March 31, 2016

When Exercise Plans Go Awry: The Ball's in Your Court


By Crabby McSlacker

Hi y'all!

Yep, as you can tell by my accent, I'm still in Texas. Our place in Provincetown Massachusetts is still undergoing renovation.

And how's that going?

Since our move-in date is fast approaching, we were curious ourselves. So a few days ago some kind friends of ours stopped by the place to snap an encouraging picture for us and...

Um....


Still a little work to do, apparently.

Of course there are all sorts of tempting analogies I could draw between home remodeling and fitness. Because home improvement and self improvement projects have a lot in common, right? Both require patience, planning, determination, a long-term perspective, and copious amounts of alcohol.

Wait, there's something not quite right about that list. Something's on there that really shouldn't be. Ah yes, you're all ahead of me here: it's planning.

Screw planning. Whatever you plan for? Some other different shit is going to happen instead.

But this is a health and fitness blog, albeit an aging, whiny, slackerish, meandering, half-assed, bizarro version of a health and fitness blog. And if I don't put up a post soon? It's going to be a dead health and fitness blog with no readers at all. That would suck.

So how about a real life example of Coping When Best Laid Exercise Plans Go Awry?


Note: This post was actually supposed to be about Transcendental Meditation. That was next on my list, yet I don't feel like writing it.  It's going to be a mess. I have a lot of confused thoughts and ambivalent feelings about it, plus, it needs a bunch of research and resources and links and stuff.

So instead you get: a day in the life of Crabby McSlacker as she attempts to work out in less than optimal conditions.  From which you can draw inspiration, or alternatively, find yourself grateful you have an actual life.

As it happens, I'm writing this from a hotel room in Plano, Texas. I'm not Austin right now, part of a family visit thing.  So I don't have my normal gym to go to.

But no worries, we're staying at a Homewood Suites! Homewood Suites are generally pretty good about having a fitness rooms, and this one even had a pool.  I brought my swimsuit and was hoping to do my not-yet world famous Aqua-Aerobics for Cowards workout.

However, on further investigation I discovered several horrible unexpected surprises:

1.  The pool looked inviting but was, tragically, unheated.



2.  When I decided to work out in the fitness room instead, I discovered, upon getting dressed, that I'd forgotten to pack my sports bra. I could make do with the regular kind, I had an extra, but still. It put me in a grumpy mood.

3.  The fitness room did have a couple of elliptical machines, but not my favorite kind, the Precor ones with an adjustable incline. They didn't even have the much less satisfactory Precor model without the adjustable incline.  Instead, they had some shitty other brand I don't like, a brand so substandard it forced my camera to take dark, blurry depressing photos.


Very. Very. Sad.

(Does this all sound fairly insane?  Well, it should, because it is.  Yet it's real for me. I was expecting a PreCor, I wasn't in the mood to exercise to begin with, and I knew I would have a miserable workout.)

4. I didn't feel like doing strength training.


Okay, so this is not exactly surprising. I never feel like it.

But guess what they did have at this particular hotel?



A tiny basketball court!

I looked at the dreary elliptical machines and I looked and the basketball court and I pondered. I concluded there were plenty of sensible reasons to choose an elliptical machine over the court:

1. It was first thing in the morning, and the court was located in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by dozens of hotel rooms in which other guests were staying. This meant I would I not be invisible, my preferred mode of existence when exercising.  In fact, not only would I be visible, but I would also be audible. Very audible, and it was is 9am, when late risers from other time zones could still be asleep.  I could be seriously pissing people off if I went for it.

2. I have some weird undiagnosable chronic lower back problem. It tends to be retaliatory when it comes to running and jumping sort of activities.

3. I haven't played basketball since high school and I wasn't very good even back then.  This would be the opposite of showing off.

4.  I was all by myself. And last I checked, basketball was a team sport, requiring not just one but two teams.

However... 

I went for it anyway and had fun!

Not only was the court munchkin-sized, but the ball was smaller, lighter, and bouncier than the standard kind I remembered. This made my efforts seem way less pathetic than they would have been with real-life equipment.

Plus, I got credit for 45 minutes of aerobic exercise. I had my heart rate monitor on to confirm. I invented goofy games which involved shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and faking out imaginary opponents. And yes, I was aware that I was possibly making a complete fool of myself but I didn't much care. 

It would have been a totally happy ending had I not discovered, about an hour later, that my back hurt like hell.  Thank goodness for ibuprofen. 

Moral of the story, as it so often is?

If you're feeling too cranky to do your usual routine, try something new! And don't be afraid to look like an ass. Just go out and give it your best shot.



Anyone else encountered any unexpected hurdles lately, either in exercise or in life? Figure out any way around them?

43 comments:

  1. Crabby! I love this post. Just reading this made me want to goofily skip around, in the sheer joy of movement. Congrats on breaking the workout blahs.

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    1. Thanks anonymous! I think goofy skipping is an awesome idea. Wait, isn't Prancercise an actual thing?

      And apologies to you and everyone, today has been a series of mishaps and minor disasters and I didn't get a chance to check back on comments. Wait... April 1... hmmm... coincidence?

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  2. Hey Crabby, welcome back to blogland! I was wondering if you're still in Austin - how are you liking it?

    Love that you played basketball. Sounds a lot more fun than the gym (although too bad that beautiful pool wasn't heated).

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    1. Hey Shelley, wish I were as good about hanging in there with my blog as you are with yours! Loving Austin, what a fun town!

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  3. Death Ride GrandmaApril 1, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    My workout today got messed up by weather. Intervals, too, which always make me a bit nervous. But I got out there only to discover that the wind on the hill I wanted to ride was so strong & gusty that I was afraid of getting blown under the wheels of a passing car. Or maybe off the cliff & down to the not-so-Pacific Ocean. So I had to turn around and head off to a different hill, about 7 miles away, not really quite long enough. Grrr. Wish I'd thought the way you do & just done something different & fun!

    Great to see you here - hope your time in Texas is wonderful.

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    1. OMG, that sounds so scary! Please do not let yourself get blown off a cliff! Glad you aborted and did a different hill, there being no basketball courts nearby to futz around on. You are such a role model to us all!

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  4. Making a complete fool of myself is a life plan around here. This is the kind of planning that never goes wrong! (Sorry your back didn't agree.)
    Good luck with progress in P-town.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Ooh, life plan: foolishness.

      I like the way you think Mary Anne!

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  5. So - How is Plano, Tx? I've always wondered. I grew up in Plano, IL and it always confused people (now I just say I'm from the Chicagoland area).

    I signed up for a half marathon and promptly over did my training resulting in a bunch of crazy knee and hip issues. Unknowingly, I've been following your advice - mixing up what I'm doing and trying new things while supplementing with light training runs. It helps me if I throw my crazy kids in the mix. They make up some really...um...interesting games. :)

    Oh! And while annoying at first I totally would have looked at the unpacked sports bra as a fabulous excuse to pick up a new one.

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    1. Bdaiss, so sorry about your knee and hip issues, that is SO frustrating! And love the idea of letting the spontaneity of your kids add to your workout variety. Here's to weird games!

      And it sounds like you are a much better shopper than I am. "Picking up a new sports bra" sounds like a two week ordeal to me rather than a treat.

      Hope knees and hips decide to behave themselves!

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  6. Hi Crabby!
    I'm a bona fide coward, so I quality to sign up for that plan!

    We are going through massive house cleaning and re-organizing, so I can relate to your P-town house process. Speaking of that, it disrupted my usual fitness plan in that I had to take a rest day due to fatigue, and I tweaked my hamstring a bit.

    Now I'm good to go again, and my latest pull-up craze has got me all motivated again.

    I have a little less workout disruption by equipment issues because I use so little gear. Mostly, if I have a floor with some space, I'm good to go.

    But your point about improvising when needed is a great one. I do like having routines, but busting out of them is valuable and fun!

    Best, Dave

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    1. Hey Dave! Too bad you don't live closer, we could invent weird fitness challenges and bizzaro games. Am intrigued about your pull up craze; I'm switching to chin-ups (easier and theoretically less harsh on shoulders) but am kinda stuck at 2. Will be curious how you master the pullup thing!

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  7. Surprise! I had GREAT PLANS to get back on the exercise track in January... Then the docs discovered a large myxoma (tumor) residing in my right atrial... I had open heart surgery mid-February. I am now 6-weeks post-op and just yesterday got clearance to raise my arms above my head... So it will be awhile yet till I'm back in the swing of things... It was benign, but the largest the doc had ever seen... 1.5 X 1"... So how's THAT for an excuse??

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    1. Oh no!!! Open heart surgery?? And here I'm complaining about the wrong brand of elliptical in a hotel gym. Pretty funny.

      You have the BESTEST EXCUSE EVER but I know you're not one to be stopped by anything.

      So sorry you've been through all this and am eager to hear about your road to recovery.

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    2. Just realized I posted this on April Fool's Day, but I assure you, it was no joke!

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  8. Such a good reminder that we are allowed to have fun with it! Just do it! I love to shoot hoops even though I never participated in team sports I just like to do get out and play around. I too hate the crabby, crunchy days when I don't want to but drag myself out there anyway...it beats sitting on the couch watching Law and Order and wishing I wasn't being a lazy quitter...

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    1. Well I don't think quilting is a lazy pursuit, it's very creative! But I would love to think of you having fun shooting hoops or just generally having fun. Rock on!

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  9. Crabby's a baller! Love it. When life hands you lemons, you know how to make lemonade. I would have been in the pool though. I don't care about heated water.

    I must say this post spoke to me. I came down with an illness in early February that involved many trips to various doctors, the hospital more times than I care to mention, my own nurses at home, and a nice scar.

    It only got better from there as the drugs I was on caused another awesome illness which took two different kinds of medication to cure. The icing on the cake was some weird virus I picked up during one of my frequent visits to the doctor. The pharmacist became my new bestie.

    The most amazing part was my inability to do anything. I could barely bathe and often times had to actually sit down in my stand up shower.

    Fast forward to today and I was at the hospital to see yet another doctor and he was behind schedule due to bringing a new baby into the world. I took advantage of the opportunity to actually WALK around and around the area his office is in. I finally got to move my body!

    This month I plan to try and get back to swimming, yoga, and walking in the woods, but am not going to push myself at all. I have learned that all my planning can be for naught and sometimes I have to do what my body tells me.

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    1. Oh my goodness Kimberley, I had NO IDEA you were going through all this! Can't believe the series of events, one after another... the Universe must think you have extraordinary coping abilities or something, and I bet it's right. Love that instead of wanting to crawl under the covers you're eager to ease yourself into swimming, yoga, and walking. Take care and hope you feel better soon!

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    2. Thanks, Crabby! I could hardly believe it myself and I did take one evening to have a big cry about it. Then I wrung out my hanky and let it go!

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  10. My blogger feed is not telling me when you put up new posts, and that makes me mad! Great job making the best of the situation, and yes, if you have to exercise, do anything you can do to make it less punishment and more fun.

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    1. Thanks messymimi! Really appreciate you finding my very occasional posts. Always love when you stop by!

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  11. Crabby, go you for going for the basketball court. I haven't done much of anything lately as I've fallen down the rabbit hole of freelance work. But I did bust through a perceived barrier on a mountain hike yesterday so I have that to go on.

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    1. Mountain hike? Sure sounds like a good workout to me!

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  12. Good to see you back, Crabby!

    I'm still restricted to careful Pilates and a recumbent bike due to a fractured back, uncooperative discs and a serious hip injury (which my insurance company won't let me have a surgery for that will fix it--not replacement because they would let me have that--Grrrr!!!). But, I'm hoping to get back to some other things soon. So, my best shot is intervals with lots of resistance on that darn bike (insert long, bored sigh here).

    Loving the image of you on the court!

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    1. Oh no, fractured back, disc problems and hip injury? And intervals SUCK even though they are so good for you, so kudos on even thinking about it!

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  13. Ugh.. renovations. I hope to never have to endure those again. I hope yours are a lot closer to done by now.

    As for the alcohol.. cheers!

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    1. Thanks Hilary... and we're a few weeks away from our move in date and it seems like about 90 percent of the work isn't done yet, so fingers crossed!

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  14. I'm one of those late risers you talk about. I'd definitely be hating on you if I had been staying in that hotel! Bounce...bounce...bounce...boom! 9am isn't too bad though. Now the people that jump into the hotel pool at 7am? Eugh.

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    1. Aplogies Healthuoso for all the racket! My problem is the opposite: being awakened past 10pm (or ok, sometimes even past 9pm) by loud talkers and shouters out side my door who assume everyone is a night owl like them.

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  15. I can't tell you how many times I thought of you playing basketball over the past week or so! One of the gyms I work out at has the treadmills set up in a loft like area, overlooking the basketball court below. When I see one or two folks exercising there, I think of you doing the same that day. Good to read your post! (thanks for stopping by my blog too)

    My son lives in Austin. They have had a nice spring there. Wish I were more brave. I'd come down and stalk you...um, I mean visit you! :D

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    1. Some day we'll meet for sure Sherri!

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  16. Yes playing a sport is so much more fun than exercising on boring machines. I try to listen to pod casts when I walk on the treadmill.But I feeL when ypu are playing it's better exercise because you are having fun and that's great for the mind too.That's the bad part of growing up.Less playtime.

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    1. Podcasts are a great idea Amrita, thanks!

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  17. Exercising works better when you catch fun while doing it. That way, your body would not see it as a stress which could bring the cortisol to interfere.I support your idea of trying something new, you can't be doing one thing over and over again and expect different result...great post.

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    1. Interesting theory about the fun lowering cortisol, thanks for making me think!

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  18. Life is too short to do workouts that you hate. There are lots of options out there and sometimes getting creative is the way to go! Hope you didn't do any serious damage to your back though.

    Winter seemed to put me all off track again this year. Then just when I was starting to find my energy I came down with a head cold (over a long weekend when I had booked a couple of extra day off...grr!). Then a week later I ended up with the flu. Feels like I've been sick for a month, but feeling better now for the most part.

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    1. Oh shoot JavaChick, cold and flu etc, etc, hope the winter bugs have fled and that you're having a great spring, feeling energized and ready to kick ass!

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  19. Haha... So true Crabby. I've been trying some new workouts too. It's tough sometimes but I'm trying having fun during the process, I guess that is what matters.

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    1. Yay for you anonymous!

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  20. Hope you see this Crabby. I played basketball for the first time in probably 45 years, today. I ONLY did it because of this posting from you. The thought just popped into my head towards the end of my workout with my trainer. I think I surprised him. I know I surprised myself! lol

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    1. Sherri, that is so awesome, hooray for you!!!!

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  21. Now you've got me wanting to play some basketball! Shame I've never been a very good shot though... hand eye coordination just isn't my thing... lol.

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