Thursday, May 06, 2010
When we would take family trips as kids to Florida, my mother would always plan our route around all the Cracker Barrels on the way. I can remember getting the Cracker Barrel map of the US and following our route based on where we were stopping. I found out not long ago that my mom doesn't even like Cracker Barrel, but she would have my dad drive out of the way sometimes so that we could stop there cause we kids loved it.
In university, when I was eating on a prepaid meal plan, I can remember walking all the way across campus to get this particular bagel and cream cheese that I loved to eat for breakfast, or to the pub that was in another dorm because their burgers were the juiciest and the fries came with extra mayo.
I've had food binges that have driven me to walk to CVS in my pajamas for another pint of ice cream or whatever candy of the month is on sale, I've spent the last dollar in my bank account on Dairy Queen or Starbucks, and I have been that person who stands in a line 20 people long at the street fair to get a funnel cake.
I have canceled plans with my friends to watch my favorite television show, and I routinely re-arrange my schedule and go out of my way (most of the time to the detriment of my own sleep schedule) to be everything to everyone whenever they need it.
But exercise? Why would I do anything extraneous for exercise? Exercise is work enough on its own. Heck, I have so many excuses and reasons not to exercise, thinking of going above and beyond anything over just getting off the couch is crazy-talk to me.
But yesterday I proved myself wrong and performed the unthinkable! I went to some pretty extraordinary measures to go swimming.
My previous blog post "Closed for Maintenance" details my adoration of the pool and my renewed love of exercise in water. So I knew that this week was going to be challenging because my convenient pool was closed. So I set about yesterday researching new pools, still within the Park District (thus free), with a Wednesday night Adult Open Swim, that I could get to fairly easily by public transit as I am "wheel-less" for the time being aside from the extra tires I carry around my mid-section.
You wouldn't believe the number of pools that are "Closed for the Season"! Closed for the season? Isn't it Spring going into Summer right now? I would have figured more would have been opening, not closing. My two top choice alternative pools were now out of the question. Strike One for exercise. But I'm still determined...
I finally find a pool that looks doable. It's in another neighbourhood of town, literally 1 block north of my old apartment where I lived for 2 years. How did I not know this existed? But that is still a LONG way from where I live/work now AND swim time is not until 8:30pm when I get off work at 6pm AND it only goes until 9:15pm - 45 minutes when I usually have an hour. Strike Two for exercise. But this is my only option, so I'm not giving up yet...
The gears have been set in motion at this point. I determine that I am going to this pool, but that I'll go home first and pick up a return that I have to make at a store that is really close to the pool and that I would have had to travel to anyway. Awesome. Score One for exercise.
The bus ride home takes forever! By the time I get home I'm hungry, but I don't have time to prep a meal and eat and still get the return done and to the pool on time (plus I don't like eating a big meal before I swim anyway), so I grab a banana, change my clothes, grab my swim bag and head out the door. Bus #1 arrives within 2 minutes and I am on my way. Score Two for exercise!
Bus #2 is delayed, but arrives just when I'm thinking seriously about starting to walk to my destination (but I have come this far so going home doesn't cross my mind). I get to the store, make my return, and walk down the block towards the pool. Subway is on the corner, so I make a quick trip in to pick up a post-swim sandwich and a pre-swim milk because I'm still hungry. The milk does the trick as I reach the pool. 3-2 for exercise.
At this point I am REALLY happy with myself. I went out of my way, I arrived at my destination, I did a little multi-tasking - I am a superstar, and now it is time for my reward. And what a reward it was!
The pool was EMPTY! 3 lifeguards sitting there just waiting for me to walk in. How awesome. My other pool is so crowded normally that I can barely find room to fit in a lap length and we bump into each other constantly. Not here. One other person showed up, did his 20 laps and then left - but the rest of the time was ALL MINE. I was in swimmer's heaven. Huge locker room - all to myself. My pick of the showers. Not having to worry about keeping my towel from slipping off while I get dressed (not that I actually care about that anyway, but sometimes other people do). Exercise wins by a landslide!
I banged out an awesome swim for 50 minutes (since there was no one there they let me dive in a little early), had a nice long shower, and prepped for the long trip home with a good book. Although I arrived home later than I normally do on a swim night, I still felt accomplished. I enjoyed my Subway sandwich and filled in my Cardio tracker for the day. And get this - I also discovered that I had been calculating wrong and that "Swimming - General" burns far fewer calories than what I have actually been doing. SP breaks various swimming strokes down in the Cardio tracker, so knowing that I spend most of my time doing breast stroke actually DOUBLED the number of calories that I burned. Once I figured that out, I also discovered that maybe the reason I didn't lose anything last week is because I'm not eating enough for all the calories I'm burning! Now doesn't THAT feel good?
Today I feel great. Now, instead of going to great lengths for junk food or unhealthy behaviours, I have proven to myself that I can be one of those people that goes out of my way to get in an evening of exercise instead of being anxious on the bus at 7:56pm because my favorite tv show comes on at 8. Television is recordable, in Chicago, food is available 24/7, but I'M here right now and doing what is right for myself is the thing that can't wait. I deserve to be gone out of the way for. I perform extraordinary feats for other people every day. This time it's my turn. And that is NOT crazy-talk!