Between an elliptical and an awkward place…


Here we are again. Another delightfully awkward tale involving yours truly at the gym.

It started last Tuesday morning. It was a cloudy chilly day. I woke up feeling unmotivated and exhausted, due to a lack of proper sleep the prior night. My 4 year old son was bouncing off of the walls, and I knew I had to find something to amuse him to avoid losing my mind that morning. I procrastinated for quite a while that morning, consuming several cups of coffee hoping that it somehow would fill in the void of the motivation I was severely lacking.

Against my better judgement, I decided to go to the gym. They have a great play area for the kids, and my son loves it. The whole purpose of that morning’s trip to the gym-was to give my son something to do. In no way, shape, or form, did I intend to do the slightest bit more than a half-ass workout. I thought about just walking at a snails pace on the treadmill for an hour. I could just watch tv, and it would give my son enough to time to play with his friends and get out some of his energy.

I dropped my son off at the kids area, which was already buzzing with excitement. It seemed to be more crowded than usual this morning. I walked to the locker room with my bag, and searched for an empty locker while trying to shield my eyes away from the ladies just coming back from their aqua aerobics class. No F’s were given about their lack of clothing. Respect. I wish I was that confident. However, because of my desperate attempt to avoid eye contact with anyone, it took me a minute to find an empty locker. I put my things away and high-tailed it out of there.

As I walked down the hallway, I passed by one of the rooms where aerobics classes were held. A class I had taken before was in session and I paused for a moment to reflect upon the fact that in no freaking way, would I be attempting that, on that day. I chuckled to my self as I slowly walked to the cardio room.

*Sigh* It was crowded. My time I spent procrastinating that morning forced me to leave later than I normally would have for the gym. All of the treadmills were currently being used. Crap. I was forced to pick an elliptical. I could make it work. It would require more effort than a slow walk on a treadmill, but I could do it. I picked the only available elliptical. I was sandwiched between an older lady, and a man in his mid-40’s.

It took me about 5 minutes to untangle my headphones. I pressed the quick start button and thought about leaving it at only a 1 resistance. Nope. That was a mistake. I almost lost control as my legs went flying around at lightning speed. I stopped for a second and put it at about a 6. It was still pretty easy, but I wasn’t about to fly off of the thing like I was earlier. This was an easy level. I started going at a leisurely place, and I felt comfortable. I could do this for a while. I mindlessly flicked through songs on my phone. I found one I liked and turned it louder. The older lady next to me wasn’t wearing any headphones. “Who doesn’t where head phones at the gym??” I thought to myself. I then wondered if my music was too loud since she was glancing at me. I looked over and gave her a friendly nod, and she smiled back with a hint of concern. I then realized the song I was listening to might have been slightly….offensive? Oops. Next song. I kept going at the same leisurely pace. I was getting a little more tired than I desired. I didn’t want this to actually be a workout. I was simply passing time. I decided to lower my resistance level.

The man next to me exited his elliptical and another person arrived. It was a lady, about 45 ish who was accompanied by a personal trainer. The lady was in no way out of shape. “She must be new to the gym. Maybe the trainer is showing her around.” I thought to myself. I could hear a little bit of their conversation. “Thanks. I don’t usually use ellipticals. I actually don’t find them challenging enough.” The woman chattered away to the young trainer. Apparently the trainer was simply showing her how to use the elliptical “in case” she decided to use it one day. “Well….good for you lady.” I thought. It didn’t matter. I wouldn’t let her comments affect me. I wasn’t there to give it my all that day.

I was about 20 minutes into my sloth-like time spent on the elliptical. I thought that the woman who was too good for the elliptical would go on to another machine. In what I can only assume was a deliberate attempt to annoy me, she stayed on. In my moment of distracted annoyance, my towel slid off of my machine and onto the sweat covered floor. Great. I didn’t plan on needing to use my towel today, but “too goodie two-shoes” next to me had already forced me to sweat a bit when I unknowingly quickened my pace. I now had a useless, germ infested, sweat from who knows who, lurking on my one and only towel. I still had 30 minutes to waste, and all of the treadmills were STILL being hogged. (yes, hogged). Ugh. Did I mention the elliptical is not my favorite?

Too Goodie started going in reverse on her machine. She was making a huffing noise that went with the motions, that my headphones unfortunately were unable to drown out. This woman was like the energizer rabbit. Sleepiness started to infiltrate my body in a way I was no longer able to fight. I began to get dizzy. I paused for a moment to take a sip of water. The stubborn voice inside my head wouldn’t  shut up. It never knows when to shut up. For some reason, it didn’t get the memo, that today was vacation as far as it was concerned. “Are you going to let this woman think that she’s better than you?? C’mon. I know you’re tired, but we GOT this. Go faster!!” It shouted. Reluctantly, I listened. I even added more resistance. I was able to go like this for another 5 minutes. It was at that point I was saved by the bell (or by my phone ringing).

My daughter’s teacher called to tell me she wasn’t feeling good. I needed to pick her up from school. “Oh Ok. I’ll come right away.” I replied loud enough for Too Goodie to hear.

I grabbed my stuff and bolted for the locker room. I learned my lesson that day. I am not strong enough to resist a challenge-whether it be legit, or one that I have fabricated in my head-I will NOT back down. Never again will I go into the gym naively, without the knowledge that I may potentially need to bring my “A game”-whether I planned on it that day or not.


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