Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Between a rock and a hard place

197.8 lbs. I can’t move.

And I thought the yoga teacher did a number on me…
I attended the first of eight training sessions today and someone knee-high to Christina Aguilera (or Lisbeth Salander. I’ve been reading the Steig Larsson books) kicked my ass. Well, not literally, because then, I would have had to stuff her into a locker. Or my purse. She’ll fit.
Way back in 2005, when I was working out regularly, I belonged to the same gym chain and back then, they had the big stair machines aka The Rotating Staircase of Death. (I could never work the stupid pedal ones satisfactorily). My trainer at that time, The King, would periodically goad me into getting on one. I would threaten some kind of violence to his family jewels and we’d let the matter drop. I could go forever on a treadmill and would keep up with The Clash and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” on the elliptical, but those things looked big and intimidating, especially when you saw little blonde toothpicks running up them like it was nothing. Bitches.
One day, when The King was not in the building, I decided “why the hell not” and gave it a try. After 30 minutes and 88 floors of stairs (the Empire State Building has 86. Neener, neener), I looked and felt like death on a cracker, but I had hung on and completed my task. The next hour or so is kind of fuzzy. I have vague memories of oxygen tanks, paramedics and questions about my insurance, but nothing solid.
Emboldened, I would switch things up a bit and voluntarily hit the Rotating Staircase of Death, ignoring the little blonde bunnies hopping up its slopes or the grunting buffalos trying to impress the little blonde bunnies. And even after training and working out, I still looked and felt like death on a cracker at the end of 30 minutes.
One Saturday afternoon, after I’d been climbing for 15 minutes and hit the usual Brain Death Zone, I noticed the guy on the RSoD kitty corner from me. What follows – and this is as close to verbatim as I can get – is the actual conversation that was going on in my head:
“I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. Geez, that’s a big guy on that machine.”
“He’s very fit. And he’s going up like this thing is nothing. I could get there. Maybe.”
“He keeps looking back here. No, Sir, if I appear to be staring, honest, I’m very unfocused over here.’
“That’s a big guy. Looks kind of Polynesian. Hey, this is Los Angeles. Everybody from everywhere is here. Big ol’ melting pot.”
“He keeps looking back. Smile, wave. Like that, yeah. No, Sir, don’t worry. I only look like I’m going to die, I promise.”
“He could be some kind of pro athlete. Very fit guy.”
“How much longer on here? Oh God, it’s another 10 minutes. I can do this. Did I say that out loud? He’s looking back here like I said it out loud. Sir, it’s okay, not directed at you.”
“Look at that tattoo he’s got. Big one. Does EVERYBODY have tattoos out here? Not me. Not even a big red pair of lips on my ass. That would be a good one, though. That’s kind of a tribal tattoo he’s got there…Fucking Lakers. Die Kobe Bryant! I can do this.”
“I’ve seen a tat like that. National Geographic or something. It IS Polynesian. Wonder what it mean? Will I live long enough to find out?”
“ He’s getting down. Smile and wave again, just try not to look like you’re going to barf on him as he passes. The Rock has a tattoo like that…”
“OH! MY! GOD! That was The Rock! I had The Rock worried about me. Maybe.”
And if you need motivation to go to the gym, there you go.

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