When I got to the gym earlier this evening there were two guys already there, using the treadmills adjacent to the trainer I use. Normally the place is deserted when I go there - a fact I tend to take for granted, but which is a reminder of how privileged I am to have the whole place to myself so often. Anyway, I duly got on with doing my thing just now, trying to find my usual rhythm despite the distraction of having other folk training quite close to me for once.
I realised quite quickly that the guys were doing some kind of interval training, and it was obviously serious stuff for them. They varied the speed of the treadmills, going from quite a gentle pace to a really high speed, and then coming back down again. Then they went and did some quite intense stuff with weights, involving real huffing and puffing, only to come back to the treadmills. Initially I found their stint on the treadmills a wee bit off-putting. Their variation of pace made it a bit difficult to get a firm fix on my own. But it wasn't that much of a problem and, somewhat to my surprise, I found myself a decent rhythm with some ease. I might add that all this was accompanied by the music they'd put on, which itself kept switching between various tempi.
They left the gym about five minutes before I finished my stint, and I found the silence refreshing - but I can't honestly say their presence there had bothered me. In a curious way it had helped me focus in the mild challenge it posed. In fact, I spent quite a few minutes as I exercised meditating on the value of distractions as offering the possibility of developing a conscious discipline related to focus. I don't exactly welcome obstacles, but they can be surprisingly useful.