August 27, 2006

Aerobic Adventure

This weekend I took the kids to a family fun day at a nearby park, put on by a local crime prevention organization (M's worked almost every Sunday this month, plus extra meetings and a guys-only day trip to a major league baseball game -- in case you're wondering why it's always me and not we on outings lately.) It included face painting, obstacle courses, simple games and prizes, dogs you could read to (how cool is that?), and best of all -- LARGE, INFLATABLE TOYS. You know...those gigantic, towering new toys that have replaced the old moonwalks we had when we were kids?

There was the traditional moonwalk/bouncy house, a huge slide with a rock climbing sort of wall in the middle, and a gigantic "Jurassic Survivor" obstacle course. You inserted your child in a hole, they climbed a wall, fell down the other side, squeezed through a pair of rollers, ran through a tunnel, cliimbed up a wall that looked nearly straight up and two stories high and then they zoomed down one of the steepest slides I've ever seen...out between the legs of a dinosaur. All this in inflatable, cushioned safety. It was a kid's and overprotective parent's dream.

Sass started small with the moonwalk, but soon was flying up the steep, steep wall of the Jurrassic Survivor. Over and over again, she ran from one to the other to the other -- climbing, sliding, bouncing, climbing, flinging herself down slides. A dad next to me remarked, "I'm getting tired just watching them."

It made me think -- when do we lose our zest for exercise? Sass was a sweaty, red, heaving mess -- but stopped for a drink and dove back in. She loved every minute of it and only after two and a half hours of it was willing to quit. When was the last time I exercised for two and a half hours AND had the time of my life doing it?

So then I got thinking that maybe that was it -- it wasn't the zest for exercise, it's the zest of the activity itself that's wanting. I would have loved to join her on that inflatable obstacle course. I would have had a ball climbing and falling and sliding and laughing with her. But socially? I would have felt like an ass, seeing as she didn't need my help.

So maybe it's not that I've lost my zest for exercise, just the type of exercise I've resigned myself to doing. It's not that I'm afraid of hard work. I love to garden and can keep on digging and hoeing and hauling long after M's given it up and gone inside for lemonade. If I love it, I can do it for days.

I've been doing some freelance writing for my very pretty and very kind friend who hires me to write for her company occasionally. The project involves adventure destinations around the country, so I've been writing about places like the Youghiogheny River Gorge and the Cohos Trail. I've written travel related pieces for her before, but this time I find myself wanting to go to these places, planning virtual vacations in my head for my family as I write. Deep wilderness hiking, biking along scenic gorges, remote places where endangered species thrive, it all sounds so wonderful.

I'm thinking I need to add a little adventure to my workouts. It's not like I can go hike a mountain around here (Driving up an overpass yesterday, Sass squeals from the backseat, "Ooo! A hill!" It's a little flat around here.) And even if I could, I wouldn't do it alone with two kids in tow, I'd have to wait until M could come along. But maybe I can tweak things a bit. I'm thinking of signing up for a rock climbing class when I hit the 50 pound mark. I'm too heavy for it now, but it would be something to look forward to. I'm going to sign up for a group aerobics class twice weekly which, while not adventurous, will be a good time to socialize. And I'm going to try to get outside and out of the city as much as I can with the girls to just be more active, even if it's not a "real" workout. And? I'm going to start running again. I did love running, I loved it a lot. I don't know why I quit and I'll have to start from scratch, but tomorrow I'm going for a run.

And maybe I'll sit down with M and pick one of these destinations -- a family friendly one -- and if I can lose the weight by next summer maybe we'll pack up the girls and go on an adventure type vacation ourselves.

I know just the place...


Blogger Margaret said...

Glad the writing is inspiring you a bit. I've been very ho-hum with healthy eating lately, but I have been exercising. Being as self-conscious as I am is prohibitive however, because I'm not willing to exercise in public. (Other than walking my dog or gardening.)

I wish I could be like Sass -- out, exercising, red, sweaty, and going back for more. That's the way to live.

August 27, 2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

p.s. You should link to this on Mommy Weight. It's a great post.

August 27, 2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I love this post. I looked at my daughter on Saturday who was red and sweaty from 45 minutes of soccer practice in hot humid weather and I thought wouldn't it be great if as adults we were looked down on for being hot and sweaty while doing stuff?!

August 28, 2006 9:59 AM  
Blogger Emptyman said...

You need a partner for rock climbing. That's what's fun about it; unlike a regular gym workout, rock-climbing takes two people who take turns belaying one another when they climb. Get someone who has the same sort of schedule as you to do it with you.

August 28, 2006 10:09 AM  
Blogger Jenn (formerly gibby23roarof84) said...

I swear, when I started doing soccer, exercising became fun again..I forgot how much I used to enjoy it when I didn't deem it exercise. Now I go and play basketball, and I'm sure it's great for me--it's made exercising so much easier.
Rock climbing? They have classes for that? I'd be game when you are!

August 28, 2006 10:46 AM  
Blogger Jenn (formerly gibby23roarof84) said...

Time for a new post. :-)

August 29, 2006 9:18 AM  
Blogger Her Grace said...

The pressure, Jenn, the pressure. Let me introduce you to my blogroll over there on the right. There's lots of fine reading to be done over there in between posts! :)

August 30, 2006 8:01 AM  

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