Freewriting: Running and stretching

My parents have always been my inspiration to move.

My mom a ballerina. My dad a soccer and hockey player. It was natural for me to embrace ballet. And I do love it. But I always had a secret attraction to running. As a kid, I would beg my dad to race me around the house to see who could make it back to the starting point faster.

I probably would have been a soccer player except for my fear of balls. I hid behind the telephone pole during baseball in gym class; I ducked during volleyball; and gladly passed my basketball to any guy behind me waiting for his turn to shoot.

And for some reason, as a kid, I thought I couldn’t be a runner. I thought I had to wait till I grew up. When I was in my late teens I attempted a run with my brother. There was a light snow fall. I am pretty sure we made it around a block and then called it quits.

Growing up, our family vacations revolved around triathlons. We would go around Minnesota and into Wisconsin sleeping in hotels, swimming in pools, and waking up super early with Mickey’s donuts in hand and chocolate milk in the other to cheer on our dad.

My dad is a morning person. And I took after him. Sometime after college graduation I suddenly morphed into a morning person. I remember one day I was teasing him about falling asleep at 9:00 pm at night and the next day I was sleeping on the kitchen floor at 6:00 pm. Ever since then, the thought of being up past 9:00 pm causes me to panic. I would much rather get up at 4:30 in the morning than stay up till midnight or 1:00 am.

Each morning he lays out a sheet on the white carpet of the living room, spreads out the newspaper on top of it (the sheet is to protect the carpet from the newsprint) and sips weak, but sugar enhanced, Folgers from a mug. (I prefer strong coffee. Black) I know the part about the sugar, because there were times I would fall asleep on the couch and wake to hear him stirring the sugar in – the spoon rapidly clinking against the mug.

While he sips his coffee (or brown water) and peels back pages of the newspaper he stretches and gets ready for a run. Always stretching. Seated forward fold, straddle forward fold, plow, etc.

I am embarrassed to admit this: I am a bad stretcher. As an ex-ballet dancer and a current yoga instructor I am ashamed to confess that my dad is a better stretcher than me. In high school, that was all I did. Stretching, dancing through the halls, always moving. I didn’t care how stupid I looked. I wanted to stay flexible and it worked.

For me, mornings are gym time. Like my dad. He would hit the road and go for a run after his morning stretch and then resume some stretches before getting ready for the day. I scramble though. Sometime between 5:30 and 5:45 we make it to the Y. And then for the next hour or so, I try to make the most of my work out before calling it quits and heading to the shower. Before getting in the shower, I do try and make some attempts at stretching, but sadly they are not what they should be.

My goal for 2014 (as of this moment) is to stretch more -to allow myself time to listen to my body and be more mindful of my movements. I have embraced my dad’s love for running, but now I need to take care of myself, and embrace his routine of stretching.

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