Friday, August 26, 2005


I never really understood people that exercised in the mornings. How can anybody have that kind of energy where you can get up in the wee hours of the morning, put on some clothes, and then go out and sweat it out? And sweat it out HARD? I barely have the mental capacity to put my boxers on right-side-out in the morning, or the energy to stand and brush my teeth, let alone go perform a complete workout.

It takes me a full day of working with non-compliant patients, arrogant physicians, and dealing with other aggravating factors in order to get enough energy to go work out. Or I look down at my belly every so often and realize no amount of wishing is going to make that thing go away on its own.

But like all things, nothing comes easy without you working for it, so I started to do more than just pay my gym membership and drive by the place. It's so easy for my brain to come up with some excuse not to work out that day, but I actually managed to get my butt inside a few times a week.

My first few times swimming in the lap pool was the equivalent of trying to run a race while holding your breath. Impossible. I took one lap on the pool and I thought my heart was going to explode and my arms were going to fall off. i had no energy left. I could barely stay conscious. I thought I was going to black out. I looked at my stopwatch. 1 minute 22 seconds.

The same thought went through my head over and over again, "you've gotta be kidding me..." I spent 10 minutes driving to the gym, 15 minutes changing in the locker room, and after a scant minute and a half, I was done with my workout. I barely had the energy to get my butt out of the pool. I started eyeing the handicap lift.

To add insult to injury, there's a 70-year-old man swimming in the next lane who's not only faster, but hasn't stopped once during the entire 1 minute 22 seconds I spent swimming and the 10 minutes I've spent clinging on to the end of the lane trying to catch my breath and keep from drowning in 3.5 feet of water.

Now I'm happy to report that I've become more proficient at swimming, and I believe I can beat that old man if I ever see him again. It only took 6 months to build up that endurance. Along with building the potential to beat that old man, there were some other fringe benefits, such as a (slightly) slimmer belly and enhanced definition of various muscles, but my weight has remained, unfortunately, stable. I keep telling myself that it's just muscle weight replacing the fatty weight, but it would have been nice to see a decline.

Anyway, for the first time today, I got up and exercised first thing in the morning. I still felt dizzy and weak and my muscles moved at sloth speed this morning as I got ready to hit the pool, but once I got in the water, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I kept repeating the same phrase over and over in my head as I was swimming this morning, "I've gotta be out of my mind swimming this early in the day..."