Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Big Burn

There is a book I am fond of my the same name, by Timothy Egan. He is a columnist for the New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. He is an amazing author and has written several books, one about the Dust Bowl era, one about the burning West in the early 1900s.

But, title source acknowledged, this is not what my post is about today. Its about something more mundane...the dangers of the gym.

Most people are probably used to using the equipment at the gym. Me, not so much. Of course, I have long realized the dangers of, say, dropping a heavy weight on your toe. (I have had the toenails from both of my big toes removed, at different times. Don't ask. Lets just say gracefulness isn't one of my finer qualities.)

My trainer (yes, I have one, theoretically so that I don't injure myself in the process) has "graduated" me from the small gym (no equipment in the small gym, just floor mats) to the big boys room. You know, the room with all the barbells, and strange looking machines. "You're ready" she says. (Ha, little does she know.)

She has tried to get me on one of those exercise treadmills for the past two weeks. The first day, I just watched as she showed me how it was done. Last week I actually got on one, holding on to the handles for dear life. You see, I have visions of the treadmill speeding up (on its own of course) and me not being able to keep up, and getting sucked into the end of the tread, in cartoonish fashion. I think this image comes from watching "I Love Lucy" re-runs over and over and over again in my youth. (If you are of my generation, you will know what I am talking about. Its the episode where Lucy works in a candy factory.)

So, yesterday I came in early for my training, so I could "warm up". Thought I'd try the treadmill. Started off nice and slow, then "upped" the speed gradually until I was walking at a nice pace. Even took my hands off the handles.

I was shooting for ten minutes of walking on the treadmill. I was so proud of myself. After I had done about nine minutes, my trainer came over to the treadmill. She was standing right next to me. I was ready to get off the treadmill. And so, I stepped off. With my left foot, treadmill still running. Big mistake.

My trainer caught me as I went down and kept me from getting sucked into the machine. (OK, I am being a little dramatic here.) But she did save me from possibly further injury to say, my face or hands.

There is a BIG RED STOP button on the machine, that I now know you are supposed to push BEFORE you get off the machine. Lesson learned, the hard way. I escaped with minor injuries to my knee and leg, in the form of burns from the fast moving rubber tread, the one on my leg the size of my palm.

My trainer was concerned, and treated my injuries with Neosporin and bandaids. "I'm fine" I insisted. Being a clutz, I am used to minor injuries. As she put a bandaid on my knee, she thought I had a second burn. "No, that's not from the treadmill" I explained.

That's the scar from last year's fall, on my dad's slate patio.

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