Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Slave Without A Master

The day that Daughtry (real name is never shared) challenged me to lose weight: it was on. There was nothing I would hold back. As long as there was a pair of sneakers on my feet, a Cardio playlist on the ipod and an inhaler in my hand, I was good to go. I was lucky enough to have a beautiful fitness center at my apartment complex and I was also lucky enough to have the stubborn, competitive attitude of an OCD-Irish-New Yorker. When those powers combine, you get a force to be reckoned with. Or at least a force that will find a way to complain, bitch, and moan about every day in her battle for weight loss.

The first day I walked into that fitness center as a competitor, not just a girl engaging in a nonchalant work out, I met an inanimate object that would personify my master, engulf me in waves of pain, guilt, hatred and exhaustion, and ultimately form a Stockholm-like syndrome effect on my psyche. It was treadmill #3... the third one in the row of 5 along the wall of windows. I grew to learn her speeds, her inclines, her programs, her ability to cause me to fly off, her finicky methods of pushing me to the brink of a collapsed lung, and the lovely convenience of her double cup holders.

I never named her. Although I did name everyone else that came in contact with me and treadmill #3. There was Grandma Battle Ax/ Betty Boniva who continuously berated me on my weight, eating habits and appearance. Shutting her up with a container of frosting and a spoon placed in one of those fantastic cup holders ended that relationship (thank God). There was Juicy Barbie and the sorority sisters of Tappa Kega Hoe. They ran in tight Lycra and bobbed their blonde pony tails on treadmill #2 and #4 on either side of me. They didn't sweat. They didn't pant. And they found great enjoyment in my outbursts of "Mother of God, when will this mile end?!??" and "FML!!!." They also looked on in horror when I would tape a picture of a Wendy's frosty to the screen so that I could "run towards that."

But in moving out of that complex and into another, I had to say goodbye to treadmill #3. I gave her one last good run (that resulted in a great post-run throw up), and then I shut the door to the gym and waved goodbye to my master. I don't know if it was sweat running down my face or not, but I may have shed a tear or two. No one will ever know...

My new apartment complex has a fitness center too. I went in there today with hesitation and nervous anxiety. What will it be like? Would the treadmills be the same? Will I have enough equipment to suit my routine? The answer to those questions was a resounding: NO. There in the corner sat a lone treadmill and on the other side, two elliptical machines. Like a pathetic, abused puppy the treadmill looked at me, begging me to give her attention. How could this machine become my master?? She was pathetic and I do believe the nineties called and asked for her back. She was old and should have been out of the game years ago. But alas, I stepped onto her and hit the "up" button for speed. She sped up, she huffed and puffed and began to gain momentum. Just like me, we both struggled to find our strength and our stride. But after the first quarter mile we were doing just fine. I huffed. She puffed. I sighed. She squeaked. And together we completed a 5K. It wasn't easy (the new Shape-up's didn't help in that aspect either), but it was over.

So my new "master" lacks authority, dominance and fear-inducing aggression. She is abused, tired and defeated. But that sounds a bit familiar. Perhaps instead of a master, I will have a companion. It's not what I am used to... and it's not exactly what I need. But I think it will work. I will always miss treadmill #3 and her "no excuses allowed" work out, but I need to move on. To close that chapter in my book. And with the absence of treadmill #3, the dominating force in my life can finally be a human: Jillian Michaels.

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