Thursday, July 23, 2020

I'm not 20 any more.



"Sweet Jesus..."

"You okay in there?"

"I'm good, I'm good." 

David cracks open the bathroom door. "You sure?"

"I did cardio kickboxing yesterday with Rissa."

"Ahhhhhh... not that kind of moaning."


He winces as I try to walk.

"It's like child birth."


"Kickboxing. It's like child birth. I've done this class at least three other times. But somehow, in between sessions, I forget. I forget the decimation."

My mouth drops open to gather more oxygen as I attempt to move my leg. 

Since the pandemic hit, Rissa is back at home and has been doing virtual fitness classes. We've been rocking the  mother-daughter time this way. Cardio Dance, Zen Barre, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Cardio Kickboxing. Rissa is 20. She's an ex-competitive-dancer. She's super fit. I... am none of those things.

Most of the classes, after the initial physical fall-out, I learn not to be a moron. I know NOT to do four sets of eight calf raises TWICE during Zen Barre (1 set with feet together and another with feet shoulder width apart). I do not even try to match the burpee count of the HIIT instructor. With kickboxing? I have selective dementia.

It's because I love kicking. I FUCKING LOVE it.

14 years ago, after a few weeks of watching Rissa and David have fun in taekwondo, I got jealous. In spite of my post-gymnast hip arthritis,  I bought a martial arts uniform and quickly became a yellow belt. Kicking night was revelatory. One of my proudest moments was when I almost kicked Sir Glen through a plate glass window. He'd been unprepared for my leg strength. I'd been unprepared for my leg strength. The fact that he had to widen his stance and engage his core whenever I was next up for push kicks? Still makes me preen.

I'd get so fucking jazzed for kicking night. Primal. Powerful. Playful. This one night, we were doing sprints to warm up across the length of the dojang. Run, run, run, run, run. STOP. Burpee. Run, run, run, run run... I was really giving it. And this, for me, was a big deal. I hate sweating in public. I hate panting in public.  I just generally hate being in a group while I exercise. But my reward was kicking the shit out of things afterward, so I would willingly suffer through the moist crotch and the lank hair during warm up.

We were nearing the end of the sprints. I ran, ran, ran, ran, ran, dropped and did a burpee and then I started running again. Problem was, I wasn't fully vertical. Rissa told me later that I looked like a cross between the Roadrunner and the Coyote. My legs pinwheeled super fast and then I propelled myself into the mat, as if I had an ACME rocket strapped to my back. I separated my left shoulder and David, who'd stayed home that night, got a phone call from Sir Glen.

"Hi David. It's Sir Glen from...."

"What did she do?"

After I finally healed, I never went back to taekwondo. But I've reminisced over it. The kicking part. The surprising people with my leg strength part. The feeling so capable and badass part. I crave that shit. It's just that now, at the age of 52, my body's not so happy when I decide once every three weeks that I want to kick. I'm in pain for three days afterward, tell myself for the next week and a half that I won't do it again, but then Rissa looks at me, raises her eyebrows and says, "Cardio Kickboxing?" and I cave.