Aly's Angle: Sports Used to be my Exercise

I have played sports my entire life. By high school I was a three-sport athlete: soccer, basketball and lacrosse, two of which I played varsity all four years. I loved the feeling of a hard practice as much as I loved the feeling of a competitive game. I spent most of my practices outdoor in the rain and cold. I remember soccer balls leaving imprints when they hit my upper thigh. I remember my face feeling hot but my ears being frozen. I would sweat profusely, but no one could tell because I was soaking from the rain.

I think because most of my exercise came from playing sports, I find gym equipment boring. When I run on a treadmill, I feel like a hamster without a soul. There is no reason I feel I should run indoors when I live in southern California right next to the beach. Yes, I understand some people live in cold and wet climates and may have to adjust to indoor workouts, but I live in Southern California. Even when it rains here, I find something liberating about working out in the rain. It makes me feel alive. I remember one particular time biking in the pouring rain (probably not the safest activity to do), but it was one of my happiest moments. The feeling of a good warm sweat mixed with a cold rain invigorated me.

I never played sports in college, so after high school I struggled with my workout incentive. I loved running because it pushed me outside. I still struggled with the gym. Workout classes were different and fun, yet I missed feeling part of a team. I missed training for a reason. So in 2010, I decided to train for an Olympic distance triathlon with Team in Training. Our focus was to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma. I loved meeting up with others devoted to this worthy cause.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge has inspired me to reflect on the power of working with a fitness partner. Although I am no longer on a sports team, I do have four pretty awesome individuals who inspire me:

-I have my Be Better workouts in Newport Beach twice a week. I started Be Better workouts in 2012.  I wanted to come up with a way to inspire people to improve their mental health with physical fitness. I created a team of women, something I hadn’t had since high school. I love these women. We meet at the beach, we have become like family, and we motivate each other to be better. Before Cooper was born, I had another Be Better workout I ran down in Dana Point. They are amazing examples of mothers and wives. I miss them and our weekly workouts.

-I have my husband. We just joined LA Fitness which has a daycare for an extra $10 a month. We normally wouldn’t commit to gym date nights, but my husband tore his ACL over the summer and isn’t able to do his normal basketball workouts. So we have been cycling together.

-I have my friend Nasem. We text each other workouts. This week we are doing 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, 25 tricep dips and 25 lunges. We have agreed to not move on to our next text workout until both of us have accomplished the current one.

-I have my daughter Cooper and dog Tucker. They are a huge incentive to get outside and run to Old Town, a two-mile round trip, at least twice a week. Sometimes we stop at the fountain in the center of the circle.

I am a firm believer in the importance of feeling part of a team. It is one of the main reasons I have started #bebetter52 and a huge reason why I have coached lacrosse for the last nine years. Feeling connected and pushed by others holds you accountable.