Where’s the Mute Button?
I walked into the gym with a plan. I was going to complete it. I changed my clothes, filled my water bottle, found a free treadmill and set it up. Choose a slow speed and a fast speed so I could do intervals and increase my running time. I turned on the music and started warming up. As I started my first interval of running it began. The thoughts were flying around my head. I realized I ought to focus on my running form. I completed the interval went back to a slower pace and that’s when it happened. My mind, thoughts were all over the place.
Oh, I like her running shoes. They are cute. Stop, focus. Distracted. Oh that guy is cute. Stop focus. Noticed next to me a young girl with Down Syndrome was standing on machine next to, just waiting for a staff member to come over and set her up. The Young staff member set her up on the treadmill at incline 4.0, speed 2.0 and she was doing the hills program. Yes, i watched the staff Member set her Up. Don't look at her. Focus on yourself. That's who you are here for anyways. Ok, time to run again, running, I notice the fit girl next to me running faster than I was. I didn't care, I'm here for me, not to compare me to anyone else. Ok then I notice it, the girl with Down Syndrome is trying to run. But the machine isn't going fast enough for her to run. I think she is trying to copy me. Hmmm, since when am I a role model at the gym? Ok, focus, your running interval is up, you can slow down. I slowed down, so did she. Hmmm, do I say anything or just ignore it? Well I did 3 more running intervals and all 3 times she tried to mimic me and run. But her machine was still going slow so. I couldn't take it anymore, I felt bad for the girl trying to mimic me, I didn't know if I should say something to her or just ignore it. So my passive aggressive self, chose to ignore it. I decided to get off the treadmill and go to another machine for a while.
Bike it was. 5 minutes later on the bike, I was trying to forget the girl with Down Syndrome even though she was right behind me. A girl walked by, oh, she is wearing what looked like knee high socks, i think to myself, oh those must be compression socks, I wonder what the purpose of them are. You don't see too many people wearing them here. Man she must work out here alot, she quickly found the window ledge to throw her notebook while she was on the bike. I'm thinking that's a great place to store it, must remember it. Stop focus on yourself. I do for a minute, then my eyes drift to the machine next to me. It was next to an old man who seemed to be trying to keep his heart rate between 70-90. Oh wait! He is peddling faster than I am. I need to peddle faster. Ok, stop looking around, either watch your TV or focus on YOU! I peddle harder for another 20 minutes then I decide its time to go back to the treadmill and finish my interval training for the day. I make sure I choose a machine in a bank far away from the girl with Down Syndrome.
After this workout, I realized, running is not what I think it should be. Or at least not what I think it ought to be yet. I have the picture in my head from a movie. You remember the movie, "What Women Want" from 2000 with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt? Near the end he does a pitch for Nike, check it it here on YouTube. If you remember the movie, you would remember how they make running out to be the most peaceful amazing time of day, where it is just you and the open road.
So my question for you is, how do you get there? To a place where you turn off the rest of the world? Turn off all thoughts that are flying around your head?