Monday, August 8, 2011

Remember when...?

I can remember being a kid and running around to play. I didn't think about how far, how long or how many calories I may have burned off. However, I'm no longer a kid. I'm a stereotypical middle aged American woman with body issues, who's decided to fight the good fight to get back into shape. I've sort of given up on being "thin" ever again. I just want to feel strong and capable. Know what I mean?

In an effort to achieve the dream, I've been sporadically working out. I even belong to a gym. When I joined the facility, the trainer who was giving my induction was extremely impressed that I'd managed to find and join a gym after only being in the UK for 2 weeks. I believe his words were, "At least you have your priorities right." That left me grinning ear to ear. I mentally patted myself on the back. If only I'd been using it this whole time. 

  I decided yesterday, that I'd let my attendance lapse too long and I needed to refocus. I had my little program and managed to plough through it but I realized quickly, this could easily become just another false start which I quickly abandon. In order to help myself stick to it a bit longer, I'm going to report on here how it's going. Hopefully, someone might even cheer me on to help me stay motivated. 

My workout is on various pieces of cardio equipment and the first one requires 25 minutes of dedicated effort. It was really gratifying to notice that today was easier than yesterday....until I hit about minute 16. Then it was more a matter of mentally coaxing myself to stay focused. I started to wonder what exactly was happening to my brain as the running commentator inside my head argued with different parts of my body, made observations of other gym users, and the especially odd desperation that seemed to take over as people began taking up the free treadmills (my next piece of equipment in my regimen.) My legs started pushing the pedals of my ridiculous stationary bike faster and faster as each free treadmill was claimed. I think I even muttered "Go away!" under my breath to some poor muscle bound bloke as he lumbered to one of the few remaining machines. I was horrified with myself. And no matter how often I reminded myself that pedaling faster wasn't going to speed the time up on my bike, I couldn't make myself slow down! 

Finally! Victory was mine as I finished my bike session and claimed an empty treadmill. I started my treadmill session and suddenly had the thought, "Oh dear God, please don't let that smell be me." It took finishing the treadmill and moving away before I was certain it wasn't coming from me but more than likely, the smell was coming from the big muscled man who'd turned the treadmill practically vertical to do his run. 

I finished my various cardio machines and made some mental notes to myself. 

Mental note #1: Those reassurances people give about no one else caring about what it is you're doing in the gym, what you look like, how you're dressed....they aren't exactly true. It was one thing when the tiny stick girl 10 years or more younger than me on the treadmill was running like a maniac. I told myself "meh- she's younger than you. It doesn't look bad that you're going about 1/10th the speed she is." I couldn't tell myself the same thing when the white haired old lady climbed up on the treadmill on the other side of me and started keeping pace with Twiggy the Wonder child on the other side. But, I persevered. 

Mental note #2: Spread the word via this blog to avoid direct confrontation and hurting anyone's feelings. For the love of everything that is holy, if you're someone who is particularly sweaty, stinky, and hairy and you use a towel to wipe the sweat off of you as you workout, do not use that same towel to "wipe down" the equipment when you're done and delude yourself into thinking you've done something good. Just go get the disinfectant that the gym supplies. Please.

I felt really great afterwards about my progress and about how I'm beginning to look (even if it's completely self-delusion on my part.) I felt so accomplished and in charge seeing as how I stuck it through to the end. Then this evening I stumbled across this article at

Well, it doesn't matter. I want to run like I did when I was a kid. Without worrying about what's hurting or how many calories I've burned. I just want to run for the sheer joy of running. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I sort of like it. Sometimes. Ok, well I like it after I'm done. Does that count? 

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