PUMPING IRONY: Danger Signs?

I had an interesting revelation last week. After a long absence, I headed downstairs to the gym after work on Tuesday and dragged myself through about a 45-minute workout, including a stint on my old nemesis, the Elliptical Death Machine, and a trip to The Pit, where I got reacquainted with some heavy (for me) iron.

A week has passed and I’ve only just recovered, hence the revelation: My morning body-weight and kettlebell routine is way too wimpy to be doing me much good, if soreness is any measure of workout goodness. My morning regimen gets my heart pumping and I’ll break a sweat if I push through three series (which takes about 15 minutes), but I have to admit that it’s not that much of a challenge anymore. And fitness, I’m told, is all about pushing yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of doing.

This is not a groundbreaking discovery, I know, but it says something, I think, about how easy it is to imagine that you’re making progress when you’re not really doing anything but coasting. I like to imagine that I’m more active than a lot of sixtysomethings, but that’s not saying much, is it?

So just when I’m thinking that this past week’s worth of soreness was some kind of a sign — a kick in the pants, if you will — I run into an old basketball buddy at the co-op on Sunday. And what does he do but issue an invitation to rejoin the old crew on the hardcourt after the holidays.

This is suddenly an immensely attractive idea — another sign that it’s time to ratchet up the intensity of my workouts. Later that day, I’m talking on the phone with my tennis buddy (and former b-ball teammate), M.E., and I’m making a case for the two of us to make a comeback, and he actually seems mildly interested, which I take to be another sign that I must be on the right track.

So, I’m thinking I’ll rev up my workouts through the holidays, get over to the big gym and work on my jumper, ramp up my endurance, and push myself a little more. See what happens when I have a goal, when I’m participating in a competitive sport I really enjoy.

Then it occurs to me that my left knee has been kind of achy ever since I left the co-op on Sunday. I wonder . . . could that be a sign?

Nah.

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