I am hopelessly uncoordinated. Perhaps that's why I was never interested in sports as a kid. Or dance, or gymnastics, or any other athletic pursuit that requires me to do more than one physical feat at once. I was eight years old before I could ride a bike - mostly because I was just afraid of falling - and even then, it was an accident. I was sitting on my bike, as usual, balancing from one foot to another, watching all the other (even younger) kids ride their bikes, and I suddenly started to roll downhill on the ever-so-gradual slope of the yard. I panicked and started pedaling........and suddenly I was riding a bike. It never would have happened if not for that one mistaken incident. But once I realized I could do it, I wasn't afraid and I enjoyed it.
I was once very interested in gymnastics. I begged my mom to let me take classes at the "good" gym in town, a real gymnastics center that a friend's dad coached at. So, she signed me up, but guess what? Since I was a beginner (yet in sixth grade) I had to be in a class of much younger kids - even four year olds! I was so embarrassed, even more so when I realized they could do SO much more than me. My body was clunky, short, compact and not strong. I felt like a flailing lump on the trampoline. Four classes in and I was done!
After that my athletic pursuits were.........basically none. I skied occasionally (even did ski club in high school, but again, I pretty much sucked and was in the lowest level class). I took some hikes with my family. Maybe an occasional walk. Oh, I tried "aerobics" - what a joke! That's when I realized I'm hopelessly uncoordinated. Always three steps behind the class, I'd end up looking more like I was having a grand mal seizure than actually exercising. I tried, continued to take some classes, work out in the exercise room at my apartment, but an athlete I was not.
Then, for some strange reason, in 2006 I decided to do the Danskin triathlon. I signed up for it in a fit of inspiration, not really knowing whether I would even follow through. Then, my workout buddy had to bail out of the race due to a hip injury. I was on my own. If it wasn't for Jeff, I would never have followed through. But how could I disappoint this seasoned triathlete when the love of his life was about to embark on a similar pursuit? Chivalrously, Jeff offered to do a triathlon with me before the "big event" when I would be on my own. We did the Federal Escape tri and came in dead last! I was a little humiliated crossing the finish line but the race organizers were so nice to keep the finish line up for me and the police sweeper cars so nice to not run into my ass while I was schlepping my way to the end of the race, I tried to put on a brave smile. Later, I won a wetsuit in a drawing and I was so high on my accomplishment, that the dubious "honor" of being the last person across the finish line faded away. Besides, I said to myself, how many of my peers had ever finished a triathlon?
Still, my up and down pursuit to fitness (as well as my up and down - mostly up - pursuit of weight loss) has been interesting. And I just have come to the conclusion that while I can manage walking, even running short distances (ok a few feet), biking and swimming (actually I like to call it "not drowning"), I simply cannot manage dance-y aerobics DVDs and cardio routines. I flail, I trip myself up, I can't get my groove on. This white girl CAN'T dance......