Last Friday I spent $89 and joined the spanking-new local Anytime Fitness. Previously, the only gym within 180 miles of my town was a treadmill, an elliptical machine, a set of free weights and a boom box in the basement of a hair salon where you could get a 24/hour key card for $35 a month.
The Anytime Fitness used to be the Hallmark Store/greenhouse. So, on one hand…yay! On the other…sad to see the greenhouse go.
So on Friday, I wrote my check, got a quick tour (it’s a nice place, I was impressed) and then found a treadmill. And 20 minutes later, I honest-to-God felt like I was having a heart attack.
Four years ago, before we left Las Vegas, I was a fairly regular YMCA visitor. I could do an hour at 3.5 miles per hour on the hill setting. So, I figured…I’d reduce it to 2.5 at the beginning and hit the hill setting. And nearly died. No, really. Even the machine noticed. It kept asking for my heart rate and then slowing me down until I was creeping along at 1.5 miles per hour, and even then the machine seemed alarm for me.
I went back on Saturday with a plan. Five minutes at 2.0 to warm up, 5 minute intervals alternating between 2.5 and 3.0 miles per hour for 20 minutes and then another 2.0 for five to cool down. This was, literally, all I could handle. The last 3.0 was really REALLY hard. With no incline at all. My heart rate stayed where it was supposed to. My old Nikes, which are 1/2 a size too big, gave me gigantic blisters when my trendy no-show socks slipped under my heels.
So this is what I can do, right now. A 30-minute 1.25 mile with killer blisters. Also–I weigh 340 pounds. With all my talk about giving up dieting and accepting my body, that one was difficult for me. I’m working on the acceptance, because it is where I am. This is my zero. And it isn’t about weight.
I went back today. I did my little routine again, and maybe this time it was a tiny bit easier. Maybe. I also did some bicep curls and ab crunches on the machines. And that was it. Everything I had at the moment. I didn’t weigh myself again. I’m not doing that to myself.
I had an epiphany though, while doing 2.5 MPH with Eminem in my generic MP3 player next to a 60-year-old woman who was doing 3.5 at a nearly vertical incline.
I am already an athlete.
I’ve had this thought running around my head for a couple of years that I want to be an athlete again. I was once. A good one. That was another lifetime ago. But it occurred to me that it was MY lifetime. And that, really, anyone who decides to train and work toward a physical goal is an athlete.
Who gets to decide when I am an athlete? I have a physical goal and I’m working toward it.
For me, that goal is to be fit enough to join a roller derby league. I hope I can do it by my 40th birthday at the end of October.
I have smaller goals, too. To increase my treadmill intervals until I can walk for an hour, and then walk faster for an hour, and then jog and maybe run. To be prepared to join a Kaia F.I.T boot camp when we move to Carson City in June. To participate in a sprint triathlon.
So it starts with a messy, painful 20-minutes on a treadmill. And each time I put myself out there, I take a step toward my goal. Slapping bandages over blisters and wearing athletic socks instead of trendy ones, feeling that sort of weak feeling in my thighs and breathing deep when I’m done–those things make me an athlete. Right now. Today.
And damn. I’m so excited by that.
Also, I bought these today:
Aren’t they pretty?