On Friday night, I went to the gym for the first time in forever. The gym is at the university where I am a student since I am working on my dissertation--but sort of not a student since I am not currently enrolled in credit hours (although I will take some 'dissertation hours' at some point and have taken loads and loads of classes there for this program and other degrees--it is really a technial thing). My old ID, which I've had forever, did not work there (one of the people had never even seen one that old--obviously I'm not a spring chicken anymore). Still, they let me in the gym as a one-time thing and told me to get a new ID that will swipe correctly if I wanted to come back. I'm not sure if the new one will work to get in the gate because of my weird student status (which none of the gym people really understood how to answer--we only have one doctoral program, and I would bet that almost all of the students are commuters who don't use the gym), so I figured I would do as much as I could at the gym while I had this chance. I am hoping my new card works though since it is a fantastic gym. There is a membership for alumni, but you all know my financial situation could be better at the moment.
Anyhow, the gym was fabulous. Back in the day, the gym was lousy. The fitness area was super small and looked kind of dingy and old. My generation of students was jipped, I tell ya. But they have since built this state-of-the art facility. There was much of it I did not see. I do know that there was a healthy snack place; lots of different types of courts; an olympic-sized pool; small and large fitness rooms; loads of weights, balls, and equipment; and a wall with people's profiles who would work as personal trainers. There were all sorts of programs going on while I was there (again, sad to say, I was there on Friday night--or maybe that's a good thing since that's one of my big chow-down nights, and there were a lot of people there, so I guess it's the new university hang out). They had a karate class, a bike class, and a yoga class all going on that I could see from the indoor track. There were people playing basketball, volleyball, and raquetball too. They had a few typical fitness club-type areas too with plenty of equipment. The men and women were somewhat segregated with the women comprising most of the cardio area and the men in the weight area below. That's fine with me as I'm certainly not there to use my cougar prowess on the youngins--and really don't like to see anyone--especially men--when I'm a sweaty mess.
Well, I had my 'A' game on Friday night. I guess it was because I knew that this might be a one-time thing. I did a full 5K jog on the treadmill (yes, just jogging--I'm still not at the runner's level). Then I did the stair stepper for 20 minutes (alternating levels 3 and 4). Then I walked the indoor track for 1/2 mile. Then I got on the bike and did 6.5 miles in the fat-burn mode. Then I did a stair-stepper-on-steroids machine where there are actual, big stairs (kind of like the one on 'The Biggest Loser'). That about did me in! I lasted 20 minutes. Finally I did another 1/2 mile on the indoor track.
While I was walking it (it is on the second floor), I was watching the folks at the rock-climbing wall (yes, they have one of those too!). It is a really high wall and looked super cool. I was thinking that since I might not get to experience that again, why not? I love to see my fiance on the weekends since we're limited with work during the week, but I wanted to take advantage of this unique fitness opportunity. So I went downstairs after the walk, signed the assumption-of-risk documents, put on the rock-climbing shoes, got harnessed in, and began the climb. The people in charge there were telling me that it was a good thing that it wasn't at the beginning of the semester since the freshman all invade the wall to try it during their first few weeks of school. Let me tell you, this is a workout for sure. I do a lot of cardio regularly, but I thought my legs would be sore after the intense workouts I did prior to the wall (bike, jog, walk, and two types of stairs in one night). Instead, my arms are still super sore and are making any other pain seem absolutely insignificant at the moment. I even have some bruises as memorabilia badges of my rock-climbing victory. But what an awesome activity!!! When you get to the top and ring the cowbell, you feel like a superhero. They had several other (read: harder--inverted and such) walls and a boulder wall or something like that, so if my new card works, I have some serious goals! At any rate, I was on a high all night and would definitely recommend rock climbing to any of you who want to challenge your upper-body strength. (This isn't me in the picture by the way, but it is a picture of a harder part of the actual wall at the gym).