One of the plant observers shared a great quote with me about the difference between interest and commitment:
"Taking an interest is when you participate in something when it's convenient. Commitment is when you take initiative and make it happen, no matter what."
A lot of the time it is not possible to workout on the boat. There is no stationary bike, treadmill or space to run and forget swimming entirely! When the seas are rough I cant even do push ups, sit ups or squats. But I would like to think I have a commitment to my health and physical fitness. (Land Ali races triathlons for crying out loud!) My subconscious certainly does! One of my most frequent dreams as of lately has been of Pacific Coast Highway, on a sunny, windless day in SoCal. In my dream I'm riding south, past Newport Coast and along the rollers into Laguna Beach. I can feel the sun tanning my back and arms as I cruise the shoreside highway on my bike. The view is an amazing panoramic shot of the sparkling Pacific spreading out past the cliffs and kelp beds into a cloudless blue sky. I'm riding pretty hard, I can feel it in my heart rate and in my legs, but its a good pain of pushing the envelope, building on my endurance and making me stronger. I'll do about 45 miles on this road, and afterwards head over to my favorite breakfast burrito in Seal Beach before passing out for a solid mid-morning nap. It's one of my favorite rides at home (yes, this is a real place and memory from home, and I CHOSE to come to Alaska. ... What's wrong with me?)
Waking up to my dark bunk, incased in a claustrophobic house on a rocking boat in the middle of the frozen north is the definition of a rude awakening. But just because I am no longer home, and its not convenient (much less enjoyable!) to workout up here I want to stay fit and be able to pick up where I left off in CA when I return. So every time we offload in port I make every effort to walk over to the community gym.
The first time I was not expecting much. Maybe a treadmill or a stationary bike (I prayed), some weights and a couple other machines would be acceptable. As I walked up to the little loft and looked around I realized there was an abundance of free weights, weight machines and even a hanging punching bag. No treadmill, but, my heart leapt as I spotted the little reclining stationary bike in the corner! Thank god! All I wanted in life at that moment was to sit on a bike for a couple hours and spin! It may not have been a traditional bike layout, but I could live with a reclining bike for a few months. As I sat down I realized something was very seriously wrong with the bike. The seat no longer locked in place, the arm handles didn't turn any more and when I pushed the petals the lose seat threatened to topple over. Clearly this was not safe to use. With my cycling dreams dashed, I stood lost in this "gym" having a somewhat serious emotional breakdown over a broken ten year-old stationary bike. Eventually I spotted the only remotely cardiovascular themed piece of equipment in the "gym" a Stair Master 3000 from 1995! I gathered what was left of my resolve to work out, stepped up to this machine that was built the year I started kindergarten and said a little prayer for it to work.
To my great surprise it did! Now, it was no bike ride along PCH, but I did get a good workout of 45 minuets of "stairs" and the endorphin kick I was craving. It's a serious chemical dependency at this point. So from then on, every time I'm in port I always make the pilgrimage to the little "gym" to climb stairs while I stare longingly at the forgotten dream that was a spin workout in Alaska. At this point I'm just thankful I cant get some exercise at all, and that I can continue my commitment to my health and fitness.