Sports Moms – When It’s Your Turn to Be Inspired

football benchAbout two weeks ago I was brought to my knees by sharp pain and then was overcome with panic.

I thought I had a heart attack.

A little thick around the middle, and always in the kitchen, I made a quick decision to become more active. Not running-marathons-and-and-eating-kelp-sandwiches-active, but more active.

Flashback a billion years to all of the summers, winters, springs and falls that I sat on the sidelines cheering on my athletically gifted kiddo. I drank a lot of tea from drive-thru windows and kept the company of other parents doing the very same thing.  As he ran and played, I was plopped in a lawnchair, making sure that when he looked up, Mom was there. I also spent a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking at 11pm after late baseball games so he went to bed with a full tummy. So my  butt got a little chunky.

I have been all of the following; a baseball mom, a football mom, a cricket mom, a basketball mom, a curling mom, a badminton mom and  a did-you-do-your-homework-mom.

During the past two weeks, I have developed a greater appreciation of my child’s experience during his childhood of sporting.  How much did my presence feel like pushing? How much did it feel like support? I guess I’ll never really know.  What I always hoped was that he was doing something he loved, that made him feel good, and made him feel proud of himself. I wanted my boy to have confidence.

What I do know is that pushing through the discomfort of new levels of physical movement takes some grit. Trust me, I’ve had to have grit a’plenty during my lifetime, but it’s been a mental grit. A determination to get through one day at a time. Physical grit, not so much.

My body has always had a comfortable ease about it. I was built for hugging, cuddling, and lounging during long, philosophical conversations about religion, politics and gender equality issues.   Wine adores my body. So does chocolate, champagne and puff pastry.

So I’m swinging a golf club for the first time, and running my ass off, and sweating. Like a man. It’s not pretty, and parts of me actually hurt.

I can’t help but think of my son. I think of how hard he as worked to accomplish the things that he has. He’s on a national sports team, plays a bahzillion sports, and maintains his grades, and also puts up with a rather flamboyant mamma.

My old bones ache in places where I forgot it could possibly hurt in the first place, and it reminds me of how hard my son has worked and what strength and grace he’s had to develop in order to accomplish  it all.

Running at my little gym, I have an extraordinary view of a public play-space and just beyond that a beautiful lake in the middle of our bustling city. I watch parents come out and play with their kids, some of them shooting baskets, and others, likely tired single-moms like I was, sitting in a chair and keeping an eye on their kids as they play.

portable locker roomI want to go out there and tell those weary parents that it’s all worth it; that team sports and athletics are worth every early morning, every weekend taken up with tournaments, and all of the leaving early and working overtime that has to happen to make it work.  Not because it just keeps their bodies healthy, but because it develops character and forms strong bonds of friendship. I want to tell those parents that gaining an extra ten or twenty pounds is not the end of the world. Missing your kids’ childhood is.

So, this afternoon, when what I really want to do is nap with the cat. I will likely be running my little 30 minute marathon, because my son sets a damn good example and if he can push himself to do it, damn it, so can I.

When you raise an athlete, there comes a turning point where you are no longer their inspiration. Instead, they become yours. It’s a very hard feeling to describe. Pride doesn’t quite cut it, but joy comes close.

 

 

I Need Your Help: Podcasts & My Fat Ass

rsbushesBefore I go on a rant, let me point out that the purpose of this post is to get your feedback…

This morning, on my day off, my precious day off, I woke up early to annoy my kiddo before he set out for school and maybe, just maybe get in a nice walk and some writing.

So, it’s raining, and some big goof ball in a blue shirt just walked all over my daffodil greens while using his  leaf blower. Not only do I subscribe to the theory that the use of the leaf blower is evidence regarding the downfall of civilization (I’m sure Donald Trump has one to shoe away the leftover talcum powder that he spritzes his undies with apres shower).  I also subscribe to the theory that some giant lanscaping a-hole should know enough to not be blaring that ridiculous contraption prior to 9am outside of bedroom windows.

Anyway, with the drizzle and the bad atmosphere at my little writing window, I decided to make my way to the treadmill next door and walk a bit while my laundry was laundering.

Why? Well, because I’ve been unwell and rather inactive lately. Walking is easy exercise, and frankly, I need it.  I’ve done classes, punished my body with hard workouts and long runs, but I just can’t seem to work up the chutzpah to spank myself into fitness submission lately.

I’m more in the mode of loving the goddess. Which means my taste in music has changed. In fact, I want to listen to stories. As a writer, I do believe that we are nothing but the stories we tell ourselves, and that sharing our stories is the spiritual equivalent of excellent nutrition.

Which brings me to my latest fascination; Missing Richard Simmons. It’s a Podcast about the theories surrounding the disappearance of Richard Simmons.

Not only am I fascinated with this story, I’m a big fan of Mr. Simmons. Despite a terrible relationship with my late mother, I fondly remember her telling me to get off my fat, ugly, ass and sweat to the oldies with her. Ah, yes, Richard Simmons.

I’ve listened to TEDtalks and CBC writing podcasts, but there’s something about this one that has me hooked. Maybe it’s the anticipation of an answer about why such a charismatic man decided to duck out.

But I’m almost finished with the series, and I want more really great stories; nothing sinister or dark, just a really, good story and a sincere desire by the storyteller to enhance our lives. With this, I feel like I could walk forever. Fitness could be my bitch.

Please share your podcast suggestions to keep my butt and my heart in shape. Also accepting DVD copies of Sweatin’ To the Oldies. Not kidding.

PS – To GK – give up your argument about massive amounts of leaves, give up the wasted fuel and instead give the neighbour kid thirty bucks and a rake.

 

 

 

Gym Class Flashback

gymclassThere are few things I can recall being worse at than anything to do with High School gym class. I mean, the shorts alone were enough to make me weep, not to mention the knee-socks.

To say I’m not athletic is to say that Harper Lee is a mediocre writer. In other words, I sucked at gym. Other than basketball, and hitting a baseball, I dreaded that class more than anything, and was so thankful that the high-school-credit-gods decided that one was enough.

During gymnastics class I once did a vault and actually knocked my spotter unconscious with my right thigh. The same girl was victim to a line drive when she was pitching to me, which once again rendered her without response. When she offered to stand up in my wedding, I should have known the marriage was doomed.

Tonight, after a two-week hiatus, I took my chubby little buns off to the gym right after work and hit the cardio class. I hate this class. There is no joyful flailing of flab like Zumba or Urban Rhythms. It’s all very practical and ham-string agonizing.

My first clue that something was up should have been the lack of participants in the room. You see, this gym is busy enough that you have to be banded to attend class. It should have been full, but it wasn’t, and then I saw her. A woman who surely was the doppelganger of my High School gym teacher. The one that generations of students and their parents had nicknamed, “Spade-Face”.

Spade-Face inspired fear in the hearts of all girls with breasts. She was like a drill sergeant in purple and gold (our proud school colours) sweats, whistle and baritone bark included. Just looking at her made me pee my pants a little bit.

So, tonight in my mind, it was “Spade-Face” whom I was at the mercy of, with my middle-aged porcelain white thighs and tailored to fit sports bra.  It was a terrible class. She lost count, screwed up, and had the personality of a torn  gusset from a totally used up pair of panties.

But I made it through, without too much gasping or excessive sweating. I actually felt good when I walked out of that studio.

Spandex – the great fashion equalizer. I may wear a suit all day, and provide ‘expertise’, but when we get to the gym, it’s just my glutes and yours darling, and yours win hands-down.

As it turns out, I really wasn’t that bad when it came to athletics. Nope, like most young ladies who were abused, I just had incredibly low self-esteem, and would rather have worn a moo-moo over my svelte 16-year-old body than have anyone see skin.

Years passed, and I shed the skin of victimhood, to find out that I wasn’t such an athletic anomaly as I thought I was. I loved going to the gym, played squash, and even started running when I was in my mid-thirties. I even have a ‘sports’ injury incurred from competitive paddling. Go figure.

So, with this in mind, I have set some new goals for myself after a bit of a lazy go at living. Wish me luck, and I wish you luck too. This getting older may be harder on the ego and bones, but it does wonders for the spirit when we put it all into perspective.

Keeping the Fun in Fitness

Stretching never looked that good!

Stretching never looked that good! (Photo credit: deleted.scenes)

Today was the day I made the effort to reconcile with my friend the gym.

It’s been a while. Since I took to outdoor running and paddling, the stale air of indoors hasn’t held the same appeal.

After having a rotator cuff tear in two places, be repaired and torn again, it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to  abandon ship (my dragon boat team), and get back to the gym.

As much as I will miss being on the water with a great team of women, I know that my shoulder is done. Shot. Finito. Caput.

So, it is with sadness that I leave the river and go back to the gym. Back with gratitude too though, because it’s within walking distance, and I love it.

Combined with my yoga in an oak and stained glass sanctuary, and my running on the trails by the lake, I think it will all balance itself out, and my little, worn out soul will be happy.

Besides the stale air, the gym is also a festering pool of  dodgy material to write about. Writers are always observing. Perhaps we all have a slightly perverse voyeuristic bent, but that’s kinda sexy. Right?

As my torn tendon screamed in pain, I ignored it and focussed instead on some of the general truisms about gym life. I bundled them all up in my teeny, tiny girl brain, and brought them home to share with you;

1) The men who like to have their women covered head to toe in the name of religion, are the first ones to settle into a cardio spot with an excellent sight line to the women’s fitness room. The gym is a haven for sexual hypocrites and perverts.

2) The older you get the less you care about your panties showing above your yoga pants. You just hope you don’t toot or actually shit yourself.

3) Men in spandex all look less than attractive. Unless you’re Channing Tatum or some such masculine delight, wear  something else. Please.

4) Fill-in instructors all have full-timer envy, and make it their mission to push you to that psychological breaking  point where you fantasize about giving them a thong wedgie and a slap.

5) Where there is cinder block, there is sweat and bacteria. I’ve never stretched against a gym wall that wasn’t appallingly moist.

6)  Someone will always hog the piece of cardio equipment you were hoping for. (That’s why I do my running outside.)

7) Gym yoga will always be the cheap, trashy version of the real thing.

8) When you least feel like going, you get the best work-out. Some deep breathing and sweat make you feel alive, and tickle your smile out where everyone can see it.

9) Gym water fountains. Ew. Just ew.

10) Squash courts have always been, and will always be THE very best place to pick up quality men. Trust me on this one ladies.

11) Any class description that includes the word ‘Bootcamp’ makes you want to die, but is totally worth it…in a week or so when you can walk again.

12) Open showers. A good indication that your gym needs a reno.  Shower at home – see number one.

***If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because my right arm mercifully fell off.***

My Muse the News

g&tOk, almost a full week under my belt since the holidays, one gin and tonic in after a good run, and I’m ready to enlighten you, my highly intelligent, gentle, gorgeous readers.

The news is often a muse of mine. More often than not, it’s the soft, girly news that gets me riled, with a lovely blush of course.

Today my first inspiration came by way of fitness gear reviews. Just looking at the The Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Skirt, and I knew I was in for a treat.

Seriously darlings? I almost squirted my gin and tonic through my nose I laughed so hard. My sweeties at Canada Goose, and more importantly, any women who are thinking of purchasing this. Quit – for goodness sake – trying so hard. A down mini? Yes, that’s exactly where I’m cold darlings, my ample, luscious thighs and the warm, cozy womanly wonder that is snuggled underneath. And, yes, what a great idea,  I need something quilted to pad my fat ass. Thanks Canada Goose.

Roxy spandex shorts. I thought they were a headband. No thanks. The poor bloke running behind me tonight was likely traumatized enough with my three layer, granny panty wedgie without having a frill framing the entire tragedy.  Dear fitness designer….chubby chicks need clothes that fit or the rest of the world will poke their eyes out.

Hair goop to tame your fly aways after a work out. Really? Really? There are no ‘fly aways’ after a good workout, only the gleam of glistening. Yes, we glisten my lovelies, we do not sweat. Men sweat, and that’s why we love them. We do not need hair goop, we need great hats, headbands, or fast drying, ultra compact hair dryers.

Frankly it frightens me somewhat (please pour me another my sweet little plum), that the most practical piece of beauty advice came from Lady Gaga (whom, by the way I think is incredibly talented, and a savvy business woman). The Lady’s advice? Smooth some almond oil on freshly washed facial skin right before bed, followed by a light application of your usual moisturizer.  Sensible. You know what I say, sensible is sexy. Please send almond oil.

The centerfold? It was a smorgasboard of 11 moisturizers, all aimed at our delicate, feminine wallets of course.  Prices ranged from $24 to $275. $275 for moisturizer?! Sweetie – no. Just no. Enjoy some healing waters or a massage for half as much, and I guarantee your skin is glowing afterward. Better yet, let your lover moisturize your body for free.

No need to read the silly center-full-colour spread gals. I’ve saved you the work. You can go ahead and focus on real news now.