Thank goodness for electronic records, since you know, I’m old and forgetful. I did attend four classes with Deb prior to my unplanned hiatus to spend some quality time with Matt and Taylor at Edge Physical Therapy. And Deb WAS (and is) a ton of fun as a trainer. Super energetic, always telling stories about her kids, life in general, and her encounters with, erm, challenging people at the gym (those usually make me feel a little less like a Gym Dork). Her stories and infectious attitude make the workout go a lot quicker, which is a bonus when you’re sucking air, praying for it all to end.
Deb is also very engaging with everyone who walks in the door. She knows everybody’s name, what they’ve been up to, who they work out with and when. That being said … in my first sessions with Deb (pre PT), I somehow managed to avoid the range of the Dynamo Deb Radar. Get in, do my workout, sweat a ton, stretch, stagger out the door to my car; repeat.
Very first day back after my PT release, Deb’s the coach. And it’s a small class – fewer than 12 people. So Deb tells everyone to hop on the treadmill to start; no two-group training today with half on the treadmills and half on the rowers. OK, you’re totally messing with my mojo here – I’m a row first kinda girl – but whatever. I’m no longer doing my weights in the corner of the studio, I’m branching out from my Gina comfort zone, I’ve got my PT behind me, and I’m stronger. I’ve got this.
Up onto a treadmill I go. Start it up to my usual “base pace” of 4MPH (power walker, yes I am; me+running=sometimes), crank the fan, and start moving. Deb steps onto the treadmill next to me. Powers it up, starts walking, and starts coaching.
So not only have I landed within the range of the Dynamo Deb Radar at this point, I.AM.IN.THE.FREAKING.CROSSHAIRS.
At this point, I’m of the me+running=sometimes frame of mind, because I know that running is the only way to get my heart rate up. (I say running … it’s jogging. Like a sloth, through peanut butter, but it is jogging. Ish. In short bursts.) And I’m a little anxious yet about incline, since I am not sure if that’s going to send me back onto the PT table with Matt and Taylor. So we start with a “push pace” for I have no idea how long (probably all of 30 seconds) and I do my peanut butter sloth jog thing. Usually after a push is “base”, which is “Challenging, but doable”. Well, for me, base is back to 4MPH … but Deb is barking “Joggers or runners … THIS AIN’T NO WALKING RECOVERY! KEEP JOGGING OR RUNNING!” And she’s right next to me, staring me down. I did manage to keep up the pace for part of the workout, but I did have to fall back to walking. Me+running for roughly 23 minutes without stopping = #notgonnahappen. Not that day, anyway.
So, when not doing the peanut butter sloth jog to get my heart rate up during pushes and all outs, I’m walking at an incline. And holding onto the treadmill rails, since my pace is at least 4MPH, and the incline is jacked way up. (Incline with walking, weirdly enough, doesn’t seem to aggravate my knee.) But I’ll hold onto the rails cuz I feel like if I let go, WHOOSH off of the back of the treadmill I’ll go, looking like Wile E Coyote all flattened against the back wall. With a big Jen-shaped cutout in the glass wall behind the treadmill; the glass wall separates the studio from the lobby.
Deb: “JEN, whachoo doin, holdin’ onto those rails?!? They ain’t no rails when you walkin’ outside! Let go of those rails, pump those arms, lean into it – you got this!”
Criminy, woman! Are you in kahoots with my therapists, or what?
I realize this little narrative makes Deb sound like everyone’s version of the Bully Bootcamp Coach – and she’s totally not. OK maybe she was just a little, that day … I probably wouldn’t remember it quite this vividly, had it not been day one back from PT. There are many “Deb-isms”, one of which is “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” She’s always watching, knowing when someone needs just a little extra encouragement, an extra word, to push it a little harder. I would say that because of Deb, I now consider myself an OTF “Power Jogger” on the treadmill. OTF has three treadmill profiles: Power Walker, Jogger, and Runner. I have decided I am a hybrid between a Power Walker and a Jogger, so I have anointed myself “Power Jogger”. Plus, “Power Jogger” sounds sorta badass.
There are times when I am able to do my peanut butter sloth jog thing for three minutes without stopping, ramping it up to a blazing 6MPH for an “all out” (if I’ve really got the swagger going, I’ll hit a killer 6.5MPH. EAT.MY.DUST. Ha!) Some days, the running isn’t happening at all, so I might be walking at a 15 incline for a one minute “all out” after doing a two minute push pace at my peanut butter sloth jog. Deb and the other coaches will push and encourage – but I do know when I’m at my limit, and I know how to get my heart rate where it needs to be (up or down). But I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by some of the things I have been able to do (like complete a mile in 12 minutes: EAT.MY.DUST! but not bad for the woman who previously said me+running=NO). And I find I can do about anything on the treadmill in 1-, 2- or 3- minute bursts. I have to admit, though, that for the longer blocks I will stare at the timer on the treadmill, counting down every last second (“OK, half way there …”).
Deb is now my regular, go-to trainer; Gina’s stepped back a bit, and it just seems my schedule aligns better with classes when Deb is coaching. I’ll occasionally hit a class with Keigan (aka Brown Sugar; aka Chocolate Angel), Brenda, or one of the two Treys – but most days, it’s Deb. And I’m now always in Dynamo Deb’s radar range. Deb is now a Facebook friend, too, so she knows what I’m up to outside of OTF (including cookie baking – is it wrong to give your OTF trainer a big box of Christmas cookies? Seems counter to the whole idea of “fitness”, I dunno … and it didn’t earn me any burpee passes, dang it.)
Deb starts every workout by inviting people to “Get a little … met-a-bolic … ex-PLO-zhun!” going in the studio, and always includes inspiration and encouragement from the moment you walk in until you leave. Truth be told, all of the trainers are inspiring and encouraging in their own ways. I’m able to do things now I couldn’t two years ago when I started – shoot, even one year ago. Who knows what I’ll be doing next year! Me+running=marathon? (Gonna set the record straight right now … probably not!)