Not the entry I had expected to make after my first Zumba class. I had hoped to come back to the YMCA with verve—energy and enthusiasm oozing from every pore. Instead, fifteen minutes into the workout I felt like I would throw up.
Talking myself out of making a scene, glancing at the heart monitor registering 157–158, I kept thinking about what I had written in my journal earlier that morning about mountain climbers––most die during their descent. Oh, how I have presumed upon my body’s goodness.
I came back to the aerobic studio after a few minutes in the bathroom where I had leaned over the sink, head resting on my forearms; then with my pants pulled up, I sat on a toilet for less than a minute. Visualizing myself on the floor, I knew to keep moving.
I resumed the workout maintaining my heart rate at 120–130 and felt I could keep up. The ball of my right foot hurt, but that’s a chronic problem whether exercising or not. Sweat continued to bead around my hairline. I used the towel. I moved under the fan. I drank more water.
In a subdued mood after the class, I ran errands. When I called my daughter from Michael’s to ask about knitting needles, I told her about my scare, the proverbial wake-up call.
“I’m glad you didn’t die,” she said.
“I wasn’t the heaviest, most out of shape looking persons in the class,” I said, a faint protest, admitting how looks can deceive. I wanted to shriek when a woman across the room requested, “Let’s do something we did last January.”
I thought, these women have done Zumba for a whole year and they look like this? E-gads.
“I could do the steps because I’m coordinated and I have rhythm,” I said.
“You have musicality,” my daughter said without a hint of sarcasm. Reassuring in light of my performance in our family talent show at Christmas. In a ridiculous costume, I danced to Shakira. I blackened my front tooth. I got lots of laughs.
Continuing to explain myself, “I didn’t really watch anyone but the instructor. I consciously tried not to push myself. I wasn’t comparing myself to anyone or even trying to impress myself.”
Back in my writing cocoon, I too give thanks that I didn’t die or have a heart attack or keep pushing until I collapsed. I sometimes feel that same pressure to keep pushing when I sit at the computer for hours on end. Same principles apply.
And this year the YMCA gave out T-shirts to remind people of the inextricable connection between spirit, mind and body. Yes, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
My favorite professor said, “You do nothing without your body.”
Now for the gumption to go back to the Y, the commitment to keep Zumba-ing to regain whatever fitness my neglected body can sustain, and to keep writing till I’m gone.