Saturday, October 29, 2005

A day of fitness

My years living in Ireland have caught up to me, chipper food and pints are a bad combination. I noticed this year the full summer pasted before I realised it had really began. Being a Canadian we believe in a few things, tolerance, layering and seasons. You realise summer is coming and with out consciously thinking about it your foods change, your intake lowers and you disregard your hibernation meal styles for fruit and little else. Living in Ireland has kept me on a constant hibernation diet for the full 12 months. And my physical activity although includes daily biking and the occasional rock climb and swim is actually restricted to running from the cops on the occasional direct action.

The thing is I use to be so fit, in my high school year book this one girl Stephanie wrote to the most athletic person I know. And although my concentrations have been side tracked by politics I still have goals of doing triathlons at some stage of my life. At the rate I was going I was going to have to become a born again athlete in my fifties for that goal to be realised.

So yesterday I took the dreaded first step and went to the gym. There is this gym across the street from my gaff that I have been eyeing the past nine months of living here and now with only three months left to go on the lease I am a proud owner of a St. Catherine’s health club membership.

I put on my surf pants I bought for Thailand and my space invaders t-shirt and I was good to go. I walked into the gym with confidence and looked around with the air of gym knowledge I walked straight towards this piece of machinery that I have never used before and jumped right on. The equipment is the strangest thing that they have at gyms, its kinda like you are cross-country skiing but you can go back and forth. Everything was going ok, I put in my weight, age, length of time and choose the cross training program.

Everything was fine till three mins in when it says peddle backwards. What how do I do that? I stop and awkwardly move my legs in a way that becomes a smooth backwards motion but wait how do I keep my feet attached to the peddles. they keep sliding back, at least when I was going forward they would slide to the stopper in front but this is madness nothing to stop my feet from sliding off this thing, I put all my weight on the peddles hoping that that pressure will keep them in one spot. Then I start to notice I'm sweating; good its working, the calories are flying off I'm getting fit.

But damn it I'm sweating all over this crazy machine and don't have a towel to wipe it off. It had been years since I had been at one of these places and I have forgotten the etiquette of the gym. I see a sign that says sweat towels are mandatory and that they are on sale at reception, but alas I have no cash so I leave traces of my sweat an the hang rails of all the equipment.

Next is the running machine, these things have always scared me, I mean how do you get on and how do you get off. I start slowly hoping to just be cool and not fall on my face. I notice this clip attached to the hand rail. It seems that you clip in on your t and if you fall it will pull out the clip that causes an emergency stop. This safety device seems more dangerous then falling yourself. The string is long so you have to be nearly off the thing before the emergency stop and then with the sudden change in speed you are sure to fall on your face, I put it on anyways and see what the deal is. Twenty mins later I’m well into this running thing, watching Sponge Bob on TV and doing an eleven min mile. In my excitement my pumping arms accidentally hit the control panel and the whole thing shuts down thinking I just fell. The look on my face when I stumble to halt must have been classic.

A gym disaster I am, but its been two days now and who knows where this health surge could lead.

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