Confessions of an Exercise Junkie
As a youth I was the kid that got picked last to be on the team. To say the least my athletic prowess lacked greatly. In my mind, however I fantasized about making the goal winning score. I wanted the athletic muscular form that would win the respect of all whom eyes happen to fall upon my body.
I lacked, however drive to athletic greatness as my parents weren't athletes. Mom was a fashion seamstress and dad was a poet and scholar. I had no genetic assistance. We weren't wealthy people so joining athletic teams where fees could add up was out of the question as well. Plus, dad had his heart set on us being musicians so instead of a soccer ball and gear; I walked to school with a violin.
I wasn't disheartened. I stayed glued each year to the summer Olympics and I loved watching dance shows and musical movies, dreaming of one day joining these exercise junkies. And there, in my heart, I began my journey to become an exercise junkie too.
Exercise Junkies - Where are you?
Are you an exercise junkie?
How I got started
Television is a wonderful avenue to become an exercise junkie. What is an exercise junkie? Well you know what a junkie is and you know what exercise is. Junkie - Person who stays high on generally illegal chemical substances, however prescription junkies are becoming more popular. Exercise - moving your body for an extended period of time, generally over 20 minutes, that increases your normal sitting heart rate. Now these are not Webster dictionary definitions, they are Carlon Michelle definitions. I didn't want to exercise the four steps it would have taken to get to my Webster dictionary on my bookshelf.
Okay, back to the subject at hand of how I got started being an exercise junkie. A few years back I was enjoying a bag of butter loves popcorn while watching Oprah. She had the beautiful Lance Armstrong on her show and she was trying to convince him to push for his seventh Tour’d France. Previous to this show I didn't really know much about Lance. I didn't even know there were bike races on such a high level. The biggest bike race I ever participated in was racing my sister and friends down our half a mile street. Now those were fun times in my youth. I later discovered Lance had a website and I followed his Tour’d France on it.
I was thusly inspired. I didn't have a bike at the time but my sister had 2 of them stored in my garage. I begged one off of her and filled my tires with air. I put some oil on the rusted chain and off I went. Whew what fun. I covered four whole miles that day. I went out every day that week and some days I did four miles and others I did six. I fought sidewalk cracks and near car accident misses as cars tried to run me over making right turns on red. Oh and the halfway mare of my ride was a spot of a life time - Dairy Whip ice-cream parlor. What refreshment after riding 2 to 3 whole miles. I returned home so refreshed and high on endorphins and sugar.
But the route soon got stale after a week or so, so I bought a bike rack for my car and headed to the local park. Before I knew it I was up to 10 to 15 mile bike rides. It's amazing how much you can travel while dodging chipmunks and clouds of tiny bugs. Aah, but the breeze going downhill and the thigh cramps going back up them had me thinking this could be fun to ride my bike through different locations.
Home I went and since Lance did Tour 'd France, I decided to look up Bike tours. That's when I discovered biking tours all over the world and some in the south of France where there is beautiful wine country. Can you see it? Bike - drink - eat - bike - drink - bike - bed. If you've ever done a bike tour please let me know about it. I'm still saving money for this excursion. Meantime, I got hooked on another exercise.
Lance 2005 Tour'd France Win
You too can be an Olympic swimmer
As much as I love my bicycle, I found one can get pretty sweaty and funky after a long ride and I won't even talk about the migraines if you don't properly hydrate your during and after your rides. So when I watched the awesome Michael Phelps win all those swimming matches, I had my solution. I would take up swimming.
Personally I don't think my figure is made for a bikini and I am pretty certain the mainstream public would thoroughly agree. So I found me a nice modest two piece number that kept all things in place and covered areas no one really wants to see. Having picked out the perfect swimming suit, it was time to find the perfect swimming pool.
Fortunately I lived at the time in an area where within a mile walking distance is a community recreation center. For no charge at all I, the exercise junkie in me could swim for free at an INDOOR swimming pool. No bugs. No blazing hot sun to contend with. Just warm steamy comfort and lots of glass walls so the cute athletic men could see my strong form swimming laps. Oh what fun. The best part is they have roped off two lanes for lap swimming so there was no water splashing youth to battle with.
There I was doing my front strokes. In my mind I was keeping up with the long legged, long armed Michael as we glided through the water, stroke after stroke. I reached one end of the pool with only one butt cramp. I stretched it out and flipped over for my back stroke. I do love the back stroke as it is cramp free and I don't have to be certain I save enough air for each stroke to ensure that I get to the edge of the pool without drowning. I can also get a better view of virtual Michael swimming in the lane next to me. What a great form and it's amazing how I can match his stride.
Since I know only two swimming stroke styles I was soon bored and by the sixth lap I was forcing myself, willing myself to get to the tenth lap. Once I completed it, I dragged my now cramping arms and very heavy legs up the pool steps and too my towel. I said my good byes to Michael and told him I could only do this once a week. He said it was cool and we made plans to return the following week.
Now I had to find another adrenalin rush, howerver riding my bike twice a week and swimming once a week wasn't exactly going to cut it. I wanted to be a true athlete. Like Lance, I needed to become an exercise junkie. I decided that tomorrow I would take a walk and figure things out.
Michael Phelps 8th Olympic Gold
Social Walker - Exercising and making friends
So there I am walking and thinking. In the Metro parks near my home the miles are marked off. I approached my second mile walking and as I was turning a bend and descending the path, I saw a sizable group of people descending from a path of trees from a path above the one I was walking. They were all dressed differently. Some had walking sticks and others didn't. Some wore wind breaker with patches and others had rain ponchos tied around their waist. Most were seniors but many were women who were probably house wives as they toted a small child or two with them. There were a few men, one young one who looked like he was leading this group. Curious I ran to catch up and walked next to a couple of older ladies. "What is this group doing? I've never seen so many people just walking in the park without race patches on their front and back"
As it turned out, this was the Cleveland Walking Club. I was told the small membership price in order to get patches and such for the walks. I was told however that I didn't have to join the walking club but could just walk with them. The schedule was at the nature center. I thanked the ladies for the information and at the end of my walk headed for the park nature center and got me a schedule. There was a different walk every day. 3, 5, 7 and 10 mile walks could be chosen from twice a day. You just pick a walk, meet at the location assigned and after the group leader took a count and the name of all walkers, off we went.
So now I had three different forms of exercise to choose from. I bet if you check your City website you could find some walking groups in your area too. I must say walking groups is a great way to meet people in your neighborhood and find people with interest like your own. I was even able to find another writer and join a writer group. I wonder what other forms of exercise ativities I can find.
Do you have the makings of an exercise junkie? What do you do for your exercise high? Leave me a comment with some new ideas to try.