I’m no athlete.
Anyone who’s attempted to play volleyball with me knows this. No, I still do not understand how my face got tangled in that net. These things just happen. But I’m so glad we can laugh about it together. And by “together” I mean I’m so glad I can recall your taunting laughter while I ugly-cry alone in my closet. You monsters.
Let’s just say I’ve been known to break my ankle doing mock-jetes. And if I make it through a standard-sized door frame without ramming my shoulder into one side, I feel very graceful. Like a lady-panther.
Naturally, growing up I was always chosen last to play any given sport. I suspect it was a combo rejection- rejecting both my lack of athletic ability AND my reluctance to look anyone directly in the eye. Maybe it was my gold-framed molester glasses- heaven knows they were off-putting. But there were even more valid reasons: I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t spike, dribble, kick, throw, spin, fake, volley, pass or do any other unnatural thing to The Ball except hit it squarely with my stupid face. And that wins you no points in a game or in life.
Mr. Rogers would have been disappointed in me. I stopped trying. I walked the mile and felt very rebellious. “I don’t even care.” I said to myself very rebelliously in my disconcerting eye-wear. “I don’t even LIKE fitness or coordination or winning. I’m going to go read by myself and NEVER RUN AGAIN.” And I didn’t.
I did read a lot which is actually really good because reading is important as well as rad. But I didn’t run unless it was toward something super exciting/ delicious or unless I was rescuing my children from rogue geese- short sprints at most. Then a couple years ago my brother started running. And he seemed to really like it so, forgetting how much I detested exercise, I figured I’d give it a go. I started running.
What I did can’t technically be considered “running”. I performed an awkward jog (silent “j”) wearing a sports bra and my pajamas once a week for three weeks until I was like, “I got this. No need to waste my reading time. I got things to do!” And I stopped.
About six months later I decided I should definitely start exercising for reals. I bought running shorts and made an armband out of leftover elastic and safety-pins for my phone so yeah, I was ready for pretty much anything. I got on the treadmill and ran forty-five minutes straight, hurt like a MOTHA, and told my husband I needed time to recover to prevent further injury. Like six months time.
Things continued on in much the same way for over a year not because I didn’t want to be fit. I just wanted other things more. More than wanting to own my body, I wanted Kneader’s delectable Chocolate Mousse Dome. More than wanting to be healthy, I wanted to enjoy my down time . More than wanting to reach my goals, I wanted to lie very still and watch New Girl.”I don’t even care,” I said to myself, “I don’t even LIKE being superficial and health-conscious, and wearing age-appropriate clothing! I’m going to go read by myself.” And I almost did. But then my husband had the worst idea ever. He wanted to do the Insanity fitness program with Shaun T. And he wanted me to do it with him.
He showed me the commercial and we had a good, hearty laugh at all the idiots exercising and stuff. It really got the blood flowing. “We can do this!” He promised me. I was skeptical. “I will give you a present.” He promised me. I felt like it couldn’t hurt to try- I mean, since when did looking like an idiot stop me from doing anything? But it did hurt. A lot.
For nine weeks- six days a week- we spent forty-five plus minutes working it out like freaking lunatics. I tried to tell Andy I was sore and needed time to recuperate but he couldn’t hear me over Shaun T’s maniacal encouragement so I kept going. I kept trying even when I remembered that I’m no athlete. I kept planking and high-knee running and mountain-climbing until I collapsed in a heap of sweaty self-abuse and protein drinks, Shaun T haunting my dreams at night- “Remember to keep your knees soft when you jack! JOSH! This s*** is ba-nanas! There is no escape!” With a vague sense of spandexy dread I got up and did it again the next day. And day by day- week by week- I improved! I became stronger, more flexible, gained endurance and haunches to rival a mother gazelle.
Funny, I didn’t lose a pound doing Insanity. I didn’t magically transform into a perfectly toned and tanned cover-model who has never had a baby either- but rather gained a greater respect and appreciation for my body and what it is capable of. I appreciate being able to run with my kids. I love being able to knee-board and play Just Dance. I love sprinting up the stairs and not feeling winded. I love throwing on clothes and feeling confident that no one will notice or care if I’m not perfect- (so what if they do?) because I feel so good. And while I’m still clumsy, still prefer reading to exercising, still enjoy a Chocolate Mousse Dome now and then- I am determined to live a more balanced life. A life where I participate in the Zombie 5K (October 12th!) A life where I take 20 minutes a day to feel my heart beating and my blood pumping (Jillian Michaels!). Because I appreciate that I can. And besides, you never know how and when planking could come in handy confusing the undead threat. Particularly an undead threat lead by an infected but ever-enthusiastic Shaun T. “Keep your knees soft when you gorge yourself on innards! JOSH!”