Monday, February 4, 2013

Mayree's Mental Moment of Muscle

I'd arrived Thursday morning at JCJC Bobcat Fitness Center to (hopefully) become instructed on the proper use of cardiovascular equipment.  Mr. Lavon was manning the desk and couldn't fit an appointment in.  I set out on the fitness endeavor all by myself, if you don't count the other four souls in the center.  Being clothed in leggings and tee shirt and having two hours until class, a quick spin on the stationary bicycle and upper body work out on the weight machines was in order.

The stationary bicycle panel is full of all manner of programming.

 I've not strayed from the manual program yet.  Height and weight and time were entered and cycling was started on level 2 to properly warm leg muscles.  Three minutes later, it was increased to level seven.  Within seconds calf muscles started feeling the resistance on the pedals.  At the minute mark, I was sure all the leg muscles would freeze into place.  I could see it happening, the paramedic team called along with the fire department, to use jaws of life to extricate a still-sweating middle-aged corpse from the machine.

The resistance level was bumped down after two minutes before the smoke detector above my head went off and the fire department was, indeed, summoned.  Amazingly, the machine's sophisticated monitoring told me that heart rate had only reached 136.  Whew!  Visions of the jaws of life tearing favorite leggings kept the remainder of the ride reasonable, with forays up to level six worked up to and back down.  The thirty minute ride traversed almost six miles over machine-fixed terrain.  Not too bad...

Thirty minutes gone from two hours left plenty of time to take the ten steps into the land generally ruled by testosterone:  the weight room.   What was I thinking?  What WAS I thinking???  Someone tell me what I was thinking, please.  It must've been the elation felt at simply being able to walk that boosted confidence enough to work on building upper torso, shoulder, and arm muscles.

All the various machines have padded adjustable seats and stationary back rests, although at different positions and sometimes obscene angles.  There are rubber-padded grips to be clung to, rolled padding bars to lean against, welded steel foot rests to prop on.  It reminds me of an overly illuminated dungeon cell (a full wall of mirrors is the first clue it's a place of torture) with all manner of torture machines, except there are no knives, loppers, pincers, spears, or Iron Maidens here.

The first method of torture machine selected is for the pectoral muscles.  Who figures out how to make a machine just to exercise the muscles that are supposed to exist under the ta-tas?  I barely finished one set, ta-tas shaking and jiggling so mightily a minor earthquake was created in Alaska.  If you know me, you know there's not a lot to shake and jiggle.  To create this seismic event, serious momentum had to have been generated. The weight was dropped back to 20 pounds to complete a second set of repetitions.

I don't know what it's called, but the machine works the tricep area.  Yes, those muscles with the under arm wings of flab attachments.

If I were hanging on the edge of a building and had to pull myself up, using upper body strength, I'd perish;  probably wouldn't hang around too long either.  I can't do it.  Most folks have "visit Paris" "drive a NASCAR" "fly in a hot air balloon" on their bucket list. I only have two items:  attend Burning Man and do a dozen pull ups.

Annnnnnyways.  The machine has the grips in front of the seat, spaced barely wide enough apart for a wide-bodied gurl like myself to sit down without having to turn sideways.  I'm thankful for that small fact, at least.  The seat is adjusted so feet are flat on the floor, shoulder length apart.  I'd already set the weight to twenty pounds.  I can do twenty pounds.  A voice was heard to say "That's too easy, you can do more."  One set of 35 pounds was not too bad.  A second set was started... and barely completed.  Yikes!  What is that sensation that feels like someone is pinching the entire back of my arms????  OWWwwwwwch.  Three minutes of elbow-across-body stretching ended the beginning of tricep cramps.  A third set could be managed.

Even though there were only four people in the entire facility at that moment and help certainly could be attained with nothing more than a loud whimper, I determined this could be done by myself.  No help.  No excuses.  One more set of 10 repetitions could be done.

Repetition #1 was okay.  On #2, I forgot to breathe so on #3 the burning started such that #4 felt like scalded muscles inside stripped-away skin.  Rep #5, I pushed lower back into the padded seat (thankful that it was padded) and, causing the after shock tremors in Alaska, jiggled and shook the push outward.  And locked elbows.  New combinations of expletives coursed through the brain--some I'd never even heard before.  I'm asked if assistance is needed.  "No!  Don't touch me!  Don't touch the machine!  We are going.  to.  finish.. this!!!"

That's when I saw the emergency cardiac defib machine on the wall.
These are all stock photos, by the way,
right off the internet.  If it's YOUR photo, I'll
be more than happy to credit you.

Yep.  Right there, the other side of those huge rubber balls in several colors of the rainbow, in a case (did it say "In emergency break glass"?) was a defibrillator.  Wow.  My mind heard Mr. Lavon saying, "Ms. Mayree, we'll be more than happy to shock your heart back into rhythm, but first you're going to have to uncurl your buttocks from that seat, let the weight down, and finish those last five reps."

They probably think I'm crazy.  The weight was let down.  I walked out the door laughing loudly.

Even though those muscle toning activities were three days ago, biceps, triceps, trapezius, and pectoral muscles still fell the effects with every heart beat.  But there's always next week.  Maybe I can successfully lift more than a pen then....
I actually did have that early morning appointment with Mr. Lavon this morning.  It wasn't so bad -- working out those muscles that I was sure would never function properly again.  And just for the record, there haven't been any more after-shocks in Alaska either...