Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Drama in the Hotel Exercise Room

Greetings outdoors people,

I am in Denver encased in a windowless conference room for days on end. Whenever I travel, I try to stay over the weekend to do something fun, but things did not line up this time. Also: I arrived at the hotel and asked the question I always ask: "Where's the fitness room?"

The desk clerk sighed. "Well, we have one, but all it has is a treadmill and free weights."

Wait, what? ONE treadmill? The hotel is on a busy highway, and I hadn't brought outdoor running clothes in anticipation of that fact. I felt a minor panic. (okay, major). One treadmill? I can't run every day or risk injury. And surely there would be cutthroat treadmill competition! *

I just don't feel right if I can't exercise. In a perfect world, I would be able to hike all day, every day, or trail run, or ski. But I make allowances. If a creaky exercise bike is all there is, then fine. I have been regularly exercising since the teenage years, and my body really needs it.

One treadmill? Okay. I would make it work. I set an alarm for five and hoped for the best. You have to understand, sitting all day in a conference room + eating out -exercise is not a good thing. After about five hours of fitful sleep, I dragged myself to the workout room, to find a vision of happiness: a nice elliptical trainer.

Getting excited over an elliptical is never what I imagined my life to be like. But sometimes we are driven to extremes. I was glad to see two pieces of cardio equipment, and I knew I could face the long hours of sitting much better.

Since only one person came in, and hopped on the treadmill, I thought I was in the clear. The next morning I would run, and whomever else showed up could have the elliptical. I bounded to the workout room to find...a guy on the treadmill. At five! He was intently watching the TV, which was bemoaning the move of a football team to a different state. So, no running for me. The elliptical it would be. While we were on our respective machines, the door opened a couple of times with prospective exercisers, who saw us and beat a hasty retreat. I felt a little bad for monopolizing the elliptical, but not bad enough to remove myself from it.

I have one more morning to participate in the exercise machine wars. It's clear: get up early and claim possession. Pathetic? Obsessed? Perhaps. But in the end, if you are sitting in a conference room with me, you want me to have had exercise. You really, really do.

Anyone else as obsessed as me? Please, say you are and make me feel better.

*Yes, google hotel room workout, and you can find a list of workouts to do in your hotel room with no equipment whatsoever! The only issue with this is if you are on a top floor and risk annoyance from the people below. Or the walls are really thin, so your jumping around will equally annoy people next to you. Once I stayed at a hotel for work where they would deliver an exercise bike to your room. That's my kind of place! (I also stayed at one where they brought a goldfish in a bowl to your room and put a teddy bear on your pillow. My kind of place too. If only they brought kittens!)


  1. Where on earth were you that they brought a goldfish to your room? but with Cat Cafes becoming enough of a 'thing' to get added to the Oxford Dictionary, can loaner cats in hotel rooms be far behind?
    I don't travel enough, nor, thankfully, spend enough time in meeting rooms (when are they going to make standup conference room tables?) to make me feel like I HAVE to GO exercise, I can't lend you support in that regard. Usually I'm just so glad to be able to get a long night's sleep and have nothing I HAVE to do (because I'm away from all the chores that would clamor for attention) that I take advantage of a hotel room to just relax. If I had to do what you do all the time, I might start flying with my 35# kettlebell. I AM shipping it up to Alaska for my 4-month work detail. The local gym is apparently a pay per use ($5) so I won't be going there often (right now, $5 is a helluva lot of money in my world). I am also taking a doorway pullup bar. I'll just have to make do.

  2. I love that you are shipping a kettleball. You can do a workout with rocks, as many a helitack crew at the helibase has discovered. Maybe the forest has an exercise room? You will do fine. The goldfish hotel was in Portland, as you might have guessed. It's a neat old hotel in downtown, can't recall the name at the moment. A guy in a tux brings it to you.

  3. Once, many years ago, I left LAX during a long layover of a truly horrible flight (SLC-LAX-ANC-JNU) and ran five miles in one direction through this odd hangar/office complex area, marveled that I never actually made it out of the airport area, and then returned to go through security again.

    A friend of mine works on a U.N. base in Palestine and trains for ultramarathons by running laps around the complex at night. Some people are very dedicated. In all honesty I am not that dedicated. If my options were hotel workout centers and running on airport grounds all of the time, I probably would morph back into a couch potato just yet.

    1. I doubt you would ever be a couch potato. But I am happy that most of my travel is manageable so I can avoid hotel gyms. When I went on two work trips to Sedona this year there was a great trail to run on right outside the office. I love trips like that.

  4. That is so awesome that you are dedicated to your workout routine. I am spastic in mine. I always stay active, but not on a particular routine. Sometimes I'll go great for 30 days straight, but it's still very sporadic. Crazy about a 2-piece gym!!

    1. It's for my own sanity, but I do mix it up. For example I might run one day, gym the next, bike trainer, snowshoe. I like to keep my body guessing.


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