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In a foreign country, with a tour group full of people you don’t know, sometimes the best thing you can do is go to the gym.
I need to pause for a disclaimer: If I am a rat of any kind, it is not a gym rat. I’m a road rat, a trail rat, a barre rat – but I don’t like the machines, the musk, the towels, the TVs or any of the complimentary ambience that comes along with a trip to the gym. I can’t stand the sound of the treadmill, the way my face looks in the mirror while I run or the useless, tiny cups of water.
I enjoy running when I have a canyon to overlook and a staircase of igneous rocks to wobble up. I like sudden breezes and trying to smile at passers-by near the breathless midpoint of mile six. I need that literal movement through space: I start in one place and after maybe a hamstring stretch or something, I leave that place behind me. It doesn’t make sense to me to stand on a belt the whole time, caught between the same unspectacular walls.
I have many prejudices against the gym, but I left them in the States when I went to China.
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