Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sweatin' on the Bayou

Working out on the road is a challenge, even with the newly-resolved-best of intentions. When things are good, the hotel has one or two functioning pieces of cardio equipment in the boiler room turned fitness center. I burrow myself into whatever hole they place the machine, focus on the iPod or Friends reruns on TBS, and try to slog through an hour on the dreadmill. Damn, though, it's slower and harder when stuck in a hole and running nowhere at all.

Today was a travel day for me, and I landed early at Louis Armstrong (N'Awlins) airport. With only an hour drive to the town of tomorrow's training, I anticipated a good workout and some catching up on work/blogging in the afternoon. The "Best" Western has no fitness room, and it's too cold to run outside, so I decided to engage my GPS enabled Razr to spot the nearest YMCA. my First Coast Y membership entitles me to use any location in the nation, and today's circumstances seemed like the right opportunity to take advantage of that offer.

The nearest location is the Bayouland YMCA, some 12 miles from the hotel. The free offer was good, and I was ushered right into the fitness area. The place was 1970's and it wasn't retro. I found the one treadmill that was built in this millennium and tuned into a podcast to occupy my mind for the 60 minutes I'd planned to stay. Dripping and bored, I stepped off at the end of the hour, fully intending to complete my workout. I had the whole afternoon, so I could pick up my strength training routine.

I had the best of intentions, but the combination of the Jack LaLanne machines (did they buy the surplus when his show was cancelled in the 1960s?) and the prevalent odor, a cross between vomit and poopy diaper, had me heading for the door after a few lifts in the shaky, rusty Roman chair.

Striving toward my fitness goals is so much easier when I am home! Not only are we in NoFl blessed with a climate suited to outdoor living, but the pristine, modern facilities offered at local gyms and YMCAs actually lift my spirits. Our YMCA on The Island opened only 3 years ago, but it has undergone an expansion, and last month, a renovation. The new equipment, the natural light, the perky and helpful staff, they all make me feel like I want to stay around and get my fitness fix for the day. It’s a long way from Bayouland, that’s for sure.


EJG said...

And I was going to complain about the beating Judi gave me at the Y today. Now, I think I'll call her up and beg her to do it again tomorrow.

Our Y is awesome, as are the many others around the First Coast. We ARE blessed. And thank you for going out on the road for our family. The four of us are waiting your return (all right, G could care less, and H is too busy chasing his own tail to realize that you left). But the rest of us miss you a lot!!!

DiaBelo said...

Your boiler-room fitness center reminds me of the gym-slash- janitor's closet in a hotel I checked into in Reading, PA, and checked right back out of, heading straight across the highway to the Sheraton. Bonus breakfast included biscuits with gravy, proving once again it's doubly hard for road warriors to stay fit. I salute you!

Cora Spondence said...

Your focus on the road is admirable and so it seems terribly unfair that you have to endure such horrible conditions when you have such noble intentions. But hey, in LA, have you forgotten the shape of most of the citizens from our trek there in summer of 2006? Fitness, sadly, is not a priority in the bayou.

MJ said...

the Jack LaLanne machines (did they buy the surplus when his show was cancelled in the 1960s?)

This painted the perfect picture for me. I bet the place was empty too. Who wants to work out in those conditions? You've got amazing dedication--to your fitness and to the teachers.

Further confirmation of my feelings about LA after our last visit.

LJ said...

The Yates Center YMCA is all modern on the second floor but there is a room downstairs with a Nautilus and one of those vibrating leather belt fat melters, and don't forget Jack's wife who has one of the greatest names ever Elaine LaLanne