Thanks to a generous loan from Bruce of his bike trainer (a stand you put your bike on so you can train indoors), I've started working out at home. It's been hard to go to the gym with the kids in school (and staying up later) plus Michelle working (and getting up earlier). I've enjoyed exercising at home, watching DVDs on a laptop while I pedal away.
Building on this small success, I decided to expand my little home gym to include a few dumbells and an exercise ball. I picked out the Reebok StayBall, because it had some zippy patent pending method to keep the ball from rolling around (a problem I saw at the gym). According to the website, "The StayBall's breakthrough design enables the ball to stay in place..." How could I pass this up?
So, I got the thing out of the box and hooked up the cheapo pump that came with it. I think the real intention is to have you work out filling the damn thing up because this little pump only put a puff of air into the ball each time. What's more, there are two holes in pump; one for the output and an inlet. The inlet had a flimsy rubber flap that hangs over the hole to keep the air from rushing out. Every so often, this little flap would pop out and start venting my hard-earned pressure back out. I had to use a nail to push it back into place.
It took me a long time to the folded up piece of rubber to start to look even vaguely spherical, and my ankles were dying from the forced march Reebok put me through when the little rubber valve gave up the ghost and tore completely. I realized then (admittedly very belatedly) that my bike pump has the right attachment to work here, so I started using that. This worked much better but it was still a lot of work since the volume of the ball (4637 cm^3 by my calculations) is a lot more than a skinny road bike tire. Anyway, I get thing filled up.
Now, on this particular ball, there's a black plug that surrounds the filler hole, and a little white plug that goes into the filler hole. When I pulled out the pump, the black plug came out with the pump nozzle. In my rush to insert the white plug, I didn't see this and just put the darn thing into the hole! So here I am looking into the middle of the ball, where I see the plug at the bottom of the inside of the ball, air rushing into my eyes the whole time. I also discover then that Reebok's great innovation in the StayBall is to put sand inside the ball (did they really patent that?!) This means I can't simply turn over the ball to get my plug out since the sand will dump out.
The only solution was to deflate the ball enough to reach the plug. At this point, I muttered to myself out loud (which I almost never do). I pushed on the ball to get the air out. As I got close to the bottom, I started to get excited when WHOOSH - I got a face full of sand that shot out of the ball!
Ugh. After I stop swearing, I got the plug and pumped the damn thing back up. My back and shoulders now ached on top of my ankles, but eventually everything worked out. I almost dropped a lead plate from the dumbell onto my head shortly thereafter due to my failure to tighten the ends properly, but that's another story for another time...