1000 MILE CHALLENGE (OR MORE)

Well, with Biggest Loser ending last week, I don’t have anyone to talk about, so I guess I’m going to have to talk about myself—at least this time. I hope something interesting will happen next week so you won’t have to put up with this too often!

Lately, I’ve been messing around with a little cross-training with a ¾ mile trail run and a 2 ½ mile bike loop. It takes me about 18:30 to do one trail run and one bike loop. So far, the most loops I’ve done in a row have been four, which took just under 75 minutes last Sunday afternoon. It was a nice workout. I was able to keep moving the whole time.

The trail loop has a bunch of small hills that gas you pretty quickly, and I do the bike loop on my mountain bike to get a little extra resistance. It’s heavier than my road bike, and has those big old tires, so it’s more of a workout, which is just fine on these short rides.

If I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll just run four laps, which is 3 miles. It’s nice because it’s softer than the road, and it has those hills to add a little fun to the run. Yesterday, I just ran and rode 2 circuits—half of what I did last wee—so it takes about half the time.

But when the heat index really gets up there, it’s tough to push myself out the door. Fortunately, I have access to a bunch of treadmills, bikes and ellipticals, so I can always get my cardio workout inside where it’s cool.

It’s not nearly as fun or interesting though. In fact, I pretty much hate running inside. The only time I don’t mind it is in the winter, when I hate running outside. Then, it’s too cold for me.

Now I know some really serious runners who have the special cold weather gear, but I’ve just never liked going out there. I’m not crazy about shoveling the sidewalk, much less trying to get out there and run a few miles.

So in the winter, you’ll see me on the treadmill. That works for me, especially on Sundays during football. Sometimes, I’ll even run the entire game. It’s interesting enough that I’ll forget about the running—kind of.

But today, it was really hot outside (I know, I’m a whiner), so I surrendered. That’s right. It was so hot, that even me, Mr. Trainer guy didn’t really feel like doing the run outside, so I jumped on the elliptical.

That was O.K. though, because it felt a little different, and used the muscles in a slightly different way, so that makes it kind of interesting. It reminded me of when we first got the center and I just about wore the ellipticals out. That was before I fell in love with running
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So now, a little cross-training is just fine. You see, it really doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that you just do something. It helps if you kind of like doing it. That’s never been a problem for me.

Someone asked me the other day if I just didn’t want to work out. I thought about it for a little bit and had to say “no, not really.” I can’t wait to workout. I think it’s because I was pretty sick as a kid. Back then, they didn’t have much help for serious asthmatics, so I wasn’t allowed to do anything strenuous.

The other kids would be mad that I “got” to sit on the side-lines during gym class, but all I ever wanted to do was get out there with them. Later, I got into martial arts and working out so much that I ended up getting a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.

I still fought the asthma, though, even as an adult. I’d compete in martial arts events, like sparring and grappling, but I’d always have to hold back a little bit—and even then, I’d probably have an asthma attack. Then I’d have to use my rescue inhaler.

If that wasn’t enough, I had a breathing machine. If that wasn’t enough, I’d have to go to the hospital for a shot of adrenaline and breathing treatments which happened frequently.

I’ve probably used thousands of inhalers. But about seven years ago, they came out with new medicine that blocks the triggers that cause attacks. That was a life changer. Now, I can turn it up as much as I want, and I don’t even need to carry a rescue inhaler. I do take a small breathing machine with me when I’m traveling—just in case—but I very rarely need it.

It’s kind of ironic. Now that I can finally work out as hard as I want, since I’m getting older, my body doesn’t recover quite as well as it used to! So now I can run like the wind, but it hurts like hell later. Go figure.

After a lot of messing around with all kinds of different exercise programs, I’ve kind of realized that I’m happy if I just get to get my workout in. If it’s kind of tough, I like it. If it’s really tough, I love it, but pay for it later. So I just try to keep it kind of tough. That gives me a challenge, keeps it interesting, and helps keep me in shape.

I also get quite a kick out of working with everybody at the gym. There are lots of different people. Some need to lose a lot of weight, some just a little bit. Some want to get in better shape so they can do more things. Others are trying to improve their sports performance.

Right now I’ve got a bunch of sixth and seventh grade basketball players doing my morning workout three days a week. They’re a hoot. First of all, they’re kids, so they can do just about anything. Second, they’re really quite funny, and it’s a nice way to start the day.

What I really like is how they’re kind of like blank slates. It’s nice to know I have the chance to write things on their hearts and minds that could stay with them for a long time, perhaps all their life.

Things like “work hard and it will pay off later.” And “you can always do more than you think you can do.” These are concepts that will help them now in sport, but also help them a lot, later in life!

When I was their age, I couldn’t do what they’re doing. It would have killed me—literally. Now not only can I do it, but I’m teaching others. I’m pretty grateful, and think God must have quite a sense of humor. It’s nice to have a second chance at things.

Last year, I started tracking how many miles I ran, and this year, decided to just lump all my miles together, whether they were running, walking, on the bike, elliptical, or whatever. As long as I did them, they counted.

After the quick 30 minute workout on the elliptical today, I logged nine miles. Well, it said 18 miles, but I know that can’t be true, because these particular machines way overestimate your actual usage, in both calories and miles. So I only take credit for half-miles on it.

Still, 9 miles put me over the top at 1,001 miles for the year, which was my original goal. I was a little miffed because I really wanted to do it running. But that’s O.K. It’s been only a little over half a year and it got me thinking. What about 2,000? Or even, 2010 in 2010. Hmm…

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