The “Old Girls” Reunite

I was six months pregnant and watching the “Price is Right” when Johnny Olson said, “Lisa Hanson, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!”

‘Hunh,’ I thought. ‘I wonder if that’s Lisa from home room.’

When we graduated the year before, I left the city and married a farmer and Lisa went to design school in California. There are thousands of Lisa Hansons in the country, but the woman running down the aisle to join the other three players was none other than Lisa from homeroom. She even won her way up on stage! She played that fill-in-the-check game and won a grandfather clock.

I laid on the couch and wondered what she’d do with a grandfather clock. She was 19, going to school, and I doubted she lived in a place that could accommodate something so big.

Fast forward 25 years. I’m standing on the “Oprah” stage with 19 other guests and Oprah announces she’s giving us our choice of a Life Fitness elliptical, treadmill or home gym. Holy wow, I was excited! I wanted the elliptical, but I thought, ‘Man, that thing is HUGE. What is that? Nine feet long?’ I lived in a small house with three large dogs.

‘Where will I put it?’

I thought about Lisa and the clock and started planning.

‘I’ll put it in the dining room if I have to.’

There was no way I was NOT going to have that elliptical.

It was love at first stride. The two burly men who delivered it and set it up asked me test it and I was hooked, like a first taste of chocolate. For three years, that elliptical kept my alter ego – the Queen of Excuses – buried in a closet. I had no reason not to exercise on snowy days, rainy days, I’m-too-busy-to-go-to-the-gym days. She was housed in our former den (fondly called The Zen Room), which I’d also turned into my office, so I saw her all the time. She looked over my shoulder as I worked, reminding me many times a day of my commitment to fitness.

Then a year ago I moved to Pittsburgh and I left the old girl in my ex-house with my ex-husband because my apartment is the size of a toaster. My recumbent bike, while a godsend, lives in the second bedroom where I don’t see it on a daily basis. It doesn’t call my name or challenge me the way BFF elliptical did. Without her, my alter ego escaped her closet prison and my serious cardio regimen went from five days a week to two…at most. True, I rode my bike a lot this summer. Hiked, too. But it wasn’t the same kind of workout I was used to when elliptical and I were BFF.

Thinking I needed a few extra bucks in the bank, I put BFF up for auction on eBay a few months ago. A man in Texas wanted to buy her, but I wasn’t about to ship her that far. In fact, I didn’t want to ship her anywhere at all. I realized I needed her more than I needed the money. (Ironically, she’s the most expensive thing I own. Obviously, I don’t own much…LOL…and I’m happy with that.)

BF knew how much I was missed BFF and we discussed how we might bring her to live in his laundry room. He has a trailer. And bungee cords And rope. And really nice biceps.
This is us arm wrestling. Clearly I didn’t win.

What if we broke up, I asked. He assured me he’d give her back to me. Can we get that in writing, I asked. He laughed. I was serious.

So we drove up to my ex-house yesterday and loaded the old girl on the trailer, with the help of a neighbor. I’m sure BFF got a few looks on routes 66 and 28, but soon we passed a ping pong table on top of a Kia, which probably deflected BFF’s popularity.

Given the shape of my shoulder, I couldn’t offer much help unloading BFF. She weighs 250 pounds, but she’s got wheels. BF rolled her down the ramp and into the laundry room with no more than a few grunts. He got BFF leveled and I hopped up on the pedals and took her for a test drive. I was seven minutes in when my thighs said, “Um…what the heck? We were quite happy without her.”

Exactly, thighs. You got complacent.

Today, my goal was to ease into the workout, just as I did when she arrived four years ago. Twenty minutes tops. I turned on my Nook to read more “Wheat Belly” and plugged in the iPod because I knew I’d need some “foot” to keep me going: Chickenfoot and Switchfoot.

At my peak (back in the day), I could do level 9 or 10 for most of my workout. Today, I spent a good five minutes at level 1 before pressing higher. Level 2, level 3, level 4…yowza!

Me after 30 minutes. I was dripping stinky sweaty.
I normally feel “the zone” around 12 minutes. You know, that zone where you stop feeling fatigued and your thighs stop aching and you groove to your heart rate and breath rate. This morning, I didn’t feel the groove at 12 minutes. Or at 15. Or at 20…which was technically my stop time. But I kept going, wondering what it would take to get to the zone, if I would. Finally, at minute 25, I felt the easing of my thighs and that less-fatigued groove. I didn’t want to push it, though, so I rode the groove for another five minutes and stopped at 30, confident I would improve as the weeks go by.

Make no mistake…I will. My goal is to stride on BFF at level 9 like it’s 2009. It will take awhile. It will take a lot of work. But the old girls are reunited and it feels so good.

And by the way, if you know Lisa Hanson from Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota, class of 1981, please let her know I have a question to ask her.

6 thoughts on “The “Old Girls” Reunite

  1. I've got two perfect machines in my house: an elliptical and a bike. Both made by Tunturi, both made for small people like me.

    Currently, I can't use either one due to my knee. Surgery is scheduled for Nov. 17 and with a little luck, 2012 will see me easing back into the arms of my two friends.

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