Thursday, January 17, 2008

The new Gym Shoes

I have seen many things at the gym. The abnormal has become the norm. Weird hair styles, odd shaped foam rollers, gyroflating motions that mimic exercise, and the worst - someone who decided to walk backwards on the treadmill, but instead tripped and slid off the back. Not cool (especially when you're the fitness director!).

I have never been too surprised at what I've experienced, with what I've witnessed.

As a YMCA Fitness Director, I thought I had seen it all.

That was, until today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen enough to know I have seen too much.

This afternoon, I drove down to NAS Pensacola, got in my run (most excellent, thank you very much!), and like the "good" triathlete that I am, decided to follow up with a 30 minute core session and 30 minute stretch. If I could have had a halo, it would have been shining brightly! Might as well throw in the wings for good measure.

The run was great - my cadence was quick (around 93 rpm), my step felt light, and my mood seemed to lift with every step I took. During the work intervals, I really pushed myself, pushed the pace. But I could tell a difference, and felt all the better for the run.

Afterwards, I headed into the new Radford Fitness Center, as they have a phenomenal stretching/core/function double room layout. One half of the room is devoted to aerobics and fitness, while the other half is devoted to stretching, core, and function work. There are a seemingly endless supply of mats, steps, Swiss balls, resistance chords, medicine balls, and all sorts of other devices - when properly utilized - that can help sculpt the "perfect" physique (if that even exists... the point being, is that when you walk into the room, you're nearly affronted by the racks of equipment). It's there... so you might as well use it, right?

Oh yeah, and lest I mention it - the walls are covered with mirrors. Except for the door and three floor-to-ceiling windows, there are mirrors everywhere.

Great for checking your form, your posture... (and your body! I can't tell you how many times I've caught a glimpse of my reflection and instinctively sucked in my gut. Oops - did I just write that? Oh well - if it happens to me, I'm sure it happens to you... right? Pleas please please say yes... Otherwise I might just have to swear off Peanut Butter. And I don't think that's a possibility. So, the mirrors I'll check... we ALL will...)

After collecting my mat, resistance chord, medicine ball, and Swiss ball, I headed over to one corner.

15 minutes into my core work, I was seating like a pig. My arms were shaking, I had veins popping on my forehead, and I didn't care one bit about my stomach hanging out. Flop at will! Heck, if I could simply H-O-L-D the pose for :45, that would make me happy. A flat stomach - while it would be a bonus - was completely unrealistic at this point in time.

So there I was, contouring myself into various positions and poses, and doing repetitions of things that I didn't even know how to pronounce. (I had a very wonderful yoga instructor once - yes I've done yoga - who tried to teach me a few different poses. I ended up in fits of laughter and had to leave the class. Holding a yoga pose is hard enough as it is, and laughing while doing so is downright dangerous! NOT recommended - trust me. And people in the class don't like it either. It seems to break their concentration.)

And all of a sudden (cue the drum roll), a girl walked in. Okay, okay, a bit melodramatic, I admit. I've seen her before, and I've gathered by the various assortment of tee-shirts she's sported in the past, that she's really serious into power lifting.

Good for her!

She's about my height 5'5 (okay, okay - I'm really 5'4, or thereabouts), has curly red hair, weighs about 120 or so, but is well defined and very toned. If Mini Mouse had a human form, I'm sure this girl would fit the bill. Every time I've seen her squatting, she's doing as much as the guys next to her - you go girl! One tough cookie, to say the least.

I went back to my odd assortment of exercises, but was determined to keep an eye on her (another great part about the mirrors - you can see everyone and what they're doing... some things make you laugh, but a few times, I've learned a thing or two), figuring that her core work would probably top all.

What I saw next, had me turning openly in her direction and staring.

And I'm not talking about taking a quick peek, no - this was a full on stare. Open mouthed, non-blinking, straight-on ogle.

This girl, this red-headed power lifter, this Minne Mouse wonder herself, had just - ahem... (Oh God, I don't know if I can say this. Or how TO say this...) Good Grief - I CAN NOT BELIEVE I'm writing this. I NEVER thought, NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS ever thought I would see this at THE GYM.

This Power Lifter, had pulled out her red gym bag, a 4 inch pair of See-Through High Heels.

Cue the scary music.

They were stripper shoes! (or at least the kind of shoes one would see on the E! Network and The Girls Next Door - don't ask).

I was floored.

And apparently, everyone else in the room was as well.

You could have heard a pin drop - except the beat from the adjacent room's aerobics class left a resounding thumping noise.

These shoes were themselves, trouble enough.

Let me back up for a sec: I have a hard enough time not tripping over my feet in running shoes, let alone heels. Walking in cycling shoes/cleats is a bit more of a challenge (some people ask me why I always leave my bike shoes clipped onto my bike - well, here's the answer: I'm a bit of a klutz. And if I was to walk around in those suckers with my speedplay cleats, I would end up, flat on my ass. So I just leave the shoes attached at all times, and slip them on and off while I'm on the bike. Quite handy - as my sport of choice is, well, triathlon...)

So this girl, pulls out these 4-inch heels, and they're not just "flat" heels. They've got a 1-inch platform on the bottom. 5-inches, 5-freakin'-inches! So, her initial height of 5'5, is now an astounding 5'10. And her calves look like little balls, bunched up at the base of the back of her knee. Ouch!

Apparently she didn't think it was all that painful, as she kept smiling at her reflection in the mirror.

To add to that, she started walking around the room, holding various poses, adjusting her posture, flexing her muscles, and then walking back to her bag.

And repeat.

And repeat. Again!

What gives?

And then it dawned on me: Ms. Power lifter, had decided to enter some sort of Ms Fitness competition. (Give me a full IM any day. Give me a full-body deep tissue massage. Give ma a (supervised) swim with sharks (not the mean kind...the gentle ones, like cat sharks, dog sharks, angel sharks...) Give me a bikini wax...anything but body sculpting competition! Sheesh, I blush at even the thought of posing for people like that! Yikes! No, I would rather sprint full-out in a bathing suit, thanks... :)

And then I noticed something odd: the men in the room, had all gone back to their workout routines. They were not eyeing Ms Power lifter, weren't sneaking a peek at her 5-inch heels, weren't even craning their necks in her direction. No - they were making a point of continuing with their workout, and, well, ignoring her.

Wow. I was impressed.

Because me and the 5 other women in there, could not take our eyes off Ms Power lifter. And I wasn't checking her out - no, I was just oddly mesmerized by what she was doing. Walking in heels is hard enough, yet this Minnie Mouse, this Power lifter, kept walking - no gliding - across the floor, a smile plastered on her face, all the while flexing her muscles. And she made it look effortless, as though the shoes were simply an extension of her body.

I was very impressed.

Dude - I'm sure she could handle herself in bike cleats any day!

So who was I to judge? I went back to my workout, back to my stretching. And with that, I practiced balancing on a ball - like an elephant. As I said before - who was I to judge?

We all do crazy things, we just each have our own definition. Some people hold yoga poses for hours on end, others race Ironmans, while others enter finess competitions. This girl obviously knew what she wanted, and she was willing to do what it took to accomplish her goals. And while I don't think I would ever personally be seen in shoes like those - well, she obviously knew how to handle herself pretty darn well. And like I said before - I went back to balancing on the ball.

Like an elephant. (Picture the circus. Unfortunately, I can't find a picture. Let your imagination do the work.) And next time you're at the gym, have fun, look around, and enjoy the view. You never know what you might see, what you might discover.

Three more things - Congrats to IU basketball for beating Minnesota. Dad - I hope you and your IU alumni enjoyed the game at The Barn. Second - Happy 302nd Birthday to Ben Franklin. Finally: the Wiki was very useful tonight!


Beth said...

I love people watching at the gym! Lots of different types there you know? But I have to say - never saw anyone in red see-through heels!! Good thing you are smart enough to figure out WHY she was doing it because that would have bugged me all day!! :) Anyway, not to worry Marit - I look in the mirrors too but try not to look like I'm looking in the mirrors! I think everyone does it! :)

Have a great day!

Pedergraham said...

Thanks for starting my day off with a giggle! Glad to hear that you had a nice run.
:) Danielle

Ashley said...

Damn, where was your camera when you really needed it?! Can we say

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

I NEW I forgot something. A camera would have been way too obvious. And the little turns she was doing, are actually required in fitness competitions (I looked it up! This was WAAY too ingreaging) - so the judges can get a complete look at you. Like I said before, my nightmare. I would rather run in a bathing I have done many times before. To each her/his own!.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Oops - KNEW, not NEW. Once again, I demonstrate how awful my spelling is. Thank goodness for spell checker. Ahem. Sorry guys! I knew something was "off" when I double checked my post, but hit the "publish your comment" button before I could react. So not only do I let my gut hang out in the gym, but I'm a self-professed awful speller. :)

Anonymous said...

It was a great game. Mom and I left happy. Shades of when you, Karyna, sometimes Mom, and I used to gather around the TV and watch Knight and co. (Damon Bailley) go at it.

BreeWee said...

This is so funny, the gym has WAY better people watching potential than the airport or mall...
I bet you were so distracted...and I wish you had a photo to post, next time can you ask her if you can get in a photo with her because you admire her muscles...I dare you! ha ha ha...
ps, the mirrors, I ALWAYS try to be the first one on the tready so I don't have to use the one in front of the mirror...I know it's really great for technique stuff but it is too funny to watch me run! And yea, the gut makes me want to suck it in...and the butt come to think of it! But I have yet to learn how to suck my butt in!
pss, I am on my way to the mall to look for read heels (sike!) but if Kona had a mall I might be tempeted just to go to the gym like that and make you laugh!

finness said...

Marit, I can't believe you busted me! I had no idea we went to the same gym!!! I have responded in more depth on my blog today. - Ness

Kellye Mills said...

I'm thinking wearing heels for core and stability training! It could be the NEXT BIG THING!! :)

I wonder what the likelihood of seeing other people in heels there is now?? People are HIGHLY impressionable!

sue said...


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