Tuesday, August 10, 2004

My lame exercise kick. I am very unfit. In just over a month, I need to be able to rap and dance simultaneously for twelve periods of 45 minutes. I can't do this right now. So I need to start up yet another lame exercise kick. I can't tell you how depressed this makes me.

When I was a child I used to really enjoy being active: I used to walk a lot and climb trees and ride my bike around the neighbourhood for hours. But now I consider exercise a horrible punishment designed to make other people laugh at me. I was conditioned to think this from primary school, when I would always be jeered at and picked last for teams and relegated to the sack or egg-and-spoon races in the interschool athletics, and was once hit in the face with a softball. Another time they sprung a long-distance running race on us without prior warning, and I was wearing silly inappropriate shoes (I haven't changed at all), one of which fell off and it was on sharp gravel, and my foot started bleeding, and I came last and everyone laughed at me.

And then in high school there was all sorts of humiliating compulsory sport, but to give me credit, I really tried. I got up early to train with the swimming team, even though I was so much slower than everyone else. I played interschool hockey and volleyball (always on the B team, and even then sometimes relegated to the bench). I also tried out for all sorts of other teams that I was never accepted into, like softball, basketball and badminton. I was also an enthusiastic participant in house sport, including the compulsory cross-country race that always put a metallic taste, like blood, in my mouth. I'm mentioning all this by way of explaining how I learned to associate exercise with inadequacy and shame. My school PE reports always mentioned my "bad attitude".

As readers of this blog may know, I have gained roughly 25 kilos since I left school. Despite my mother's attempts to pin this on fat and hairy disease, it is purely my own greed and sloth that has led to this situation. I am disgusted and despairing, and I hate myself for my indiscipline, but I just can't make myself diet and exercise. Over the years I have started various crazy programs including:

1999: The Merri Creek Walking Plan

In this plan, dreamed up when I was unemployed and had nothing better to do with my long, useless days, I used to walk first thing every morning, setting out anytime between 7:30am and 9am, and walk north along Merri Creek from Normanby Rd to Bell Street, or alternatively south to St Georges Rd, and back. This lasted several months but eventually died in the arse when the weather got really cold and rainy and I was disinclined to get out of bed.

2001-02: The City Baths Swimming Program

This was my most successful program. I took out a three-month membership in November 2001 and swam a kilometre five times a week. It even survived my spraining both my ankles jumping drunkenly from a bench at the Field Works Christmas party. People said I looked thinner, and my arms were definitely more muscular, but I never noticed any difference in my appearance. When my membership ran out I was too poor to afford another one.

2002: English Department Volleyball and Bend It Like Britney

This was the year we were seized by a kind of madness and started up an English Department postgraduate volleyball team. We were called the De[con]structors. We were so keen we trained twice a week in preparation for a social lunchtime competition, and we even had t-shirts with theorists' names on the back like basketball shirts. I was Foucault. Penny G was Baudrillard. Renée was Bhabha. Lachlan was Deleuze. Daniel was Butler. Tash H, Cat and Angela K were also on the team but I forget who their theorists were. Despite our practice, we were so spectacularly shithouse that the opposition's scores regularly doubled ours.

At the same time, I enrolled in an eight-week short course in hip hop dancing at Melbourne Uni, expecting to learn video-clip style moves. Instead, we learned breakdancing. This requires flexibility and upper-body strength, neither of which I had, and it was generally humiliating, especially when we had to grovel on the ground doing "power moves". But it was a good aerobic workout. Unfortunately, it only lasted eight weeks.

2002-03: Walking With Tash

Tash and I started an early morning walking plan twice a week. This was supposed to be an improvement on the previous walking plan because we would have to leave our respective houses at 7am and meet each other on Albion St (she lived west of Sydney Rd, I lived east of Lygon St) and then walk around Brunswick together. Tash would sometimes forget and stay at her boyfriend's house, or sleep in, and sometimes we agreed to miss a particular session. It got so that we weren't doing it most of the time, and I got so mad at Tash for a perceived lack of commitment to exercise that I started...

2003: Walking Without Tash

I would allow myself half an hour to do the same Albion St route I'd done with Tash. I would walk really hard, and when I got to Sydney Rd I'd jog back as far as I could (which wasn't far). Sometimes I would revisit the old Merri Creek route, again allowing myself only half an hour and walking really fast to cover the same distance in a quicker time. Oh, the endless conversations I had with Sandor about how to improve my performance. But this fell by the wayside for the same reason as the first.

2003: Swimming Again

This time I bought a ten-visit card to the City Baths, but I found it so stressful to fit in swimming sessions as well as working and trying to finish my thesis that I only went six times. I recently donated the card to Penny because I realised it would be pointless to keep it. She pointed out that it was marked "pensioner" which caused much laughter and depressed me.

2003: Jogging With Penny

I only did this once because I found it so depressing. Penny genuinely enjoys exercise and at this stage, she was jogging around Princes Park almost every day, plus doing a weekly kickboxing class. I find this kind of mindset really hard to understand, because I see exercise as punishment, and especially hate exercising with people I know, because I don't want them to witness my pathetic performance. But I humoured Penny by coming along on one of her jogs. I was so proud of myself for making it all the way around the park. Probably about a third of that was actual jogging, the rest was walking.

I might have done it again, but then Penny got all these other people, like Tash and Ethan and various members of the Bourgie crowd, to go jogging with her, and there was no way I was going to humiliate myself in front of that lot.

Saturday 7 August, 2004: Jogging in Royal Park

On Saturday I decided that it was time to start exercising again, so I went jogging in Royal Park. Okay, I started jogging, but it was up a hill and I was gasping like a fish and my mouth tasting like blood before I even got to the top, so I walked really hard for the rest of the time. It was dark and I had never been to Royal Park before, so basically I was wandering around and had no idea where I was most of the time. I went up the hill to a kind of oval, did a lap of the oval, decided I wasn't sweating enough and started a second lap but then decided to strike out in another direction, found myself at the intersection of Gatehouse St and Royal Pde, walked down Gatehouse St towards the Royal Children's Hospital, cut behind the hospital and found the track I'd started from and went home.

Then I was hungry and walked down Abbotsford St to the pizza shop, where I bought a takeaway matriciana, which I ate in front of Australia's Funniest Home Videos. My throat was so sore from gasping for breath that my laughs at animals humping people, people injuring themselves and children stepping in dog poo came out like coughs. Then I went out to several functions where I drank large quantities of beer and danced, and then I got home at nearly 6am.

On Sunday I woke up with the kind of hangover where you feel you are still drunk. I drove to McDonald's where I bought a Big Mac value meal, which I ate at Chris'. We worked on Incredible Melk stuff and when I went to get up from my chair, my muscles were so fucked I could barely walk.
I staggered out of Chris' room groaning "Oh my god, I'm so sore!"
Chris opined that it was a pity nobody was around to read anything into that.

I was supposed to jog again on Monday but I was still too sore. Then I was supposed to do it today but it's now 9:27pm and I don't think it will happen. I hate myself for being so incapable of self-motivation. I hate myself for using food and alcohol as replacements for self-esteem and affection. Maybe I'll go for a jog again tomorrow but really, I'm just fooling myself.

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