I regret going less hard for sports after my best friend moved in middle school. I should have gotten a hold of that but instead I just had my eyes on boys and jobs. I was good at soccer, good at track. When 8th grade track started, I was in the beginning line-up with the fast people for the 200. By the end of the season, I hated going and was avoiding meets and stuff to make time for absolutely nothing. Chilling with friends I guess? Being generally miserable and confused?
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started implementing a five-day, ten-minute workout to my morning routine. Around the time I started, it was noticeably easier to bend down and stuff so I stuck with it. Since then, I’ve kinda been perfecting that routine to be something even for legs, abs, and arms. Stretching and a little toning. I’ve been substituting certain moves with better ones, cutting ones that were effective but EYE hated. The thing I prioritize is longevity. I don’t want to resent those ten minutes. I want comfortable, quick, counted movements.
Then quarantine happened and I realized I’d have to take my son’s physical activity into my own hands. I started taking my son to my mother’s backyard because it was the only place I could think of that wouldn’t have us illegally in a park or in a bunch of people’s faces. We started with soccer because I had already been trying to get him into it. And I was doing that because it’s my favorite sport, so boom now I was his partner. He was mostly a goalie at that time. Then that turned into more other little backyard sports, then shifted eventually to hiking. That turned into biking. That turned into jogging.
Then that turned into me doing it without him. If he went to my mom’s house or whatever and I found myself alone and in an in-between mindset, I hiked, I biked, I ran. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes more. Putting on comfortable athletic clothes, jumping on the bike, and being out moving is freeing. Cardio makes you focus. It reminds you that you have a body and that lucky for you it works in certain ways. It’s an physical openness that’s similar to sex. You are just a carnal force existing in this world. Pushing forward.
But it’s intimate in a personal way. I feel it when I lay down at night in my legs. I feel it in my chest as I’m in the action. I’m breathing. Like this is it. I am breathing. Sometimes I’m riding my bike and just have to take a deep breath or sigh. I hear it. There EYE am existing on this rode on this hunk of metal rolling around on rubber wheels. And my lungs work. My legs work. I can grip these handlebars. I’m here.
-Rachel Wagner 2020