Working on the Competitive Edge

When I say I’m obsessed with fitness, what I mean is that, if I didn’t have a business to run, you might find me working out all day. I’m addicted to endorphins, and I take satisfaction in feeling physically worn at the end of the day from testing the limits of my body.

I enjoy all the ways in which one can be active—running, biking, lifting weights, gardening, kayaking, walking, hiking. I like to have sore muscles. I like to feel spent.

Pair this with my competitive nature, and sometimes, well, we have a problem on our hands.

About six weeks ago, I was texting my younger daughter Molly in the evening, and she politely let me know she was watching a movie. As in, “Mom, leave me alone.” So, I stopped texting her, even though I was feeling tremendously chatty.

After a half hour of silence, Molly texted me.

“Sleeping?” she asked.

“No, just showing incredible restraint,” I said.

She said, “Impressive,” and send me a gif to emphasize the point. It’s changed my life. (Well, not really.) In it, a young woman, smacks a free-standing punching bag with a Roundhouse Kick, sending a bottle of water that was resting on the top flying into the air. In a swift, deft movement, said awesome girl then performs a turning Roundhouse Kick that smacks the water bottle out of midair.

I watched that gif play over and over and over again. Then I texted my daughter.

“Challenge accepted,” I told her.

“It was not a challenge, mom,” she said. “It’s just a gif.”

“It’s a challenge for me,” I said. “I’ll have a video to you of me doing this by July 1.”

Molly knew there were no take-backsies. She knows her mother.

I bought an Everlast free-standing punching bag on Craiglist. I found video tutorials of the Roundhouse Kick. I broke the woman’s maneuver into steps—two steps to be precise that together last only two quick seconds.

I started to kick the crap out of my bag.

“You’re out of your mind,” my housemate Craig tells me every time I’m headed out to the garage to practice. “I’m going to find you dead on the floor out there one day.”

I have received similar feedback from others.

It all only serves to make me more determined.

But between you guys and me, I do have a few doubts.

For starters, I am having trouble kicking the bag hard enough to get the water bottle to sail up in the air high enough. And my spinning Roundhouse is about a foot lower than it needs to be to connect.

Have I given up? No.

I may need an extension on my video deadline, though.

I did a bit of research into the mystery kick-ass kickboxer. She is actually a famous person. She’s a singer, model, and Taekwondo buff Olivia Marie Garcia. She is my new super hero. I sent her a message on Facebook, asking for tips. She has not, um, responded.

If you know her, ask her if she’ll come over and train me.

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