Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Apples Calves and Shin Splints

So, I went to a fitness class for moms yesterday. It is a class where you bring your child(ren) and a stroller and you work out with your baby. The cardio portion of the class is predominantly pushing the stroller, and then every so often the group stops to do some strengthening exercises, ending the one hour session with work on mats on the grass, using our babies as resistance. In Chicago I had always wished there was a way to work out with Sam, and I never felt I could really get any exercise in if I was taking care of him. I tried to go to one mom and baby yoga class and I got to do all of two poses. So this class sounded ideal when I first discovered it.

As with any new class/exercise/meeting/social situation, there is always that doubt when it comes time to actually participate in the activity, at least, this is true with me, particularly with exercise…and meeting new people…and being social…ok, with everything new. It always sounds good until I actually have to motivate to do it. Class was going to be at 5:00 and I found from the time I woke up that I was trying to devise a good reason to not go. This is a difficult task seeing as I would first have to convince myself it was ok to stay home, and then convince Hubby, who I knew would give me an earful of guilt since I have been yammering about how I need things to do with Sam, need to make friends, need to find ways to exercise, etc. So I knew it would have to be something pretty good to get me out of this successfully. I checked the weather and saw that they were predicting an isolated thunderstorm sometime in the afternoon. I thought, that’s it, I’m totally set, but as the day wore on it just got sunnier and clearer. In the morning I started planting the idea into Hubby’s head that it might just be too hot to exercise outside. It’s hot here, you know. And muggy, so muggy. And it’s hard for someone who’s not used to exercising in the heat to all of a sudden begin. It could be dangerous. Oh, and what about Sam? What about my son the big sweaty head who keeps getting heat rash. Surely I can’t take him out for a whole hour if it is hot and humid. But of course, the temp did not go beyond 84 degrees. It was a beautiful, cloudless, sunny day with a nice cooling breeze. But what if this is a running class? I can’t run. I hate running (Yes, I HATE running. It makes me feel like my face is going to bounce off and my eyes are going to fall out. It makes me want to puke. It is so jarring and unpleasant. I can’t even look at a jogger without getting uncomfortable.) And there’s no way I can run with a stroller, and with these enormous nummies! No way. “Well, does it say it’s a running class?” “No, it doesn’t.” “In the pictures are the women running?” “No, they aren’t. But they are ridiculously thin and buff. They are clearly work out women, which I am not. I’ll be the fattest one there.” “Honey, they just post pictures like that to make the program look good, the women there will be regular women who have also given birth. And you’re NOT FAT.” I had nothing.

And so, when the time came, instead of trying my usual excuses, I just went and got dressed in my “workout attire.” Please note, I made a half hearted attempt at, “I have nothing to wear,” to which Hubby promptly reminded me of the trip I took to Target not so long ago for the sole purpose of purchasing workout clothes for an aerobics class. “But that was indoor and this is outdoor.” “But you bought shorts.” Fine. I was going. I had no excuse and truthfully I knew I’d never forgive myself if I chickened out. I drove off with Sam and my map to the place where this group meets, the new Dixie Chicks improving my confidence slightly. I find the place easily and am on time despite my subconscious attempts at delaying us. Park, gear up the stroller, add baby, and make sure I have everything:
Water – check
Yoga mat – check
Total mom haircut - check
Humungous and heavy non-jogging stroller - check
Equally humungous and heavy breastfeeding nummies – check
Inner thigh flab that will rub together whenever engaging in a quick pace – check
Previously mentioned Target shorts that will ride up to crotch with the help of aforementioned thighs - check

And with that we walk down to the meeting point at the end of the trail. I knew it was them before I even got to the group. They weren’t exactly the ones from the pictures on the website, but they might as well have been. They were the buff women, the work out women, the serious women. How do I know?
Uber hip jogging strollers – check
Ponytails – check
Spandex biker shorts - check
Apple shaped protruding calves – check
Breasts – ... nada

And I know I’m being harsh on women who exercise here, but it’s only because I’m jealous. I think it’s great. But c’mon, noone wants to be the fat girl, right? And I’m looking at a woman who gave birth 3 months ago who is thinner than I have ever been in my entire life. Furthermore, as soon as I saw how fit these people were I was back to wondering what exactly we’d be doing in this class. I’m thinking at this point it’s not just a walk in the park.

The instructor curtly welcomes me, asks if I can register after class so that we can go ahead and get going…um, yes. We tell each other our names, and she begins with,
“Ok, we’re going to warm up by walking at a fast pace in a single file line. The person in back will then run up to the front of the line and so on.” Oh crap...

I found out later from Hubby that this exercise is called an Indian Sprint. Please ignore the offensive part and focus on SPRINT. And I think to myself: Would these women laugh at me if I just turned around and walked away right now? Yes, yes they would. They’d probably talk about it for the duration of the class.

The beginning of the trail is uphill. And let me say that the fast pace was FAST. I am short. I have short legs. People who have short legs have to take more steps to cover the same distance as people with long legs, see? I was practically running just to stay in the line, so when it kept being my turn to run up to the front I was totally haulin’ it. And my stroller is completely bouncing so while the other women are literally pushing theirs with one hand using like 2 fingers I’m trying to keep Sam out of the ditch. So I’m running up this hill thinking, “I have to get back to the car. I have to get out of here. Would anyone notice if I just didn’t run up to the front of the line? But if they turn around and see me, I know they can outrun me. They’ll come and catch me. Then I’ll have to run faster than I am now. They’ll trap me with their smooth riding three wheeled strollers. But if this is just the warm up, what is the real class like? I’m going to die out here and she didn’t let me register so she doesn’t even have my emergency contact’s information. Hubby will have to come searching for me in the ditch…” and then she says we will be continuing with this for 3 more minutes. I press on and we pull over to do push ups on a fence. When we begin again it is clear we will just do the fast paced walk. And this is how it continues. We walk fast, we pull over to do exercises. We head further and further into the park. I try desperately to think up an excuse to get out of there. Unfortunately Sam is not cooperating. Normally if there is something I really want to do I can depend on him to be fussy and thwart my attempts at having a life. Not today. No, he loves this. Mommy is on her 3rd set of 20 squat side kick things and he’s yuckin it up with the 8 month old next to him.

I try at one point to insert myself into the conversation 2 women are having. One is telling the other that she has been looking for activities like this to do with her kids. I ask, “Oh, did you just move here?” Pause…blank stare... “No.”… “Oh.” Silence. After about 15 seconds the other woman looks at me and asks if I just moved here, asks where from, etc. It ends. At this point I decide I need to just do my own thing. I need to enjoy the scenery, enjoy Sam, and just forget about what these women think of my shorts wedged up in my crotch.

The class seems to improve from here on out (especially when we turned around and started heading back). I fall a bit behind a few times, especially when I get off to a slightly late start due to giving Sam some of my water, but somehow I make it through. I end up talking again to that second woman and even a bit to the blank starer. We get to the last part where we set up our mats on the grass and take the kids out to play. Sam loved being used as my weight. He laughed as I lifted him up and down and bit and slapped my butt as I held my plank pose. And the women were a little warmer for this part too. I made 2 successful jokes and by the end found myself telling the instructor I’d be back next week. How did that happen?

As I walked to the car with the blank starer, I asked her about her super cool stroller. It was a single that could convert into a double with a place underneath for a second child. I thought that might actually be worth investing in if it could be used with a potential next child. So she told me the company and to look online. I did look it up later: $469.99.
Horror stricken face – check.

Told you they were serious.


Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh hilarious! I wish I could have been there to keep you company, because I definitely fit in with you! This is mom-magazine worthy. Your honesty is fabulous!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Great post! I admire you for sticking with it, I would have turned around for sure after just seeing the group! Glad it worked out in the end,the true test will be to see if you go back.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous katie said...

Good for you for sticking to it! This post made me laugh so much because it is pretty much exactly what I would have been thinking! I am also a hater of the running (my feet turn out and basically render me incapable of running in a dignified manner!). Can't wait to hear what happens next week!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Eli's Mom said...

Awesome recount of your experience! I'm laughing so hard my cheeks hurt! I walk a lot with Eli, but I've not tried one of those stroller-stride type classes..Maybe I will now!

11:26 AM  
Anonymous jaybee4000 said...

Your writing is so funny. Wonder how hard it would be to submit articles to magazines and possibly get published?
There are a lot more mothers out there that see things the way you do than how the women in the exercise session do. Stick with it and use your humor to keep good thoughts in your head.

12:06 PM  
Blogger kate said...

sometimes the stuff you say reminds me so much of me it's scary. (it began when i first found your blog and saw The Innocence Mission--i have a hard time finding fellow fans) i too hate running. runners always say how good it makes them feel. have they seen their faces while running? come ON!

all the things you talked about in the post are my same inner dialogues that talk me out of exercise. i've recently begun my own at-home, on-the-fly exercises. stuff i can do when bb is playing in the yard. but that gets me no closer to finding fellow mom friens. i know it.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

I do the same thing when it comes to talking myself out of new sitiations! And excercise to a lesser extent, I don't like doing it, but I make myself do it! I'm glad you kept up with it! They did indeed sound totally serious about it, I would have went running in terror!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous mopsy said...

I would have been right there with you. I would have found a reason to leave ("I left my oxygen tank in the car"). High five to you for sticking it out and signing on for more!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

This post is just so great. :) I wish I lived close so I could go with you. I bet you would feel thin then. I need exercise BAD.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Mama D said...

Loved this. I'm glad you went, although it was scary it sounded like ultimately you had fun. I hate running but when I see other's doing it I always wish I could like it. I decided to only do things I like (except baseball, I got roped in) and I don't like to run so I don't. I'm glad the blank starer and the other woman warmed up eventually. I kept thinking while reading this "Surely Beth's amazing sense of humor and quick wit will come out and these apple calved women will fall in love with her!" I mean, I love you and I haven't even met you in person. You must be even better in person! Anyway, good for you for stickin' it out and not dashing back to the car. Good to know you will be there for the next intimidated mama to join the group.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Lei said...

rofl! loved this... i've never even thgouth about attendign a class like this (for most of the reasons you mentioned). good for you for giving it a go! and living to write about it! now -will you be going back? ;)

12:01 AM  
Blogger scraphappymama said...

I was laughing the whole time. You get an A++ in my book for going, and actually staying. I think I would have pulled up, taken one look and in the end convinced my kids they would rather spend the afternoon at McDonald's and I would sip my Diet Coke!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Sugarmama said...

I don't usually make it through the longer posts of people I don't actually know, but this was a great story! God, I would've been mortified among all those fancy-shmancy strollers and firm women. Good for you for sticking to it, and for promising to go back!

8:39 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I totally can relate. Usually I go through all that fear before a class, but as the class progresses, I'm fine and even enjoying myself.

Thanks for sharing! Came across this from the 100th celebration. Look forward to reading more.

8:17 AM  
Blogger New Mama's Nest said...

Ha! I love it! Exactly why I've successfully talked myself out of that strollercise class I've been setting my alarm for every Friday morning for the past 6 months.

12:23 AM  
Blogger scribbit said...

Here via Wishing Thinking and she's right, you're a hoot. Nothing like REI women to intimidate. I'll have to check in again soon.

12:00 AM  

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