I'm not a native here, but lately it kind of feels like it. I'm getting used to the sweaty-human-cleaning-fluid aroma, and I've been racking up the cardio machine miles like nobody's business. Which reminds me of a brilliant idea I came up with on the spin bike the other day (because what else are you doing while you're on the spin bike?): cardio machines should totally give you rewards points for your miles. I feel certain I could have earned at least a decent set of steak knives by now.
It hasn't been all moaning & whining (though there has been a goodly amount). While I wouldn't have chosen to get my weekly mileage for the last two months by parking myself on the spin bike / elliptical once or twice a day, I can't deny that I have learned some important lessons from my time as a gym rat.
1. I am capable of running in the morning. For the most part, this is not something I have done just to get the miles in since there stopped being someone telling me I had to run in the morning. (Races don't count as the abject misery of morning running is overshadowed by excitement/adrenaline. Planned runs with friends are also a totally different thing.) Over the years I have had short-lived flirtations with morning runs, which have tended to peter out once I've done enough of them to remember why I don't do them.
But, it turns out that maybe I just don't like running outside in the morning, at least by myself. Outside there is cold and wind and darkness and other unpleasantness that, all else being equal, I'd rather just avoid. Sure, the treadmill has its own unique brand of suckage and one does have to adjust to that special parfum d'sweat et Windex, but for some reason I can bear that much more easily than I can the thought of running outside by myself before 6 am. (You can keep your pine-scented single track & fancy pants foothill sunrise. Judge me if you will. I can take it.)
2. I can handle doubles. At least mentally & emotionally, & let's be real, what you can handle mentally & emotionally is *at least* as relevant in terms of endurance training as what you can handle physically. Lately "doubles" for me have meant 45 minutes of elliptical before work & 45 minutes of spin bike after work or vice versa, which is obviously physically easier on the body than two running workouts because of the lack of impact, but finding that it's something I've been able to make time for & work out logistically & tolerate well mentally makes me optimistic about eventually working up to running doubles if/when I need/want to.
3. Bitches be chatty in the locker room. OMG. What is it about a bunch of women naked in close quarters that inspires them to interrogate strangers? TOO EARLY. I'm not here to make friends. Especially not naked ones. If you really want to know how my day is going, you must put pants on first. Corollary: Never start a casual conversation with a pantsless stranger. I think Emily Post said that.
Cardio machine queens & kings, I feel for you. I beg you, try a sport. Any sport. Your life will be so much richer. Also, I'm pretty sure those LED numbers are sucking your soul away. (Unless that's just your thing? Which I guess is technically possible?)
5. Shorts are out. I think I mentioned this already. Ladies wear tights at the gym, apparently. I hope no one is offended by my leg hair because #thingsthatarenotchanging.
6. Routine is everything. Oh man. It's so true, all those things people say about making & breaking habits. You just have to do it, over and over and over, and eventually you just lose the power not to do it. One day last week when my alarm went off, I thought to myself, "Bed is warm. Maybe I'll just stay here." And no sooner had I had the thought than I suddenly found myself kind of repulsed by it. Not go fight the cardio demons? Of course I was going to go fight the cardio demons! It's just what I do now; I don't even think about it.
***IN REAL ACTUAL RUNNING NEWS***, I ran three-minute intervals yesterday for the first time -- 5 x 3:00 w/ 2:00 walk breaks for a total of 2.25 miles. It was super easy, felt great, and I was able to keep good form for the entire run. Ohhhh I could have stayed on that treadmill forever. Not really.