Take off your shirt

So remember when I said I wanted to work on getting back to running?

I decided to work on it.  Even though it is approximately eleventy bajillion degrees.  Definitely a good idea.

For me, running means racing.  I like running–once I get out the door.  I need some kind of race motivation for me to actually commence the act of running.

Ooo, a half marathon in Rome at the end of August?  At night?  Perfect!  Sign me up!!

(Never mind that it starts like at my bedtime.  Also, did I mention that it is eleventy bajillion degrees?  Slightly better at night.  Slightly.)

I decided to sign up.  And immediately ran into an issue.

Required medical form?  What could this be?

I consulted my medical peeps here.  Yup, most races require a medical form.  Some races just need a doctor’s signature.  Others need an actual physical.

Guess which one this one needed?

I got an appointment for my physical.  I knew that there would be a stress test so that I should wear workout clothes.  I knew that it would cost 40 euro.  I knew that I had to bring my own urine specimen.  I couldn’t leave a specimen there because first morning urine was needed.

Day of the appointment.  Thankfully, a friend had hers scheduled at the same time.  (She drove.)

We hand over our specimens.  Pretty sure these are straight up chucked in the trash.  Definitely no way that they were tested during the 30 minutes we are there.  Maybe they figure anyone who would actually bring a specimen doesn’t have anything to hide??

After calculating our height in cm (thanks Google!), we stand on a machine that weighs you and uses sensors to check body fat or something like that.  We get print outs, but everything is most definitely in Italian.  BMI I recognize at least.  Looks pretty good, I pride myself.

I have a lung capacity test.  It involves blowing into a cardboard tube machine.  I think I do very badly.  In my defense, I think the test was explained poorly.  They do not tell me the results.

I go to a different room for the stress test.  I wait.  I can see the sinister stationary bike in the corner, sensors dangling like creepy tentacles.

The doctor (I presume???) comes breezing in.  He picks up my printout.  “Hmm,” he says, peering at the numbers.  He fixates at a number on the page.  He makes a face.  “Fat,” he says, patting his belly.

Uh, excuse me??

I tell him to have two babies and see how that works out for him.  Either something is lost in translation or he (wisely) chooses to ignore this.

I can’t help thinking what would he have said if I showed up pre-30 Day EVERYTHING Challenge.

“Take off your shirt,” he says.

Wait, what???

Nothing is really explained, but it seems that this is a part of the stress test.  I sit on the bike.  He starts soaking me down with water.  It becomes clear that this is to make the sensors stick, but again, nothing is explained.

We start the test.  I have to keep the bike above 80 RPM for three minutes.  And it will get harder.

The first minute, I’m thinking, this isn’t so bad.  I can do this.  I’m singing Henry’s favorite, Chumba Wumba, in my head.  I get knocked down, but I take your stress test again, . . .

I can see the hills coming.  It starts to hurt.  Bad.  My legs are shaking.  I see the RPM slow to 60.  And then 45.

The “doctor” is not sympathetic.  “This is a stress test,” he explains.  THANKS.  I get it.

I keep my legs turning, even though I really thought I might stop.  I wonder why I didn’t adjust the bike seat down a little before we started.

Towards the end, when I’m thinking that I have definitely failed, he comes to stand beside me, presumably as motivation.  He pushes my knee down to keep it going.  I can smell cigarettes.

And then it’s over.  He jumps down saying “Follow me” and runs out.

I’m dazed.  My legs are like jelly.  Can I put on my shirt? I gasp.

I stumble to the reception area, and my friend (who went first) assures me that it is over.  Later, she hypothesizes that the whole thing is just a formality.  She thinks they printed out my certificate before I even completed the stress test.  Glad I went through that then.

And that is how I am the proud owner of a certificate stating that I have excellent physical fitness which is good for one year.  And after that creepy, painful experience, I am now obligated to run ALL the races.

And I sure showed that “you’re fat” doctor.  After I get home from my test, I make a healthy dinner.  And then go get some gelato.

5 thoughts on “Take off your shirt

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