Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fitness Evolution

I recently went on a stroller-free walk with my two bigguns. Feeling rather free (and properly sports bra-ed), I gave in to the boys’ incessant pleas for a race. Holy crap! I’m old, slow, and out of shape! I gave them a sizeable head start, and then quickly regretted it. I could beat the 4-year-old (does that deserve a woot woot?), but I had to really struggle to pass the 6-year-old. And then he did a vicious Olympic runner cut-off move and I couldn’t pass him. So, for the remaining races (oh yes, there were multiples, each one successively worse for my self-esteem) I decided to throw Calvin a bone and pull the “Oh, I’m trying so hard (in slow motion), but you’re still just barely beating me!” Who am I kidding? I really was trying so hard… And I’m sure it looked like it was in slow motion. I let them run the last leg of the trip alone and I hobbled down the hill toward our farm thinking back over the many phases of my athletic past:

Elementary school:
My parents forced me to do sports. I remember soccer most vividly. Highlights include cartwheels on the field and the sweet dandelion chain I fashioned while playing goalie. Lowlights include the day I forgot to bring shorts to change into for my game. I was not upset because my skirt would limit my ability to play hard. No, the skirt was red, and it really clashed with our powder blue uniform shirts.

Middle school:
            During this portion of my life I voluntarily went out for volleyball, basketball, track, swim team, and soft ball. My motivation had less to do with competitiveness or athletic prowess and more to do with best friends, cute boys, dugout gossip, and cool T-shirts that would improve my status at school (except the infamous “homos vob” shirt,  that’s another story…) As far as athleticism… One look at a video of my C-team basketball performance and you can pretty much sum my skillz up by the word “spaz.” I was all limbs and no coordination. And I didn’t make up for the clumsiness with a great head for the game. I was pretty proud of my nice, high sets in my volleyball debut, until the coach informed me in a not so pleasant voice you had to get the ball over in three hits. Oops. I did earn bragging rights for kicking my basketball coach’s butt when she ran line drills with us. Never mind that her butt was exceptionally large. Badonkadonk large.

High school:
            Somewhere in high school, things changed. I definitely had some spaz moments (my dad still brags about the game I fouled out of in only 8 second of playing time), but by the time I graduated I managed to make it to state in track all four years, be named to every tournament team my last year of volleyball, make all-conference (honorable mention in one sport and unanimous choice in another), and even made an all-star basketball team (and not for my fouling skillz). Yep. I was pretty much a stud.

            …Or so I thought… I walked on to a Division I track team as clueless as ever. Small fish in a big pond sums it up. Or slow fish in a fast pond. Or fat fish in a skinny pond. These girls were serious! And skinny! And buff! And fast! I had always been about the fastest person on any team I was on. I was now the slowest. Well, there was the 300 pound shot-putter. I think I could beat her. And, with the exception of said shot-putter, I was also the fattest person on the team. Me, the “bean pole” of Hesston High. I tried my  hardest to keep up, but it was a very humbling year. I got beat by a girl who was pregnant. Seriously!
But I worked my butt off. I had to! We practiced two to three hours a day, six to seven days a week. We had to give up soda! And so, I was rewarded by the best body of my life that first year. My freshman 15 was all muscle, baby. I rocked the sports bras and shorty shorts on jogs (though not even CLOSE to as well as all the girls I was trying desperately to keep up with). I shocked frat boys when I casually told them to leave those big weights on the squat rack.  I scored a hot distance runner, MVP-of-the-Cross-Country-team boyfriend. I went home for the summer thinking I was all super-stud, parading around in swimming suits all day as pool manager and working out with the high school football team that summer (Trey, I am so sorry! I now realize how embarrassing it must have been for you having your big, dorky sister showing off in front of your little high school friends.) 
And then I came back to school all in love with my hot distance runner, who was done running, and I was done with it too. I finished my second year with a conference championship ring (yes, I scored a point at a meet! Eighth place, baby, yeah!), but it wasn’t the ring I wanted. So ended my athletic career. I didn’t really miss it until much later. And really, I’ve only ever missed the results of the hard work, not the sport itself.

Early married years:
            I married my track stud after my junior year of college. We moved several miles from our college town and were incredibly busy finishing school and paying bills, but I determined I wasn’t going to “let myself go.” I squeezed in a jog when I could, sometimes sporting the old sports bra/shorty shorts combo, but feeling the need to suck it in more than ever. When I graduated, I took a job teaching and coaching volleyball. I worked out with the players, showing off, I’m sure. I could still beat all of them almost all of the time, so I felt a little bit like a stud again. My fourth and final season as coach I was pregnant. I lifted weights around my growing belly and, despite protests from others, I jumped and jogged up until the day I turned 20 weeks and it was no longer advisable by my doctor. Almost every game I was teased by a ref or an opposing coach that they thought they were going to have to deliver my baby on the court, due to my bench antics. And I loved feeling like I was some kind of super-preggo. When I went into labor with Reed, I felt tough.  When I had to push for an hour and 45 minutes, I felt like a weightlifter. I was totally a stud Mama.
Married, with children:
And that, my friends, is about the end of my athletic prowess. Sure, I got a jog stroller, but it’s only been actually jogged a few times. One of those times, Reed had to ask me if I was ok and why was I breathing funny? I traded the first stroller in for a double-jogger, and that baby has logged some serious miles. But it brakes for feathers, interesting rocks, copperheads, and any puddle holding more than 10 ml of water, so I’m not sure if those miles have really helped my fitness level. There is a fair amount of running after Little Bit these days, but I don’t think you can do that hard-core of a workout at a library… The trampoline kicks my hind end, so I try to jump on that when I can, but only when secured in a sports bra. Motherhood changed the girls somethin’ fierce! But that’s pretty much the extent of my workouts. I try to squeeze in what I can, holding fast to the promise that this phase of life will soon pass and I’ll have a little more time on my hands in the future to devote to personal fitness.

The future:
            I will lose ten pounds of fat, gain five pounds of muscle, and have my college freshman body back again. It will be easy, and it will only take a month or two. It will also be easy to maintain. I may run a marathon, just for kicks. I may even return to coaching some day. Then I’ll embarrass my boys by racing against their girl friends at summer conditioning. In a sports bra and shorty shorts.

1 comment:

Deborah Raney said...

And to think I got to be there for a few of those seasons. I think the dandelion chain phase was my favorite. LOL!