OK - this is a little embarrassing, but it's pretty funny too, so I'm going to share it with you. First, a little backstory . . .
I have been working on upping my exercise since early this year. I have had a life-long struggle with the size of my ass. It's been winning for a number of years, but I've been giving it a run . . . uh . . . walk for its money since early this year.
I have my very own treadmill - it's a Nordic Track EXP3000, and it's about seven years old, but it works great and I like it very much. I bought it with my Cigarette Money (that's the money I save every month that I used to smoke - it's alot) when I was still living in Southern California. I have it all set up in the basement, and I have a telly there with the old TiVo hooked up to it so I can TiVo shows and watch them while I walk on the treadmill.
Last year, during one of the times when my ass was winning the struggle, I stopped walking - I didn't have the telly hooked up yet and at the time, one excuse was as good as another. I have a dear friend who lives out of state but works for a company that is headquartered here in Chicagoland, and this friend comes into town four or five times a year and stays with me. This friend is also a very fit, competitive tennis player who gets on the treadmill without thinking twice (unlike me), and even uses the incline feature (also unlike me).
Well, back to last fall - I decided I needed to get back into a regular walking routine, and I got up early and went downstairs and nearly killed myself on the damn thing. I could not keep up - in fact, I ran the daily risk of being flung off the back of the treadmill. This was actually pretty alarming to me, because I had been doing a daily three miles EASILY in the past (my ass was smaller then ;-)). I know you can't just jump back in where you left off, but I couldn't go very far at all, and I couldn't get up any speed either. It was so disheartening that I quit.
Which brings us to now. I started up again at the beginning of this year, and have struggled and struggled to get up to even a mile without feeling like I'm about to die, and I could never go faster than about 2.5 mph, which used to be my warmup lap speed . . . I finally figured that I was just getting . . . um . . . older.
I got a new pedometer about three weeks ago, and have been wearing it daily, and shooting for 10,000 steps a day. It's totally kewl - does pretty much everything except the dishes. On a weekday, if I walked on the treadmill, I could get 10,000 in because I walk to the train every day, and then walk across the Loop to my office. So, I've been shooting for that. Weekends were another story - without the walks to and from work, I never got more than about 6,000 in. Then, about three days ago, I read a little blurb in Weight Watchers Magazine about pedometers and that "research" shows that you have to walk 12,000 to 15,000 steps to help lose weight.
I thought I would just cry - here I am, fighting my ass tooth and nail, practically falling off the back of the damn treadmill (did you see that guy on the Biggest Loser fling off the back this season?!) and feeling like a Valkyrie when I can get close to 10,000. How on God's green earth was I EVER going to get up to 12,000 or 15,000 without a serious step up in my mileage, and at this point that didn't seem likely with the entire falling off the back of the treadmill thing going on.
Throughout the past two months, I've been looking at the bed of the treadmill and it really just did not look like it was flat to me, even though the incline meter said it was . . .
Shall I just make a long, embarrassing story short? My healthy and fit friend used the incline feature, and when finished, hit the button and thought it had gone back down to level. I just didn't bother to check it the next time I went down there to walk . . . and so I thought it was level because it said it was - I trusted the machine instead of my own eyes and body.
The GD thing was stuck at about 4% incline. No WONDER I couldn't keep up. No WONDER I felt like I was dying every morning. I would be hanging on for dear life, praying to make it one more lap, and hearing the voice of Jillian the Biggest Loser trainer from the show on telly in my head, screaming: "Let. Go. Of. The. Treadmill." while I was having visions of having to crawl across the cement floor to the basement phone (thank God there IS a basement phone) to call 911 if I flew off the back :-D
I actually fiddled around with it this morning and got it to go all the way back to level - pretty easily, I might add, making me feel even more stupid - and proceeded to knock out 2.25 miles at a fat-burning pace without any worry about flinging off the back. The extra good news is that by the end of the day today, I will have 13,000 steps clocked without hardly trying.
This is going to be a lot easier than I thought, and I have to give my ass some kudos, because it didn't quit on me, and believe me it wanted to. More times than I can count in the past months.
This will also teach me to CHECK the equipment if it looks wonky :-D
On the positive side, I probably helped myself by walking for a couple of months at a serious incline (4% is serious to me), but I cannot tell you how happy I am to feel like I have a chance of beating my ass into submission . . . and failing that, at least into a much smaller size. ;-)