The local YMCA is being renovated. I’m sure it will end up being a workout Mecca the likes of which we have never seen. In the meantime, it’s a pain in the butt.
They closed the main rooms and moved all the weight machines, free-weights, stair climbers and treadmills out. Now they’re scattered around the hallways, the pre-school rooms, even the laundry room.
If you find the machine you are looking for, chances are it will be jammed cheek-to-jowl with its neighbor. You have to synchronize your movements or you risk an elbow to the ribs. The other day I was lucky enough to find a treadmill with a little breathing room – in the fourth stall of the men’s room.
The worst thing, though, is that the little TVs attached to the treadmills don’t work. No TV! Why has God singled me out for the greatest suffering the world has ever known? But I don’t complain. I’m using this opportunity to enjoy some favorite music on my MP3 player.
Today’s selection was vintage Earth, Wind and Fire. Funky, funky, FUNK-ay! Boy, does that get me pumped up. I dialed up the volume and was in the zone, really feeling it. But I held it in. I didn’t want to be THAT woman; the chubby, middle-aged white one, shaking her groove thang to music nobody else can hear, right in front of God and everyone.
There is another regular at the Y who already fits that bill. This lady marches to the beat of a different drummer, both physically and mentally. I can’t tell how old she is – could be anywhere from 30 to 50. She has starkly arched eyebrows and a red ring outlining her mouth. I think those parts are tattooed on. With her pale lips, it’s not a good look.
She plugs in to her music and does a dance/walk workout on the treadmill, with a low, rolling dip of the hip every 3rd beat. She looks neither left nor right, always straight ahead with a slightly haughty expression. It’s like she’s practicing for the chorus of West Side Story.
I’ve whined in past posts about how sweaty it gets in the treadmill room, but I didn’t know how good I had it. The Green Gym, where I worked out tonight, is not air conditioned and makes the old room seem like an Arctic ice floe. It’s hotter than Dutch love, as my brother-in-law Pat would say.
I was really getting into it tonight, despite the heat. I dialed up the speed and incline on the treadmill, and was working up a full head of steam, keeping time with the music.
(For “Boogie Wonderland”, I recommend a 2.0 incline, 4.0 MPH speed.*)
My heart rate was at the top of the “cardio workout” zone on the monitor, making its way to the “grab the paddles” zone.
The sauna-like atmosphere was not enhanced by the hot flash I was having. I was sweating buckets. The music thrummed, and my heart was everywhere, working overtime, throbbing in my chest and my head until it seemed it would push my eyeballs out of their sockets. The pressure built and pounded and pounded and thrummed and I thought,
“This is it. I am going to stroke-out; right here, right now.”
“My feverish, red self is going to collapse and shoot off this treadmill like George Jetson walking Astro, and I’m going to hit the poor guy working out 1 foot behind me and knock him over like a bowling pin.”
In that split second, when it seemed I might die, I thought, “I wonder if the heavenly choir that meets me at the pearly gates will be Earth, Wind and Fire?”
Now, that would be cool. What a welcoming committee! I don’t even know if any of them are dead, but maybe, my fevered brain thought, your heavenly choir takes whatever form you want it to.
Even with the inducement of meeting Earth, Wind and Fire, though, I did not want to die today. I found the strength to reach out a trembling hand and dial down the speed, and tried to calm my racing heart. I spent the rest of my workout matching the treadmill speed to the slow songs.
(For “After The Love Has Gone”, may I suggest a .5 incline, 2.3 MPH speed.*)
When it’s your turn to go, what heavenly choir do you want to meet you?
*Your results may vary depending on the specific treadmill, length of your legs, and whether the Earth, Wind & Fire CD is studio or live in concert.