Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks

So hang in there, this will eventually be a post about exercise, but first off, meet Seashell, the new Cranky Fitness spokesdog!



So who is Seashell and what the heck is she doing here?


Well, Seashell is a virtual pet, but she's still loveable, loyal, and obedient. Plus she's cheap to feed and never chews up shoes or craps on the floor.

And the reason she's called Seashell?

Partly, it's because between Crabby and the Lobster, there's sort of a marine theme going on at the blog. But more importantly, I've got a book coming out (looks like early November) and a life coaching practice to pimp, and I need someone cute and credible like Seashell for marketing help.

Seashell: she sells!

(Down by the Seashore? Why yes, now that you mention it.)


(Note: if any of you out there are photographers with an adorable pet, and want to show off your photoshop skills and can isolate said pet on a white or transparent background, and include a nice sign I can write on, Seashell would love some company! And why would you want to do that for no money and just some tiny attribution at the bottom of the blog? Um... to pursue your artistic passion and nurture your creativity?  Um, yeah, that's it!)

But anyway, the whole teaching Old Dogs New Tricks/New Dogs Old Tricks idea actually popped into my head as I was out exercising the other morning.  Because it occurred to me that in my quest to keep from bailing on exercise all these many years, I've had to try a lot of tricks to mix things up. Many of which stopped working for one reason or another.

But, I've grown and changed a lot as the decades passed and I now see a lot of things differently... mostly for the better. Which means that with a new mindset and attitude, I am in many ways a New Dog!  And I've discovered that this means I can revisit Old Tricks and resurrect them when things start to get a bit stale.


Old Trick, New Dog:  I used to love to run a lot until plantar fasciitis intervened, then I had to stop. Mixing up my cardio between running, biking, and elliptical was my favorite Old Trick for keeping things fresh and I really missed it.  After more than 2 f-cking years, I'm once again tentatively running again every now and then, but I am a whole new dog!

 "What Do You Mean, Crabby?"

Well, New Dog pays attention to what her body says and lays off immediately whenever she starts to  feel any telltale pangs in her paw. And she deals with obstacles a bit more flexibly.

For example, I had a lovely run two weeks ago but could tell I overdid it, even though the twinges didn't happen until a day or two later and were relatively minor.  Nonetheless, I forced myself back on the elliptical and bike until no more twinges.

And then boy oh boy was I excited to go out for a run on sunny blustery fall day.  I had the perfect location in mind and a Sensible Plan!

I decided to cut running mileage by doing my own slacker biathalon, biking up and down some lovely rollercoaster hills to a nice soft trailhead where I would then commence to run. And then I would bike back. Brilliant, no?


Whee, let's take Crabby for a ride!

(And yep, this is my east coast bike, an old pal purchased for cheap at least 15 years ago, not the new San Diego bike that broke my arm and got stolen twice that I loved dearly and still pine for).

Anyway, this meant I already had a good start to my workout when I arrived at the trail.

Old Dog, Old Trick:  I am still the same old dog in that I head out with plans in mind and forget to think about pragmatics like whether it's been raining like hell for the past few days.  Thus this was what a good third of the trail looked like:


Ooops.

Old Trick, New Dog: So one old trick I use when my plans are thwarted is to back off immediately from obstacles, curse mightily, and soldier on the best I can with another alternative.  In the past, water hazards on the trail meant a retreat from running and a longer grudging bike ride to make up for it.

But New Dog is more optimistic than Old Dog, and decided to look for opportunities to bushwhack around the approximately 6,742 road-spanning swamps that appeared on the trail, and worst case, get her spoiled little tootsies wet.

Bonus discovery: Running up sandy hills to avoid lakes is good work for your calves and quads and ass!




And, voila, the plan was successful and Crabby made it to the prettty part!


Another Old Trick the New Dog used was bringing her camera phone to feel like the exercise was also counting as blog fodder.

But unlike Old Dog, New Dog actually took pictures with said cameraphone and even downloaded them and posted them to break up all the boring blappety blah blah blah details of her exercise routine!

New Dog also resurrected an Old Playlist that sounded great after many years of banishment.

New Dog is thinking of resurrecting some other Old Tricks like picking up some additional workout toys to play with, investigating classes at the gym (when she returns to San Diego in a few weeks) and getting her butt out the door at night for some more after-dinner walks. 

What about you guys? Are there any Old Tricks you might revisit as a New Dog? 

Seashell by Jill Fromer, purchased from iStock; quizzical dog: freedigitalphotos.net


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