Friday, April 03, 2009

Running Without A Wild Animal In Pursuit

I've never been much for exercise. Even as a kid, I'd much rather draw or read a book than play softball. I wasn't on a single team aside from P.E. where I usually got picked close to last (aside from basketball where my height was deemed an advantage.) I did jump rope and ride my bike around, but sports were just not my deal.

My mother attempted to route me though the traditional ballet, tap and gymnastics classes at the YMCA, but I don't recall making it for more than a few weeks at a time. After a particularly nasty growing spurt, my doctor actually took me out of ballet for good. (Just in time, too, because I'm was far too endowed far too early for all that jumping around.)

I just wasn't meant for physical activity. For one thing, I was never particularly coordinated. I was tall and lanky with far too much arm and leg. Dribbling a basketball or moving a soccer ball down the field with my big feet was just a bad idea. I was also not very strong. I could never do handstands or cartwheels like the other kids. I'd fall off the monkey bars. And then, of course, I was also a big chicken. Even at seven, I had a pretty hard and fast rule about my rear end not going over my head. It was just asking for trouble.

And so, I developed quite quickly into an "indoor cat." Like my cats at home, the outdoors is nice and interesting, but I'd rather look at it from the safety of the windowsill. I excelled at academics and left the physical stuff behind me. Speaking of "behind," you'll see where this became a problem. I've never been particularly thin. Weight is always a battle and given that I didn't care for physical endeavors, exercise was even more of a challenge for me. I wasn't the kind that would go hiking or rollerblading for fun. Exercise was a chore, a box to check off.

For some reason, I got fired up this year about exercise. Better late than never, I suppose. I joined a local gym and set myself the ambitious goal of going 4 days a week (M-Th). I leave straight from work dressed in my gym clothes, work out, then go home. I know better than to go home and think I'll venture out again for anything as mundane as exercise.

I started February 2nd and I'm pleased to report I haven't missed a single day - 36 straight workouts. I think I've actually gone to the gym more in the last two months than I have in my whole entire life combined. I've been using the ellipticals, walking and running (yes, running) on the treadmill, taking the occasional aerobics class, and doing a good bit of weight training. I have lost some weight, but mostly inches in addition to gaining a few muscles I've never seen before. Hopefully I'll look fab when Nationals rolls around this summer.

After my first month without missing a day, I rewarded myself with a very nice pair of running shoes. This month, I'm thinking perhaps a massage is in order. Maybe a pedicure. The scariest part of this whole thing - I'm actually liking it! If only I could manage to be as consistent with my writing... Why is it I can only be 'on the ball' with one part of my life at a time?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with exercise? Just a hate/hate one? Or are you one of those people who just love it? What's your favorite type of exercise? Honestly, I'm still waiting on that feel good rush that people claims makes them addicted to exercise. I'm nowhere near addicted yet. Do you have any suggestions for a reward?

SP

PS. The winner from last week's blog post is Caroline. She's picked up two autographed Jacquie D'Alessandro books. Please email me at smartypants@writingplayground.com to claim your prize. After seven days, unclaimed prizes will be covered in gravy and fed to my dogs. Or not.

13 comments:

Angel said...

Yes, this seems to be the "get in shape with the Playfriends" year. I too hit the exercise bandwagon late in 2008 after the diagnosis of some health issues. I can't say that I love it, but I love the way it makes me feel.

Besides the muscles I'm developing, the biggest benefit I'm seeing is a more even mood and less stress. As the Playfriends know, I'm a very emotional person and tend to jump in the deep end at the slightest push. :) Exercising helps me control my stress levels and approach life with less drama. Note: I said less, not none. :)

I find I have to shake it up quite a bit. I alternate between intervals on the treadmill, high intensity/low impact aerobics DVDs, and weight training.

Angel (also an indoor cat)

Problem Child said...

My reward will be new clothes ;-) -- with shoes to match them.

Still have some poundage to go, though.

Christine said...

I was the bad girl in school who hung out with all the smokers and lagged behind the fit kids during mandated outdoor runs just to sneak a cigarette. Fortunately, I was blessed with a good metabolism until I hit the mid thirties. By then I had quit smoking and had begun exercising regularly. I've been a gym rat, a class rat, and a jazzercize rat. Now I prefer walking outdoors, fast, and Wii fit. I did join a local gym for just the classes in the hope of meeting some new people, but the only person I met didn't intro herself and then proceeded to tell me I was stomping too hard on my step. Yeah, that was a crapola morning for sure.

I have to exercise because if I don't I can't eat what I like. And I suffer from an autoimmune problem that brings me daily pain. I find exercise helps the best in combatting the pain.

I wish I could say I was svelte, but age does tricky things to the middle and now I am a health size 8. (which means I am really closer to a 9 LOL).

I plan to buy a new dress for the big shin dig at the Conference as a reward for all kinds of hard work this year.

Congrats on your success Smarty Pants! That is awesome. Keep up the good work!!!

housemouse88 said...

Hey,

I started an exercise program at the beginning of February of this year. However, I fell off the wagon due some personal issues. I still haven't gotten back on the bandwagon yet. The thing is I had a routine going and was actually starting to enjoy it. I know I need to start again and that's the problem just getting started.

If I was you for a reward, I'd go buy a new outfit and do the town up right. Just a suggestion.

Have a great day.

Instigator said...

I started a new gym routine in January. I even had a goal - run a 5K race on April 18th. And since I started I've torqued both knees (my left is currently screaming a protest at me) and developed a nasty, nasty cough, all of which kept me out of the gym. I haven't been in a week because my knee just won't let me. The thing is...I miss it. I NEVER would have expected that. But I've enjoyed my time in the gym these past few months. I'm looking forward to starting back, as soon as my new anti-inflammatories kick in.

Instigator

Playground Monitor said...

I joined an exercise place last year and did very well until I got tendonitis in my left elbow. I had to ease up for a bit and it still bothers me a little. Then I developed severe plantar fasciitis in my right foot and the doctor's orders are no running or power walking til it's better.

So the only use my barbells get is the one under my desk that I run my foot over to stretch out the plantar fascia.

I have lost 12 pounds though since the first of February. I just wish the foot would stop feeling like someone was sticking a knife up through my heel.

amy*skf said...

I so get the "why run unless someone is chasing me" but, I too started the year off with walking almost everyday and now it's led to running (up to 3 miles at a time) and Pilates and Yoga.

My husband and I both did this--his blood pressure had always been high (sometimes scary high) but he just went to the doctor today and his bp was 120 over 80. Yay!

We both feel so much better and we treated ourselves to awesome running shoes too. I hope it lasts.

And Marilyn--ow! Hope qthat feels better soon.

Sherry Werth said...

Congrats SP on the exercise program.. that's great! I think you deserve a massage and a pedicure!
I rejoined the gym last month and I'm trying to get back into the routine. Weight lifting is my favorite with running being the necessary evil that goes along with it. I just hope my muscles have a better memory than I do! :)

Word verification: getim
"Getim done" :D

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I love to run, once I'm doing it. Getting me onto the treadmill these days is taking some creative thinking though. Not sure why, but I've had one excuse after another lately. And I have to just stop it and get on the damn thing. In fact, I'm going to do it today. Yes I am. And since I've told you all, you can nag me if I don't do it and call me a liar, etc. (Now I have to do it! Ha!)

I love to exercise because I love the way I feel once I'm done. But I can go days, sometimes a few weeks, without doing anything structured because I lose track of time. It's insane. I strained muscles in my back cleaning the stupid bathroom a couple of weeks ago, and that stopped me from working out for a while.

But it's time to get back to it. I love the way I feel when I work out with weights and run. Inches melt away. I'm not tired at the wrong times, and sleep is much easier. Moods too, as Angel said. They are far more even. The trouble comes when I get wrapped up on deadline stuff and do nothing but sit at the computer. I lose track and don't exercise properly and then I'm tired and cranky, etc.

Good for you for sticking with it, SP! The benefits are amazing once you get over that hump of "I hate exercise, I don't wanna do it." And you seem to have made it over, so good for you! Keep chugging away and watch the inches melt. :)

amy*skf said...

Lynn, that's how I used to be--I nagged my husband into buying the treadmill, and then I'd get on it every day for a week and then not look at it for a month.

I think because he and I did this whole together--we don't nag or try to one-up each other, we just celebrfate the successes--that's what helped me make it a habit and not a dreaded chore.

PM's Mother said...

I had a stationary bicycle once -- it made a good place to hang clothes.

Smarty Pants said...

Yeah, I have an elliptical in my house that I completely ignore. Oops.

I think I'm going to treat myself to a massage next Friday when I'm off. :)

Anonymous said...

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