Sunday, December 30, 2012

The dog days are over

Here are some things you should know about me:
When I exercise, I turn bright red--pretty much immediately.
I also sweat, a lot. Even if it is cold outside.

I stomp everywhere I go.
In the ridiculous dance class that I attend I never float across the floor. I awkwardly jerk my way through the songs, dripping sweat from my ruddy cheeks.
You would think I'm a 7 foot tall lumberjack based on the echo of my footfalls, but I'm lying when I tell you I'm 5'3" (5'2.5", so what???)

Any exercise related to building core strength automatically makes me want to puke. When we do hip openers in yoga, I cry. Every time.

Nobody has ever looked at me and thought : "Wow, there goes an athlete."

Least of all *me*.

And yet.
Over the last two years, I've come to recognize how necessary exercise is to my well-being.
My mental well-being as much as my physical well-being.

For a long time roller derby was my sport of choice. In retrospect, I think I enjoyed the community and social aspects more so than the actual sport. I tried to get back into it after a year-long hiatus but quickly learned that my community had dispersed. The new skaters were really driven and I'm positive they are lovely women--but I couldn't make it work for me. The sport that used to build me up left me feeling flat.

 And so I walked Ruthie all over town. Miles and miles--every day while the big kids were at school. While I waited to for YH to join us. While I tried to figure out who this new, work-in-the-home version of "me" was. I walked the dog and I looked around and I got lost in the doubts that filled my head.

My legs were tired at the end of our walks, but my heart was heavy.
I was lonely.
I missed my work friends, my roller derby friends.
My old life, and my old support systems.
Somehow they had all disappeared.
(the "somehow" had a lot to do with my retreating from the world during my darkest times; turns out when you are hiding from the world, life goes on for everyone else)

When YH joined us, and school started, and pneumonia hit, all of the "free time" I spent wandering through the streets suddenly disappeared.

And I started to go a little crazy.
A little unhappy in my skin, disconnected from my limbs, get-me-out-and-moving kind of crazy.

The first step was to join a gym that I had heard a lot of my fellow former derby friends talk about. The thought of attending a group aerobic hip-hop dance class seemed just absurd enough to rock my world. I am sooooo not coordinated, but I *am* an enthusiastic dancer with a secret love for young-person music.

I take my place in the back row two times per week and I leap and spin and fake my way through all kinds of fancy footwork. I feel silly and I laugh at myself, and I have the BEST TIME.
It's awesome.

A few weeks ago I added a once-per-week bootcamp led by one of my favorite people in the world.

As an aside: Have I told you that a large number of my friends became personal trainers when they stopped playing roller derby? Do you know how intimidating it is to to go out to dinner/the movies/coffee with a pack of women who look like they stepped off the cover of a fitness magazine? When you're wearing increasingly stretchy pants? It's not fun.

BUT. One of my newly-minted-personal trainer friends manages to be all inspiration and motivation, with very little intimidation. I love her for that, and I think she is the *perfect* personal trainer. I want to work harder for her; for ME.

And slowly, my confidence in myself has come back. I am finding ways to fill the post-derby community/exercise void. I am learning to believe in my own strength again.

Recently, I found a new piece of the puzzle.

A friend encouraged me to apply for a half-marathon challenge.
And as it turns out, my application was selected to be the sponsored athlete to train for the race and receive a TON of support and perks.


And y'all?

(and scared. I'm pretty scared, too).

But I can do this.

Before yesterday, a 5K was the longest distance I've ever run.

Yesterday I ran 4.2 miles.
On Friday I'm going to run 5 miles.

And then 6.
And then 8.
And so on, up to 13.1 miles.

I'm going to turn bright red and I'm going to sweat like crazy the whole way through.
And that's ok with me.

I *am* an athlete. I'm a short, slow, clumsy, stompy athlete.


  1. We can be awesome together- welcome, runner lady friend!

    1. I am so crazy excited to run all crazy-like while we listen to Pitbull and giggle.

    2. There has been an occasion or two where whomever I was running with made me laugh so hard that I had to stop running because I couldn't breathe. True story. I'm not sure I've ever made someone laugh that hard but I am a good story-teller, ha!

  2. Yay N! I'm going to start running too. My goal is the Disney World half next year... so I have a whole year to become a runner. :)

  3. OK this is so weird. I posted a big long comment this morning from my Iphone but it never made it. So hopefully it won't randomly show up later.

    Here's what I think I said: hooray for running! I've been a runner most of my life but only through the infertility and adoption angst did I really embrace it, and only since the babies have been home have I really enjoyed it. Go figure.

    As far as distance running goes...I truly believe it is 90% mental (if not more). How else would I have been able to run 31 miles without stopping on crazy trails?

    Hit me up if you're looking for any good reads on running :)

  4. MTL: no lie, you're totally my inspiration. You, and your stories of your dad's running legacy, really really lit a fire under me to do this.

  5. no words to say how much this means to are absolutely amazing!!!

  6. This is wonderful, and I relate to a lot of it. I, too, turn bright red when I exercise, and I've never considered myself much of an athlete. This is an inspiring post.

  7. I can so relate. I've played sports all my life, but having kids took a lot of that workout time and motivation away from me. Thanks to this race, I'm finally doing something I always wanted to do -- be a runner and participate in a race. I hadn't planned on my 1st race being 13,1 miles, but whatever. We can do this!