Because of a full day of meetings, class, and the sixers-nuggets yesterday, I wasn’t able to fit in the speed work on the NJ marathon schedule. I made four attempts –
(1) First thing in the morning, I headed to the gym to try to squeeze it in before my 8:30 AM office hours. All of the treadmills were full so I hopped on the bike for a quick warmup. 15 minutes later, a guy – also clearly looking for a treadmill – claimed the bike next to me and hovered. And when a treadmill opened, he sprung and beat me to it. Stupid guy.
(2) I brought my running stuff to school with the intention of running on the indoor track between TA-ing and a lunch date, but the professor wanted to have a meeting with all the TA’s after class, and by the time that ended, there wasn’t time to walk the half mile to the gym, get changed, and run, before meeting my friends for glorious Noshery sandwiches.
(3) After a job candidate talk, I thought about heading to the 8.5 mile loop along the Schuylkill River for a quick five miles before meeting my friend Vanessa for the sixers game. But the afternoon was filled with chill-to-the-bone rain. And it seemed like a recipe for misery to run outside and then go straight to the game without the chance to shower and warm up in between. Plus, the job talk ran longer than anticipated.
(4) In a final act of desperation, I thought about heading back to the gym after the game. But by the time the buzzer sounded and we made it back from South Philly, it was already 10:30. And the gym closes at 11.
So, no speed work for me yesterday, and I went to bed last night full of both restless energy and an unnecessary level of anxiety; today, I remembered, was the last day of my gym membership, the last day of my indoor running and biking crutches.
I’m not sure why this has been worrying me so much. Maybe I should be concerned. But after two years of several trips to the gym each week (I joined after spraining my knee during the 2007 Mardi Gras marathon and never looked back), I had settled into a nice rhythm there. I knew that every Thursday morning, the 65-year-old woman, gray haired and more buff than anyone else in the room (my friends and I dubbed her the Silver Fox), would be powering through her strength training. I knew that Monday afternoon ab workouts would be interrupted by the 50-year-old contractor who liked to ask my how my dad’s business was going. I knew that if I went on Tuesday nights, I was guaranteed a treadmill and a TV turned to channel 10 for The Biggest Loser.
It may not be much, but it was my routine. And as most everyone in my life can attest, I like my routines.
So as I lay in bed last night trying to fall asleep, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that my routine was about to change.
This morning, my friend Nettie and I had a date with the trails. Feeling guilty about missing my run yesterday, I decided to head to the gym early to get in a few intervals beforehand. I got on the treadmill around 7 AM and, after a mile warm-up, I pushed the pace for three 800s at 7:13.
And you know what? It sucked! After two weeks off the treadmill, it was almost painful to get back on (luckily only psychologically; my hip actually held up pretty well!).
I finished cooling down, wiped off the machine, and walked slowly back to my car. Well, that was it. No more FitLife for the foreseeable future. It was rather anti-climactic, to be honest. And a good note to end on. Trails and paths are more fun than treadmills. I have trails and paths within a stones throw of my house. This is a no-brainer.
Has the anxiety evaporated? Probably not completely. But it won’t keep me up at night anymore. And it won’t occupy anymore space on this silly blog.
I got home at 8 AM and Nettie showed up promptly at 8:30 – just enough time to down some cereal and give my hamstrings a perfunctory stretch. We went for a hilly, quad-groaning run, her dog Brutus leading the way. My legs felt molasses-y as I chugged up and down the rocky trails.
But it was good molasses. Thick and sweet with the morning fog rolling over the trees.