Can I Get An Amen? Catch the Exercise Bug.

Our version of a Rave Run in Boone, NC, a few years ago.

Miles run today: 10

Temperature at 9:30 a.m.: 80

Bunnies spotted on our run: 6 (yay!)

I may have a teensy problem with evangelizing. About exercise.

My parents get a glazed look in their eyes when they comment on being stressed or aching or feeling overwhelmed. The first thing I ask is, “Have you exercised lately?”

They roll their eyes. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me a preview of parenting teenagers.

In my opinion, I’m not as bad as, say, my running partner or my husband. They may be out at a store or at the pool or at a cocktail party, and the conversation goes like this:

Clerk: You get an extra bag of cheese free with the purchase of two bags.

My running partner/BFF: Well, that sure will help with my sodium levels after my 15 mile run this morning!


Poor random pool-goer: Wow! This is some wonderful weather we’ve been having!

My husband: Yeah, it’s been great when I get up at 5 a.m. and run 13 miles before you’ve rolled out of bed.

I’m embellishing a tad, but not much.

I love my running, but I’m convinced that if I weren’t running, I’d pick up another exercise obsession hobby. Trying to keep me away from exercise would be like trying to keep me away from orange juice/sweet tea/wine. (Wow. Seeing that in print makes me sound like an addict. Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the truth hurts.)

Middle school P.E. might have been the origin of my exercise love. For anyone who has read some of my earlier posts, I gravitate towards activities that stimulate me socially.

And by stimulating me socially at the middle school level, what I really mean is: there were boys there. Lots of boys. And I liked boys.

P.E. became my favorite subject.

I mean, I wrote papers on Edgar Allan Poe and learned about Virginia Dare and stuff, but let’s be real: there were boys in P.E.

We did units on aerobics and archery, kickball and soccer, even square dancing and this cool dance thing with two long bamboo poles we got to bang together on the floor while people danced in between them. I still wonder how I kept my ankles intact for that one.

After we got dressed out in the locker rooms where my friend Kim would sing, “Things Can Only Get Better” by Howard Jones every day for all of sixth grade, we had to sit on the gym floor in set spaces determined by the P.E. teachers at the beginning of the year. It went boy-girl-boy-girl, and the idea was that we were far apart from each other that we couldn’t touch.

The boy who sat directly in front of me was named Geoff, and he was a swimmer. Have you seen how fit swimmers are? Most of the girls thought he was pretty cute. And for the first five minutes of P.E., he was mine. One time, Geoff touched my leg, and I was incredibly glad I had shaved my legs that day.

In today’s world, it would be sexual harassment. In the mid-’80s middle school world, it was pretty cool.

When we broke off for special units with our groups, our group might head to the kickball field. Boys would always get chosen to be captains, and out of about 20 kids, I was chosen roughly twelfth. I had long, gangly legs, and I was in good shape.

However, I had absolutely no athletic skill whatsoever. And the boys usually forgot this fact each time teams were chosen.

There was then a moment during the kickball game or softball practice when they realized they had made an egregious error. By then, it was too late.

I would say it was part of my wicked plan, but I had no such plan. I kind of just wanted to run around and be on a team with boys.

Later on, when I was in high school, I didn’t have time for exercise. And I had back problems and stress problems and lack of muscle tone problems.

But when I took up running as an adult, I started feeling so much better. Exercise is a good balance for someone like me whose chosen work and fun activity consists of sitting in a desk chair.  I wish I could say my legs are still long and gangly, but I would be lying.

And I wish I could say I’ve outgrown the boy craziness. But I haven’t.

If my husband would let me run with him all the time, I probably would. When he allows me to accompany him tag along behind him, he has this moment during the run when he realizes he’s made an egregious error. And then he doesn’t ask me to go with him for a while.

Until the next time. Ha! He gets sucked into my wicked plan.

15 thoughts on “Can I Get An Amen? Catch the Exercise Bug.

  1. jmmcdowell says:

    I can’t say I’m a fan of running—some previous ligament damage in one hip would probably flare up. But I do a lot of other aerobic exercises and light weights.

    And all exercise is good for the brain, too. That’s when my Muse likes to strike. And I think I’d be a basket case mentally if I didn’t work out nearly every day. 🙂

  2. E says:

    Hey, It is rare that I get that excited about anything other than handbags! Now, i know you are rolling your eyes at me behind those sunglasses. :-)xoxo Oh, did you replace the fluids you lost today? Hehe

  3. crubin says:

    I am so with you on the exercise thing. I’m convinced my daily exercise it’s what’s keeping me from ailments. There was an article in USA Today this morning about how exercise keeps aging in check (duh!). But it was interesting and mentioned a 73-year-old woman that still climbs Mount Everest. Impressive! Plus, it’s good for the brain, too, and who doesn’t want that? 🙂

  4. David Gentry says:

    Hey! I exercise! Some.

  5. robincoyle says:

    Running and I are not on speaking terms.

  6. Melissa says:

    Not much of a runner….it’s that whole can’t walk and chew gum at the same time thing….which I’ve proven. However, I do miss a certain level of activity right now that I took for granted. As I’ve said before…if you see me running, you had better follow because there is some seriously bad stuff coming behind me.

    • annewoodman says:

      Armageddon! Melissa’s running! I guess it really would be weird since you’ve had your foot propped up for a while now! Hope you got to enjoy the beach.

  7. 4amWriter says:

    I need to exercise more. I have arthritis in my hips, back, neck–ugh. Another lovely family gene I inherited. My fave mode of exercise is walking/hiking but I enjoyed pilates when I once signed up for a 6-week class. My problem is that early morning is the only time I have when I’m not solely responsible for kids, but that is when I choose to do my writing. So, I can’t complain because it is my choice. Oh well, hopefully I can figure out how to fit exercise in my day again!

    • annewoodman says:

      The life of a full-time mom is tough as far as finding time, I agree. When both of mine got into elementary school, that part (juggling writing and exercise) got a little easier. As I contemplate going back to full-time work, I know I’ll have to adapt again–it would be nice if I could give up sleep totally!

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