Yesterday I went to my first circuit training workout. The kind of workout meant for people with more stamina than brains, the kind of workout where your sweat really stinks, the kind of workout that wipes out every worry about your to-do-list because it’s overshadowed by the pain that has seized every sinew in your musculature. This wasn’t just sweating to the oldies. One of my sister, Ebby’s, best friends is a woman slightly younger than I am who managed to survive raising a set of triplets now in their early thirties. Not only did Carla survive the rigors of child raising but where others have resorted to letting motherhood enlarge their cabooses Carla still maintains the body of a woman her daughter’s friends would envy and her son’s friends would hoot at behind his back. It turns out one of their kids is a bean counter by day and a tri-athlete dominatrix by night and weekends. This whole circuit system was Laura’s idea and for some inexplicable reason her bother and her parents have volunteered to be her guinea pigs trainees. Why Ebby got involved with this is still unclear and why I decided to go along, I can’t explain. Maybe it was the thirty-four inch waistband I’ve been forced to invest in, maybe it was my secret desire to apply for Survivor, or maybe I was trying to capture a second shot at my glory days. Take your pick, I’ll admit to any and all of the above.
I should have realized I was way out of my element when getting ready I discovered I didn’t own a pair of sweat pants. Now I do exercise on a semi-regular basis but it’s usually on my mini-Stairmaster in my underwear in the privacy of my bedroom. Only Matt and Merideth are privy to my moaning and groaning. Group workouts were never my thing. I rifled through Rick’s drawers until I found a pair of sweatpants that fit once I loosened the drawstring to its maximum extension. I had just enough room left to tie a single knot hoping it would hold. What I didn’t take into consideration was what I put on underneath the sweats. Living on the poverty line has forced me to give up my Calvins and buy my underwear at Wal-Mart where I can get three pair of China made u-trough for the price of one leg of most name brands. The problem with these non-union mid-length tightie whities is they tend to loose their elasticity after a dozen or so washings. Although, even with the elastic deficiency they tend to stay in place with a snug pair of jeans, but with a pair of loose sweats…not so much. I didn’t understand this until Laura, our tri-athlete task-mistress, barked out our first assignment: a run around the block, a half-mile trip to horror. Laura was kind enough to let us walk up the initial hill and sort of get our swagger going, but then the jog began. I was okay for the first hundred yards but after that I could sense a bit of slippage happening under my sweats. Now this was the first time I had met Carla’s kids so modesty wasn’t going to allow me to stuff my hand down inside my sweats in a nasty attempt to grab my underwear and hook them back up to where they belonged. Besides the knot I had tied was so tight there wasn’t room for my belly and a searching hand and arm as well. By the time I had rounded the next corner I had dropped to last place and my underwear had dropped to knee high. I was a homeboy in disguise, and my pants were quickly approaching the ground. My running had slowed to a waddle as my knees were now locked in 100% cotton bondage. Finally I realized the sweats had pockets and if I stuffed my hands in the pockets I could just reach the top band of my underwear. I was now running knock-kneed and bent over in a ridiculous game of pocket pool. Any attempt at proving age is not a barrier to physical fitness was washed away with the pathetic image of my Quasimoto form limping along the streets on North Madison. All my fellow athletes were kind enough to bow their heads as I made the last breathless turn into the driveway. How I would survive the circuit workout that stood ahead of me was almost more than my embarrassed butt could handle. Next time I’ll remember why god invented jock straps; of course, I don’t own one of those either.