Working out with iPod– Kidd Russell

On the first leg, the San Francisco leg of our spring break travel, I went to the YWCA several times with my friend, L.  She has mostly, throughout our long friendship in different cities, been more devoted to regular exercise than I– though I was, for a long time, a very regular two-to-three mile runner.  But a nerve problem in my foot and an infant put an end to that about 10 years ago.  L.’s children are older than my one child is– so for her it has been longer since the demands of parenting have required totally giving up on so many things that one does for oneself and while visiting I thought it would be great to follow her back into exercise.

On our first morning after we arrived, she said she was going to the Y to go to a spinning class and I said I was going with her.  I’d never been to a spinning class.  I’m not in the greatest shape.  When I do things like running or spinning on my own, I come up against a wall of hard feelings– feelings of it being too hard and feelings of it being impossible to go on.  In some ways I’ve understated this; I had very bad asthma as a very young child and sometimes when I’m exercising, that same feeling comes over me– same as when I was young having an asthma attack; “I can’t; I’m going to die.”  This feeling has certainly hindered my ability to get regular exercise that involves pushing past that feeling.

But L. has a wonderful sense of humor and this unstoppable, cascading laugh and with her on the bike next to me, looking over periodically and laughing hysterically about the absurdity of spinning and sweating all together, I found I was able to keep going way past the point I could have done on my own.  Not as long as the best of them but 38 minutes isn’t bad for someone as unexercised as I have been lately.  And I had to admit I kind of loved it.

When I came home I decided I would join a gym– I’ve not had a gym membership in years.  Recently strangers here and there have just begun acting very strangely toward me– it’s the particular sexism directed toward women who are, in someone’s eyes, older.  I rode the bus at rush hour the other morning with my partner and two 30-ish people asked my partner and me if we wanted their seats (we were standing).  I said, “oh no, thanks, I’m fine.”  But it didn’t end there and they must have interrupted our conversation three more times on a 10-block ride to see if we wanted their seats.

When I went to visit three gyms in order to choose one– they did something similar.  They talked in these strange condescending tones.  They asked me slowly if I’d ever belonged to a gym before (yes, yes, I have) and what I liked best about working out.  I laughed out loud and said, “I hate working out.  I hate it.  That’s why I’m so out of shape and why I’m looking to join a gym today.  Does that answer your question?”

Despite these silly, deflating sales pitches, I did join a gym.  I joined the one that was the cheapest, that is around the corner from my daughter’s school, that is walking distance from home– but has metered parking right out front where it is easy to park at most times of day.  I joined the gym with ugly tee shirts and no incentive to browse their “pro shop” and the one that doesn’t have lovely pitchers of water with mint and lemon wedges throughout the gym.  I joined a gym where I go in my sweat clothes and put my backpack down beside the machine and get aerobic exercise for about 40 minutes.  Then I pick up my stuff and go to another area and stretch and then I go home.  I don’t generally shower there, I don’t make friends, I don’t buy things and I don’t do anything except work my body harder than I do sitting at the computer.  I’m loving it.

Since I don’t have L. at my side, laughing– I generally bring my iPod.  I find music with a kind of lightness and a good, happy beat, or a driving soul or disco beat.  I recently found this guy– Kidd Russell– who’s from Chicago and whose song, She Feels Like Home to Me– does feel like home to me and keeps me moving– not quite, but a little like a friend to cheer me on.

4 responses to “Working out with iPod– Kidd Russell

  1. MamaC/catherine

    Love this post. Can hear L’s laughter. Can feel the subtle ageism at play.. Inspired me to skip the big pancake feast and opt for the all bran instead! To the gym this morning too!

  2. HI Laura, I have belonged to a gym for more than a decade now, but I found that I hate using the machines–but do love swimming and water aerobics, and I walk a lot outside. What I have found is that listening to BOOKS ON TAPE on my IPOD keeps me moving, wherever it may be, and helps me push through. I actually get my books from Audible and have to pay for them, but I think you can download them through the public library for free, though I have never taken the time to figure out how to do it yet that way. But good for you for deciding to work with you body. It does feel good and no doubt those endorphins help our moods.

  3. hey great article and thanks for writing about my music I’m very honored you’d mention me. How did you find my stuff? Glad you like she feels like home its my favorite song off my last album….

    • Well I’m honored you found and liked my writing and post about your music. I actually considered writing a whole piece about the song, finding it– and how it played a role in lifting my spirits quite a bit, returning to hopeful– after many weeks having a rough time. Perhaps I should have or perhaps I still will. We all love the song in this household and my daughter, 10 years old, often asks to fall asleep to it these days, and I oblige. Pretty cool to make music that some wonderful young person listens to like that, don’t you think?

      How I found it was that it was used in a video advertisement I saw recently. I went to some trouble to track down the credit for the song and it was all the sweeter when I found out you were a Chicagoan, just like me (well I was, and often still long to be…) and like my dad who I loved and who looovvvved Chicago.

      Keep making music and writing great songs, and maybe we’ll come hear you when we’re back in Chicago sometime. Thanks for writing me.

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