Stretch Armstrong No More

May 27, 2010 at 7:51 am | Posted in Fashion, Fitness and Beauty | 3 Comments
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When I was young, I was very athletic.  I played soccer, softball, danced, swam.  I was good at any sport I tried.  In fifth grade, I was awarded the Presidential Physical Fitness Award – I was the only girl that got this award that year, which tested speed, agility, strength, and flexibility against a national standard.  In 4th grade, I had a good friend who took gymnastics.  During recess, she would teach me new moves.  I could do hand stands, cartwheels, round-offs, splits.  I was pretty good for not having any training.  She tried to teach me how to do a front handspring, and what we ended up with was a hybrid of a handspring and a flip.  It kind of became my signature move.  It looked pretty cool, especially when I got the landing perfectly (it was easy to over shoot it, and sometimes, under shoot it).  I used this special trick in our 6th grade talent show, and probably pulled it out a few more times over the years.

But as I got older, I became less and less flexible.  I didn’t keep up with sports in high school.  I had better things to do – at least more interesting things to do – at the time.  I didn’t totally give up on fitness.  In college, I took several gym courses and even taught one.  I worked at a gym near my hometown and went there regularly for a number of years.  I really loved to take classes and lift weights.

When I was away in college, I worked at a nearby elementary school in their after school program.  Somehow, I got myself looped into doing my special trick in a gymnastics routine for their talent show.  Mind you – I am about 20 or 21 years old at this point.  I started doing this thing when I was like 9.  When I found that I could still do it, I was in shock.  But it took a lot more nerve to do it.  I was so much more afraid than I was when I was young.  When does that fear develop?  So strange.

So yes, I could still do this move, even with the fear. But what it did to my body was just insane.  I literally could not move for days.  My back, my spine was just killing me.  I felt like an actual old person.  I don’t think that if I kept up with any of my sports activities, it would have made a difference.  I think (gulp) I’m just too old for this kind of behavior.

I will always remember my athletic triumphs. How I beat all the boys in the rope climbing competition in 4th grade, my amazing high pop catch in a split in 5th grade which landed me a much coveted spot on the in field.  But I have to understand that my body isn’t what it used to be.  I’m not a kid anymore!  Sigh.

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