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Romping Through Runyon

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up the hill.jpg

Photo courtesy of Runyon Romp

It was somewhere around the fifth sprint across the Runyon Canyon tennis courts on Wednesday afternoon that I realized I wasn't quite as in shape as I would have liked to believe. Or maybe it was as I heaved my way up the hill, ten minutes after the rest of my group. But as I sputtered and gasped towards the top, like a good Health Editor, I was struck by an epiphany: there is an unfortunate reason that this ass is so out of shape, and it was a catch-22. I sucked at Runyon Romp because I never do anything as hard as Runyon Romp.

And that's why I was there. Runyon Romp is a boot camp that goes through the canyon, starting at the bottom with squats, arm exercises, and abs. Then there's the jog up to the tennis courts, the sprints across them, and the continued jog up to the first plateau that overlooks the city. And guess what happens then? "All right!" says the trainer running the program. "Great warm up, guys!"

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That's right. Great warm up. We then ran up to the top of the hill and jogged back down. Oh, and then did sprints. And then abs. And then I died a little inside. But I was reminded, as I moaned and hacked and held up my entire group, of the interview I did with Jackie "The Body" Warner (sorry, Elle, you've been replaced) not so long ago: if you want your workout to actually be functional, "you have to change [it] pretty frequently." Because I'll be frank -- I might talk a big game on this website, but I'm very comfortable with my peaceful, innocuous 30 minutes on the treadmill, done at a leisurely pace about three times a week, often watching CNN and paying more attention to the TV than to my physical person. In fact, mostly when I work out, I try to do everything I can to forget that that's what I'm doing. So there, in the sun, in the dust, running up the hill with other people who are also running up the hill, and (nail in the coffin) with NO TV TO WATCH, I found that I had to actually accept the fact that at that moment, I was exercising. And to remember that this is what exercise is supposed to feel like.

So if you're going to exercise, you might as well do something like Runyon Romp. You might as well be with a trainer who is friendly and encouraging and yet acknowledges that you are about to experience great pain and suffering (or, and I quote, "this might not be the most pleasurable trip to Runyon Canyon that you've had recently"), you might as well be with other exercisers who are encouraging and who also periodically double over with pain and insist that they can go no further (THANK you), and you might as well spend your time doing something that will actually have the end result you want, whether it's to be healthier, to get more sun, to get away from your Twitter account for an hour, or to get in a shape in which you feel more comfortable.

Because I'm starting to think that those thirty minute trips to the gym to watch TV might just be kind of a waste of time. FINE, Runyon Romp. I'll be back.

Runyon Romp
Mon, Wed, Fri at 12 noon
Sat at 10 a.m.
Cost: $15
Meets at Runyon Canyon Fuller Street entrance