Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake with rowers
Lady Bird Lake with rowers

One of the things that I appreciate is Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin. It is a gorgeous trail, a 10-mile loop, that is mostly on the river’s edge. The Colorado River runs through Austin and that’s what we call Lady Bird Lake.

There have been lots of improvements to the trail over the years that I’ve been going there: water fountains, restrooms, gardens, benches. RunTex, a wonderful running store and community supporter, sets up (at least) two water stations: at the zero mile marker near the First Street bridge and at the two mile marker, under the MoPac bridge.

Blooming vine
Blooming vine

The vines and decorative fruit trees are blooming along Cesar Chavez street and that is always a beautiful sight with white, pink, purple and red blossoms. Yesterday morning there were rowers on the river, working out for the rowing competition this coming weekend. Should be exciting!



This is a test

Life is full of surprises. Some of them come as a pop quiz.

Take physcial therapy, for example. I sprained my knee. I’m in physical therapy. My knee strength is improving, so my therapist started adding new exercises.

He stands me in front of a small trampoline that is angled up from the floor and secured to the wall. He hands me a yellow ball and says “Okay, stand on one leg, balance yourself and throw the ball.”

And that’s what I do. I take the ball in both hands and throw it at the trampoline. And I mean I throw it.

Here’s the pop quiz: Then what happens? Anyone raising their hand?

Well, that’s exactly what I wasn’t doing: raising my hand. My hands were down by my side. And the ball bounced off the trampoline right back towards my head.

I move my head to the side, trying to get out of the return path of the ball that I threw so forcefully. I wasn’t quite fast enough and the ball grazes me on the side of my chin and careens over to the therapist and he catches it.

Trying very hard not to laugh out loud he says, “Let’s move you back just a little. Try it again.”

“Oh,” I ask, “and you want me to catch it this time?”

Yes, indeed, that is part of the exercise: catching the ball.

I flunked this pop quiz. I mean, what else is a ball going to do when you throw it on a trampoline?

What’s that saying? In life, you take the test, then you learn the lesson. So true.

Hang In There

I’m still working on my New Year’s Resolution from 1979: get fit and eat right. I’m not making a new New Year’s resolution until I can cross that one off my list.

So, in my continuing effort to be physically fit, I wound up in an exercise class not too long ago. And what did I discover? I discovered exactly how many sit ups I can do: None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Null.

This was definitely a shock to me, as I can distinctly remember being able to do sit ups – several of them, in fact – in 7th grade, about 42 years ago.

What changed when I wasn’t looking?

I got all set up, paying attention to my proper sit up form: knees bent, feet on the ground, hands behind my head. Imagine my surprise when I tried to rise up and nothing happened. I tried it again, with pretty much the same result. Oh, sure, my head came up off of the floor just a tad and my shoulders thought about it, but there wasn’t any real movement.

Okay, I thought, I’m just out of practice; I can do this. Remember Yoda’s advice: Do or do not; there is no try.

I change my approach. I put my arms up above my head, parallel to the floor, and suddenly fling them towards my knees while simultaneously lifting my feet off the ground, bringing my knees a couple of inches closer to my chest. I reach up and grasp the back of each thigh, then propel my feet downard, towing my head and shoulders off of the floor.

I lean forward as much as possible, taking advantage of the (slight) momentum. Oof! I breathe out. Inwardly, I count: One!

Then I notice myself in the mirror. A mirror covering the whole wall. Who’s idea was that?

I gasp at the sight of my red, puffy cheeks between the ashen crow’s feet around my eyes and the tense white line around my lips. My gray hair is escaping my pony tail in curling tendrils at all angles (oh my, how my mother yearned for my hair to curl like this when I was a child!). I look like a startled raccoon with reversed dark and light makings.

Recoiling from the shock of seeing myself as others see me, I let go of my thighs and bang my head back onto the floor. Now I have an Ow-ie.

Good job, ladies, good job! The instructor is perky. And why not? She can do everything she’s telling us to do, including sit ups.

Surreptitiously (I had to look up this word), I glance over at my classmates, some are 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter than me. They are just going at it: they are lean, mean sitting up machines.

The instructor is clapping and loudly supportive: HANG IN THERE, LADIES, HANG IN THERE!!!

Okay, do or do not. I’m on it! I get set for my second sit up, ready for the mirror this time.

The instructor barks out: Okay, ladies, enough sit ups. Let’s move on, shall we? Let’s do push ups, okay, regulation push ups. On your toes, ladies, on your toes! GO!

Regulation push ups, I think, yes let’s. At least I can do one half of one regulation push up: the down half.

Gym clothes

Going to the gym before work presents certain clothing challenges.  I have to be very careful in selecting the clothes for the day and then —  here comes the hard part — make sure I actually put them in the car before leaving the house. 

I haven’t forgotten any clothes yet, but I won’t be surprised if it happens.  Somehow I think it will be my work shoes that I’ll forget at home.  When that happens, I’m hoping that my neon lime green running shoes will match my outfit for that particular day.