First let me clarify -- I am not an athletic person. Running. That's it. Except for a brief (traumatic) attempt at intramural soccer in college, and a brief (traumatic) attempt at t-ball in pre-school, I've never played another organized sport.
The gym combines two of my biggest phobias: people and sweaty people.
Here's how the conversation went when I told Ryan about the possibility of joining:
Michelle: We got a coupon in the mail. The gym will waive the initiation fee. I think we should join.
Ryan: Ha! So we can pay $70 a month for you to go TWICE? Ha. Ha.
Then we placed a bet. Because that's what we do.**
Granted, my history with gym memberships has been as successful as the attempts at soccer and t-ball. (Both resulted in blood, bruising, and swelling.)
The first time I paid to go somewhere and run, I was a sophomore in college. There was a gym near my parents' house, and I had plenty of daylight hours to kill because I worked second shift during the summer. The former captain of our high school cheerleading squad was the personal trainer who showed me around. Some part of me must've thought if I forked over the cash to use their equipment, I'd suddenly be one of the "cool kids."
I went twice. Maybe.
The second time I was a young, single reporter with friends who enjoyed working out. Vanessa talked me into a dance aerobics class. The last time I had gyrated in a choreographed way was at age 15 when I had a brief (traumatic) brush with cheerleading. "Um, Michelle. Can you come over here? We've broken this down extra extra slow and easy so you can get it," was a common refrain I had heard from the coach and captain.
The dance aerobics class did not go well.
The third time I was young, married, and determined to be open minded about the positive aspects of weight training. On my second visit to that gym, I warmed up briefly on the treadmills.
A man stepped onto the one beside me. He was working hard and breathing harder. He'd had onions with lunch. Maybe I could have tolerated his horrendous breath (maybe). But then he flung sweat on me. His sweat touched my body.
It's taken years for that memory to fade.
There are several awesome things about our new gym that are helping me recover from Gymphobia.
The main clients are old people and stay-at-home moms. It's rare for old people to sweat enough to fling it, and stay-at-home moms like aerobics classes. The treadmills are almost always empty!
We go early on the two slowest days, so my brood doesn't completely fill the closet-sized playroom. They have a great time.
One of the childcare workers is Lee's former pre-school teacher. Love. Her.
It's possible to watch TV on my iPhone while I'm running. Watching bad TV (Nashville) is distracting and mind-numbing, which makes speed training breezy.
They've got a (relatively) heated pool and generous family swim time. Ryan and the boys have enjoyed that. (Seeing everyone's lips turning blue discourages me from getting in.)
There have been a couple of iffy moments. My first day I got in the weight-lifting rotation behind a woman my grandmother's age. Every time she got up from a machine and I sat down, I had to adjust the weight way, way, WAY down. That was an ego blow.
Then there was the woman in the locker room who was head-to-toe naked the entire time. Having a conversation. Naked. The entire time. I'm all for confidence, but it was the first time I'd seen a real-live head-to-toe naked woman. Having a conversation. Naked. *shudder*
The Number One Awesome Thing about our new gym is this:
I don't have to sweat for the full 1.5 hours. In fact, I can run a bit on the treadmill and skip straight to the leg-soaking part. Soaking my legs in a hot tub, watching smut TV, and knowing my kids are in excellent hands?
** I won the bet. It was official Saturday morning when Ryan came home from his workout, gave me a hug and said, "Thank you for joining the gym."
Being right feels almost as good as a soak in the hot tub.