About three weeks ago, I was out running some errands and after being mildly inconvenienced by a couple of reroutes found myself close to Washington Park. I had planned to take a hike to Forest Park that afternoon anyway, before it got too hot. Since I was probably less than ten blocks – that’s for you, mom! – from the entrance, I decided to just carry on since the temperature was already tending toward balmy.
I know from a similar errand-running excursion earlier this week that the my house<the Safeway<Freddy’s<home loop runs about three miles. Well, 3.4 with a coffee reward after Freddy’s. Factoring that out, I’m calling it an even three.
Freddy’s is only a block away from my personal google maps nemesis
So I had to successfully avoid that obstacle in order for my plan to succeed.
Figure that when I got to the entrance to Washington Park that I was about 1.5 miles into my errands plus another 3/4 mile from Freddy’s to the entrance, right?
It’s that last three quarters of a mile that’s the real killer. In addition to avoiding Taco Bell, there are also pretty steep streets up toward the park. What upset me when I got to the top of the hill was how out of breath I felt and how excessively sweaty I was.
Super not cool.
“Well, that’s probably just diabetes and coronary disease knocking on the door”, I pessimistically told myself. I opened up my MINDBODY app and bought a spin package.
I was also talking via messenger with the Filipina Fox, who is an obnoxiously fit friend and fitness instructor at not only my spin gym, RevoCycle, but two other studios in my neighborhood as well. Those are her second, third and fourth jobs in addition to her primary full time job. Then there’s the gym she belongs to for her personal workouts.
I dunno how she finds the time or the energy, but hats off to her! However, if I hadn’t been chatting with her, I probably wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on buying a spin package.
Nevertheless, there she was, providing me unintentional inspiration in my return to gym-centric exercise. She joked about the gym having an AED, just in case and I made another about having a DNR tattoo on my chest.
Then it was off into the park. I’ll write more about my walk through Washington Park in another post, it also is home to the Japanese Garden, which the Silver Fox took me to as a guest a few months ago. I want to share my beautiful pics from both visits.
For now, though, my point is that during my less than record breaking hike the temp went up 10% to 80 degrees at the end but I was just spent: I’d sweated through my clothes and was sucking air like a fish out of water.
The next day, I was at RevoCycle for my noon class. They call it Power Lunch and it’s just 30 minutes, designed to allow worker bees to get a ride in during their lunch hour. I wasn’t sure I could actually pull off a full “hour long” class, which usually runs 50 minutes. The half hour class allowed me to dip my toe back in the water.
I’d discussed my concerns – and reasons for my absence – with the owner and leader of the lunch class, Michael.
While I had been cycling and hiking pretty regularly through mid-June, my knees bothered me during and after the activities. Then, the powers that be had closed down my entrance to the Springwater Trail, which took away half of my exercise options anyway, since that was a major part of my cycling route.
The goal was to get salmon back to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife refuge by replacing a 70s era salmon culvert.
The culvert allows salmon to move protected from the Willamette River through the underground culvert and into the wildlife refuge.
It’s just a small project.
That completely closes down my access to my preferred cycling route.
And my back up route.
But, three months and $9 million later and at least the salmon will have a safe place to get their spawn on.
Meanwhile, that plus my persistent unemployment afforded me an option to gain 20 lbs. Most of which seemed to arrive in about an eight week period.
See the above FML.
So, Tuesday three weeks ago, I’m back at spin for a Tuesday and Thursday routine and I’m happy to say that I’ve only missed one class on the ensuing three weeks. I’ve also managed at least one hike per week and even one interval run!
Of course, after that, I couldn’t walk right for three days, but I’m happy that I accomplished it…proving to myself that what my acupuncturist has been working on – paired with running right for my body – has paid off.
The good news is that I’m down 8 pounds in three weeks and feel better, too! I’m not leaving a pool of sweat behind after my half hour class anymore and my knees are tolerating the intensity well!
Of course, since I’m kind of mean to myself, I have chosen a gym conveniently located two blocks away from the modeling agency I worked for in my late 20s. And, since it’s on my way home from the gym, I stopped off last week for a selfie.
Already looking better than I did halfway through my five mile hike to Washington Park two weeks prior to taking this! Still in no danger of anyone from my old agency chasing after me.
Plus, it helps to have a sweat towel…
In my conversations with Michael over the past few weeks, I’ve become aware of a few things:
First, the smoke and ash in the air recently has likely been mostly to blame for my wheezing and excessive sweat, especially on that Washington Park outing.
Second, the mental benefits from regular exercise are more immediate than the physical results. And the mental benefits feel great!
Third, it looks worse than it is. Yesterday, I faced a personal fear: being the only person in a class. Michael likes to focus on being present with your body during a spin class – it’s like the focus on mindfulness and breathing you experience in a yoga class – and usually checks in with the heart monitor wearers in class to see how they’re doing. I don’t wear one, but he kept asking me how I was doing, “How’s your breathing, pretty heavy?” or “How many words could you say right now?” types of things. When he asked me if I was at my max heart rate after one sprint and got a palms up response from me, he taught me this easy little formula.
220 – a person’s age = max heart rate
“So where is your heart rate at?”, he asked after timing off a pulse check in.
“What’s your max, I dunno how old you are…how does that compare?”
My max is 170.
“Great! That’s fantastic…you’re probably in better shape than you were worried about!”
I guess it looks worse than it is.
But I’m still ecstatic that I’m doing something physical that ties me to a routine!