I was NOT the worst in gym at my high school. I know loads of people always say they were the most rubbish, they finished the mile last every time, and I was not that girl. I was usually not even picked last for sports. Why? Because I was the THIRD from the last. This meant I finished the mile and then there were a few other stragglers slightly behind me, meaning I wasn't the very last person so I was spared a minimal amount of embarrassment. I mean, I still ran a 14 minute mile. But I didn't run a 16 minute mile. I was usually picked for sports right before the other people no one wanted due to 1. asthma, 2. feuds, 3. refusal to participate, 4. physical inability to participate. I always got picked before the kids with broken limbs.
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Of course, later, I found out why I sucked at gym. I had raging endometriosis and undiagnosed asthma. That hurts a person's athleticism quite a bit. I still suck at anything involving hand/eye coordination, but by darn, I can run a mile now. If I did the president's physical fitness test now, I would finish middle of the pack. Good for me.
But now is not high school, so I mostly compete with myself, and I have a good time going to the YMCA and running on the treadmill or lifting weights. I think, "Look at me, I did a thing!" and always leave the gym with a happier disposition than when I arrived. One thing still I wish I had was a fitness buddy. A person who goes to the gym when I go, who likes the same machine or wants to talk while we gasp for air in spin class. That was why I was vulnerable to this sort of problem in the first place.
I was planning on going right to the stationary bikes one evening, since I had missed spin class and figured, what the heck, I ran yesterday, I won't crush my shin bones again after giving them no rest. And then I saw a friend. Kelsey is Athletic. She does things like run in races and do well plus also volunteer to help during the races, while I mostly just sweat while trying to tie my shoes. Kelsey asked me if I was here for the class.
"What class?" I asked innocently.
"Functional Fitness!" Kelsey said cheerily. I automatically assumed that Functional Fitness was for the elderly and the infirm, because it is the sort of fitness designed to help you stay functional, right? Plus Kelsey had to be teaching it, because she works at the Y. Except then I found out that she doesn't anymore and she wasn't teaching, this was actually a HIIT class, much like my Jillian Michael's DVDs. Except unlike the Jillian DVDs, this was not thirty-five minutes long. It was more like an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. Of the most. Insane. Exercises. Of all TIME.
Let's go back to the part where I had come to ride on the stationary bike that day.
On the bike, I don't need my inhaler. I'm fine without it. So I didn't use it. And I didn't bring it upstairs. And I had actually left it in the car.
First we warmed up by running and doing jumping jacks and lunges other smallish things. Then we started doing stair runs down a stairway connecting the upstairs with the pool, meaning the hallway was crazy humid and also over 80 degrees. Then we did step ups on boxes and froggies and squats and sumo squats and glute bridges and...honestly I can't remember because I've blocked most of it out. We had to do four circuits of this. I thought, finally, as I finished my last squat, that we were done. Nope.
Then we had another batch of exercises, including mountain climbers, push-ups, sit ups, planking...and I thought we were done. But no. Another batch.
Now, if I'd remembered my inhaler I'd probably remember more of this class. But I forgot it and that meant my brain was getting less oxygen and so were my muscles, which responded by not working. I was having that weird jelly-shake-legs thing I had at the beginning of 30 Day Shred, but I thought no way was I going to give up because...
OTHER PEOPLE WERE WATCHING.
Already a respiratory therapist who just-so-happened to be in the class had alerted me to the fact that she could tell I was asthmatic and could save me if I needed it. I said, "Cool, my car keys are in my pocket, grab my inhaler from the trunk!" She stared at me, concerned at my level of sanity. "Why would anyone leave their inhaler in the car?" I imagined her thinking. "This chick must have a death wish."
The instructor, noticing my distress, had given me alternate tasks, so I ran on the track instead of on the stairs of death, but it was too late. I had destroyed my body and there was no coming back, all because I didn't want these people, who were clearly fit and healthy, to think I was less fit and healthy and therefore less worthy of their friendship. I wanted gym buddies, and there was no quitting, no backing down. For once, I was the Nike slogan from the 1990's, I just did it. I tried very hard not to say anything, even whimpers. I kept my form as good as possible, and even when my brain stopped, I still tried to keep count and do the exact number of each exercise I was supposed to do. Basically this happened inside me:
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Then I went home.
I was broken. I could barely get out of the car, because when I bent my knees, they could not support my weight and I wiped out. I tried to run a bath, to help myself relax, and well, act this out for me:
- Stand up. Okay. Good.
- Now, bend over at the waist and bend your knees a bit, as if to touch the stopper at the bottom of your tub.
- Done? Now try standing back up without using your legs, arms, or core.
Yep. I got stuck. The Brother had to rescue me. Fortunately, the idea of taking off my clothes and the pain it would cause me had frightened me enough that I was still fully dressed, but he did get a hilarious video of me stuck, crying out for help as one foot began to slip out from underneath me. I could easily have become a household injury statistic, but no. I lived.
And I went back. I went back to the class with my inhaler and did better because my inhaler made a giant difference.
Also it turns out I had pneumonia through all of that, so maybe current Laura would actually LEAD the crowd in high school gym, because I seem to have upped my fitness game. BIG TIME.