Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting a Move On

As a kid, I always hated PE. Back in the days when we didn’t have a school gym, I’d pray for rain so we could stay in and play bingo. The worst was the Presidential Fitness Test. There was no way I was going to hang in the air with my chin above the bar for a nanosecond, and certainly not the 8 seconds that apparently 60% of kids could. (The year I finally made it into the hallowed 60%, my teacher was checking her stopwatch and I just kind of dangled from the bar, looking up at it. Somehow, that counted.) When I got to high school, I was introduced to the new horror or the governor’s test, which I don’t remember clearly but seem to recall involved running until you puked. Thank heaven for college where all I had to do was play badminton and learn to dance the Cotton Eyed Joe. (Seriously, I think there was a candle making course that would have fulfilled my requirement.)

I dabbled in exercise here and there over the years, occasionally using my parents’ treadmill (after shoving off the random clothing that festooned it regularly) or going to my dad’s fitness club (under my mom’s name, until they figured out I wasn’t married to a man old enough to be my father). Then my dear husband (then boyfriend) started suggesting taking walks around his neighborhood (we got bored easily). A fine enough activity, but after about 15 minutes, he would just take off running, leaving me behind until he circled back. Let’s just say I wasn’t often in the same lovely mood when he returned.

After we moved into our house and had Sammy, I needed something to get me moving and help me get into shape (I’d say back, but as evidenced above, I was never in shape in the first place). I’m too cheap frugal to join a gym and deal with childcare, so I decided to try running. I’m not sure how I came to that conclusion, given my history, but one day, I put on my shoes and headed out into the neighborhood. I went up to the nearby middle school track and just started.

That was 3 ½ years ago. Today, I run 3 times a week, sometimes 3 miles if I’m pushing a kid or 2 in the stroller, sometimes 5 or more if I’m on my own. It’s not a lot, and I’m certainly slow, but I try to keep it going. Even when I’m just getting up to running 2 miles without stopping, feeling quite proud of myself, only to read an e-mail from my best friend detailing the completion of her first marathon. Yeah, that’ll knock you down a peg or 2. I’ve added other things, like Leslie Sansone’s fitness walks (thanks to my sister, who lost a whole bunch of weight by walking, and she’s just amazing) and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (thanks, Sis and Sundry). No one is more surprised than I am that I’m doing this. I’m still the kid who hates PE.

All of this is to say I’m supremely ticked off that my knees are revolting these days. Come on, I’m doing this for you. Step up and join the team, Knees. Man, I feel old.

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