I learned something about myself today.

(Oh by the way–hi readers! I guess my promised increase in blog posting over spring break didn’t quite materialize, as here we are on Thursday night–Friday morning, actually–and I’m only just now writing a new post. What can I say? I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping.)

…So, as I was saying. Learned something about myself. Today, after many days of lazing around NOT exercising, I finally got in a workout. The last time I’d worked out, if I’m recalling correctly, was Thursday morning of last week, April 17th. And that day I’d just done a quick maintenance workout, one set of each basic strength-training move plus 10-15 minutes of cardio, thinking that I’d do a “real” workout over the weekend (what do I mean by a “real” workout, you ask? Well, that’s a good question–I’ll come back to that). But somehow it didn’t happen. Then my period started on Monday, so I was feeling crampy and gross for a few days. By today, I was practically itching to get back on the workout horse, so to speak.

When I worked out today, I did my upper body exercises (push-ups, shoulder presses, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, various exercises for my back, and crunches for my upper abs), then I went out for a brisk 30 minute run, then while out at the track in the park, I did my lower body strength workout (lunges, two types of squats, calf raises, and reverse leg lifts for my lower abs). THEN I walked home from the track, which was another 15-20 minutes of mild cardio. Naturally, by the time I got home I was exhausted. My muscles ached–still do, actually. Who goes for a run, which already takes a toll on the leg muscles, and then follows it with squats and lunges? AND a walk?

But this overexertion felt right to me, somehow. It felt like what a so-called “real” workout should be. And as I thought about it, I realized that one of the reasons I’ve been letting more and more time lapse between my workouts (I’m down to one, maybe two sessions a week, these days) is that I subconsciously expect my workouts to tax me to depletion. I don’t feel right doing just a little bit of exercise in a session; similarly, I don’t like to do “just” weights or “just” cardio when I work out. I have convinced myself that I have to do both, and indeed that I always have to train my entire body when I do weight training. No splitting up the upper and lower body exercises into different days for me, oh NO. A “real” workout means a full cardio blast and a full body strength session, and if I have time, some serious stretching too, although that’s fallen off recently.

Of course, this means that when I do work out, it takes the entire morning. On top of that, I’m so worn out afterwards that I need several days to recover. This is especially true when I go running rather than using the elliptical machine. By the time my quads are no longer sore, I’ve gotten out of the habit for a few days, or I’ve gotten into a busy moment at work or a busy social weekend and I can’t find two or three full hours (!) to devote to working out again, until a whole week (at least) has gone by. And by then I am so ready to work out again (or feeling so guilty for not working out for so long) that I do another super-intense session that leaves me sore and spent. So it’s really kind of a vicious cycle.

I think that there are a few reasons for this, but they all boil down to not changing my lifestyle to that of a fit person. I’m still thinking, and working out, like the person I used to be. For one, I’m expecting my workouts to exhaust me just as they did when I was much heavier and much less fit. After years of going through workout spurts in which I’d go strong for a couple of months and then , as soon as I was approaching a reasonable level of fitness, start slacking off, and enter a lazy cycle for many more months (to the point that I became out of shape again and had to start all over), I think I’ve come to believe that exercise should always hurt in some way, and that if it doesn’t, I’m not doing it right.

Now, I’m not Serena Williams or anything, but I am pretty fit these days. Of course I should keep pushing myself in workouts, because that’s how you continue to grow and improve, but every workout doesn’t have to take me to my physical limit. Sometimes I really can just do a short workout, or a lighter workout, and still reap benefits from it. I have to realize that right now, I’m maintaining my level of fitness rather than trying to “get in shape.” News flash: after eight months of consistent exercise, I AM in shape. Not perfect shape, no, but I cannot consider myself a couch potato, or think something’s wrong if my body doesn’t react to exercise like a couch potato’s body.

I also think that I need to shed the supposedly time-saving idea that I can do it all in one session. Now that I am at a decent level of fitness, each component of my routine takes longer, because I need to do more reps, or more complex exercises, or run for (slightly) longer distances. It makes more sense to break up that routine over five or six days. Then, too, if I break it up I don’t have to have an open two and a half hours in which to work out–I can do 20 to 30 minutes daily. Even the busiest day has 20 unused minutes in it somewhere.

So that’s my new plan. I’m going to try to do shorter, simpler, daily workouts from now on, taking one day as a rest day (probably Saturday). Maybe I’ll try for upper body weight training on Mondays and Thursdays, lower body weight training on Wenesdays and Sundays, and 30 minutes of interval cardio, either running or elliptical, on Tuesdays and Fridays. (I’d like to fit some yoga in there too, maybe on my rest day? I definitely think I need to bring that serious stretching back into my life).

Of course, this is the kind of routine that seemed both daunting and ridiculous to me when I was out of shape–who has time to work out that often? Why do I need to do so many different kinds of exercise? Now I worry that it will be “too easy,” but I know that’s just my old no-pain-no-gain mentality rearing its head. Instead of feeling the burn I am hoping to feel the fitness.

Oh P.S. Plan IVF has officially been pushed back once again, to the end of July (or even very early August). No more push backs after this, though. I’m supremely happy with the decision, and looking forward to a summer of not thinking about infertility at all. But more on that in another post.


Hi folks! Yet again I have been neglecting the blog. This is because I have been crazy busy, and because I have not been thinking much about infertility, now that it’s clear our next step is IVF. I think we are going to wait to do a cycle until June, when the semester is over and I am fully into SummerCityprof mode. Which is to say, relaxed, carefree, exulting in my long, unstructured days and in the warm weather. A much better time to start than now, when I am a little discombobulated, a lot exhausted and weary, and moderately overwhelmed by how much teaching and service work still remains on my plate. So, June it is–and for now, that’s that.

As to the title of this post, though, there do happen to be a lot of other things on my mind. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that this song is getting heavy rotation on my iPod. Does this mean that it’s a good song by her, for once, or does it mean that my musical taste is on the decline? Watch the (unoriginal, but still enjoyably creepy) video and judge for yourself.

2. More on music–we scored tickets to go see Gnarls Barkley at an “intimate” show at the Highline Ballroom later this week. It’s one of those tiny little shows that you read about in the Voice or Time Out and think, “Man, that must have sold out in two seconds! How do people ever get tickets to that kind of thing? I NEVER get tickets to that kind of thing!” Well, here’s how: go to see a much less well-known artist at the same venue a few weeks earlier, thereby getting on that venue’s e-mailing list; receive an email about the “intimate soiree” with Gnarls Barkley with info about when the tickets go on sale; sit at computer with ticket-buying website open at the appointed time and take action as soon as the clock turns over to the exact minute that tickets become available. Oh and, totally get lucky!

3. We just paid our 2007 federal tax bill. It was thousands upon thousands upon thousands, just as I posted here a while back. Ugh. But I think we have a good plan in place for how NOT to be in this situation next year. Also, I am trying to look at it as a blessing and a sign that we are doing well, financially. And looking at it that way, I don’t mind paying our share for the greater good, which is what taxes are about, after all. But I certainly would feel better overall about paying taxes if I knew my money actually were going to health care, national infrastructure, or education, rather than endless war. Sigh.

4. On a lighter note, despite the hard work that teaching continues to be, I have been having a lot of fun with my students lately. We just read Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle, which is truly hilarious. And, apart from great material, I think I am a better teacher now, post-tenure, than I used to be. I remember my department chair, who is also a friend of mine, telling me that I might feel more comfortable in the classroom once my book came out, and thinking she was nuts. What did the one thing have to do with the other? But it turns out that she was right, although not for intellectual reasons. I do feel more confident in myself as a scholar now that I have tenure and my book is out, but I also feel less stressed about maintaining my “authority” in the classroom by being a hard-ass. For some reason, now that my job is secure I am much more relaxed and able to see my students as human beings, and therefore to cut them some slack while still maintaining a reasonable, and reasonably brief, list of rules. That’s making life in the classroom much more liveable.

5. Oh readers, I am again lusting after shoes. There are good reasons NOT to buy these shoes. They’re not particularly practical. What red shoes are? Plus, I’m going on sabbatical this fall, so I won’t have as many work-related places to wear these shoes. Did I mention I am now on a severely restricted budget (see #3, above) when it comes to spring clothing purchases, and buying these shoes will take a huge chunk out of that? And, as at least one optimistic friend has pointed out elsewhere, my feet might change size if/when I’m pregnant! Won’t I be sorry if I buy some almost $200 shoes and then I can’t wear them for more than one season? (To that I say, yes, but that would be the least of my shoe worries). Hmm. I still might get the shoes, practicality be damned. I mean, if I am likely to be pregnant soon, how many more chances will I have to buy myself frivolous clothing items? I’m guessing, not many. Every spare penny is going to be devoted to strollers and diapers and Babylegs and unpainted wooden-not-plastic educational toys–I might be glad, then, to have those red peep-toe pumps around, if only just to look at wistfully and remember the hot cityprof tamale that once was.

…Or maybe I’m just being dramatic.

6. G turns 38 this week! My sweet, sweet hubby is now solidly into his “late 30s,” even if he doesn’t look a day over 29. Most of his birthday present was “honey, we have $100 in the budget for your birthday–buy yourself whatever you want!” but I also got him this t-shirt, which refers to one of the funniest moments from one of our favorite Will Ferrell movies, Talladega Nights. I hope he likes it.

7. Happy to say I’m still maintaining my 40-lb weight loss, with my weight hovering right around 158 (it had been hovering around 160 or 161, but after a bout with the 24-hour stomach flu last weekend, I seem to have reset at a few pounds lower). And now, especially after being so impressed by my girl step up’s success with reaching her final goal, I’m considering ramping up my exercise and trying to lose those last 5 pounds standing between me and my ultimate goal weight of 153 lbs. We’ll see. It’d surely be nice to be at my slimmest and healthiest possible going into the IVF process, especially since I know the hormones can mess with your body in weird ways. But I’ve been so busy at work that it’s been hard to fit in more exercise, especially more cardio (I’ve been keeping up my weight training pretty well). Maybe I can really get back into a workout groove when our spring break FINALLY rolls around on April 18th.

Look for more frequent blog posting around then too.