I’ve been really enjoying the Cayman Islands. I got my car about a week ago and it’s been great so far. Here’s a picture of it:
It’s really nice to be driving an Infiniti coupe again. I missed my old G37 quite a bit while I lived in Costa Rica. While this is, in some ways, a “downgrade” from my G37 I don’t really look at it like that. I’ve always liked the exterior of the G35 more than the G37. While the G37 interior is clearly superior I wouldn’t use most of the features here. For instance, a nav system would be totally pointless. The bluetooth would be pretty silly too because I don’t spend a whole lot of time on my Cayman cell phone. So while the G37 is obviously better I think I saved about $20,000 by getting a 2007 G35 versus a 2008 G37. I would have had to pay about $10,000-$12,000 more for the car and I would have had about $8,000 more in taxes due to a higher tax rate (40% versus 27.5%) while also importing a more expensive car. Either way it seems like it’s an easy decision to save $20,000 and drive this around instead. As it is, this is a really nice car and I’m very happy with it.
Anyway, to get to the real content of this blog entry (and the reason for the title), I’ve been going to the gym a bunch. I joined the local gym about three weeks ago and I’ve gone almost every day. I might have missed something like three days in that span. I’ve been focusing a lot on doing cardio which is a very different thing for me. I used to go to the gym and do like 20 minutes of half-hearted effort on the bike along with like 40 minutes of more intense lifting. I’m trying to switch that around. I’ve started doing 30 minutes of solid cardio at a minimum and over 60 minutes on some days. The top end of that is actually the most cardio I’ve done in a gym in my entire life.
Not surprisingly, I’ve never been a good runner. I think it’s largely due to a lack of training combined with my weight. I’ve always been a big guy from the moment I was born to being six feet tall at the age of 13 to today. It’s always been tough to run. I ran cross-country as a sophomore in high school (over 10 years ago!) but I was one of the worst runners on the team. I also had a hip flexor injury throughout most of the season that prevented me from doing a lot of training. That being said, I think my best time in the 5k was something like 23:30 or 24:00. Pretty slow. Especially compared to the guys running sub-20 minutes at the top end of our team (and one guy who was doing like 16 minutes — freakin unreal).
Since I stopped running for the cross-country team I don’t think I’ve EVER run more than 1.5 miles at a time. Meaning without stopping at all. I’ve done workouts like 1 mile, rest for 5 minutes, 1 mile, rest for 10 minutes, 1 mile, etc. But never even two miles straight. Really pathetic but it always seems like my heart rate goes right to 170 when I start running and I just can’t keep it going for more than about 10 minutes at a time.
So today I got onto the treadmill hoping to get through 1.5 miles at a leisurely 5 miles per hour without feeling like I wanted to die and being totally out of breath. I’d done 1 mile at the same pace without a TON of trouble the last few workouts and I wanted to see if I could start to push it a little more. So I get to the 1 mile mark and I feel great. I get to 1.5 miles and I’m not even close to out of breath. I was completely and totally shocked. I checked my heart rate and I was at 155 which is much more manageable than 170. So I decide to keep going. Before I know it I’ve been running for 36 minutes and I’m at the 3 mile mark. I couldn’t believe it. That is the FIRST time in my life that I’ve ran for that long (including cross country) without being out of breath or really wanting to stop. I decided to stop but that was mainly because I needed to fill up my water bottle and I figured I needed to stop at some point. But I definitely could have kept going.
Anyway, I know this won’t seem like a big deal to many of you. For some people running comes a lot more naturally than it does to me. For all of you 150 lbers out there tell me about the next time you run 3 miles with 70 lbs on your back. For me, this is a huge deal. I’m really thrilled and I think this is the result of putting in a bunch of time on the bike and elliptical pushing myself. I’ve been doing a lot of 30-40 minute elliptical sessions trying to keep my heart rate around 155-160 and I think that really came into play today on the treadmill. My body is now somewhat used to this level of exertion. Now I just need to try to up the speed a bit at a time. I’d really like to be able to routinely put in 4-5 mile runs at like 8 minute/mile pace.
The bottom line is that I really surprised myself and I’m really excited about the prospect of being able to use the treadmill as a cardio tool instead of limiting myself to just elliptical, bike and rowing.