Sunday, January 24, 2010

Unpredictably Predictable

I've long had a commitment issue...with signing up for anything that happens once a week. What if I get an opportunity to go on a trip? What if there's a race I want to do? What if my free spirit just wants to roam (or, I have to work) at that time, on that day?

It's not that I'm over my need for adventure and spontaneity--not by a long shot. But something about being a mom has made me really look forward to things I know are going to happen once a week.

"The Bachelor," for instance. I'm partially kidding, but I do look forward to yelling at those girls on the TV every Monday night.

What I look forward to even more are the times I know I'm going to get out for a run or a workout during the week. I have certain days that are sure things (unless Sam is sick), where I go to the gym and he's happy in daycare for enough time for me to get in a workout, then we swim together in the pool. I look forward to that (and I think he does, too).

And, I used to be an end-of-day runner, but the end of most days are just less predictable lately. I now realize the value of the morning run, and I look forward to those days, too.

I'm also doing a beginner Pilates class, once a week. The little movements are hard for me, I think it's helping me stabilize my S.I. joint, my spine and my pelvis by giving me core strength, deep down. I think it'll help me get past this injury and back to the kind of running I want to do. I'm excited about that.

And then there's soccer morning with Sam, and volleyball night for me. Predictable.

In a time when so many other things are unpredictable and sometimes crazy (in a good way, but still), I've really come to appreciate these one-hour windows of activity throughout the week that I can count on.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Playing Games

Earlier this week, I played volleyball in a warehouse full of sand in the suburbs between Denver and Boulder. It’s what they call “beach” volleyball out here in Colorado, and man, was it a trip.

A sign on the door of the warehouse says, “It’s always summer when there’s Jose Cuervo!” and beach scenes are painted on the interior walls. There’s a bar. But there’s also six or seven volleyball courts, and a whole lot of people who can play.

As soon as I found my team (two guys and one other girl), and started warming up, I had a huge grin on my face. We played four games, and I had a blast.

There’s something about playing ball sports that makes me feel like a kid (probably because I haven't played much since being one). It's an escape very unlike running. I love the rhythmic motion of running for sorting through things in my head. But it’s also really fun to totally check out. There’s not really time to think about anything—other than what you’re doing—when a ball is coming at you on the court.

The night playing in that warehouse invigorated me in a way I’ve missed through pregnancy and the last 20 months (Sam is 20 months!). The last time I really played volleyball, or any ball sport, was in Santa Barbara when Sam was maybe four weeks old, and I didn’t yet know I was pregnant.

I had so much fun that I found myself feeling younger all week. Sam and I went to the gym the next morning, and even thought it was 20-something degrees out, I decided to ride my bike through the snow to get there. He was all bundled up in the Chariot. It was me who was a little cold, but happily having an adventure.

This morning, we took Sam to his first experience playing ball sports (aside from playing catch and "fetch" down the hallway and in the yard). They have Soccer Tots out here for kids as young as 18 months, and since our playgrounds are covered in snow, it’s tough to find something to do with a toddler in the winter.

It’s not like they were shooting on goal, juggling and practicing a set play. Sam’s “coach” led games and activities, and Sam ran around the indoor turf carrying the ball in his hands. Like his mother, he had a big smile on his face while playing.

Maybe it’s having a Sam that's making me realize new (and old, at the same time) ways to have fun. In the 10 or so years before baby, for years I was really focused on running and racing (running, adventure races, triathlons, etc). I still crave that kind of challenge—and hope to be healthy enough to do those things soon. But I also value the kid-like fun of chasing a ball around.

- lisa