Yin and Yang at the gym

I had a good day at the gym today.  No, strike that.  I had a GREAT day at the gym today.  It would have only been better had GunShow been there to give me a hard time.  I’ve really come to appreciate him there annoying pushing me.  I just hope he doesn’t read this and think that I’ve become a softy.

My other friend, Smiles, was there though.  He’s the gym manager.  But more importantly, he’s the nice yin to the mean GunShow yang.  Hence “Smiles”.  He’s always quick with a friendly word of encouragement.  Today he was almost sad when I told him I didn’t need help getting out of my car.  That’s how friendly most everyone who works there is!

But here’s why today was so great:  I didn’t have a very long time in the gym today as I had to get to the office for a client meeting.  So, after court I decided to stop by and do a quick video boxing class.  I hadn’t done one in a while since I started training with GS.  No one was in the room (I still don’t get why that room is rarely used??) so I figured that I might as well.  I tried not getting sweaty but that lasted like 3 seconds.  I did the warm up and then the punches. Awesome awesome awesome.  Then came the part for the kicks.  It starts with a knee lift and then a kick while it’s lifted.  I swear to God that I lifted my left knee as if I’d forgotten I was paralyzed.  It came up a couple inches and then I was able to control it out in a flick.  It wasn’t just completely flopping, it was actually controlled!  If anyone looked in the room they would have wondered why there was a crazy smiling and laughing girl in a wheelchair.  I almost wished GS had been there right then to see it cause he would have been stoked too.  I wanted to record it, but every muscle was focused on my left leg.  I worried if I moved a hand that I would have lost it in the leg department.  By this point I was a sweaty mess and beyond exhausted.  That takes everything out of me.  But I was so beyond stoked.  Any little change, improvement is huge!!  That’s what keeps me going.  Keeps me fighting!

I was going to tell Smiles, but he was busy with his boss and I didn’t want to interrupt.  There was a ladder involved and it seemed stressful.  I had just met her that morning but she seemed super nice too, so I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded the interruption.  Besides, imagine the PR: miracle gym gets obnoxious paralyzed girl to walk again.  Hey, it just may happen!

Rolling around Catalina

I’m back on Catalina Island again.  This place is seriously my California happy spot.  (I qualify with California, because I also have a Wyoming happy spot.)  I love being here for a couple reasons: 1) Because I have the most amazing memories of coming here with my family as a kid.  We came out here all the time when my dad had a boat and would just hang out swimming in the bay and baking in the sun.  2) Because my mom used to come here all the time as a kid wither her family.  I never really knew my Grandpa Ducks (mom’s dad) because he passed away when I was 2 years old.  So, being here and knowing some stories from my mom’s youth makes me feel closer to the amazing man I never knew in life.  (I say “in life” because I’m convinced that ghost Grandpa Ducks likes to play practical jokes on me now.  But that is a story for a different day.)  3) Because everything is “walking distance” and I’m forced to be active while feeling safe in the enclosed little town.


My routine is pretty normal.  I get off the boat and wheel to my hotel room.  Today I am staying at a different hotel because my normal one was booked up.  I’m actually really loving this new hotel, and not just because it was closer to the pier where the ferry lets out.  It’s mostly because they have a wine and cheese hour with free stuff.  I only had 1 glass of wine.  No cheese.  Look at me- so healthy!  I get to my room and hang out for a few minutes.  Then I journey out to the little strip of stores and look around.  I sit by the water for a while and, if I remember, read my Kindle.  This time it was Lady Chatterley’s Lover, because it’s “banned book” month for the book club that I’m leading.  (Nerd alert!)  After that, I go to get dinner.  It’s usually either a sandwich from Vons or a slice of pizza.  Tonight’s dinner was a slice of pepperoni.  Hey, at least I didn’t have the cheese earlier, right?  Then, depending on the temperature, I either go back to my room and watch TV before turning early for bed, or I go back to sit by the water.  It’s pretty chilly and I didn’t bring a heavy sweatshirt, so I think I may forgo nighttime beach hangout.

But, my favorite routine of all: going to the candy/taffy store to get a caramel apple.  #DontTellMyTrainer  But, I figure it’s not so bad.  Ice cream would be worse.  I mean, the main ingredient of my dessert is apple.  It’s so healthy that you can disregard that it is slathered in caramel deliciousness.  Though, I suppose ice cream has milk which is calcium which is good for bones.  So ice cream is healthy too.  I’ll have both.  (I kid.  I kid.)

Today is the first time I’ve been away from the Little Mister for a significant amount of time.  I’m pretty sad.  He got up early this morning and then took a nap in my arms from 6:30-8:30am.  So, at least I have the sweet little memory to think back on.  And I know the Hubs is taking good care of him.  But it’s still weird: this used to be my favorite work place, but now I’m not nearly as exited to be here.  Man, kids ruin everything!  (Again, I kid.  I kid.)  I can’t wait to bring him to Catalina with me!  He’s going to be the third generation of amazing memories from this island!

I met a woman here today who owns a boat touring company.  She said she has a boat that she can easily get me on in my wheelchair.  I’m so stoked to check that out soon!  Being on the water is amazing!  And it’s one of the things that I love that I can still do.  I’m scared to try motortcycles, because I don’t know that I can transfer onto one.  And I hate falling.  But, riding quads was how I grew up and I miss it!  And I miss riding my bike (bicycle).  But, being on a boat is something I can still do and still love it.  So, I can’t wait to try her boat out!

Ok, so I know it seems like I talked a lot about the food I’m eating and it may sound bad. But, I did roll around town for about an hour and a half so I think I worked it out.  And I’m pretty sure that vacation work cancels out calories.  I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.  #SeriouslyDontTellMyTrainer

Ode to GunShow

I love my new gym.  Seriously.  It’s just a really comfortable place with good energy.  (No, I’m not getting all new-agey. I just mean people there are super friendly and they usually play good music.)  I like everything except for my new personal trainer: GunShow*.  (Please see below for *.)  I hate him.  I’ve never hated anyone so much in my life.  I thought Drill Sergeant and 5-0 were rough on me.  But they were physical therapists and were more inclined to not push me too hard. (Drill Sergeant was a little more aggressive than 5-0.  But I still had some tricks that worked for leniency.)  I think personal trainers are just built differently.  Literally and figuratively.  Pain is gain. Sweat is fat crying.  And other such motivational sayings.

What makes GunShow even worse is that he was in the Army and had to rehab after an injury.  There is literally no pity in him for me.  He pushes me to my limit and then adds 5 more pounds.  He is quick to tell me when I have “4 more” but neglects to tell me when I’ve stopped counting and did 2 more than he instructed.  Jerk!

The hubs was his teacher in high school so on some level I think it’s payback for long held grudges.  I asked him and he denied that, though I swear I saw him rubbing his hands together like some evil genius.

The worst part is that there is no distracting him.  With my physical therapists, I could always get them distracted.  I had one who I could get to massage me for the entire session.  I would just tell her that my legs and shoulders were tight from sitting and pushing all day.  The next thing, I’m snoozing on the table.  The hubs would get so mad that I would get away with that and tell me I had to stop that.  What I heard was “Do that every time?  Challenge accepted.”  And 5-0 loved to talk about the physiological aspects of everything I did.  He’s roll over the skeleton and show me how everything worked.  That took up half the session.  But, with GunShow, I can’t distract him for anything.  I do try too!  His response “You think I can’t multi-task?  Keep going.”  I think I threatened to punch him like 3 times today because of how hard I had to work and how sore I was from Monday.  That’s what happens when I work for the straight 60 minutes and become sore and tired.  Maybe once I give him nice throat punch he will let me have more breaks.  But, somehow I think that would lead to more reps or some new torturous activity.

I hate this guy so much that I spent the last hour looking up personal trainer memes to bombard him with.  That’s the first passive aggressive step before throat punch.  You have to work your way up the aggression ladder.  Here is the first one from my new arsenal of memes:

personal trainer 10 more


Ok, and for those of you reading this, replace hate with love.  It’s only been one week and 2 sessions with him (though the soreness in my muscles would indicate differently) but I think he’s actually an amazing trainer.  And I’m always up for a challenge and looking for opportunities to fight when someone doesn’t give in to me and let me have my way.  My physical therapists (specifically 5-0 and Drill Sergeant) were so amazing and I loved working with them.  But, it wasn’t enough to make me stick with it.  I can already tell that this is going to be a much, much different experience.  And I’m not just saying that based on today’s conversations about metal music and festivals.  The fact that I enjoy talking to him is just icing on the “get me in shape” cake.  [And yes, I am aware that I probably shouldn’t be using sugary cake metaphors when talking about getting in shape and my personal trainer.  Give me a break- it’s only been 1 week at the gym.]

*GunShow was his choice of name for this blog.  He’s a goofball but since he wouldn’t stop increasing the weight on the machine I was using, I gave in.  I was hoping he would reward my generosity by going easy on me for the rest of the session.  He did not.  So for now I will acquiesce, but I do reserve the right to rename him “Jerky J” at any point in time if he becomes too hard on me.

New gym, new goals

The hubs and I started a new gym today.  I really liked the old gym, but I never felt comfortable there.  The owner couldn’t have been nicer or more dedicated to helping me when I was there.  But, me getting there was the issue.  I get intimidated very easy and there were always the super buff dudes walking around.  I always felt like they were wondering what the girl in the wheelchair was doing there.  I’m sure I wasn’t even on their radar, but that’s still how I felt.

This new gym is right by my house and is pretty quiet.  The hubs and I joined this morning and there were about 5 people working out.  Then we went back this evening and there were about 5 people when we got there and only 1 left by the time we were finished.  It was really nice!

This gym has a private room for classes.  When live classes aren’t going on, you can play a virtual class.  I decided to do a kickboxing class, which was mostly upper body.  It was amazing!  (You can find out more about the class under the Paraple-workout page.)  You have the convenience of a gym but the privacy of a private class.  I kept worrying that people were going to come in, but no one did.  Well, no one except one of the personal trainers who told me if I ever have any questions to not hesitate to ask him.  I have a training session with him on Wednesday, which I’m pretty excited about.

virtual boxing class

After the boxing class, I did an exercise where you take a medicine ball and throw it against a trampoline.  You catch it as it comes back at you.  I think it’s called a rebounder?  I didn’t even bother counting how many times I did that as I was just having too much fun.  I would guess I did it about 30 times.  Next time I will try to remember to count.  Yes, next time.  I’m already looking forward to going back!