Confidence builders

You know how some activities can be major confidence builders? In running-world, tempo runs or mile repeats can build confidence. At work getting a good review or an ‘atta boy email can be a huge confidence builder. Get the picture? Ok, good. My latest confidence builder was this elliptical machine, the assembly and return of which were huge physical and mental hurdles which I was not sure that I could overcome.

Elliptical: Part 1 – Love at first sight


After my last running fail in India, well, technically Indonesia, I had my heart set on buying an elliptical machine. I was fairly sure that it was the one and only shot I had at maintaining some level of fitness through the rest of my pregnancy and possibly as the magic bullet back to exercise whenever I get cleared to resume postpartum. Within days of returning to the US, a big truck pulled up to my house, two guys carried a giant 176 lb. box up my mega-long driveway, and deposited this thing in our spare bedroom.

I was so excited. I was not quite sure how I was going to get it out of the box and assembled all by myself, but I was stoked about its arrival nonetheless.

After work that day I began unloading the box, reading the assembly instructions [yes, I actually read the instructions], and considering how I would get the heaviest part, the flywheel, out of the box and into position on the padded flooring. I wrestled with the giant box and the heavy flywheel until I triumphantly heaved it into place. A huge victory.

Feeling like I was on top of the world, I spent the next few hours tightening bolts, driving screws, and hammering pieces into place with a rubber mallet hammer padded by a folded up wash cloth. At last, long past my dinner time, perhaps even bordering on bedtime, assembly was complete! In bare feet, with an already sweat drenched shirt, I tested it out. Sweet success!

I had grand plans to elliptical in the morning, but when my alarm went off, reality set in and I realized that ellipticalling would have to wait a day. Not happening. No worries though, the excitement of the previous night’s victory was still fresh in my mind.

Elliptical: Part 2 – My dreams crushed

A day later, the stars aligned and I finally got to attempt my first real workout.

Things did not go as planned. Just a few minutes into my workout the elliptical’s display made a static-y blipping noise and suddenly went blank. Uh, oh. Had I installed it wrong? Doubtful, after all, the wiring consisted of three simple wiring harnesses, each clearly labeled. It was pretty much idiot-proof. Even for me.

Several Google searches later, I determined that 1) this was a common problem and 2) I should have done more research before impulse buying an elliptical machine.

After several calls to the manufacturer and one final call to Amazon, I determined that the best course of action would be for me to disassemble and return this beast. At that point I could not even wrap my mind around how I was going to take it apart, wrangle the flywheel back into the box, and manage to get all of the other parts nestled in around it. Fat chance.

Elliptical: Part 3 – Victory is mine 

20111215-194807.jpgNaturally, I put off elliptical breakdown until the very last minute, the night before its scheduled pickup for return. After all, without even giving it a go I could guess that it would be an awful, thankless task.

I began unscrewing, unbolting, and popping off plastic covers, carefully piling the pieces in the floor. Finally, I was left with a massively heavy flywheel and an empty cardboard box to wrestle with. Somehow, the magic happened and I returned the flywheel to its home.

Unfortunately, I had very little hope that I would be able to fit everything else into the box around it. After all, some packaging engineer in a far off land probably spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to fit everything into that box in the first place.

I began to arrange the remaining pieces around the flywheel, starting with the largest first, tossing in the original packaging where possible, until they were all in the box. Wow! I’m still pretty impressed with that effort, as mundane as it may sound second-hand.

I was able to pack the entire elliptical and nearly all of its original packing material into the box. Those extra three pieces of cardboard could fit if I really need them to, but I’m not sure how serious the “return with original packaging” stipulation is. I should probably just squeeze them in.

Another big win and a huge confidence boost!

  1. Jena said:

    You are awesome! There is no way I would have attempted to put that elliptical together by myself (pregnant or not). I would have been frustrated, lying on the ground & crying lol…and then when the screen didn’t work. Oh man, that would have really sent me off the deep end! Hope your new elliptical arrives soon!

    • Brit said:

      I’m amazed that I didn’t cry during assembly or disassembly! I haven’t ordered a replacement yet. I’m kind of over it for now. That and I’ve mostly become a lazy slug in the last two weeks.

  2. I love that you’re seemingly equally excited about:
    – getting the elliptical
    – assembling the elliptical
    – disassembling the elliptical
    – sending the elliptical back

    Sorry your adventures in home gym assembly didn’t work out, but at least you got them back before the return window expired. Beats having a fancy coat tree in your spare room!

  3. Lisa said:

    What a tragic end to your elliptical saga. Sorry! I hope Chris gets you a new, fully assembled and working elliptical for Christmas. 🙂

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