Sunday, March 15, 2015

All the rage

Skrit, skrit, thump. Skrit, skrit, thump.

My face is red. My hair is plastered to my neck. A trickle of water twines its way down my cheek. I am halfway there.

Skrit, skrit, thump. Skrit, skrit, thump.

Three times a week (give or take) since the first frozen day of winter I have dutifully climbed onto the most torturous device in the western hemisphere and performed my best impression of a gerbil on a wheel.

I'm not sure why I thought the treadmill would be easier than braving the elements, which I've forced myself to do on the seventh day, when normal folks are resting. It hasn't turned out that way.

Who am I? I wondered silently, trying to drown out the pounding bass that is hammering loudly from secret speakers stashed throughout the gym.

A year ago I was not just happy but amazed with my new-found ability to jog around the block.

Now a slave to a tiny conveyor belt, I am a rodent on a wheel, counting every mile as if collectively they would reveal the secrets of the universe. So long as I am able to cross the finish line of my first half-marathon in May.

A part of me, I realize, has gone crazy.

I don't know why I thought this would be easy.

Set a pace and go, I thought. Don't worry about road hazards, I thought. There won't be wind or ice or snow.

But I didn't think about the monotony. Or the drudgery. Or even the rats on the wheels next to me.

I didn't think their breathing and bravado would bother me.

But there they were each week. An ever-changing gaggle of annoyances I could usually ignore.

Until this week.

The guy and his trainer took over the three machines next to mine, ramping one up to top speed while he jogged on the other, and she cheered him on. Then, quick as lightning, he jumped from one machine to the other as she proceeded to reenact Hanz and Franz.

I tried not to be distracted. I tried to keep my eyes forward and my foot falls even. I tried to block them out. But I failed.

A spastic movement caught in my peripheral vision set me off kilter. I shifted unevenly and lurched forward, accidentally hitting the emergency stop bar with the crook of my arm.

Everything came to a stop. My elbow hurt but my anger dulled the pain.

And worse than failing at focus, I had utterly failed at composure.

I stormed off. Angrily stuffing gear into my bag and slamming locker room doors as I flew off the handle. I didn't even bother changing my shoes.

A demented Mr. Rodgers singing in my head: “You. WON'T. be. my. Neighbor,” as I chuffed out into the parking lot.

“What happened to me?” I wondered as I sat in my car, waiting for calm to reappear before I turned on the ignition.

Exercise was supposed to make me happy. Running was supposed to make me relaxed. I don't want to be this way. I don't want to be THAT person who complains about the other people at the gym. Angry that they are breathing heavily or grunting … or just using the treadmill next to mine.

I mean … Did I even wipe down the machine I was using before I stormed out?


Could the mixing of gym culture and Daylight Saving Time produce such an explosive side effect? And then it dawned on me: I must be experiencing a contact 'roid rage.

I hope it's not habit-forming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a solitary artist is always uncomfortable creating with groups, your workout is your art, your addicted and feel guilty when you do not work at your art...but don't change your influence because of this guilt...nature is your influence.

increase your time stretching, this can be done at home or in the yard...stretch till it hurts.