17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why I Am INSANE: Part 3, me

I can't pick on the boys and not pick on myself!

This is not only the conclusion of my three-part insanity series, it is also a companion to Zinone's post from earlier this week, encouraging us to try something new. So here goes. The number one reason I am insane?

On Monday morning, I registered to run a half marathon this coming June.

For those of you who know me, I apologize for knocking you out of your chairs, I should have warned you. For those of you who don't know me, let me just say that this is VERY VERY UNLIKE ME. I like to sit, eat, watch tv, and sleep. I do not like to sweat, go to the gym, or be in pain. I did, however, begin running in August (for the first time in over 10 years I might add) and managed to keep it up for two months, before travel got in the way. Since returning from India, I've had a great deal of trouble getting back on the exercise bandwagon, not only because I'm a procrastinator, but also because it is now snowy, cold, and dark here, which means no more running outside. So when the opportunity came my way to do this half marathon, I decided it was just the threat I needed to keep me going to the gym through the long, cold winter months. Cue humiliating story...

I greatly dislike situations where I don't know the routine or the "rules" - I'm not good in new settings. That's part of why I don't like the gym, because I don't ever go, and therefore I don't know how it all works. But this past Friday, tackling my fear of the unknown was priority #1 as I set off to try out a new gym near my house. I like to stay under the radar in these situations - blend in as much as possible, don't let anyone know I have no idea what's going on. Not necessarily the best plan when you need to learn something, but it's my default mode, so it's tough to get out of. So I got to the gym, took a brief tour, and then changed into my workout gear and headed for the treadmill.

Now, treadmills are not THAT complicated. Sure, there's all kinds of programs you can set, inclines, speeds, etc., but after some fiddling around and brief moments of flailing like an idiot, I managed to get the thing going at my pace, tucked my water bottle and red ipod nano into their appointed shelves on the "dashboard", and started my run. I planned to run for 20 minutes, and I was doing quite well until about minute 17. That's when my hand caught on the cord of my headphones, sending my ipod flying. It detached from the headphones, knocked into me, and ricocheted straight forward. I laughed a nervous little "ha ha" laugh, shared an "oh, geez!" glance with the teenage girls running beside me, and decided to finish my last three minutes sans music and grab my ipod off the floor when I was done. After my cool down, I hopped off the treadmill and went around to the front to pick up my ipod. Not there. I went around behind it. Not there. I look under it. Not there. I look under the machine beside it. Not there. At this point, the two girls next to me finish their workouts and start looking with me. No luck. We're looking in all kinds of places, places that physics would not allow the ipod to go, but still, not there.

And then, as I kneel on the floor looking under the machine for the umpteenth time (remember, this is a BRIGHT RED ipod, it's not exactly inconspicuous) I notice it. The space between the treadmill conveyor belt and the plastic casing is very small, but not so small that a niiiiiice thin nano wouldn't fit through it. CRAP. I make my way to the front desk, where I get the attendant's attention. This is the same girl who gave me a tour not 30 minutes before, who is allowing me to workout for free that day so that I can check things out. And I tell this nice girl that I need her help disassembling the treadmill, because my ipod is inside it.

20 minutes later, screws and plastic, flashlights and pliers strewn across the floor, we find my ipod, which had indeed shot straight into the workings of the treadmill - a feat that was quite impressive considering the space it had to fit through. Miraculously, both treadmill and ipod were fine. I, however, was absolutely mortified. There's no possible way I could have been any higher ABOVE the radar. "Oh sure, I'm cool, I'll just check the place out, nice quiet workout - oh yes, and could you help me take apart the machines while I'm here? Thanks!" Needless to say, after I helped put the machine back together, I got a gym membership. How could I not at that point?

Please, please tell me you've all done something equally as ridiculous at the gym? Or anywhere? I'll take anything at this point! Oh, and if you want to keep up with all the pain and suffering my training will be bringing, I've started a blog to document it all. I promise I'll do more humiliating and painful things just to keep the blog interesting!


  • hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha

    Thanks for the laugh. LOVE it.!!!!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 12/13/2007 06:38:00 PM  

  • I'm the same way when it comes to new situations. I have a gym membership through my husband's work. The first time I went, I made my friend go with me (her husband works with mine). Then, because she's not the best workout buddy, I made my husband go with me.

    There's a water aerobics class that I want to take REALLY bad, but I don't want to go by myself... I should just suck it up but... I probably won't. I do have another friend with a membership...
    posted by Blogger Erin Marie at 12/13/2007 09:49:00 PM  

  • I also have one of the super-thin nanos and have thought about how easy it is to lose. Many sympathies. And best wishes on your training program.

    That said, I just have to add that I *LOVE* the gym. It is my "third place," as sociologists call it, a place that is neither home nor work, where I can truly relax. It is my place to recharge both physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    I love the opportunity to let my body work and just zone and think through issues...it's not uncommon for instructors to come over and say, "Do you need help with that machine? You've been standing there for a few minutes." Whoops. That's why I don't usually use the "line" of machines but do my own things; I don't want to feel any pressure to push forward.

    I love going to aerobics classes and just follow whatever the instructor says to do. It is such a relief (at work, I am the one giving orders).

    I've never worried about being alone at the gym. To me it's like the temple or Disney; there are always smiling people to answer your questions. It's their job to take care of you; let them. (Maybe my gym is better than most, though; we are in a college town with a ready source of bright young help.)

    But then, I'm an introvert and need time alone to recharge, which the gym provides.

    My gym actually has three locations. I go to the main center for some classes, and because they have an incredible selection of aerobic machines, and you can select your own TV program to watch (we don't have cable, so occasionally I will watch a 2-hour movie there, an hour on elliptical, half hour on bicycle, half hour on treadmill.) But I love the women's only center for their spa area (hot tub, sauna) which is very relaxing at the end of a long day.

    I'm not an athlete, but I'm over 50, and it takes 1.5 hours of exercise a day to keep within 10 pounds of my old weight--the metabolic changes of menopause are brutal, so finding some kind of exercise you like when you are younger is such a help.
    posted by Anonymous Naismith at 12/14/2007 04:26:00 AM  

  • When I joined a gym after college in Portland, I quickly noticed all of the women ran around completely naked in the locker room. This freaked me out a little at first...I had been in many many locker rooms playing sports and everyone was much more modest. After awhile, I actually felt self-conscious about keeping clothes or a towel around me...so I "did as the Romans" and got used to it.

    When we moved to NYC, I joined the Y and my first day in the locker room I got a lot of weird looks and stares when I stripped down....ooops.

    Marian, I think this is so great and I love your blog! It shows a lot of commitment that you are starting it during the holidays...
    If you need an internet workout buddy let me know....I desperately need an exercise goal!

    And I loved reading your series.....
    posted by Blogger Jen at 12/14/2007 06:17:00 AM  

  • Kage, glad you were entertained. :-)

    erin marie, it's good to know I'm not the only chicken out there. I hope you find a workout friend or the nerve to go on your own to the water aerobics class. But I know what you mean!

    naismith, I hope I can find the same peace at the gym that you have! Sounds like my gym is not as nice as yours, but my attitude about attending could be the same. I know many people who love the gym, and I can't say I've ever quite understood it, but then again I've never regularly attended the gym, so perhaps that will change this winter!

    Jen, I love your naked locker-room tale - it is so interesting how those "rules" can vary so widely from gym to gym. And I'd love a virtual workout buddy! What's your torture of choice? :-)
    posted by Blogger marian at 12/14/2007 08:43:00 AM  

  • That's awesome! I don't have any embarrassing gym stories (yet), but I do have a very good friend whose ipod chord got all tangled and she fell off her treadmill while it was still going! YIKES. She had a HUGE bruise and was so embarrassed. I felt so bad. But now we can laugh about it. I can't wait to hear all about your marathon experience. I am the worst runner, but I have always thought that running a marathon would be a HUGE accomplishment. Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 12/14/2007 01:23:00 PM  

  • You are the woman!! Just know every time you are out there (or in there at the gym) you've got a cheering section.

    I drop my MP3 while running on the treadmill quite regularly, I'm amazed it still works. But I don't have the talent to get it into the machine. Some people are just blessed that way I guess :)

    I've lived in 3 states and the gym situation in all was vastly different but I've found a way to enjoy each. I never feel like a pro at running and working out but I am a sane person because of it.
    Good luck with it all!
    posted by Anonymous jendoop at 12/15/2007 10:37:00 PM  

  • Ok, I read this blog a lot but never commented. But I had a good gym story I had to share.

    I work at a college and as a perk get a gym membership for free at the campus wellness center. I often go there on my lunch break. Since it's in a city, I always lock my belongings up in an empty locker while working out. I'm on the clumsy side, and kept dropping my cheap $3 lock on the floor. After a few times, I noticed it wasn't working quite as well, but was too lazy to buy a new one.

    Well, one day, after working out and getting quite sweaty, I went down to the locker room and could not unlock my lock. I tried and tried, but it was totally broken. I figured this had to have happened before so I started asking the people who work there for help. Mind you, most of them are students that I work with and I'm still all sweaty in my gym clothes.

    Finally, after 15 minutes, one of the staff members (real staff) gave me this "tool" they keep in the closet for such an occasion. It was the biggest wire cutter you've ever seen. I had to walk back to the locker room (and by more students) with this thing and attempt to break the lock myself. It took a few tries, but I did it. Seriously, that was a workout in itself though. Luckily, nobody was in the locker room while doing so. I'm sure they would have wondered if that was really my locker or not. Then, I had to bring this tool back up to the office, and by many students again.

    This was all about 2 months after I started my job and I got back from my hour long lunch/gym break about 30 minutes late. Luckily, nobody really noticed or asked.

    And after this, I went to the hardware store and bought a good, sturdy $15 lock that I haven't dropped on the floor yet.
    posted by Anonymous Laura at 12/17/2007 02:00:00 PM  

  • Laura, the image of you toting the giant wirecutters around the gym is a great one! I can imagine it was quite a workout, those locks (even the $3 ones) are not thin!

    And please, comment again!
    posted by Blogger marian at 12/17/2007 03:00:00 PM  

  • Okay, so here's one of my many embarrassing stories. Several years ago I had just joined a gym and started going to a pilates class. It was a gym full of people who clearly had been born with the perfect body and just walked around talking to other people born the same way. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I was running a little late for class so I was hurrying up the stairs (in flip flops, bad idea) and tripped on the last stair. Not only did I fall on the floor, but the lid of my water bottle was open so I also sprayed my face with water at the same time. Everyone just stared. It was not one of my finer moments. ;o)
    posted by Anonymous Eskinose Kisses at 12/18/2007 08:04:00 PM  

  • I totally know what you mean wanting to blend in in the gym experience. Which is why it is Murphy's Law that I always seemed to pick the totally squeaky bike during spinning class.

    Good luck with your training!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 12/19/2007 07:52:00 AM  

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