10 February 2012

the way we were

My mother, goddess love 'er, used to bribe me to exercise.

Back in middle school I really wanted the Double CD of Barbra: The Concert (true story). The deal was, if I logged a certain number of hours on my dad's stationary bike, my parents would buy me the CD. I don't remember how many hours were required, but I did them with that Jewish singing carrot in front of me and got the CD.

I say this to help you understand how much exercise and I don't get along.

Of course, this is coming from the girl who does yoga twice a week. A girl who
wakes up at 5am to do yoga on Tuesday mornings and then goes and works a twelve hour day. But yoga is different. Yes, Ashtanga is an athletic practice but it doesn't feel like exercise. All I'm doing is stretching and holding poses, but by the end of the 90 minute class I'm drenched in sweat. Plus there is a -- well, not necessarily spiritual since I'm agnostic -- but a cerebral experience that comes with yoga. I did belly dancing for about two months for the same reason: exercise that doesn't feel like exercise with a mental and emotional affirmation element as well.

Recently, however, I decided it probably would be in my best interest to add some traditional exercise to my routine as well. Which is why I was at one of the city's Recreation Centers earlier this afternoon. I didn't know what to expect. I just knew they had a weight room, racquetball courts, and a pool. Oh, yeah, and it's free to residents of Cleveland.

Now, I went wanting to use the weight room. Only, well, it's a free facility run by the city. So let's just say that as soon as I walked into the weight room it kinda reminded me of the rec center at the prison I used to work at. And then there was a guy in there who kinda gave me a How YOU doin' look and, just, yeah, no. So instead I decided to just go into one of the racquetball courts with just me and my iPhone.

I used to play racquetball a bunch with Papa G. back at the gym near our home. But I haven't played in years. And, of course, just vollying the ball back and forth by myself isn't the same as actually playing. But it still requires exertion and energy. In fact, I'd forgotten how much energy and exertion and fully admit that I didn't run as often to get the ball as I could/should have.

The thing is, when I entered the court I thought, Well, I'll just do 30 minutes and decide from there. In the beginning, I honestly wasn't even sure I'd be able to get through ten minutes. But then 30 minutes came and I didn't want to stop. So I said I'd do 45. But then 45 minutes came and I still didn't want to stop. So I did an hour. An hour.


The pool is scheduled and the "open swim" for adults isn't until 2:30, so I think next week I'm going to plan on going so that I can do an hour of racquetball and then swim for a bit. And, of course, I still have yoga tomorrow.

I guess all of this means that I don't hate exercise after all. It's really just a matter of finding the right kind of exercise to be successful. Getting into my car to go home, all I could think was that I have a gym bag again. And I like it.

I still have that Barbra Streisand CD, too, along with many of her others on my iPhone. After all: weight comes and goes but Babs is forever.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

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