Whenever I was too lazy to go outside, whenever I needed a day off from the pounding of the roads, whenever I wanted to workout and/or watch a game on ESPN, I went to the Y. That will change next week. The local Y closes this Friday. It was far from the best workout room out there. It was small and often had the heat on when it wasn’t called for, but it was a place where I spent time, made some friends and ran a lot of miles.
Below are some thoughts on some of the personalities and experiences I had there. I won’t miss them all, but they all contributed to my Y experience.
• The teenage boys working out in sleeveless shirts, preening in front of the mirror, while flexing their muscles. I watched them with a combination of scorn, jealousy, familiarity and wistfulness.
• The old people who used the treadmill at such a slow speed that they sometimes were able to read the newspaper at the same time. While I was often frustrated by “my” machine being used for that purpose, I admired them for showing up, and hoped to be around at that age to be using the treadmill as well. Of course, I hope to be going a whole lot faster.
• “Roid Rage”, the nickname I came up with for the muscle bound trainer who was impossibly mean to me and to others. I hope it was steroids contributing to his personality and that he didn’t get that way naturally.
• My good friend who is such a good runner that I knew he was there just from different sound his feet made when running on the treadmill.
• All the boys from homes where TV viewing is not allowed, pretending to exercise so they could watch the game. If you are going to sit on the stationary bike, be sure, at least, to pedal.
• The time that the guy who used to be the trainer, the one who knew how to smile, the one who was as tall and as strong as a football player, told me that he wished had calves like mine.
• The older woman who showed up everyday at the same time, like clockwork. At first, I must admit I was annoyed when she was on “my” machine to walk and watch Jeopardy, when I wanted to run and watch the Sox. Eventually I came to admire her consistent commitment to getting in better shape. Even if she did watch Oprah and Dr. Phil, instead of NFL Today and Sports Center.
• The times I ran so hard and /or fast that not only was I drenched in sweat when I finished, but so was the treadmill.
I know I’ll find a new place to workout and that, over time, it will feel like my place. Still, I’ll miss the Y.