Posted by: Marie | April 7, 2013

(826) Not too uncomfortable – Part 2 of 2

Post #826
[Private journal entry written on Friday, March 30, 2012 – continued from previous post]

That got me to thinking . . . maybe I can start doing that on a regular basis . . . maybe I could change my program to include little spurts of increased incline. It would mean I would need to rework my program . . . that would take some time . . . but, it would be worth it . . .

As I was packing up to leave, Kyle checked in on me . . .


Kyle: How did it go?

Me: It was fine! It was easy . . . it only raised my heart rate six points each time and it hardly affected my breathing.

Kyle: That’s your body telling you that you need to push it harder.


Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Yeah, I know . . .

Kyle: What was your heart rate when you were on the lesser incline?

Me: It was staying in the low to mid 130’s, which is about 65% of my max heart rate. My overall average was 139, including the times with the 3% incline.

Kyle: I know that the common belief is that you should keep it between 120 and 140, but I would encourage you to go a little higher than that. Do you know how to calculate your max heart rate, specific to you, or is the “65%” number your using more of a general guideline?

Me: I do know how to calculate it specific to me . . . my resting heart rate is 75 . . . that puts my max heart rate at 176 . . .

Kyle: Oh, okay . . . it sounds like you do know how to calculate that. You can go as high as 80% of your max . . . I wouldn’t sustain that high of a rate, but you can push up to that and then back off. Going up and down like that is far better for conditioning your heart and lungs than holding a lower rate for a sustained period of time. You can get a lot more conditioning in a lot less time . . . more bang for your buck!

Me: I see what you are saying . . . it makes sense.

Kyle: When you go hiking next time . . .

Me: Which is tomorrow . . . I’m going tomorrow!

(What? Where did that come from? I had had only a passing thought that I might go hiking tomorrow, but I hadn’t committed to it . . . where the heck did all that conviction come from?)

Kyle: Oh, neat! When you’ve been hiking, have you ever felt your heartbeat in your ears?

Me: Oh, yeah . . . every time I go hiking . . . I hike until I feel my heartbeat throbbing in my ears, then I stop and rest for a few minutes, until I catch my breath.

Kyle: I wouldn’t recommend pushing it that hard . . . but, since you know what that feels like, you could do the same thing here . . . you can push yourself on the treadmill by increasing the incline until you just start feeling it in your ears, then back off and let your heart rate come back down. The best thing you can do is shake things up every once in a while.


I could feel a battle going on inside myself . . . fearfulness telling me to not shake things up, courageousness telling me it could be empowering to push my endurance like that, caution warning me to not allow my fanatical side to take it to the extreme . . .

Yet, the idea of approaching my workout with the same mindset I take to my hikes really called to me.

All of the sudden, I felt a surge of courage. I decided to take a step of faith . . . I decided to ask for Kyle’s help with redesigning my tolerance/endurance program. I know there is a risk his involvement could make things worse for me . . . but, there is a good chance he could be helpful for me, also . . . my gut told me the healthiest choice would be to trust him in that way . . .


Me: I’m realizing something . . . I know I originally told you that I am planning to get together with you around May to set up a resistance program. But, I’m realizing that it might be beneficial to spend some time with you now so you could help me with the endurance part of my program. Would you be willing to do that?

Kyle: Absolutely! Do you have any ideas on what that might look like . . . in what ways I could help you?

Me: Well . . . I know you were being very gentle with me . . . making sure the increased incline didn’t feel too scary to me. The truth of the matter is, I used to be a fire fighter in my early 20’s. I was in really great shape and my workouts were very challenging. So, I know what it is like to push myself really hard. And, I’m not opposed to that. I mean, I know I’m not in very good shape now, but I’m not scared of hard workouts . . . except that, because of the PTSD stuff, I get emotionally triggered and then sometimes I collapse emotionally . . . that’s what I have to watch out for now.

Kyle: We don’t want that to happen . . . I will do everything in my power to help you find that fine line between being challenged and being triggered.

Me: Thank you . . . I would like to show you my program . . . what I’m currently doing, what fitness level I’m at currently, what direction I would like to go . . . then, I’d like your feedback on it. I think you could tell me what is working well and what I might improve.

Kyle: I can do that! Do you have any injuries or health concerns that might impact what I suggest?

Me: Not really . . . (laughing) Well . . . other than the obvious . . . running and jumping is really hard on my boobs!

Kyle: (Laughing) That’s good to know! And, that would make a difference!

Me: But, other than that . . . no.

Kyle: It is good to mix it up periodically with different machines . . . you could try the elliptical . . .

Me: (Making a face) Uuugghhh . . . I really don’t like the elliptical . . . I have a hard time keeping my stride smooth . . . and it can irritate my knees . . . same thing with the stairs . . . that’s why I like the treadmill.

Kyle: Would you be interested in the rowing machine? That’s not as hard on knees . . .

(My first thought is that I don’t like rowing machine for a number of reasons . . . it squishes my gut . . . it puts me in what feels like a vulnerable position . . . but, I couldn’t say I’ve tried it recently, so it might be different than I’m imagining . . . and, I didn’t want to be one of those people who asks for help and then turns her nose up at every suggestion . . . )

Me: Yeah . . . I’d be willing to try it.


Anyway . . . we compared schedules and the first day we are both available is a week from today at noon. I’ll finish up with him by 1:00pm, then I’ll have to race over to the local middle school, and change clothes and clean up there . . . I’m scheduled to accompany my mentor, Kelly, as she sings a piece for the school talent show that starts at 1:30pm . . . she is the choir director at that school.

It will be a tight schedule, but I doubt Kelly will be first on the program . . . I’ll probably have a little buffer time. But, it might be good for me to call over there and make sure she’s not first on the program!!

As I left the gym, I thought a bit more about the elliptical . . . maybe I could try it for five minutes . . . I know I have felt awkward and clumsy when I’ve tried it before, but maybe this one is configured differently . . . maybe this time will be a different experience. I’ll give it a try next time I go into the gym.

I’m feeling really good about having set up an appointment with Kyle. I can feel him gently challenging my resistance . . . that is his job . . that’s probably why he is good at it! I think he will be patient with me as I’m learning to be unstuck. It would healthy for me to keep opening up to the possibilities he offers.

The cool thing is that I’m starting to feel playful around this . . . and daring . . . and empowered. I’m noticing those characteristics are showing up in me more and more.

Last night, I redesigned my treadmill program to include periods of steeper inclines. I feel ready to do it . . . my average heart rate yesterday was low enough that, the next time I go to the gym, I would have increased the intensity of my workout by one level, anyway.

And, right now, I’m getting ready to go hiking . . . I mean, I better follow through on the words that unexpectedly tumbled out of my mouth yesterday in front of Kyle, LOL!

The weather is pristine today . . . it’s going to be a great day for hiking!

Quotes 736


  1. Hope the gym has kept working for you.

    • It’s been a hit and miss experience . . . but that how it often goes with establishing new habits!

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