Strength Training for Runners: A Tween Flashback

January 20, 2011

I wish you all lived in my neck of the woods, because something really ridiculous is happening tonight. In an effort to bolster up two things I love--my local running club and my husband's chiropractic office--I'm hosting a group called Strength Training for Runners at 7 o'clock.

I can't do a push-up. I can't touch my toes. Actually, I kind of have a hard time wrestling a gallon of milk from the fridge to my cart at the grocery store. Oh, and sometimes I fart when I do squats.

This is basically the equivalent of me hosting a book club meeting about anything longer than 89 pages. Or teaching an Intro to Etiquette class.

All I keep saying to myself is, "Welp, at least they won't be intimidated by my strength and skill."

I will admit that I'm having some crazy flashbacks to my tween years as a result of this insane idea. You see, once upon a time in 1989, my dad bought me a forest green tennis racket from Caldor. I couldn't hit a tennis ball to save my life, but honestly--honestly--I thought I might have had a chance at Wimbledon. If I practiced enough.

And practice I did.

Lots of afternoons--especially during middle school--I'd get home, grab my racket, and walk up to the elementary school, where I'd hit a ball against the outside wall of the school gym for a zillion minutes straight. You know, the brick wall that said, NO GAME PLAYING AGAINST THIS WALL? (Really now, the swearing Mormon thing shouldn't surprise you one bit. Even back then I had no respect for the rules.)

Despite my hours and hours and hours spent at that wall, I never could get a handle on the backhand. Or the serve. Or making contact with the ball in any way, shape, or form. I was a huge, clumsy mess. One time, I actually walked home with the racket tangled to high heaven in my ponytail. That's how awesome I was.

One day, as I was leaving for the elementary school, my neighbor across the street came out to her front stoop and called my name. She was all, "Amy! Aaaaamy! I'm wondering if you'd be willing to teach Matthew some tennis lessons."

I was like, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

And she said, "Great. Can you do it twice a week? I can pay you five dollars a week."

And I was like, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

And then she said, "Can you start today? Matthew's really anxious to learn the basics."

And I said, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

So off we went, me and the token neighborhood chunky kid. We were about to have our first tennis lesson. This, I recall, was also the first time I crapped my pants in public.

We walked up to the school mostly in silence, and when we got there I turned to him and asked, "So what do you want to learn first."

He said nothing.

Not knowing the names of any tennis-related skills and absolutely dying to break the awkward silence, I said something like, "Well Matt, how about the double loop-de-loo? That's a really good one."

His eyes lit up, so I showed him how to do it.

For those of you who are curious, basically all you do is throw the tennis ball as high as you can, do two giant arm circles with your racket, miss the ball, and go get it out of the ditch.

That spring we also learned the triple loop-de-loo, the quadruple loop-de-loo, the mega-slam....and yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it.

Needless to say, those were the only tennis lessons I ever taught.

So tonight? My Strength Training for Runners group? It could be the first and only. Just please pray that no one gets hurt.


Michelle Glauser said...

Double loop-de-loo? And you got a racket tangled in your hair? Really?

Charlotte said...

Is that a true story? If so, how is it possible for one person to have such a repetoire of colorful stories? It's hilarious either way.

Bahston Beans said...

You can do it! Who needs to touch their toes when you can touch your shins!

Georgia Snail said...

After reading about the "Double loop-de-doo, i can visualize the triple & quad....but the Mega Slam????

Mindy said...

I want to come to your class... for reals. You may not be the best example of strength training, but you're hilarious, so that would make it fun. :)

Amy said...

Mom, can you vouch for me on this story? Please?

Unknown said...

I always find it so easy to read your posts. The always make me laugh and this one was no different. Not only do you have awesome stories but you tell them really well. I'll keep coming back!

Team O'Connor said...

I'm dying! Why are you so hilarious and why do I wish you were my tennis coach? Amy, I can do pushups and touch my toes but I suck at running! I am still in for the marathon and I've found another person to join (I haven't registered yet) but I'm starting to feel bad because I am really slow! I'll email you some details when I register but I am telling you may regret this.

Amy said...

I'm sure you can find a strength training equivalent to the double loop-de-loop. You've got a killer name there, so stick with it.

Grandma said...

Forgot all about this one! Just asked Dad if he remembers and he busted out laughing.... and to think you got paid for the loop-de-loo idea!

Stef said...

Okay, so I just found your blog through someone who was linked to someone else and I am a little dizzy. But you are so funny. I love it!!
Now, if I lived where you live I would totally try and run with you. Other people may not call what I do running...but I do.
Will be back.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! Yikes.

Anonymous said...

So, how are you feeling now? Sore at all still? I probably would be. I haven't been down to the gym in longer than I care to admit.

Dale Topham said...

And the kid's mom didn't ask for a refund? :)

carrie said...

I'm more interested in why you crapped your pants?