Okay, so I'm doing these kind-of-random-this-is-me-being-spontaneous early morning drills to build up my explosive strength, practice hurdles, strengthen my hip flexors, and generally work up a sweat before the gym opens. I consider this to be "spontaneous" because I don't have a set plan each morning, which if you know me at all, you'll recognize as a sign that medical help needs to be summoned because I have obviously lost my mind. Some people fly off to Vegas and get married on a whim and call it spontaneous...well, I really live on the edge and wait until the last possible stretch to decide if I am going to run sprint drills or pull out the hurdle. Watch out, people. I'm dangerous.
But lately I've found myself opting for the same general thing - jumping. It happened kind of, well, spontaneously, one morning. After a set of shuttle run drills, I was cooling down a little and came upon a parking space divider. On a whim - woah! - I decided to jump over it. As the mother of a preschooler who wants to jump over every single crack in the sidewalk, I've become somewhat accustomed to spontaneous jumping but this was the first time I had considered jumping over random objects just for the hell of it on my own. So I jumped.
And I jumped over it again.
Hmm. That was kind of easy, I thought. What else can I jump over? My eyes spied a slightly higher mound of concrete (I'm not really sure of its purpose other than as a hurdle for me). I took a gallop towards it and jumped on top. Okay, it was maybe a foot off the ground but it felt impressive to me. I raised my arms in victory and imagined "Rocky"-esque music. A bored cat who had been observing me rolled its eyes and walked away.
From that point on, I started jumping every morning. I did a lot of plyometrics in my regular workout, but they were more about improving my balance, strengthening my hamstrings and calves, and increasing agility and speed. And to be honest, I loathed them. But this seemed different. For one, I didn't have Captain Awesome taunting me and poking me with a stick like some kind of dancing monkey.
I jumped over small traffic cones. I jumped over a little trash can/ashtray by a bench. I jumped on and off of the curb. I jumped up on those green boxes that house electrical stuff. I jumped on this big block of cement by the road. I considered jumping over a fire hydrant one day but decided against it since I was wearing a skirt and there was a lot of traffic. And one day with my son, I jumped with him over a big medallion on the ground indicating the site of a time capsule set to be dug up in the future. And when they dig it up, I might jump over that, too.
All of this jumping comes at a good time, because I've set a goal to be able to clear that hurdle by the end of June. The things I have been jumping over aren't as high as my hurdle, which is about 6 feet in the air, but I think it's a good start. So I'll start looking for more things to jump over until finally, by June 30, I jump over that hurdle. Onto a soft surface that is unlikely to cause too much damage upon impact to my already glamorously bruised and scraped legs. Heroic jumping doesn't come without sacrifice, you know.
Converting myself from a run-of-the-mill gym rat to a functionally fit high-performing athlete is a bit of a leap to begin with. But I guess it wouldn't be too ironic to say that before you can leap, you have to start with a jump.