couch to five times awesomer

It started off poorly. I went to the front desk and said, "Uh, hi? I have a membership? Through work?" And the guy said, “A corporate discount? Uh, well. I don’t know how to handle that. You can come back this afternoon?” and I was standing there unshowered, in my gym clothes, ready to return to the gym, finally, and Kick! Some! Ass! but was being told that there was no kicking of ass to be had this day, and additionally, you have to show up to work with your hair looking like that because there’s no time to go home and shower now.

I did not give up. I am very pleased to say that I did not. Sometimes, it’s the little things you cling to. I leaned across the desk and said, “I have a number. Not on me, but they sent me a number. And I think that it’s a membership number. So I’m already a member.” “Oh!" the guy said. “Well, that’s different.” He looked me up by name, and there I was, a member of a gym, and all set up to Kick! Some! Ass! He looked at me and said, “You need to take a picture. But we’ll just do that after your workout and shower, okay?” It was really bad unshowered hair.

So I’m back at the gym. I went running. Running! Almost two miles,
even. Actually, it was kind of a little more like lurching–I went all
the way back to the beginning of the Couch to 5K plan, for I am not
stupid, or particularly ambitious, and did not want to kill myself the
first week out. I was pretty sure I was being ridiculous, but also
pretty sure I did not want to die embarrassingly in the middle of the
run, with both knees blown out and my head on fire and the treadmill
exploding in a shower of sparks that would take out the whole
neighborhood, cause an earthquake and have San Francisco dropping
directly into the sea. That is absolutely what would have happened.

Sixty seconds of running, a minute and a half of walking. It felt so
slow, and I was startled every time the minute ticked over and it was
time to drop back to a walk. Walk? I wasn’t done running! But dutifully
I did, and the 90 seconds felt like they were going on forever and
ever. Walking is a very boring thing to do. Running feels much more
purposeful, and is more bouncy. I enjoy the bouncy. It is, as I have
mentioned, the small things.

Other small things: The treadmills have televisions! That is so crazy.
It is like craziness, right there above my head. I did not actually
want to watch television, as it turns out, so I just flipped the
channel to VH1, and enjoyed watching the pretty people lip synch to my
iPod, and it was remarkably distracting, to have something moving and
shiny to look at while you bounce away, improving your cardiovascular
fitness and muscle tone. There is yet more craziness, and that is the
fact that there are additionally fans on each of the treadmills. Little
tiny fans that you can put up on high and they blow air at you, as fans
do, and in that way you do not feel as if you are melting, should you
push yourself to the point where you actually feel as if you are
exercising.

With all the walking, I did not feel particularly exercised, so I kept
pushing up the treadmill speed, and up, and up, and up and I was fairly
pounding along and feeling good and enjoying the bouncing and the shiny
VH1 and the tingly feeling of moral superiority that comes from being
virtuous and so awesome, and was so supremely proud of myself for going
so fast and so terrifically furiously, and then a very old man got on
the treadmill next to me and cranked it a full notch above the speed
that was making me sweat, and I realized that you cannot compare
yourself to other people–you can only compare yourself to you. And
really, really hate the old man next to you.

I’m going back tomorrow–I reserved a lane in the swimming pool, and in
that way I will start on my quest to turn my upper body into a thing of
muscle, rather than squooshy swaying skin. Was that sexy? Do you want
me? You will, in a couple of months, when I can run faster than old men
and swim farther than young fish and kick all kinds of major ass.
Possibly I will take up a life of fighting crime and helping old ladies
across the street on my strong back.

It feels so good to be back to the gym. It wasn’t what I meant to do,
today, but last night I was feeling miserable and feeling sorry for
myself and feeling like everything was out of my hands and that is the
worst feeling in the world, and then I was up off the couch, packing my
gym bag and remembering that there are things I can do for myself and
things I’ve got to do for myself and I remembered how good I was
feeling, when I was running, and I did. I felt so good. I feel so good.
Even though my ass really hurts.

  8 comments for “couch to five times awesomer

  1. anon
    September 13, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Good for you! First day back is hardest, mentally and physically. You’ll be passing old men in no time.

    Years ago, when I first started running, I was out running in the park one day and an older woman who was powerwalking passed me. Talk about humbling.

  2. September 13, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    :) Someday I’ll like, exercise. *sigh*

  3. September 14, 2007 at 1:50 am

    I’m afraid to run. I think I’m too fat.

  4. sally
    September 14, 2007 at 9:51 am

    Why aren’t more of you encouraging her??? This is one way out of the slough of despair! Exercise ALWAYS makes you feel in control, that’s why I do it five or six times a week…esp. when the anxiety is really getting to me, like now, with my daughter going away to college for the first time. It’s killing me, I have panic attacks all the time with her gone. Sure, I have pills, but the exercise helps the most (and is also fun!) (It should help tone up that skin, too, right?)

  5. sally
    September 14, 2007 at 9:52 am

    I meant “slough of despond.”

  6. September 14, 2007 at 11:16 am

    The high from running is the absolute best happy drug. Equal to sex, perhaps! Good to have Happy Anne back. :)

  7. September 19, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    You are KICKING ASS! I’m so happpy to read about your running (and swimming, and weight loss, and general ass-kicking. I mentioned the ass-kicking already, but whatever, you know).

  8. littlem
    September 24, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    “…sure I did not want to die embarrassingly in the middle of the run, with both knees blown out and my head on fire and the treadmill exploding in a shower of sparks that would take out the whole neighborhood, cause an earthquake and have San Francisco dropping directly into the sea. That is absolutely what would have happened.”

    This can actually happen.

    Ask my menisci.

    You were wise.

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