30 November 2011

elliptical cross trainer


My running injury fails to heal - stinging pain on the outside of my left foot. I don't want the pounds to pile on so I am visiting the free local gym two or three times a week for a vigorous cardio workout on the elliptical cross trainer. I'm hoping this will keep me in decent shape to resume running in the spring, or whenever this injury eventually heals.

Forty minutes at level five burns nearly six hundred calories, the equivalent of a five mile run but without the sights and distractions of road running it's easy to get bored. There is no TV screen. This is a free facility after all. To pass the time I analise the display on the elliptical, using the 'cadence', 'calories burned' and 'time remaining' figures to confirm my effort is on track. Sometimes I pedal/ski for minutes with my eyes shut.

Almost inevitably, people-watching takes over. I start noting the time as someone on the running track passes. I look again as they complete another lap and check their lap time. This varies wildly according to the individual. Serious runners clock the lap at under forty seconds while the less energetic struggle to break the minute. Curiously there are some who adopt a gait where both feet stay on the ground at all times and shuffle round barely above walking pace in seventy seconds. (For the record my usual pace is forty two seconds per lap.)

Now I turn my attention to the rider of the exercise bike to my left, a middle-aged woman sporting a neat shampoo and set. She is turning the pedals at a crawl and studying a paperback propped so that it obscures the display panel and all its vital information.

To my right a twenty something guy in a short sleeve t-shirt is lifting a chunky black dumbbell. His bicep looks like a coconut wedged under his skin and his neck muscles strain like cords. He grunts with each effort.

I turn back to my digital display. 'Time remaining' is six minutes on this, my second twenty minute stint. My heart rate is high at one hundred and fifty-six beats per minute and I'm slick with sweat. I love the feeling of my pores leaking away all the toxins. My thigh muscles are firing hard.

When the machine beeps I dismount and wipe down the surfaces. I might not be doing this again until January but I'll try and squeeze in one more visit before we leave for England on Monday.

Cases are packed, itinerary printed, passports stowed and to-do lists are shrinking. Bartons, you are cleared for take off...

2 comments:

Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

Talking of Barton's, try the Civil Wars for size. Available now and since October at an outlet near you.
Keep on running mate. Fingers crossed the injury heals. Looking forward to meeting you all soon.

Perfect Virgo said...

Yep, see you soon.

By the way, I put The Civil Wars on your Music Man to bring with me. Superb harmonies eh! I'll replace it with something else.