21 Day Challenge – Day 10 – Speaking of Grandma

Old Round Eyeglasses.

There is a little old man that comes to the gym. He’s probably about 128. He shuffles in with his “training book” in hand, heading to the first machine that has a seat. He’s wearing polished black dress shoes and black socks that are reaching for his knees. His short sleeve button down shirt is pressed and reveals a white undershirt beneath it. His shorts match his shirt in color.

His still bright eyes probe the room for his trainer beneath Harry Potter style glasses. He rests. All the hair on his head, and there is a surprising amount for his advanced age, is combed forward as if the wind is always at his back.

He gives up on his trainer, places his book on the ground beside the machine. I’m concerned about the picking it back up part. He sets his weights, tucks his polished shoes beneath the padded roller and begins to extend his legs. He’s a pro.

As I wipe the sweat from my eyes I notice a diminutive woman about 80 something on the elliptical machine beside me. Maybe she’s his daughter. Her head is jutted forward a little in line with her hunched shoulders.  She tightly grasps the set of handles that don’t move. She plods away. I believe she was in place before I chose to sweat beside her.

I leave her there after 10 minutes to attend to personal matters that have everything to do with consuming two cups of coffee before I got here and 2 bottles of water since.

When I come back out I hop on the treadmill. 5 minutes later she is beside me again. She sets herself up with her towel and something that may be an mp3 player. She starts to walk.

An older man walks in the door, sees her and waves with a giant smile. She returns both.

Am I in Cocoon?

It is late morning and people with jobs have come and gone or will be here later. This time is held for those of a certain age that have no use for retirement homes. They are active, a little slow, but determined. This is not the first time I have seen these two here. And there are many others.

Right now, at this time of day a solid 70% of the gym is geriatric. 25% is filled with people closer to my age that take this working out thing very seriously. Big guns, tight abs, glorious glutes. They probably got here when it opened and just don’t see any reason to leave.

The other 5% of which I am part is comprised of women like me who likely work at something but have the flexibility to slip away and get in a class or a swim.

It’s growing on me, this gym life. Once I got out of my own way and actually asked for help, a whole world of possibility opened up for me.

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

21 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Gym Zombie

Zombies IMG_6407

Today I had no appointments or classes around which to build my schedule. Sounds divine in that laissez-faire kinda way. But for me, I need an anchor, I need structure and I am not so great at setting it for myself.

I have had an incredible amount of work lately – all good – but overwhelming at times, so today was to be a get-it-done kind of day.

I slept in – which is to say 7 AM. I drank my two (ish – don’t judge) cups of coffee, had some toast and sat down to craft my plan. But first, let’s see what’s happening on Facebook. Wonder what some of my favorite bloggers are ranting about today. The dog wants out. The cat catches then releases a sparkly fish on an elastic line. Facebook pings. Let’s check email. Then the other email. Has that new Indian restaurant opened yet? Oh look, how cute is her new puppy? Is that a text? Where’s my phone?

And so it goes.

I did manage after about 30 minutes wrapped up in STS (Shiny Thing Syndrome) to focus. I think the coffee helped. Seriously. It’s medicinal.

I plunged into my work – my computer work I like to think of it. Responding to emails, texts and messages. Creating flyers for upcoming events. Writing copy for my own blogs, imaginary books and for real people who pay me. Organizing teacher trainings. Creating email blasts and Facebook posts. Editing photos. Stuff like that.

It draws me in sometimes and I can’t extract myself. Just one more tweak here, one more edit there. On my magical list in the sky today was the gym. Maybe a class. I received a more comprehensive list from my trainer, but I still don’t know what machines are what or how to use them. It’s frustrating. Still I thought maybe a class. Zumba?

I remembered it being in the afternoon, around 4, but I checked the schedule just to be sure. There was a class at 9:45. Missed that one. Around 3:30 I suited up, grabbed my iPod, and then headed out the door. On the way I double-checked the schedule. It was at 4:30 YESTERDAY. I went anyway. It’s the new me.

Since I didn’t have my new list – conveniently – I snubbed the machines. I wanted to go straight to the treadmill, we’re friends, but chose the elliptical instead. I decided on 10/10/10. Elliptical, treadmill, bike. Sounded reasonable.

About 1:30 in on the elliptical I started scrambling for excuses to abandon ship. Maybe this wasn’t good for my knees. My heart rate might be too high. Then I decided to become curious. Let’s just pay attention to how this feels, what’s going on in my body, I suggested to the ‘Flight’ part of my brain.

Four minutes in I hit my stride. I took a visual walk around my sweaty play pen. So many people looking unhappy. Working really hard and never getting there. That’s what I saw on their faces, anyway. They were doing it for someone else, to get something, not for their own energy. They were still reaping all the benefit, healthier heart, leaner muscle mass, but was that enough for them? It didn’t seem like it.

As I make my way around the vast room of clanking weights and grunting people I finally land on the stair climbers. We haven’t officially met yet. I  tend to walk a wide berth around them as if trolls can reach out and pull me onto the bottom step forcing me to walk up.

Atop the one closest to me is a man in his 30’s probably. He is leaning on the arm grip, barely able to sustain. He looks over at me, mouth open, eyes dead. He has achieved gym zombie status and apparently my brains are the only thing that can save him right now. We lock eyes as he continues to climb to nowhere. Creeped out I return my attention to reruns of Sex in the City set to the beat of the Gipsy Kings.

10 minutes done. Could have done more. 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then a relatively boring 10 minutes on the bike.

It’s raining. Hard. I can walk through the rain to my car, or stay here and do something else.

It felt good to get wet.