Critical Limit #1


Some weeks ago, I decided to change my exercise regimen (again). Until that point, I had been focusing purely on strength. In the process I managed to max out two bikes, and one magnetic trainer. When I was on top of it, it didn't seem enough resistance. This left me with a frustrating problem however.

No matter how hard I tried, I still became winded going up a flight of stairs. I could bike for 45 minutes at the highest resistance and gear, and I couldn't go up a flight of stairs. As a result, I've changed my tactics from high resistance slow speed, to increasing speed and low resistance. The theory is that the speed will focus on my cardiovascular system.

I can't track this easily at home due to the fact that I don't have a heart monitor. I can take my own pulse easy enough, but that's difficult to do while trying to keep your balance on a bicycle (not to mention read the subtitles of the anime Claymore which I'm watching). Thankfully, this hotel's elliptical machine has a heart monitor built in. My target rate is above 160 bpm.

That sounds quite high, but my standing rate is 120 - 130. That rate drops a bit when I cut back on my caffeine intake and drink enough water, two pieces of advice that are rather difficult for me to follow. I splurged again this evening before heading to the exercise room. The effect was, how we shall say, "pronounced": I managed to have a sustained speed of 5mph -- my typical 4.3 -- and a maximum heart rate of 174.

This was just past my current limit. It's taken most of the time I've been writing this entry to calm my heart down. I resorted to sport drinks to keep myself from passing out. Nevertheless, there was a mad moment in the elevator while returning to my room where I laughed. I feel so close to breaking the fitness barrier I've been fighting the last year. I can almost grasp it.

But, just like the main character in War of the North #3, I must go faster...