You did this to me…

… and other things you didn’t realize your parents did to you.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand they did the best they could and I do not believe my parents were EVIL or anything.  But let’s just say I can hear the voice of Yoda as I type, “The dysfunction is strong with this one…”  Especially my family.

But this post has a very specific INCIDENT to which I want to address.  I FINALLY get those PINK Shoes out of the box and onto my feet to try them out for a few hours.  I am visiting my Dad and feel the need to IMPRESS him with the Newness and BRIGHTNESS of my PINK SHOES; because there is still a part of the little girl in me who wants his validation and the REACTION that a good story USUALLY generates.  So I raise my FEET and announce the presence of my NEW SHOES.  Aren’t They BRIGHT??? Aren’t they cool?? Here are all the reasons I needed them… I DID not mentioned a SINGLE word about RUNNING or the 5K idea that had begun to marinate in my head.  The purpose of the Shoes were JUST to be comfortable for WALKING more. After ALL I needed to do better with my Fitbit Steps.

Somewhere before I had EVEN gotten to the punch line of my story, my dad interrupts with his commentary on RUNNING: “I don’t get runners.  Have you EVER met a happy runner?  I mean look at them they ALWAYS look MISERABLE, Unhappy.  I’ve never met a happy runner.”

AND THERE IT IS SPORTS FANS… the seed to the root of my dislike of running.  HOW is it that ONE parents perception, belief, or joke about an activity can root itself so far down deep into their child’s psyche as to generate a subconscious belief they cling to with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY.  Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like running the mile in Jr High (who did) and by the time I hit High School I couldn’t do the sports I wanted, why would I entertain the thought of running something that was supposed to make me feel miserable.

As soon as he made that joke about the unhappy runner, I heard my inner WOMAN scream, “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!” Just like Bill Cosby’s wife says in his comedy routine about her giving birth to their first child.  So I sit there through the rest of my visit and most of my ride home with a new-found sense of identity.  Mostly entertaining a lot of questions, “Who said you can’t run?  Why not do the Couch to 5K?  What could it hurt?  Why not try something else NEW again?  What have you got to lose?  Hasn’t your Dad been wrong about MOST things in life?”  Pretty Much.

So with this new-found realization about my avoidance of running, I begin anew a rebellion against the beliefs of my father. Deconstructing the belief systems I have always had, replacing them with New things.  Taking the bucket list to a whole new dimension, instead of doing things I have always wanted to but haven’t yet; doing things I have always thought I could NEVER do.  Sometimes I don’t know the reason behind the belief I couldn’t do something, but doing them none-the-less.

So November 2nd began my Couch to 5K training.  I got out on the track, in the PINK shoes and completed my first workout.  Having an app and a plan and a GPS and music and a track near by has made this EMOTIONAL first step easier than feared.  But don’t get me wrong, THERE WAS FEAR.  I have been OVERWHELMED by the internal warnings of my fearful lymbic system, “What if it’s locked?  What if you’re not suppose to use it? What if you look stupid?  What if there are people there that laugh and point?  What if your too cold, too hot? What if it starts raining?  What if it’s too hard?  What if it hurts?” and on and ON. I hear it, and push past it, like a determined healthy shopper pushes past all those COSTCO vendors begging you to try a sample of their fried food.  And I made it to the parking lot, I made it to the track, I made it around once, I jogged each interval my app said to do, and I made it through the cool down to complete 35min.

SO THERE DAD!!!! I may not have looked happy while I was doing it; I may have been SCARED out of my mind to TRY IT; I maybe have even looked COMPLETELY out-of-place by the 2 guys doing their own track workout; BUT I DID it.  I ran and finished.  There is nothing and NO ONE saying I can’t do it but me…  And I’m not saying that EVER EVER AGAIN!!!

It’s a pair of shoes… PINK SHOES…

It all started with a pair of shoes…

These are THE shoes that started it all.

These are THE shoes that started it all.

It was a classically stormy SUMMER day on a drive to Seattle, when I stopped to buy a SPECIFIC pair of Sketchers.  Now I did buy those shoes but then started to say… It would also be nice to have a good pair of dress shoes… Anyone else have that experience where ONE simple shopping trip turns into a mega purchase instead of JUST THAT ONE Item?  But alas this post is not about my shopaholic tendencies.  After the Dress shoes were acquired, that little inner voice says, “If you are gonna be doing ALL that NEW walking you are going to NEED actually runner type shoes.. the ones you have hurt your feet.” Insert DEEEP sigh here.  The inner voice for once was right, I DID want to do more walking and ALL 4 pairs of my current tennis shoes were not cutting it.

As I began to walk the shelves of running shoes, I INSTANTLY became overwhelmed in NEW uncharted territory.  So many choices, so many options, and the PRICE tags drove my blood pressure to new heights IMPRESSING upon me I COULDN’T afford a pair of $100 shoes that were going to sit in my closet.  I began to think, I CAN’T make this decision today; I need input from some EXPERTS, I have to AT least Facebook it or message a few friends I KNOW are runners for advice.  THEN I SAW THEM… The brightest PINK Shoes you have EVER seen, as the comic relief part of my brain took over and shouted, “NOW THERE’s some shoes you would NEVER Buy…” Having a moment of levity I actually chuckled out loud.

For those of you playing from outside the realm of KNOWING me… You have to understand I HATE pink.  I don’t care that it is the champion color for a great cause that I should support with every fiber of my being.  I don’t care that it has been the champion anthem colorant of my gender, I have had a total rebellion against ANYTHING girlie for as far back as I can possibly remember.  At women’s luncheons where the theme is wear ONE item of pink, I come dressed in ALL black as a statement.  I JUST DO.  So to even CONSIDER an item of clothing or footwear of the PINK variety is very contrary to one of my life’s missions.

“…You have been doing A LOT of things you would have never done before these days…” Says an ENTIRELY different voice.  One with way more wisdom and authority.  So my only response is to think YES… YES I HAVE. And with that I grab the BRIGHT PINK shoes off the shelf to try them on.  AND If that wasn’t ENOUGH I see a picture of Jillian Michaels on the side of the box, OH GREAT just ANOTHER reason I would NEVER buy these shoes.  I HATE feeding the Marketing machine, and she stresses me out just WATCHING her on TV let alone imagining her as my trainer.  I would fall apart in an instant; I don’t do well with being yelled at.  But at this point I am determined.

And as I am taking them to the bench to try them on I see they are K-Swiss brand.  This is their ONE saving grace… I LOVE K-Swiss shoes, 3 of the 4 pairs of worn out shoes I have are K-Swiss.  So I have mentally bought the shoes before they have EVEN hit my feet; at which point I am REALLY hoping they will even fit and feel good.

AS EXPECTED, they are like a dream on my feet.  Soft, squishy, plenty of room and I actually FEEL sporty wearing them.  As a last-ditch moment of anxiety I pray, “Please Lord don’t let this be a mistake.”  There I go THREE boxes of shoes in hand to the register, they are MY shoes NOW.

Think like an Athlete

Today begins again another attempt to start the restart.  I have been planning for days and working on getting my mind and my motivation ready.  I have cleaned out the house, prepped my food, and moved my mind into a place of submission (for now). But I just can’t help feeling like this is just another futile attempt at something that can’t end in anything but failure. 

What a Failure

How do I ever get back in the game?

And not just one of those I gotta B instead of an A types of failures.  No I mean the kind that brings hopelessness, chaos, discouragement, fear, and “who cares it doesn’t matter anyway” type talk. This kind of place got me thinking about that impossible hopelessness feeling…

I remember those days when it was drilled into my every waking moment that CAN’T was not a word.  It didn’t seem to matter whether it was from school, home, or sports; it was a belief that was spoken with power and conviction.  I am beginning to believe that this life philosophy whether societal, academic, or athletic driven it truly planted a deeply rooted attitude in me.  It didn’t matter what I felt, thought, desired, or believed the meer idea of CANNOT, COULD NOT, UNABLE, IMPOSSIBLE were simply a lazy man’s vocabulary.  All the talk about winners never quit and quitters never win is something I KNOW pushed my average life forward towards an above average goal.  But I sit here wondering where that philosophy went in my life.  I don’t hear myself saying those words of push and promise and drive and ambition and goal focused. 

Instead, I hear myself giving me permission to be less than I can be.  Giving reasons and excuses to why I can’t do this or that.  I have been putting in my resignation before I even TRY to be sucessful and make a difference.  Regardless of the type, if I feel the smallest amount of resistance and I reach for the towel.  I don’t even try to push through the discomfort.  I am convinced there is no gain after the pain.  I am not reaching through the pain or seeing the beauty through the sweat; I am definitely not realizing the Prize of Achievement. What happened to the girl who would run laps because the coach said so.  The girl who wanted the best time even though she had no chance of beating the top swimmers.  The person who went to speech events with horrible material, yet pushed to make finals and walk out with a ribbon.  The woman who wanted to grow more, learn more, know more every day.  Not to mention the Soul who wanted to change the world… where did she go? 

Even thought this simple area of my life seems to revolve around food and exercise with plenty of plans, techniques, promoters, and know it alls; I find it reaches deeper into my soul and identity than a simple choice between a donut and an orange.  With every confusing step I take these days, finding the right motivation, right feeling, right method, right attitude seems to be the only way I find success.  But this has only led me to temporary victories and marginal successes (yes I will agree 93 pounds is a touch more than marginal); but alas it was still just temporary. 

So as I begin the CHOICE today to resume my plan, submerge my feelings, and focus on the goal; I was asking for the key.  The key to knowing how to make this stick, unlock the deep dark love affair I have with food, push me kicking and screaming through the tough times.  Knowing that in the past my emotions always seem to win out in the end, I was struggling to find the reason the motivation the desire the TRUTH to why it is more important to be healthy than happy (doesn’t that sound like a blog post all by itself. )

I prayed for some point of reference that would make sense to me.  Trying to find some real world example where someone continued to try and try and try even after repeated PUBLIC, HUMILIATING, and DISCOURAGING failure… And in pleading for an example, I received the image of every athlete I have ever watched in the Olympics.  So many of them were NEVER brilliant from birth, they did not arrive at the Olympics after years and years of perfect execution of their event.  athletes are the prime example of constant failure, yet that never stops them.  They miss their mark, come in 2nd place or last, drop the baton, hit a pole, miss a turn, slip and fall, or just get BEAT… and with all the press and cameras and people commenting on their every move along with showing it on the instant slow moe replay for 100 times; they still get up and try again and again and again. 

I recently watched a documentary on Chris Evert (one of my hero’s growing up) and Martina Navratilova and their rivalry.  I was reminded of their continued competition for years they would compete.  But for a series of 3 years Chris could not beat Martina, losing 13 consecutive matchs-TALK about discouragement.  Listening to Chris talk about that time, she tried everything she knew to do to try to compete with Martina.  She struggled and struggled but just could not beat her.  In that moment, I heard myself whisper, “Why keep playing if you know you could never beat her?  Why not just take the successes of you youth and walk away?  Why is it worth all the fight knowing you just can’t beat her?” 

I can't do this anymore its too hard

And there it was… the evidence that the fight in me was gone.  That competitive fight I had when I was younger was replaced with the resignation of taking the easy road because victory was impossible.  Yet, Chris didn’t do this.  She kept playing, training, fighting, competing and even though it took her time to achieve her victory over Martina; she did it.  So as I was mentally trying to prepare for the long game of this competition between me and food I was drawn back to my sports days of running laps, fielding grounders, and doing suicides on cement (love softball in California) and asked myself does that girl still live?  Isn’t it time to find take that girl back out onto the field and remind her that a competitor doesn’t quit when they fail.  An athlete doesn’t determine they have lost based on the score, this time they are fighting for the win.  This time could be the Hail Mary pass, this time the record could be broken, this time I could be the winner…. and that only works if I’m in the game. 

Alrighty friends and fans… June 6, 2011 begins the first inning… first at bat… first stretch… first swing… Today I made it through on plan. 🙂

It’s SO cool to get my way

Well it was more that I got something I wanted because some days it actually starts life in a good direction when you get something you want.  Well it helps ME anyway. 🙂

I have been struggling this year to GET THINGS MOVING.  There has been a series of sick weeks, work travel, personal distractions, and emotional confusion.  So as excited as I usually get in January to start a new years resolution or list of goals, this year it just didn’t happen.  I was focused on the new things in my life, but then it almost seemed like my life came to a screeching halt, and I couldn’t get it going again.  Which reminds me… I am now just remembering I hate January, but that is for another days’ post. 

Then something kinda cool happened yesterday.  I got something I wanted.  Now this may sound a little selfish and slightly self absorbed, but that is the simplest way to put it.  I have been looking around for a recumbent indoor bicycle to assist with my exercise program.  I used one during my physical therapy of my knee last year and discovered I really, REALLY liked it; and it was EASY.  Yes I know, I’m one of those silly people who needs to be CONNED… I mean convinced that exercise is a good thing.  That I just need to accept it is a necessary part of overall health, but lets just say the psyche is coming along KICKING and SCREAMING to this one.  I like being at rest.  I like allowing my brain permission to relax and that only happens when the body is relaxed.  But again I am getting distracted with a topic for another day. Point being… I’ve been surfing and craigslisting on occasion for a recumbent bike.   

It may seem simple or it may seem lofty, but I have been looking since September.  With the fact that ALL exercise equipment seems to come with a NOT IN MY BUDGET price tag, and that’s for the cheap pieces, its been kinda frustrating.  So I have been doing a good job of telling myself NO, and just waiting until the RIGHT deal comes around, or I have SAVED UP ENOUGH TO PAY FOR IT.  (Some days I hate Dave Ramsey.)

Then there is the job side of the equation.  They have been threatening since September to put me on the road 3 weeks a month.  So if I’m not home with the piece of exercise equipment, when am I going to use it, right?  I mean why buy a piece of equipment when you can use a hotel gym for free, this seemed so logical.  I did the math in my head, a piece of equipment that would get used 2 times a month sure does NOT seem worth the return on investment.  So again another reason to not give in to my whims and desires to BUY and wait. 

This is the One!

So there I was yesterday posting my “have room for rent” craigslist posting for like the 4th time in the last 6 weeks.  When did my usual, searches: housing needed, medifast food for discount, and recumbent bike (AND recumbant bike), glad I am not the only one who can’t spell.  And there it was… a posting just 1 day before (you other craigslisters know why that’s important), seeming modern, compact, digital, well-built recumbent bike for a IN MY BUDGET price.  Not cheap, but in the range I was willing to spend.  So I made the usually inquiries about availability, when can I come see, and made a master plan on how to convince a friend of mine to help me. (Yes, I usually offer up gas money and/or food in hopes that will be enough; if not I promise to help them MOVE or unpack or some silliness like that.) So there I was with desire, money, and a PLAN.  Now I know God laughs when we make plans and 9 out of 10 times these grand schemes of mine usually break down on one or more of the different toothpicks that I have built the bridge of things must go JUST PERFECTLY for this to work plan. 

But alas, I am here to tell you, IT WORKED.  And the lovely piece of exercise equipment is sitting in my room in the perfect spot I wanted all set up and waiting for me to dive in.  There is just something about how excited and fulfilled I get when a plan comes together.  So as I sit here making my plans for the next big accomplishment, I am giddy and proud and thankful that this little goal was accomplished.  I guess a better title would have been, I love it when a plan comes together, but I think that’s a quote or something. 🙂

Now the plan to make it a working piece of equipment and not a clothing rack.  Since I didn’t buy it in January, does that mean I have a better chance of being successful?

It’s Everything and Nothing ALL in one Post

So what does one write about when there is too much and not enough to write about all at the same time?  I have over 2 dozen half posts started, but not certain I have the energy or time to sort through the emotions and deep thought it takes to masterfully craft a creative post.  Then I was reminded of a friend of mine who says that a blog is supposed to be an account of what is happening now.  What are the things I am thinking now in the moment, kicking around the corners of the mind at this particular time.  And THEN I start to get overwhelmed with all the different things that are kicking around my mind.  So maybe in an attempt to find clarity and cohesive thought a list might be in order (yes I am a list maker, it has served me well over the years, so I do it often):

I am in Sacramento on a work trip, so there are all the TO DO’s wrapped around work, plus the stress of my boss arriving on Tuesday, Go-Live (where we change software systems), Political hub-bub that comes with Regional People on-site.  Being put on the spot for all challenges and issues and questions and hoping upon hoping I did a good enough job with the training that it KINDA sticks enough for the people to do their jobs… YEAH NO PRESSURE.

I am visiting friends and their 2 kids, which is fun but at times I feel I’m in the way, not knowing if I’m contributing enough or spending enough time with them since there are parts of my vacation that I like nothing more than truly being lazy and brain dead.  It has almost become a thanksgiving tradition to do nothing and accomplish nothing; but I don’t know if that is a throw back from my student days where I would half believe I would catch up on school work during these four days… all the while being pressured to just HAVE FUN or veg.

Financially, I made a serious boo boo and paid my bills, sounds harmless, but lets just say my reimbursement check may have been “processed” but my bank hasn’t seen it yet so it might as well not exist.  OOOPS Silly Dave Ramsey, getting me ALL excited about paying my bills.

Food is always a fun topic, but for some reason I just can’t quite get my emotions to tell me the truth.  One minute I’m in complete control and the next moment all I want is 5 kinds of fast food RIGHT NOW!!! I thought I survived Thanksgiving fine, because I didn’t do sweets and I thought I kept my portions relatively in check; but the scale corrected me and it was a heart wrenching, depressing blow to my ego.  As a result Friday sucked and Saturday isn’t looking much better.  Dang it why does food have to taste so good… all the wrong kinds.

Positive health note: I went for a 1.5 mile walk today and it was easy.  I used my rain coat because it decided to be a GLORIOUSLY rainy Oregon Day in Elk Grove.  But it made walking easy and I had lovely time and it wasn’t hard and I really TRULY enjoyed the time with the iPod and my “driving” mix.  Thank you Lisa for the INCREDIBLE idea of finding songs that make the body MOOOOOOVE!!! So for the record that would be 3 times I have exercised on this trip, which is more than I have done in over 5 months.  SO THERE TURKEY DAY!!! 😛

I have been doing my bible reading just about every day and even though it is not quite the emotional high I want it to be, I am doing it.  I have been reading my Divine Mentor book and keeping on track with the meetings and discussions.  I have been praying and taking quiet time with God and not letting the television run all my quiet time.  Although I have had to fight my chatty Kathy tendencies to make that quiet time exist also.

I am away from my new community and they are having all these fantastic events that I get to hear about through email, yet I am a whole state away.  I miss the interactions and laughter that spending time with them generates.  I am hoping that I will not be forgotten (insert fake sniffle here) and that when I return it will all be the same but different.

Finally, I have been conversing with my X (yes that would be an ex-boyfriend from over a ZILLION years ago).  It’s been a roller coaster of sorts, but for some reason I’m still engaged in conversations.  Some how some way were are bringing out the best and worst of each other during our conversations.  But the more we talk the better it gets, and just when I think this is it.  This is one more chance around the merry-go-round and I AM DONE, something cool happens and it changes.  Hmmm interesting.  Yet I think we have finally reached a more grounded friendship conversation style more focused around life and God and less about US and relationships.  THANK GOODNESS.

So there it is a post about everything and nothing all at the same time.  Enjoy!

Let’s try the Pool – It was a Good Idea at the Time

So in the locker room, at my new Gym back in January, I am trying to psych myself into some kind of courageous posture – so let’s look at another option – Swimming.  Okay now before you completely pass out in either hysterical laughter or stopped breath in shock; I like swimming and my only issues in the past have been to get from the locker room to the pool.  Once in the pool I am golden.  But without even realizing it, this was an ENTIRELY different animal.  I mean I had just walked pasted the bank of treadmills with all the pretty people.  Now maybe I was perceiving some of those judgmental glances as a personal attack in disapproval incorrectly, but either way caused my anxiety levels to rise to completely unhealthy levels.  (I have always had a very healthy blood pressure, but I wonder what the nurse would say if she had taken my blood pressure at THIS MOMENT in my life.)

My attitude toward swimming here was some how different.  Somehow this place was not the same.  Somehow this place that was supposed to just embrace the membership of its paying members did not seem to welcome me with open arms.  Someone who probably needed to be in this place on a regular basis more than half their membership.  But I was here to accomplish a task, I was here to go swimming, so my mental verbage became JUST GET IN THE WATER, JUST GET IN THE WATER

So there I was in the bathroom stall, coaching myself into a form of courage.  Just put on the suit, just get to the pool, oh no I have to take a shower first.  Okay, it’s a girls locker room, you can do this.  Some how as I glanced around the room the only women I saw were Nike models or Reebok shoe saleswomen.  Women who had been exercising for years and knew how this all worked, and would SMELL the fear that I didn’t have any idea what I was doing.  I couldn’t remember what the guy said about the lockers, so I just picked one, hoped I wasn’t infringing on someone’s space headed toward the shower, when I realized I didn’t have a towel.  Maybe its just all those years at hotels where they provide silly little OBVIOUS accessories to a pool… like TOWELS; that it did not occur to me that I would need to bring MY OWN!!!  But I was resolved. I have like 3 changes of clothes because I came prepared for whatever I was going to do to work out, so that should help. 

I put on my suit, realize I haven’t shaved my legs in like FOREVER, but good news there IS a razor in my bag.  How in the world could this be any more crazy an experience.  Have you ever been in a Locker Room shower?  I didn’t think about flip flops, and for some reason these showers were not designed by someone who values modesty or privacy even in a WOMEN’s LOCKER ROOM.  I obviously prefer to take  my showers in a solo stall, with solid not transLUCENT windows, and a plastic curtain that actually overs the ENTIRE OPENING!!! But again I was resolved. 

Now one thing I should probably mention is that I had just started this biggest loser competition at work.  I had been trash talking with a co-worker from New Jersey and this was part of my resolve.  Because I had been so bold to not only tell him that I was gonna kick his ass cuz I was on a great food plan, but I was convinced that if I added the exercise component I would be unstoppable.  Yes Yes let’s just say I am beating him but I am also not even in 3rd place anymore.  But that is for another post and there are still 3 weeks left in the competition. 🙂  Since I had told him I was going to the gym, I couldn’t bare the idea of having to confess that I had gone in, but not worked out.  SO with that tiny ounce of crazy competition, I was not leaving the place until I had worked out for 30min in SOME WAY SHAPE OR FORM. 

So showered, smooth legged and IN my suit I attempt to gingerly walk (tile floors are slippery) to the pool get in, position myself in a lane and just SWIM.  Now its been a while, but since my youth I have loved the water and almost revert back to my 10 year old self who competed on the swim team and self coaching myself on each stroke.  Now I have been spending some sporadic times in hotels swimming laps and working on getting my stroke back.  Not quite competent enough for butterfly but I always try to make at least one length of the pool that way.  But today was a completely different experience.  I don’t know if it was the adrenaline from fear, anxiety from the perceived judgement, or just the fact that I was truly 65 pounds lighter than I was last time I did laps. 

The View from My Youth - Inspiration

But I swam up and down that lane in almost no time and found myself hitting my 30 minute marker with out worries and no pain.  WOW, I didn’t expect that.  So now the hard part, get out of the pool, get out of suit, get out of this PLACE.  So in classic JR. High fear filled fashion, I showered quick (I had even remember one of my travelling shampoos – cuz I have like hundreds), now to dry off with no towel and make it look like that was the plan.  Hair up and tight, new clothes, new shoes, bag on shoulder.  Now to walk the gauntlet past the bank of treadmills, hold your head high-you deserve to be here, you PAID TO BE HERE-exit stage right…

And somewhere in the car ride back home, I finally broke down.  Energy expended, fears faced, anxiety ignored, and mission accomplished.  It sure didn’t seem like just a gym, but now I have to figure out how to go back………… Again.

Its JUST A GYM – And Other Exercise Myths

What They Looked Like if there were 20 in a Row

I am reminded of a trap I fell into at the beginning of the year, that hundreds if not thousands of people embrace every year right around the new year.  I joined a Gym.  I know I KNOW what was I thinking?  New years resolution, new body, new energy, or new attitude it is hard to say.  I had been on the food plan about 6 months at that point and I believe I thought that if I could just incorporate a little exercise it would help keep me on track. 

So there I was at the 24 hr fitness SPORT edition looking at what looked like the biggest complex I had ever seen.  Well that’s how it feels until you start to use the gym and then you just feel like a sardine packed into a giant treadmill factory.  Of course it reminds me of how some offices are set up making the people feel like half employees because the cubicles are smaller than an average coat closet and the walls only provide an illusion of sound reduction.  But I wasn’t thinking I would be ONLY using the treadmills.  I mean I had ideas of using the bikes, taking a class, doing some swimming.  I figured if I’m paying for it I will be motivated to go.  So that is the myth all gyms are preying upon, because even though it was my own idea and ambition to join for the convenience, it was the allure of all those options that kept me paying each month despite my non attendance from February to October. 

But let’s return to the scene of the commitment, when I signed up I was assured I would get a tour.  I would have someone I could ask questions to and be guided through all this big bad intimidating equipment.  I opted to WAIT and not pay for the $100/hour trainer because I wanted to see how this was going to affect my budget.  So when I waited until my timing was right, about 2 weeks, I walked in and I was ready for this engagement in the GYM.  But I walked in the door, they swiped my card and when I asked about the tour, not only did they look at me with confusion and irritation; but it took 10 minutes for a non-specialist, non-trainer 12 year old to come to the front to “show me around”.  There was no instruction, there were no questions about what are you interested in, or what do you have questions about.  It was here’s the bank of treadmills (okay that is my word mostly because they literally looked like a set of telephones in an outbound sales office, minus the cubicles).  Here’s the locker room, Upstairs the classroom, and free weights, and the pool is at the end of the hall.  Now there may have been more, but it sure was not what I was expecting and it DEFINITELY did not satisfy my need for direction. 

As I retreated to the safety of the women’s locker room, I was trying to figure out exactly where to start my workout.  I was originally going to just do a simple 30 minute work out on a treadmill… but having walked by the farm with no privacy, protection, or even space from the outside world, I was CONVINCED that was not going to be the choice.  Did I mention that it was 5:30pm on a weeknight?  Shouldn’t that be part of the orientation packet?  Oh by the way, the busiest times are between here and there AND ALL the pretty people who are looking to hook up with each other arrive between 5:15pm – 7:00pm so if you want to feel completely self-conscious and evaluated like a Parade Pony make your entrance during those times.  So NO I would not be making my GYM debut on a treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical.  That and I forgot the headphones to the iPod, DANG IT!!

Now what?  Trapped in a women’s locker room bathroom stall, I began to ponder the stupidity of this investment.  I had paid my good hard earned money for this place; and I couldn’t get myself to leave the stall.  Yeah JUST a GYM, just a place, JUST a one stop shop for all your exercising needs.  I was beginning to EMBRACE how much of a lie that really was.