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The Great Gym Debacle

January 2, 2010

side note:  HAPPY 100th Post, readers!! I can’t believe I’ve been blogging on Then Heather Said for 100 posts, already!  Time sure does go quickly!  Thanks so much for reading and following me on my way to make on healthy decision after another.

When the former fiancé and I first moved up to Capital District NY, we joined the YMCA.  At the time he was working about a mile away from the Y we chose to be our “home location” (all of the capital district YMCA’s are connected and if you become a member at one, you can use any of them as often as you’d like) even though it wasn’t closest to where we were living.  Our home Y was only a few years old and was a fantastic facility, filled with lots of perks we enjoyed.  Lots of cardio machines, a small indoor track, a pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, classes offered every day of the week, a great weight area, and enough basketball hoops that I never felt I was intruding anyone’s space if I wanted to shoot hoops for a few hours.  The focus for my working out back then was walking and lifting.  [and that one time I took a “world rhythm class” and discovered that I indeed had no rhythm, worldly or otherwise.]

When the great breakup took place, I turned to a lot things.
The night it happened, I turned to “strong girly shots” and Malibu and diets.  The next morning, I turned to the only two women in my office.  The days following I turned to my friends. That weekend I turned to my Dad, who rearranged travel plans so that he could be in town.  It was also that weekend that I turned to running. 

9- running

I was talking to my friend Laura over text messaging about how proud of her I was for starting to train for a 5K, and she coached me into it.  Telling me that I just needed to run as long as I could, don’t worry about how fast i could go, just run as long as I can. 

That evening, after dinner had settled and I watched a few episodes of Entourage with Dad, I laced up my sneakers and headed to the gym in the hotel in which we were staying.  And I ran for .55 a mile in 7+ minutes.  I got off the treadmill, hopped on the elliptical for 20 minutes or so, stretched and returned to my room to report to Laura.  She started me on the Couch to 5K plan, which I attempted at a park near my apartment for about 5 days before realizing I had to set my own intervals- i could not be limited.

So I did.  I started running on the Mohawk-Hudson pathway which is part of the Erie Canalway trail. Some days I just ran until I couldn’t run anymore and then recovered, and ran again.  Some days I set out to do interchanging intervals by distance, quarter miles, then half miles, and eventually, on that fabulous day that I had been dreaming about for years, I ran a mile.  A whole mile.  WITH.OUT.STOPPING.

8- started running at trail IMG00128

And so it continued.  Run. Walk. Run. Walk. Run.
And I ran. and ran. and ran. 

Of course, like a movie, anytime I was having a “B.A.D.”* day my runs were flawless. I’d set a PDR.  I’d run at a faster pace than usual.  One time I set out to do intervals for 4 miles and ended up doing 10. (my butt hurt for 3 days)  I used the pain and anger from the broken engagement, the fear that I wasn’t good enough, and the sadness of the loss of someone I’d had in my life for several years fuel me on the trail. 

I was losing weight rather easily too, which only fueled me to run more, continue to make good food decisions, and add a tiny bit of strength training to my weeks, adding some at home free weights and magazine tear out page exercises once or twice a week. 

Even though going to the YMCA was a good habit, I was avoiding it like a bad habit.  I was no longer part of the couple on the “couple membership” we had signed up for the previous fall, and I was just trying to avoid anything that still tied him and I together. So i didn’t go back to the YMCA.  And the one year membership date passed.  I continued to run outside.

When winter came around, I was determined to take a nod from Ange’s Project Snow and still get my outdoor work out on.  This worked for several weeks.  I would layer up until I was properly bundled and head outside for a quick jog or long walk.  Because the sun had started setting before I left the office, I didn’t spend much time on the trail anymore, but I did make my way back and forth on the main road in my little town which was well lit and busy.  Things were going well with all the bundling, that it is, until the snow fell.

snow - ran in the cold

I seem to have a bit of a fear of icy roads. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am naturally clumsy, or a fear of a serious injury- but I have tried to go out walking/jogging after snow fall a few times this past December, but I just couldn’t do it comfortably.  I ran clenched and tense.  And I lasted about ten whole minutes before my overpowering thoughts of falling on my bum led me right back to my apartment.

So, when I finally came to terms with the fact that I am terrified of running after snow and ice, and realized that I now live in upstate New York, where snow and ice are a bit of a constant factor for the next few months, I knew what I had to do.  I had to find a gym. 

I have been doing an alright job staying spending time doing strength training at home at least 90 minutes a week, but I really need to put more cardio in my routine since I haven’t been spending much time on the trail.  If I want to be ready for early races this spring, I know I need to spend some time running on the treadmill while the roads remain icy. 

After doing some online research, I found a few different gyms in the area I wanted to try out. And luckily I received a few passes to a couple of them.  In the next few days I’ll be posting some reviews for 3 different gyms to help me in deciding which gym to join. 

 images logo shine

*oh, have i not taught you about “B.A.D.”, yet?  I came up with that in high school, and I’m pretty sure some of my friends are STILL using it. B.A.D.  Boys. Are. Dumb.  Yeah. I know. Really mature, right ? 😉


Do you belong to a gym?  What kind of things should I look for when visiting each of the gyms?  Are there any questions you think I should ask that I may not think of on my own? 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    January 2, 2010 11:56 pm

    Oh, Heather. How I love you. Let me count the ways. On second thought, to save time, I’ll just tell you the reason I love you today: B.A.D. Awesome. I’m stealing that and using it as my own!! Thank you, again, for making this lonely heart smile!!

  2. January 3, 2010 12:52 am

    ohhhh girrrrrrl- the more and more I read, the prouder and prouder I become of you! Incredible story on how you became a runner- 4 miles became 10? Unreal. I was more (and can still be convinced to be) the 10 becomes 4 miles model. Ahem.
    As for gyms, the biggest question for me is whether or not I can get out easily. Gyms around me often lock you in for a year, so even if you want to ‘break up’ with the gym before the year is up, you still have to make payments. Often they’ll take your credit card number and will automatically bill you.
    Also, check out the number of machines and whether or not they look new. If there are only 4 treadmills and one or two look like they are near death, that may pose a problem in the form of line ups if something breaks down.
    Finally, if you are interested in personal training, perhaps inquire about a trial session- many gyms offer that to acquaint you with the gym, but buyer beware- it is also often a way to hook you into buying more PT sessions. But the first time session is always good to pick up tips. Make sure the trainers are properly certified too!
    Try googling your prospective gyms… Often you can find reviews or feedback. I’ve found surprising and eye opening reviews that way!

  3. January 3, 2010 3:43 pm

    Happy 100th post! and nice legs, might I add!

  4. January 3, 2010 3:55 pm

    I think it’s amazing what you turned yur grief into. You really are inspiring.

    As for belonging to a gym, I do but I really need to make myself go more! I average about 6 times a month and there’s really no reason why I don’t go 20.

    When looking for a gym, I like to make sure the equipment is up to date and they have options. I have a severe case of workout adhd so something fast like Zumba keeps me happy. 🙂

    p.s looking forward to checking out more of your blog. 🙂

  5. January 3, 2010 7:21 pm

    Congrats on the 100th post (and the running!) I’m not a member of a gym, but for the month of January, I have a membership to the Y to try out (it was through my company.) I’m not 100% sold – and I have yet to use it – because I do a lot of workouts in my home. Good luck, though. I’m anxious to see which gym you choose! 🙂

  6. January 3, 2010 7:53 pm

    Good luck with your search!

    I hope you don’t mind I added a link to your blog on my blog. I’m new to this blogging thing, but sure am loving it!


  1. Quizzes&Classes&Training- oh my! « Then Heather Said

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