Scarlett’s Letter September 26, 2013

I left the hotel alarm clock set for 5:00 AM. With sheer resolution, I also set my iPhone alarms for 5:00, 5:01, 5:02 and 5:03. I don’t hit the snooze, ever, and, truthfully, part of my waking up process has to do with hating the sound of any alarm so much, that, I usually wake up automatically, two or three minutes before any of them sound and quickly turn them all off as I climb out of bed.

Last night, though, I tossed and turned and slept fitfully. My sleep was disturbed with a nagging thought; two alarms would go off simultaneously. The shrieking clock radio alarm and my first iPhone alarm, which with iOS7, is, well, alarming. The first morning my iPhone alarm went off after upgrading to iOS7, I thought some cannibalistic tribe of ninja pygmies had entered my room and I was awakening to their pre-sacrificial prologue. So, in my fitful, bizarre dream riddled sleep, I worried, which of the two obnoxious alarms would I turn off first if both sounded simultaneously. The human mind is a strange place, the human mind, in sleep, is even stranger. My mind takes the cake, I’m sure.

No worries. I awoke at 4:57, which, may I remind you, in New Jersey, where I am this week, may be nearly dawn, but at home, the bars haven’t even closed yet. I quickly turned all five alarms off before they uttered a peep, beep, honk or trill. I’d put a snack size Ziploc with eight almonds in it on my bedside table. I munched on those and cleared all the overnight notifications from my phone. It was all good until one of the almonds I crunched down on was rotten and tainted the flavor of everything for the rest of the day. Maybe the rest of the week. There is some controversy about whether to eat before working out early in the morning or not. My personality trainer says I should eat something light, like eight raw almonds, before working out in the morning. Yes, I said personality trainer. I can’t afford a personal trainer, so I’ve adopted a personality trainer, Jillian Michaels, assisted by Shaun T, and I can barely afford them with their prolific video production habits. Note to self; check iTunes for Jillian’s latest video release, I think it’s out.

I headed out the door of my hotel room, doing the early morning workout wear pat down, similar to “keys, phone, wallet”, but more like “pants, shirt, matching shoes”. Check. I made my way to the hotel gym and managed to get the key into the card lock slot facing the right direction, on the first try. I clamored aboard one of the three rickety ellipticals. There was a man on the middle one, so, no matter what, I was working out next to him. Like seats at the airport, space permitting, there is an unwritten rule, every other piece of gym equipment is occupied, a blank machine between two sweaty, panting people is barely adequate. To have to work out right next to someone is kind of like sitting in the middle seat in coach on a long flight, except the people next to you are sweating profusely and panting loudly. Gross. I know. I set down my Fiji water, my room key and my phone, careful not to let my phone and room key get too close. I am the Queen of demagnetizing keys. When I check in to a hotel and they ask me how many keys I want, I ask for a dozen. There is nothing worse than getting all the way to your room and not being able to get in, only to have to return to the front desk, wait in line, and obtain another key.

The rickety hotel elliptical doesn’t have an incline, so I tried to figure out what the “L9” I’ve selected is all about. I’m sweating, so it must mean something. So, at 5:00 AM EDT, which is 2:00 AM my time, what do you do on cardio equipment to stay awake? No, really, I need to know. I’m certain I lapsed into sleep, while maintaining a perfect cadence, several times. After fifteen minutes and some REM action, I’m fairly certain, I was jolted back into some level of quasi-consciousness, by the incessant beeping of some piece of cardio equipment nearby. Oh, mine. Right. Time’s up. I move to the even ricketier stationary bicycle. The bike I rode yesterday wobbled precariously as I pedaled. I had to maintain a very careful balance, more than I would on an actual bicycle, so as not to fall over. I chose a different one today.

By 5:15 AM, as I pedaled 86 RPM at the maximum resistance setting, and dozed, I would occasionally be rudely awakened by the sound of the gym door opening. After the bike, I intended to use one of the five treadmills. Based on yesterday’s experience, I know, at some point this morning, every piece of war torn cardio equipment and every piece of tattered weight training equipment, and every last sweaty dumbbell, and even every last stabilization ball, is going to be employed by someone who ate too much last night and can’t bear the guilt. I get a little obsessive about the availability of the next piece of gym equipment on my menu. No matter where I’m working out. Rarely obsessive enough to abandon one machine early for the next. I even more obsessive about completing the time I’ve set, down to the last second. Again, the human mind = strange place, mine > strange place.

The door opens again. I pedal faster. When I realize that pedaling faster won’t make the fifteen minutes pass any quicker, I settle back into my 86 RPM, a little embarrassed and hoping no one noticed my franticly increased cadence. Like anyone would be able to notice over all of the clunking, squeaking and whirring of all the cheap and poorly assembled cardio equipment. Hotel gyms are the worst. I lapse into sleep again, am awakened by the door, lapse into sleep, and awaken a few seconds before my fifteen minutes ends. Similar to awakening before the alarm goes off in the morning. I head for the treadmill, four of five are free, so I try to be selective based on visible defects, pools of sweat, and television programming on the monitor. I settle on the one at the far end, even though it puts my ass in direct line of sight from the glass entry door. In other words, my ass is the first thing every early morning exercise fan is going to see. Hopefully, they’re all walking in their sleep, too. But, there’s a Full House episode on Nick @ Nite on my monitor, which beats the hell out of any of the other programming, and, since I haven’t taken the time to learn how to change the channels, and, like on airplanes, I just watch and read lips, I don’t plug my ear buds in to the monitor and listen, who really cares. John Stamos from that era is just eye candy and for the next thirty minutes, I just walk briskly and constantly. I don’t run on treadmills. I know, I’m “a runner”, with a marathon fast approaching. I walk briskly. Truth. I am intimidated by treadmills, and I haven’t really worked out in my over logical mind how one actually runs on a treadmill without killing oneself. I think about this a lot and marvel at everyone around me, many who seem a) less intelligent b) less agile, and c) definitely less fearful than me as the plod impressively along on the narrow, mechanized belt, without hanging on, without tripping and without flying off the back of the machine. I once saw Barbara Walters interview Jim Carrey while he played on his treadmill. It was hysterical; Google it. I want to be able to do THAT. Actually, I’d really like to be able to just accelerate to my running pace and not fall and knock all my teeth out, or trip and land in a heap on the floor behind the machine. My plan; some day, if ever I find myself in an unoccupied gym, the likelihood of which is infinitesimal, I am going to practice. I’ve seriously considered heading down to the hotel gym at like 3:00 AM to attempt this endeavor. But I’d have to set my alarms. All four of them.


Why I fear treadmills …Treadmill – Imgur

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