September 16, 2009

The badges we wear.

I have joined the gym here in town and I have been working out at lunchtime. This system apparently hits a perfect balance for me as I have not been successfully consistent at working out before work. And I am generally too lazy to do it after the kids go to bed.

Anyways, I am in Abs class with one other woman and the P.Y.T. instructor assured us that we can do another 30 of these particularly difficult pilates torture moves. Um... sure we can. To prevent myself from hating the instructor I silently remind myself that I am here voluntarily and had I not such a fondness for KitKats and cheeseburgers I maybe wouldn't have to work so hard to get my torso off the floor another 30 times. I mentally counted by fives while I do my 30.

The P.Y.T. instructor is telling us that she is so proud of us and is amazed at how far we have come in 4 short weeks. She tells us that she had been bragging us up to her mother. My comrade in pain makes the observation that I have it so much easier than she does. Huh?! She says "I've asked about you. You are a marathoner." WTF? I stifle a giggle at this statement but mostly because it hurts to laugh.

My comrade in pain is a gym friend- you know the ones- where you know her first name and the names of her kids but you really don't know anything else about her other than she is a member at the same gym. I have no idea where she works. I certainly don't know who she might have asked who would have described me as a marathoner within the first 5 adjectives or at least in the present tense. I have marathoned- singular and past tense. In fact the last time I was running seriously I was pregnant with Finn.

In my mind there are certain badges of honour that we should get to wear proudly forever such as "parent" or "veteran" but I think the rest should stay relatively current. A 26.2 mile race is not something that everyone can do and generally is not done lightly or without training. It is an accomplishment. All of that being said I am still not entirely certain that "marathoner" should be a life long descriptor. I believe my statute of limitations for that title has expired.

I do think that the statute of limitation is variable based on achievement. The bigger the accomplishment the longer you can ride on the coat tails of the title. For example a good friend of mine's sister finished an Ironman race in Penticton this year. A Frickin' Ironman! (2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike + 26.2 mile run) As far as I am concerned she can brag that up and even add it to her into name if she wants for a solid decade- maybe even more.

But if we do wear labels for life for any of our past acts and accomplishments then in that same light could I not proudly proclaim myself a stilt enthusiast, water skier and a hunter? Each is more absurd than the next! I haven't done any of those things in at least 2 decades (or longer) and was only mildly good at one of them. But isn't that the same as accepting myself as a marathoner now?

Back to class: I struggle to sit upright, catch my breath and then turn to my comrade in pain. I mumble something like "yeah, this is sooo easy for me." I suppose sometimes it is easier to just wear the badge that is given, especially when it was meant as a compliment, than to explain that you may have lost your credentials.

That is unless you have been given the title as the flabby girl who can't lift her torso off the floor.


  1. I would love to know who your comrade in pain is?


  2. I think the last time I worked out regularly was when we went to the gym at the university for about two months. Although I don't think you can call lying on the floor laughing a true workout... My friends in grad school convinced me after a few beers that I should learn to swim, which I have to say was not nearly as much fun (probably because there was no beer and it was a lot more work), but I do know how to swim now. Pilates is great for the abs but requires a tenacity and dedication that, sadly, is not part of my genetics.

  3. To Boggy McBloggerton,
    You are a marathoner in everything you do Jeannifer!! You always put 100% into everything you do and you do it with pride, respect and full heartily! Your should take that tile and stand proud!
    Your Proud Sister, Hez

  4. She is so right.


  5. Interesting thought. It reminded me that we may wear labels from our past accomplishments, but we also may wear labels from our past errors and embarrassments.
    Be thankful you are know for such a colosal accomplishment.