I've been meaning to blog about this for a while. I guess I should back up to about a year and a half ago. I began running again pretty regularly. I was signed up to do the Disney half marathon in January (2008). I had it all worked out and it was great. I would either go running really early or I would send Erin to school at 8:00 and take the stroller out with Alex. Of course all my efforts were foiled by me finding out I was 20 weeks pregnant a week before the race. Exercise ceased. I had Marissa and used the old "I'm still healing" card for a while until it was really too ridiculous to use anymore.
The thing is that I honestly love to exercise. Yes it is hard to be consistent and hard to roll myself out of bed most of the time, but I feel so much better during and after doing it. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat whatever I want, though it is becoming more clear that this strategy may not continue to work as well as I wade deeper into my 30's. So the desire was there, I just couldn't figure out how or when to do it with three kids with varying nap schedules. I began walking to Erin's school with three kids in the double stroller but that meager attempt at exercise only lasted so long (Marissa is way too big for that now).
My answer came in the form of a brand new gym opening up last October. They converted an old grocery store into a 24 Hour Fitness and it is less than half a mile from our house. I went to check it out and it looked great; they even had a kid's club to watch the kids. The only snag was that they had to be at least 6 months and Marissa was only 4. For two months I wrestled with it. Was it really worth the money? Surely I could find the time to go out running on my own. After all, I have an elliptical machine and work out videos at home. Would I start out going and then end up never using it? I have a vague recollection of a few roommates getting into a gym contract that they never used--would this happen to me?
Finally, I joined and I took the kids the day Marissa turned 6 months. I think I got a great deal (one of those Thanksgiving internet specials) and I tell you, it has been worth every penny! I love, love, LOVE the gym! When I first went, dropped off the kids and walked around without the kids in the middle of the day I felt so liberated, so free. I didn't have to arrange for a babysitter, I could just get out of my little cave and do something that made me feel really good. I think it's a common feeling for mothers of little kids to feel trapped and isolated. I recommend a gym to anyone feeling this way. I try to go as much as I can (amidst all the school craziness) and even though it takes me from the time I get up to get everyone ready until 9:30 or 10:00 when I get there, I have felt motivated to go. Trust me, it's worth it. And though my body may not look a whole lot better and my pre-pregnancy clothes still only fit until I need to breathe (err), I feel great. When mom is happy, the kids are happy.
This is a picture of the kid's club and can I say it is awesome! The kids love it and since it is new it sort of seems like things aren't broken, dirty or slobbered on already (even though they probably are by now--and probably by my baby no less). It has a climbing thing with a slide, basketball, movies, coloring, kid computer games and even that dance, dance revolution game that I am pretty bad at but it's still cool that it's there. Oh, and the best part is I only pay $9.99 extra for the babysitting a month for up to three kids and up to two hours a day. By my calculations, if I go every day for two hours that equals 5 1/2 cents per hour per kid. All right, I'm not going to use it that much, but you get the idea--it's cheap!
The rest of the gym is fabulous. They have all the cardio and weight machines you could dream of for muscles you didn't even knew you had, a pool, hot tub, sauna, basketball courts, racquetball courts and more. They have all sorts of classes that are included which I love and best of all I have rekindled my love for racquetball after years of hesitancy from breaking my nose while playing. A friend from my ward and I have been playing and it is great!
My only beef with the gym, you'd think with all the TV's mounted on the ceiling and on each individual cardio machine with hundreds of channels to choose from, one of them could be HGTV. I chose a gym membership over cable or satellite TV. Wouldn't life be so great if I could watch Design to Sell or House Hunters while at the gym? Yes, it would. And even though I am more of a "Drew Carey was good on Who's Line is it Anyway but not so much on Price is Right" kind of girl, I guess it will have to do until they come to their senses. We can't have everything.