Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Crunchiest

I entered this contest, hilariously titled the "Bikini Crunch Club" with some friends. All contestants put five dollars in a pot, and then log their exercise throughout the month of March. The person with the most half hours logged wins the cash prize, and the title: The Crunchiest.

I know it's silly. As a rule, I do not wear bikinis. I have graduated to the tankini, aka Mom Suit, and there will be no turning back.
The MomSuit in all its glory.

 I'm not doing this contest because I am trying to have a sculpted body. I'm not doing this because I'm competitive and love to stomp stay-at-home-mother-ass. 

Okay, perhaps that's a factor. 

I'm doing this because it took me until my thirties to recognize the joy of athleticism.

I was a fairly inactive child---I brought my books outside during recess, and preferred reading under a shady tree while my friends played Red Rover or Freeze Tag. I didn't like the beating heart, the red face, or the sweating.

I played tee-ball, basketball, soccer, and softball and reached the same conclusion each time: hand-eye coordination was not my friend.  Volleyball was (and remains) a terrifying activity, involving high speed projectiles, red welts, and forced smiles by my unfortunate teammates. Teammates who tended to say things like, "Why don't you let me cover the entire row?" 

It wasn't until I discovered individual sports that I found my athletic home. It's the pleaser in me. I hated to disappoint others, but I could be wicked hard on myself.

I swam competitively in high school. I didn't win any awards, but I learned that my large, broad shoulders that looked goofy in a camisole arched into a poetic, powerful Butterfly Stroke.

Years later, when I decided I wanted to start running, I learned that my long legs could support me for surprising distances, and my mind could play the mental games needed to keep me on task. 

These experiences helped me gain strength and confidence. Now, however, as I set my sights towards the rest of my life, I'm discovering a new side of athleticism. The fun side. 

I don't compete anymore. I don't need to. 

I take kickboxing classes at the gym, where we punch and kick all the petty annoyances out of our life, while music plays and we laugh. I take dance classes, which is perhaps the bravest thing I have ever done. I look like a drunken stork, but I'm a happy bird as I move to the music. I take yoga, which is holy movement.

And when I run, I turn off the clock and allow myself to feel the grace of my stride, the beating of my heart, and the pure joy of my body. 

In this hour of my life, I've finally turned off the type-A achiever, and I've learned to move and jump and play like a child. 

It's a bit of a miracle, honestly.


SamiJoe said...

Good for you--being active is a feel good activity all around.
Sport is all about finding out what makes you work it-
and don't worry about the volleyball thing...almost everyone is sucky at vball.
Unfortunately, it is not a sport for those who are uncoordinated --after all, you do need to use those hands. (Can you tell that i am good at vball?) Besides, any teammates who would ever make you feel like you were not trying or doing YOUR best-are athletes who you do not need to worry yourself over. They are completely missing the point!
Good luck this month--keep us up-to-date on your progress!

clearness said...

You look great in your momsuit. Now, get down and give me thirty minutes!

blueviolet said...

I wish I had your self-confidence. I doubt I will ever wear a swimsuit of any kind ever again! I wish I could. It doesn't matter how little I am either. I still just don't feel good that bare anymore.

You rock!

mama-face said...

only a movie said...

You look great! Good for you for staying fit and making it fun.

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

Kudos to you! And for the record, I think you look great in your matronly tankini. If I posted a photo of myself in any kind of bathing suit, the entire world wide web would be shut down.

Adoption of Jane said...

You look Fab... I would have to wear the Mom+Mom+Momkini!! I think that's the Great Gramakini!!

My Life in Purple said...

Get yo' crunch on!

On a completely unrelated topic, do you watch Criminal Minds? I'm watching right now, and the victim's name is Nancy Campbell. Stay out of highway rest stops!!

Eternal Lizdom said...

I think you've seen over on my blog that I'm doing the Couch to 5K program and running for the first time in my life. I dream of the day that I can feel even an inkling of the " grace of my stride, the beating of my heart, and the pure joy of my body." I want to feel that so badly!

Cat said...

You look so cute! Have fun getting your athlete on. It's so much fun learning what your body can do. My first venture into that was childbirth and breastfeeding.

Corrie Howe said...

Glad to hear that you've learned to be active as a child...and your boys are probably loving it.

Coby said...

Well put! I know that once I started exercising just to be healthy and feel good, my whole attitude toward it changed...AND I lost weight!

The tankini (Mom bathing suit) totally works because it has lots of cleavage!

Angie Muresan said...

Good for you! I started working out seriously in my 30's because it seemed that I was getting older before my friends. I cannot describe how much better I feel, or how much more I like the way I look.

Marla said...

"In this hour of my life, I've finally turned off the type-A achiever, and I've learned to move and jump and play like a child."

I am totally jealous

Frau said...

You could totally rock a bikini! I wear a tankini my hubby says thats not a swim suit it's a tennis outfit! I wish I could find the enter child in me and just run. Have a great day i hope you kick those other moms ass!

4 Lettre Words said...

LOVE this idea! (And, you look great!)

Melani said...

Yes, I agree with everyone else, you look awesome! Doing some sort of exercise and shedding some unwanted lbs can do wonders for us...even make us feel more sexy for our hubby... :)

noisycolorfullively said...

beautiful post! I love "poet, powerful"

Now if only that were the motivation I needed to join you. Alas, I'm still reading 'neath the trees and rockin' my fat day jeans, which have now turned into fat year jeans.

When did I become my Mom said...

Seriously, this just made me want to give you a hug! Go you! I wish I could find that push to go get out there and get active. When I was younger and fitter, I used to tell my Mom "I could just walk forever". I could pace myself and let my mind keep me going - I think I relate a little to what you say about running.


Bethany said...

love this writing and way of thinking, remembering and moving now. Wow.

Unknown Mami said...

You're hot! Deal with it.