After three months at the gym I was settling into a routine. I would get the kids ready, and start my workouts at 9:00 every other day. My children were still young; Max, my eldest, was three, and Morgan was still a breastfeeding baby of about eleven months. Getting two kids out the door was a logistical nightmare, kids have so much freakin' gear! Sometimes the hardest part of my day was just getting to the stupid gym. By the time I dropped the kids off at the club's child care, I was frazzled!
I looked forward to my workouts as a way to have some quality alone time. My workouts, away form the house and parenting duties, became very precious to me. I looked forward to hearing my music, and focusing on my self. I would get into a zone during my workouts; my mind would wander, an hour would go by quickly. I was just getting started, so I would do fifteen minutes on the elliptical machine, then fifteen minutes on the stationary bike. Thirty minutes was a hard workout, I would be wet with sweat, and my glasses would be slipping off my face. I was kind of embarrassed, but I kept my head down and pretended that I didn't care.
So I would go to the gym every other day at the same time, and I started to recognize the same people from seeing them day after day. As I did my elliptical I saw other mothers, the same group of senior citizens socializing like high school kids, the grumpy middle-aged guy who smelled, and then there was the lone guy. I became fixated on the lone guy.
I never spoke to Lone Guy, I never even made eye contact; for weeks I just looked at the back of his head. I felt a sense of comfort that Lone Guy never missed a workout; he was there every day, and became part of my routine. Lone Guy was youngish-I'd guess late twenties-and had a lean body. He wore a white t-shirt and training pants. He kept to himself; I never saw him talk to anyone. And most importantly, he was a plesant distraction. I would pass the time on the machines wondering what his story was, why he was working out so hard. Was he training for something?
As much as I hated to admit it, I knew I was going to have to add some sit-ups and stretching to my routine. It wasn't the exercises that I was dreading, it was the idea that I would have to leave the comforting shield of the machines, and put myself out there. Just me and a mat and 10,000 eyes watching me. Or at least that's what it felt like.
Exercising without the shelter of machines took weeks of me mentally nagging myself; finally I moved into an empty workout classroom. It had mirrors on two full walls, and a bank of windows. Very bright. Very exposed. Hello fat girl humiliation! I made it a policy to avoid looking at myself in a mirror, and now I would be in a room full of them. The tattered remains of my ego were screaming.
I got a mat and did sit ups. My glasses were fogging up and slipping off my face, which was a constant irritation. I finished up as quick as I could, and got the hell home. I continued like this for another few weeks; each day it got easier, and more comfortable, thanks to the addition of contact lenses.