I had a rough day yesterday. Nothing major, just a lot of stress accumulation over the past few days and some worry thrown in. Worrying, by the way, is something I usually do well avoiding. It's wasted energy and often makes you feel worse than if the event you're afraid of actually happened. Anywho...
All of this made me hungry, cranky, tired and snarky. I didn't like where I was mentally or emotionally. I was too far gone for reflection alone, I need to release some of that stress. It was too hot to ride, I can barely run right now, so the gym and the elliptical machine! I did pull-ups, crunches, jump rope and back exercises for an hour then hopped on the elliptical machine. When I got on the machine, I was already feeling better. But I knew I needed to hit that zone where you spend so much energy that you have none left for trivial worries and stresses.
Here's the problem: I set the machine to do a cardio workout. The machine informs me that I have a target heart rate of 146 and it will adjust resistance to maintain such. It takes a lot of work for me to get my HR there on those machines... A lot. I've got to push that machine at over 100 rpm (it's flashing at me to slow down). After 6 or 7 minutes my HR is in the 120's and the resistance is climbing. Eventually the resistance climbs to be about 3/4 of the maximum. Usually after 20 minutes my HR will get to 146 but at that level of resistance, it feels more like strength training than cardio work.
Now running or riding I can maintain HR's over 150 for quite a long time. But on the elliptical and the ARC machine at the gym, well, the machines just aren't cutting it anymore. However, I love that! When I get on that elliptical and am in the mood for the machine, I approach it like I want to break it (not from mis-use). Then, when I see it being worked on, I feel as though there's a feather in my cap.
Today is my last day of vacation. I'm looking forward to the structure of a work schedule in some ways. It will help me with planning meals and maintaining proper caloric intakes, though the flip-side is that I'll have less time to workout. I have two big races this winter, El Tour de Tucson (109 mile roadbike) and The Tucson Marathon (I'm doing the half). Training starts in a month! I can't wait!