Our family had the good fortune to have some time away this past weekend. Before we headed to our final destination, we stopped in Chicago to take care of a few items. We stayed at my sister's condo (Thanks again, Anita!) and were able to use the fitness room in her place to exercise. Katie went first and was able to get onto a treadmill. I followed and did a shoulder and ab workout that I was scheduled for. Afterward, I wanted to walk my 2 miles, but all of the treadmills were occupied. So I rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes.
Now, I need to interrupt here to say that I do not particularly like fitness clubs. All of the posturing and posing makes me uncomfortable. I tried to join a Bally's once when I lived in Colorado. I don't remember ever even going, but I still was chased down for the contractual amount I owed.
The bike that I rode was directly behind the 3 treadmills in the room. All three were occupied and the TV did not work, so I was forced more than normal to sit in judgement of the runners in front of me. Two of the treadmills were used by average runners, and I felt like I could relate for the most part. I was put off by one of their shirts that read "If you can read this I am not losing". You may not be losing but you are a loser for wearing that shirt on a treadmill.
The last treadmill was occupied by the inspiration for this post. This guy had his speed cranked up to 9+ mph. His head was bobbing up and down, while his normally styled mop of hair was flying around. His footfalls were thunderous in this little room, as he raced to keep up the pace. And then he stopped. He didn't stop the treadmill; he simply stood astride the belt as it rushed by below him. He proceeded to towel off (Mind you, this guy was wearing thermal running tights and a long sleeve t-shirt; a bit much for an indoor workout). Then he swigged some water, stretched his calves, his hamstrings, adjusted his iPod, and then finally after a minute and a half he resumed his pounding punishment of the treadmill. I thought to myself, "this guy is really pushing hard," but almost before I could finish my thought he stopped again. He hadn't run for 2 minutes and he was stopping! He did the same routine as before, but maybe not in the same order, and then he started again. Then he stopped again! And this process continued for the next 30 minutes; 2 minutes of running full out, followed by 2 minutes of futzing around. And I don't really know why, but I was appalled! Maybe it was because I was just in a bad mood or maybe I was upset because I really wanted to use the treadmill. But I think I was really upset because this guy was a complete poser!
I imagine this guy talking to his friends about how he "ran nine miles this morning", or "ran for a full hour", but I know that he didn't. The two other average runners on the other treadmills actually ran further than this guy, but he gets to do the boasting. And it is not like this guy couldn't run for an hour at 7 mph, but instead he has to pose. By the end of my ride, I seriously felt like yelling at this guy, throwing his iPod in the river, and cutting his freaking hair.
It has been several days now and this guy still bugs me. Why? I know that fitness is a personal journey; his actions have nothing to do with my work. Hell, I will probably never see that guy again. What am I so insecure about that this guy bothers me so much. I still haven't figured it out, but I can tell you for sure that it is going to be another long time before I step into a fitness club again.