Barbara Barrett

Romance at Work

Thoughts from the Treadmill: Approach and Pacing

treadmillDespite the title of this blog, I haven’t touched on my experience in my local fitness center much recently. So this week, my focus is back there. The other day, there were five of us. Rather than tackle the treadmill for this particular session, I went with the stationary bike. I just didn’t feel up to standing and walking but still wanted to get in some exercise.

I looked down the row of stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals. Two men, one older than the other, were working away on the ellipticals. The younger one appeared to have set a faster pace for himself, but the older guy was doing pretty well also. I am in awe of people who use the ellipticals. These are one of the most popular machines at fitness centers, probably because you’re working all parts of your body at once. I tried this machine once and scared myself silly. Don’t know why exactly. Fear of falling off? Fear of not being able to keep up with the pace and being unable to stop it? Someday I’m going to get brave again.

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

Photo by Leslie Sloan, Ignite The Light Photography

Two women were on the treadmills. One had her earbuds plugged in and was fast walking. Without touching the side handles. You have to be pretty sure of yourself and your balance to walk this way. At least I have to be. My knee has gone out once or twice in the past, and had I not been holding on, I would have been down on the tread. The other woman is one of the regulars, there almost every day. She runs, not walks for probably a total of two hours each time; I don’t know for sure, because I’ve never stayed that long to time her other than when I returned once for lunch in another part of the center, an hour or so after my session ended, she was still there. Needless to say, she’s in great shape. Someday, I want to learn her story. Why she spends so much time at this.

While peddling away, I was attempting to plot the end of the my current writing project. Instead, my brain got caught up observing my surroundings, as I’ve just described. It hit me how this could be an object lesson demonstrating how various writers approach their work in different ways. Some, like the two men on the ellipticals, throw their entire self into their work at a fairly good pace while maintaining balance in all their efforts. The woman on the treadmill who was walking fast without holding onto the side handles was also throwing her whole self into her efforts, but she knew herself and trusted herself well enough to follow her own path without the usual guides to keep her upright.  And the runner? She exhibited endurance and speed, two qualities I’m striving for in my writing this year.

treadmill sidewaysSo there I was, sitting there on the bike, wondering if my exercise style in any way reflected my writing style. Well, I was there. One point in my favor. Although I’m not into the everyday dedication of my runner friend, my writing routine differs from my exercise commitment in that I’m at my laptop almost daily. So my analogy falls down there. But I have to say,  I went there telling myself all I had to put in was a good fifteen minutes. I wound up staying on the machine double that time. So endurance has creeped into my style as well. And endurance is one element I really need at the moment, as I struggle to steer my manuscript to an exciting conclusion.

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