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Running Emotions

April 23, 2012

March 16th, 2012 9:30pm

My routine is pretty standard. Quick stretch, warm-up, speed-walk, run, speed-walk, run, speed-walk, run, etc., cool down, stretch my legs for ten seconds. It’s usually the same: I get really into my music, then I let my mind wander and think about what I’m going to do today. Next, I think about what I’m going to eat, the kind of guy I want to marry… and then, eventually, I get bored. That’s usually when I start looking around. I watch as people enter and exit the gym. I stare at people for too long, then notice that I do, and then look away. Then I check what’s up on the screen.

At the campus gym, there are six television screens. Yes, six, and they’re all displayed in one giant area too. Actually, forget that – there are seven (one’s upstairs). But today on the treadmill, I counted six.

Two screens were set to the same channel – a basketball game was on. Two other screens were set to the news. One screen was set to some channel showing a repeat of a hockey game. The last screen was set to TLC. (Click here if you’ve never heard of TLC.)

I frowned when I saw the basketball game that was being displayed on two of the six screens. This was because 1) the screens were all too far away from me so I couldn’t really see anyway, and 2) I don’t like playing basketball, let alone watching basketball! So those two screens were out.

The screens with the news did keep me preoccupied for a moment because 1) they were viewable from my standpoint, and 2) I thought I saw a Paparazzi clip of Prince William (my dream man). But alas, I couldn’t hear anything, and reading the subtitles just got too exhausting. Needless to say, I was squinting half of the time. And besides, did you know that subtitles are wrong sometimes? That is not good. Onto the next screen.

The screen that was directly in front of me was the screen displaying the repeat of some hockey game – some hockey game with Sidney Crosby playing. When I saw his giant face on the screen, my memory flashed back to the night of the final hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics between Canada and the U.S. I remember how closely I was watching that game – I even remember blogging about our win right afterwards. While I watched him, I tried to imagine how he must have felt after that game. He must have felt like he was the Michael Phelps of hockey. Eventually, I got bored again and looked over to the last screen.

There is always one screen that is set to TLC. This, I can understand. I mean, after all, TLC does have some good shows on around mid-afternoon. But this wasn’t mid-afternoon – this was 8 in the morning. Do you know what’s on at 8 in the morning on TLC? “A Conception Story: Six Journeys to Pregnancy” (click here to view the website). Now let me tell you, this show is on every single day. (Actually, maybe not on the weekends. I wouldn’t know because the gym doesn’t open until 9am on the weekends, and I don’t own a TV.) Sometimes, it’s pretty funny to watch people around me react to it, especially the guys. I knew what horrifying thoughts were going through my mind, I could just imagine what horrifying thoughts were going on in their minds! I had to look away a couple of times. The first time I looked away, it was because a giant head was popping out of the woman’s you-know-what. The second time I looked away, it was because the woman was making very weird faces, and screaming, and sweating, and…pushing. Trust me, it was not pretty. But eventually, the show got more interesting when it switched to the story of another couple.

I was just close enough to make out the subtitles. This couple had tried for a very long time before the woman finally got pregnant. She had what the doctors called, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I’m not going to go into details, but basically, it makes it harder to become pregnant. Anyway, I thought that part was interesting. Honestly, I was genuinely intrigued! But then, bam, all of a sudden, another head was popping out of the woman’s you-know-what. This was when I decided that nothing on TV was worth watching, so I returned to jamming out to my tunes on my iPod.

What I described above is actually a very clear-cut outline of the general things that happen at the gym. Please see below for a more accurate account of what actually happens at the gym (usually).

  1. Take longer than 10 seconds to scan card at the front desk. Laugh nervously as the person behind the desk and five other people behind you stare.
  2. Claim one of the two manual treadmills by placing a towel on it. Stretch while deciding on which song should be played first on the iPod. 5 minutes.
  3. Get on treadmill. Affix iPod armband properly around arm. Get lost in the music – jam out. Mouth the words of the song. Pretend that you’re a rockstar. 5 minutes.
  4. Continue jamming out to music. 5 minutes. (Continuously sipping on water after every couple of minutes.)
  5. Think about plans for the day. Think about plans for the future. 5 minutes.
  6. Look around. Stare at the people who are making funny faces. 5 minutes.
  7. Look at TV screen #1 – basketball. Frown. 5 seconds.
  8. Look at TV screen #2 – hockey. Stare at Sidney Crosby’s face. Conjure up a memory. Figure out what’s going on in the game. 2 minutes.
  9. Look at TV screen #3 – basketball. Frown again, 5 seconds.
  10. Look at TV screen #4 – TLC. Head popping out of woman’s you-know-what. Eyes open wide – look of horror flashes across face. Quickly look away. 5 seconds.
  11. Look at TV screen #5 – basketball. Frown again, roll eyes. 5 seconds.
  12. Look at TV screen #4 – TLC. Woman is cradling child. Think about how it must feel to be a parent with a newborn baby. Feel overwhelmed with emotions. Tear up. Think about how own parents must have felt to hold me for the first time. Think about how parents feel now. Wipe away tears. Sigh. 3 minutes.
  13. Change song on iPod. Jam out to music. Pick up running pace. Smile incredulously at how fast you’re running. 5 minutes.
  14. Look at TV screen #6 – news. Stare at Prince William’s face. Imagine what it would be like to be Kate Middleton. Think about college romances. Imagine what it would be like to meet a Prince in college. 3 minutes.
  15. Look at TV screen #4 – TLC. Women is talking about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Squint at the subtitles. Almost trip on treadmill. Head popping out of woman’s you-know-what. Look of shock flashes over face. Keep watching because it’s so shocking that you can’t look away. Look around to see if anyone else is watching. Chuckle as you imagine what thoughts are going through other people’s minds. 2 minutes.
  16. Look at the clock. Jam out to music for the last time. Move arms back and forth – almost like dancing. Burn off that last 10 calories. Stop. 4 minutes.
  17. Walk over to the water fountain, feeling light as air, fill water bottle. Gulp down 1 litre while staring at TV screen #6 – news. 3 minutes.
  18. Check time. Decide that if you don’t leave now, you’re going to be late for class. 1 minute.
  19. Check self out in the mirror. Decide that you look and feel good. Smile. 1 minute.
  20. Home. Finish – approximately 1 hour.

As you can imagine, I pretty much go through a roller coaster of emotions: from happy (jamming out to my music), to sad (thinking about my parents), back to happy (chuckling at other people), to horrified (watching TLC), to bored (watching the basketball game), to wonderment (staring at Prince William’s face), and finally, back to happy. Oh my running emotions! 

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