Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday anti-mental-insanity measures

I went to the gym thinking I would just do forty-five minutes on the bike, although it seemed like putting a dime in the piggy-bank when what you had imagined chucking into the slot was a nice heavy round silver dollar.

The CU gym is in many respects and most of the time fairly impossible--it is underground in dank spaceship-like tiers, it was built in the 70s when the college was much smaller (and all male!) and there was no such thing as going to the gym to do cardio, as a result it is evilly overcrowded much of the time and there is a 30-minute limit on all cardio machines. Not per machine, thirty total minutes per user per day--which is simply not sensible, one would not have to be an excessive exerciser to want more like 50-60 minutes on one or two different machines.

And often it really is crowded enough that every single machine is accounted for...

But Sunday night this late in the semester is not one of those times, and the bicycles are usually the least popular cardio machines in any case.

So I did a 45-minute "sport interval" workout. Then I did 45 minutes of "rolling hills." Then I did 30 minutes of "easy intervals" (hmmm, not sure about that application of the term...) for a total of two hours.

2.0hr. stationary bike (zone 2)

It was rather blissful, I must confess--I had a surge of feeling how enjoyable it was around minute 35 and once I was dug in on the second segment I was seriously enjoying myself...

(If I had known I would stay so long, I would have worn bike shorts, that seat is more comfortable than my actual bike but not that comfortable! Also could have used some Clif product...)

I was like this with swimming last year, I remember: evening lane swim hours are 7-9:30 on weeknights, and I would drag my heels later and later (I live two blocks away!) and finally only be rushing out the door around 8:50 and have only twenty-five minutes of swim time by the time I had changed and be very irked with myself. And really it is a habit I know from way back (hmmm, childhood music practice?!?), but particularly well and painfully from many years of experience as a writer.

Really from about 1993 onwards I was in some sense thinking of myself as a professional writer, although to the outside eye I was a grad student who was not earning a penny from writing. As an academic, my writing life is highly cyclical--work like a maniac during the semester on school-type stuff, then shift gears and switch to writing mode for the summer or the winter break or whatever.

Once things are really in train, say second week of June, I am usually writing very happily and steadily every day, with perhaps every sixth or seventh day off for slight recharging. But before that happens, there is a truly miserable period of a couple days where I realize I have underrated the exhaustion and depletion of resources effected by the school year and that I cannot write yet at all.

Then there are two or three days (these are my absolute least favorite ones of all, and have very much the texture of today's bicycle-related procrastination!) when I just go pretty much totally crazy with inertia and sloth. I get up, I read blogs (used to be the newspaper, I am thinking...), I write e-mails, I drink ever more coffee, I take a nap. I bore myself utterly out of my mind (I cannot read interesting books or do anything interesting or stimulating during this period). I feel like I am bouncing off the walls. Then around 8 at night (I cannot make any evening plans when I am in this stage, or I will not get that day's writing done) I suddenly and decisively sit down and savagely write for an hour, and at the end of the hour or hour and a half I have the day's pages...

6 comments:

Kelvin said...

"No writer who writes worth a damn ever writes in peace."

I stole that off the signboard of the bookstore at 114th & B'way

Jenny Davidson said...

Yes! But I like it better when I am writing in peace!!!

Danielle in Iowa said...

I think my life is defined by inertia! Because that sounded a lot like more of my days than I would like to admit :-) My best resource in overcoming it when it comes to working out is having friends who I make plans with to work out. When you schedule a 2 hour ride with someone on a sunday, you have to do it!

J-Wim said...

The slothful days are my favorites. Enjoy them!

Leah said...

Inertia has taken on a new meaning since I discovered the world of blogs.

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