My Amazing Race

School has started back, and life has begun to settle into a very busy but comfortable routine around the Creel household after what one could describe as an eventful summer.  I now have two days a week where it’s just the littlest peanut and me, and I find myself looking for ways to occupy that time.  Sweet Paris always knows exactly what she wants to do with her time, but since that usually involves her doing something that causes more of my hair to turn gray, I decided to find a way for us to spend our free time that wouldn’t result in a visit to the emergency room.

Last year, when the opportunity for a little free time presented itself, I tried Pilates classes. I went faithfully for about five minutes, but the kids got sick, or it was Tuesday, or I wanted to eat some apple pie instead of hoofing it to class, so that didn’t last long.  By the time school started this year, the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion that perhaps I’d be able to zip up a few more of my skirts had I not skipped 8 months of Pilates. So, I joined the gym.

I’d been going a few weeks, building up my endurance and trying out the different machines and various other instruments of torture, when one particular activity caught my eye.  It looked to me like a pair of miniature escalators, and every time I looked over there, both of those sets of four or five stairs were occupied by people with faces so red they looked like they had been set on fire.  I decided it must be a really fast way to get rid of some jiggle for so many people to be willing to endure what appears to be so painful, and since I’ve accumulated my share of jiggle over the years, I worked up the courage to try it.

I climbed up to the top of those steps like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky with the dream in my mind that I’d be climbing back down after about ten minutes looking just like Gisele Bundchen.

The control panel for the machine with four stairs was much more complicated than I had anticipated, but, instead of allowing those kinds of details to hinder the amazing progress I was about to make, I just hit the start button and figured I’d adjust the settings while in motion if things got out of hand.

The thing started going, so I started climbing stairs.  About thirty seconds in, I was thinking, “What is all the red-faced huffing about?  This is easy!  I’ll be Gisele-esque in no time!”

About two minutes in, those stairs started coming a little faster.

Then they started to speed up some more.

Before I knew it, I was half running and half jumping, and full on begging the girl next to me to tell me how to turn the crazy thing off.  At first, she must have had her headphones turned up too loud, because she didn’t even glance in my direction.

After a few more seconds of desperate jumping/running/flailing, I was thinking, “Forget Gisele.  Please, Lord, just let me get off this thing without having to go to the emergency room!”  I was laughing hysterically at myself, and I was extremely relieved when my much more successful fellow masochist finally noticed me.

I thought, “Thank God!  I’m saved,” but the super-fit stair expert was laughing too hard to be of assistance, so I was left on my own to figure out how to stop the madness.

I frantically stabbed at the controls, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t make any of the buttons do anything but make the thing go faster. So, after several minutes of looking like a terrified rhino trying to heave itself over Olympic-sized hurdles, I finally spotted a red cord that had “In Case of Emergency” written above it.  I quickly decided my situation was dire, and it definitely qualified in my book as an emergency, so I pulled that plug.

I expected the thing to simply stop and allow me to step off gracefully so I could walk (run) down the stairs and make my exit as quickly as possible.

That is most definitely not what that plug made that awful machine do.

When I pulled that little red cord, it felt like it made the step I was standing on vanish into thin air.  It flattened itself out or something, and I no longer had anything under my feet.  I fell straight to the ground on my rear end with my arms and legs up in the air like a dead roach.

Instead of eliminating some of my jiggle and turning me into a supermodel in one quick, easy exercise, all I managed to do was turn my jiggle into extra-sore, black and blue JELLO and make my face far more red than any of the machine’s previous victims’ faces.

My new friend next to me never did offer any assistance. I guess it’s every girl for herself in the race to become a supermodel.

Somehow, I managed to get myself up and pull myself together enough to limp back to my car.  I might have to skip the gym for another eight months or so before I’m brave enough to show my face again, and Paris tries enough death-defying stunts that I am pretty sure I won’t feel the need to be so adventurous if I do go back.

Any one else have any mortifying gym experiences you’d like to share?  Misery loves company, and I could sure use some encouragement to soldier on in my on-again quest to conquer my jiggle.




  1. Kristen Merrifield

    Oh my word Amber! You had me dying with this post! LOL I have definitely been introduced to that horrible machine, and after about 1 minute of climbing those stairs I almost blacked out!

  2. Wanda Guidroz Hammer

    So funny. Maybe you will be brave enough to ask for direction. It might not be as bad if you know how to use it. Still laughing. You go girl, you’ll be Gisele before you know it.

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