Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2007
Dear Diary:

In retrospect, I should have lied.

I started at my new gym yesterday. The trainer is a woman my age, which is both kind of cool and kind of sucky. She has a very good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of those of us who not only remember but actually used the Selectric typewriter.

Uh oh.

We went through the usual questions about any health problems. I signed a waiver basically saying that if anything happened to me in this gym it was my own stupid fault, and she did a fitness assessment to get a sense of where I am.

Then she asked the $100,000 question.

"So how's your balance?"

Oh crap.

One of the many things to go as you age is your balance. Watching me trying to scramble over a big fallen tree in the woods is a source of endless amusement to the spousal unit, who is significantly better at stuff like that than I am.

So I admitted the truth, that my balance needs work.

"We'll set up your leg routine on a BOSU ball," she said. After a warm-up and some preliminary stretching we headed over to what looked like a rubbery blue pimple. There was a 30-something woman on it doing an exercise. She stood on it, jumped up in the air, threw her arms up, and as she landed on the BOSU ball, she dropped into a squat.

Then she straightened up and did it all again.

Piece of cake.

When she was done, I confidently got up on the BOSU ball.

And promptly fell off. Actually, the words "fell off" don't really give you a sense of the comic relief involved in this. I kind of windmilled off, arms flying everywhere.

Dignity is highly overrated, right?

So my next attempt at the BOSU ball was considerably more tentative. I kind of edged on and then, well, the best way to describe what happened next is that I turned into jello. I had to do all this odd wriggling to keep myself on the freakin' ball, most of it involving my core--back and abs to those of you who don't speak fluent gym.

Through this the trainer steadied my hips and soothingly told me that everyone has problems at first.

Occasionally the universe throws me a bone. Banzai BOSU (the woman who'd been on the ball previously, the one who treated it like a trampoline) was off in a corner her back turned to me. With her empeethree player cranked, she was oblivious to my humiliation.

It's one thing to amuse a paid professional. It's another to make a total fool of yourself in front of a total stranger.

I probably did my stunning imitation of jello for a good 10 minutes before an amazing thing happened and my body said, "Oh yeah. BOSU. No worries." Right after that I was doing what is delicately termed "ass to the grass" squats with no problem.

When I got off that ball my whole body was fatigued. I still feel it a bit today. This BOSU business has real possibilities.

Alas, this new gym is missing a lot of basic equipment. There isn't a squat cage. The trainer told me they're going to order one next, but when exactly is next? There isn't a pull-up station. I've worked too long and hard at getting to the stage of three pull-ups to lose that kind of back strength.

The free weight section is excellent with many options my old gym didn't have, but they're missing those little magnetic 1 � lb. weights you can put on the ends of the free weights. When I was moving my bicep curls up from 15 to 20 lbs., having those 1 � lb. increments made the big gain possible.

I'm going to have to figure out a work around, for sure.

Oh, and I'm insanely lonely. When I walked in to my old gym, I always had a "Norm" moment -- someone would yell my name and a greeting because, well, I knew everyone. Mondays were the days when we'd catch up on weekend happenings.

Now I don't know how Laurette's mom is doing. I don't know if baby Gordon's crankiness was teething or something more serious. Did James get the job he applied for?

On Monday I came to realize how much my social connections in my old gym helped keep me consistent with my workouts. Even if I wasn't particularly motivated to push my body, I hauled my ancient carcass out at least three times a week because I cared about the people I saw there.

I don't know anyone at my new gym yet. I feel weird, awkward, gawky, shy. Painfully, painfully shy. I tell myself that change is inevitable, that it's good to keep life fresh and full of new challenges, but I'm not buying it quite yet.

Maybe I'll feel better about all this in a few weeks, eh?


Mileage on the Marnometer: 357.59 milesTen percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Half way there

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Goal for 2007: 500 miles

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