Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Four

One word- towel. I can’t emphasize this enough. If one is going to shower at the gym, one should bring a TOWEL. I’m not talking about an ordinary length of terry cloth, but one long enough to encompass all of you. Trust me when I tell you, no one wants to see what your towel doesn’t cover, unless you are the bronzed god. It’s highly unlikely I will encounter him in the women’s locker room however much I would appreciate that very thing. I hereby make a pact. I will not subject my fellow locker room users to my unclothed self if they will do the same for me.

Enough said. I think you get the picture.

I parted company with Daughter #1 right off. She headed for the rack, I mean elliptical, and I headed for the stair climbing thing-a-ma-jig. I set it on level four and scanned the room for something interesting to look at. As these machines are taller than the others their row acts as a room divider between the moving machinery and the stationary or human powered equipment. This, along with my elevated height allows me an unobstructed view of the entire place. Sorry to report there is very little to see. The pit is inhabited primarily by the stay at home mom crowd and what appears to be a high school softball team. I’m not sure why they are here in the middle of a school day, but what do I know? My girls always had those pesky academic classes to attend in the morning. Softball was the last class of the day, or after school.

I’ve made it up a few flights of stairs when I begin to wonder if I’ve lost my mind. I’m a big fan of elevators; I think I mentioned that previously. I’m also a big fan of escalators and moving sidewalks. Why take the stairs when a perfectly good people mover is available? Why walk when the sidewalk will do the work for you? Every muscle from my waist down is on slow burn now and I begin to dream about moving sidewalks. The best are to be found in large airports like Minneapolis-St. Paul where to get from gate F-16 to A-14 is about a five mile hike. Try doing this in half an hour. If you know how to use the moving sidewalks it’s almost possible to make your connecting flight, thereby saving you a ten hour layover.

If you aren’t in a rush, standing in one spot and allowing the sidewalk to carry you along is a great way to go. You can text, dig for your boarding pass, or read a book because you don’t have to watch where you’re going. These are one way, so no oncoming traffic to worry about. However, if you are about to miss your connection there is the express lane. To make the best use of this lane, first secure all loose articles of clothing as you would for any high speed amusement park ride. Secure all luggage to your front or back as the walkway isn’t wide enough to pass the standing in one place folks with a bag hanging from your shoulder.

When you are prepared, take off at a sprint in the express lane. This is what it feels like to be the six million dollar man, to fly on your own feet. As these wonders of man must come to an end somewhere you need to prepare yourself to be launched off the end of the sidewalk onto terra firma. If you are truly skilled only one foot will hit the ground and your momentum will carry you onto the next sidewalk. This is an acquired skill and not to be attempted by the novice traveler.

I’m up to the fifth or sixth floor when inspiration walks in. I notice him as he claims a treadmill a few rows ahead of me. I’m thinking Matthew McConaughey look alike-ish. Close enough. My vision is going along with my ability to control my muscles, so he’s probably a toad in actuality. Anyway, this guy looks like he should be running on the beach with his sun bleached hair and long, lanky physique. He’s carrying a gallon water jug and wearing a sweatshirt. I focus on him as he pulls his sweatshirt over his head and begins his stretching exercises.
No one else I’ve seen stretches before they get on any of the machinery. I’m sure this is a no-no, but who cares? This guy is stretching and I’ve forgotten about my legs and moving sidewalks. I can work through the pain if I have the right focus and this is the right focus.

M.M. gets down to business, running sprints on the treadmill. Yep, sprints. Run flat out for two minutes, rest, run again. Each time he hops off he plants his feet on the side rails and runs a hand through his unruly hair. Uh huh! With such scenery I could climb a skyscraper. Sometime later I am dismayed to find I have climbed a sky scraper, a moderate one at least, 44 floors. My twenty minute workout on the stairs is over. I bid M.M. goodbye, silently thanking him for the diversion and go in search of another method of slow torture.

After riding the lounge chair bike around the block a few times I seek out Daughter #1. There is an open treadmill next door, so I join her for a walk. I’ve just spied M.M. again at the weights. He’s lifting some giant hunks of metal and thanks to more of those wonderful mirrors I can watch from several different angles. Daughter #1 taps me on the shoulder. Am I ready to go? Hell no. However, she clearly has pushed her C-27 body harder than I have pushed mine, so I call it a day.

This brings me full circle to paragraph one. Towels. Believe me, after watching M.M. for a while the scene in the locker room was not something I wanted to see. Talk about Debbie Downer, well, you get the picture.

Tally for the day: 44 floors, 5miles on the bike, one more walking. I’m done for. Hopefully M.M. will be back tomorrow.

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