Tuesday was the first time The Tortoise and I went to the gym to do more than lay poolside with a good book.
I have always been the Queen of Cardio. My favorite apparatus at the gym is typically an elliptical, although the stair-stepper comes a close second. It has been a couple of years since I have been in a gym, but since this was my daughter’s first experience, I wanted to make sure it was enjoyable and productive. I’m counting on her to be my exercise buddy this summer. Even though she swims for two hours every morning for swim team, The Tortoise still wants to commit 3 days a week to cardio outside the pool, plus two days of strength training.
Smelling like armpit or stale Fritos in public typically doesn’t bother me, and yet I felt inclined to take a shower. And shave my legs. I was also excited to put on my brand new tennis shoes, recently gifted workout shorts and sassy top. Apparently I wanted to make a good impression on the fellow gym patrons.
Confidently I stepped on the elliptical, explaining to The Tortoise how important it is to pace yourself. We adjusted our earphones and settings. Made sure our water bottles were reachable. Our goal was 30 minutes.
“Now don’t get too discouraged if you can’t make it the whole 30 minutes, ” I said, “This is only your first time.”
Swiftly my legs and arms started pumping. The music pounded out each beat, step by step, breath by breath. Breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Soon my arms started to ache. Air couldn’t fill my lungs fast enough. My thighs felt like logs. Surely we were almost done. I glanced at the time.
The Tortoise was gazelle-like, focused on the TV screens on the wall. Not a bead of sweat on her brow, while I could feel pools of sweat running down my face and collecting under my bra.
“You okay?” she asked, turning her head to face me, “Your face is really red, and blotchy.”
“Oh, yeah, ” I said, ” It’s just hot in here.”
I took a huge gulp of water and kept going. My daughter’s pace was dramatically faster than mine as I dug as hard as I could with each motion. It felt like hours before the clock changed.
Pain shot through my sides.
Breathing became labored and shallow.
I stopped the machine and hopped off, thighs quivering, and swallowed as much air and water as humanly possible.
“It’s all right Mom,” The Tortoise said, “You’ll do better next time.”
I smiled weakly, pointed to the treadmills on the other side of the room, and did my walk of shame.
“MOM!” The Tortoise exclaimed, 15 minutes later, smiling, “I finished 3.4 miles in only 32 minutes!”
“That’s really awesome, honey!” I said, still trying to catch my breath.
“How far have you done total?”
“Um…total?” I repeated the question, “Like only 2 miles.”
The Tortoise handed me a cleaning towelette as I stepped off the treadmill.
“At least you finished your goal of 30 minutes of cardio.”
Yeah, at least there’s that.
I’d like to say the weight room went more smoothly. If having to read every instruction out loud while squinting to read the ridiculously small print, comparing my body to the unrecognizable drawing on the machine, and constantly changing the pin to a lighter weight is considered smooth, then I was rockin’ it baby.
About halfway through our arm rotation, I couldn’t help but notice a young man watching us. He was lifting some pretty hefty weights across the room, and every once in a while he would pause to look. At us.
No, definitely at me. He was looking at me.
I smiled politely, but then he got up and started to walk across the room. Towards us. I really didn’t mean for my smile to be an invitation. Surely he noticed I was here with my daughter. Although I was flattered, this was going to be embarrassing for him.
“Um…Ma’m,” he said quietly.
“Your using this machine backwards.”
“The machine, you’re using it backwards, it’s supposed to be working your triceps, not your biceps, ” he said, turning the handles over and handing them to me correctly.
I thanked him quietly as he left.
“Well, that was awful nice of him, ” said The Tortoise, “And I don’t even think he noticed all of your boob sweat either.”
We meet with a Personal Trainer on the 11th for a weight machine consultation.
Can you put deodorant on under your boobs?