May 05


WE GO OVER TO the Midway YMCA today for about a 30-minute workout on the stationary bicycles. We are facing some people using those machines that have the big arms that look as though they belong on either side of a steam locomotive. As they “run” on these things they look to me like African Gazelles bounding along in slow motion. Very graceful.

African Gazelles

I choose the “personal trainer” option on my stationery bicycle. Wendy selects what she calls is the “Iowa Option.” In other words, it replicates the experience of riding across Iowa without the Mississippi River breaks part. She doesn’t like the “personal trainer” because it reminds her too much of gym class. The best part, at the end, when the machine is convinced she isn’t going to pedal anymore, it flashes “GREAT WORKOUT.” She looks forward to that part asking: “Has a gym teacher ever said anything nice to you at the end of class.” I think about it for a moment. Then say that because I never qualified for the Summer Olympics while I was in junior or senior high school, I could not recall ever hearing any such affirmation from my gym teacher.

However, she is being way too harsh on the “personal trainer” in my stationary bicycle. He (or she) is making very reasonable demands on me. Steady resistance. Heart rate rising to 123. Calaries burned about 315 per hour. Seeing as I’m doing this for 30 minutes I estimate I’ll burn the equivalent calories to one of the two pieces of cinnamon raisin toast I had eaten for breakfast. I’ve ridden 6.5 miles. See? Not so bad. Now I’m finally figuring out where I got the title for this post … “Doom.” It was the feeling I had each time in junior or senior high gym class when, having donned the white shorts and white T shirt, I headed out the gym door into the cold. There I was greeted by the stern visiage of the school’s head football coach who was moonlighting (or rather daylighting) as a physical education teacher. Nope I wasn’t going to qualify for the Olympics … or anything else for that matter.