March 27, 2020

Isolation Diaries, Days 6-13: Peloton + Puppy

Today is day 13 for me of self-isolation. Eagle County, where my mountain house is, was a hotspot for COVID19 because of all the people flying into Vail / Beaver Creek from all over the world. So right after my last visit there, the Colorado Department of Public Health asked anyone who had been to Eagle County to self-isolate for 7-10 days. I wasn’t too bothered by the announcement, as I was planning to do that anyway, seeing how dire things were getting… but that didn’t mean isolation was easy.

The first few days were pretty tough. There are so many resources out there for “how to get work done with your family around”, “how to homeschool your kids,” and “how to carve out some alone time when you have roommates.” But… what about “how to deal with loneliness when you live alone and know you won’t have any human contact for weeks”? That was a really tough pill for me to swallow.

I tried to be as open as possible about these struggles – with coworkers, with friends, and with various online communities. I’ve been a pretty active poster in the Peloton Reddit for several months now (I love dissecting the workouts and sharing good ones with others!), and that community in particular has made me feel much more connected!

Last Friday, I picked up a one year old boxer puppy named Sesame from a local shelter, to foster until we can find her a permanent home, and I’ve been posting all about her training each day on the Peloton Reddit. Several people have told me how much they love the updates on Sesame, and after posting yesterday, someone told me I should be a writer. It then occurred to me that perhaps my content there might be interesting to share on my blog? So to kick off these isolation diaries, I’ll copy my daily updates over from the Peloton Reddit – and then perhaps I’ll start sharing similar short updates here going forward.

Oh, and one tip before the copy and paste to catch you up: Peloton is offering 90 days of their app free! I’m including links to the various workouts I did, so click through those and you can take the same classes free if you want to give them a try 🙂

Friday, March 20: Day 6

Had a really rough night last night crying on the couch… will post more in the COVID19 thread. But I woke up wanting some positivity. I didn’t have a ton of time before my first call of the morning, so I skipped my 10 minute core (will do it later) and instead jumped right into a bootcamp. A friend has been highly recommending Chase’s 45 minute soca bootcamp from 2/24, so I finally did that. She described it as a party, and WOW, she was right!! Chase had us clapping along to the beat on the treadmill (one upside of living alone is I didn’t feel dumb doing this), twirling our towels in the air, and dancing throughout. Only downside was that the strength portion of the workout was really more of a zumba class than a true strength class. It was a ton of fun, though, and I’d recommend it for strength beginners or those who really want cardio rather than a true strength/cardio bootcamp.

I hopped on a few calls, then took advantage of a 30 minute break to hit the gym for one more bootcamp. This time, I did Matty’s 11/18 arms and shoulders bootcamp that I had bookmarked. I swapped the rower for the tread, and it was pretty straightforward – 15 mins tread (rower for me), 15 mins pure burnout on shoulders / biceps / triceps. My arms are definitely spent right now! We’ll see how these pushups every hour go.

I get to go pick up my foster puppy in 2 hours!! SO excited to finally have another living creature in my house in isolation. Today is a good day.

What’s one good thing about YOUR day? Let’s share the positivity.

Saturday, March 21: Day 7

Today is my first full day with my foster puppy, Sesame. She slept through the whole night but was raring to go when I turned the light on at 6am. I still tried to get my 10 minute core in, but the more awake Sesame got, the more she was crawling all over me instead of letting me exercise. Hey, it’s just an extra core challenge if you have a squirming puppy crawling under you and licking your face while you hold a plank, right? Rebecca’s 10 minute core strength from 3/1 was a really good class – I liked it better than the part 2, because there were fewer hollow holds (the devil!) 😉

We went for an hour long walk through the neighborhood – I have lots of work to do on her leash skills before we’ll be able to run together, but it was still great. And then we spent a long time working on the “no” sign (she’s deaf) in case she got up to mischief while I was working out. Took a while, but I finally felt good enough to attempt to spin.

First use of the no command came when Sesame started trying to attack my feet as soon as I clipped in. She is really really really obsessed with shoes (I had to hide all mine and close the mudroom door), and unfortunately, her interest doesn’t wane when I put them on my feet. Lots of ankle biting, ouch! I was on and off the bike for about 20 minutes doing a little bit of spinning, a lot of the “no” sign, and an equal amount of the “I love you” sign when she finally started listening to my “no” and left my feet alone. Finally, I felt good enough to tackle a class – Robin’s 30 minute “Together We Ride” from yesterday. There were 800 people in it even though it wasn’t live!

The class was really good – LOVED the music, LOVED Robin’s commentary in the last few songs about getting through all of this together. However, I’ll admit that I was only half paying attention because I was also trying to keep an eye on Sesame. Sesame was definitely not thrilled I was paying attention to Robin instead of her, and made puppy dog eyes at me throughout the first half of class. But finally, she went to her bed (which I brought down to the gym and put in front of the bike) and snoozed for the rest of class. Bonus of having a deaf foster puppy: I could totally follow along with Robin’s direction to sing karaoke for the last song without worrying about waking the sleeping dog!! Haha 🙂 Here are a few pics of Sesame from my spin session, since several people asked:

SO intrigued by watching my feet go around!
Sleeping sweetly as I finish my ride.

After spinning, I nudged Sessy awake, then hopped onto the treadmill for just 90 seconds while she was still waking up and wouldn’t be too alert / into it. I want to try to get her used to me running on there as well, without her trying to join me on the tread deck. Anyone have tips on this? Sesame has separation issues from a previous bad home (they had her permanently chained up to a stake in a hot unshaded yard in Texas, with no company), so putting her in another room isn’t an option at this point… I had trouble even showering today because she cried when she couldn’t see me through the opaque glass. We will need to work on developing some independence, for sure!

Stay healthy and safe, y’all!

Sunday, March 22: Day 8

Puppy was TIRED when I woke up, so she snoozed for another hour while I knocked out some work. I debated whether I should take advantage of her sleepiness to get my workout in, but decided to stick to my plan of working out right after our walk. We went 90 minutes today and did a lot of work on leash etiquette. Unfortunately, that just seemed to get Sesame going!

She looks so regal in this photo! But Sesame, princesses do NOT pull on their leashes.

We got home and I immediately headed for the bike, but Sesame was bouncing all over the room. I took all y’all’s suggestion to get a Kong and an Everlasting Bento Ball, and had a bed set up in front of the bike with lots of toys on it. She was keeping pretty busy with a chew toy for a while, then started cruising the room to explore. She went to the one spot I couldn’t see in the room and stayed there for about 30 seconds, so I hopped off the bike to see what was up… and found she had gone to the bathroom (both kinds) right there on the carpet. GRRR!!! I don’t know how that was possible when she had just gone to the bathroom twice on our walk. I took a ten minute break (wish there was a pause button) to make the “no” sign over and over, take her outside (nope, she was all done), and clean up the mess, then got back on the bike, this time watching her like a hawk. However, I’ve now learned my lesson that I should leave the basement slider open to outside while I’m on the bike. Sesame hates leaving the room while I’m in it, but hopefully she will go out if she’s extra rambunctious or needs to go to the bathroom. No pics of her from the bike today since I’m sure no one wants to see the accident 😉

I did Jenn’s 45 min 90s pop ride from last Sunday, and the parts I got to do were good. Jenn totally teared up at the end (got choked up and couldn’t speak for a sec) as she expressed how grateful she is for Peloton and all the riders… it was so sweet! Definitely recommend this one for a pick me up. After the bike, I jumped on the rower for 2 minutes, and Sesame had zero interest in that… so hopefully I can start doing some row / strength bootcamps soon.

Thoughts on whether I should try to work out right when I wake up if she seems sleepy and walk her after as a reward, or stick with the walk first to tire her out and then give her a treat after my workout? I definitely want to establish a routine for her so she knows what to expect.

Monday, March 23: Day 9

Today I tried going for a walk with the puppy, then immediately going down to the basement to work out after. I brought a treat to Sesame’s bed down there, along with the toys I keep there (a chew toy and a rope), and left the sliding door a little bit open so she could go out if needed. I kept a super close eye on her the whole time to make sure she didn’t get into trouble. After she finished her treat, she spent about 10 minutes roaming around (and even went outside for a minute two separate times, which was huge progress since normally she hates being anywhere she can’t see me), then cozied up to nap for the last fifteen minutes. After I finished, I shut the slider and then cuddled with Sessy in her bed (thinking those two actions will be the “Laura’s done with her workout now” cue), then took her upstairs and gave her breakfast right after. I was soooooooooo happy to be able to get my workout in! Thinking I will stick with 30 minute workouts and do twice a day, rather than trying to get in an hour at once.

I wanted to do a straight run today, but when I got on the treadmill, my shins were a little bit sore, so I decided to do a row / strength bootcamp instead. I did Jess’ 30 minute full body bootcamp from 3/3, and liked it a lot. I really appreciate that Jess makes the most of the time and doesn’t spend much time standing around talking, and I thought the moves she picked for this one were indeed full body even though we only had 15 minutes for strength. Definitely would recommend this one.

I didn’t do the pushup / stair challenge over the weekend, but I’m getting back to it today to stay active. Anyone else still going?

Puppy workout pic of the day taken from the rower

Tuesday, March 24: Day 10

This morning I did u/twinkielucille‘s highly recommended 5 minute core strength with Robin while I let Sesame out into the yard (I went with her to get her started, then came back in; she alternated between coming in to lick my face mid sit up and going out to explore). Oof, this was a doozy – all sit up variations the whole time, no plank or anything to mix it up! I liked that there was no intro or cool down though – just get in and get it done. As many people have mentioned, would be nice to be able to ditch the 1 min intro for all classes.

I took Sesame for a walk, then immediately hopped on the bike and attempted Alex’s 45 min pop ride from Sat 3/21. Amazingly, I didn’t have to get off once for anything with Sesame! However, she was running around like crazy for the first 30 minutes before settling down. I left the slider door cracked open and she seemed fairly happy being able to run out into the yard and then in and around the basement; also happy this is helping her develop some independence to be in the yard even when I’m not there. It would be great to be able to let her out without having to go out myself! Meanwhile, the class was good – one of the first times I’ve done a 45 minute class with no arms at all (I miss that breaking it up!) so it was a bit of a mental challenge, but I liked it. I haven’t taken an Alex class in a while and I had forgotten how shouty he is – prob not my fav instructor anymore, but I still like him and would take more of his classes.

On the pup front: I watched Sesame like a hawk when we were inside, because she hadn’t pooped on our walk (unusual) and I was terrified she was going to try to do it indoors. She was sleeping curled up in a ball in front of the bike the last ten minutes of the ride, but during the final cooldown, I SWORE I could smell poop. There is only one spot in the room I can’t see from the bike, and it was clear (and she only went over there once for about 5 seconds and I got into position 2 so I could watch), and I searched all around the room but found nothing… so now I’m nervous. Will keep searching the room but I’m hoping it was just my imagination? Or maybe a smell from outside?

Pelo Pup pic of the day
And here’s a bonus pic of Sessy snoring on my lap during a conference call. (Me on call: “Apologies, everyone, I promise I’m not sleeping… that is Sesame.”)

Wednesday, March 25: Day 11

Started today with u/twinkielucille‘s recommended 5 min Robin core strength… day 2 for me. I’m trying to meet her suggestion of 5 days in a row! Did that as soon as I woke up while I let Sesame out into the yard. Then I threw a coat on and took her for a 30 minute walk, and immediately jumped on the bike (with the slider open so she could go in and out) when I got back.

For my spin today, I did Tunde’s 45 min intervals and arms from yesterday. I was pretty distracted though – Sesame kept going after my shoes. Right now my plan is leaving the shoes out but taking them away from her and redirecting to a toy when she tries to play with them, since I want her to learn not to play with them, vs just keeping them hidden at all times. Hopefully that patience pays off?? But today it meant I had to get off the bike about five times, which was annoying and definitely took me out of the workout. The class format was good – basically every 10 minutes you do a 3-4 minute arm set, where the first one focused on triceps, the second on shoulders, and the third on biceps. Despite doing the 30 minute shoulders/arms last night, my arms weren’t sore and I was able to keep up… I’m thinking the DOMS just hasn’t set in yet! My workout definitely wasn’t as hard as I’d like, with all the breaks, so thinking I may do a row/strength bootcamp this evening focused on lower body.

Finally, I have accepted u/poodlemama07 ‘s mean, mean challenge to add a 45 second hollow hold to my hourly pushups / stair runs. Hollow holds SUCK 😉 Two rounds down so far… I’m determined to stick with it today!

Pelo pup pic of the day: Sesame has learned exactly how close she can be to my bike without getting hit by the pedals. (But she is gazing longingly at my shoes.)
And non-Pelo pup pic of the day: Sesame napping after my workout. Look at all that hair; my poor home office couch will never be the same.

Later in the day:

I doubled down on workouts with another u/twinkielucille recommendation: Oliver’s 30 minute arms and shoulders strength from 2/27. My first time doing a 30 minute strength, and I was a little bit scared, but it went by faster than I expected! My shoulders and arms are definitely going to be sore tomorrow though… good burnout workout.

On the pup front: I headed down from my desk to do it while Sesame was napping upstairs in my office. She was definitely a little worried when she woke up and found me gone, but she seemed happy to find me. I opened the slider so she could go in and out during the workout, and even though the basement door was open (I usually shut it during a workout so I can keep an eye on her), she preferred to stay down with me / a little bit outside. Progress that I don’t have to try to box her in anymore! (I hope.)

I did not do very well on the hourly pushup / stair challenge today, though tried to at least make up for what I missed late in the day. I did 8 rounds, which means I skipped 3 hours… so better than nothing? Going to try to do better tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26: Day 12

Today I did Kendall’s 45 min EDM class from yesterday, after u/olive_green_spatula‘s recommendation. GREAT class! I think we were riding to the beat all but one song, which I really like. I find it really hard to ride off the beat, so I hate when instructors don’t time their music to what they want us to do. Only downside was my app crashed with five minutes to go, I think because I tried to look at the leaderboard of who’s high fived me. I find that when I have a ton of notifications in there (like in this case because I had sent a ton of high fives), it crashes when I go to look at it, which is a bummer. Since there’s no way to resume a class where you left off, I looked at the playlist and just played those final two songs myself on Spotify, doing some hill pushes on the second to last and flat road speed pushes on the last. Good enough!

Sesame was trying to bite my feet again while I rode, which was frustrating, but I was finally able to redirect her to her special bone that she only gets while I’m working out.

Pelo pup pic of the day is her hanging out on my yoga mat with her bone.
And non-Pelo pup pic of the day is on our morning walk… I took her on the neighborhood trails today instead of the sidewalks and it was MUCH easier because there were fewer distractions.

Finally – last night I did sneak in a 20 min glutes & legs strength with Samuela after work. I didn’t love this one – good exercises, but lots of breaks and it didn’t feel very efficient. I really like splitting my workout into two and doing cardio in the morning and strength in the evening! It’s helping me to not neglect strength, which I often skip.

After strength last night, I then tried to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes or so while catching up on social media (trying to get myself to walk while I look at it since I am spending WAY too much time on it these days), but Sesame was paying attention and then got super freaked out the by treadmill. Like my robot vacuum, she now has a new enemy in the house! I don’t know how to share this, but I posted an adorable video on my stories of her running around and around the treadmill barking at it, and periodically putting out a paw to “test” it. I may need to follow some directions I found online to teach her to walk on the treadmill, because now I’m a little worried to run on it in case she comes over and tries to hop on with me. Tips on this welcome 🙂

Friday, March 27: Day 13

Sesame sleeps in my room, in an armchair in the corner (she didn’t like sleeping on the floor because she couldn’t see me from there). We usually go to bed around 10pm, and then she wakes up somewhere between 6am and 6:30am and hops up onto the side of the bed JUST to wake me up (but doesn’t jump on the bed – victory there!). This morning, though, she woke me up at 3am. I started getting up and heading to the bathroom, thinking “gosh I’m so tired”… then saw the time on my watch. Nope nope nope! Back to bed. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to sleep (and also worried she had woken me up for a reason and would have an accident), but all was good and we both slept till 6:20.

I tried to head down to the basement for our normal routine: let Sessy out while I do Robin’s 5 min core (day 4 of this). However, my FireTV told me I had too many devices streaming Peloton?? Made no sense. I tried again with no dice, and sent an email to support. Still haven’t heard back, but it seems to be working now. Sessy and I went on a long 3.1 mile walk on the trails (I’m learning they’re less distracting than the sidewalks), then I did the 5 minute core in between calls after I was back.

I have really been missing running a lot. I can’t run outdoors, because Sess isn’t good enough on the leash and also can’t be left alone. I’ve recently learned that I can’t run on the treadmill, because she barks at it incessantly and won’t calm down. Today, though, I was really desperate, so I put Sessy in her crate for 20 minutes and did Becs’ 20 minute pop fun run from last Friday 3/13. Sessy cried the whole time, which I feel terrible about… but other times, she’s fine to be alone in her crate for up to 30 minutes. (In fact, later today, I put her in there for 30 minutes while I made lunch / took a call, and she was happy as a clam.) The class was a good one – short and sweet, and all the pushes (whether hills or speed) were super quick, so it all felt really doable. Good music, too – definitely recommend this class!

No Pelo pup pic of the day, since she was crying in her crate 🙁 But here’s the non-Pelo pup pic of the day – us on the (very foggy) trails, looking like we’re at the end of the world. Very fitting, haha.

More Sesame stories and pics to come… as well as other content as well about how I’m coping with isolation. In the meantime, if you’d like real-time updates, follow me on Instagram Stories – plenty more puppy pics and real talk there 🙂


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