It was Saturday morning. It’s been so long since I’ve walked through the parking lot, past the vent from the pool which was warm and moist, the scent filled with chlorine. From the exhaust you could see the pool, with the large glass windows looking out towards the highway, kids playing and people doing laps. Depending on the time, the aquatics classes generally made for older people trying to keep their flexibility to something less uncomfortable. No doubt at this point they were more flexible than I was.
The doors seemed so far away, with my black and red gym bag on my shoulder. I’d been putting so much into NaNo, video games, revising, board games, and a dozen other excuses, I hadn’t any time for the gym. I hadn’t been sweating, eating wisely, building muscle, improving. At least not physically. Tough Mudder was in ten months, and I wasn’t even starting to prepare for it.
It looked foreign, when before I visited six times a week. The people were unfamiliar. The machines were aliens waiting to test my resolve. I felt like a stranger. I hated myself for allowing this to become a foreign realm to me.
I had put in laundry. It would take at least an hour to finish. I had time. I would at least do cardio. The treadmill for three miles? The elliptical for forty-five minutes? That would usually equate to four miles, but the elliptical was nothing compared to a real run. Compared to Tough Mudder. I grimaced, making my way down the stairs of the entry level to the pit, where most the machines were, along with the lockers.
Another sight that hadn’t graced my eyes for so long it made me blush. Naked old men flaunted themselves as I just tried to look away or down. Often times down as these older individuals seemed to be everywhere. I used to not care. When you see it six times a week for several months, it’s just there. I even reached a point where I could change without concern for being watched, but now? I hurriedly change, even though I never lose my underwear. No doubt if I were to go into the hot tub with my parents, I’d keep the towel around me after taking off my shorts to put on my boxer briefs.
I smiled, that impish grin. At least my boxer briefs still fit as they had, tight, but not too tight. I was proud of my butt, and these did a great job of show casing them. It didn’t matter that no one else saw them. Aside from a bunch of really confident naked old men. It just felt good that I could fit into this tight clothing that not a year ago would have caused a restriction of blood flow to my legs so severe I’d likely lose them. Secretly, when alone, I even smack it for good measure, but not here, not in front of everyone. Guilty pleasures.
I left the locker room and picked up a towel. The elliptical won, with its TV and good view of the pit bellow and women above. Admittedly I didn’t look as much as I might. I thought about my novel. I thought about the deserts people would traverse. I thought about improving myself and pushing myself. When that last ounce of energy was exhausted, I furrowed my brow, grit my teeth, and pushed harder. My thighs burned, my lungs hurt, the sweat was splattering the machine. I growled and received a strange look from the lady beside me.
Fifty minutes passed, my forty-five minutes with my five minute cool down. I wiped off the machine with disinfectant. I wiped down myself with a clean towel. When I descended to the bottom level, looking at the machines, I decided why not? The laundry would wait. I hit the machines for another half hour. I can do this. I can get back to where I was and surpass it. 170 pounds is my goal. I’m at 187. I’ve already lost 20 pounds. What’s 17 more?