For awhile I was running on a treadmill at the local recreation center, paying $7 a day ($5 on lunch hour). The room was grey, the cleanliness was questionable, and there were only a few working treadmills. At lunch, that often set me up for some frustration.
I recently joined a local gym for $20 a month. There are fifty treadmills, a circuit of strength training equipment, and plenty of spray bottles for keeping things clean. The only drawback is the arsenal of televisions that are lined up above all the equipment. They are all on, all of time, and set to various channels. There is no way to not look at them while I run, unless I close my eyes. Most people put on headphones and key into whatever channel their television is set to for that moment. I listen to music and watch the infomercial for Tempupedic, the infomercial for LifeLift, the smiling faces of the models who nod in agreement about how improved the 63 year old woman looks after her LifeLift, Obama's last burst of speeches in Florida, the local news, the Phillies players piling on top of one another in a victorious heap.
I run and run but I can't get away from America. I check for jowls in the locker room mirror. Not yet, but I know that's a race I can't win.