Posted by: wheelywonka | October 2, 2011

Tales from the Fitness War Zone

One of the biggest challenges of staying in shape is trying to do so while traveling extensively. This has been such a year for me. Between work and kids at out-of-town/state colleges, I have been on the road a lot. The key is that you have to carve out time In your schedule and make fitness a priority. With both the Ride to the River and the Rock and Roll Marathon looming in the next few months, I have no option.

In the last few years my exercise of choice while on the road has been running. All you need is your shoes, your shorts, and a good sense of direction, and you should be able to get in some well-needed miles. In the last two years, I’ve had some amazing runs in the mountains of Colorado and North Carolina, along with downtown Chicago on election morning 2008, using this approach. The risks are of course that you may get lost. The other risk is that you may run into a part of town where a middle-aged jogger listening to the Clash on his iPod is not appreciated. This happened to me in London this summer, when I decided to head east on a run from Westferry Circus, versus my usual westerly run towards central London. It was dusk, and soon I couldn’t make out any street signs from all the graffiti. And, before I knew it, I was being chased by a large group of heavily-inked ne’er-do-wells. I raced back to the hotel as quickly as I could, more than likely setting a PB in the process.

Another challenge is the cheap hotel fitness center. If you stay in five star hotels all the time, you can count on a well equipped and clean fitness center. But if you are married to someone who likes to play Hotels.com roulette, you never know what you might get. Like, for example, this morning, The fact that the toilet in the room stopped working and the front desk said they currently don’t have a maintenance person on staff should have been a clue. I head downstairs, and am directed to a room in the back with no sign out front indicating it is indeed a fitness center. I enter, and have to pass through a sea of damaged desk chairs and cracked television screens. When I get to the fitness center, the light doesn’t work. Using the flashlight app on my iPhone, I see three pieces of workout gear which haven’t seen the cleansing touch of a disinfectant wipe in more than likely never. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. I get on the treadmill, and feel like I’m riding a mechanical bull, because it speeds up and slows down, and the incline shifts wildly, even though I have it set to manual mode. I don’t even want to talk about the stationary bike. In the end, I got my 45 minutes of morning cardio, which was all I could ask for. Afterwards, I quickly ran upstairs and took a very long and very hot shower.

See you on the road!!! The Ride to the River is only two weeks away….

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Good thing you can’t smell this through the Internet…

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