Let’s get physical

One month ago I joined a gym. This is of some surprise since I don’t care for gyms. But one of my co-workers is very active and we found one close to our work. We’ve become efficient with our lunch hour and can be desk to desk within a hour, giving us time to change, drive to the gym, work out for 30 minutes and reverse the process.

The amazing thing? I love it. I’ve realized that I don’t like gyms but I like going with a friend. By nature I’m an indoor kid. Give me a book, mug of tea and a blanket any day, and I’m happy as can be. But I like doing things with friends, which is why I was able to do the Couch to 5K program for two summers. Last summer without any friends to do it with, I ran once. Count that: 1 time.

The gym led me to sign up for one of their personal trainers. It was something I have thought about for years. And I did it. I chose a trainer who said “hi” to me every day. Someone who did my initial fitness assessment and was compassionate, considerate, and understood that I need to place tiny goals in front of myself. “Dreams have no deadline,” he said to me.

I’ve had two sessions with Josh, this tall, fit person the opposite of what I am, and I can honestly say that it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It is a privilege, but I no longer think of it as an extravagance. This is the body I have, the body I battled with for more than two years, and it didn’t work in the way I wanted it to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome and it did its job keeping me alive and disease-free, but I felt as if I was locked in a war with my insides, and frankly, ignored my outsides. I have 10 more sessions with Josh and I’m doing the best I can. That includes making labor-like noises and any sound in between. But it’s an hour of pushing myself physically more than I have in years. I mean, years. My legs wobble at the end of a session and for days afterwards. Muscles that I never thought I had ache. I get through some of the exercises with sheer will. My face raining, I chant to myself, “I’ve had a child. I can do anything.”


Active Adventures

I am not a naturally active person. Even as a child I was an “indoor kid,” preferring to read inside, no matter how pleasant the weather. I have to consciously make an effort to move and exercise, no matter how much I enjoy the way it feels or the results. For those reasons I’ve regularly attended yoga class for three years and started up the Couch to 5K program again after quitting in the fall when it became too cold outside.

CH is also naturally an indoor kid, preferring to listen to music, make art and read. He had an active yoga practice in the past, but has been a runner for more than a decade. He is also graced with some fantastic genetics. Not many people can eat bagels and cereal before bed and look as good (in my opinion) as he does.

Before we had Miss Red, or before we had any kids, I would joke, “Ug, what if our kid wants to play SOCCER.” It would mean standing outside, in the heat, cheering for other kids with runny noses. Obnoxious, right?

Miss Red had been a cautious child physically, until recently. We’re weren’t worried. She was a late walker, is slower to try new items on a playground and generally takes her time with new pursuits. That’s fine. One of my favorite stories about CH as a child is when he climbed a tree. According to my mother-in-law, he first looked at the tree, then climbed a few feet and came down. Then climbed a little more and came down. Then a little more. And a little more, until he had reached the top. It’s very much how he is now, approaching and tackling new challenges by slowly attacking them.

Swinging for maximum slide speed

Last fall we enrolled Miss Red in a toddler soccer class. I know, I know, but it was at the nearby Goodman Community Center, and we wanted to get her involved in sports in case she was indeed an indoor kid and needed a sample of something else. We shouldn’t have been surprised, but she really, really liked it. Granted, her attention span, and the attention span of others in the class was typical of their age, with kids resting in goals and wandering around, but she had lots of fun. Since then, she’s embraced more activity. This spring she hopped on her trike and peddled away, confidently. She started climbing on everything at the park – reaching the highest rung of the climbing structure, or balancing on different areas of the playground.

I know that much of this is due to her age, but seeing her fearlessness unfold has been so fun. I remember being a fearful child, somewhat risk adverse and embarrassed by my size. Seeing this smiling, swinging and balancing redhead is just the activity I needed all along.

Miss Red and CH

– MD


This week, I run my first 5K. I started training 7 weeks ago, from what one could describe as a place of dubious physical fitness.

I have never run a 5K or anything close to it.

I’m slow. It’s going to take me a while. But I will run. And I will finish. This I know.

I know I will finish because I run for my daughter. I run for my sweet Iris, for her future. I run because a parent’s weight is a major predictor of their child’s weight. I run because I know the pain of being an overweight child. I run because I want Iris to see me trying, even when it’s not easy, even when I want to stop with every step. I run because if I can do it, she can do it. I run so she knows that she can do anything.

I know I will finish because I run for my husband. I run for the support he’s given me throughout our 10 years. I run because he’s always made me feel beautiful, even when I don’t look it or feel it. I run because I want to have as many years together as we possibly can.

I know I will finish because I run for myself. I run because I can, because I’m healthy and strong. I run to clear my mind, to chase away the blues. I run because with every step, I see the faces of my beautiful family. I run because I don’t want to take one second of this life for granted.

I know I will finish because I feel myself changing my life.


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