Since winter is looming, we decided to get a family membership at a local community center. I'll admit that my favorite part about the place is that it has child care. This means I can go get some exercise all on my own, a break of sorts.
To be honest, I usually don't even work out, but this whole child care thing makes it terribly appealing.
Now if only I could figure out the machines.
Let me be honest again. I get really nervous walking into the big workout center. There are tricky machines everywhere, TVs surrounding the big room with all different shows on them, and usually a whole lot of people, walking or running or riding their immobile bikes. It's overwhelming.
The other day, I walked in and quickly scanned the scene. All of the treadmills that I know how to work were in use, but of course I didn't want to stand and wait. So as naturally as possible, I hopped up on an open mystery treadmill, and acted as if I knew exactly what I was going to do.
But I didn't.
There were so many options and buttons, I just froze for a moment. Then I remembered there were a whole lot of people behind me, it felt as if all eyes were on me, watching and waiting to see if I'd push the right buttons and get moving. I reached out nonchalantly and pushed 'cardio,' which made my machine start asking me all kinds of questions with all kinds of loud beeps. I tried to push stop so I could try something easier, but the thing would just beep again and ask the same questions over and over. It even asked me for my weight, height, and age.
I BEEPED the numbers in as fast as I could, glancing over my shoulder to see all the fit young women running behind me with ease.
Then my treadmill finally started. Slowly it picked up speed, relieving me of feeling like such a heel. But because I had pushed 'cardio,' every time I took my hands off the bar in front of me, the treadmill would start beeping loudly, a message flashing across the screen, "NEED HEART RATE FOR CARDIO WORKOUT."
So I couldn't let go, or the magical handles that check my pulse couldn't do their job, and apparently it's a very important job. BEEEEEEEP!!!
I decided at one point to let go quickly to push the up arrow to pick up the pace a little. BEEEEEP!!! I increased the speed as fast as I could so I could get my hands back in their place and stop the mad beeping.
I did it so fast that I really increased the speed. Now, I'm NOT a runner, so thankfully I didn't quite have to run (or my side would have exploded), but I was walking really really fast.
(Just so you know, I have chicken legs. I surely looked ridiculous.)
Then it happened.
The cardio incline. The highest number the machine can reach, apparently.
The treadmill slowly angled up and up and up until I was walking up a very steep hill, very quickly. (I was suddenly quite thankful that I couldn't let go, let's just say that.)
I would like to tell you now that I stopped caring about the people behind me, that I let go and reached up to decrease the incline (you know, so I wouldn't die.). But I didn't.
I'll admit it. I didn't want to appear as if I couldn't handle it. So I just kept going.
I walked up that very steep hill very quickly for 30 minutes. When my legs started to feel like goo, all itchy and tired, and my heart was beating out of my chest, I thought about letting go to reach up and slow things down, but I was too afraid I'd fly right off, or at the very least, appear totally unfit.
So I just kept going, knowing I had done this to myself out of insecurity.
It was exhausting. (And hilarious, really.)
I guess I'm going to be quite fit if I do, but I don't think I'll choose that particular type of treadmill next time.
It's way too much like picking the hard road in life, just to save face, and I'd like to be done with that too.