Monthly Archives: March 2009

Changing It Up

            Boredom.  All moms hate to hear their children whining “I’m bored.”  So, most of us have put a ban on the phrase in our own homes.  Unfortunately boredom doesn’t seem to happen only to our children.  I recently discovered that “I’m bored.”  I am tired of going to the gym lifting weights/running, lifting weights/stairstepping, lifting weights/jumping rope.  I had felt like I was mixing it up and I was but I think there is only so much of the same thing a person can take. 


            So I have begun a quest.  The search for additional fun in my workout.  Those who know me will be shocked as I have proven to be a bit of a purist in my routine.  I don’t do classes.  I don’t do yoga because I don’t have the patience.  I don’t do pilates for basically the same reason.  And I most certainly don’t do aerobics or any loud pumping music where we all line up and follow an instructor like something out of 42nd Street.  I do free weights with the big boys.  I do the treadmill and the stairstepper because they are in front of ESPN and because my toddler is just too big for a jog stroller anymore and I am forced to.  I don’t step outside of those parameters. 


            Well, I didn’t anyway until yesterday.  Yesterday I just couldn’t face the weight room or the treadmill again.  I was tired and cranky and needed something a little more fun.  I needed some pumping music with some very specific directions from an instructor who was not just in my head.  I needed a… gasp, I can’t believe I am going to say it…  I needed a class.  Mondays at my gym have always been my least favorite day.  Not because of the beginning of the week syndrome you would expect.  No, Mondays are Clubbing Cardio days, where women from the area converge on “my gym” for the morning to take Brian’s class.  I don’t know if it is so they can stand behind him and watch him grooving to the music or because they can pretend they aren’t housewives just for the morning.  They can pretend like they are still the clubbing kind of girls they were ten or fifteen years ago.  But they all love it.  The parking lot is full every Monday morning.  The treadmills are full as they all warm-up for the class and worse yet the hall is full of chatting women while I try to make my way between cardio machines and free weights.  I hate Mondays at my gym and apparently I haven’t hidden that feeling very well. 


            Yesterday as I walked into the Clubbing Cardio class I could feel everybody’s eyes on me.  Some women even approached me with “But you don’t do classes” and a little laugh.   But others who I have silently mocked for being the “class” kind of exerciser approached me to have me stand behind them and follow along.  In my list of why I don’t do classes I may have left something out.  I am a bit of a klutz.  My biggest fear at the gym is that I will go flying off of the treadmill.  Before that it was that I would drop a big forty five pound weight on my ankle while the weight room was packed.  I am not so afraid of that any more as I have discovered it doesn’t hurt all that bad and only a few people even acknowledge it when it happens.  These people who did acknowledge it were the same women who offered to guide me through the class.  They are the ones who know that just because I look fit doesn’t mean I am actually coordinated. 


            The class is exactly what it sounds like.  Low lights, loud music and fast movements.  Not exactly the place for a klutz.  But no one seemed to mind as I fumbled my way through the class.  I never made it to the point where I could believe I was actually dancing and I know that no one around me would have described any of my movements as graceful.  Think more along the lines of Elaine from Seinfeld.  No, it wasn’t pretty, but it was fun. And it was exercise.  My heart raced, my legs burned and I left a nice sweat puddle all around me so I can count it in my exercise log.  (See I told you I am a bit regimented.)  But the best bit was the workout my abdominals received from the intense belly laughs I couldn’t help but emit as I stumbled and fumbled my way through, hoping beyond hope that Brian wouldn’t have us change directions putting me in front of those I had been following. 


            I don’t think I will change my workout philosophy and become a class junkie but I do think I will try new things and I will certainly have more respect for those “class exercisers.” 

Originally appeared in’s March 2009 Newsletter


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The Gods Conspire

The Gods Conspire


There are mornings when I wake up that I feel like putting out my claws and fighting tooth and nail to stay in that bed or at least in the house.  Days when the endorphins I get from working out seem like a pure myth.  These are the days that my two year old seems to pick to fight me tooth and nail as well.  He wants to stay home instead of going to play with his friends.  Or he simply refuses to eat breakfast or get dressed or go to the potty.  These are the days that a great idea for an article pops into my head and I start to convince myself that I just have to stay home and complete that article or clean that closet or anything but head out of that door for a two hour run.  They are usually the same mornings when I know it is going to be cold or rainy or just plain nasty outside.


This happened to me on Sunday.  First of all I knew scheduling a long run that morning was going to be impossible which meant pushing it off to the afternoon and squeezing it in between the toddler’s nap and the older children’s soccer practices.  But I have learned to play tricks on myself so the first thing I did upon rolling out of bed was to throw on my running tights and a base layer for my run that I was sure would eventually come.  That was as far as I got though as child number two began yelling about her uniform. 


“Where are my shin guards?”


I am not sure why she bothers with this question because she is always answered with sarcasm.  “I don’t know sweety.  The last time I wore them I put them…Oh wait, I don’t wear them do I?”  But of course, I head down the stairs and start looking for all that is needed for game number one of the day. 


I am very sad to admit that one of my favorite things about Sundays is that I can do our weekly grocery store run without kids.  I know what you are thinking.  Wow, her life is so glamorous.  But really, for me a morning at the grocery store without a two year old running down the aisles while I randomly throw things into my cart is an absolute dream.  So as soon as kid number two is dressed and heading to game number one with daddy and kid number three in tow I head to my oasis.  Its still not a run but I am in running clothes and it is bound to happen.


Without a two year old my shopping goes fast enough to make the tail end of child number two’s game before heading back to the house to empty the groceries and feed kids one through three and play one more trick on myself to make sure the run actually happens.  I can’t run on a full stomach so I fix myself my prerun snack.  And this is when I realize the gods are starting to conspire against me.  First, there is a rumble to my tummy that simply shouldn’t be there.  And secondly, I look out the window and am filled with horror as I see rain, snow and sleet pouring down onto my deck.  Seriously.


Change of plans.  I don’t mind running in the cold.  And I sometimes like running in the snow.  I will even run in the rain if it is warm out but thirty degrees and rain/sleet/snow was just not going to happen.  So, as my children continued eating their lovingly prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I headed up the stairs, changed into shorts and a sleeveless top and lowered my long run from a thirteen miler to a ten miler.  I simply refuse to run longer than that on the treadmill. 


I tag teamed my husband and headed out the door.  Alone again.  Twice in one day, alone.  “Wow,”  (you’re thinking again right?) “glamorous!” 


That is how I felt too.  Trudging in my shorts through the nasty ice and rain to make it through the parking lot and up the stairs and finally into the warmth of my gym.  Glamorous.  But those gods can be tricky, they can get your hopes up and dash them before you know what hit you.  As I made my way into the cardio room I couldn’t believe my luck.  There stood my favorite treadmill and no one was using it.  My lucky day.  I thought to myself, that maybe just maybe this long run on a treadmill wouldn’t be too bad.  Then I started.  The first three miles were okay.  I listened to my podcast and pretended that that reflection in front of me was another runner I would eventually greet along the lonely trail, but no.  Once again, here come the gods conspiring against me and my run.  Suddenly that rumble in my tummy started again and I knew I would have to make a pit stop.  My first thought was “Wow, aren’t I lucky I am running in the gym today with a lovely bathroom just down the hall.”  But I came back and a walker, yes a walker, had jumped on my treadmill, relegating me not only to another less perfect treadmill but one in the very back row, behind all of the other walkers.  Fine, I thought.  A treadmill is just a treadmill.  I still have my podcast about the lovely couple who met unexpectedly in China, all is fine.  That is, all was fine until this treadmill that I was relegated to stopped.  That’s it.  Just stopped after only six minutes.  So I change treadmills once again. Only this one wasn’t fine.  No matter how much I wanted to ignore that extra hop at every step because the wheel wasn’t catching the belt I was obliged after only ten minutes on this one to stop and change once again.  Luckily, my favorite treadmill had opened up again so I headed over there.


Unfortunately, my groove had totally been disrupted.  This was no longer a long run.  This was torture.  I started doing that thing I do when I know my run isn’t working.  I started calculating.  What have I run and how much more do I have to do?  Suddenly the lovely couple on my podcast is just background noise.  Suddenly, the numbers are all I can think about.  Thirty minutes before I had to go to the bathroom, six minutes before the treadmill broke, ten minutes on the totally disturbed treadmill.  Forty six minutes.  As much as I would like to be an optimist and say, I was more than half done with this run, I couldn’t.  All I could think was forty five more minutes of pure boredom and the god’s only no what other kind of torture would be dished onto my run.  So I tried one more trick.  “Five minutes.  Five more minutes and you’re done.”  I told myself.  This worked for another fifteen minutes but then my brain gave in.  No more tricks.  No more gods conspiring, I was heading home. 


But I was wrong.  There was one more trick.  And once again it was played on me by the gods who conspire against us long distance runners.  I walked out the front door of the gym and the rain/snow/sleet had stopped.  The sun was shining and even in my shorts it wasn’t so bad. Well, we all know…the gods will conspire.

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