Saturday, April 05, 2008

1 Hour and 13 Minutes Marathon

I was on the treadmill doing a stamina test, part of the fitness test for the company dragon boat race team try out. A middle-aged lady instructor stood next to me fiddling with the setting every now and again and monitoring my performance.

Making small talk to the instructor, trying to be polite.
Boonsky:"So,is this place new?"
Instructor:"Oh no. We opened for almost a year already."
Boonsky:"Oh yeah?"

The instructor making small talk to me, trying to be polite.
Instructor:"Do you go to any gym?"
Boonsky:"I do. The gym at my office."
Instructor:"I can tell. You have the shape, and you are doing well on the treadmill."
Having my ego stoked, I had the proudest grin on my face and my chest was inflated with so much pride, it almost burst.

Trying to calm myself and be modest as I always do.
Boonsky:"Oh really? Thanks. Good to know. But I'm cutting down my gym time, because I hurt both my wrists."
Boonsky:"I think from yoga."
Instructor:"Yoga? How?"
Please bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this. Read on.

Acting dumb.
Boonsky:"I know! Probably I was doing the poses incorrectly. So now I swim and run."
Instructor:"Oh, I just did the Merdeka Marathon last year."
Boonsky:"Wow, that's amazing! So what is your time?"
Seriously I was in awe and had this utmost respect for this petite middle aged lady instructor for her gutsy determination completing a marathon.

Instructor:"I came in 13th in my age group. Well it was women veteran. I'm 47."
I'm not kidding here, to me, she was such a force, such an inspiration. She gave me hope that one day I can complete a marathon for real.

Boonsky:"Wow. I'm still trying to do one before I turn 32. But to anyone who finish a marathon, hats off! Such an achievement. So what was your time again?"
Be ready. Here came the bomb. (Or so I thought)
Instructor:"I finished in 1 hour and 13 minutes."
Trust me, it was almost impossible to maintain running on the treadmill, as everything inside me just crashed into a complete screeching halt. I was trying my damnedest to fight the force of inertia and momentum.

Boonsky:"Holy! That's really fast! World record time that is!"
Now here came the real bomb.
Instructor:"Actually it was only 9km."
Pin drop silence. Well, not exactly. Only the thumps of my strides on treadmill and the buzzing noise of treadmill belt rotating. I just didn't know what to say to that anymore. This time I was trying my damnedest not to burst out laughing. That'd be inappropriate, not to mention rude.

Just keep on running...

Then I remembered a recent conversation I had with my physio-therapist about the flourishing gym business in town. I asked her about the quality of the gym instructors and what kind of education or training they had gone through prior to becoming certified.

"Most of them are pretty bad." She said pointe blank. "They got their diplomas in colleges locally and then set out to kill their clients in the gym." She added, not jokingly, but matter-of-factly. She then told me of how horrified she was discovering the exercise program designed by the instructors for some of her patients with a heart condition. And how baffling and mad she got when some instructor friends of her nurse called her asking for consult, for free. I was sure she had got more stories to share but too bad, my therapy session was up.

I had my doubt when we had that conversation. They surely couldn't be all that bad!

But a fitness instructor proudly announced that she completed a 1 hour and 13 minutes 9 km marathon race, now I'm a believer.


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