I creep down the basement stairs, and peer around the corner. There it sits, steel and black metal finishes reflecting the dim light from the bare bulb hanging above it. Sighing heavily, I approach slowly, knowing that soon, my body will be screaming.
Oh, I try to delay the inevitable. Carefully pulling my ratty old green sweatshirt over my head I toss it so that it drapes gracefully atop the boxes of stacked Christmas decorations. Gently plugging in my iPod, I scrutinize the settings ensuring that only the songs with the heaviest drum beats will play. Lastly, I set my phone near me-not that I’ll stop if someone calls. No, never that. Once begun, this session cannot be interrupted.
Slowly, I mount the great beast. Searching the lighted display, I increase the incline and resistance levels to 7. Fingers trembling, I grasp the handles, and begin my hour’s run….
Shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis I read somewhere that 90 mins per week of aerobic exercise would decrease the chance of cancer recurrence by a third. I was one of the lucky ones, as a mammogram discovered the little nest of wayward cells very early in their development. My biopsy was the lumpectomy, and I didn’t need chemo or a mastectomy. I mention this out of guilt, and in deference to the thousands of women whose journey has been fraught with much more pain and anguish than mine.
That explains my single-mindedness when it comes to using the medieval torture device living in my basement, but not why that particular form of self-inflicted misery. Several years following the cancer diagnosis, it became apparent that familial genetics had struck again. Progressive, degenerative, osteoarthritis, or as the neurosurgeon said, “Let’s talk about your crappy spine.” He provided a remedy: two rods and eight screws which he embedded during a 5 hour surgery.
So, I elliptical. To others, it may appear that I’m running in place, and getting nowhere. But in a real sense, the faster I go, the farther away my problems seem. Maybe the combination of pain and adrenaline leads to a false sense of euphoria-I don’t know. I only know it works for me.
And that phone. I bring it with me in case I fall and break something, cuz I’m pretty sure no one will hear me scream.