Saturday morning I did something I haven't had the balls to do in over 5 years. I went to the gym. A real gym. With machines and weights and (gasp!) other people.
I stopped going to public gyms after my sophomore year of college, when one of the 'sorostitute' types pointed at me, laughed, and said to her friend, "What is she doing here?" I wanted to shout back at her "I'm baking a turkey, what the hell do you think I'm doing here?!?" But I didn't. Instead, I never showed my face around there again, and never had the guts to step foot into another gym like that.
Until Saturday. I was tired of my usual swimming routine and the changing and disgusting locker rooms that accompany it and needed a change of pace. I decided to go to the 'gym' section of the JCC and investigate the machines and the mood of the place. In the end, I decided I liked it and hopped on the treadmill for a slow (is a 20-minute mile considered slow?) 1-mile treadmill warm up. I guess somewhere along that mile I decided I wanted to try the elliptical machine, which was my next stop. 15 minutes of huffing and puffing and SERIOUS sweating accompanied that, followed by another mile on the treadmill. I enjoyed the routine, liked the warm-up, intense workout on the elliptical, and cool-down. I also enjoyed researching online to find out that I burned almost 500 calories in the hour I worked out. That was very exciting, though I don't know if the info on the website I used was valid or pulled from nowhere. How does one determine the amount of calories burned from a workout?
I also managed to bump into almost everyone I've ever met, including my former boss and his gorgeous wife and the guy I used to be completely in love with in high school. And all of them saw me in all of my sweaty, disgusting glory, and actually looked at me in admiration and respect rather than horror. That was nice to notice.
And so I went back yesterday and did the same routine, though I used a different, seemingly more intense elliptical machine. And today, I was in PAIN.
It was the good kind of pain, the pain that says I pushed and had a good workout. I gave myself the day off from exercise, not only because I was hurting but also because I had a 2pm physical I needed to fast for, and a workout like that on an empty stomach is probably not the best idea. I have plans to go back to the gym tomorrow morning before I leave for my day in Columbia.
This weekend at the gym was joyous in more ways that one. First of all, I got my ass back to a real gym and didn't give a shit what anyone thought. Second of all, I worked my ass off, not only because I wanted to but because I COULD. For the first time in my life, I stayed on the elliptical for more than 2 minutes and sandwiched my time between mile-long walks. It was a good, solid, hour-long cardio workout, and I kicked it's ass. I thought back to the beginning of my year-in-Israel, where hiking up one of J'lem's many hills was enough to do me in. I have come so far in what I am able to do and how I am able to do it that my progress astounds and amazes me.
Gd continues to teach me these amazing lessons, and I open myself up more and more with each passing day. You keep up your good work, Dude, and I'll keep up mine. We're in this one together.
I'm not done swimming just yet, as I love it too much to completely put it away. But I do think variety is the spice of life, and a combo of the gym plus the pool plus my walks to Starbucks should give me the ability to exercise 5-6 days a week without boredom or monotony.
This exercise thing kinda becomes addicting after awhile. Am I becoming one of those exercise addicts I've always feared? Maybe so...