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Jogging sucks. Every fall there are hundreds of joggers pounding the pavement and every winter those who start religiously fade out when the weather gets cold and midterms arrive.
Freshman year I tried jogging, but I too died around the first of November. Last year I remained inert and looked it, so this year I thought I'd try one of the most popular sports at the University--weightlifting on the Nautilus machine at the ITT.
On the Phone
My roommate and I made the preliminary phone calls and were informed that we would have to take a course to learn to use the machines properly. "Nautilus can be dangerous," an athletic voice said, kidding, "You're not allowed on unless you've taken the course."
The voice also added that we should come early because there was only one sign-up and there would be a line. So this past Monday my roommate, a friend and I met at our room at 6:30. The sign-up was an hour away and we praised ourselves for getting together so early.
"Let's drive," my roommate said as she lit a cigarette. Former joggers, we all decided that driving would be the way to go. We walked to the Grant St. parking lot and drove off going the wrong way down the one-way street. We passed Leverett House, and turned onto Memorial Drive.
We told each other what we had heard from our jock friends--that Nautilus builds strength but not bulk, that its easy to use, and that it was great for our cardio-vascular systems. We talkedabout howvital physical fitness was and about how this year was going to be different. We vowed to stick with Nautilus.
We pulled into the Blodgett parking lot. Through smoke-filled windows we could see that there was a line forming in the ITT building. I got out of the car and told my roommate that I would reserve places for the three of us while she parked. As I walked the 300 yards to the ITT, I could see the people in line through the clear-panelled windows.
I walked into the building. "Where do I go to sign up?" I asked one woman who was sitting at the front of the line eating a sandwich. She laughed. "I've been here since 3:30," she said, adding that as far as she knew there were no places left.
I turned, trying to find someone in charge, and recognized a Kirkland House senior who seemed to be taking names. "Where do I go to sign up?" I asked. I was told that the 100 available course places were indeed filled and that several hundred other people had already been turned away.
On the Line
"These people are waiting until 7:30 to put their names on the course list," he said, adding I would have to wait until December for the next course sign-up. "Come earlier next time," he advised.
At last I got a glimpse of the actual Nautilus room. Several large football players were strapped onto the machines and they were moving various limbs up and down. It looked boring.
I asked one of the operators about the hours for recreational use and he started to laugh. Recreation hours were from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. But, he said, "everyone always comes at once."
Besides, he added, there is always one person who sets his weight slowly and holds up the whole works.
I began to feel better. "Why had I wanted to do Nautilus in the first place?" I wondered.
I started to walk toward the car and ran into a friend from the swim team. I explained my failed mission and she and her fit friend suddenly looked very pitying.
"That's too bad," my friend said. "Nautilus is the greatest. It's definitely the best way to work out." She suggested that I should definitely try to get on the next sign-up.
Oh well. Maybe I'll start jogging. By the time I quit, the other Nautilus course will only be a month away.
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