In case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Olympic coverage. It started July 27th with opening ceremonies. I hosted a Shabbat dinner for some friends. I served freshly baked raisin challah; roasted red pepper hummus; and Asian cabbage salad with ramen noodles, oranges, and almonds. For the main course we had St. Tropez Chicken (marinated with honey, wine, and herbs de Provence), egg noodles, and broccoli with garlic and breadcrumbs. As we finished eating, we moved closer to the television and watched the activities in London unfold. Then I served this peach pie.
By the end of the night I was feeling patriotic, well fed, and sleepy. That’s pretty much how I’ve felt most nights since. I’ve gone out to tasty restaurants, I’ve cooked good food, and I’ve woken up at midnight, once after 1am, to find myself on my futon with the TV still showing NBC. The Olympics suck me in every time they come around. I admit, I prefer the winter games. My mother figure skated when she was young, and there was nothing I enjoyed more than watching Kristi Yamaguchi and friends compete for the gold. (Side note: Her commercial endorsing Romney makes me pretty sad.) But who can ignore the talents of the US swim team. Rooting for Michael Phelps has become a national pastime. The youngest US Olympian this year, 15-year-old Katie Ledecky, is from my neighborhood. She took gold. And then there’s the women’s gymnastics. The National Zoo has committed to naming its baby cheetah twins – one male and one female – after the winners of the 100 meter dash. I’ve seen synchronized diving, volleyball, heptathlon, cycling. The sport doesn’t matter – the spirit is infectious.
As I’ve watched the athletes accomplish great feats and find myself spending more and more time planted on my futon, I can’t help but feel like a bum. I spent 10 months training for and running two half marathons. It was grueling on my body, but I lost about 30 pounds and felt great. Since then, my knee has hurt whenever I run for more than 10 minutes and I haven’t exercised regularly. I walk fifteen minutes to and from the metro every day when I go to work and I walk up some extremely tall escalators, but it’s not exactly endurance training. Last summer Kirios and I made a big effort to go bike riding. We’d go out two or three times per week when our schedules allowed. I’m embarrassed to admit we haven’t even gone biking once this summer. Kirios has had additional evening commitments and quite frankly the extreme heat has kept us both indoors as much as possible. It’s been over 90 degrees almost every evening.
Fear not, I finally decided to do something about the situation. Last week I ordered an exercise bike online. It’s semi-recumbent and folds up to take up less space. It arrived on Thursday and I spent an hour assembling it on Friday afternoon. Full disclosure, I assembled the whole thing except for the handlebars. I couldn’t figure out how to get them to attach. Kirios put them on this morning and told me the screws went through the bottom, not the top. Oops. So for the past two days I’ve spent 30 minutes cycling while watching the Olympics. I may not deserve a medal for it, but it certainly makes me feel like less of a bum!