Friday, July 9, 2010


I used to be an athlete. Not an All-Star or an MVP, but I was an athlete. I ran track - hurdles, sprints, and relays - but most of all, I played basketball. I loved basketball. I had a shirt at the time that said: "My dream house has hard wood floors..... and two hoops". (I actually think I still have it somewhere). My junior and senior years of high-school, I pretty much lived basketball. We played all year round - school ball in the fall and winter, summer camps and summer leagues in the off season - and sometimes just shooting around with my dad or my friend Tina. But I PLAYED. I practiced for 2-3 hours a day in season - practices filled with scrimmages and liners, the dreaded "pressure cooker", wall sits and weight training, stadium circuits, and laps if you were screwing around. My coach was often compared to Bobby Knight, and she pushed us every day. My senior year, after I had hurt my back and missed practices recuperating, I even had a few personal practice sessions with my coach and my dad, to make up for what I had missed.

I've blogged before about wanting to lose weight, needing to get fit, needing to find time to work out, and of course the dreaded wedding-dress-vs-my elbows- debacle. But Monday afternoon, I had an epiphany of sorts. We were at a park with my sisters and brother and their families, letting the kids play and enjoying what was left of the 4th of July weekend. During an uncharacteristic lull in Leah-Watch (she actually just wanted to sit in her stroller!), I grabbed my brother's basketball and started shooting around. Now, keep in mind, I haven't done this since Jake was about one. The first couple of shots, my knees creaked, I felt heavy footed and slow, and I started to think to myself, "Who are you kidding!" But for some reason - I kept going. I shot around out there by myself for half an hour, and it was WONDERFUL! I missed more than I made, but also made some pretty nice shots, and by the time I had to stop, I was loose and moving and feeling pretty good about the whole thing. And it got me thinking.........

For so many years I have been caught up in the numbers game, wanting to lose weight, but focused solely on the numbers on the scale or the size on a tag. And it dawned on me Monday - while all of that is great and fine, what I truly miss, and what I very desperately want to get back to, is the body that I could push and push, and IT RESPONDED!! I used to ask so much of my body, and with rare exception, it never let me down. I exercised and built muscle and cardio strength, and I could count on my body to do what I needed it to. Whether it was O.T. in a game, or a hike on a family camp-out, I could keep up. Now I push my body, but in far different ways, none of them healthy, and most of them resulting in large amounts of Advil. I run on too little sleep, eat too much crappy food, and attempt to do things like balance a baby and a laundry basket after 8 hours at work - none of which is pushing my body in a good way.

So the epiphany here, isn't necessarily in the end result, but in the motivation. Which is a huge thing for me, and something I am usually sorely lacking. Wanting to drop a certain number of pounds, or get back to a certain dress or pant size, is vague motivation at best as far as I'm concerned. Who remembers what it felt like to wear a particular size of pants, or what it felt like to see a number on the scale? I can't say that I do. But for whatever reason, I still remember what it feels like to play my butt off through 4 quarters, or run liners till I wanted to puke (because I couldn't make a stinking free throw to save my life!). And I remember what it feels like to push myself to run one block or one lap farther than I had planned to, to be red-faced, dripping with sweat and loving every minute of it because MY BODY COULD DO IT!

So I have started working out and making conscious decisions to eat better this week, and it has been EASY! Easier than ever before in my post-baby life, and I know it is because I have a totally different mind-set than ever before. I am excited just thinking about what my body (hopefully) will one day be able to do for me again, and all the possibilities that holds. I even worked out in 100 degree weather this week, while my husband and kids all sat in front of the air conditioner "critiquing" my moves as they ate ice cream. And I didn't care! (To be honest, I told them all to get up or shut up, but I wasn't tempted by the ice cream.) I have found again that part of me that was alive and well when I was 17 and loved to play ball, to push myself just for the sake of seeing how far I could go, and it feels pretty darn good.

Oh, and my dream house still has hard wood floors..... and two hoops.