Month-in-Review Highlights: April 2019
As mentioned last month, I figure I’ll use this space to share a key highlight or insight from each monthly postmortem. (For more background, read the introductory section to last month’s similar article.)
Each year, my goals development asks me to set targets for health and fitness. Typically, other than my poor eating habits (oh cookies, cookies, my love, my vice!), I manage to hit my goal baselines for fitness each year.
This year, so far, I’ve done reasonably well—yet I haven’t done as well as I have in the past.
First, the excuses:
In spring 2018, my knee started to hurt. (Yes, I can hear your tiny violins.)
As I had done for years at that point, I ran four days a week and boxed three days a week. Then I sold my car in preparation for our move to Switzerland. As it didn’t make sense to pay for a Lyft to and from the boxing gym, and as I knew I wouldn’t box at that gym much longer, anyway, I then ran seven days a week. Further, I walked increasing distances, preferring to get places on foot rather than calling for a ride.
The knee started to hurt more, as I should have expected it would more than I did expect it would. Yet I continued to run on it through the spring and summer.
You know where this story goes: In late September, I went for a run along the lakefront in Lausanne and the knee decided to stop on me, as I clearly didn’t plan to stop for it.
This forced a rest period in which I couldn’t walk much, couldn’t run at all, and didn’t have another form of exercise or physical activity readily available. I tried to see this as an opportunity to relax a little, let my knee heal, and even try stretching. (I hate stretching. If I didn’t hate stretching so much, I might never have had the knee problem. Let this serve as a lesson for the rest of you.)
Months later, the knee has nearly forgiven me. I can feel it at times, yet barely, and only when I pay attention. I’ve gone for a run here and there, and the knee has handled it well enough—though not so well that I feel open to running every day.
As to the stretching, I’ve done yoga at least five times a week each week, and I’ve gotten a bit more peaceful with it. (Yoga done when cursing in your head about the miseries of yoga somewhat negates the effects of yoga.) I’ve even found a few yoga classes that have intense cardio and weight-bearing elements, which helps me feel more of a workout-like effect.
Yet I miss the intensity of a regular panting-and-sweaty workout session, whether outdoors or in a gym. Maybe I need to find a boxing gym in Lausanne. (Yes, they have them.) I miss boxing.
Boxing could do the trick. However, part of me wants something new and different.
Okay, so then what?
Lausanne has an entire badminton center. (Yes, really.) I went and played badminton for an hour with English speakers I met in an expat group who didn’t mind a complete neophyte joining the foursome. I had fun. I’d like to do it again, yet I don’t know that I can badminton enough for it to count as regular exercise.
Racquet sports require partners at a similar level with a similar time availability. They require a lot of coordination. And though Lausanne has enough badminton players to support an entire badminton gym, it doesn’t feel like a sport so commonly played that I’ll find people all over the place to join me.
Besides, few people will want to play with someone at such an early stage of ability that she can return the shuttlecock (don’t snicker) only once out of every seven or so tries. (Sorry, folks, I don’t have video of my first attempt. We would laugh together at it, if I did.) For some reason, taking badminton lessons feels a little ridiculous. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
As to more commonly played racquet sports, I do have tennis in front of me. As in, directly in front of me. In fact, I am looking at tennis right now, as I type.
Our apartment looks down on a huge tennis center; maybe I should try tennis again. (I played—badly—as a youth.) Yet everyone at the tennis center, which I regularly walk past and into which I try to peer with apparent curiosity and not creepiness, looks very serious about tennis. They have tennis-specific outfits and specialized tennis racquet cases and tennis duffel bags. I think I even saw headbands. And those dainty white terry-cloth wrist bands.
I have no interest in getting serious about tennis. Or badminton. Or any sport. I just want to have fun a few times a week and get in a workout in the process.
Arnaud and I have tried other activities unrelated to racquet sports. For example, though we didn’t get much snow time this winter, I would have tried snowshoeing again. (No, snowshoeing is not a racquet sport. Today’s snowshoes look nothing like tennis racquets. I found this somewhat disappointing to discover, I admit.)
Also, I look forward to other activities that will count as workouts. I hear Switzerland (alps, don’cha know) features amazing and intense day hikes all summer along routes dotted with visits to small Swiss mountain villages.
However, I don’t think anyone other than someone who lives in a small Swiss mountain village can make snowshoeing and hiking a workout several days a week.
By a long, long distance, Lausanne makes for the sportiest place I’ve ever encountered. In addition to a badminton center, it seems to have a center for every sport you can imagine. Something will pop up.