Monday, May 18, 2009

Run, Forrest, RUN!!!

Bought a new treadmill over the weekend, to replace the old one I had for nearly 10 years. The old NordicTrack was still operational, but it was getting decrepit and saggy in the middle. I had already replaced a couple of parts here and there over the years -- and of course, the motor is still running okay -- but the chassis was getting rickety and unstable. I run on average 24 miles a week on my treadmill, so over the years that kind of wear and tear adds up. Not to mention the fact that Lisa uses it, too; although to a much lesser extent.

Anyway, the new NordicTrack (I really like and trust this brand) arrived in a huge, giant box from Sears. Luckily the deliverers took away the packaging materials and left me with only the parts to assemble. It was fairly easy, although the instructions look very complicated at first. Took maybe 30 to 45 mins, tops.

Anyway, this baby works like a charm! I didn't think there would be that big of a difference, but having something that has a flat, firm running surface and does not rock back and forth as you run really makes a huge improvement in one's game. I ran a quick diagnostic warm-up, then took the machine's built-in fitness age meter. This is a 9-minute test that checks out your heart rate after putting you through various speeds and inclines in that time period. You have to first enter in a set of variables: like your real age, your gender, height, and weight. The program uses this information to judge what comparative age you are, fitness-wise, to your actual age. It was so easy I didn't even break a sweat -- and I'm used to buckets of sweat coming off me when I run, mind you. My heart rate at the end of 9 minutes was only 85! Can you believe that? That's only around 30 beats above my normal resting heart rate! WTF was I doing on that treadmill, sleep walking? (ha, ha)

Anyway, I'm 32 years old. But my test came back with the number: 18. Which means, apparently, that I'm at the same fitness level as an 18 year old. I knew the number would be low, but not that low. Wow!

The treadmill also has an iFit card reader, which means I can purchase pre-programmed iFit cards designed by personal trainers. Jill Michaels has a popular line of them, in fact. I tried out the demo card that came with the machine. iFit cards come in 3 levels. Level 1 is for beginners, and only goes as high as 3 miles per hour for speed. Level 2 is for moderate runners, with a highest speed of 6.5 miles per hour. And Level 3 is for endurance runners, with a highest speed of 8.5 miles per hour.

I went strait to level 3, as 8 mph is my normal jogging pace when I don't want to stress myself out too much. I actually run higher than that, though. Since the card was a demo, it only allowed 20 minutes of programming. The card automatically adjusted the incline and speed for me throughout the session, and at times I admit it was a little challenging. But the challenges never lasted for more than 2 minutes at a pop, and I'm used to running at top speeds for a lot longer stretch. In the end, I only burned around 250 calories in 20 mins. Whereas, on my own runs, I burn 400 in the same time period. Of course, I run for 35 to 45 mins most runs, so I usually end up burning twice that when all is said and done.

I went online and purchased some more challenging iFit cards. I bought an 8-week, 3-step toning one for Lisa; and a high-endurance level 3 card for myself. I'm actually excited because I've been looking for a way to challenge myself more on my runs. Or, at least, to change things up. I also noticed a card for marathon training, which is something I never plan to do. I only run for my health, not to win races and show off. Also, unlike most marathon runners, I have nothing to prove. To myself or to anyone else.

So, yeah, that was my weekend. I know, I know . . . I live the life of high adventure, don't I? *snort*

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