Tag Archives: working out

Mile 2362: NaNoWorkMo

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“We are strong.
No one can tell us we’re wrong.”
–Pat Benatar, “Love is a Battlefield”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2362

If you know what NaNoWriMo is, you probably follow a writing-centered Twitter account.

If you don’t, I will tell you that it is a buzzy abbreviation that stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” November is the month that a lot of writers decide to crank out a fifty-thousand-word novel in just thirty days while dudes are growing mustaches.

If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. (The writing part, not the mustache part. Of course, I have no idea what goes in to growing a mustache, so I may be totally wrong about that.)

A few fellow writers at work have decided to undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge, and I am, too…sort of…only insomuch as I’ll be writing fifty thousand words and working on my novel.

My plan for this month is to use this time to really figure out how to fix the novel I started while still in college, work through them, and go about starting to make those changes. (And then completely finishing it and all that jazz. Some of that will probably have to happen after November 30, though.)

Basically, fifty thousand words worth of work will be happening, but my novel probably won’t be fifty thousand words longer. It’s confusing, but it makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters, right?

 

Since my novel work has pretty much been in limbo since I graduated from college almost two years ago, I’m using NaNoWriMo to give me the kick in the pants that I need to get back on track. This may or may not be considered cheating at actual NaNoWriMo, so I sometimes tend to think of it as NaNoWorkMo–which really should be every month, I suppose–but sometimes you have to make up your own rules that don’t really apply to anyone else and no one else cares about, anyway.

My two big goals for NaNoWork(Wri)Mo are:

1.) Crank out a significant number of words every day.

One of my goals for this year was to write every day. It hasn’t been happening so much. Better late than never, right? That’s sort of how a lot of things in my life have gone.

Fifty thousand words in a month averages to 1,667 per day, which is approximately seven pages. Yes, that does seem like a lot. Quite frankly, so does nine miles of jogging/elliptical-ing a day, but I’ve managed to make that part of my routine.

2.) Stop overthinking and just do it.

May I speak frankly? Sometimes the pressure of trying to write something worth reading gives me so much anxiety that it gets in the way of my productivity. However, I also can’t not try to write. It’s frustrating, and I’m not proud of the nerves, but that’s the situation.

Part of the unofficial point of NaNoWriMo’s high word count is that you don’t really have time to think about it. You just do it with the full understanding that some of it isn’t going to be so great. You get the story out and fix it later. It’s what you have to do.

That’s what I have to train myself to do.

And after nine days of NaNoWorkMo, I think I’ve discovered something–the big bad secret of NaNoWriMo.

Fifty thousand words in a month is surprisingly not as impossible as you think.

You’d be amazed at how many words you can crank out during your lunch hour or in the half hour before going to bed. It’s completely doable when you take it a little at a time and don’t freak out about the big picture.

Honestly, before starting the Mile Project, I would probably doubt my ability to train myself to do anything. Now, though, I know that working every day–especially when you stumble sometimes–is way more important than doing everything absolutely correctly all the time.

Wait. I think I’ve had some professors who tried to teach me that. It sounds vaguely familiar. Hmm. Weird.

Gosh. It’s almost like exercising has had a ripple effect in the rest of my life and my self-discipline. What the heck, man?

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Mile 2304: I Think My Gym Has a Room of Requirement

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“’Cause 99 miles per hour, baby,
Is how fast that I like to go.”
–Fitz & the Tantrums, “The Walker”

Miles Last Week: 54
Total Miles 2304

Not too long ago, a doorway appeared in the gym. A neon yellow paper sign was taped to the white plastic tarp that covered the opening. I never ventured over to read this sign because it was across the room and there were usually other people between it and myself. I tend not to socialize much during exercise time.

More recently, the neon yellow paper sign and the white tarp were taken down and people would occasionally walk in and out of this new, mysterious doorway. I still didn’t walk over to see what the doorway led to–because, you know, the risk of exercise time social interaction.

Last week, I started running (mostly pretty slowly and in intervals) on the treadmill. And can I just say–running on treadmills sucks. Of course, running in general is not my favorite, but the treadmill adds a little bit of extra suck.

Part of that may be residual fear of breaking a treadmill (which hasn’t happened yet), but there is also an element of not liking to have my speed dictated by a machine. Surely that’s the first step toward accepting robot overlords, and I’m just not ready for that. With the time change, though, trying to run outside in the evenings after work is kind of out of the question.

If only there were some place inside and not on a treadmill where I could do some interval-ed jogging for a little while every day.

Which brings me back to the new, mysterious, no-longer-tarped doorway.

I poked my head in yesterday and discovered this:

"Because it is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker's needs." --Dobby (a free elf)

“Because it is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs.”
–Dobby (a free elf)

I may not have walked by three times, thinking about what I needed, but this isn’t Hogwarts and this Room of Requirement may work differently. I definitely feel like my brainpower might have helped this happen anyway. It may not be an indoor track, but it is a large room with a random piece of AstroTurf in the middle–sort of decent for some light jogging in one- to two-minute intervals.

AKA "The Come and Go Room" or "The Room of Hidden Things"

AKA “The Come and Go Room” or “The Room of Hidden Things”

And that’s what I did for the past two mornings this weekend. I see only two downsides to this system:

  1. I can’t really definitively figure out the specific distance or calories burned (which our future robot exercise overlords very conveniently tell you on digital displays). I just sort of guessed based on how far I would get in the same amount of time on the treadmill.
  2. During the week, there are evening classes in the room (which is likely what it is required FOR), so I’ll probably only be able to do it on the weekends. Oh, well. I suppose I can tolerate the treadmill sometimes.

I probably couldn’t magic up a full track because I am no Hermione. Sigh…

It doesn’t matter. I still consider the materialization of this room to be definitive proof that I am not a Muggle.

Also, if we want to start Dumbledore’s Army, I totally know where we can meet.

Mile 2014: Woo!

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“If she wanna stay, she stays.
If she wanna go, she goes.
She doesn’t care how she gets there
Long as she gets somewhere she knows. ”
–Eric Hutchinson, “Rock ‘n Roll”

Miles Last Week (+ today): 79
Total Miles: 2014

I don’t usually count the miles completed on the day I post here in my weekly mile total, but I am today because today I crossed/elliptical-ed mile 2,014 of the 2014 Mile Project—A FULL THREE MONTHS EARLY.

Not that I’m bragging or anything.

Guys, guys, please. You can stop applauding. It’s really not a big deal. Of course, I did celebrate by purchasing some boots online. (I’m completely determined to find tall boots that work for me. This is my second try–last time didn’t work out so well.)

Obviously, this isn’t the end. I mean, I’m kind of on a roll.

And that’s all for today.

I’ve gone over 2,000 miles in nine months–what more do you want from me?

Mile 1871: The Stages of Pizza Deprivation

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“If it was up to me
I would’ve figured you out.”
–Coheed and Cambria, “The Suffering”

Miles Since Last Time: 130
Total Miles: 1871

At the start of the “Just Say No” 21-Day Challenge two weeks ago, I was feeling pretty smug with my flawless argument that pizza is not a fast food. The next day, someone pointed out to me that pizza has white bread, which I can’t have anyway during the challenge. So there’s that.

This realization was a bit depressing to say the least. My affection for pizza is such that you might almost call me a human version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—except I’m not a teenager, I’ve never come into contact with radioactive material (besides my cell phone), I am not acquainted with the ninja arts, and I’m not amphibious. I mean, you could say that I have a shell, but that’s really more of a figurative thing.

Anyway, I like-a the pizza. I have no problem admitting that it’s probably an issue I should be concerned about, and I’m not surprised that I’ve gone through what I’m calling “pizza deprivation” over the last two weeks.

Flat-out Denial
But…but…pizza crust isn’t considered bread, though, right? Even that pizza with the pretzel crust? I’m kind of on the fence about it anyway, but maybe—no? Oh, okay.

Recognizing Your Limitations
Maybe I could make my own pizza without white bread! No…no…I’m probably not going to do that. Cooking is pretty stressful.

Disproportionate Rage
THE ONLY WAY TO CURE A STUBBED TOE IS PIZZA EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

Remembering Your Childhood
Times were simpler then. I could just sit and watch Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers—hey, why isn’t that on Netflix by now? Or Gargoyles? Or Talespin? Or Doug? Or Darkwing DuckIf there’s room for Super Mario Bros. Super Show, there’s definitely room for all of those.

(I may or may not have wanted to be Gadget as a kid–not that I’ve grown out of it or anything.)

Obsessive Counting Down Until Pizza Can Return to Your Diet
Seven days…

Yes, it’s been rough, but I think I’m going to make it. The prognosis is good.

I’ve also retained enough sanity to realize that the return of white bread needs to be a reduced return. I’ve lost six and a half pounds in the last two weeks, so I think that’s what my body is trying to tell me anyway. It only makes sense.

Pizza and I will just have to rethink our relationship.

 

Mile 1560: A Bug’s Life

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“Nice to meet you.
Now go away.”
–Weatherbox, “Pagan Baby”

Miles Last Week: 59
Total Miles: 1560

At my gym, the cardio equipment faces a line of windows. On Saturday mornings, there’s really not a lot to look at other than the guy cleaning the litter out of the parking lot and birds scavenging for a meal.

Yesterday, though, I spent much of my elliptical-ing watching a beetle on the sidewalk outside. (There’s really not a lot to look at, okay?) This particular beetle’s back leg on the right side stuck out an angle I could kindly describe as “wrong,” and the poor thing was having trouble balancing its little black body. After I noticed it, the beetle took a few wobbly steps and promptly tumbled onto its back.

Now, I am not typically sympathetic to the plight of the beetle. (I have sort of a ‘live and let live’ philosophy about a lot of bugs. As long as they stay outside and leave me alone, we’re cool. If they come inside or into my space, then we’re not cool–unless they’re across the room and I don’t want to get up. That’s okay, I guess.) But I couldn’t help but feel sorry for that disgusting little creature on the other side of the window as it waved its uninjured legs around frantically, fighting to correct itself.

And it did. I’m not sure how, but it pulled itself upright. That lopsided beetle took approximately three tiny steps before it toppled again.

Then it got up…and fell again. This up-and-down went on for a while. So long that I lost track of (or, if we’re being honest, interest in) the ongoing struggle, but a grasshopper sat in judgment about two feet away on the sidewalk–you know, as grasshoppers do.

By the time I finished working out, the beetle was gone.

If this insectile parable is not a metaphor for a lot of things in life, I don’t know what is. You wobble around, take a tumble, flail around blindly, get up, make a little progress, and fall over again. Meanwhile, some douchebag grasshopper is watching like, “Oh, I never fall over because I’M A GRASSHOPPER and my legs are far more stable than yours.”

I’ve never seen a grasshopper on its back–I’m assuming their legs prevent that sort of thing–but I have seen several fly into windows, which probably isn’t much better.

I digress.

The point is, if a physically unbalanced, five-legged beetle can make it in the world, so can the rest of us.

 

Mile 1501: Butthurt

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“Well, these days I’m fine.
No, these days I tend to lie.”
–Imagine Dragons, “Amsterdam”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 1501

Last month, I graded myself after finishing the 30-Day Ab Challenge. This month, though, I don’t have to go through that charade to know that I failed July’s 30-Day Butt Challenge. Actually, I didn’t even do the last week, so I guess I get an Incomplete.

So, for those keeping track, here’s my report card so far:

Planking=F
Abs=C
Butt=I

During the three challenges that I’ve…attempted (I can’t even say completed)…I’ve noticed two things.

1.) The numbers increase very quickly. Sure, you start out at 5 lunges, but then, just four weeks later, you’re up to 125. On each side. Plus three more exercises. That’s kind of a lot.

2.) The exercises start to take a long time. I’m just saying.

It’s not that I couldn’t have at least tried to finish the booty challenge–I just sort of dropped out at the end. The time-saving part of my brain won out and reasoned that I already average over 8.5 miles a day six times a week and, really, that should be enough sometimes, right?

Which is why I fail July. (I mean, “Incomplete” is basically code for “we just haven’t given you an F yet.”)

It’s also the inspiration for the August challenge–you know, since I’m doing these every month now. This is not an Internet-sanctioned challenge. It’s one I made up. Take that, Internet! I don’t need you…this time…

I’m calling it the 15-Minute Challenge, and it works exactly the way you would expect. Devote fifteen minutes a day to some exercise of your choosing. By my calculations, there are two big benefits to this particular test.

1.) Simplicity. You don’t have to worry about complicated things like calendars or counting. Just start the stopwatch app on your phone and go.

2.) FREEDOM! For this month, at least, gone are the shackles to one section of the body. I can lift weights. Do cardio. Have a leg day, an arm day. Paint my face blue and pretend to charge an army–whatever. But I’ve pretty much decided that it’ll probably mostly be upper body stuff.

Shootin’ for an A on this one–or at least finishing it so that I have a 50% completion rate.

Mile 1443: So You’re Feeling Discouraged

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“[guitar riff]”
–Muse, “Plug In Baby”

Miles Last Week: 50
Total Miles: 1443

It happens to everyone. You have a bad day (or week or month or whatever). Maybe you have a bad workout. Or your car dies while you’re driving eighty down the highway. Perhaps you think you might be recycling blog topics but are too lazy to look back through your archive. Or you’re not at San Diego Comic Con so you decide to coat everything you eat with cheese and dip it in ranch. You know, basic stuff.

For whatever reason, you fall into a rut. You feel down. You start to lose hope. It’s okay. Like I said, it happens to all of us.

There are lots of regular ways to try to pull yourself out of a funk (Think positive! Change your routine! Put a smile on your face!), but here are a few methods that are not so much in the ‘just be happy’ vein:

1.) Repress.
Just don’t think about it. Push any negativity down and deal with it in therapy in a decade or so, after it’s sent you into an emotional tailspin. When all else fails, procrastinate.

2.) Vent.
Okay, repression probably isn’t the most effective way to process your feelings. Have a good venting session with a sympathetic friend. Ice cream in the flavor of “stereotype” is optional.

3.) Drink more water.
As far as I know, there’s no scientific evidence that drinking more water will help your mood, but your increased trips to the bathroom will surely distract you from little things like emotions.

4.) Make something.
Write. Knit. Photograph. Paint. Construct. Nothing banishes discouragement like creativity.

5.) Take a nap.
Maybe you’re not discouraged. Maybe you’re just tired. Have a siesta.

6.) Have a cupcake. It won’t kill you.
Unless it will–in which case, don’t.

7.) Look at GIFs of British dudes.
I’m just saying…it makes me feel better.

Source

Tom Hiddleston’s famous snake hips. Source

Yes, there are lots of ways to feel better pull yourself out of a rut. However, it is important to remember that “looking at Comic Con tweets and pictures” is not on the list. That will just make you sad that you missed it again.

Oh, look–Cumberbatch.