 miles from my house).  It was great to do a longer workout like this – all told I was biking/running for about 4 hours!

I’ve biked to/from work a bit lately too.  That’s nice, and also cheaper than buying gas (which is pushing $3.50/gallon here lately).

I’ve sporadically done some good aerobic upper body workouts too.  I’ll do 20 minutes on the rowing machine – mixing in some fast intervals, followed by another 10-15 minutes on the x-robic machine.  This latter device simulates a kayaking motion, with resistance and enforced cadence.  It’s brutal, and not all at resembling the placid outdoorsy activity of actual kayaking.  But it’s a great workout.  I’ve mixed in perhaps one of these per week, in between weight workouts.

And yes – weights.  Recently, I’ve been lifting on timed intervals rather than reps.  For example, I’ll do 3 minute-long sets per station, with a minute of rest in between.  It may not sound like a long time, but when you’re bench-pressing or curling, 60 seconds seems interminable.

The most exciting moment working out recently occurred while I was rowing last week.  I was 55 seconds into a fast interval (<2 min/500m pace) when suddenly sparks shot out from underneath the treadmill directly behind me.  The guy running on it didn’t notice for a few seconds, and by then I was pretty concerned about frying, especially as I leaned back to draw the rowing cable up to my chest.  Some minutes later, a technician strolled up casually, apparently nonplussed about being called in from his important coffee break.  By then a mysterious mist of smoke hung in the air, along with the disturbing and unpleasant odor of burning plastic.  He unplugged the machine, surveyed the surroundings for collateral damage, and then wandered off to continue other pressing matters.

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