God bless the gym. If I hadn't joined, I think I would be in a lot of trouble regarding my fitness preparations for this trip given my workload. Added to this I just discovered the best class - kickboxing! Ignore that a lot of the moves are designed to take out an opponent in what is essentially a grotesquely violent manner - elbow to the head, side of foot to the knee cap etc- it is quite the well rounded workout that uses most of the muscles of the body, develops coordination, balance, and is very high in aerobic exercise at the same time. And bonus, there is a little self defense training in there as well! Being a passivist though (make love not war!), I try not to see the punching bag as anything other than a big black blob.
With only two and a half weeks to go, time seems to have crept up on me quite quickly. I recognize that however fit I am at sea level here in New York, adding altitude to the exercise will be establishing a whole new playing field for when up at the mountain. For the next two weeks, I will be looking to increase the resistance level on the gym equipment, and frequency of my workouts to really squeeze the most out of the time I have left. I finally got hold of a backpack from a friend (what, you say- an Australian who doesn't own a back back??? I know, crazy!) and will begin hiking to work. There are not a lot of (or any actually) hills in downtown Manhattan, but it will be good to get used to having the pack on my back. And there are enough really strange people in the city that I shouldn't really look that odd doing so.
I recently spent some time googling images of Mt Rainier, and I am keeping some shots taken of the spectacular view from the bare rim of the crater at the summit in front of me as my carrot to give it all I can. Lets hope I get to take my own similar shots in just a couple of weeks!