Half-marathon training: Day 28

Yay! You guys, today I did the second-longest run of my LIFE! I thought five miles would kill me, but in the end, it didn’t feel that much longer than my shorter runs. And believe me, the weather today was NOT what you want to see when you’re gearing up for a tough athletic challenge:

A drippy, slushy icecicle.

A drippy, slushy icecicle.

That’s right, folks, it SNOWED last night. And not just any snow. The kind of heavy, wet snow that seeps into your shoes no matter how carefully you walk in the footprints of the brave souls who went before you. My dreams of completing this benchmark run along the lakefront shriveled up and died as soon as I looked out the window.

It's like I'm on the Lost island and I got transported back to January.

It's like I'm on the Lost island and I got transported back to January.

So, I screwed up the nerve to attempt my five-mile run on the treadmill. I knew it would take me 50-55 minutes, which is longer than an episode of 24, so I was nervous about getting bored. Dave was so sweet, though, and offered to come up and use one of the other cardio machines next to me so we could smile at each other in the mirrored wall.

There were two other people in the room when we arrived, which is a record! And a third person (who you’ll read about in a moment) joined us 25 minutes later. I guess the snow kept people indoors today. Anyway, something happened 30 minutes into my run. Something that forced me to run outside. Something that left me feeling confused and impotent. Something that, when I was clomping around the slushy outdoor track for the final two miles of my run, caused me to let loose a string of profanities so vulgar, so offensive, that I refuse to even hint at what I said. More on that in a second.

In the end, I got my five miles in and I feel pretty darn great about it. I’m happy to see my body adjusting and growing stronger. And I’m so, so lucky to have a fiance who came outside, into the crappity crap weather, to finish my hard workout with me and listen to me take cussing to a new level.

And now, for the incident. An open letter:

Dear Lady in my building’s workout room,

I just wanted to write and say thank you. You see, I’ve been living in Chicago for about six months now, and I’ve been completely shocked and dismayed by how friendly everyone here is. Honestly, I thought it was an epidemic. My faith in humanity began to dwindle: how can a city this big be completely full of kind people? Well you, my friend, have restored my trust in all that is good and right. There ARE assholes in Chicago after all.

From the moment you set foot in the workout room, I had a feeling. I thought to myself, “Wiggs, this lady – with her sneering face, orange fake-n-bake-tan, and hot pink Juicy Couture velour track suit – she could be The One.” As if the sour expression on your face weren’t enough , you alerted everyone in the room to your presence by scoffing and doing that thing where you roll your eyes so hard that your head moves with them. And when you plaintively whined, in your raspy party-girl voice, “Ugh! It’s so crowded!”…well. It was like music to my ears. Then, when you appropriated the remote control and, without asking anyone else in the room if we were watching, changed the channel to Judge Judy? You must have been sent from Heaven, madame. I almost turned off my episode of 24 to see whether Jim-Bob would have to pay Tammie-May for painting her cat green after she dumped him.

And I thought that was it. I said a silent prayer of thanks that I had finally found you, the sole bitter person in Chicago. I never dreamed that you would soon, with laser-like focus, target little ol’ moi in your quest to infect people with your rottenness.

I remember it like it was yesterday (oh wait, it was this morning)…there I was, having the best run of my life. For the first time this week, I didn’t have to stop and blow a snot rocket or hack up a lung every five minutes of my workout. Jack Bauer was hot on the tracks of the Armenian terrorists and I was feeling like a glorious thoroughbred mare cantering along the sands of a windswept beach. I wasn’t even looking at the time on the clock because this was to be the longest treadmill run of my life. Five miles. I knew I could do it. I felt a triumphant smile spread over my face.

Then, like an angel from on-high, you appeared in my peripheral vision. “Um, EXCUSE ME,” you said. Ah, what blessed music your voice was. “Um, how much longer are you planning on HOGGING THE TREADMILL?”

Silly me, I thought you were joking! You see, I’ve become soft in this city of polite, genuinely nice people. Smiling, I replied, “Oh, I’ve only got twenty minutes left! Do you want to use this after me? I can do my cool-down on the elliptical if you like!”

“Oh,” you snarled. It was then that I realized that you were the one I’d been waiting for. A grade-A, bonafide jerk. You gave me one of those bitchy smiles that I haven’t seen since middle school and said, “There’s a 30-minute time-limit when people are waiting. You have to get off the machine right now.”

You froze me, like this tiny twig encased in a shell of ice.

You froze me, like this tiny twig encased in a shell of ice.

You stopped me in my tracks, my dear, darling woman. I couldn’t even come up with a reply! Questions raced through my head: if she was waiting, why didn’t she tell me and give me some advance notice? and Is she aware that there are three inches of snow on the ground outside? and What could she possibly have to do on a Sunday that she can’t wait for 20 minutes for me to finish my awesome workout? and Wait…she only got here five minutes ago…so don’t I technically get 25 more minutes to work out?

But I was speechless. Dumbfounded, I stepped off of the treadmill. Through pursed lips, you said, “You really should have gotten off five minutes ago. And in the future you have to wipe the machine down when you’re done.”

I didn’t even have the presence of mind to reply that a) there are no rules posted in the workout room and b) you didn’t even wait to see if I would try to wipe down the treadmill (I would have). In a daze, I walked out of the room. I never even knew your name, Hot Pink Track Suit Lady. But thank you. Thank you for opening the floodgates. I didn’t realize that it was okay to be rude to people in this city. Now that I know, though, I hope against hope to meet you again in our workout room. Because you can bet your Juicy Couture-emblazoned booty that I’ll be monitoring the CRAP out of whatever machine you’re using. I’m going to hide behind the stationery bicycle, and the next time you’re doing a long run, I’m going to pop out and screech “THIRTY MINUTE TIME LIMIT! THIRTY MINUTE TIME LIMIT! YOUR TIME’S UP! YOU SHOULD KNOW THE RULES!” I only wish that I’d come up with a zinger to hurl back at you before I skittered out of the workout room with my proverbial tail between my legs. But I’ll be ready for you next time, sister. Just you wait.

See you in the elevator,

The Girl You Forced To Run In The Snow Today

Wow, guys, sorry for the long post. Apparently I’ve got some issues I need to work through. And for the record, I LOVE how nice people here are. It’s like living in Disneyland.


9 Responses to “Half-marathon training: Day 28”

  1. I’m willing to bet she set the treadmill to walk 2.5 miles per hour as well…or maybe chatted on her cell phone the entire time?

    Some people…

  2. I seriously thought about going up there after my run – with the slush still dripping out of my hair – and asking her to get off the treadmill so I could cool down. But I chickened out. I wish I could have seen what kind of a workout she did (if only to have more cannon fodder for her).

  3. F-ing HILARIOUS.

    And how PISSED were you when it was sunny and 40 and everything melted this evening. Still so annoyed that it snowed on my shuffle.

    Were there other machines she could use? Like an elliptical or bike or something?

    Whata Ho.

  4. Sorry to hear this story, Wiggs. Sadly, Chicago’s got a whole lotta nasty people. When I first moved to the Pacific NW, it was so pleasant to hear people say “good morning” instead of the typical Chicago greeting of “f*** you!”

    There was snow out here this weekend too.

    “Excuse me???” (think Steve Martin pretending to be a tight-assed matron looking down his nose at a fly) tends to work well with these poorly bred people.

  5. I bet that bi-otch gave you the adrenaline to finish your five miles strong! Put super glue on the treadmill handle bars before she gets on next time…

  6. she didnt have to be rude about it but i tend to go with the 30 minute rule when people are waiting although i think few people follow this rule


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