You'll have to ask my friend, Sally, how many years have passed since we did the Disney half-marathon. I still have my Donald Duck medal proudly displayed at my house. I didn't get the medal for winning. It was one of those "everyone who participates gets a medal" awards. Sally and I trained for the half-marathon for about 10 months. We walked about 15 miles a week in preparation for the 13+ mile race. A few years after our race, Sally graduated to boot camp workouts. After all that walking I didn't lose a pound and I graduated to ... nothing. To add insult to injury, my co-workers, Matt Harris and Brent "Bandy Boo" O'Brien, did the race too. They didn't even train and finished about an hour before me. Bandy even completed the half-marathon in street shoes. He didn't even wear sneakers.
I decided that exercise just made you sweat your hair into an ugly mess and gave you sore muscles. My feet and legs were so upset after the half-marathon that I hit the sheets for the rest of the day and didn't enjoy Disney much. Exercise was just a way for hot people to show off their hot bodies to other people with hot bodies. When people would ask me about a charity 5K or cardio class I'd joke that I was "allergic to my own sweat." Gyms? Not usually fat-friendly places. You want to hear some nasty fat talk? Listen to what the Gym Bunnies have to say about the out-of-shape people who hog the equipment every January thanks to "get fit" resolutions.
Last weekend I took a Cardio Jam class. The days leading up to it were filled with dread and doubt. Why? I can't remember if I did that half marathon in 2006 or 2007, but I can remember every harsh comment ever uttered when I've attempted to work out. When a plus-size girl puts on spandex for a walk around the neighborhood, the men in pick-up trucks aren't exactly yelling compliments. I remember fit friends running off and leaving me when I couldn't keep up. There was the time I vomited after trying to run a mile. You wondering why your XXL friend is sitting on the couch? I've lost 74 pounds since my gastric bypass surgery at Catawba Valley Medical Center. That's about the size of a 10-year-old. Imagine what it would feel like to go through the paces of your regular workout with a 5th grader strapped to your back!
I was ashamed to admit to the folks at Cardio Jam that the last time I worked up a sweat exercising was nearly 7 years ago. Thankfully women of all shapes, sizes and ages showed up for the event. At first I was nervous about making a fool of myself, but I wound up having a blast. I felt a lot more comfortable emotionally and physically TRYING to keep up as a size 6 than I did when I was an 18. I didn't have to wonder if people were laughing at the big girl bouncing, panting and sweating in her spandex. I only had to wonder if I could pull off the hip-hop inspired moves. Will I be hired as a dancer for Jay Z's next video? Nope! Are my legs still a little sore from droppin' it like its hot? Yep! Am I ready to do it again? HECK YEAH!!!!!