At the end of June, I got a 20-visit punch card for the community center down the street from me, with the intention of lifting weights. I hadn't lifted since high school, and chances are I was doing it wrong then, but all of a sudden I wanted to get started again. I figured that if I went three times a week, the card would get me through seven weeks, and at that point I could evaluate and see if it was working or if I should try something else or what.
It's only been five weeks, but I've already used up the card. I'm over there constantly. I was doing 40 crunches to start with; now I can do 90. I've upped my weight on most of the machines. And I'm actually becoming a faster runner, I think. Every time I lift, I make myself run a mile first, because lifting is safer if you're loose and warmed up, and at first I was just doing a 10-minute mile on the treadmill. After doing that a few times, I realized that it was extremely boring, and I thought about not doing it anymore, safety be damned. But then I realized that the way to make it less boring was to go faster! So I gradually started speeding up, and tonight I hit 7:30. The last time I ran a mile that fast was in eleventh grade, probably. I could go faster, if I pushed myself, but I don't really want to -- the point is to warm up for lifting, not to wear myself out. Still, one of these days I think I might just run flat-out and see how fast I can go. I'm guessing I could run a 6:30 mile without dying.
This is the kind of thing that I would never have accomplished, or even thought to try, if I were just out jogging around like I did for the marathon. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole paying-money-to-work-out thing -- it seems a little backward, just like paying more money for food that's less caloric does -- but, as with the food, it also seems to be working, so who am I to complain?
I had a minor coup with the bike yesterday, too. I've been riding around town more, but until yesterday I hadn't attempted to actually show up anywhere on a deadline. Yesterday, I left the House at 9:50 to bike to a 10:30 meeting, and I made it -- just barely. As fast as the bus and $1.65 cheaper! And: while biking back home, I actually succeeded in taking my water bottle out of its holder, drinking from it, and -- this is big -- replacing it in the holder -- all without stopping or falling off my bike. I wobbled, but I did it. Pretty soon I might even figure out how to use the shifters properly, instead of just mashing at them until I'm in a gear that feels right. Baby steps.