20 minutes of cardio is only how far?

Three times a week I ask myself this question:

“What? I’ve been running my butt off for the last twenty minutes, and I’ve only gone a mile and a half?”

Ok, not record breaking, but pretty good for a beginner.

I’ve been doing this diet and resistance training for the last two weeks, and ever other day is a cardio workout. 20 minutes of running on a treadmill, first slow, then more quickly, then fast, then a slowdown, and the cycle repeats.

It’s kind of like being at work.

A few months ago I had to do a “stress test” at the hospital, and I could barely run for ten minutes. Of course, I was carrying around 20 extra pounds, and the stress test was designed to work the hell out of you. As it happened, I was pegged at “normal” on that test. I think I’d do better now.

Anyway, I’ve got six weeks to go. Don’t even ask me about the weight and resistance part. The program is designed to push you until your muscles give out. I do this right after work every day, and usually I consider myself lucky if I can drive home.

Stressed!

They told me that I needed a stress test.

Funny. I mean, did they think that I didn’t know how to get stressed properly on my own?

No, as it turns out, my blood pressure and cholesterol – genetically dispositioned to be high – had passed the point where we’d kept saying “We’ll keep an eye on it for now.” Since I’m also rapidly approaching the half-century mark, it was time to get a whole bunch of things checked out.

Stupid aging.

Anyway, I ended up spending the morning of Friday the 13th being tested, prodded, poked, and sent from room to room and back again as they checked out various things on my body. Admittedly, most of my time was spent in waiting. Waiting to check in. Waiting to get the IV setup. Waiting for the radioactive isotopes to be pumped around my body.

I brought something to read, though, so I was cool.

Okay, this is the beginning of my stress test.

 

 

Needles, IVs, and some people who are a little too cheerful this early in the morning. They just injected me with “nuclear” stuff, and I’m in the waiting area. My spider senses are not tingling!

At some point, though, I was sitting in the waiting area near the end of the day and reflecting on what had transpired. A couple of months ago I started taking medicine to reduce my high blood pressure, and it was tested to be well within the normal range. My cholesterol numbers were trending downward. They put me on a machine which traced the isotopes through my bloodstream so that they could see where blockages might be. I was wired to a machine that measured the electrical activity of my heart while I was running on a treadmill. And I walked around all day with a small device in my arm that made it easier for the various technicians to get various fluids in and out of me.

Think about how much of this technology was available when I was born.

Almost none of it.

And while I was waiting, I read a book with my Palm Tungsten, a book that was stored on a small card that I downloaded from a website that had thousands of free books. When I was tired of reading, I sent an email to a friend in Australia, sent an SMS (text) message to my sister in Brazil, and checked the Yahoo and Google websites for news. Oh, and I took a picture of a tube in my arm and sent it to my blog.

How totally cool is that?

Seriously, until a few weeks ago I’d had very little contact with doctors, and even less with the inside of hospitals. The hospital that I used for the stress test was not even one of those state-of-the-art facilities, and yet it still had a better range of equipment than any place in existence 48 years ago.

Technology. It’s awesome!