According to my exercise journal, I’ve huffed and puffed more often in the past month than in any other one month period over the last two decades.
Government mandated self-isolation will do that, I suppose.
I’m exercising locally. The weather has been pretty good for autumn-heading-into-winter — little rain, mostly mild temperatures — meaning fresh air has been plentiful as I wheeze about the property. The dogs, like their predecessor, enjoy every moment we’re out and about at pace.
I’ve had to extend the running route to local roads (sans hounds) where there is little to no shoulder. It’s do-able so long as I keep a weather eye on traffic and wear bright colours I haven’t worn since the 1990s.
I’m not writing as much as I’ve been sweating. But in these uncertain times, I think achieving one thing at a time is pretty good.
I’m nowhere near approaching the crossfitness heights of a certain Mr Tripuraneni but I’m doing okay, if I don’t mind saying so myself.
I logged a far-too-modest 45 weight-training sessions this year which is obviously less-than-once-a-week (and my belt notches certainly show this). I’m trying to console myself with the thought that it could have been worse (previous years have logged paltry single digits).
As for the running, thanks to a (personally) epic 12 kilometre run earlier today, I’ve managed to clock just over 300 kilometres in 2015, though this was only achieved on an average of one run per week.
I wouldn’t say 2015 has been busy; it’s been more… eventful. I turned a year older and my appetite — once a shameless point of pride — has shrunken to bird-like European dimensions. Maybe I’ve reached the point where my exercise goal of shooting for the moon and glorying in my pain tolerance should be moderated to shooting for the moon and being grateful I can still shoot for the moon.
After a couple of months of no running, I bought a bike — meet Gazza:
I took the bike on a couple of my usual running routes in what I assumed would be an easy transition back to sweaty guilt-ridding exercise.
The five–kilometre clover–leaf route on asphalt should’ve been a doddle on a bike. Except I’d forgotten that:
it had been a long couple of months since I’d had any aerobic exercise; and
the terrain around Fortress Mamea is a bit hilly — good for virtuous hill-climbing but not so good when going downhill and flashing on a down–hill biking accident I had when I was younger (and lighter) (and fitter).
Undeterred, I thought the local forest trail — a not–quite–eight–kilometre return route — would be pretty straight–forward.
If I thought going downhill on asphalt was retraumatising, going downhill over gravel the size of my fists was — there are no other words for it — fucking terrifying. After the first moderate hill decline, I walked the bike down the long steep portions and, due to my lack of fitness, pushed the bike up those same long steep portions.
I was so grateful to be alive I took a selfie on the way back:
Four years on, we can leave the house in her paws, safe in the knowledge that if she doesn’t leave teeth-marks in uninvited visitors, the neighbours will investigate any ruckus she makes. The honeymoon period of family outings for/with the dog are long over – come to think of it, it lasted as long as she looked and gambolled like a puppy.
Which leaves my motivation. I need to run regularly. The Dog needs to be exercised regularly. Hey hey: a running buddy.
The thing is, I hate running. Always have. Always will. But there’s no other form of exercise where a good pair of running shoes is all you need. Biking means bike maintenance. Walking’s too slow. Swimming means a half-hour drive (and costs). One could say it’s a low-maintenance high-intensity kind of exercise. I still say the hell with that – I hate it.
It has some pluses though. It’s supposed to be good for me. It clears my head, though this shouldn’t be surprising considering the din of my desperate wheezing, a drumrolling heartbeat, and a thought-process as primal as just to the next corner… okay, just a little bit more to the next telephone pole… ihatethisshit… now just to that red car…. On occasion, it feels good when I’m huffing about out there and I think, I’m-a goin’ places, yessirree… oh yeah, feel the flow, baby… but these are rare moments, fleeting enough that I seek them like some narcotic high.
Writing’s like that sometimes. I’d be sprawled across some project and, despite the writing pains, a liitle voice whispers how about… just one more set-piece/subplot/pay-off, hm? like, how hard could it be? Rare flashes of creative joy as words are thrown up on-screen in search of a story.
By the end of it all, whether I’m running or writing, I’m glad to (still) be alive, there’s the satisfaction of having done it and, if I’m not careful, thinking that wasn’t so bad – let’s go again.
Visitors to our abode have to be vetted by The Dog, a mongrel big of heart, if not stature. (There’s The Cat somewhere on the property as well, whom, should The Dog fail, be our insurgency force.)
Summer – summer-proper, rather than the summer-in-name-only we had earlier – has arrived. As I hunch over the keyboard in the study, The Dog roams the house and surrounds, cycling through: the kids’ rooms where she moults furiously; the lounge where various breezes meet and cool her down; and the deck where she slow-bakes herself.
Sometimes I look up from the inevitably blank screen and envy her simple Dog Life. Of course, it’s not that simple, really – she has her responsibilities: she protects both home and family from visitors, strangers and hedgehogs; she’s a great receptacle for dinner scraps; and she gets us out of the house for exercise or play.
Sure, The Dog needs regular exercise (or she’ll be overzealous in her protection of home and hearth [which is not good in Auckland]) and is a social animal through and through (it’s us owners who suffer separation anxiety when we leave her alone for more than a few hours). But when the children are at school and The Goddess is out doing Godly Work, it’s nice to have her around – panting in the heat, spread out on the floor for heat dissipation, or sitting and hoping that I’ve forgotten that I’ve already fed her.