Friday, March 12, 2010

The Epic Tale of Me and the Gym...the Wrong Gym

When I decided to write this experience down, I shared it with a few close friends...who promptly laughed their cans off. So, I decided maybe I should share it with a few more...who again, laughed raucously....hmmmm. 30 some-odd forwards later, this, my friends, is the real reason I started this blog. To share insanity like this, with the rest o' the world. Enjoy. Yes, it is all true...

Originally written in October 2009:

Ladies and ladies (because I've vowed I cannot reveal this story to the other gender), I present to you a thrilling tale of action, adventure, and...well, comedy...because it's me and my insane life (as insane as Provo can get). Some of you may have been previously apprised of the first act of said story, but for the benefit of future generations (and my stand up comedy act), I decided to do a Julie Andrews and start at the very beginning. After all, I hear it's a very good place to start...

After multiple months of drive-bys, I actually did it. I joined the gym I'd been stalking for quite some time. HOORAY! But that, my friends, is soooo not the beginning. Boring as history may be, a bit of background will help explain my pseudo-insanity. Let's journey back. Close your eyes and picture me cruising along in my freakin' awesome green hybrid Camry, actually accelerating up the hill into Orem instead of wearing out the floor beneath the gas pedal of my crappy old Contour just to barely crest the hill at a meager 20 mph. Anyway...I, the old Gold's on State in Orem has a new face. A boxing gym. Oh how I've wanted a punching bag for so long. Inspired by Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride) and Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality), the idea of taking my frustrations out in such a cool way settled in my mind and has festered ever since. Thus, my desire to join this gym began almost 6 or 7 months ago.

Fast forward to when I met my good friend, Laura. She is fantastic, and in one of our many chats she mentioned that she loved her kickboxing classes at that gym!!! I about jumped out of my skin! The idea that I knew someone who belonged to that gym and liked it was quite the energy surge. But I knew the real Karen. I knew that she must be tested. So, I didn't allow myself to join at the beginning of the Summer...nooooo. I forced myself to prove that I REALLY wanted to join. I would have no more of this pittering away a monthly stipend to some warehouse full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers and Carmen Electras. No no. I'm a 30 year old woman now. If I'm gonna spend my hard earned money (I say as I sit in my office...on the clock...typing this email...), I'm gonna do it up right. I wanted to KNOW I wouldn't waste my money any longer. Lo and behold, the end of the Summer came around, and with the cosmos aligned, I decided to make my move.

Armed with the knowledge/reassurance that Laura loved her time at this gym and my renewed sense of anti-couch-potato verve...I once again cruised up the hill to said gym. This, my friends, was Monday night. I told myself I wasn't going home on Monday without joining that gym. "The time has come," I scolded myself, "to be the healthy person you know you should be, Spanky. Now." I pulled into the parking lot and zoomed right into a giant man-truck forest!! No kidding. Not to be deterred, I pulled safely into a spot nestled in a thicket of gargantuan monster-truck wheels topped with shiny trucks littered with questionable window clings portraying images rarely found in precious Utah County. I briefly wondered if there was some sort of invisible barrier that didn't allow such nasty man-trucks into Provo, causing their owners to leave them parked at this gym in droves...nope. As I walked into the gym, I found all the owners inside, matching their trucks outside right down to the personality, tattoos, and piercings they were all sporting. Yipes. Press on, Diligent Karen, press on.

The next few minutes went by without much ado, though a few important "det"s garner a nod for the story to make sense. 1) I knew Laura liked this place and the workout she got here. 2) The male tanning-bed addict at the desk was actually quite helpful and informed me that on Thursday, October 1st, the current "sale" would be gone and the price of joining the gym would almost triple...seriously. 3) I'd been waiting for 5.5 months, convincing Prudent Karen that we really wanted to do this. 4) I meandered around checkin' things out...some of which looked ominous, but I was sure that, while this was a gym to train fighters, the classes sounded like they would be an awesome workout, just like Laura had said. As I left a few minutes later, I had a new bounce in my step. I was finally gonna get back in shape...heck ya. Happy 30th to me!

Tuesday dawned and I actually got up on time, readied early, and packed my "gym bag" for the first time in, I'm ashamed to say, about three (maybe four) years. Wow. Holy huge leaf overturned. Whew. Powered by road rage from the chaotic streets of Provo, I reached the gym and changed at lightening speed. I felt a bit out of place in my granny-like workout suit of gray capri sweats and BYU t-shirt, but I didn't care. Nothin was gonna stop me.

And the Lord said, "Be humbled," and it was done. Oh my gosh. The next hour of class crawled by at "negative" the speed of light. I've never seen time go by so slowly. Scratch that. I couldn't actually see. I couldn't do much of anything about 8 minutes into the class.

We began by warming up. Jumping jacks. Got it. I can do that. I've even mastered the non-chalant, half-extended, "I-workout-so-much-I-don't-
even-need-to-really-lift-these-guns" arm movement. Bam. I have arrived. "SHUFFLE!" called the mutant, 19-year-old, squatty, muscle-elf (who I realized was our teacher) two minutes later. Shuffle? Oh. Bounce back and forth with the fists at the ready. Got it. I can do that too. Sweet.

*For those of you now paralyzed with fear concerning me jumping up and down and the damage that could ensue, rest assured. I took the necessary steps/time to plaster everything into place with not one, not two, but yes THREE layers of way-too-small spandex tops. Prudent Karen required that all precautions be taken to save me from giving myself two black-eyes on my first day back. No worries.*

Two minutes after that, "___________!" Didn't even understand what in the free world Elf-teacher said! WHAT?! Even to this day, when I try to recall the word, the only thing that pops into my head is "HERPES!" which, Lord bless, is not actually the correct name of the next event...though such an expletive could have correctly labeled many of the "hoochies" surrounding me who were now repeatedly jumping with knees tucked to chin, landing squatted, popping out to the push-up position, back to squat, and up in the air again with knees tucked...nasty little spanky-pant clad robots. HA!!! (As I recall, I actually did laugh out loud.) "Here goes nothin," I thought as I jumped and tucked. OUCH, there's the ground. Now push-up! "Whoa," as my kiester weighed me down dangerously close to the floor...truthfully, on my way back to squat, I nearly accidentally somersaulted myself trying to heave my legs back up under my can as my already-half dead arms almost buckled. I succeeded in accomplishing 2.5 of these. .5? Yes, .5 because on the third, the sagging actually made contact with the floor and I was spent on this exercise. Surely class was almost over.

"It's only been six minutes, now ______________!" Evil teacher. All those blows to the head knocked the time-telling out of you? To my Seriously. 6 minutes in and I wanted my couch back. He'd already given two commands I didn't even understand. Should have left right then. I did survive warm-ups, though there was a lot of standing which earned me lots of glares. Bite me. I'm old.

The next event was ...the demise of the use of my left arm for three days running now. I wish I were exaggerating (took me 10 minutes longer to wash my hair this morning than usual). Paired up "strategically" by Star Squatty Fighter-man (who, incidentally, actually changed his pants RIGHT in front of us when he first arrived...seriously...but it was ok, I can do jumping jacks with my eyes closed...), I spent the next 30 minutes getting pummeled by Angry Hooch, who was taking her frustrations out on me. See, Elf-teacher had decided to aim his grotesque fighter-flirtatiousness at Ex-Female-Fighter-Skank instead of her. I paid dearly for such pairings. For a girl who is training to be a fighter, she was actually nice to me. But in the grand scheme of things... She had to let me borrow her gloves because Male Tanning-bed Addict had assured me incorrectly about the need for any equipment. I don't think that helped. So, for the first 15 minutes I was supposed to be hitting her. Well, not her per se, but the arm guard things she was holding up. I know I hit like a beast, so I was going a bit, let's be honest, I was exhausted already. She critiqued me occasionally but mostly shot furtive looks over my shoulder at the couple whose prospective children would seriously frighten Hagrid. I hit. I hit and hit and hit. When you hit, you have to keep your arms up at all times. They're supposed to reside close to your face...funny how my physiological make-up prevents such a stance... But I did it. It killed me. I sucked my water bottle down like it contained the Fountain of Youth...seriously. It was now her turn. OUCH. OUCH is all there is to be said. The arm guard thingys, while vital, are HEAVIER than the gloves, people! And I'm supposed to hold them up continually to guard myself?! Seriously? I held back on her, remember? She did not return the favor. Oh my gosh. One time she nearly broke my glasses (whacking the arm guard so hard it hit me in the face). Another time my arms gave out at a particularly inopportune moment and she bruised both of the ladies! NO kidding. OUCH. "Keep them up by your face!" Whatev, crazy semi-female! You ain't aimin for the face right now, beast! Oh my. Oh my gosh.

As I am alive to type this email, you already know I survived...but BARELY. "Ok, Cooldown!" Finally. The last 10 minutes of class had arrived, though about a century later than expected. "10 minutes of abs! GO." I'm sorry. Either I aged enough during this never-ending torment that I lost my hearing, or raging Angry Hooch knocked my ear bones loose. What did you say? That's right, peeps. 10 MINUTES OF ABS TO COOL DOWN. And no, they weren't kidding. The robots mechanically flipped over like stuck overturned bugs and started. I turned around to slowly get down and saw the rest of the room now filled with guys waiting for the next class. (@#*$&)@#$*(% That's what. The annihilation then spread from physical to emotional as I feebly kicked out one, maybe two cruncher-based thingys they were doing in front of at least 20 male bouldery-looking forms that probably used to be human. Wow. Just wow.

Some sadistic freak put the locker room on the second floor. I all but crawled up to the privacy of the women's locker room and collapsed on the changing bench. Seriously. I couldn't really see straight. I was involuntarily almost upchucking every 10 seconds. I forced myself to lie down on that bench for at least 15 minutes before I could even comprehend standing again. I felt like I was in a movie. I seriously blindly felt around for my water bottle and handicappedly doused myself with it, managing to get a few drops into my gaping mouth. I was lucky to have enough synapses left to get that out of my shaky arm.

Some time later, the door opened and pride kicked in. As I catapulted into sitting position, so that no one else would see me, I swayed and blinked the stars out of my eyes. I couldn't sleep here. I finally got my locker open on the 10th try (new lock) and mustered the courage to leave with feigned dignity. As I slithered into bed that night, already having downed the pain meds, I thought to myself, "Wow. I must have gone to the wrong class. I'll have to check with Laura tomorrow." It was exercise, and it did kick in endorphins once the semi-traumatic conditions melted away...I was just out of shape, right?

The next day I thought I would be stuck in my bed forever. If I could have given myself an IV of extra strength Morphine, I would have. OW to the Nth degree. I made it through life to my new office (on the 2nd floor now...great) and to my computer. During a chat with Laura she invited me to go with her to the class that night. Uh...conflict of interest. I really wanted to go with her to the right class to reassure myself that I had made the right choice. I really did...but brushing my teeth was a miracle that day. Sneezing was WWIII! Could I really take it again? Yes. Yes I could. I agreed, though that night when I had to encase myself in spandex again with every muscle screaming, I wondered where Sane Karen had wandered off to...

Here, my friends, is where the story becomes comical to the teller. For 5 - 6 months, I've wanted to join this gym. Since the beginning of the Summer, during that fateful conversation with Laura about her gym, I have known I would join. We have talked about it more than once since then. But not until we were GETTING INTO HER CAR to head to the class together...that's right. Mid-squat, with little tendon cells dying off with fierce rapidity, one of us said something that instantly clued both of us in to the biggest over-sight I have ever made. WRONG GYM. You heard me. For FIVE MONTHS, we have been chatting, and I somehow got it in my head that she goes to this gym. Nope.

I tried to act like my earth hadn't just been rocked and sent her on her way to a kickboxing class at Golds (a normal I thought I was going to get), and I turned around and started back toward my house with my jaw scraping the blacktop of our parking lot. How in the world could this have happened? My mind cranked into high speed as questions, concerns, regrets, and fear all boiled inside of me. I had signed a contract! But you almost died on Tuesday! I had to get out of it, would I be able to? Maybe I was just being wussy. Should I stay? Should I really train there and get back into serious shape?! What in the world? How could this have happened?!?!?!? How did I get mixed up?! But I've wanted to join this gym forever! But you almost died!!!


I did return to my gym that night. I did cardio on the eliptical for about 15 minutes. (I actually love the eliptical when I'm not a walking heap of goo muscles that can't respond even if they wanted to...) I got off and went down to chat with Ugly Elf Teacher Beast who, I realized, is actually missing part of his ear...Evander Holyfield much? I talked to him point blank about what to expect, how to get better if the class I attended was, in fact, LEVEL 1. (And by "get better" I meant survive.) When I left that night, I was overcome with the intense desire to get out of it. It was an even darker place than I had recalled in my half consciousness the night before. I'm not sure what caused me to lose more sleep that night, the incessant growing pain or the nagging thought of the huge mistake I had completely unknowingly walked straight into...

If I thought I was in pain the day before, I have never been more wrong. Yesterday was the most painful day of my life...and I've broken LOTS of my body during my time. Oh. My. Word. I'm sure the people I work with are tired of the gasping and wailing issuing from my cubicle all the time. I sneezed yesterday and cried for ten minutes because my entire core shook with pain. And that doesn't even begin to touch my arm. Luckily, its my left arm...the appendage I need the least right now. I can walk. I can write. It takes both hands to open my mini-fridge on the left of my chair at work, but that's ok. I'll survive. But I might need to go to my doctor to be sure that I didn't do any lasting damage during the three days of complete insanity I incurred this week.

I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get out of that contract, even if it meant a $350 mistake. If they didn't understand, I was prepared to hand them the money to get out. As I unfolded my copy of the contract that I had unceremoniously stuffed into my purse without reading three days earlier, I got very nervous...what if there wasn't a grace period? Oh well. There were more important my life. Heavenly Father loves me. That's all I can say. On the morning of October 1st, three days after I'd signed up, I ditched work and headed straight to the gym to tell them about my horrible mistake. Three days. Three day grace period, and I was there on the third day. I'm adult enough to know that things like this are a good enough reason to be SERIOUSLY annoying. When I got there, the people I needed to see "weren't there." Fine. I made her write two messages and give me their phone numbers. I wrote the most detailed letter of intent of my life...with times and dates right down to the second. I was NOT about to let them ignore me until the 4th day. I finally felt right about a decision regarding this gym again, and I was going to follow through. I called them more than once that day. I didn't care. When the woman finally came to the phone she assured me that she'd take care of it. That didn't suffice. I forced her to email me the confirmation of cancellation and credit to my account. I will win. They took, I swear, years off of my life...I will take years off of theirs until they let me out for good.

As I drove away a free but broken woman, my senses unclouded and I just...I'm just glad I didn't stay. Truth is...we're told to stand in holy places for a reason. And, all jokes aside, that was not one. I'm sure there are lovely people who go there to workout (like my friend Kara I saw), but in not the place for me.

So, on I tread, on the path to diligence in health. I'm so much farther than I used to be, that this little detour won't set me back that much. However, until full use of my left arm is restored...pretty sure boxing or gyming of any sort is out of the question...but I have quite the jewel in my comedy arsenal now.

There you have it, friends. The most recent chapter in the crazy life of Karen.

Love you all.

me...insane, half-dead me.

1 comment:

  1. HAHA! This one made me cry! I haven't laughed that hard in such a long time. I am happy you found the right gym. :)