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On knowing one's strengths

The end of February in Houston signals the start of rodeo season, which kicks off with a huge barbecue cookoff, a charity 5k/10k to benefit the HLSR Educational Fund, and a parade.  This was the second year that I ran the 10k.

I was a rower in high school and college, but despite my athleticism I was never much of a runner.  I have tried very hard to like it, but I think I’m just not built for it.  So I can’t explain why I would voluntarily do a 10k twice, except that my employer is a major sponsor, it’s a good cause, and the memory of the pain prevents me from registering for something that I’ll hate more.  And what’s 10k, if even retirees take up marathoning these days?  Surely I can run 6.3 miles.

Last year I trained a lot.  This year I trained less often, but at a much faster pace.  On race day, my miles averaged two seconds faster than last year — hardly the payoff I was hoping for.  Also, I really, really did not enjoy the last half, not even a little.  So if I participate next year, I’m moving to the 5k event.

What I do enjoy, however, is strength training.  I naturally gravitate toward sloth, so I have to love a sport that involves more rest time than work time.  Mark has a long history of powerlifting, so when we moved to Houston we decided that we were going to buy some nice equipment.  Our home gym is only about 140 sqft, so of course we bought a power rack that fills a quarter of that space.  The rest of the space contains an erg, a cycling trainer, and some kettlebells.

We don’t have a clock down there, so I was always borrowing Mark’s watch to keep track of my rest time and my sets.  The heavier I lift, the less capable I am of counting my sets, even when using the kettlebell abacus (my own invention).  The watch worked fine except when it wasn’t here, so he got me one of these:

It’s a Gymboss.  I love this thing, and Mark uses it too.  You can use it as a stopwatch (as I did to time my run this weekend) or as an interval timer.  You can set a single interval time, or you can set both work and rest intervals, and you can let it cycle indefinitely or for a specified number of sets.  In other words, you can set it and then work so hard that you cannot count your own fingers, and never lose track of what you’ve done.  It’s tiny, too:

You can clip it to your shirt or waistband and you’ll never notice it.  It runs on a single AAA battery, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right button cell to replace it.  Fun fact: that’s why I haven’t worn a watch in about five years — the battery died and Target doesn’t carry the right one.  So I just got used to not wearing a watch.  Have I mentioned that I’m sort of lazy?

The other thing Mark got me is a weight belt.  Once I passed bodyweight on deadlift, it seemed like a good idea.  He bought me the same kind that he uses, but since I’m a girl, mine is pretty:

My strength may not be in running, but I can lift heavy things…while accessorizing.

1 comment to On knowing one’s strengths

  • Ruth

    Ha! As soon as you mentioned not having a clock, but wanting to time things, I thought “Gymboss!” I think they’re nifty little things.

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