I resist the urge to turn on the television. Instead, I throw on my headphones and start walking.
The Black Keys, “Gold on the Ceiling” is my warm-up song today. As soon as the next song shuffles on I’ll start jogging. Trying to ignore the stiffness in my muscles and the aching in my knees, I focus on my surroundings.
There is a short, overweight but not quite obese, woman who looks to be around my age in a bright neon green hooded sweatshirt walking at a fast clip. I wonder when the neon colors came back into style. Every time I try something on in a neon hue I instantly feel like it’s 1988, that I should be feathering my bangs, and rocking out to New Kids on the Block and Debbie Gibson. No, thanks. I’ll skip this trend and think about embracing the next.
“Gimme Some Lovin’” from the Blues Brothers sound track comes through my headphones and I pick up my pace. A large man in a baggy red t-shirt and black basketball shorts walks next to me. He looks to be in his mid-thirties. He’s going the same pace as I am and I’m jogging. In order to minimize the damage to my ego I tell myself that it’s because his stride is twice as long as mine. I pick up the pace.
A trim man in his fifties wearing a tight fitting black shirt, black pants, and black tennis shoes walks by carrying a gallon jug full of water. I immediately feel thirsty. I try to focus on the music coming through my headphones, Far East Movement’s “Like a G6.” I’ve only gone about a quarter of a mile and I’m dehydrated. I notice another woman running in a neon orange long-sleeved t-shirt.
My music continues to shuffle through part of my Workout Playlist: “Sixteen Saltines” by Jack White, “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon Five, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and “Complete Control” by The Clash. I notice another woman wearing neon. She’s riding a bike, clad in a bright pink moisture-wicking t-shirt, black stretch pants with a pink stripe down the side, and pink tennis shoes. Even her headphones and iPhone cover are pink. I look down at my beat up grey tennis shoes, black sweat pants, and oversized Indiana University t-shirt feeling a little under dressed. Maybe I should put more thought into my workout attire.
As “Slight Figure of Speech” by The Avett Brothers ends I slow to a walk. I step off the treadmill and look around as I catch my breath. The only other person left in the cardio room is the janitor. He, too, is wearing headphones. Clearly into whatever it is that he’s listening to, he dances while sweeping the floor. When he realizes that he is being watched he stops and gives me an embarrassed smile.
I stretch to Clock Opera’s “11th Hour.” I throw on my sweatshirt, coat, hat, gloves, and try in vain to mentally prepare myself for the shocking cold that awaits me on the other side of the glass doors. The sign on the door optimistically tells me, “Know that you’ll be back for more tomorrow.” It’s probably right. I don’t particularly care for running outdoors in snow, 15 degree temperatures, and 20 mile an hour winds.