Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Which I Turn 50

I'm no athlete. Never have been, never will be.  That said, I do work out on a regular basis to fight middle-aged gravity-based body changes and to cope with these trying socio-politico-economic times.  Exercise makes me a nicer person, more Mary Tyler Moore-like if you will.    I'm calmer, more articulate, and mostly patient with people on public transportation.  I've gone from a hyperventilating ball of self-consciousness in my teens to distance running in my twenties to step aerobics; well, you get the idea.   I LIKE having a puddle of sweat under my spinning bike.  I LIKE being the only woman in the weight room.  The point is, I'm no stranger to fitness.  However, I witnessed something last week that truly appalled.

There's a big exercise room at my gym right next to the spinning room, and I go there to stretch after grueling sessions on the bike.  Typically there are a few sit-up freaks and pylo showoffs hanging out and flexing in the mirrors, sometimes the odd personal training duo.  I don't pay much attention.  If I'm in that room I have issues of my own, like recovering enough to make it to the shower.  This particular day, though, I became aware of a young girl working with her trainer.  Initially I noticed her because I feared she would stomp on me as she jumped rope.  As jumpers go she was frankly terrible, clumsy and flat-footed.  And though she wasn't morbidly obese, she was no super-model either, tall and big-boned in the way of so many young women today. I definitely would have noticed if she fell on me.

Then, as I removed my headphones, the audio rushed in.  She was CRYING.  Real choking, snotty sobs. At the GYM.  My initial thought (right after WTF?) was "Really?  She's paying for this torture?"  I mean, she sucked so bad at jumping rope, why not just say "Yo, I suck at this.  Let's do something else, Trainer-Dude."  That did not happen.  What happened was more stumbling and weeping.  Once the trainer interrupted her to offer water, but that was the only conversation between them.  This continued for about ten minutes before the pair went to the weight room to what, I'm sure, was further misery for her.  Let me tell you, never ONCE have I pushed myself that hard.

So why was she crying?  Self-disgust at being out of shape? Frustration at being less than agile?  That time of the month?  Seriously, maybe changing her birth control would alleviate all this.  I suspect it was a combination of all these.  And I haven't seen her since then.  

Is there a moral here?  Not really, other than one step at a time, just do it, or be kind to yourself.  But you may want to interview your next personal trainer very carefully ...


  1. So happy to see you blogging, KR! Nice story. I tend to be weepy any time the mirrors outnumber the people.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I love moments like these: Something is happening. It may mean something. It may not. But it leaves an impression regardless.