Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Antithetic Workout

My experience at the gym today was the exact opposite of what I generally enjoy about running. I love getting outside, alone with my thoughts and the rhythm of feet on pavement. Running brings clarity, calmness, and usually instills in me a sense of purpose.
I've chosen to run inside this winter instead of fighting the snowbanks and ice, and have found that some of the intangible benefits of running are indeed only to be found in the great outdoors. However, for the most part I've enjoyed my indoor training experience.
Today, though, seemed like a test to see just how committed I am to this whole gym thing.
When I first pulled into the parking lot, there were A LOT of cars there - more than I've ever seen. Generally I like going to the gym on the weekend because it is a lot less crowded than during the week. Not today. I considered just turning around and going back later, but knew that I probably wouldn't return.
So I went in and was happy to note that there were several classes going on, which explained the sudden influx of people. There wasn't anyplace for me to warm up properly, so I claimed one of the few remaining treadmills and got down to business.
Rather than the calm, clarity-infused running I love, I was subjected to an aural barrage from every direction. Combine the louder-than-usual music with the whirring and feet-stomping from treadmills all around me, the staff member who thought right then was the perfect time to vacuum, and the people having outdoor-voice conversations, and my tranquility was shot. Add to this the fact that I'd brought my ipod today because I wanted to run for longer than usual and needed some hand-picked motivation, and I wound up with the exact opposite of what I was looking for.
I have to say that the plethora of distractions made the time go faster, and I actually had a pretty good run, once I got tuned into what I was doing.
I'm finding that indoor running, while it definitely doesn't have the challenges of weather and road conditions, has been good practice for my mental state. The ability to focus when there is so much going on around me, as well as the challenge to stay motivated when there is nothing going on to distract from the monotonous whirring of the treadmill belt, will surely only help me be a better runner.


the prairie penguin said...

Good insights Carm! Also, I'm just wondering, did the cat put the toy on the other cat's back or did you place it there? Never a dull moment with those two.

Carmen said...

I'll admit to setting up the shot a bit and putting the toy on Josie's back. Jake decided to have a stare-down with the toy all by hiimself.