“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.”
– PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian
In March I joined Fits Health Club & Spa, a gym in Tres Cerritos, a wealthy neighborhood in Salta. It was way nicer than any other gym I could find in Salta and it was super expensive compared to what I was paying for my gym in Wisconsin. But it was still reasonably priced, so I joined.
One of the most surprising things to me is that here, gyms have different monthly prices, and it all depends on how often you want to go the gym and what you want to do there. For example (these are prices for the month using the good peso-dollar conversion):
Twice per week: 350 pesos, or $42
Three times per week: 410 pesos, or $51
Unlimited and including all classes: 510 pesos, or $63.75
The 2x/3x per week prices include all the weights, machines, use of hot tubs and lawn chairs on the roof, consults with a trainer, the locker rooms with rainhead showers, some kind of boxing area that I never use, etc. The unlimited price includes all classes (spinning, pilates, etc.) and use of towels.
They were just running a promo for the unlimited membership for 1200 pesos for 3 months, so I took advantage and now I can go whenever I want and start taking classes.
Anyways, the first few times I went to the gym in March, I just did the elliptical and some machines. Then I decided that I should start to run. I honestly don’t know why I randomly was inspired to start running. In fact, I used to HATE running. In high school I would always pull the “Mrs. Theis, look at my file, I have asthma, I can’t run!” thing in gym class. I played defense in soccer because the position involved the least amount of running. I would find any way possible to get out of running during practice. I just hated it. I wasn’t good at it and it definitely wasn’t fun.
Enter: 5K Runner app.
This app is not paying me to write this blog post (although maybe they should). It’s literally changed my life. As you can see in the screenshot above, the first few weeks are fairly easy. I, of course, felt like I was going to die because I had never run before in my life. It’s a lot of running for 1-2 minutes and then walking for 1-2 minutes, repeat. As you advance through, you run for longer and longer — 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes, eventually up to 35 minutes.
This afternoon I finished the app! It took me more like 10 weeks because I skipped days now and then. But I did it! I’m currently running a 39-minute 5K, which I KNOW is not fast. But I can run 5 kilometers! Without stopping in the middle! At my gym the treadmills all have TVs built into them, which used to keep me entertained. But now that I’m running longer distance, I’ve turned to music that helps me push through when I feel like stopping/dying.
Before, I never understood people who loved running. Marissa would regularly go out on long runs with her mom on cold winter mornings and I just could not imagine ever doing this. I’m still not the outdoor running type — the weather and the pollution actually do trigger my asthma and make it much harder to run. But now I get it. I understand what a “runner’s high” is. It’s amazing how running makes you feel, and how you are the only one involved. You push yourself to go farther and faster than last time! I’m hoping to get down to a 29 minute 5K before I leave Argentina. It’s going to take a lot of dedication and practice and a whole lot of pushing myself, but I think I can do it before December. We will see!
So if there’s one thing that Argentina has given me, it’s the ability to run, and I couldn’t be happier about it!