My Love/Hate Relationship with the Y


The local YMCA is located 3 blocks from my office.  Super convenient.  It has a (very warm) pool, a wide mishmash of quasi-functional treadmills, and elliptical-esque machines which I (attempt to) use when I am injured.

Because of the weather lately, I have been spending a lot of time at the Y.  And if you haven’t picked up on this yet, I am not a fan of working out inside.   I consider most stationary machines to be the modern-day equivalent of the iron maiden.

On those days, however, when heading outdoors is just not an option, I am grateful to have a gym where I can run.  And that that gym has Bravo TV.  We don’t have cable at home, and Vanderpump Rules is one of the very few things that will get me through an hour of running in place…especially since I’m doing slower runs with no real intervals or speed increases or anything.  Painfully boring.

My trips to the Y, however, usually go something like this (this is, step by step, my most recent experience):

I check the Bravo schedule, Toned Up is playing at 5.  Perfect.  Shoot down the street to the Y as soon as I leave the office.

Battle for parking.  Finally get a spot to go in and find…no available treadmills.  Which I think is pretty typical for any gym at 5pm.

After 5-10 minutes of hanging around, debating whether I should go warm up on a bike and lose my place in line, the first TM opens up.  It has no TV.  Conundrum.  Go linger on the machine, start setting things up, “stretch”, all while eyeing the TV machines waiting for someone to get off.  Just as I’m about to give up and hit start, the old dude walking on a TV machine at an extreme incline gets off!  Jump off TV-less machine, jump on TV machine.  VICTORY!

Turn TV to channel 59.  Plug in headphones.  Hit Quick Start button, get ready to rock.  The belt won’t start.  Hit button again.  And again.  And again and again and again.  Start hitting every button on the machine.  Belt won’t start.  I look around  a little embarrassed, kind of waiting for someone to tell me that either the machine is broken or there is some trick to starting it.  Of course nobody does.  After 5 minutes of feeling like a complete tool, see someone else get off another TV machine.  Ditch broken TV machine and head over to working TV machine.  All hope is not lost.

Get the belt going on machine #3 almost 20 minutes after I should have started my workout.  Try to change channel.  Realize that the TV might be on, but it is stuck on one channel with the menu bar covering up half the screen and has no sound.

Decide that at this point I just need to freaking get over it and start running. Feel extra stupid given the fact that if I had just stuck with the non-TV in the first place, I’d be almost halfway through my workout.

Spend the next 45 minutes watching a soundless, half-screen of Two and A Half Men.  Halfway through my run I look over at machine #2 to see if anyone has started to fix it.  Someone is walking on it perfectly fine watching the Food Channel.  Wtf.

Whatever, at least I got my run in.

And then there are the days like last Thursday, when I walked into the pool on a really tight schedule, and saw the Special Olympics team there…even though it was definitely not listed on the online schedule. ( And while I am glad the Special Olympians get pool time, I curse the Y for not updating their online schedule.  Ever.)

But when the single available lap lane finally opened up and  I finished my (shortened) warm up, I somehow ended up pacing the Special Olympians on fast 50s instead of doing the workout I had planned.  Which was way more fun than swimming by myself ever is.

And, as is always the case when I walk out the door of the Y, I’m so glad I went.

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