Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It Ain't Easy Being Free

Need a break from the marathon? Yes, Liz and I are still wrapped up in the madness, but I promise you a post that solely focuses on fitness. In fact, you may only spot the word marathon in the opening sentence and that's it. Here's a little experiment I gave myself a few weekends ago while visiting the Twin Cities.

Saturday morning. The goal: squeeze in a workout while spending a holiday away from home. The catch: don't pay a penny and make it a good quality sweat session (to make up for the workout--spinning and such--I'd typically get on a Saturday or Sunday at home).

It sounds easy, but for my sore legs, I'm making it out to be a lot more difficult. I'm being a running snob of sorts--fretting over mileage outdoors being tough on my pavement-shy quads and hiding out indoors with seemingly less-than-ideal temperatures--so I'm looking for a fitness center to meet my needs. And you'd think it'd be easy especially while in a four-season state where we rely on those fitness centers in the winter, but it's leaving me in a less-than-enthused state. Unless I'm willing to beg, borrow and steal (my husband's Minnesota address) and basically lie my way in, it's a near impossible feat to workout for free just for a day. Granted I'll put it to the test in a week when I got to visit my parents and am faced with the same dilemma, but for now, my only options are to fork over the daily guest fee, ouch, or run outside until my legs hurt and pass up the swimming and biking.

One club lists its guest fee at $20 per day, another is $15 and then we find the local community center which charges $8.50, less if you're a town resident. Being that it's already too late in the day to attend a class and I forgot my swimsuit in Chicago, I know I'll be rotating through the machines for my sweat session and the $8.50 gym is sounding like the most viable option. Right? Definitely, and I set a somewhat silly goal for myself to spend at least 85 minutes at the Shoreview Community Center so I can claim to get my money's worth. It beats printing a one-week guest pass for Life Time Fitness and only using it once while claiming to live in Minnesota--and planning to use the week-long pass during an extended stay in Michigan while helping my parents select a gym. And it's better than printing a three-day pass to one of the two L.A. Fitness locations equal distance from the house knowing I'd only use it once, again planned to use it while in Michigan, and saw the print sticking straight out that only local residents could cash in on the pass. Restrictions at Shoreview? None and judging from the photos on the website, it had plenty of machines to keep me occupied.

So was I right? Aside from having to wear a wristband while working out--I thought I'd stick out at first but almost everyone that afternoon donned these bracelets as they worked out, visitors like me--I was satisfied with the facility. Rows of equipments from bikes to treadmills to ellipticals to stairclimbers--there was no machine left out and plenty to select from at high-traffic times. I didn't think to bring a radio so I couldn't watch TV or tune into the stations, but it was an excuse to finally read my book that I had yet to crack open on the trip. And I wish I had a towel--again another forgotten item--to wipe the sweat rather than resort to a wad of paper towels. Oh well. I'm just happy to have gotten in some quality work out time. Makes up for the pass on the 10-mile run I had considered running in the morning but knew my legs would kill me for after not running all winter. Photo grabbed from msmstewart at flickr. Posted by Kate

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