Up and to the gym bright and early. Okay, not so bright. I wanted nothing more than to roll over, pull the covers over my head, and dream some wonderful dream. Okay, not so early. Really, does all that matter? I was there. I threw my street stuff in a locker. Feeling like I already had a mini workout because I walked the eleven blocks to the gym, I smiled.
I walked up the stairs to the second floor. Plan: dreaded treadmill and the recumbent bike. I open the door and stop. Wait, what happened? In place of the stationary equipment are free weights. Instead of the runners, club girls, and seniors, the room was filled with muscle men. Oh crap. They moved the gym. Okay, they moved my part of the gym. Now I have to ask someone.
Back down the stairs, I ask a wonderfully athletic woman. I’m slightly embarrassed that I have no idea where the equipment went. She gave me directions, while I wonder how long has it been since I came to the gym to use the machines? Forget it, I’m here now.
I go to the back up the elevator and emerge in a room full of machines and … mirrors. Oh god. Every wall has a mirror on it. From ceiling to floor, the whole place is mirrored. The machines are moved into a different configuration. No TVs. Just lots of people sweating and moving. Isn’t that why I’m here? I find the recumbent bikes. It seems that only one has the foot straps. Maybe it hasn’t been that long since they have moved them? Still setting them up? An elderly Asian man is working out a storm on it. Stopping only to give people dirty looks if they slow down near him. Clearly, he wants to be alone.
To the treadmills it is. I hate treadmills. Something about them freaks me out. I always, ALWAYS hold on to the handle. Meaning I never build up too much speed. I envision myself flying off. Oppps … fat girl down. Usually I skip the treadmill, but this is about not only a healthy me but going beyond comfort zones. Step in senior flower lady; a nice, sweet lady who has flowers on her sweatshirt. Gray wavy hair, she looks like the stereotypical TV gardening grandmother. She walks, then prances, then trots. Somewhere in between a prance and a trot, the hands come off. Speed? Five. My speed—Three. I look around the room and see people who are clearly training for a marathon. Each wearing heart monitors, iPod armbands, and running hands-free. Going so fast it is as if they are being chased by a pack of dogs. Big dogs. Big rabid dogs. Big rabid dogs with huge teeth. In the mirror, I can see their faces, which are relaxed. In the mirror, I can see the runners, senior flower lady, and me. Clearly, I’m dog food.
I shake my head, stop the treadmill, and refocus. Twenty more minutes. I reset the machine, laps, speed three for twenty minutes. I do ten before I start cool down, after five minutes of cooling down, I head to the bikes.
The recumbent bikes were clear. Not too long ago, I would do one hour nonstop. Today, I got on the bike and started the program—fat-burning cardio. I pedaled and pedaled. No music, no TV, but plenty of mirrors. I saw my knees hit my stomach and it shake with each turn of the pedal. Somehow, the jiggle became the center of attention. I started to get tired at ten min. My ankle pulsated. I pushed on. Five more minutes and now the trainers from the next sift started to file in. Helping people and of course selling their expertise while they waited for their current clients. Don’t come over here, please don’t come over here I found myself thinking. Really, I found myself begging in my head as I watched my knees jiggle my stomach. Which I could see at different angles. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to plaster mirrors on EVERY wall? Five more minutes. Okay, God, I’m done. I left the floor shaking. Grabbed my stuff and walked home.
On my walk home, I was on the verge of tears. My ankle pulsated and I hated my body. Totally unfair of me. I have long been giving time and attention to my mind and my soul. My body has been loyal, healthy, and taking on anything I gave it, now I changed the rules. It only took me two blocks to realize it wasn’t my body that failed me today. My body was not exhausted. It was not aching. It wasn’t even winded. My mind faltered. My thoughts through the whole work out were about everything I’m not. How I don’t measure up. How I could fail and I did fail. To be clear I failed because I didn’t even give my body a chance today. I judged myself before I put in the work. I was my worst enemy.
So today, I smiled, did some cardio, walked twenty-two blocks, and almost cried. Change is not always easy.
How did you do on day two? Did you work out? How did your body feel? Did your thoughts support you or tear you down?