274. Sickness, Pain, And Suffering

This afternoon, I did what I hadn’t done since 2009. I puked after an exercise session.

(bet you thought it was maths or something)

5.30P.M. After 4 hours of playing Skyrim and with my younger brother’s birthday dinner coming up in an hour’s time, I thought that if I didn’t get any exercise done, that would be it for the day. So reluctantly, I switched the computer off (after Skyrim decided to help out a little by crashing to desktop), put on my shoes, and headed out.

Before I left though, I had to finish the cup of milk tea mom made for me. (Take note, kids – it’s always a good idea to finish what mom made for you, even if it’s that nasty concoction called beetroot juice.) What came with the milk tea were a couple of sweetened biscuits, all of which I ate. The wrapper advertised the biscuits as being infused with some sort of energy-boosting element (which I suspect is just plain processed sugar). I thought it was just as well, since I’m heading out to do exercise.

I decided to mix things up a little, and instead of starting out with cardio like I usually do, I did strength training first: chest press, lifting irons, sit-ups, and the sort. I used the lat pulldown machine for some improvised chin-up exercises, despite the yellow warning label’s insistence that I don’t do that.

(in retrospect, I probably deserved what came next. The ghosts of the machine manufacturers sensed a disturbance in the force, and came to visit)

I got up onto the treadmill, and deciding that I’d like a little bit of a challenge (and out of guilt for missing Tuesday’s session), I raise the speed and duration a little bit. If ever anyone tells you that “just a little bit” won’t hurt, take note of what comes next.

I’ve been doing 15 minutes of light jogging at a maximum speed of 7 kmph over the last one month or so that I’ve been using the facilities. Not impressive or even respectable by any standards, but that’s as much as I know I can handle. It’s enough to get my heart racing and my legs working, so it’s all good for me. This time, I tried 16 minutes with a maximum speed of 8 kmph.

Towards the 13th minute or so, when my stomach was on fire, the words of an athlete friend of mine came floating out from the recesses of memory: “It’s about the state of mind. If you tell yourself you can, you can.”

I can. I ran. I finished the 16-minute jog, and the 5-minute cooldown period began.

I didn’t even make it to the 2nd minute of cooling down when I had to step off the treadmill to puke all over the floor. As a mixture of milk tea, half-digested bits of chewed biscuits, some stomach acid, and bile came spewing out of my mouth, the thought that came to mind was, “Eh, this isn’t so bad. Puking while on food poisoning felt a lot worse than this.”

(it was a blessing, too, that no one was around in the gym to witness my sickness)

(hey, that rhymed!)

The thing about sickness, pain, and suffering is that while they make you miserable, they’re also inevitable. Like disappointments. And I think… That the more you experience them, the better equipped you will be to handle them in the future. I’ve had so many rounds of food poisoning that I can actually feel it coming hours before the pain even starts. When the cramps begin, I’ve learned, to some degree, how to manage the pain so I don’t break my skull against the wall.

When I was done puking, I stepped over my puddle of sick, dropped my things into my pockets, and casually approached the guards on the ground floor.

“Hey, er, someone puked on the gym floor earlier,” I said.

The guards returned a blank stare, so I mimed the motions of puking for them. Recognition flashed across their faces, shortly replaced by disgust.

“You go ahead and tell the janitor later,” I said, walking away.


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