It’s good to be back

I sat down at the exercise bike, set the timer, tightened the straps to position my feet just so and began to pedal.

As always, I had to stop right at the beginning to adjust my seat, but it didn’t take me wrong to settle into a nice, loose, relaxed rhythm, the type that covers “distance” quickly without feeling like I’m pushing too hard.

On my Kindle, I started reading John Connelly’s “From Peoples into Nations,” because nothing says light reading on an exercise bike quite like 900 pages on the history of Eastern Europe.

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(It’s the second of my birthday books, the first being Kate Fagan’s “All the Colors Came Out,” which I powered through in a day in part because it was short, but mostly because it was fantastic.)

Suzi was walking on the treadmill, looking out the window to watch what she sarcastically called her favorite form of entertainment — watching people leave their carts in the plaza parking lot instead of returning them to the grocery store.

Unfortunately for her, she said she forgot to download her “peppy” music to her phone, so she spent the entire time listening to dirges.

After 30 minutes and about 6.25 miles, I was done riding. I got up, grabbed a few wipes and cleaned the seat of my bike. I had worn a tank top because my T-shirt was sticking to me after playing pickleball in the morning, but I still had broken a little bit of a sweat.

We had no doubt that the gym would do everything possible to make things safe, but if we were going to engage in indoor activities other than grocery shopping, it was going to be for a few visits or meals with family (masked whenever possible, of course), not working out.

Before the pandemic shut everything down last March, we usually went to the gym Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, plus my exercise classes Monday nights.

The exercise class came back after a couple months — virtually from late fall to early spring, then outside in the plaza parking lot — but even though the gym reopened over the summer with masking, distancing and capacity requirements all in place, we just didn’t feel it was right to go (although we did keep up our membership).

We had no doubt that the gym would do everything possible to make things safe, but if we were going to engage in indoor activities other than grocery shopping, it was going to be for a few visits or meals with family (masked whenever possible, of course), not working out.

But with both of us being fully vaccinated, Massachusetts lifting restrictions and needing an activity Wednesday afternoons, we decided it was time to go back.

Gym

Some things, you couldn’t help but notice, like the barriers between the stair climbers and the exercise bikes.

Others were a little more subtle, like the signs outside the bathrooms announcing that the showers were back online April 15 after spraying and cleaning with hospital-grade products … and asking people to use the disinfectant spray provided for anything they touched.

But if anything was more subtle than the air purifier tucked alongside a canister of wipes and trash can underneath a television, I didn’t notice it.

Outside, a sign promoted the first month free for new members to “UNMASK YOUR BEST SELF IN 2021!” Inside, people who were fully vaccinated didn’t have to wear masks, but people who weren’t were asked to keep theirs on, and a few people were wearing them.

Gym

But even if the gym looked a little different, it didn’t feel any different.

After I finished on the bike, I did my usual circuit. All the machines were right where I left them, and while I didn’t push myself to my absolute limits on account of not having been back in 15 months, I didn’t feel any unusual pain other than some weird soreness in my right elbow that went away before too long.

And I didn’t get to finish the circuit because someone was camped out on the last machine, watching videos on his cellphone …

… so it was really like I had never left.

 

 

4 thoughts on “It’s good to be back

  1. Pingback: The week gone by — June 6 – A Silly Place

  2. Pingback: The joy of just being … happy – A Silly Place

  3. Pingback: It’s not that hard – A Silly Place

  4. Pingback: Just ask, and I’ll show you – A Silly Place

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