February 13, 2015

"I can't stand gyms"

That's what I've been known to say. Last year, my winter training took place in the pool, on my bike trainer, and outside on the road. Out of curiosity and to explore a company discount, I wandered into a local gym (part of a large chain) -- and was immediately bowled over. It was dark. It smelled like anxiety and low self-esteem, mixed with an aroma suggesting something had crawled under a treadmill and died. Needless to say I wasn't in a hurry to sign up.

Following a foot injury at the end of last season, I started back to running slowly and carefully. I got a pair of super-cushioned Hokas -- which, while comfortable, feel Teflon-coated on anything but bare pavement. The general cold, icy, lumpy, snowy state of things outside had me reconsidering my dislike of treadmills. As it turns out, the new city complex where I swim not only has a beautiful pool, but a pretty sweet workout room as well. It took me probably 6 months to even go upstairs to check it out, but once I did, I quickly figured out that it was pretty convenient to hop on the treadmill for a 30 minute run before going down for a swim.

The last time I used a gym with any regularity was as an undergraduate. I won't date myself by telling you when that was, but it was sometime after people stopped recording their heart rate by chiseling it into a stone tablet. There were no iPhones. If we wanted to talk to someone, we picked up a tin can with a string attached. So I guess it's no surprise that when I started going back to the gym, I found some strange and unfamiliar machines. Back in the day, my preferred torture devices were the ergometer and the Nordik-Trak ski machine (remember those?). 

Here's one that I saw out out of the corner of my eye, from the relative safety of the treadmill. I had never seen anyone on this machine. Or even near it, truth be told. But as luck would have it, I was wrapping up a run at the very moment a staff member was giving a couple of new members a tour that included the "Jacob's Ladder". After some quick instructions, I jumped on to give it a try. Think of climbing a ladder -- that moves under you quicker and and quicker as you climb higher. Fun, right?

"Jacob's Ladder"... The name sounds both fun, and kind of terrifying
This next little number, with no motor whatsoever, made me feel ready to die after about 10 minutes. Talk about efficient! Torturous AND environmentally friendly... The whole package. 

"The Curve" -- burn calories just by looking at it
In summary, my recipe for learning to love that trip to the gym is to find a weird, obscure piece of equipment and have at 'er. This might be a good time for me to also revisit my post on injury prevention...

No comments:

Post a Comment