Sauna Thoughts – Yesterday at the Rec Center

27 03 2009

Well … by now all know that Denver got a smidge of snow yesterday. It wasn’t until after I’d left for the gym that it started.

The gym that I use is the Englewood Recreation Center. I’ll always be a fan of Curves for getting my behind going and the Y, but I like the feel of this place. It takes a little for me to get to it and I am not an Englewood resident, but whatever. The problem I had with the Y by my house was that it felt like I was stepping way back in time. Usually I don’t hae a problem with this, but I guess I needed to hit the proverbial re-start. I still have my original photo ID card and I’ve not yet cancelled my membership because I got a great rate from working at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science … but it’s time to go.  The thing about the Englewood Rec Center is that I am going to have to pay extra for the pilates classes that I really want to re-start, but I’m OK with that.  They’re less expensive than the private studio I used to go to and I can wander out of class and down to the weight room or into the pool.

By the time I got down to the rec center — maybe 25 minutes usually — it was snowing. Um … ok. If it had stayed those fluffy flakes, I would have been more or less OK. My aging Mits gets 415 miles to the tank … but doesn’t have defrost or really heat. The rear window doesn’t have enough slope to do much other than catch snow … so I figured I’d just spend most of the day in the gym!

Before I go to play in the surprisingly well appointed weight room, I try to warm up a smidge on the track. The indoor track is interesting. 6.5x = 1 mile. Far better than the 17x for the downtown Y. There’s a green line where walkers are supposed to stay on the inside of, hugging the wall, to allow runners the outside. For the most part, it works. I kind of like walking right down the green line on the straight aways. The track itself circles the top of the building – basketball/volleyball courts on one 1/2 and the pool on the other. The basketball/volleyball side is open where there is glass around the pool for obvious reasons. It can get a smidge hot up there with the glass windows, but whatever. Trying to warm up, calf, knee, and quad on the right were all saying a rather impolite good morning. A little more stretching then downstairs for weights.

I’d sent along my weight “routine” to DMcG. I got it back with the calf raises pretty much permanently lined out. Standing calf raises and I never really got along. I have never much minded dropping my heels down and stretching, but even as a kid I recall rolling up with weight was never something I enjoyed. I learned saying “Oh Bother” when going to a leg machine and having to remove the couple hundred pounds of weights before I could use it in a room full of Englewood Fire Department blokes will suddenly have a small flock of relatively tall guys asking if you need assistance! They were really sweet about it. I just kind of bop through with my little weight card … but today it was looking over at the piling snow by the Emergency Exit door while reminding myself just how much I detest the shoulder machine.

I wandered back upstairs to the track which had a few senior citizens tottering about on it. The trick with this track is to know roughly where they are and not to walk kind of clicked in so as not to walk right in to them. The big trick for me right now is to learn what an “easy” work-out feels like. The first lap wasn’t pleasant. I felt like someone injected tub caulking into my thighs. I’m under ordersto behave myself and to pay attention. First lap was figuring out who was on there with me and slowly things got better. I’ve always dreaded the around and around aspect of things because I get kind of bored. I guess I like looking at the trees because my workouts are partly to let go of the nonsense of life. I played on the green line, saw how close I could get to the wall on the corners and determined that I was in roughly level 4 of 10 pain … not crippling but there. The thing I like about the track over the treadmill is that it’s not spongy. It’s spongier than being outside, but firmer than the rolling conveyor belt. I figured something else out, and if DMcG actually reads these posts he’ll probably start doing a happy dance … or whatever. As long as I kept my strides smaller, the calf didn’t really hurt. I’ve had a bit of a problem with throwing my leg out like I did when I ran sprints. When I can get back on the track, I’ll play with this more. I did make myself laugh as I was remembering to drink my water through especially the later laps. I’d grab the bottle on one part of the ledge and drop it back off about 5 or so steps away. All was OK until I realized I was dropping it off really close to the edge where it would fall into the basketball court! Giggle! I still feel a bit stilted, but 2.5 miles in 35 minutes. I think I was on track for what I’m supposed to be doing.

Off the track and down to the pool. The indoor pool at the Englewood Rec Center is a Tiki theme … 🙂 … and rather warm at all times. I make it a point to end here as there’s a small dry sauna where I can crawl into a corner and … be … I actually like walking the length of the pool. The deepest part is about 5.5 feet. The only real problem I have is cross currents and the fact I can’t see too much in front of me. The rec center, however, usually has one regular lane and the far right side of the pool set off for water walking … turns out it’s pretty popular with the senior set. It was nearly empty, which was nice. There was a water aerobics class going on in the wider area, so I just took up residence in my lane. I simply love my surf booties I picked up in Huntington Beach in February. I’m not ripping apart my feet and since I really DO walk off the bottom of the pool, they give some traction. I feel a lot more comfortable with the water holding me up in the deeper end … and after about 45, I was done and it was sauna time.

The sauna was really peaceful as I was in there alone. I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back up to the house. My car, as I said before, isn’t good in the snow .. and I wasn’t brought up in it. I was, however, taught how to double clutch on some of the hills of San Francisco in the rain … I can stick it here easier, but it’s a knack.

Workout felt pretty good. I still feel wonky, but I’m getting why things are done. I don’t like feeling slow, but that’s a complaint I’ve had about myself since I started walking. It comes from the fact that I used to sprint comfortably and loved that fast feeling of freedom. I was talking with a guy who knew me from my sprinting days … he commented that I had a problem with my right calf waaayyyy back then! I completely forgot about it. He commented that I obviously still had my headstrong way (when looking at my Athlinks races for 2008) and was surprised I was “allowed” to do it. “But then again, Lilly …” he laughed. As he was sitting in the hospital having his second knee replacement (“Too much running, not enough paying attention to the ‘oh hell I’m hurt’ signals”) he read through my copies of racewalking books … the advice:

“Lilly – tell your coach exactly what is going on, make sure you’re listening to yourself & being heard and heal, damn it! Your speedometer needs to be reset … and unlike running you can have a lot more fun with this! Instead of just speed, it’s doing it right … now that’ s a challenge with your name etched all over it if I ever saw one. I think I might try this sport of yours.”

Yeah … just call me Eliza Doolittle … Here’s to healing.

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