Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2 + 3 + 3 = EIGHT

You know those cars that can go from zero to sixty in like three seconds? For that to happen, the car engine obviously has to react as soon as the gas pedal is depressed. Well, that’s essentially how most people’s hearts work. Your body tells your heart it needs to hustle as soon as you exert yourself, which provides you with the proper physiological support. A transplant recipient’s heart operates more like a little four-cylinder vehicle, which works fine once it’s warm but needs some time to catch up after the gas pedal is pushed. Because some nerves are cut during transplantation, it takes time for my heart to figure out that my body needs it to pick up the pace.

So while most gym-goers hop right on the treadmill or elliptical and pump it up to full speed, I need to start out very slowly and work my way up. I begin walking at a leisurely pace, then increase the speed and introduce increasing amounts of incline to get my heart moving. Because I’m only able to get my heart rate up to about 120 walking (resting is 105), my first episode of jogging is really quite miserable. However, once my heart is beating at between 140 and 155 beats per minute, jogging becomes worlds easier. The trick is to insert the right amount of walking between each jogging spurt so that I get a bit of a rest but maintain the high heart rate.

So what in the world does 2 + 3 + 3 = EIGHT mean? That’s the number of minutes I jogged on Sunday as a part of my most intense post-transplant workout yet! I felt like Rocky afterwards. I slowed my pace a little from earlier jogging efforts per my dad’s sage advice and felt much better and was able to run longer, both in terms of time and distance. I spent 35 minutes on the treadmill with eight total minutes of jogging (two minutes, then three minutes, then another three minutes). My new pace is 12 minutes/mile or 5 mph. Not exactly breaking records, but making progress!

I completed the same amount of time on the treadmill tonight, again with the 2 + 3 + 3 jogging format. However, tonight’s experience was pretty brutal. I know everyone has tough workouts sometimes, but it’s frustrating to have ONE good workout and then a bad one. It’s hard to get myself back into the gym after feeling bad, but I’ll try to keep Sunday’s Rocky workout in my brain instead of today’s crappy one. I know my workouts will become more pleasant as my body gets more and more accustomed to being pushed. It’s just sometimes difficult to transition knowing something into actually doing it.

I have a new goal, which will help keep me motivated. Donate Life New Jersey is holding a 5k run/walk on June 12, and I intend to participate. I intend to RUN. Don’t get too excited, I won’t be ready to run the whole thing by then, but my goal is to run at least a mile straight. Who’s coming with me?

1 comment:

  1. NP is next to Summit, where I grew up. I'd love to be by your side. If you sign up, let me know... I'm in. :)