Exercise for the person who hates exercise

If I’m being honest with you, the most physical activity I get during a week is when I walk the dog.

Rivanna Trail hike
With Pyrrha by the Rivanna River.

Clearly, this is not sufficient, and I need to do more. I’d say that we eat quite healthy (meat only once a week, lots of vegetables and fruits, no desserts, no soft drinks) — although I’m sure we could eat less cheese, which is not really something I’m really willing to sacrifice, owing to the immeasurable joy that it brings to my life. That aside: I need to get moving.

I have a standing desk at work, which is already something in my favor, according to every fifth article you see these days. But aside from taking P-dog for strolls, that’s about it.

I’m also the athletic black sheep of my family. My dad plays hockey or some other strenuous sport almost daily. My mother has a six-pack and goes to these super-intense workout classes every other day. Kelsey (and her husband) are impeccable physical specimens; Kelsey is a champion hockey player and Alex is a titled martial arts master and surfer. Grace, as I mention below, is a certified yoga instructor and all-around badass. And Sam is also a champion hockey player and possessor of generally remarkable abs.

And then there’s me. The one who doesn’t even LIKE exercising, much less is trying to fit it into her life. So, personal assessment time.

hikers
Hiking with Christa in some beautiful park, July 2009.

Favorite forms of exercise that I’ve tried:

  • Walking. I love walking; I really do. People laugh when I say that, but it’s such a pleasant, mind-clearing activity. I’m looking forward to walking to work soon and continuing to walk around the neighborhood and to the Downtown Mall. We’re lucky to live in a very walkable place. And having a dog as a walking companion is the best possible thing.
  • Hiking. The fittest I’ve been in my life is when I spent a summer living in Denver and went hiking multiple times a week. I actually had muscles! I hardly ever go hiking in Charlottesville (like, once a year), which is a real shame.
  • Ballet. I took two ballet classes this year and loved them, even though I’m a wretched dancer.
  • Cycling. I love biking around town, but I need to get a bike first. Goal for next year!

Things I’ve tried that don’t work for me:

  • Yoga. I really like the IDEA of doing yoga. It appeals to me so much: breathing and twisting your body around in a quiet room with a bunch of sexy women. But I am TERRIBLE at yoga. So terrible. Even though my little sister is a certified yoga instructor, I have a wildly different body type. Where she is muscular and compact, I am long and weak. My legs are disproportionately long, my arms are spindly, and I am the least flexible person I know. I’m always the person in the room who needs “special help” from the teacher. So I don’t practice yoga. Because it makes me feel bad about myself.
  • Swimming. Ever since my parents forced me to join the neighborhood swim team when I was young, I’ve despised the pool. My coaches told me that I had lovely strokes, but that I was just way too slow. Just the slowest. I hate smelling like a pool and I hate the notion of swimming laps.
  • Zumba. No. Just no. This is my personal hell.
  • Running. My father was a champion professional runner, and he likes to tell me that I was “built to run,” but I just cannot make myself do it. Again, I like the idea of being great at running, but I lack so much motivation. I think part of me is also reactionary to the prolific running culture in Charlottesville. Not participating makes me feel like a curmudgeonly rebel. (“You ran 10 miles this morning? Well, I sat on the couch and looked at my dog.”) Also, everyone I know who runs all the time is constantly in and out of physical therapy, which is not something I’m particularly interested in trying. I think I could make myself run in moderation in temperate weather.

I’m generally quite lazy, and so partner accountability and public shaming do wonders for me. Also being a part of a class. Having paid for a class (as with ballet) where I’m expected to show up each week and where my friends are counting on me (to at least give them rides) is helpful.

Based on this information, what do you think would help me? What is your weekly fitness regimen, and why does it work for you?

I would rather pull out all my eyelashes than…

  1. Do a DIY craft project.
  2. Watch another reality TV show about rich, stupid people.
  3. Listen to someone express his or her undying adoration for the genius of Ayn Rand.
  4. Wear shorts.
  5. Watch the Food Network. Or any cooking show, for that matter.
  6. Iron my clothes.
  7. Listen to people talk about what they would have done differently in a pro sporting event.
  8. Pull hair out of the shower drain. (Thanks, Guion!)
  9. Go to the gym.
  10. Watch broadcast TV news.
  11. Sew anything.
  12. Take seriously any of the NRA’s policy recommendations.
  13. Listen to Mumford & Sons.
  14. “Play” in the snow.
  15. Run.

An even fuller week

Thursday night: Tiny Nettles concert in honor of Lulu and her birthday.
Friday night: The sisters arrived! (Plus Eva and Alex, not featured here.)
Saturday morning: Post-race malaise.
Saturday night: Dinner at Monsoon with the fam. Brothers Pratt here.

This past week I:

  • Attended a surprise birthday show for Lulu, in which Tiny Nettles played; ate the best (and longest? Most intestinal?) baked ziti ever, by Greg.
  • Turned 24; received tulips, chocolate, and a beautiful leather leash (for the dog, not me) from my dear husband.
  • Welcomed my sisters, Alex, and Eva for the weekend.
  • Ran the Charlottesville 10-miler, didn’t die.
  • Ate a celebratory dinner at Monsoon with family and friends.
  • Enjoyed the company of many friends at The Local for drinks; felt so very blessed by each one of them.
  • Went to the Gordon Avenue book sale, the best bi-annual book sale ever.
  • Met a new calligraphy client to start on another job.
  • Observed Palm Sunday; was reminded of that feeling during the Passion reading, “Wait, why do I have to be the crowd? I don’t want this part; it’s the bad guy’s part… Oh, wait. Right.”
  • Watched Guion finish his master’s thesis, provided some opinions on last lines and em dashes; felt so proud of him.
  • Felt very happy.

Love you all very much. There’s a complete set of the weekend’s photos on my Flickr and Grace also published a very nice weekend re-cap, if you’re hankering for more.

Meet beautiful baby, greet returning husband

Pretty Pellyn! So nice to meet you.
The conquering musician, home at last.

Baby Pellyn arrived last week and I got to meet her (and her Aunt Sarah) on Saturday; Pellie is a beautiful girl with such wonderful, generous, and calm parents! And then my beloved husband finally returned. We had a wonderful reunion. We even ran together (3 miles, we’re getting serious) for the first time ever. It was kind of a big deal. I have a lot to do and so I don’t have much time for pensive reflection. Maybe that will come later.

Things I want to do in theory

Source: Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

Here are some things I want to do in theory, meaning, as soon as I actually tried to do them, I would be a.) very mad at myself, b.) tearful, c.) ashamed, or d.) all of the above.

  1. Adopt a cat! (No, not really. Cats, like 50-gallon aquariums, are very nice to look at, but no one really wants to take care of them. Plus, most cats are mean and their poop is making us all schizophrenic.)
  2. Run 10 miles! (Running is for masochists. And it is bad for you.)
  3. Shave off all my hair! (Beth: Are you crying about father? Jo: My hair…)
  4. Grow out all my hair! (Very quickly, I start to look like this. This is also what you get when you type “homeschool hair” into Google image search.)
  5. Live on a farm in the middle of nowhere! (Can I live on a farm that’s near civilization? Do those exist? I’m scared of the darkness in the woods.)
  6. Raise sheep! (Sheep are actually quite gross. Ever tried to pet one? I dare you. If the woolly grease doesn’t get you, the ticks will.)
  7. Take a remedial math class! (I should do this one, but it would make me very much point b, above.)
  8. Train our future dog to compete in agility! (Agility is hard, y’all. Plus, I’m not competitive or aggressive enough to hang with the humans involved in it.)
  9. Re-upholster furniture! (Despite what the Life List says, this sounds like a terrible, terrible idea. I’d rather buy a new chair.)
  10. Do a split! (That is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious, self.)

Happy Friday! Guion comes home tomorrow night! Can’t wait.

2012 Resolutions

Click for source.

In 2012, I resolve to:

  1. Adopt, raise, and train a healthy and happy dog.
  2. Keep running, even though I hate it.
  3. Read 75 books. (Down from last year, because I need to be less competitive with myself about my reading goals. I read like a maniac this year.)
  4. Stop interrupting people when they are talking.
  5. Take the GRE. Start thinking more seriously about whether to go to grad school.
  6. Go hiking more often.
  7. Make books of all received letters; get them out of those musty shoeboxes.
  8. Dress better; stop schlepping around in frumpy clothes.
  9. Memorize scripture.
  10. Call my family more often.
  11. Read that book of Japanese short stories in Japanese.
  12. Take a graduate-level English class at UVA, if feasible.
  13. Improve my calligraphy skills with the flexible nib.
  14. Spend more time with women.

How about you? Figured out any of your new year’s resolutions yet?

Wishful to-do list

My Japanese host sisters. Felt like this fit the post.

Things I Want To Do for Deep, Inexplicable Reasons

* Walk a dog. Any dog. For a long time.

* Cross-stitch something.

* Volunteer at the Charlottesville SPCA.

* Make pumpkin pies. Multiple pies!

* Use a typewriter.

* Ride a horse. For a long time. And then spend a few hours in the stables. I actually really didn’t mind muck-raking.

* Play with a puppy and/or puppies.

* Use all that gouache I have lying around and do something pretty and useful with it.

* Eat lots of authentic Japanese food.

* Babysit cute kids.

* Re-learn how to draw. Or, actually learn.

* Start running weekly.

* Teach Reuben how to cuddle.

* Buy weird clothes at Goodwill.

I need to read more books. There are too many books to be read! Too many, I say! I also really need a dog. If I can’t have a dog in at least two years, all of my life may have been for naught.

Jokes. (Maybe…)

All of this is really just preliminary introduction to my new feature, My Life List. Inspired my many cool lady bloggers, I thought I’d make my own. It’s a surprising adventure in personal ambition! I highly recommend it–even if you don’t plan on doing anything on your list, I think it’s definitely worth making. Courtney was planning out her bucket list months ago. I’ll be haphazardly chronicling progress here. I wonder how many of those I can accomplish before I actually die… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.