Monthly Archives: November 2010

Treadmill Blunders

I had a meeting down at my company’s main campus today, so to beat traffic, I drove down to it before 6 am to get in a workout at the corporate fitness center.

I work in high tech and this gym is the most high tech gym I’ve seen. Every cardio machine has a slot to insert your iPhone or iPod to sync your music. Every weight machine has a counter that tracks your rep. If you don’t fully extend the weight, then the rep doesn’t count. If you work with a trainer, the trainer can put together a program for you, then give you a key that you insert into the machine and your program is pulled up for you. Its pretty amazing.

So I get to the cardio portion of my workout and head to a treadmill to do some speed intervals. It has a touch screen, but it doesn’t respond to light touches. You have to press REALLY HARD on the buttons. In the back of my mind, I had a feeling it probably wasn’t the best idea to try run different speeds on this treadmill. But being determined to get the workout in, I decided to do it anyway.

Big mistake. Huge.

At approximately 2 miles, I kept trying to decrease the speed and the buttons weren’t responding. I lost my balance and biffed it. Luckily, I was on a treadmill in the corner and there was nothing but a wall behind me. And thankfully, the gym wasn’t very crowded. I would like to think no one noticed, but I’m sure someone did. I picked myself up and took inventory. I was more or less alright, my knee – and ego – was a bit bruised. I turned off the treadmill and headed to the elliptical.

Except the ellipticals that they have feel really weird. They keep you super upright with your arms rightnexttoyou. That lasted for no more than 2 minutes. I ended up on the stair mill – the one where the stairs move. For years I used to do a full hour on the stair mill every day. Today I only managed 30 minutes and I was done. But at least I didn’t fall off of it.

I was heading back to the locker room when I saw a full line of rowing machines. My gym doesn’t have these (at least none that I’m aware of) so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it. Only thing is, my feet are about half the size of the foot holders, so this too was weird. But I managed to get a full 20-minutes of it in. It was good to try something new.

Last of all, I had to use the stretching machines. My gym doesn’t have these either so I had to take advantage of them. We all know how inflexible I am and it felt good to stretch on these things. I want them for Christmas :).

Crazy day at the gym – and all before 9 am…

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A Good Run at Sawyers Camp

I honestly thought by now, 7 weeks since the Portland Marathon, that the aches and pains that had plagued me through the weeks of training would have gone away.

But they still linger.

Except, never in the same area. One day my right glute will hurt. Then the next day it will feel fine and my lower left leg will hurt. Then the day after that it moves to my right calf. You get the idea, never the same.

I’ve had endless massages, had 2 gait analysis (I don’t think I ever blogged about those experiences, note to self – will do soon), see my chiro every 6 weeks, but since its not consistent, it kinda just puzzles everyone.

Every time I head out for a run, I never quite know what to expect. Some days I’ll know within a few steps how it will go. On those days, the run usually doesn’t happen, or is cut very short. But on other days, it goes pretty well. I had both experiences this weekend.

I hate a love/hate relationship with the treadmill.

Mostly I hate it, but there are those few instances when I can have a really good run on it. Such was the case with my run last Wednesday. It went really, really well, and the best part was afterwards, I had zero soreness, something I hadn’t had in ages.

So I was fooled into running again on it on Saturday. Sure I had 8 miles scheduled, which is a really long time to be on a treadmill. In fact, its beyond the maximum time that my gym allows you to be on the treadmill, so I would have had to run 1 hour, then reset it again. But the enticement of a non-sore run completely drew me in.

The nice thing about running on a treadmill is that you can do it at any time of the day. I lounged around the house all Saturday morning, finally making my way to the gym around Noon. I lasted a measly 2 miles on the treadmill. That’s it. I just couldn’t do it. My right calf felt funky and I just didn’t feel comfortable on it. So I moved on and spent an hour on the elliptical. I almost died of boredom.

Determined to get in the 8 miles, I woke up on Sunday with a plan. My regularly marina loop around the lagoon in my neighborhood just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a change of scenery so I headed out to Sawyer’s Camp.

Sawyer’s Camp is a 6-mile path along the Crystal Springs reservoir. It’s about a 20-minute drive from my house. It’s a popular running, biking, walking trail that’s marked every half-mile. I’ve been running it for years and had gotten really tired of it; I felt like I knew every nook and cranny of it.

But it’d been months since I’d been there. This morning had the perfect conditions. It wasn’t too crowded and it was nice and cold. But not too cold. It was the kind of day where it was cold in the shade, but warm in the sun.

The first 4 miles wasn’t that great. Although the trail’s path is paved, the sides are dirt and gravel, a little softer terrain.

I split my time between both, trying to find my comfort zone. A kept taking inventory of my body, paranoid of what would be hurting. At one point I convinced myself that I had shin splints, but when I stopped to feel them, they weren’t sore at all. Other than a little tightness in my right calf, I was feeling fine.

When I turned around at the halfway point, I found myself behind a guy who was running in gladiator sandals. I’m not kidding. I know a lot of people are into barefoot running, but I had never seen anyone run in gladiator sandals. It bothered me. I could only imagine the pain his feet was, or would be feeling. So I hurried to pass him and never looked back.

I found that comfortable rhythm. Ironically, it was between Miles 4-5 that there was a slight but long hill climb. And I didn’t even feel it. I actually think that little incline is like magic for me. I get an extra surge of energy EVERY TIME I run it.

For the rest of the miles I just enjoyed my music and scenery. I tried looking for the deer that frequently roam the area, but didn’t see any today.

Soon I realized I only had a mile left so I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I was going faster than the first half, even though it felt like I was exerting less energy. I love it when that happens. By the time I finished, I felt like it ended too soon. I wasn’t tired, nor was I hungry and I felt like I could’ve run more.

I walked over to a bench to stretch and saw that someone had decorated the tree above it. It made me smile. ☺

My most favorite part of running at Sawyer’s is lying on a bench after the run and just letting myself soak in the sun. It’s the best feeling in the world. I lay there for a while relishing in the good post-run feeling.

There have been a lot of times over the past few months where I’ve wondered if I was meant to do this. My head and heart wants to, but the body has been stubborn. But runs like today remind me why I enjoy it so much.

Good Times

I had a bit of fun this weekend, scanning a bunch of old photos. You see, I have been pondering this question from that blog that I am so infatuated with:

“What is your most beloved childhood memory?”

I don’t have one specific incident that is most beloved, but I can tell you that most every childhood memory involves my Grandma Jean. Perhaps this has been occupying my thoughts because today is the first anniversary of her passing.

We were very close. One of my middle names is after her. I lived with her after my Grandpa went into hospice, and eventually passed – from the 5th grade till about the 10th grade. Even before then, I was her shadow, always with her and my Grandpa, but mostly her.

(notice what the shirt says>)

My favorite memories are of the times that the whole family – lots of aunts, uncles and cousins would pile into my Grandpa’s old Datsun truck and head out to Morris Point for a day at the beach.

(this is the Datsun!)

My Grandma would take the whole loaf of bread out of the bag to make sandwiches. I would beg her to only make tuna sandwiches because I hated egg salad sandwiches. After she made the sandwiches, she would put the whole loaf back in the bag to pack for the beach.

At the beach my uncles and cousins would go diving, and the rest of us would sit, swim and play on the beach.

Though we were all terribly sad at her passing, it was also the opportunity for all of us to come together again. By all of us I mean the families of her 9 children, the families her many brothers and sisters whom who also raised, endless nieces, nephews and others that she cared for.

(this is only like 1/8th of the family, maybe less)

In the days leading up to her service, the family piled into multiple vans and took a trip out to Morris Point, the very beach that we always went to.

The afternoon after her services, we all headed to the beach house and spent one last afternoon together, just enjoying each other’s company. We ate, sang, waded in the ocean, played beach baseball…

…but most of all, just enjoyed each other’s company while remembering Grandma and Grandpa Gomez.

(…spelling “G-O-M-E-Z”…)

These are the kind of moments that I love the most.