Y”all, when I walked into the gym tonight it was a ghost town. Like, eerily empty. The first thing I noticed was that there was nobody at the front desk. That’s not unheard of – the night shift folks have tons of side work to do and, as the book tells us – everybody poops. Still, something seemed really…off. It took me a beat to realize what it was. The usual music was playing, but there were no other sounds. No clanging of weights, no hum of cardio equipment, no footsteps on treadmills, no voices. I didn’t see a single person as I made my way across the gym to the locker room.
In the locker room it was the same story – not a single person in there. I walked into the pool area and the stuff for the cleaning crew was there, but no people.
Now, it’s never a slammin’ party at 1:30am on Saturday night (or, actually, Sunday morning) at the gym, but there are always people there – a couple on treadmills, a few more lifting weights, people in the abs and stretching area, people in the locker room, people in the steam room/pool/hot tub, the folks on the cleaning staff.
I started wondering if the place had been evacuated or something. I’m not a big fan of horror movies but I’ve seen enough to know that hanging out in an inexplicably empty public space is right up there with “let’s go to that camp where all those kids got killed last summer” on the list of good ways to end up in a horror movie. Still, I pressed on. It wasn’t until over 30 minutes into my swim that I saw another person. I was resting between sets and someone came through the door and scared the living crap out of me.
The swim went fine. Repeated long sets at all day pace. The first few sets went very well but then things went a bit downhill. My other swims have lots of technique drills and short intervals with a focus on various parts of the stroke, this was just meant to be a long swim and my coaches instructions read “No working on nadda here just swimming!” Unfortunately, that’s not something I’m great at. For the first couple of laps I succeeded at only focusing on a couple of things technically (kick and pull if you’re curious) and I was going at a nice clip, but as the swim went on I started thinking about way too many things to effectively manage them. Consequently the last few sets slowed down by a few seconds per hundred yards. Still, overall a successful and completed workout.
Still nobody in the locker room but as I left things in the gym were back to normal – dude on a treadmill, dude behind the front desk. And then it hit me – this is the calm before the storm. It’s the time of year when a bunch of people blow off going to the gym in all the stress and busy-ness of the holidays (which is, of course, a totally legitimate and reasonable choice.) Soon enough the gym will be chock full of new people learning that it’s a mortal sin to take the spot of a regular in step class, jerks using towels to cover the time on their treadmills while they exceed the 20 minute maximum, and every lane of the pool will have 2 people in it at three o’clock in the morning. So for now I’ll enjoy the horror movie-esque solitude.
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