February 12, 2013

Keeping up with the changes.

So I started a little series, I like to think, about the changes in my life. There's been some pretty big ones lately and I wanted to keep up with them. Actually, I kind of started this series when I was hoping I would get my new dream job. Well, I did, so that was fun.

Anyway, another change that's been going on is running. I started doing that this fall, right after Thanksgiving, and was doing pretty well. What up, Couch to 5K? Seriously, it was amazing. Within three weeks I went from running downhill for a minute and dying to running for 8 minutes straight in five weeks. 8 minutes was the longest I had ever, in my entire life, run. I've kind of fallen down on the program, never completing the last two weeks which were 28 minute and 30 minute runs. I did the 23 minute runs and then ran out of motivation. 28 is pretty much 23 and there are a lot of hills around my house. I knew I could but I was just getting bored. Way to go, Anna.

Well, a couple weeks ago I started thinking that a treadmill would be good for me. No hills, doesn't end up really far from home, and I could boost my confidence with duration. What an excellent chance to listen to an audio book.

The thing is, short of buying a treadmill, I'd have to go to a gym to fill my running ambitions. And? I hate gyms. Hate. Them.

When I was in England, I got a free membership to the gym on campus. It's was a nice gym (I guess) and frequented by all the ridiculously skinny/rich/attractive (aka all) girls that went to the private school I worked at. There were also some locals that came, too, but it was more expensive than the community gym, so they were freakishly healthy. Me? Not so much. I'm squishy. Not super squishy, but  all around a little soft. My muscles need to be felt for; they do not bulge and or/glisten attractively. If it's bulging, it's certainly not a muscle. More likely it's my lunch.

I went a couple times to the gym there, but mostly felt too awkward and embarrassed to be there. (You may have noticed that awkwardness is a general theme of my life.) Anyway, I didn't like the gym. It also happened to be the place where I taught swimming lessons to kids that could swim better than me. Six year-olds were doing the breaststroke while I paddled awkwardly along beside them. I can swim, but my technique is rotten and I'm not going to get anywhere fast. I really hated that building.

Gyms are also not free. This I know. I actually have a pass to a gym, where I do yoga. Less than $6 a class is a wicked deal. I haven't been for a month or so, but it's a real bona fide gym, full of awkwardly healthy people with glistening muscles. I usually shower before going to class, whereas most of the other attendees are just coming for a cool down from their mega intense step/aerobic classes. They, too, glisten, even though the lighting's dim.

So Karl and I are working our way through Financial Peace and have a pretty stringent budget. There is no part of me that would like to sacrifice my clothing budget just so I can be lazy and run inside on the flatland so price was a really big factor in which gym I decided to join. So was women's only and location. Ideally, the gym would be right next door, never be busy, and cost a dollar per visit. Or, you know, be free.

Well, the best I was finding was $29/month. Not bad, but it wasn't near home or work, and I'd definitely have to drive. It was also definitely not a women's gym, but I figured in the beginning that would be a bit of a pipe dream. Price was the biggest motivator, after all.

Well, in swept my mother. She has a free membership to one of the local pools because she works for the city. Because I'm almost a dependent (living in her basement and such, never mind that I'm married and make my own moneys) I got a membership for $12 a month.  $12. Drop-in is $5.75. If I go twice I'm basically breaking even. Three times and I'm making a profit. I've already been Friday and Sunday so I'm basically a financial guru. I'm not even budgeting for this membership because it can come out of our blow money. And the location? About a five minute detour on the way home from work and ten minutes home. Not that I've convinced myself to bring my workout clothes to work, yet.

There is, however, a drawback to the location. Like I said before, it's a pool. The cardio equipment is all on the upper level, but still in the same area as the swimming area. In other words, it's a tropical sauna in there. I'm also a fainter. Now, all of the cardio equipment have fans pointed directly at them.  Except, you know, the treadmills. There are fans in the ceilings, but only two of the five treadmills have them in remotely useful locations.

The first time I went, I didn't get a good treadmill to fan location. I did after fifteen minutes. The second time I got a good treadmill but still had to walk more than I would have liked. That was Sunday. I was smart and hydrated as much as humanly possible before going. I had to pee when I got on the treadmill and everything. 35 minutes later and roughly 20 minutes of collective running I was a sweaty mess. I'd brought my water bottle, which I never do outside, and had drank half of it, but I no longer had to pee and needed to sit down for five minutes so I didn't pass out from the heat after. I have quite the delicate ecosystem. It's a pain.

It's frustrating not being to go as hard as I want because of the heat, but I figure I'll either get used to it eventually and be able to run marathons in Haiti, or I'll die and it'll be a pathetic story. Then, at least, I'll have a legitimate reason to hate the gym.

I plan to go at least twice this week, you know, t0 acclimatize myself to the conditions. I try to look like I belong and not look directly at any of the skinny, glistening people. I'm not wearing the skin-tight workout wear, preffering the oversized t-shirts and yoga capris with pockets, but it's okay. My hair is a bit of a problem, since it plays a big part in my over-heating. I picked a great time to go for unmanageable hair. Lucky for me, I know what a couple bobby pins can do to it, and, since I'm married, don't really care if I looked like a European soccer playing man. Fact.

Tell me about your gym horror stories. Or love stories, I guess, but then I'm not sure we can still be friends. I also need more audiobook material for the treadmill. Something super gripping and escapist. Go!


  1. My biggest gym horror story is that the only gym here is $50 a month and about 1/4th the size of the HUGE gym I used to go to in Seattle for $30/month. I refuse to pay that much for a choice of 3 treadmills from the 90's and some pathetic weight equipment. I don't care if they DO have a 30 year old racquetball court. So we have a treadmill at home, but I usually just do workout videos every day. Core Fusion and Jillian Michaels are my go-to folks.

  2. I was the same way with running! I was SO bad at it and I finally started doing a running routine that worked for me and got better little by little. That and I found out I was running really fast when I first started running. It's much easier when you learn to control your running speed. Ha.

    I just hate the gyms because of the people that stare at you (I'm guilty of this too, I know), and the cute little girls running in their sports bras and running shorts. I also do much better on my own. Good luck!! I hope you find something that works for you! :)


 photo comments_zps824b3be6.jpg