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Building the body

Here’s the thing about crossing the half-century mark. Getting in shape is harder. Not just a little bit.

So, I’m trying to get back to running after a couple of decades of not.Okay, maybe more like 30 years of not with a few interruptions in there when I did go run for brief periods of time with limited success.

I enjoy running. Or at least, I used to back when my body was between twenty and thirty years old. I think I would enjoy it again, if I can just get in the shape to actually do it.

This is the problem. My knees scream when I run.

I know the reason for this because I made a serious attempt to get back to running a few years ago. My efforts came to an abrupt stop when my knees screamed in pain and I reached the point I could barely walk. I went to an orthopedic surgeon who checked everything and told me my knees were fine. The problem was the muscles supporting the knees were so weak that running put too much stress on the knees.

He referred me to physical therapy and after a few months, during which running was not allowed, I reached the point I could run without pain. It was great for a brief time. I lost a ton of weight and I felt really good. I got out there and ran with my dog. On days I didn’t run, I walked or rode my bike. Did I mention I felt really good?

Then life got in the way and I returned to my bad habits. Over-eating and under-exercising.

So here I am again, starting with those first steps. I got impatient and tried running too soon. Now I have to take a step back to continue building up the leg muscles before I can run. Fortunately, I am currently living in an apartment building with an exercise room. This makes my life a lot easier.Unfortunately, the exercise room does not include a stationary bike–the best exercise to build up those muscles around the knees.

In this magical exercise room, I did find a weird machine that seems to be almost like riding a bike while standing up. It is sort of an elliptical, but feels different. I did some research yesterday and found it was a Cybex Arc Trainer. So, I’m going to use it to the max for at least a month before I start running again.

Here’s the plan–build up until I can do 50-60 minutes on the Cybex Arc Trainer (CAT) and press 85 lbs on each leg. Right now I can press 55 lbs on a single leg, so I have  way to go there. I did 30 minutes on the CAT once and thought I would die. Not the cardio part, the legs! So there is a lot of work to do there. There’s also a leg curl machine that I’ve barely used. I’m not sure where I need to be on that machine, but I will use it regularly.

I’ll check back in one month October 10 and see where I’m at with all these goals.

Then there’s writing, getting through Unleash Your Story, keeping up with the day job and various commitments I’ve made to teach workshops, etc. So as not to drive myself completely crazy, I am not dieting. Well, not seriously. I’m going to eat sensibly and not worry too much about my weight for now. Okay, that’s it. I’m not going to ramble about this too much, but you can check my exercise log at any time to see if I’m sticking to the plan.

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