My first love was tap dancing. I took all the varieties of dance classes (ballet, lyrical, etc), but I loved tap the most. I even took a tap class in college to get my fine arts credit and I still enjoy the memory of how proud the teacher was of her "teaching skills" with me in her beginner's class (shhhh, don't tell).
|Not my feet, but I had those same shoes.|
I abandoned dance all together when I discovered horses.
|One day, this will be mine|
Once I started riding, it was all I wanted to do. Even now, if I was given a chance to have a horse of my own but I had to give up running, I'd do it in a heart beat. Sorry running, you just aren't the same.
I rode horses for years and mainly focused on hunter/jumper stuff, with some dabbling in dressage. If you don't know what dressage is, it's basically beautiful ballet done on a horse.
|I love any excuse to wear a top hat|
After the first year of college, I pretty much stopped riding because it was expensive and it took a huge chunk of time (since I had to drive a long way to the stables). I always planned on picking it up again one day. Currently, I'm just trying to condition Faith to love horses so we have to buy her a horse (that I will of course ride, to help her out). No ponies for us, I have ridden plenty and they just have way too much attitude in a little package. I'd rather Faith learn how to ride on a quiet horse than a spunky "Bite you when you're not looking" cute pony.
|Yeah, just try to pet me.|
Without horses, I needed a new hobby and I had been taking a kickboxing class at a Gold's Gym and the instructor (who was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do) talked me into trying out a Tae Kwon Do (TKD) class. I tried it out and I discovered that I really liked hitting stuff and I soon found myself at the TKD school most days of the week. My first TKD school went out of business, but I was able to switch over to another school that was close to home. I moved up the belt system pretty quickly and really enjoyed sparring, so I started doing tournaments. This is when I realized that girls are really mean. You might think the girls you know are mean because they're catty or whatever, but in a sparring match (especially if they had to cut weight) they fight dirty. My tournament training did teach me that a good strong scream in someone's face at the beginning of a fight is priceless. Try that in Target the next time you're battling for the last Rock and Roll Elmo toy. I did miss the weight class idea when I got to Kung Fu and realized that some girls can be as big as a man:
|This is my "OH SHIT" face|
Once I got to black belt, I wasn't allowed to test again for a year and I started to realize that I was really bored of TKD and tired of being treated like slave labor (I had to work for free, but thank them for the opportunity to do so).
I left TKD behind and switched over to kung fu and had to unlearn a bunch of TKD stuff, but it was so much more fun. Kung fu is great because there are different styles to learn and you also get to play with lots of different kinds of weapons. This is why I have things like a spear and broadsword casually leaning against the wall in my basement. Also, I did lion dance and kung fu demonstrations, which we performed at Asian culture fairs and for Chinese New Year.
|Fair Oaks Mall in VA...yeah, be scared of that dude|
|Downtown D.C. for who knows what Asian festival|
|Those lion dance pants were hot...in so many ways|
|In case you were wondering, these are the lions...and Buddha|
I love kung fu and all the kung fu people and if we hadn't moved away, I'd still be doing it now instead of running.
If I'm making running sound like a last choice activity, it's because I've always sucked at running. Growing up, I could barely complete the mile run in the set time. When I tried to play field hockey in high school, I got cut for being too slow. The coach told me to try track to get faster, so I had to suffer through a whole winter track season of not only running in the cold, but also being one of the slowest people on the team. I think the only people I could beat were the fat shot put guys. In case you were wondering, it didn't make me fast enough (but it did make me a little faster) and I still got cut again from field hockey the next season.
I only ever ran at the gym if the ellipticals were all taken or if I didn't have a magazine to read. When we moved to southern MD, I didn't have kung fu anymore, so I signed up for a half marathon because I thought training would be a good weekend activity. I didn't particularly enjoy training for that and I didn't enjoy the race either since I felt really sick and didn't know it was because I was pregnant. After I had Faith, running and walking were the easiest workouts to do and I soon met other women in my neighborhood who did twice weekly morning stroller runs. I really wanted friends, so I joined them and also started running with them on the weekends and I realized running didn't have to suck balls. The whole group wanted to run a 10 mile race on short notice and I signed up too even though I hadn't run further than 7 miles since giving birth. I ran the race and felt great and did much better than I thought was possible (1:27) and that made me think "Hey, I can do this running stuff!". Somehow that quickly snowballed into ultramarathons, but I think that's just my personality type. I like to go "all in" with my hobbies and given my love of hiking, it's not shocking that I'd be attracted to trail ultras.
So, that's the back story of how I'm not really runner, I just pretend to be one now...until I can get my husband to buy me a horse. :)
What was your favorite childhood hobby?