Starting exercise at the YMCA

A little exercise never killed anyone … but there’s always a first time.

This morning, I made my first visit to a gym in about seven years. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not some lame New Year’s resolution that I’ve finally got around to. I’ve actually been wanting to do this for over a year and a half, but found every excuse I could to avoid it. Now I have a vested interest in fitness, and made an effort to give myself no option.

On Saturday, I dropped by the YMCA in Eau Claire, forked over the fee, and got myself a membership. I then went out for a new pair of shoes that I knew I was going to need. This morning, I woke at 5:30, grabbed my bag, and headed out to see what new definitions of pain I could discover.

Actually, I wasn’t quite that negative. I had a fairly ambitious goal: An hour workout without passing out, heaving up, or needing the assistance of emergency medical sevices.

Laugh if you will, but to say my mind and body are at odds when it comes to exercise is like saying Israel and Palestine are bosom buddies.

Body: I need exercise! Get me in shape, Mind!

Mind: I hate exercise. It’s so monotonous.

Body: Either you get me exercise, or I’ll start craving things you won’t like.

Mind: Ha! Go on. I’m not scared of you. You have no power over me.

Body: One word: Tequila.

Mind: Is 6:00 okay for you?

Of course, once things get underway, there’s a sight reversal…

Body: SWEET JESUS! What were you thinking?!

Mind: Hey, don’t blame this one me! You’re the one who wanted this, pal!

Body: Yeah, okay, but 10 kilometres of rowing, 20 kilometres of biking uphill, and then a 15-minute endurance swim? That’s just mean!

Mind: Stop being such a baby, it’s not that bad. It’s just mind over matter.

Body: But I don’t have a mind — that’s you!

Mind: Not my problem…

One of them is gonna kill me. It’s just a matter of time…

The Eau Claire YMCA is about 15 years old. The shape that it’s kept in, you’d swear no more than a third of that. The facilities are huge — they have to be for the number of people who come through there — and immaculately kept. The equipment is in great shape (although the footstraps on the rowing machine kept coming loose), the place is spotless, the air temperature about perfect, and the water in the pool is devine (except the near-lethal levels of chlorine).

So yes, I hurt. Not a lot, mind you — I didn’t do weights. That’s tomorrow morning. Mostly, it’s my head. Muscles are beginning to remember that they hold this 20-odd pound of meat in place, and they’re not really enjoying the extra workout. My inner thighs hurt, but it’s not from muscles — my skin has the approximate texture of a cheese grater thanks to the near-desert climbe, and the aforementioned chlorine.

And then there’s my hands, or more specifically, the skin just under where the finger attaches to the palm. All the callouses I’d built up when I was with the CBC have apparently worn off. I noticed this when I was showering afterwards — that burning sensation on my skin couldn’t be due to anything but inflammed skin. Sure enough — blisters. Big ones. I guess you got to start somewhere.

My morning went from one workout at the gym, to another workout at the dentist. This was my regular six-month checkup. I hoped it would go much better than my visit this time last year (see [[Going to the Dentist, Getting my first Cavity]]). For the most part, I was right. First exercise in futility: x-rays. Captain Choke struck again, and x-rays were delayed for another visit. Onto scaling and polishing. Snooze. Then it was inspection.

This is the part I’m beginning to hate. Everytime I get an inspection, the dentist finds something wrong. I’m not sure if my mouth is just falling apart, or if previous dentists were morons. Either way, as he was probing my teeth, he muttered something about “D5, inclusion”, which in dentese apparently means my tooth has gone “soft”. In other words: return visit on Thursday for correction.

I just hope it doesn’t mean drilling.

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