Monday, November 24, 2008

People are strange

The gym is strange place, chock full of weird people, and yours truly is apparently no exception. I get a lot of funny looks, anyway.

In the last 8 weeks I've become a bit of a gym rat because, basically, I've had nothing better to do. Seriously. The alternative - sitting on my ass - would be neither advisable nor entertaining. Sitting on the spin bike at the gym, however, now that's advisable, not to mention wildly entertaining.

Take this comical encounter from a couple weeks back, for example. I jump on my usual bike, plug in my headphones and get down to business. After a few minutes of pedaling I started sweating. Can you believe it? Beads of sweat actually forming on my brow and dripping toward the floor. You'd think it was raining in Death Valley the way one worried woman reacted to my workout.

"Are you OK?" was the inquiry aimed my way after I flipped off my headphones in anticipation of exchanging pleasantries with someone I assumed was just another customer trying to get my attention.

"Yeah...I'm fine," I responded before taking a seat and a much-needed breath. "Why?"

"You look like you're in pain," she informed me.

"I am," I said, before flipping my headphones back on and resuming my workout. God forbid you break a sweat and refuse to read US Weekly on the recumbant bike.

Fast forward to today. Same spin bike, a little less intensity on my part, which means more time for me to take in the scenery rather than focus on my own half-assed effort for the day. I look toward the treadmills and what do I see but a guy running. No surprise there, that's what people do on treadmills. Except this guy was running with 2-1/2 pound weights in his hands! He must have been a long-lost alumni of Stonehill cross country, because the only guy I've ever known to condone - even encourage, in fact - this sort of behavior was old Chieftain coach Dana Boardman. I should have asked the guy on the treadmill if he ever practiced visualizing running like a cantelope through an open field at any point of his adult life. (Ed. Note: Unless you ran cross country at Stonehill under ODB and crashed the team van on your first day of practice, partook in Run Like a Kenyan day, tackled Vinny's hill or experienced running on 6 inches of woodchips, you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

And there's more, like the guy wearing work boots on the stair climber, the woman singing to herself on the spin bike and the lady on the elliptical with the permanently-planted smile on her face. And let's not forget the Toby Keith wannabe in the weightroom who insists on wearing a cowboy hat to do his lat pulldowns. One of these days I'll bring a camera. Promise.


That Runner Chick said...

and I thought our gym was bad! the worst I have is running into people I went to HS with while i am struggling to do bicep curls with 10 pound weights!!!

Kerry said...

Please shell out $259.99 and get yourself a CycleOps fluid trainer and ride your Specialized Allez at home, in front of the TV/with your iPod.

There is no reason to subject yourself to this. Really.

Here's the reason I stopped going to the gym:
Winter break of my junior year of college was bad for running on the roads due to too much ice, so I opted to join a local gym and run there on the treadmill. It was a small gym with only 2 treadmills. There was this one guy who would get on it every day, crank the incline up to the max, then "run" on it while frantically grasping the side rails with a vise like deathgrip, head rolling back, eyes focused on the ceiling, sweating buckets all over the place. After approximately 5 minutes, he would start to moan,and would keep a sustained moan for the duration of his one hour "run."

After he broke 3 treadmills they banished him to the stairmaster.

Of course only weirdos go to the gym. What kind of a person decides to spend money in order to push around weights that are covered in other people's germs, or confine themselves to a piece of equipment that enables them to go absolutely nowhere, all while enclosed in a confined space. There's a reason that "gym team" is not a high school or college sport. We chose running because we like to move fast, and we like to be outside. You don't hear too many of us mumbling about "I can't wait to graduate so I can stop running XC and start going to the gym."