In my last, ode to snow, post I forgot to mention one highlight I eagerly await each winter: Women's Adventure Night. From April or May through September I gather with a group of women who meet weekly for a run/track workout. Most everyone has a purpose whether it be a faster 5K, a first half-marathon or a fall marathon. The group started small: a few friends, who invited their friends, who invited co-workers, neighbors, or anyone they met who was a like-minded fitness enthusiast. The group includes Sara, a friend from my writing class (the rare breed writer/triathlete/mom, what's not to love?); Shawn, whom I met at a Pete Yorn concert (how cool is that?); and soon Melanie will join us, a woman I just met at a neighborhood holiday party (I love when I unearth triathletes from my hood). And so now, because everyone brings people on board, we have a hoard of people on the distribution list. We realized after the first summer of weekly workouts, we all liked each other. We do a serious amount of laughing while sweating. We leave each other's presence having acquired both a great workout and much needed social time. We couldn't bear to wait out the winter without seeing each other. Thus, Women's Adventure Night was born. Once a month we hook up to try something different. In years past WAN has included night trail running (we thought the trail was lighted, but no...), cross country skiing, pole dancing, speed skating and for grins a bra-fitting party and beer tasting (both necessary accoutrements for the female athlete). But never, until last week, had we ventured into an activity that required balls.
Literally people. Balls. I learned early in my childhood I wasn't very good at the ball sports. If you put me on the soccer field I was the one who always got clocked in the head--and I don't mean in a score-a-goal-Pele-style-sort-of-way, but a didn't-see-it comin'-knock-me-sideways-sort-of-way. My uncle was a baseball coach. A lot of swings and misses, which was unfortunate because I didn't mind running the bases. I grew up taking tennis lessons when Chris Evert and Tracy Austin ruled the courts. Alas at some point my parents gave up on the lessons.
I wouldn't have considered picking up a racquet again if it weren't for Cardio Tennis. Last summer I watched Tracy Austin in a Cardio Tennis demo and (clearly I've never gotten over her) decided it would be the perfect WAN activity. I coordinated our
own personal Cardio Tennis class through a pro at Life Time Fitness and 15 eager WAN devotees attended. Most had never played tennis before and those of us who had... well, it had been many years ago. Like twenty. As runners and triathletes the whole idea of lateral movement was pretty foreign. Add flying balls? Could we handle this? That's Darcy on the right and Courtney below. Looks like they can handle flying balls quite well, thankyouverymuch. Turns out, we all could.
Let's just say I may never need to wear my "who needs balls" t-shirt, again. I had a ball, and so did everyone else. I'd go as far as to say, I didn't suck, either. Of course, the emphasis isn't on the game of tennis. Hitting the ball is all well and good, but no one cares if it takes three bounces or if you hit it in or out of the court. (It's easy not to suck when you don't have rules.) In between drills there is an obstacle course of pushups, lounges, jumping jacks, etc. to keep the heart rate up and we finished with a few games--not real tennis--just games. My favorite being "around the world," where we split our group on opposite sides of the court. Each player hit the ball (or not) and then ran to the other side. We tried to keep the ball in play, but if you missed three balls you were "out." The fewer people playing, the faster you had to run. If you ever feel bored with your fitness routine, I highly recommend Cardio Tennis or Women's Adventure Night. Or both.
Here are a few more shots from our WAN Cardio Tennis experience. Speaking of "balls" can you pick me out of the crowd? What do you think of balls? Tennis anyone?