Letter to Creepy Gym Dude

Dear Mr. Sweaty Pants,

i was not checking you out.  i was waiting to see when you would take your sorry carcass, bad comb-over and inappropriate footwear to a different piece of equipment so i could use the fucking chest press.

If, however, i had been checking you out, your “Hey, Baby” come-hither smirk would have quenched any budding turgidity in my loins. 

On Wednesday, i will be back abusing my upper body.  This time, if you camp out on the machine for an extended period of time?  i will…  i will…. i will say something mean.  And quite possibly trip you with my nasty towel.  Or cry.

Sincerely,

grumpyfae

image found here

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Breaking News:  Have we found the culprit?  He may have just ratted himself out… If not?  Just a garden variety smartass…

Weight for it

At least six times a week, i drag my cellulite-encrusted thighs to the fitness facility at work.  It is not cushy.  No fancy classrooms, state-of-the-art fat eradication gizmos.  It used to be a warehouse, that was re-fitted to encourage a larded workforce to stop filing so many health insurance claims get fit.

It’s most important feature, however, is that it’s free.  Second most important?  i can go on my lunch hour.  Third?  It’s free.

Patrons of this facility cut a wide swath through the employed masses.  From the doughy, middle-aged folks* fighting fat so they can have just one more breakfast muffin at the next meeting, to the aggressive and disgustingly hard-bodied youth who throw weights around like they’re quarters, we have it all.

i do not like being there.  It is necessary.  i do not like making the machines move repeatedly.  Three sets of twelve reps here, six sets of ten reps there.  It simply blows.  But i need to do it, it’s an hour of my day, and did i mention?  It’s free.

My mind wanders as i count.  i look at the other patrons.  They look back, usually with the same glassy-eyed resignation.  We have gotten to know each other on sight.  “That’s the guy who grunts.”  “She’s the one who waits a full two minutes between sets and ties up the machine”.  “She sweats a lot.”* 

Today, as i worked the machine that is the mechanical equivalent of “We Must, We Must, We Must Increase Our Bust”**, something caught my attention.  Resting between sets, i looked at the “Dip Rack”***, and there was a guy doing tricep dips – with about a 20 pound weight hanging off a weight belt.

Definite spit-take, as i had to look twice to see the belt.

workout buddy (sitting on the next machine):  Did you see that?

daisyfae:  Ummm…. yeah.  Whoa.  That’s badass.  Bet it gives him penile extension.

workout buddy:  Unbelievable!

daisyfae:  Would probably give him more penile extension if he were hanging that weight from somewhere else…

Which is exactly where it seemed to be swinging from when i first looked… 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* C’est moi.

** Grade school chant.  “We must, we must, we must increase our bust.  The bigger the better the tighter the sweater, the boys will look at us.”  Seriously.  No wonder girls grow up with body image issues…

*** No, not like that.  You climb up, hold the cross bars – which are parallel at the level of your hips – then do triceps dips with your knees bent.

Functional Strength: Revised Definition

My week of business travel at a swishy resort ended with a bit of a hairpin curve.  But there are lessons to be extracted from any adventure – good or bad.  i learned a few on Saturday.

My flight was scheduled for 2:00 pm, so i planned a leisurely morning at the gym, poolside brunch, then the short jaunt to the airport.  Up with the sunrise at 6:00 am, i scratched and made a cup of coffee to slurp on the balcony while listening to the crashing surf one last time…

Around 6:30, the lights flickered and went out.  i put on my workout gear and headed down the 18 flights of stairs to the fitness center.  Walking through the lobby?  Quiet chaos as the early-risers tried to check out, corner a bellman for a luggage assist or just bark at the helpless staff.

In the fitness center, the lights flickered occasionally, but i was able to get in a 30 minute session on the elliptical and 30 minutes with weights.  The hotel had back up power – the ellipticals kept working but the poor bastards trying to use the treadmills were periodically lurched onto the carpet when the power quit.  Pretty entertaining… caught myself anticipating the next power glitch just to watch them fly!

Talking with a woman on the adjacent machine i learned there had been a fire in my tower, and that she had been roused from her room by a knock at the door and a request to evacuate the building.  She was in the same tower as me, one floor up.  They must have paid more for their room.  No knock on my door… Bad time for staff to respect a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

Finished up, wandered back through the lobby – where there were now a large number of cranky people assembled.  Free breakfast pastries and orange juice were offered, as none of the restaurants or shops were open.  i snagged a bagel and headed out to the pool. 

After an hour of baking in the morning sun, i munched over potential options for getting my two suitcases down from the 18th floor – while sorting through other potential obstacles for getting to the airport on time. 

It was 10:00 am.  i needed to be checked out and headed to the airport by noon.  Hotel staff had told me that the power should be back on in an hour.  Right.  They had also assured me that i would be able to get bellmen to assist with luggage.  Sure…  “Check is in the mail”, “I’ll respect you in the morning” and “I’m from your government and I’m here to help you”.

Hoofed it up 18 flights of stairs, lit only by glow sticks.  By then, the emergency lights had shriveled.  i encountered a few souls hauling large suitcases down the stairs.  i mentioned to one woman that she might have been able to get assistance, she laughed and said “From what I’ve been told, they’ve all vaporized!”

In my room, i finished packing.  Hauled the first 50 pound suitcase full of scuba gear on a long trek down a dark stairwell.  Good times.  As i got to the ground floor, and attempted to navigate the warren of dark hallways to find the lobby, i took a wrong turn.

Popping around a corner, into a service garage area, i stumbled into a nest of bell staff.  About 15 of them, smoking cigarettes and looking guilty.  They were startled by my arrival, and seemed ready to scatter.  Smoke billowed out of their heads in relief as i turned and wheeled my bag back to the lobby. 

Checked my bag at the desk and headed back up the stairs for my final trip.  On the way up, i heard an awful racket above me.  Stepping into an alcove, i dodged a bellman ‘sledding’ two large bags down the flights of stairs – and realized i was far better off hauling my own gear.  Grabbed my second suitcase, attached a glow stick to the front for better visibility and headed down again.

Other than initial failure to locate my rental car company*, and the masses of “cruise-nozzles” in the airport, the rest of the trip was uneventful. 

Managed the entire morning without panic, or assistance.  Had i not been doing 30 minutes of interval training 6 days a week, and lifting weights since January, i might not have had the strength and stamina to pull this off.  There’s still a long way to go, but this body shall not rot. 

Functional strength** – being able to do whatever is needed, whenever it needs doing.  By yourself.

* If you are ever completely unable to locate your rental car return venue?  My favorite trick – learned while trying to get to an off-off-terminal rental car shack in East LA at 10:00 PM on a Friday night.  Drive through the airport “arrivals” lanes.  Find the right rental car shuttle.  Tail them aggressively – they always go home… Has saved me far too many times.

** Earlier this year, i wrote of my approach to fitness:  Functional Strength.  i have a much better idea of what that means now…

Functional Strength

It’s not about losing weight.  It isn’t really about how i look.  In general, i say “i am working to be as healthy and fit as i possibly can, to allow me to enjoy life and blah fucking blah diddley blahblahblah…”  But that’s kinda like… ummm…. bullshit.

Met with a fitness coach earlier this week.  She asked my goals.  i explained that little encounter with the cancer thing, and my choice to skip the hormonal chemo – better approach in my case was to reduce body fat.  We talked about my fitness habits, types of exercise i enjoy, and the types i despise..

A fast-talker from New York, she and i covered a lot of turf in a very short period of time.  Through the discussion, we finally converged on what it really is for me. 

i have made a choice to live on my own.  For now?  Forever?  Who knows.  But i’m flying solo.  There is also this pesky penchant for independence.  As in never asking for help – although a sincere offer of assistance is often accepted, i never want to count on it. 

Given that my live-in companion is a large, smelly hound?  Someone has to haul those 50 pound bags of dog chow from the car.  And that someone will be me. 

This part of the conversation with the fitness coach is when it all came together for her.  “Functional strength.  That’s what you need.”  She then prescribed a workout plan (with some suggestions on my approach to nutrition*).   We’ll follow up in a few months and see how it’s going.  i like her.  She cut through the bullshit fairly quickly.

Build the muscles you need to live your life.  Can’t think of a better reason to do it**.

                 

* Diet Coke and SweeTarts are NOT breakfast.  Muscle is not built on simple or complex carbs – drop the popcorn, add fish and eggs.  Gotcha…

** Except for winning bar bets.  When that pic was taken (Christmas), i could drop and give you 45 push ups – on my toes – without stopping.  Working back up to that.  And a few more…

resolve…

Another holiday.  Another addition to the “what the fuck was i thinking?” file…

Last night, it was a “Resolution Run”.  On the bright side?  It was only 5k.  The Turkey Trot was 5 miles.   The down side?  It was 25 degrees, dark and windy.  But i finished.  And that was the point….  Will be doing 5k’s throughout the year to track my progress – and force me to stay with the training.

During the past 12 months, i’ve sneakily gained back 20+ pounds, after having lost over 60 a few years ago.  Oh, no i didn’t….. Oh, yes i did….  It’s coming off.  Not a new year resolution.  Resolve.  i’m out of “fat clothes”.  i hate shopping.  Done. 

But one must work into this gently.  After the run, had friends over for billiards and booze – and discovered a new liquid taste treat:  Chocolate Peppermint-tinis – white chocolate liqueur, peppermint schnapps and a good portion of vanilla vodka.  Ouch.  Goes down like candy…  Did i say “ouch”?  Chick drinks are the fucking antichrist.

Last year?  i danced myself silly at a house party.  All of the sweat, just as many muscle aches – but no headache since i generally don’t drink much when i’m dancing.  Will need to keep “dancing” on my cross training plan.  It works.

It was also a year ago when i launched “Trailer Park Refugee”.  i’m not done telling the stories that i need to hoark up – not by a long shot. With my pesky Sesame Street attention span, i’ve wandered off a bit…. 

When i wrote posts about the family, it smoked me emotionally – the one about my eternally bitter mother took a full week to shake off.  To maintain the writing habit, i started posting random neural firings, theater happenings, conversations with my kids, observations about my geek workforce…. 

Then, you all showed up, started reading this crap, commenting and providing resonance and an odd sort of validation.  That was a bonus.  Unexpected and delightful…  Thank you.  To those who comment, and those who lurk…

Now, back to my regularly scheduled…. nap….

Shhhh.... You're breathing much too loudly...

Shhhh.... You're breathing much too loudly...

Cold turkey

Filed again under “what the fuck was i thinking?”…

For the past 30 years a local village has a Thanksgiving Day “Turkey Trot”.  Five miles.  Not five “K”, but five “miles”.  Advertised as a “flat, fast course”, typically 6,000 people show up to run, walk, push strollers and drink coffee at 8:00 Thanksgiving morning.  Costume contest to get things rolling, and the mayor himself sings the national anthem… Folksy enough to make me want to wear plaid and buy firearms.

Last year i did it, without much pain and suffering.  i’d completed my first half-marathon just a month before, and with the best of intentions of continuing my training through the winter, i signed up for the five miler.  Right.  Other than a few training runs over the winter, and a clydesdale-esque performance at a Colon Run in March, i haven’t done much with it.  My ass turned to lead*.

Managed to maintain a reasonable degree of fitness over the summer with a regular biking program, but once again i’ve “lumped up” like so much leftover gravy.  Re-committing to a gentle training program a few weeks back, i decided to hit the Turkey Trot. 

At least it wasn’t raining.  But it was 24 F at 7:30 yesterday morning. Did i mention that this is filed under “what the fuck was i thinking?” 

These events drive home the painful point: some of us are truly built for comfort, rather than speed.  The “elite” runners (who start the race from the “Elite Runner Corral”) finished in about 30 minutes.  Yes.  That’s 5 minute miles.  Bastards.  We hate them.  Last year?  i used the “run/walk” technique – ran 4 minutes, walked 1 minute.  This year?  Swap that… and add 16 minutes to my overall time.  Ye-owch**. 

Following a 3 hour recovery nap, it was off to dinner with friends***.  i ate.  a lot.  Fortunately my dessert was a massive failure, or i’d have eaten more.  Dragged myself to the car like an engorged tick, came home and passed out… Leaving a slug-trail of gravy from the door all the way to my bed. 

So i try again.  Another re-commit.  Will attempt to stay with it… This time have adopted a couple of training buddies to help prod, poke and push me out from under the covers.  i’ll grow to hate them, no doubt.

Eat me

Eat me

sourced from www.worth1000.com

* “Ass to lead”?  Hmmm… if i could find an alchemist to convert the lead to gold i’d be set…

** There’s one less darvocet in the “emergency fund” arsenal…

*** Funny how a holiday spent with friends is SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL than the ones i spend with extended family.  The Trailer Park arrives here on Saturday for a holiday gathering.  i am honestly looking forward to it, though.  But will likely need emergency therapy immediately after the event…