11.7.05

Fitday

we have all been exhibiting wanton (mmm, won tons) disregard for our fitday accounts. I have been negligent mainly because I am ashamed to admit some of the things I have eaten recently (read as pizza, and chipotle).

So clean slate on the days we've skipped, but we all should get back into the habit. I know that I am less likely to grab a burger if I feel like I will have to share that experience with you guys.

A Term From My Youth

back·slide (bksld'):
intr.v. back·slid, back·slid·ing, back·slides
To revert to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice.


When I was a young adult, I spent a great deal of time with my church youth group. It was, for a lot of us, our core social circle, ventured away from on fear of our immortal souls (or in pursuit of acceptance, popularity, and/or third base). We would participate in a lot of pre-arranged activities... beach trips, theme park visits, pool parties... the kind of thing secular people do, but we invited Jesus.

Anyway, one of the the tried-and-true outings was to the old "Natural Bridge", site of a (the) famous north Florida civil war battle, where they have a stable of horses available for riding.

I've been a big guy for a long time. Really, since I started high school, I've been kind of known as a big guy. I've been a few pounds overweight that whole time, but I think that when folks mentioned my size, they were talking about the total package as opposed to only my gut (I didn't think this at the time, but time heals all wounds and most self pre-occupations). The point is that when it was time to be assigned horses for our little trip across Panhandle wilderness, I always got the same steed.

A big, wanna-be draft horse named, aptly, Tiny. Tiny was huge, roughly the size of an SUV. Even with my above-average height and longer-than-normal legs, I had a hard time mounting this beast. She was, I came to realize, the only horse in the stable capable of hauling me around... and she was chronically bored.

Tiny trotted with the kind of lethargy you might expect from a person who shared her nickname. Twice, she actually FELL ASLEEP while we were walking a part of the trail.
THE HORSE I WAS ON FELL ASLEEP.

Needless to say, horseback-riding did not rank highly among my list of favorite youth-group activities, Jesus or no Jesus. Still, I had a kind of odd affection for Tiny. I happened across an employee of the stables years later, and we toasted the memory of Tiny, who was loved by all of the stable workers, I learned, and had been put out to pasture, with all the cruelty hidden behind the euphemism, on Christmas Day, 2003.

Somehow, I will draw together the metaphor of "getting back in the saddle" with the significance of the word "backsliding", and the fact that I used to ride a huge horse with my church youth group.

I'll get back to you when I figure out how... but for now... drinking water, eating bananas, turning things back in the direction they need to go.

Trying to keep my horse awake.

1.7.05

On My Planet

Yesterday I took my kid to a local waterslide park and spent literally HOURS chasing him around, riding down slides, bouncing around in a wave pool, and ingesting pool water. It was a total blast and as planned, the combination of sunshine, chlorine, overactivity, and hotdogs had my kid happily passed out like the drunkard in some early Irish novel in the car on the way home.

But the whole time we were there I kept thinking to myself -- why can't this be more beneficial? I mean sure, mathematically speaking I had to have burned off some decimal points worth of calories, but even I know that there's no way to argue that standing in line with throngs of summer camp kids waiting for my chance to slide my butt down modified PVC did me any sort of weight loss favors at all.

      ..and honestly, that sucks.

The workout regimen I keep up with at home leaves me feeling good when I'm done, but it makes me feel utterly FAT and OUT OF SHAPE while I'm doing it. It's a sensation reminiscent to the humility that highschool presidential fitness tests would always bring -- where not only were you always left hanging there trying to will a pull-up out of yourself so you could at least say you did ONE, but you had the added hell of knowing that eternal-crush object Cathy Mortensen was standing somewhere nearby witnessing this failure firsthand, eternally relegating you to backrub-only status.

I think that's part of why I always crash and burn on my exercise kicks. No matter how much I do these things to get myself in better shape, they always make me feel like shit about myself. Weekly regimens of crunches and curls might be doing me some sort of good in the long run, but each one I attempt still feels like a little part of me is dying.

I understand that getting in shape takes time and that the reward is worth the struggle, but really and honestly -- every time I go to work out there's a voice in my head that says:

      "oh man, are we really doing this again?"