My gym (the Living Support Area (LSA) 2 Gym) is my favorite one on Camp Leatherneck. We have nicknamed it the “2.2 Gym” for its location. Nothing frivolous about it – just lots of weights, not too many people – keeps it just the way I like it. There are other gyms on Leatherneck. The main gym has fancier weight-lifting equipment, more cardio equipment and is nicer. The air conditioning is better, and it has a “real” floor, but is always over-crowded. I never go there, having been scared away by descriptions of large groups of people all trying to lift at the same time.
Many lots on Leatherneck have what are affectionately known as “prison gyms”. They acquired this nickname because they are outside, and usually consist of whatever equipment the Marines (or sailors, soldiers) can get their hands on. These “gyms” vary widely across Leatherneck, and we often drive by other organizations’ gyms to look with envy at what they have. Some have dumbbells; others have racks and benches with 45 lb bars. Some even have stationary bikes and elliptical machines!
Retrograde Operations Company has constructed a provisional gym on our lot. We have a Crossfit-like metal “rig”, which enables pulls-ups, dips and spots to hold a bar. We have a few bars (45 lbs and others), two sets of dumbbells, and a few kettle bells. We also happen to have a punching bag (wherever did that come from?) and some ropes.
But I do not workout there, other than a set or two of pull-ups during the day (my new goal). Even out here in the desert, I cannot pull myself away from a regular gym for too long. For a week or two, perhaps even three, I can workout in a temporary setting, making due with what I’ve got. Beyond that, motivation and inspiration escape me.
When I learned about the 2.2 Gym, I was skeptical. Surely this haven of fitness could not have eluded my notice for five full weeks. Surely every gym on Leatherneck was full of people, day and night. I remembered my experience at the Area 2 gym at Camp Lejeune – 0430 and full of Marines. So I was hesitant, but decided to give it a try.
It’s a 10-12 minute jog to get to the gym, so on Day 1 I get my running shoes on and step outside. No IPODs are allowed while running outside. You have to be able to hear if something should happen, and our security folks do not want us distracted by music. So it’s a quiet run, just the moon and my thoughts for company. It’s a lovely morning, and I think how lucky I am to be here. A few minutes later, I have arrived.
I might have had trouble finding it, except for the lights on and the familiar sound of plates clanging together (I smiled at that). Going inside, I look around to see the familiar figures of those individuals serious about their workouts – focused on the exercise and weights in front of them. I remember the Pentagon Athletic Center (PAC) and smile, thinking of my friends up at an equally early hour, intent on the daily workout.
All is right in the (well, my) world again.