I grew up with little interest or inspiration to participate in competitive sports, but I did spend LOTS of time outside playing kickball and running around in the neighborhood. My mother tells me she almost didn’t graduate from college because she couldn’t pass a physical education class. My father had run cross country in high school, as did my brother, and Dad swam regularly to stay in shape. Like many kids, I dabbled in a few different activities while growing up. One season of softball in 4th grade was plenty to know it wasn’t for me, but I did like swimming at the community pool, and especially in lakes when on summer vacation. During the winter, my dad would take us to the natatorium at the university (which was later replaced by an Olympic-size indoor pool) on Sunday afternoons. Eventually I found basketball to be “my sport,” and had a great time traveling around town with the 5th and 6th grade league, playing games at the different elementary schools. I kept playing through my freshman year in high school but my competing interest in music overwhelmed my mediocre athleticism.
Fast forward to graduate school and it was time to get back in shape. My new friends introduced me to stair-stepping machines in the gym, running, squash, and hiking. Exercise was actually fun, and certainly helped me get through the stressful years of graduate school. I am grateful to these friends for invigorating and enriching my life back then, and have fond memories of my first road races in Connecticut and hikes in the mountains of New Hampshire. Exercise, in some form or other, is part of my daily routine, as long as I can help it!