Caution: Training in process

I know my hubby loves me, but I am beginning to suspect he may also be trying to kill me.

Lamont got it into his head that he would like to run at least one marathon in each of the fifty states before he dies. He’s already run a few, but still has a long way to go (in quantity and in kms). Unfortunately after breaking his toe earlier this year, an event triggered by a freak increase in the corner of our kitchen island’s gravitational pull (and definitely not clumsiness on his part), he fell out of the running habit. He decided that in order to get back into shape, this time he would hire a personal trainer.

Lamont prides himself on treating our whole marriage thingy as an equal partnership, and wanted me to have the same opportunity to improve as he did, so he took it upon himself to hire a personal trainer for me as well. Oh, joy! Sometimes I have to wish he were a little more selfish.,

Medieval torture rack
Medieval rack or equipment only found at a premium gym? Both will cost an arm and a leg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My previous experiences with personal trainers haven’t exactly been fantastic, so the day of my appointment I waited a tad nervously in the gym’s lobby. Minutes ticked by without any sign of my torturer trainer. Was he a no-show? FANTASTIC! It was like being given a get out of jail free card. (I still get ice cream for showing up – right?) I started gathering my things to bolt out of there.

As I was making my escape plans, I heard a man say. “You must be Allie.” My heart sank. Must I?

Pepe wasn’t anything like I expected. He wasn’t some muscle-bound giant. Instead, he was thin and my height (poor man). We hit it off immediately (vertically challenged people of the world unite!) I explained up front that I hate sit-ups with a passion and he admitted he did too. We worked on my core for thirty minutes without a single crunch. At the end, he offered a follow-up session free of charge. Sure. Why not? I had a good time. It wasn’t like he was asking me to sign a contract or anything. I could still stop at any time (and this, kids, is why personal trainers are like drug dealers, only they offer a different kind of high)

The second time, when Pepe came around the desk I was actually excited to see him. What were we going to work on today? He directed me to one of those aerobic step platforms and handed me a kettlebell. This looked like it was going to take some grace or at least some coordination. Clearly Pepe has not visited my blog before. “Ummmm…yeah…er…Pepe, I believe you may have little more confidence in my abilities than I do.”

“Don’t look at the step. Don’t look at the weight. Just look up and jump. You’ll be surprised at how your body naturally follows a straight line.”

Somehow, not only did I not throw the weight into the face of a passerby, I actually managed to land on the platform without breaking it or my leg. More than thirty times. I know. I am as equally shocked as you are.

When I woke up the next morning, I realized that I must have left vertebrae on the gym floor because my back? It wasn’t bending. I have discovered that it is remarkably difficult to write creatively when you are moving like Frankenstein’s monster, but I still think there was a lesson worth sharing. Yes, we all have weights holding us down or disrupting our sense of balance, but when we keep our heads up, we are more likely to land on our feet.

(Oh – but lift with your legs and not your back)

Is that a fire hydrant or a really odd garden gnome?

German garden gnome
German garden gnome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After staring at my computer screen for hours, I decided to go for a walk at lunch as a way to recharge.  There is a secluded nature park within a short walk that can be reached by passing through the adjacent residential area. It’s not particularly impressive, but it at least gives me a destination to go to when I need some fresh air.

It had been a partially cloudy day which had allowed me to walk at a rather brisk pace without worrying that I would stink up my office upon my return. At least it had been at the beginning of my walk. As I began the final stretch, the clouds parted and the sun beat down upon the payment. We’ve had an unusually wet summer this year and the ground was full of pent up moisture. Within an instant the humidity skyrocketed and I found myself wishing that I had gills.

Luckily trees with low hanging limbs draped the sidewalk ahead and I eagerly darted under their cover. I stood there for a moment to enjoy the last bit of shadow as the rest of my route was in full sun. To my left stood a fire hydrant.

Its paint was faded and it had a layer of mold and bird droppings that helped to blend it into the surrounding landscape. It certainly did not command a high degree of visibility from the street. There have been ceramic garden gnomes which have caught my eye quicker. I found myself wondering how often it was maintained. I wondered what would happen if there was a nearby fire. Would the firefighters even know it was there? I imagined the damage that could be avoided if only someone would do a better job of trimming those trees or applying a new coat of paint to that hydrant.

Most fires don’t put themselves out before they have reduced everything around them to cinders. It doesn’t matter if the fire is a physical one or the more metaphoric variety. However it isn’t enough to provide the tools to combat them, you have to make sure everyone knows they are there, and then remind them over and over again.

At my work, I am the documentation queen. I’ve written several hundred pages of memos, policies, and procedures. I placed these documents on the company network for all employees to share. I believed I had given the entire company a great reference tool. However it seemed that the moment someone encountered some situation they weren’t entirely sure of they would either panic or do nothing.  Senior management would get frustrated. Why are we repeating the same mistakes? Customers would get frustrated. Why were we making their lives so difficult? I grew frustrated. What was the point of all those hours spent refining those policies or putting them to paper if no one was going to read them?

Book promoters will tell you often that you can write the greatest story ever, but no one will read it if they don’t know it exists. This saying is true for so many things beyond the publishing world. It wasn’t that my co-workers were lazy. They just hadn’t needed to use the reference guide in a long time. They hadn’t been involved in its creation and had no reason to remember the contents of every single page.  I’ve since learned that the average adult has to hear something more than six times before it embeds itself into active memory. Six times! I couldn’t fault my colleagues for not retaining information I had only mentioned once or twice. My co-workers simply didn’t know what they didn’t know.

So now unless I want to have the written equivalent of a garden gnome I must trim back those trees, apply a new coat of paint, and repeat, repeat, repeat, or in marketing terms, promote, promote, promote.