I’m Only An Idiot. Whew.

A while ago, I discovered I’m an idiot.  That was a relief.

Let me explain…

I’m not exactly a gym rat, but I work out a few times a week.  I enjoy competing against myself, in a laissez-faire sort of way.  If I don’t do anything stronger or faster, I don’t worry about it too much, and when I do hit a milestone, I’m pumped.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

But on days when I really underperform, I can’t help feeling a little bummed.  That happened to me a while ago – I’d been keeping track of my running times, so I knew roughly what interval I should be hitting.  Then I ran a lap and stared in disbelief at my stopwatch, panting and wheezing like steam engine.  It was twice my previous time.  What a wimp.

Then the hypoxia subsided and I realized my earlier intervals had been half laps.  Oops.  So I wasn’t a wimp; I was just an idiot.  Whew.

The reverse happened last week.  I hurt my ankle kickboxing a while ago, so I’ve been doing my cardio on an exercise bike instead of running.  I do the random program for half an hour, and crank the intensity up to 10 so I’m working close to my maximum on the peaks.  (Sadly, this sounds more hardcore than it actually is – the top setting is 25.  But “cranked it up to 10” sounds good…)

Once the program starts, I turn my brain off and just go for it.  Last week, my half hour slipped away before I knew it, and I was coming into the final three minutes smugly congratulating myself because my workout had felt so easy.  At last, I was making progress!  I was a hero!

Until I looked closely at the screen for the first time, and realized I’d set the intensity to 9 instead of 10.

So I wasn’t a hero; just an idiot.  Oops.  Not so much of a relief.

But sometimes I really do get to be a hero.  I love working out when I’m travelling, because just about everywhere is closer to sea level than Calgary.  I get down into that nice, oxygen-rich environment, and I am a superhero at the gym!  I can run farther, faster, work out harder!  It’s fabulous!  (A side benefit is that I can drink twice as much beer at sea level before I feel the effects, so I look like a superhero in the pub afterward, too… but I’m pretty sure Marvel Comics isn’t going to be introducing “Middle-Aged Six-Pack Lady” anytime soon.)

Occasionally, I also get a belly laugh from my workouts.  The last time I worked out at a hotel fitness centre, I was doing my thing when a guy passed through on his way to some other equipment.

And he stared at me.  So I stared back.

So the guy holds eye contact, cracks off a long, rip-roaring fart, and then stumbles over a weight machine, still staring.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that.  I suppose it would have been correct to return the compliment, but I lacked the necessary resources at the time.  There’s never a bean burrito handy when you need one.

I laughed myself silly after he left, though.  I guess that’s what they call a “core workout”.

At least I wasn’t the idiot that time.  Whew.

* * *

Postscript: Yesterday when I walked into the gym I encountered an elderly man on his way out.  He shot me a big grin, and with a heavy accent proclaimed, “Kickboxing!” 

I’m not sure whether I was looking like a hero or an idiot when he saw me kickboxing, but it made my day.

* * *

P.P.S. One of my blogging buddies, Charles Gulotta, has launched a line of everyday greeting cards that address the in-between-occasions of life with his usual quirky sense of humour.  Check them out here if you could use a chuckle!

P.P.P.S Another one of my blogging buddies, Tom Merriman, just made me a superhero for real!  (Well, kinda for real… as real as cyberspace ever gets…)  Check out Middle-Aged Six-Pack Lady here:  http://wellheregoes.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/the-middle-aged-six-pack-lady/

46 thoughts on “I’m Only An Idiot. Whew.

  1. The lady is right to be miffed at the guy. She needs to rethink her doctor choice. It’s time to trade up. I dunno, somebody with a clue, maybe? Couldn’t hurt, right?

    Want a good, low-impact workout? Try ballroom dancing. We’ve been taking lessons since January (wife’s birthday present, she’s been wanting to try it for decades), and we love it! The instructors host dance parties at the studio Friday and Saturday evenings. Nice venue, no drunks, no bar smoke fog, just people who are learning to do something they like hanging out with others just like them. All ages, all friends, good atmosphere. Our doctors are both thinking about joining us! 🙂


    • Oh, that would be a blast! I tried to talk Hubby into it a few years ago, but it didn’t fly, partly because he wasn’t really interested and partly because I was too busy to really push it. Maybe I’ll run it up the flagpole again in a few years when I can’t do my higher-impact stuff anymore…


      • Try it again. Most studios have a special introductory offer. Why put it off? Too much fun to pass up. Tell Hubby I wish I’d caved in YEARS ago. Didn’t know what I was missing. No kidding.


  2. Being in my early 70’s (kinda proud I made it too…considering a bunch of stuff, hehehe) I exercise several times a week. Not saying I’m in any kind of shape and that I don’t see a whole lot of headway most times, but, I feel I need to just so I can continue to keep mobile. My doc asks me why I do it….”after all, you are 70+ now!” (he’s a dear man and a good doc, but on some things he’s dumb as a stump) I sat down and thought about that for a minute then just looked at him and said “you DO know what the alternative is, don’t you?” He still hasn’t answered me. LOL!
    Don’t give up the exercise, no matter what the end result you want is. As long as the muscles are moving and the lungs and heart are moving, that darn sheet isn’t being pulled up over you!


    • Excellent advice! Good on you for maintaining your gym rat status.

      And “dumb as a stump” – no kidding! Doctors just don’t get it sometimes, do they? One of my friends is in her mid-eighties and her (much younger) doctor recently suggested maybe she should back off her workout schedule – she does yoga and tai chi several times a week. She was indignant. Personally, I think he was just embarrassed that she could probably kick his ass without any difficulty… 😉


      • Excellent tip on the ballroom dancing, just might consider that. When I was young-young I did speed skating and I may have been the only one that knew how to jump over the fallen skater in front of me. No one else seemed to remember when I was the one that fell though! I’d been hammered in the back, legs, head, you name it. A little older I had been thrown from horses about 8-9 times and that tends to smart after a while. Had a tree fall on me on some property we were clearing. Thank heavens I was standing in some extremely soft mulch and “loamy” (?) type ground. LOL, got buried about a foot down on that one. Fell into a mine shaft at 18, stayed lost for several hours until some other tourists heard me, went end over appetite down a steep enough hill into a dry ravine. Landed in a bush full of baby spiders. Slight shock with that one. This is why now, at this age, and having retired at least 3 Guardian Angels, I seriously NEED to keep moving. If I stop for too long I may never get up again, HA!


        • Apparently we share some history. I didn’t wear out a good set of knees sitting on my butt reading, that’s for sure. I was reluctant to take up ballroom, to say the least, but I really enjoy it. As with most everything, you get out what you put in. I like it. Give it a shot.


  3. Anyone who thinks of themselves as a superhero, Diane, is not an idiot! I can’t believe that you actually go to a gym… I needed to lie down after reading that. Not, ahem, because of you going to a gym, I hasten to add, but because of the memories it invoked of the last time I went and got trapped in one of the leg machines. Now, I get my exercise climbing stairs. Well, I call it exercise… and I look as though I need to fart when I get to the top, so it must be kind of similar!


    • So you would think; but I was actually travelling for business that time and the hotel room was 300 bucks a night. (Needless to say, I wasn’t paying for it.) You’d think that would be enough to filter out the riff-raff, but they let me in anyway. Go figure.


      • FYI, $300 a night won’t get you in the Holiday Inn Express around here. The oil boom is ON. Lowest unemployment on the planet and big wages. The HIE was $325 a night last time I heard. 🙂


          • Oh my! Talk about “the old days”. Our first home was a Whopping $15K with $500 down. It was a huge lot and a 3br, 2 bath with attached garage! Lost it 8 months later to a hurricane! And so the journey began. LOL


          • Those extended stay places that are $189 a week everywhere else are $599 a week here. An “efficiency” apartment is $1,800 a month, if you can find one. A huge building boom is going on, too, naturally. We could make AT LEAST $75k on our house if we sold it, and we could have have a contract with as much down payment as we wanted before noon today if we called a realtor right now and said do it, but there’s no place to go at any price, so why bother. Interesting times, these. 🙂


            • Isn’t that the truth? We keep saying that when the next boom comes around, we’re going to sell everything and move to some cheap little town where we can live for the rest of our lives on the proceeds. (I’m not holding my breath on that, though…)


  4. “A side benefit is that I can drink twice as much beer at sea level before I feel the effects”—I would say that’s the MAIN benefit. 😉

    I find as I get older and my knees get weaker (thanks to my thinning cartilage), a little devil voice inside me says, “Hey, you’ve worked out hard all your life. Don’t you deserve a break now that you’re older? Do you really still need to do push-ups?” So far, I’ve been able to ignore this voice and power through, but I’m not sure how long my resistance will last…

    Such a funny post. Gave me some good laugh-out-louds. I can’t believe the flatulent guy; how gross is that? And to not even be embarrassed? Those Y chromosomes impart some pretty useful social nonchalance, I guess.


    • I’m still not quite sure what Sir Fart-A-Lot had in mind, but I’m still laughing about that encounter!

      And yeah, the little devil voice? It usually shows up about half an hour before I’m due to leave for the gym. That’s why I love kickboxing – I’m always eager to kickbox, and it also motivates me to do my regular boring workouts because I need the overall fitness level. I find I actually hurt more if I don’t work out, so that’s another motivator…


  5. Uh, lemme see here. A hotel fitness center, a guy trying for suave but farting his brains out and tripping over himself, and a tall redhead in a pink cape. Now where could I go with a setup like that?? 🙂

    If it makes you feel better, I’d have have settled for being ONLY an idiot, well, let’s just say “several” times and let it go at that…


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