So last Sunday, New Year's Day, the Y was actually open, but they didn't have Kid Care open. (Kid Care is the child care they offer, its cheap and fun). Not a big deal, because Stella's getting a little old for the mostly preschool toys they have there. In fact, last time I took the kids to the Y, Sammy stayed in Kid Care, and Stella frolicked in the "family activity room" -- its got a habitrail-like climbing apparatus with a slide, along with a giant screen TV and some computers. She knew where to find me in the workout room, and she was comfortable with popping into Kid Care if she needed help. But on Sunday, Kid Care was closed. Stella wanted to join me at the Y anyway to play on the habitrail-thing, so I left Sam at home with dad, and Stella came with me. I was really looking forward to a nice, long workout, starting with about 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer on 2 espressos and a fully-charged iPod. It was not to be. The instant we went into the family activity room to drop Stella off, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I... I.... uh, I just don't feel right." The room was lit only with the outside dreary overcast sun, and unlike the other day, was populated not by a handful of kids around her age, but with one man and his teenage (presumably) son silently watching the game on the giant TV. We went into the front hall. "I don't know what to do," Stella said. "You won't get your workout, but I'm scared. I don't want to be in that room right now."
Ugh, I tried so hard to mask my disappointment at not getting my new years' day escape into exercise-induced euphoria as I said, "Yeah, but you have a gut feeling that its not safe for you in there, and you always have to trust that gut feeling." And by implication, I wanted her to know that I would always support her in that gut feeling, even if it meant that I drove all the way to the Y for nothing. She saw right through me. "I know you really wanted this…" and I cut her off.
"NO. You don't feel comfortable in there, and its those two guys that are freaking you out, right?"
"And you and I both know that they might be the nicest guys in the world, but something, you can't put your finger on it, something is telling you that you're not feeling safe in there, right?"
"Well that settles it. Its more important that you listen to that little voice inside you, always, " I said, also convincing myself that this was indeed the lesson to be taught here, "instead of me going on the Stairmaster. I'll get my workout some other way today," I finished, admittedly, with some disappointment in my voice. I can't hide this stuff. I'm a lousy poker player. But at that point, I noticed she was wearing gym shoes. All was not lost!
"Hey! Let's go shoot some hoops!" I said, brightly. This is a YMCA, after all, and Y's are known for their regulation gymnasiums! "That'll be a good workout, and both of us could use the practice." And I meant it. Stella loves shooting baskets, so its not like I had to drag her down to the gym. Now, most people would say that shooting baskets is not exactly an aerobic workout. But when you're as crappy a shot as I am, running around and chasing that ball is quite the heart rate stretcher. I bet if I crunched the numbers, I'd find a direct relation between declining shooting percentage (mine hovers around 20-30%!) and increased aerobic capacity. I just had to decide that my horrific attempts at lay-ups could be written off by the guys in the room by some "fat white women can't jump" mentality, and that's what kept them from laughing at me. But try 10 lay-ups back and forth full court and tell me you're not in your training zone. And, I actually hit a few 3s! (those were NBA 3, too, not college 3s!) Anyway, Stella's lesson about trusting her gut in an intimidating situation was learned, and I learned one too -- there is really no excuse for blowing a workout. You can make one happen anywhere.
Even in the damn stairwell I'm going to have to hit on my lunch hour today, since I won't have time after work to go to the Y tonight. Have I mentioned how much I hate real stair climbing? At least I've been doing it enough so that my calves don't ache two days later.
Oh, BTW, from what I can tell, Stella, my four-foot-two Stella, has roughly a 50% shooting percentage, damn good for a 7-year-old girl using a men's basketball on regulation hoops.