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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Workout # 3, Another Step in a Long Walk

Yesterday was day three at the gym.  It was my first feeble attempt at circuit training.  Unfortunately, when I got there my treadmill was taken, it isn't technically mine, it is just the one I used on my first two visits.  And, here it was, working someone else's lungs to the point of exploding.  Without even glancing at me as I walked through the door.  It was with a heavy heart that I moved to an exercise bike.

I turned on "Genghis Khan" from the "In Our Time Archive: History."  A podcast from BBC Radio 4.  Sitting down I started peddling and listening to the articulate, measured British voices talk about the bloodthirsty ruler.

An exercise bike is a unique machine, it has buttons that control levels of difficulty, and buttons that have cryptic labels, "Calorie Burn," and "Hills."  I tried all of them.  Some of them had immediate and obvious effects, and some of them seemed to do nothing.  There was a fan button, and it turned on a fan.  I used that.

 I did "interval training."  Raising my heart rate, and then slowing down, and then starting over again.  Until my legs hurt, and my breath was ragged, but, I kept working.  It was rewarding.

Moving from "Interval Training," to "Circuit Training," was made difficult by the addition of a meddlesome woman, moving from machine to machine.  Similar to a bee, flitting from flower to flower, never stopping, never landing, just staying in each place long enough to be in the way.

Here is the odd part, it was the same woman who was using "my treadmill."  Well, not technically my treadmill, but she was the one who started my session so poorly.  Now she was trying to ruin the end, too.

Being a keen observer of human nature and patterns it was not difficult to notice that she would use a machine for the briefest time, buzz over to the non toxic orange based cleaner, and flit back to the machine.  She would spend minutes disinfecting the machine, seat, handles, arm rests, any part th9at she may have had contact with.  She worked much harder cleaning than exercising.  Exercise is exercise, though, and she was exercising, and the machines sparkled.

Waiting, and watching, an ambush predator, the Eastern Green Mamba of the small, private gym.  As soon as she made her move toward the spray bottle, and small damp towel, I leaped on a machine and started pulling the handles back, like a mania.  After reading the instructions, and adjusting the weight,  of course.   I am not sure what the machine was called, but it worked my shoulders, and back and felt good.

Meanwhile, the treadmill interloper hovered relentlessly, bottle in one hand, towel in the other.  Cleaning the machines on either side, you could hear the high pitched buzzing, and sense the anger.  Through my earbuds came the story of Temujin, whose Father was poisoned by the Tatars, after which he was abandoned on the steppes, a harsh, forbidding place.  It was a rough way to start life.

His family was attacked and his wife was kidnapped.  He survived, and formed a kinship with other nomads of the Steppe, and eventually avenged the attack on his family, liberated his wife, and stomped the livin' bejesus out of the people who made the mistake of attacking him.  He grew up to have the largest contiguous empire in history.

And, I thought, what would the Mighty Khan do if he were being kept from working out by a germaphobe with a bottle of cleaner, a small towel smelling of slightly rotted citrus?   Would the Flail of God wait patiently to use the Lat Pull Down machine?  Would he have used an exercise bike if someone else was using his treadmill?   Would the conqueror of most of China and the Middle East wait patiently, sipping water, and pretending to catch his breath when he wanted to work his deltoids?

Probably not, from what I understand he was not very patient, or understanding.  Mostly, he seems to have been a man of action.  But, I waited, and I worked my shoulders, I don't know which parts or muscles, or any of the technical stuff, but it felt good.  I will go back, Monday.  Genghis Khan and I are not the type to give up.