Monday, May 08, 2006
In case I spontaneously burst into flames
So, apparently, my body has decided to actually allow me to start shedding some of itself, since I don't have a sore back or hip or any new injuries this week. Hooray. Off to the Y I went this morning, because if I'm not going to hurt myself unintentionally, then I may as well do it intentionally, no?

I operate well under peer pressure, at least as far as weight loss is concerned. I am not disciplined to go walking far enough on my own to do any good - and, seriously, I would have to walk to Ohio and back once a week to have a real impact - and my yoga DVD migrates to the back of the pile, behind DVDs of endless bright-colored animated manic creatures. I need a class, with real people, who notice me when I'm there (and how could you not? I'm the big one, with the red face and desperate little whimpers) and who - I tell myself this, anyway - notice when I'm not.

So, the Y. Nearest one is in Maine, so it's a little interstate adventure. And in case starting an exercise regimen (a word which is really close to regime, which makes me think of dictators... more on that in a bit) wasn't traumatic enough, I also left Jacob in the care of a stranger for the first time, since the Y is sadistic enough to provide free babysitting. Jacob did fine. I... coped.

After peeking back at him 152 times, and convincing myself that somehow he could survive an hour without me or any other immediate family members present, I headed to the Fitness Room. Formerly referred to as the Dungeon of Sweat, but then the marketing people got involved. And I met CHRISTINE, who was CUTE and PEPPY and THIN, and she wanted to let me know that the REGULAR instructor sprained her ANKLE (probably by tripping over some spare pep that was just lying around) so SHE would be LEADING the CLASS today. I explained that I'd never met the regular instructor and this was, in fact, my first time working out in three years. To give her credit, she did not respond with a snide, "Well, DUH," type comment.

And the Regime of CHRISTINE commenced. I just don't think it's natural to have that much enthusiasm for rhythmically stepping on and then off of a plastic board to the variablly-tempoed beat of Cher. She kept complaining that she had WORKED her LEGS earlier that MORNING and she OVERDID it and now she could barely MOVE - all the while hopping and bouncing and kicking and generally burning calories that she hadn't even met yet. Two other tiny little women joined the class, so at least I wasn't the only one subjected to the Regime of CHRISTINE, but I was easily as big as the other two class members combined, so while they were able to do the tricky fancy kick-steps along with CHRISTINE ("Come on, LADIES, FEEL the BURN, get more POWER, just 178 more reps and THEN we'll have some WATER!! But IF you're feeling TIRED don't be SHY about TAKING it down, that's OKAY!! I MEAN it, it's OKAY to take it DOWN!! REALLY!!! Just, come ON, LADIES, don't be WEAK, let's PUSH it FARTHER!!") I just did my best to pant along on the ground and step on my plastic board just often enough to make CHRISTINE smile benevolently at me. I felt like I was training for the Special Olympics alongside the Navy SEALS.

At the end came my very favorite part - the cool-down. By this point, I had stopped trying to move gracefully, and had allowed my arms to flop bonelessly by my side, in an effort to complete the routine without my heartrate going above 300 beats per minute. I was so pathetically grateful for the chance to sit on the floor, on a mat, that I didn't even begrudge the leg lefts and crunches that CHRISTINE imposed upon her followers.

And I was hugely amused, once I laid down on my back for the final round of crunches, to look up at the ceiling and realize that the smoke detector was positioned directly overhead. Just in case mere sweat and misery wasn't enough, and I actually burst into flames.