Friday, July 29, 2011

My relationship with exercise

Almost 14 years old (I think).  Not an athlete.  Not cool.  Super-dee-duper dorky.
I'm going through my drafts folder and finishing some thoughts, so my posts are about to be even more random than usual!

So.  Exercise.

You know, I've never considered myself much of an athlete.  I was a typical kid in the '80s and '90s, riding my bike around the neighborhood with a curfew of "dark" and boundaries in the form of roads I wasn't allowed to cross.  I jumped rope and hula-hooped in the driveway.  I rollerskated (and later rollerbladed) up and down the street, and on the blacktop and ramps at the elementary school within walking distance. 

But I was always picked last in gym class.  I was always the first target in Dodgeball.  I hyperventilated when I had to run a mile.

I even had surgery on my right foot (to remove an "extra" bone and re-attach the tendon!  I might be a freak of nature...) and wore orthotics in middle school.

I played volleyball and ran track in seventh and eighth grade, but I was terrible.  I was much more adept with the fine motor skills (aka playing a musical instrument).

Sometime during high school, and then solidified in college, I realized how terrible I feel if I don't move on a regular basis.  In high school I didn't have much time for exercise.  I found plenty of time the summer before I started college (I was tremendously spoiled that summer) to run with no one telling me what to do and I discovered I really and truly enjoyed it!  My first semester of college brought a repetitive use injury so painful that I ended up with a scribe (seriously) for my homework and exams, so I wasn't practicing my flute six hours a day and again had plentiful time for hitting the gym.  (Sort of an aside - at this point, people started asking if I'd always been an athlete...and I was always bemused and said I still wasn't an athlete...)

I was hooked.  I ran whenever I could.  Sometimes it would be weeks between runs.  Sometimes it was several times a week.  But always I returned to it, and I explored the college town on my own two feet.

My first dates with The Beast involved running.  We ran six miles and he jabbered on about The Simpsons and Spinal Tap (neither of which I was terribly familiar with, because I hadn't watched much television or seen many movies through high school or my first few years of college).

Now, if it has been more than 2 days since I've broken a sweat, I get moody and anxious and snippy.  One night in college, when The Beast and I were dating, I whined to him about not having been on a run in awhile.  "Waaaaah! I've been so busy I haven't gone for a run!  Waaaaaaah!" and The Beast was his usual pragmatic and calm self and told me to go running.  I reminded him that it was midnight, and he simply offered to come with me.

So we went running.  At midnight.  In our little college town.  We saw some other people.  They were drinking and smoking on their porches.

The Beast's attitude hasn't changed (probably because I'm still thoroughly unenjoyable if I haven't exercised!), though these days he's not offering to go with me but, instead, is offering to take the kids or change up his work schedule so I can get a sweat in.  And he sees through my excuses or just makes them irrelevant!

I wrote a bit more about how I squeeze in exercise with the kids here.

Current routine:  Supposedly, I get up at 6AM five mornings a week and follow this 5K training plan.  The Beast is the "Parent On Duty" for long enough for me to eat a quick breakfast, run, and maaaaaaaybe shower.  (Of course, since Squeak is still so young, the boobs are on-duty during that time, too.)  Two of those days, while Bean is elsewhere and hopefully while Squeak naps, I "Bodyrock."

The reality is that I usually get three or four runs in each week, and sometimes Bodyrock doesn't happen - or sometimes I get up late and only have time to Bodyrock.

And I am constantly pushing back my goal of finally running a half marathon.  If my expectations/plans are unrealistic, it's a lot easier to make excuses - so I'd rather set a too-easy goal (right now it's to run a 5K on Squeak's first birthday in under 30 minutes, which The Beast says is much too easy and I say "so?") and meet or surpass it.

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