I am so not an athlete.
I mean, really. Not. An. Athlete.
For years, when asked what I did to work out, my answer was “Chop, stir, saute and chew.” I have always hated the gym and everything associated with it. If I’m going to sweat, I damn well better be on a beach. If I’m going to feel pain in my muscles, it better be either from giving birth or from rocking a baby. Exercise for its own sake has always struck me as a complete waste of my precious, precious time.
But everything has changed.
See, I recently developed high blood pressure. It lasted for a while, so my doctor wanted me to have it checked by a specialist. And off I went to the cardiology clinic, where I was greeted by the world’s best looking medical specialist. Warm smile, sexy crinkles next to his sky blue eyes, soft voice, strong hands……Let me just say that when he found my pulse to be on the higher side, the response that leapt to mind was this: “Maybe you should take your hand off my chest.”
So when Dr. Heartthrob (I can’t help it!) told me that I really needed to lower my blood pressure, I felt compelled to try. In the first place, there is NO WAY I would consider saying “no” to this man. Ever. If you get my drift.
In the second place, I would really like very much to live long enough to hold and cuddle my as yet unborn-unplanned-unthought of grandchildren. Its looking like I need to stick around for quite a while if I am going to reach my goal of baking gingerbread men with my grandbabies.
I have cut way way way down on my salt. Good bye Romano cheese! Good bye delicious olives! I will miss you, anchovies! I have even cut back on my alcohol consumption. This is not fun, but without the olives and cheese, its easier to give up the glasses of wine. Sigh.
Worst of all, I have gone out and bought an elliptical machine, which I fondly refer to as “The demon torture machine”. The first time I climbed on it, I lasted a full 8 minutes before collapsing into a sweaty, shaking mess.
After two months, though, I am now able to walk/glide/push/pedal my flabby old body for 45 full minutes of elliptical blood pressure lowering magic! Huzzah!
This is the point, according to all of my athletic friends, when I am supposed to be feeling the joy of the burn. I should, theoretically, be cheering myself on, feeling the euphoric endorphin high of the workout and generally loving every minute of my elliptical experience.
Here is the truth of how I feel about working out for 45 minutes at a time, five days a week.
It sucks. It sucks wicked.
Just to get myself on that stupid thing, I have to be able to watch something totally riveting on TV. Something like “Long Island Medium” or “Psychic Kids” or “The Colbert Report”. That way I can pedal for what feels like days as I let my mind be absorbed by the show. I only look at the timer when the commercials come on.
4 minutes and 15 seconds have elapsed.
“What?! This stupid thing is broken! I am not going to look again until I’m positive ten minutes have gone by!”
“Gah! My back hurts! My legs are cramping! I can’t breathe………”
“I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. Don’t look at the timer. Don’t look at the timer. Don’t look at the timer. (gasp, gasp)
8:31 have elapsed.
“It’s broken! It’s broken, I tell you! I’ve been on here for a week! WAIT!? Did my heart just skip a beat? Am I having a heart attack! OH, MY, GOD! I’m going to die of a heart attack while I’m doing my cardio routine! Do. Not. Look!”
“This can’t be right. This can’t be helping! My butt hurts! Oh, God, there goes my heart again! I’m sorry, I can’t do this! I’ll just do 20 minutes, then I’ll lie. To myself. Later.”
15:23 have elapsed.
“One third of the way! But my heart HURTS! I don’t want to die! I want to see my kids again! I want to see Paul again! I want to eat pumpkin ice cream one more time…….pant,pant,pant.”
And this is how it goes for the full 45 minutes. At no time do I feel virtuous, or strong or euphoric. Mostly, I feel like I want to kill someone. Maybe someone with a cardiology degree. Then I want to lie down and feed myself some cheesecake.
So to all you athletes out there: You are full of crap. It doesn’t feel good. It hurts and its all sweaty and stinky and nasty.
To Dr. Heartthrob: If my blood pressure doesn’t go down, and I die in spite of all this suffering and sacrifice, I am so going to haunt you and bother you and give YOU a big old heart attack.