Newsflash: No one cares.

Sometimes I hear people state the reason they don't go to the gym or run or swim is they are worried what other people will think of them.  I've never understood this line of thinking. My inability to comprehend this thought process is probably because for the majority of my youth, I flitted around a frozen sheet of water wearing what equated to a leotard with a tiny skirt.  A skirt that according to my father was NEVER long enough.   Had he had his way, my skating skirts would have been the length of, oh, a poodle skirt.  But I practiced and performed in front of God and everyone wearing shiny, not flattering tights, and barely hiney-covering skirts.  I was also involved in a sport, like gymnastics, that was individual.  Some practices were me vs. that triple salchow, over and over and over, without any real consideration of what anyone else on the ice was doing.  
(In the end, the triple remained elusive.) 
So, I surmise this is where my ambivalence to anyone else exercising probably stems from.

Are you one of those people who want to "lose a few pounds before going to the gym?" Well, I have news for you. No one is thinking about you at the gym. Really. They aren't.  Do you remember 7th grade and were terrified what people would think of you and your lack of a Trapper Keeper?  

Then you grew up and realized no one was concerned about your lack of portable paper filing systems?
 Nothing is different at the gym.   If you could read thought bubbles at the gym, here is probably a rundown of what they are thinking:

"Is this mile done YET?"
"OOO! I love this song!"
"You go Grandpa! (or  Grandma!)" in reference to anyone of the Greatest Generation that I see there everyday.
"Why is Kelly Ripa's head bigger than her shoulders?"
"Oh! There's a muscle I didn't know I had."
"I need to remember to get milk."
"I wish I had gotten here first so I had control of the remote."
"Did I just sing that out loud?"

If someone is possibly processing a thought that is about you, it is most likely "Good for them!!"  At least this is what I think is happening at the gym.  I have the utmost respect and excitement for anyone who is out there, trying.  To anyone who made a point to put forth some physical exertion that day, I applaud you!!  I don't care if you are 20 or 80, perfectly toned or "working on it," you made an effort, and you should be proud.  
There are many different ways to rehydrate....
 No one is taking note of whether or not you "should be there."  There is no prerequisite to wanting to better yourself and your health.  There is no minimum age or weigh limit to gain entry.  Really the only thing that may get you some stink-eye looks is wearing street shoes in the gym.  That is a hard and fast rule. 

The reality is we live in a town with an honor system coffee bar.  We have that kind of community.  For the most part, people are good people, people want good for others. Why then wouldn't they celebrate your effort at the gym? This is what I believe, at least.  And if someone is thinking something snarky about my physical effort, well, I know that says nothing about me, and everything about them.  

The Rekindling of Friendships

ChAoS in MOtiOn
The Rekindling of Friendships
This was the article I meant to write for last week’s paper, but in true Chaos in Motion form, I was fixed to the couch with a three year old in my lap for about 3 days as he fought fever and chest congestion.  On the upside of it, I did get some amazing cuddles  and “Wuv you’s” and the opportunity to see Disney Pixar’s “Planes” movie… about 237 times.  So anyway…
“A year from now, you’ll be glad you started today.” I have always loved this quote. It shifts my thinking from looking towards a huge, seemingly impossible challenge, to looking back at an achievement. Since this will be my 40th year on God’s great earth (come July) I have some lofty goals for 2014.  Therefore last night I decided to meet up with an old friend.  Afterwards I had that feeling of “Why have I waited so long to do this??”  My old friend and I go back to my mid twenties. Before marriage, and before kids.  I always felt better after meeting my friend. Though my old friend sometimes smells a bit funky, I don’t mind.  You see my friend is the gym.  Tuesday I joined the Valley City Rec Center, and I had not had a foot inside a gym for over 4 years. 
When the Good Doctor was in Iowa, there were a few perks of residency, in addition to the 80 hour work weeks, and getting to dine as a family in the soft glow of fluorescent lights in the hospital cafeteria, there was the Hospital owned haunted rental in which we lived that literally had no insulation.  But the best perk was a YMCA membership.  The Y in Mason City was built only a few years before we moved there and was a wonderful facility.  The best part of the facility, as decided by Residency spouses, was the drop in day-care available.  What this actually translated to all of us was the opportunity to take a shower. In peace.  For as long as we wanted.  With no small eyeballs watching us.  The work out acquired while there was a mere side benefit.
But since moving here, I hadn’t joined a gym.  For what reason? None really that I can even think about.  I think I may have peeked into the rec shortly after moving here, and thought…”meh….”  And then I got pregnant, and then had a baby, and then my memory fails me for the next year after that… But sometime in the last few months, I heard that the Rec was open 24/7, which was a huge bonus for this night-owl, and I peeked in there when my son was giving roller skating a shot, and I was hugely impressed.
Tuesday night I decided to meet up with my old friend. Not that I have broken up with running, I just need more.  My body misses the burn that only those Nautilus machines can yield.  I need to work different muscles in an environment that is not my basement, where my children use the treadmill as monkey bars, while I am running.  It was like meeting up with an old friend, talking and laughing until you are crying and then realizing the hours have slipped by. Then wondering why you haven’t done this sooner.  Yup, that was what the workout was like.  I’ll spare you the play by play, but an hour and a half had passed before I knew it, and I felt like I was “me” again.  I also realized that my last remaining nerve that the Polar Vortex and housebound kids had frayed to a pulpy rawness, had been somewhat mended.  
I’ve decided that I will run the Fargo Marathon’s Half Marathon again this year, should my left foot and heel decide to behave.  This will be the Marathon’s 10th year, and my 6th running of Fargo. My goal is it to be my fastest.  I am 6 years older one more kid, and also heavier than my first run.  I can’t change the age or the kid part, but I am going to desperately try to change the weight part.  I am not going to address weight much in these pieces, because I believe scales are just numbers, and I would rather be healthy, fit and heavy, than rail skinny and unable to run after my kids.  The pounds on a scale also are not always indicative of important things like resting heart rate, cholesterol level and risk of heart disease.  In fact the more I have run, the heavier I have become. So while the 25 year old me was lighter, the 39 year old me ran 26.2 miles.  I will take health over “a low number” any day.  All that being said, all my jeans have miraculously shrunk between November and January!  
So I am going to go back to using another old friend: the“My Fitness Pal” app on my smartphone.  You can also utilize this tool on the computer, if you don’t have a smart phone, but I find it extremely helpful to consciously eat.  It is very simple. Basically you enter in what you want your daily allowance of calories to be and then record what you eat.  (Note! It defaults to a ridiculously low number of calories for an active person, like 1200 or something like that, so make sure you increase it!! ) If you have a smartphone, you simply scan the barcode of any packaged item you eat, and it records it.  You also then enter any exercise you complete for the day.  Making me conscious about what I am choosing to put in my body, makes eating for the right reasons, and eating the right kinds of foods a little easier
My 2014 has already started with a rekindling of old “friendships.”  What are your goals for this year?  When you read this piece, it will be page one of a book called “2014”.   350 some pages later, what adventures will have twisted and turned through the beautiful journey you call life?