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5 suitcases? – check!
2 boxes of food?-check!
Snacks? – check!
Diapers? – check!
Wipes? – check!
Paper towels? – check!
Books, mad libs, music, pencils? – check, check, check, check!

The list to get out the door for a family of 7 can be intense but for an 8-night road-trip to Colorado, it’s like its own extreme sport. And I don’t usually win the gold, but I do manage to remember most of the essentials (I have been known to forget a kid’s underwear or pajamas before-oops). For this trip I not only had to have everything physically ready, I had to be mentally ready. I needed to have a food plan, which I talked about in my previous post, and I needed to have a fitness plan. I really didn’t want this vacation to sabotage everything I had done the 4 months prior.

My plan was to rely mainly on the fitness centers in the hotels where we would stay and the hiking we would do in the Rocky Mountains. Our first night stay went okay.  Not perfect, but okay. We swam with the kids, and I tried to use the fitness facility. I had forgotten that the pictures on Expedia may not show the details like dirt or how ancient the exercise equipment is. Hmmm . . . well, a few minutes on the elliptical and then some circuit training.

Then on a brisk May day we arrived at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park.  As I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband to check-in,  I was wondering what the fitness center would be like and how soon I would get there.  Then my husband came back and informed me that the fitness center was closed for renovation. Excuse me?  Pardon me?  I must be hearing you wrong.  Ok, I admit, a little panic rushed through me (A little type A? Yep, you guessed it.). I knew we would be hiking, but many of the trails would be child-friendly and at a child’s pace. What would I do?  I would just have to do my best and rely on the things that I had been learning over the past few months.

On day 2 of our cabin stay, I had a couple of hours to myself while the kids were swimming and the baby (he’s 2, but he’s my baby) was napping. I decided to do some circuit training. I didn’t have weights or anything so I used a jar of Ragu and a can of baked beans for my bicep blasters. I was just hoping no one could see through the window! I used the back deck for my walking lunges and the stairs for box jumps. I did push-ups, reverse lunges, leg lifts, ab work, etc. all under the gaze of a big, stuffed deer head, affectionately called Bullwinkle by previous visitors.

I kind of surprised myself. I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but 5 months before, I never would have done any of those things. Work-out? On vacation? Outside? Where people can see me? No way! But this experience showed me evidence of five months of hard work and a real change in myself. The confidence, change, and commitment that I had paraded around in my head as a theme were becoming a reality. It felt good. There under the Rocky Mountains it felt good to take the time to reflect and to be thankful and to feel strong.

I did another work-out like that while we were there, and we hiked a lot. The way back home was not as great because we were in a hurry to get home, but I felt overall that I did fine. I had accomplished more than I would’ve 5 months ago, and that in itself was good. The vacation had not sabotaged my journey. I know I can travel differently now when it comes to food and exercise.

And I know that I’ll never look at another can of Bush’s Baked Beans the same again. : )




2 Responses to “Vacation: You Did Not Just Say the Fitness Center was Closed!”

  1. Diane says:

    Jen, I really like your blog! You’re creative, you’re funny and you talk like you were sitting at a table with me. I can relate! Your journey helps me think that I, too, can do my own journey. Thanks!

  2. Ben says:

    Haha, that is awesome! I am proud, and have to admit I’ve done something similar. When I used to work up in Michigan over the summers, there was no fitness center. So I ended up using rocks all around the lake to improvise for workouts. High five to you for getting creative and not letting any barriers break your stride.