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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Health Club Track Ettiquette

Warning: This post contains venting. If you are not in the mood to read venting, skip this one.

I don't use this blog platform to vent very often but today I must make an exception. I fear that if I don't let it out somewhere, I may pound someone. I have already shared that my husband and I joined a health club. It isn't cheap but we are really making good use of it and it's fun to go together. Something there has been getting under my skin. You probably think I am bugged about wardrobe choices at the club, which would make sense if you know me at all. Nope. If your there working out, I will ignore what you are wearing (not really but I won't say it publicly.)

The cardio portion of my workout is predominantly jogging (really trotting) on the track. I warm up, trot for 30 minutes then cool down with a few laps. I appreciate having access to an indoor track. Others, I think, take this for granted. The track is small, only 1/10 of a mile. I know exactly what a hamster feels like now. There's not a lot of room on this wire wheel of a track. This is what it looks like:
There are three lanes: walk, jog and pass. Very clearly labeled. Pretty straightforward. As a trotter, I generally stay in the jog lane. I am also a rule-follower by nature. This is not the case with my fellow gym members. In fact, most of them seem to observe no rules at all. On a typical day, here are things I observe on the track:
Buddies: As in that photo, people walk as a pair, or even as a threesome. Taking two and three lanes. So wrapped up in conversation that they are oblivious to the rest of us. They generally proceed at a leisurely pace and I want to scream "Walk at the mall!!! Go have a smoothie in the snack shop!" The threesomes will take the entire width of the track and don't seem to think a thing of it.
Phone-a-Friends: Yep--there are people that walk on the track talking on the phone. Just like distracted drivers, these walkers tend to drift lanes and, again, be oblivious to those around them. It boggles my mind that people share (loudly) personal conversations especially in tight quarters. 
Read and Walk: I am not making this up. Walking on the track reading a book. An actual book. Treadmill, I can understand a book. Track, no way. 
Wanderers: There are a few group fitness rooms that are near the track. Never fails, as soon as class lets out, the is a herd of tired patrons that wander on to the track and I have to dodge them to avoid a collision. I get it, you just worked hard- but open your eyes! Do you wander out into the street? 
Cross-trainers: This group is interesting. There must have been an article in a magazine somewhere that encouraged walkers to simultaneously engage in other actions like flapping arms, running backwards or lunge walking. I have seen it all. Do what you like if you can keep it in your lane. There was even a group class brought on to the track with medicine balls attempting some balance activity.  Have you every driven down the expressway with balling balls rolling about? Danger, Will Robinson.

I would love to sing at the top of my lungs while trotting, but I don't. Sometimes I would like to lie down on the track for a short nap, but I don't. I try to be considerate. All I ask, fellow gym-goers,  is that you please follow the clearly labeled rules. Until you see lanes called Blather Incessantly, Deep Meaningful Conversation and Free For All, just walk, jog or pass.

Sorry about all that, I feel better now.

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