I got 8 hours of sleep last night - hooray! I was exhausted after my schedule over the past two days, so I went to bed early last night - lights out at 9pm. My younger son woke us up a little after 5am again, but I had already slept 8 consecutive hours - Woo hoo!
I hit the gym this morning for 4 easy miles on the treadmill. It was the first time I was at the Fitness First closest to me in a few weeks, and they finally opened their new treadmill room. It is really nice! The got rid of all of their older Life Fitness 9500 machines, they moved their 8-10 newer Life Fitness treadmills over (from the website it looks like they have the Premium Club model with the Engage console) and purchased 8-10 new TechnoGym treadmills. Most of the Life Fitness treadmills were taken, so I jumped on one of the newer TechnoGym ones.
Wow. This thing was pretty cool. There is a dock connection for the iPod (I had my iPod shuffle, but I will likely bring my 3G iPod with me next time to see how it works). There was a little fan built-in at the top of the console - it wasn't very strong, but it helps. There is a TV and Radio tuner built in - the angle of the screen was a bit too low for me to be trying to watch television while running, but this could come in handy if there is a good game on one day.
This treadmill has tons of different workout options - I was wearing my old Polar HRM strap so I decided to try out one of the heart rate programs. This program ran through a series of questions: age, weight, time, Run/Walk, Light/Moderate/Strong, etc. and then starts you out. It determines your goal HR from how you answered the questions (it started me out at 138 bpm, based on Moderate Run - I quickly upped this to 145 and then to 147 after the first mile). You can adjust the time and goal HR - the treadmill smoothly adjusts the pace to keep you in line with your goal heart rate.
I must say, this treadmill kept me honest. Over my past few runs, I have run at a heart rate faster than I should (my past two "easy runs" had avg HR of 155 and 160 respectively). Although it was painful to run slower than normal, this treadmill kept me right around 147 bpm the entire run. And the nice thing was that the treadmill speed was located towards the bottom of the screen - not calling attention to itself when the speed adjusted.
The old Life Fitness model's HR programs were a bit different. First of all, you chose your goal HR and pace and then the treadmill adjusted the incline to keep you close to your goal HR. However, if it was too fast (or if the incline got your HR up too far), the Life Fitness brought the pace down - with a loud beeping sound and a message going across the screen "Lowering Speed". It may as well shout "Hey Loser, Why Can't You Keep Up???". And the current Life Fitness models that they have are programmed to not let you do the heart rate programs with a pace greater than 4.5 mph - I guess they had too many people trying to run while holding on to the HR sensors???
Anyhow, it's hard to get jazzed up about a treadmill - especially since I recently got my Garmin Forerunner and I'm still very excited to run outside with hit. Just not in 14 degree weather (and negative wind chills) like it was this morning. However, I am actually a little excited to get back to the gym and run on this machine again - with my bigger iPod next time. Plus this will keep me running slower, until my body works itself back into the shape that I was in a few months ago.
One other thing that was new on my run this morning. I broke out a new pair of Brooks Defyance shoes. I actually purchased these babies in mid-Decmeber when I thought I'd be picking up the mileage to hit 1,000 miles for 2008. Instead I got sick and stopped running. My current pair of Brooks Defyance has 367 miles on them. It's my first pair of this type of shoe, so I'm not sure how long it will last, but I'm thinking it's a good idea to start working in a second pair even though I'm not getting any knee or foot pain yet.