I wish I could say I’m one of those really athletic types, but I’m afraid my prowess was accurately noted in seventh grade when I accidently shot Betty Dykstra in the calf with an arrow during archery in gym class. I’m a pretty good swimmer, had a proclivity for golf at an early age but wanted to spend my summer days drenched in baby oil and iodine at Stehli’s Beach rather than pursue whacking a little ball around. Let’s just say my exercise regimen has been spotty. In the eighties I wore leg warmers during step aerobics and have the crunchy knees to prove it. And with the big hair and big glasses I fit right in. I did take tennis lessons with my husband and was better than he was and I didn’t let him win so we stopped taking lessons. Then we got divorced. I never played tennis again. I did a half marathon once. In the pouring rain. I ate the hugest steak after. And ached for about a week. I have a edal to prove it somewhere.
I am a strange anomaly. I am a left-handed person who does all sports right handed. I think that has to do with age. They handed me scissors and I used them with my right hand. But those desks…and loose leaf notebooks. Wait, this has nothing to do with sports other than the fact that about two weeks ago I decided “enough.” Time to get back to exercise other than the walks I take with Riley and Harley each morning. But…what to do? A high school friend, Annie Durkin lives here in San Diego and loves Jazzercise. So I looked up the schedule…about three months ago. I used to love yoga. I found a couple of places near home and looked up the schedule…about three months ago. But now with my declaration of “enough” I started seeking. My doctor said “walk forty-five minutes in one direction and then head home.” Yeah, sure. I said, “let’s start small and head for the beach.” So I went to the beach. I took deep breaths and in an instant I remembered just how much I love the smell of salt air. There is nothing quite like it. If you grow up near salt water it is truly ingrained on your soul. I walked down the sea wall path the first day to Life Guard Stand 37 and back to the lot where I parked my car. A half hour. Ok…that was good.
The next day I made poor Harley and Riley walk farther. Riley was on board but Harley has a very set schedule and breakfast at 8:00AM is etched in his brain. He kept putting his leash in his mouth and dragging me in the opposite direction. OK, pound puppy. Next day I decide to find out just where the sea wall ends and park my car on the street above the parking lot and climb down 50 steps at Lifeguard Stand 36. I head North to find out where the sea wall ends. It ends with a steep hill up to the street and as I walk back to my car I think “OK…down stairs don’t count as much as upstairs do but that hill sucked.” Forty-two minutes. Works for me. I am inching up to that 90 minutes one step at a time. And don’t 50 steps count for something? Even if they’re going down?
That afternoon I was meeting a good friend. We’d reconnected after years apart after I moved to San Diego. Such bliss! We decided to hit golf balls and then attempt a game at some future date. I forgot to mention that somewhere in the 1990’s I dated a great completely wrong for me guy, who was an excellent golfer so I played once again. Muscle memory is amazing and I’d accumulated not one, but two sets of golf clubs that we moved from city to city over the past seven years. Jay, a non-golfer, commented upon each move, “so we really have to take these?” So glad I always said “yes.” We whacked those balls…about 60 each. By the time I went to bed I thought perhaps I had overdone my activity that day.
When I awoke the next morning I was more certain. I don’t know about you, but mornings are the great equalizer in the muscle equation. Somehow sleep, no matter how fleeting, along with lying dormant bring those facts into clear view. I got out of bed and said “ouch.” But I was determined to get up and walk through it because I had promised to go to a Jazzercise class at 8:45AM. I admit to being insane. I will do nothing for months and then…well, do this. The Jazzercise class is about two minutes from my house. I got there and discovered that instead of whatever Jazzercise is they were doing body sculpting today. Body sculpting? The ship sailed on that years ago. What I’m hoping for now is a small reduction in my bat wings. But I soldiered on with the weights and the mat and the plastic rope thingy.
To me a long soak in a hot tub is about the best way to end a day. Add candles and bubble bath and I’m happier than I can express. Two days later I decided to park in the parking lot and walk in a circle. Yet the circle includes walking UP the stairs. All fifty-five of them.
My friend and I have played golf since…I have walked the walk. I have climbed the stairs. My body accepts and rejects these advances toward fitness with amicable distaste. I recognize this and agree. Yet I am enjoying the resurgence of endorphin, that marvelous chemical that tells my brain “I feel better.”
When will it tell my body?
We shall see.