Monday, May 9, 2011
(Not So) Heavy Metal
I used to lift weights. I started my sophomore year in college. I can't remember exactly why, but peer pressure is probably a pretty good guess, since a few other guys on my hall had started working out that year. One of my friends and I started lifting at the same time, after some initial instruction by another one of the guys, who was an ex-football player (there was no football at my school, or else he probably would have been a current football player). The football player got us started with much-needed basic instructions and then after a week or two we "noobs" were mostly left on our own to go to the gym, where we would make fun of ourselves and others, try to pick up metal plates of varying sizes, and generally misuse a decent if unspectacular college gym for the next three years. I can still remember trying to drive the evening after the first time I lifted. I could barely move my arms to steer. It's funny to look back on, and I guess it was pretty funny at the time, too.
Along the way, my once mild-mannered friend turned into and sadistic taskmaster in the weight room. I always needed to do one more set, no matter how dead my arms were. Our goal was to leave the gym each time so tired we could barely move our arms. Of course, being college students, we would probably go back to the dorm and have beer, anyway, but I'd at least gotten started on something that I've mostly stuck with, albeit with varying degrees of success and commitment, since my first visit to the college gym in 1996.
After I graduated college and got ready to move to Philly for my first "real" job (that might be worth a blog post someday), one of my first purchases a weight bench and barbells at Play-it-Again Sports. I spent under $150, and it's largely served me well, though it was mostly used as a coat-rack or a dust collector from 2001 to mid-2004, when I'd had a gym membership (which got used less and less each year after an initial pre-wedding gotta-get-in-shape panic). When we moved to our current home in 2004, I set the weight bench back up and had done a decent job sticking with it...until January of this year, when I pretty abruptly stopped.
There. "I used to lift weights." I said it. I can no longer get away with the "I've slacked a little bit in my lifting" or "I've got to get back into the routine" type statements I've been using to reassure myself. Lifting had gotten less frequent in 2010, as I tried to on longer and longer runs, but I don't think I'd picked up a weight since the first week of January of this year. I'm sure I haven't since I hurt my knee at the end of January. That's not slacking off, it's not a slip-up in the routine. That's four months. That's stopping completely.
I started again this morning. I pretty drastically cut weight back in every set from what I'd been doing previously, but I got through it.
It's good to start again. I don't have specific goals for this, other than to just get back into a regular routine. I'm just trying to keep muscle tone, not "bulk up" or add weight that might actually hinder my running. And since it makes for very boring blogging, you probably won't hear about it again here until there's some sort of mishap, which there will be. And that feeling I told you about earlier, where I could barely drive because I couldn't move my arms? I think that's how I'm going to feel this afternoon. Ouch.