Right now, I’m spending way more time at the gym than I am running outside. (This is for a number of reasons, none I care to bore you with.) Anyhoo, in addition to forcing you into close proximity with people you may or may not even like, I find the gym to be a petri dish, a breeding ground if you will, for all sorts of WTF just happened?! conversations and events. Think I’m kidding? Here are a few ridiculous examples of what went down behind the scenes at my local 24 Hour Fitness last week…
Days when I swim, I shower at the gym. It’s not that it’s my favorite place to peel off all my clothes, but I’m afraid if I don’t shower immediately after removing myself from 250,000 gallons of chlorine infested water that either 1) My hair will turn green or 2) that the left over residue from that sh*t will give me cancer.
So post-shower, I’m minding my own business, (applying make-up), when a 20-something comes up and asks:
“Hey, do you have an extra eyeliner?”
I said, “To use, or to give you?”
She said, “To give me.”
After standing there with my mouth gaping for 30 seconds, I dug in my bag and found an old Elizabeth Arden eyeliner I’d been lugging around since B.C. I handed it over.
She took a good look and said, “Is this a decent brand?”
Me: “It’s Elizabeth Arden, so I think so.”
Her: “Do you have a sharpener I can use?” (WTF?!)
For starters, I can’t help but wonder if sharing that sh*t is even sanitary. And if she happens to get some crazy disease of the eye, I can’t tell you I’d feel all that bad. (Mean, but true.)
Yesterday I was in the pool again. (Now you know why I’m losing the war with static.) Most of my 50 laps were some kind of drill or interval so I had work to do. I was up at 4 a.m. and out the door by 4:20 just to make sure I’d get a lane.
My head was in the water by 4:45 a.m. and I was zooming about as fast as my legs would allow. Around lap 28, an older, heavy guy stops me at the wall.
Him: “Do you mind if we share a lane?”
Me: “I’m not very good at it, but sure.”
Him: “Great. Let’s swim in circles.”
Me: “No, I’d rather swim up and back.” (It’s my freakin’ lane, right?)
Him: “We need to swim in circles. Let me explain how the C-I-R-C-L-E works.” (A little too snide for my taste.)
Me: I throw my hands in the air and concede, “Fine! Gawd! Okay! I’m in the middle of intervals and you’re killing me here man.”
I take off down the lane FUMING. Not only in this guy encroaching on my personal space, but he has the audacity to tell me just how we’re going to share a lane. (WTF?)
Here’s why I was p*ssed:
1) For one, I was scared. It was my first time sharing a lane and I was worried I’d run into him. Or beat the hell out of myself against the lane marker. Truth be told, I hugged that plastic b*tch for 20 laps just to make sure I was staying in my right-of-way.
2) He was a slow swimmer. Now I don’t care if you’re a slow swimmer, hell, compared to most, I am, too. But because we were swimming in circles, (not down and back), I was forced to wait at the wall multiple times. (Which killed my intervals.)
3) We did collide once. But I said F* THAT and kept going. (Secretly, I felt like a bad a**.)
4) And finally, when another lane opened up, do you think HE moved? F* no. I did.
I spent the better half of my morning p*ssed off. (A complete waste of energy to be sure.) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s exactly the type of sh*t I need to experience if I’m going to do triathlons. I’d better get used to tight quarters and collisions. I’d better get damn comfortable sharing a lane and fighting for myself. (I’m not ready to say that man did me any favors… but maybe, just maybe… he did.)
After both incidents, I couldn’t help but think about my boundaries. Should I have given that girl my older than Jesus eyeliner? Probably not. Should I have insisted [to the sloth] that we arm wrestle instead of rolling over to his demands? Maybe so.
But honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Because at the end of the day, my make-up case is lighter, (less sh*t to tote), and more importantly… my warrior Armour is stronger.
(And secretly, if there’s a little disease of the eye going on ’round there or if the chlorine happens to melt off just a tad bit of his skin, well… so be it.)
P.S. Do you have any over-the-top funny stories about dealing with frustrating people at the gym? I’d love to hear them! www.Facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon.
P.P.S. I just finished the book The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete. (Loved it!) Warning: this book will have you ditching every last excuse you ever even thought about having — and I promise, you’ll laugh, cry and cheer for Matt all the way to the finish.
P.P.S.S. Have you joined the Sole Sisterhood yet? Not only do you get some super cool digital running swag… but you also get the inside scoop I only share via email. Scroll down for the deets!
Guess who’s birthday we’re celebrating today? (He’s 6 in dog years, 42 in people years.) Which means I now live with two middle aged men. Oh f*.