I like competition, I think it helps you push yourself harder and further than you would otherwise, so when I’m at the gym working out, it’s always a competition, if I see someone lifting something I have to make sure I lift just a little bit more than he does, it helps keeps things interesting in what otherwise could be considered a monotonous activity…I lift it up…I put it down and repeat!
So the Sauna is no exception, I have to outlast anyone who is in there with me, it’s an unspoken competition, usually the other person or persons have no clue what’s going on…but I do. Sometimes it’s an all-out head game in the cedar box, and I’m in it to win it.
Usually when I’m engaged in a Sauna competition I like to size everyone up who’s in there with me, I look for their flaws, I watch their faces, I monitor how much sweat they are losing, I focus on them so I won’t focus on the fact that it’s like 185 degrees Fahrenheit in there and the constant messages my body is sending to my brain, that it is getting to be a nearly fatal amount of time I have been in there.
The beginning of the competition is always the most fun for me, I casually enter the sauna, making eye contact with everyone, my muscles still pumped from my kick-ass workout I just finished. As I stare at everyone before I take a seat, I give them that look, the look that says “Challenge Accepted.”
So I take a seat, a little too close to my first challenger, I can sense his uncomfortableness as he slowly slides away, leaving a streak of sweaty shame as he does. He adjusts his towel, making it tighter around his mid-section, perhaps fear is griping him, he is unsure of himself now, he has been mentally beaten and from the corner of his eye he watches as I drape my towel across my lap so I can press my haunches into the wooden bench. This is too much for him to handle and he quickly exists the Sauna head held low.
Now I look over to my next challenger, he is older, oblivious as to my intentions. I can tell by the lack of eye contact as I stare him down with my intense Sauna gaze, he has no desire in competing with me, he understand’s my Sauna prowess and he slowly gather’s himself, and exit’s, acknowledging me with a simple head nod. Again victory is mine.
Now I’m down to one last challenger, a young buck, his six-pack abs are a little more six-packier than mine, but he is young and certainly doesn’t have the years of experience that I have behind me in these competitions. It’s getting hot in there, the scent of the wood in here is thick, it reminds me of a cedar coffin whose lid is slowly shutting on me, I’m feeling claustrophobic, trapped, I hold back the urge to scratch at the Sauna door begging for an escape, for freedom. But then I snap back to reality as the sweat burns my eyeball, I look over at my young challenger, he is still in the game, and it is clear he is playing!
I notice that he moved up to the second bench, a rookie mistake, the old pros like me know that it’s an extra ten degrees hotter up there, remember that theory that heat rises? Maybe you missed class that day you young punk. So just stay there, sizzling, dehydrating yourself even more….stupid rook!
So I turn up the heat so to speak, I scoot over so I can casually lean on one elbow and free my loins while my right knee points to the ceiling. I’m using a technique I saw on the old TV show “Kung Fu”, David Carradine was locked in a sweat box and he used this move to break free, it has always been my “go to” move when I feel I’m reaching the limits of my Sauna endurance. My mind goes into a semi-trance, I picture myself on a Montana mountain top, sitting nude in a pile of snow. My body will believe its freezing even as the unbearable heat slowly erodes the edges of my mental toughness.
Interesting Fact…Did you know the only reason your naked skin can tolerate sitting on a Sauna bench is because of Cedar’s low affinity for heat? Oh and countersunk screws help as well.
It’s been eight minutes now, the young punk is bright red, he is rubbing the sweat of his eyes and I can see it is only making matters worse for him, he is trying to hold on, he is trying not to look over at me, I can tell he is in mental hell, he is twitching, like his body is telling him to run out of there, but he is trying desperately to hold it together. I add fuel to the fire by saying “Ahh…now it’s perfect in here” he responds with a cracked voice “Yeah” are those tears or sweat on his face? It’s hard to tell now.
Finally he can’t take it any longer, he stumbles down off his perch, and slithers out the door like a red-headed step child who was left out of the family photo on picture day. I think to myself…What? You’re leaving already dainty hips? Can’t take the heat you little punk?
Now I am alone, I bask in the victory that is mine, a well-deserved one I might add, I outlasted 3 challengers. Now I can’t wait to get the hell out of this sweat box, but I know I can’t rush out right after the youngster left, I have to be cool about it, I must be patient, just relax I tell myself, you got this. So I wait, and I wait for what seemed like an eternity, but perhaps it’s only thirty seconds. Then I get up from the bench, drenched in sweat I slowly shuffle to the Sauna door, I collect myself, knowing I must maintain my image of a Champion. So with a deep breath I push open the door hard, it slaps against the wall and I stroll out of there with my “What Up Bitches” look on my face, that is my Champion look.
Like I said competition is something I thrive on, and when it comes to the Sauna I will beat you, even if it kills me.