Archive | January, 2011

Reflections of a Workout Newbie: Part 1, Possibly, of 1

21 Jan

The other day, I received my first text message from my mother. She hardly uses her cellphone, so it was like a milestone, and I quickly opened the message to see exactly what this milestone marked.

“Dear Paulina, Please exercise OK. Love, Mom.”

It was as unexciting a choice for a first message as Thomas Edison’s “Mary had a little lamb” on the phonograph. But both she and Thomas Edison share something in common, here: both likely had these words quickly spring to mind as a result of repeated past utterances.


This morning, I went to the gym for the first time in — suffice it to say that the last time I went, there were no WikiLeaks, iPhones did not exist, and Bush was still president. So I entered wide-eyed, experienced embarrassing difficulty getting past the card-activated turnstile, and set off for the treadmill.

People around me were either reading texts, listening to music, or watching television. Having forgot a book, an iPod, and my glasses, I set my eyes on the treadmill’s red dot matrix display.

Duration: 30 minutes
Incline: 0
Speed: [omitted]

My eyes were anxiously fixed on the countdown clock, which I felt was more like a bomb timer which marked the steady pace to the point at which my legs would detonate. I don’t know what else hands-free, non-TV watchers do. Occasionally, my eyes would dart toward another category, “Calories burned.” At first, that was a fun display to watch. Two calories, that’s like burning off a tic tac. Four, okay, two tic tacs. And so on it went, until I realized I didn’t know of any other edible items between 1 and 60 calories.

The rest of the time passed quickly, in between recounting to myself the last chapter I’d read last night, and doing mental math problems of percentages of my completed workout. Then I cooled down, waved goodbye to the Saline People I had just met, and exited — high on endorphins, and full of wonder at how many more times this can actually go on.