Having decided yesterday that I wasn’t going to the gym, today I decided I was and I’m glad I did.
I now realise that part of my apprehension was a simple fear of the new unknown.
I was partly worried about all the new rules and how they’d affect the experience and partly about being in an enclosed space with lots of sweaty people.
Undeterred I walked there this morning with an undeniable spring in my step. When I arrived I noticed there were just the right number of cars in the car park, not too many and not too few including one I recognised.
I was greeted by the reception staff who, despite being behind a Perspex screen, seemed genuinely welcoming unlike many of the post-lockdown establishments you visit.
There were new arrangements for checking in and picking up your locker key but apart from that little else seemed different.
They’d made a good job of spreading out the gym equipment including making use of another room for some of the cardio machines.
This meant that the treadmills weren’t all in a line next to each other which was one of the things I was worried about.
It felt good getting back on the running machine which, at first, seemed so much easier than outdoor running with the consistent pace and the cushioned belt.
I thought here goes I’m going to run 10k rather than my usual 5k. Although it’s undeniably easier physically, it feels harder mentally as you watch the distance tick round so slowly. In the end I just did 5k in the end telling myself I’ll do more tomorrow.
After a super sanitising session I headed off to the pool via the changing room.Here I bumped into an old mate Gary who I hadn’t talked to for months. We caught up on our lockdown experiences and made tentative plans to go for a beer with some of the other gym guys – Andy, Mick, Tony, Mark, Paul and Dave.
Occurred to me they are all men with four letter names as if there were restrictions on letter usage in the late 50s/early 60s!
The thought of a few pints with a few mates cheered me up as did the relaxing swim that followed. That was the only moment I felt a little uneasy as there was a line of half-a-dozen swimmers a little too close for comfort. I got out and sat quietly on one of the socially distant loungers.
That minor issue aside it was great to be back into what had become an important part of my retirement routine. I’ll be back tomorrow as I make another step back towards normal life.