Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Fifty-six

I’m back from Margaritaville folks. I was a good girl, limiting myself to only one of said frozen concoctions (see photo evidence). So what if it was a large one, it was only one, I swear. That’s me on the left accompanied by Daughter #1 and Daughter #2, both of legal age in all fifty states. I wanted to save my extraneous calories for more pleasurable things, like the chocolate buffet. I showed considerable restraint that night (see photo evidence). That tiny plate of food, coupled with three multi-course meals a day, plus snacks in between was all the entertainment a foody like me needed to be a happy sailor.

I know I should regret my excesses, but to be honest with you, I don’t. Not in the least. I had fun. I indulged. I over indulged. I gave myself permission to relax and enjoy, and because of that I had a wonderful week of real vacation time. There is nothing like guilt to put the kibosh on a good vacation.

Today is my first day back at the land lubber pit. A little stomach virus set me back a few days, but this morning I donned the stretch pants and rubber soled shoes and off I went. Not even the torrential rains could deter me this morning. I forded flooded roads and took my chances along saturated hillsides poised to slough off and block my passage. I was determined. I was intrepid. This is a gross exaggeration on my part, as it wasn’t really raining when I left the house, but in SoCal you just never know. It could happen.

A few thousand others were as determined as I and I searched the rows of equipment for one of my chosen methods of torture. Lucky me, there was one ¾ rack available. I turned on the iPod and took off on my Magic Carpet Ride scanning the pit for familiar faces. Being a rainy day there were plenty of the ‘keep the membership for days like this’ crowd, a bevy of MOP’s (Mom’s of PreSchoolers), Trance Lady, and a whole new crop of resolutionists. Not a firefighter or hunk in sight. Either I was too early for my usual crowd, or they knew better than to come on a day like this. As I shuffled my feet, more and more people arrived. The personal trainers were doing a booming business signing up new members. Oh goody. Not that I don’t want these peeps to get in shape, I do. I just want them to do it somewhere else.

I’ve got my machine and no one is taking it away from me. I ignore the line of impatient faces along the wall, watching the rows of machines, waiting for someone to either: A) Finish their workout, B) Feel guilty about hogging the machine and quit, or C) Collapse and thereby free up the machine for them. I had the feeling they didn’t really care which of these options netted them the desired result - an unoccupied machine.

I did as the music suggested and closed my eyes and let the sound take me away. Some minutes later the dew was falling harder than the rain outside, which had I admit, started to fall pretty good. I switched my grip from the swinging handle bars to the heart rate monitor. These are handy gadgets if you know how to use them. I understand it is beneficial to get your heart rate up and keep it there for a period of time. I equate this with revving your car engine every once in a while to clean out the gunk building up. Your heart and your engine will run better for the periodic maintenance.

I wrapped my fingers around the sensors and watched the screen for my results. Usually heart rate is measured in beats per minute, and expressed as a numerical value. Zero is bad. I know that much. I wait patiently for my score to appear. Instead of numbers I get fireworks. Little red dot matrix lights flash in starburst sequence. What does this mean, I ask myself? Did my heart explode? Have I won the jackpot? Have blood vessels in my retinas burst? I dart a glance over to the still long line of covetous would-be exercisers. Maybe one of them is going to get a machine sooner rather than later.

Alas, the little red dots settle into a pattern resembling a number. Granted, it is a number I’m pretty sure my heart shouldn’t be beating at, but it’s more reassuring than the starbursts. At least my heart is still beating. I flash a sinister grin at the waiting line. Not yet folks I silently tell them. I’m not done for yet.

By some miracle I’m able to complete my half hour fat burner workout. Thinking it might not be good to just stop cold turkey I head for the lounge chair bikes. I figure allowing my heart rate to come down to normal slowly is better than slamming on the brakes two feet in front of the intersection. I am a cautious driver after all.

Twenty minutes of a slow ride has my heart firing on all cylinders again and I head out. The promised rain is coming down now. Fear not, I made it home where I plan to stay for the remainder of the day. I worked off a bite or two of chocolate mousse today. I’m thinking it’s time for a nice cup of hot chocolate. Care to join me?

Many thanks to John Kay and Rushton Moreve for their lyrics.

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