Energise (or not)

I enjoyed rather a culture shock today – I went back to work, for one day only (for now). It was the usual long day I’d gotten used to over 9 years (and forgotten about in the 1 1/2 years I’ve been away doing a college course) and I secretly quite enjoyed it. Perhaps not to the point I’d like to take it up again as a full-time job, but certainly to ring the changes.

The day drew to a close and the rain (which had been persistent through the afternoon) began falling with real intent. I began to think forward to the walk which had been planned for the evening (a friend and I are meeting up once a week to walk together for an hour, charting our progress by using the same routes and aiming to help each other get fitter) and a flurry of text messages confirmed that no, neither of us liked the weather much, and yes, we might as well use Wii fit, or something, instead.

On the way home, I was shocked and appalled to see how many utterly mad people hardcore joggers there were around. I saw at least four (the journey was relatively short, so I feel this is still a significant number) people in their shorts and t-shirts with soggy feet, pounding the pavements.

Perhaps it’s because I wear glasses and being out in weather like today’s compromises my vision so much. Or perhaps I just take after my Mum. Whatever; I hate and detest rain. I don’t like the look of it, I don’t like the sound of it (unless I’m snuggled up inside under several blankets) and I very definitely do not like the feel of it. Especially on my hands (dunno why particularly, but there you go). Hate. It.

I drove through the dismal streets to my friend’s house, whereupon we shared incredulous splutterings at my recounting of the crazy joggers I’d seen as we loaded ‘Just Dance 2’.

If someone had told me at that point that later on the words “I think I’d like some of that rain now” would pass my lips, I would’ve suggested they get themselves certified.

Usually our walks have been characterised as ‘well-intentioned’, which has meant we start at a good, stiff pace and then slacken off as we stop focussing on the walking and start chatting. We’ll usually rack up a good 3 miles (or thereabouts) in the hour though. Well. All that walking had deluded me that I was possibly a little bit fit and slightly capable of moving my carcass around.

Nope.

After the first dance, I was surprised to find that I could feel my heartbeat.

After the second dance I was very out of breath.

After the third dance, I began using my collar to wipe my delicately perspiring brow.

By the 6th or 7th dance, I was unable to move and speak at the same time and I reckon you could’ve used my face to light a cigarette, had it not been bathed in sweat.

I am horribly, hideously unfit!

This discovery on a day when I threw away an unsolicited letter advertising “Come for artery screening! This could save your life! This service was so popular in your area, we’ve added an extra date. Low fee!” (it’s still in the recycling bin though)

By the end of an hour of (admittedly intermittent, highly uncoordinated dancing (for some reason I can’t get my arms and legs to work to any kind of pattern when they’re meant to be going in opposite directions)) I was exhausted and that shocking phrase passed my lips. NOW I understood why people go running in the rain – it’s very cooling and soothing when you’re working hard. A centrally heated living room is not.

We did have fun though. There are few people in the world I would dance in front of (in a sustained, energetic manner) and I was gratified to discover that my friend and I danced as well (or as badly) as each other and just had a bit of a giggle (once we could breathe again).

I blame my Mum for my lack of dancing ability – she never sent me to any kind of dance class as a tiny child, so my body never picked up any kind of ability to move parts of itself in odd manners. I’m pretty good at walking, I can swim well and do things like climbing trees and jumping off things, but I’m not flexible or particularly rhythmic – ask me to dance and you’d probably get more joy from a brick with a tic.

That said, legend has it that as a toddler I was wilful in the extreme, so perhaps my Mum’s not entirely to blame for not trying to get me to undertake a dance class (or anything else I didn’t want to do, for that matter). It’s just a shame that the thing I have done most wilfully through life is laze around (that and go to bed far too late).

I’d love to get inside the mind of a frequent exerciser and figure out exactly which of my synapses are set to ‘couch’ and why some people find it gratifying to exercise and an easy habit to keep. I know these people exist, and I think they must have either ‘hunter’ genes (mine are barely ‘gatherer’ – they’re more ‘sit and keep the fire going’ genes), derive some masochistic pleasure from being sweaty and worn out or are secretly superheroes masquerading as ‘normal people who exercise’.

If you’re one of these mad, driven types and could bear to let me in on the secret, for pity’s sake, do!

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10 thoughts on “Energise (or not)

  1. What, there's no lake, river, pond, or ocean near you?
    Ha! I'm kidding. I didn't think about the cost. Our YMCA is very reasonably priced for only one person.

    I know. My husband is nuts. And while he is amazing for running/triathaloning that far, I'm pretty ticked off that I didn't get an award when he raced. Who took care of four young kids and his mother, traveling to cheer in as many places as possible, during the entire 15 hours he was running/triathaloning?

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  2. *jaw drops* 100k?!?! *head explodes*

    No…freakin'…WAY!

    Wow.

    Swimming is meant to be better (easier on the joints, anyways) but it's not free πŸ˜‰ Running is. I may work up to that.

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  3. For me,the payoff for getting exhausted and sweaty is the shower afterwards. There is nothing like a hot shower when you've perspired and got a bit chilly and your muscles feel all wobbly and tingly. Your whole body ends up feeling all zingy!

    However, this doesn't mean that I am regularly motivated to exercise. When I was hugely into the gym in my teens, it was because I was borderline bulimic and using it as a means of purging. I've never quite managed to get back into it since.

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  4. Being married to someone who has done ultramarathons (one of which was 100km) and an Ironman, they don't love the running. They like the goal, they like feeling fit. He had to force himself to run. He had a goal and he did what he had to achieve it.
    I like working out. When doing so, I can actually feel my muscles working and getting fit. I love that feeling. As soon as I get all the kids in school, I'm heading to a pool to do some laps. Swimming is so much better for your body than running.

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  5. It helps, thanks. I'm a little in awe of 'those people' who run cross country events and marathons for fun…I just can't imagine *how* that works in their brains!

    I guess there is a certain satisfaction to knowing that you can do a little more, and a little better than before. Still reckon I'd need that dinosaur chasing me before that was enough to make me exercise with any degree of frequency.

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  6. I hate to exercise, and I hate to run; I am as athletic as a rock! That said, I discovered that I love being in shape, or at least getting into a better one. For me, as long as I do *not compare myself* to those FB friends out running half and full marathons, I am quite happy to see my own fitness level make modest strides forward. I do not use a scale to measure success, but clothing sizes and endurance levels. My proudest moment was when I realized I could run 3 miles on the treadmill.

    Sadly, I let go of any kind of regular walking routine since I got pregnant in October, but I look forward to getting on the treadmill again in the late summer, once I've had & recovered from having the baby… I say “look forward” loosely. Again, I like the feeling of accomplishment *after* I've exercised. The actual process of it? It is not what I consider “awesome,” no. Not sure if that makes you feel any better… πŸ˜‰

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