Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Art of Actually Exercising....

This is one of those days where I don't really have anything in mind to blog about. I've decided to not mention snow for a little while as I think I might have done enough of that last week. Also, I think my mother is growing strongly hostile at the mere mention of it and I'd like to appease her for a while since, no matter how hard I try, I can't get her to appreciate the pretty stuff.

So, last night, I got my entry done for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I'm very excited. I'm not excited because I expect to get anywhere though, on a very biased and opinionated note, I think I deserve to make the next round 'cause I like my entry a lot. I'm excited because I was able to meet a deadline and, as a result, I have a cleaner, tighter version of my manuscript and a great query letter to go with it.

I may wait a few days before sending out the query letter though. I like this happy feeling of elation I've got going and instantaneous rejection would definitely put a damper on that.

I have a sneaking suspicion my happy mood may also be a result of exercising. Yes, Captain Monkeypants has been exercising.

You may think...."So"? Let me tell you, it's actually quite an accomplishment for me to make it to the actual exercising part. Here's an example of a thought process that might explain why:

Captain Monkeypants' brain: Hey, I should work out. Yes, that would be good. Then I could get rid of this burgeoning tummy and get some good abs so that I'm not embarrassed to wear a tight shirt or a swimsuit. Great idea! I think I'll do that. But how? Well, I have some exercise videos but they involve jumping and since I have the grace of an elephant and live on the second floor of an apartment building, it might be a bit loud for my downstairs neighbours. Hmm....well, how about that new exercise bike I got so I could start working out while watching TV? Oh! Good idea! But there's nothing on TV at the moment. Yet I have DVD's. What shall I watch? Oh, crap, I still haven't got "Gilmore Girls" season 7 and I just finished re-watching Season 6. Hmm...no Gilmore Girls then. How about "Buffy"? Nah....just watched "Buffy" not long ago. How about a movie? No, 'cause then I'd feel compelled to finish it even when I'm not working out anymore and I had plans to write tonight, no it'd have to be TV on DVD. How about "Veronica Mars"? Oooh! Good idea! Oh, crap, now it's 6 p.m. If I work out for a half hour then shower, it'll be 7 p.m. Then I wanted to watch "House" at 8 p.m. right? And, crap!, after "House" is "24" and that means I won't get to write at all tonight if I work out now. Hmm....maybe I'm right. Maybe I should just work out tomorrow and make sure to start earlier....

And, sadly, this is not an exaggeration. It's very, very easy to talk myself out of exercising. And yes, I am aware that I think way too much about television but, frankly, for me, that's my way of relaxing and since I now have narrowed my viewing down to a mere five hours a week of scheduled programming, I don't think that actually qualifies me as a couch potato, surprisingly enough.

Yet, now, for about four weeks, I have been exercising. I'm now doing between four and six miles on my little bike thingy. It's quite fun. I also do ab exercises though I haven't blown up the giant exercise ball thing I got at a garage sale for $3, brand new. I'm a bit afraid of that ball. I don't have that much room in my apartment and it's a big ball. I'm also afraid that if I try and use the ball, it will lead to painful reminders of my lack of coordination. I always wanted to be coordinated and used to do ballet and gymnastics as a child. However, I fear, even then, I was never terribly coordinated or graceful. I had the enthusiasm just not the gift. Mostly, I'm afraid if I use the big ball, I will try to follow the pictures that came with it, lay on top of it and then have it go rolling across the room, leaving me to splat down onto my bottom, back or whatever body part lands first.

So, you see, for me, exercise isn't really something that comes naturally. Once I start and I get in a routine, it's easy to keep going provided the routine isn't interrupted for more than a day. If I am interrupted by a vacation, event, whatever, I begin to make excuses for why I don't get back into the routine: "I'm too tired," "I did a lot of walking, that's my exercise," "Oh, I'll start again tomorrow," and so on.

However, when I am exercising, I begrudgingly admit that the experts are right, exercise does help physically and mentally. It's those endorphin things. It reminds me of that quote from Legally Blonde: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands."

Ok, so I don't have a husband nor do I own a gun. The worst that happens when I don't exercise is that I get a bit heavier and I start feeling unhappy about things like my writing. Yet, while I am exercising, I do feel a little more optimistic and upbeat. Now I just have to make sure I stick to it. My record is about six months of steady exercising...then I stop. Wish me luck.

Happy Tuesday.

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