Saturday, January 7, 2012

Something New, and something scarey

This morning, in the name of trying new things and getting out of the ruts I tend to travel in, I went to the gym to do a bit of cross-training on a piece of equipment I've never tried. The idea of trying something "new to me" 12 times in 2012 originated with Kim over at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls, and I "signed up" for the challenge she got started with this post.

It was a beautiful morning (for January at any rate) this morning, with little wind, no rain, and temps in the low 50's...perfect running weather. The problem with that for me is that I had a bit of a "scarey experience" yesterday so I won't be running until I can see my sports chiropractor about it (a little later this morning as it turns out...he had a cancellation :-)). But more about that a little later.

My first "new to me" challenge involved this piece of equipment...

This is a recumbent elliptical, made by Octane Fitness, and is their xR6000 model.At first I thought that since this is a seated elliptical, that it would essentially be just an easier version of a standing elliptical. It is marketed (in part) to those individuals who have lower back issues, or cannot otherwise stand for a workout.

Ah, but I was wrong.

There is a 5 position lever that allows you to set the recline level of the seat, along with a lever under the seat itself that allows it to slide up and down (which allows you to adjust the distance from your seat to the pedals). The readout expresses the pedal and/or pole rate as speed in cycles per minute.

Although there are many programs from which to choose, I set it to Manual, Level 8, for an hour. While I suppose one "could" use both the pedals and the arms at the same time, I found this to be a bit uncomfortable (or at least not what I was in the mood for), so I setup an alternating pattern and tried to hold the speed between 80 and 85. For the first 10 minutes I used legs only, and when holding on, held onto the handles next to the seat. From the 10 minute mark to 12 I put my feet on the foot rests just above the pedal pads, and kept up the same pace with just the arms (that was a challenge). From there and for the remainder of the time, I would use legs from the 2 min. mark to the 10 min. mark (12:00 - 20:00, 22:00 - 30:00, etc.), then switch to arms from the 10 min mark to the 2 min. mark (20:00 - 22:00, 30:00 - 32:00, etc.).

This worked my quads and glutes a fair bit more than either my real bike or the stationary ones at the gym, since on both of them the angle from the seat to the pedals is more vertical. That allows you to "get over" (or on top of) the pedaling action when difficult, and this just doesn't allow for that. And of course the arm work was all different.

I've got to admit that I enjoyed it, and will probably do it again. My final readout looked a bit like this (excuse the "flash")...

So it was a decent workout from both the calorie's expended perspective, as well as the other elements mentioned above.

Now, for the scarey part...

OK...well, maybe not that scarey, but it was disconcerting to say the least. I was out on a four mile run on Thursday morning, and at a hair over 3 miles into the run, my right knee just sort of gave way (no pain, and only for a fraction of a second). I didn't fall, so I kept running although a bit shaken. I was more or less fine up to the 3.5 mile mark, where it happened again, but this time several times in rapid succession about 2 to 4 seconds apart. Once again….no pain, just like a signal sent to my right leg and knee to just stop working and relax for a second. I stopped at that point and just walked it back home.

After thinking about it for a bit, I'm thinking I must have pinched a nerve in my back or something, since I did have sort of a "hitch in my get-along" right about where the arrow is pointing...

 It was scarey and a bit weird though. It wasn't that it was painful (because it wasn't at all), but if my leg gave out for just a bit longer, I might have fallen (or tried to catch myself mid-fall, which is usually worse). I'll see my chiropractor today since it is still sore there, and see if I need an adjustment, manipulation, or just a bit of time. This is quite different from anything I've dealt with thus far, and I have to say that I'm not a fan of parts just deciding to take a mini-vacation mid-stride. I might have strained my back a bit (although I didn't feel it at the time) by putting the Christmas decorations in the attic, but we'll see.

What a drag it is getting old.. :-)

Happy running everyone !!!


  1. Hi Mike.....

    Sorry to hear about the back/knee problems.....I have a feeling your friendly neighborhood chiro will fix you up right quick. I've got mine on speed dial....just in case!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Thanks Bill. After spending about 75 minutes with him this morning, where we went through some manipulation, a bit of ART, and some acupuncture with mild electric shocks, I'm already feeling a lot better.

    It seems that I am not as balanced as I need to be (people tell me that all the time ;-)) concerning how tight/loose my muscles and ligaments are from one side to the other (especially in the hamstring, glute, and low back area).

    The long run coupled with putting those heavy boxes in the attic 4 days afterwards exacerbated my imbalance, so it caused a series of back muscles to impact a nerve.

    I have some specific stretches I'm supposed to do at least twice a day (more if possible) to finish bringing myself into alignment and keep it that way. Some strengthening exercises were also discussed.

    Well worth the money for the visit !!!

  3. Hi Mike - Just found your blog. Glad the chiro was able to help. Seems I have some of those same imbalance issues that I'm currently trying to work through with my acupuncturist! Good luck!

  4. Michelle,

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the whole "imbalances" thing definitely caught me off-guard (and still does since it began to rear its ugly head a couple of months ago). I guess I wasn't running often or far enough to have those imbalances affect me before, but now that the mileage is up, I'm going to have to get my act straightened out (so to speak).

    Good luck with yours as well (I can't believe you counted drivers on cell phones on your run...I'm not sure I could count that high and focus enough on my run around here. :-))

  5. Hopefully your strengthening exercises help!

    I'm also doing the New to You Cross Training Challenge and the recumbent elliptical looks like it would be a challenge! We don't have one of those at my gym though. I have to think of what I want to do for January's new to me cross training activity. Maybe the rowing machine.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. The recumbent elliptical looks interesting! I don't think my gym has them though.

  7. Hey--nice New 2 U torture device, I mean recumbent elliptical. My gym doesn't have anything as cool as that!

    I hope your chiro had good news today. Thanks for taking on the challenge:)

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