It's been six weeks since Rachel and I got a TR 6.6 treadmill and an FS5.4 elliptical, and I can happily report that we've both made leaps and bounds toward being prepared for our big hike with little Jake.

For the first few weeks, I focused primarily on getting my stamina back up by going the slow and steady route and keeping my pace limited to a good jog. As my legs increasingly got used to working out again (the extra soft, cushioned deck was a HUGE help in that capacity—my joints needed a gentle way of getting back into the workout groove), I was excited to begin pushing myself to faster and faster speeds. I've also started using the incline more frequently and at higher degrees, and I'm really getting excited to get outdoors again and get up the mountain.

Suffice to say that Rachel has fallen in love with her elliptical. She didn't talk too much about it at the time, but I think that right after Jake was born she was a little worried about how her body looked and whether or not she would be able to lose the weight she had gained during the pregnancy. But that hasn't been an issue at all. She started out at a slow pace, but it was kind of amazing to see her progress as quickly as she did as the weeks went by. The machine's specially tilted pedals and biomechanically correct stride ensures that she can workout comfortably for as long as her stamina holds up, so once she gets going nothing is holding back her momentum.

Rachel is a real self-improvement kind of person, and lately she's taken it into her head that she is finally going to learn French. She's always talked about it, but it seemed like she never could find the time to study. Then a week ago she downloaded a collection of recorded lessons, put them onto her iPod, and started panting and puffing her way through them during each of her workouts. Whenever she gets off the machine she looks really happy. Really fulfilled.

So do I. It feels good to be moving forward.