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Friday, January 6, 2012

Guess who's training for a marathon!? Not me.

Because of my enthusiasm for the sport, many people assume I was some hotshot superstar gymnast. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I had my moments: handstands and strength holds, I'm your girl. Finding obscure skills on beam to meet difficulty requirements, my specialty. Flexibility was a hallmark. I was the unofficial resident choreographer.

Unfortunately, I had the air sense of a turtle. I had no self-discipline; I didn't push myself nearly as hard as I should have. I collected green ribbons.

Green ribbons are what you get after first (blue), second (red), and third (white) are handed out. Then maybe yellow...orange...purple are handed out. Imagine what place you are when it gets down to brown and pink. I collected those too. I have beige ribbons. Beige.

But I digress.

Lucky for me, you don't have to be a hotshot superstar to teeter on the edge of the floor and try to fit in 10 or 12 back handsprings across the diagonal just to see how fast you can go. You don't have to be great to fling yourself off the bar and float through a flip to land on a nice squishy mat. You don't have to be very good at all to really impress your classmates by doing tricks on the playground that would impress absolutely no one in the gym.

Is it any wonder, then, that I find running a little stale...a tad mind-numbing...somewhat unfulfilling? Yet running is the go-to exercise and races are the must-have goal for most people over the age of 18 that aren't good enough for college or professional athletics. It's not like a 35-year-old can join the swim team or take up pole vaulting. Unless you live in New York and it's the latest fitness craze. In which case a gym on every corner would offer pole vaulting classes for $300 a pop, taught by the pole-vaulting guru to the stars.

Where was I? Oh yes. Running.

I certainly admire all you runner-types. I honestly don't want to insult your favorite activity. You are all amazing and crazy, and I mean that in the best way possible. Truth be told, I'm only down on running because I am insanely jealous. I'd love to be able to hoof it around the neighborhood for a few miles and feel the freedom and the exhilaration and...um...whatever it is that you like about running. All I feel is my lungs, exploding.

Fortunately, I've found the workouts I like--cross train classes and cardio-kickbox--and I'm feeling more fit than I have in years. In fact, I even thought of signing up for a run, just for the challenge. But then I reminded myself, "Self, you hate running."

Do you hate running...but you're doing it anyway? Were you good at something when you were younger? Maybe it's time to revisit it. That's my plan.

The folks at International Gymnast magazine were kind enough to laugh at my slightly wacky resolution. You can read my story about the personal challenge I'm setting for myself in the March issue.
Me, 12 years old

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