New Year… New Me… New Exercise Equipment

Yep, I’m one of those people. The kind that start off the new year with thoughts of taking on new endeavors or, at the very least, actually accomplishing the goals I set forth the year before. With that said, yesterday at 12:30pm, I put my computer on sleep mode, grabbed my gym bag, tied my hair in a ponytail, filled up my water-bottle and headed for the 2nd floor.

On the 2nd floor of the NBC Tower, behind an inconspicuous door on the left, just past the elevators, is a small workout room. It’s one of the perks offered to the employees in hopes of keeping us healthy and happy. By no means is it a full-on gym. It’s small and simple and equipped with the essential exercise equipment to get a good sweat in for the day.

This past weekend some of the gear was replaced with new, more efficient apparatus’s (or is the plural version of apparatus, ‘apparati’??? I should probably look that up but, obviously, I’m not). Moving on… due to the fact that it is a new year and I’m working on a new me (or, at least, a more efficient me), I figured I should take the news of new machinery on the 2nd floor as a sign. It’s clear the new devices were installed as a cosmic clue in my quest to upgrade the T-2015 MIDAGE STLFLY M.O.M. model (ya know… cuz I’m vintage, not old).

I waved my id past the scanner and the door to the room unlocked. I’m not gonna lie. I was kinda hoping I didn’t have access to the place anymore. I rolled my eyes, turned the door handle and pushed the door open. Great. It was empty. And when I say, ‘great’… I don’t mean, ‘great… I have the place to myself.’ I mean, ‘great… empty room means I can’t say it was full and so that must mean I should go downstairs, buy fries and complain about how I’ll just have to start working out tomorrow.”

I changed into my workout clothes… well… really, I simply took off my entire 2nd layer of clothing, changed my boots for running shoes and, voilà, instant workout attire.
I was uber excited to see the place had the Precor 240i StretchTrainer. It’s actually one of the greatest inventions ever made. Basically, it’s one and only function is to place you in ergonomically correct stretching positions. That’s it. And it’s a-maaaa-zing. After sitting at my desk for countless hours hunched over my keyboard and then braving the cold (even if it is for only 5 minutes) with my shoulders perched up into my ears, just 10 minutes on the Precor 240i StretchTrainer achingly reminds my arms, spine and hips that they all are not one appendage.

Alas, after 10 minutes of stretching, I headed towards one of the new treadmills. It’s given name is Landice L980 the Executive Edition, of courseIt’s got a digital tv, a fan, a nice console to plug in your tablet or other electronic toy necessary to fool your brain into thinking that you are not over-exerting your body. It is, in a word, fancy. So much so that, when you program it to the ‘track’ setting, it has little athlete man start on lane 3 of sims-like race track course. For the record, I haven’t actually ran for the purpose of exercising in a minute… ok… it’s been several minutes. Anyway, given that I was alone in the workout room, I didn’t want to push myself a/k/a have a co-workers walk in and see my mangled body covered in shards of glass after having ‘run’ myself off of the Landice L980 and into the wall of mirrors… 10 feet behind me. There’s probably a very small 1 in a million chance that might happen but I was given the same odds of Clooney ever getting married again and, well, we all know how that turned out (insert stale-face here). So, instead of full on running, I thought it wise to walk the first 5 minutes and play it by ear from there.

5 minutes took a little longer than I thought it would. I turned up the volume on my headphones to drown out the strange, muffled sound I kept hearing. What’s even stranger is that it was coming out of me. The glass half-full part of me was doing what she does… encouraging and reminding me that I would be fine… it’s like riding a bike… but walking. But then, no matter how loud I put the music, the glass half-empty me kept getting louder. She was all, “STOP.” I mean, she didn’t say much more than that but it was loud and very authoritative and, frankly, kinda scary. But I forged ahead… or in place… as was the case.

By the time I knew it, 14 more minutes had passed. Until then, I had kept my gaze straight ahead. Starring past the digital tv screen and out of the window at the almost frozen over Chicago River. For the first time, ever, it looked appealing. I thought of what it might be like to run straight into it. About that moment that very thought entered my mind, I realized I needed not to be looking at the frozen Chicago River or anything frozen. I looked down at the little athlete guy who was, essentially, me running the track. After about 10 seconds, I noticed little Carl Lewis was weaving in and out of lanes 3 and 4. He’d get close to 5 but would quickly end up back in 4… and then 3… oops, back to 4. I thought to myself, ‘ha… wait til the Olympic committee finds out Carl’s water bottle is spiked.” And then I remembered, Carl is me. It seems the Landice L980 Executive Edition has a sensor to monitor your balance as you run. Are you kidding me?!?!? There’s a reason why the wall of mirrors is behind me. There’s a reason I looked past the tv and not at my reflection. I don’t want to see me working out. And I certainly do not want to see an animated version of me (who is neither my race or sex) working out. But there he was… there I was… running laps around a faux track looking less like Carl Lewis and waaaay more like the guy who tries to wash my windshield, with yellow windex and a tissue, during a snowstorm on the 290 off-ramp near Homan. At least he has a blinding snowstorm and 30 out of 40 ounces to blame his in-coordination on. I was too disgusted to be embarrassed so I finished up the final 28 seconds to make it a full 15 minutes of the Landice “no judgement here” L980 and, with my head held high, I moved on… or wobbled… whatever.

Next I decided to try a machine that I’d never seen before. They call it the Helix 3500 Lateral Trainer. Honestly, though, they could’ve stopped at the “Hel” part of the word and just added the extra “L”. For those of you who don’t know, this contraption is like a cousin to the elliptical. The sociopathic cousin that no one likes but have to endure because he’s family.  This… thing… works the body side to side instead of forward or backwards like the elliptical. Sounds easy enough, right? RIGHT???

17 seconds.

I lasted 17 of the longest seconds… ever. First of all, one must have really good range of motion or balance or just be able to stand well to get it to work. Then you have to have the thing moving above a 35. 35 what??? Who knows?!?!?! What I do know is that 10 should be sufficient. Also, I highly recommend that you use the hand restraints thingys that attach you to the machine. It turns out, they’re not there to keep you from running away! Lesson learned. Anyway, I don’t recommend you try to put on the aforementioned hand restraints while your legs are moving (rapidly) in a sideway motion and your eyes are trying to frantically find the off button.

Fyi, there is no off button. You just stop.

STOP.

The very thing glass half-empty Tania urged me to do at the beginning of this endeavor.

Here’s to health and happiness.

Happy flippin New Year, folks.

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