Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Chariots of Fire" This is Not

My recent workouts have been less Chariots of Fire than relaxed Beethoven, less Rocky and its training montage than a punchless 12 round split decision.  The month has been heavy on stationary bike at the gym, while very light on the boring and intense runs throughout the city and on the beach.  The reasons for this sea change?
There is something comforting in the objectivity of the red numbers on the stationary bike, featuring the number of calories burned per hour (414 at the "3" resistance level, and 333 at the "2" resistance level).
There is also something comforting in the objectivity of the scale.  The ten pounds lost in the last month have shown me that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  
My routine for the last month has been heavy on stationary biking and devoid of any running, save for a few twenty-foot sprints as I refereed scrimmages for my high school team.  I have not yet played basketball with any anaerobic seriousness, though I now live in a complex that features a rudimentary outdoor basketball court.
There is a healthy (pun intended) guilt associated with this recent training regimen.  There is negligible lactic acid buildup, no cramps, infinitesimal shortness of breath.  Only a healthy amount of sweat on my back and left behind on the backrest show any evidence of a workout.
When I run, even for my amateurish high of twenty-five minutes, there is much chugging/trudging along, much shortness of breath, multiple cramps, and a constant awareness that I'd rather be watching Flo and her Progressive Insurance commercials than running.  A constant awareness that I'd rather be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, eating paint, attending one of those meetings that set up meetings, doing, well, anything else besides running.
When I bike (even the verb is ill-fitting here), I read (Kindle or otherwise), follow NFL and NBA games on the TVs, cast a omnipotent eye over the length and width of the gym, seeking out both attractive women and gym regulars who seem to be working so much harder than me.  I even check my phone for texts an average of seven to thirty-seven times, send e-mails (from a bike!), and check for both received e-mails and phone numbers of movie theaters to which I want to go after I complete my supposedly-rigorous one hour "bike ride."  Let's just say that the number of visits to from a sitting position at the gym have far outnumbered my number of internal pep-talks in which I tell myself that I have to work through the fatigue.
The lesson here?  Maybe that hard work comes in different forms?  Maybe that slow and steady wins the race?  Or maybe it's that vanity--these ten dropped pounds have definitely made my former six-pack at least worthy of the ridges of a mattress covered by a bedsheet--wins out over performance.  After all, I am trying to get to a point where my body's form and function allow me to dunk a basketball.
Naw.  You know what I learned, having hit the stationary bike for at least 90% of the days in the past month?  Sometimes the reward goes to the one who shows up, then shows up the next day.  And the next.