Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Always Begetting

When I thought of the above title, I wasn't completely sure I had a real word there.   Perhaps on an occasion or two I have used the root word beget in every day conversation.  I had most certainly never used the longer word begetting, as it is a very rare word.  The term beget has but 2 definitions.  The first and unbeknownst to me, the most common is "to father".  Fair enough, there must be multiple hundred different words for that.  The other definition is "to cause to exist" or "to produce".  It is in this form that I use the word here. 

I have really grown over the last couple of years to enjoy exercising, in all of its different forms.  I won't lie, physically being stronger is solid motivation, but I do have a few more specific reasons why I enjoy being active, and why I believe I won't get bored with it.  Something that I have said a few times recently is that "the more you exercise, the more energy you will have".  I have said this to a few people not because it has a basis in science. it really is something that I am starting the buy in to.  One thing that holds true for me is that a lazy, listless start to a day will often lead to a lazy day all the way through.  On the other hand, a quick start to the day can lead to weird and wonderful energy levels later in the day.  I believe it only happened once all last summer, but there was one day that is vivid in my memory.  Sheila leaves for work at 0730 and it is rare for me to be vertical by then.  Maybe Asher is laying beside me watch baby tv.  Jasmine is often up as well, especially on school days, but I am usually one-eyed and miserable when Sheila exits the house.  On one glorious day last summer I jumped out of bed, threw on shorts and a t-shirt, strapped on my ipod and stormed out the door.  The time?  Approximately 0700, did you really expect me to have all the details?  The morning air was a little more crisp, and I think I suffered slightly on my speed due to being only half awake, but upon returning home and hacking up a morning lung, I felt very alive.  I'd love to tell you that the rest of the day was full of exercise and lots of fun, but truthfully I don't remember.  But, I remember that feeling I felt after the crack of dawn run, and I am looking forward to feeling it again.  Weather permitting of course.

The above paragraph may not have provided the most powerful evidence to back up my lofty claim, but I do think the concept has some merit.  I will say this, when I start the day well with some physical activity, I am then more excited about the rest of the day.  After starting well, something in my head keeps reminding me about that, pushing me towards finishing the rest of the day well.  A few weeks ago, on a Thursday, Asher and I spent time hanging out in the morning.  We usually grab a drink, coffee for me and usually juice for him, and we head to the man cave.  I sit down at the computer, sip my coffee and attempt to find something to read.  This isn't a tough task, but after 30 minutes or so I have read the blog updates, checked ESPN, Facebook, the Prince George Citizen website, perhaps a poker site or two, looked for any news for my upcoming fantasy drafts and then, it's decision time. 

On a lazy day I will probably still lift weights, but the pace will be sloth slow.  One set, followed by a desperate attempt to find more reading material, or a half-hearted attempt to join Asher in whatever he's doing.  If I am motivated and exercising at a decent pace, I will play with Asher in between with a similar energy level.  On a good day, the weight routine is complete well before lunch time, and tired out from all his playing, Asher and I head upstairs to have lunch.  On this glorious Thursday, Asher fell asleep after lunch and I had a little time to myself.  I started an album on the computer, turned the elliptical to max resistance and went for 12 minutes.  I get bored easily on these machines, so I crank up the resistance and get the same workout I would get in 20 minutes on an easier setting.  Asher woke up, we picked up Jasmine and had a typical afternoon at the house.  Some fighting about chores, resisting her homework, and some screening thrown in.  I had hockey scheduled that night, and I was feeling good after my early exercise.  Sheila was set to miss her water aerobics because of my hockey, then I suggested we all go swimming before hockey.  Sheila loves doing thing as a family so off we went.  Chasing after my little guy at the pool may be the best exercise I got all day.  He is endlessly in motion at the pool.  I snuck away and spent some time in the steam room and sauna, then it was time to go.  I got dressed and said good night to the family and made the short drive to the hockey rink.  Playing hockey with the elevated body temperature from the sauna and steam room was interesting.  We were playing in the big barn that night too, the CN Center is notoriously the warmest rink in the city, as there seems to be an odd desire to keep the empty plastic seats at room temperature.  I always sweat when I play, but this was amazing.  After my first shift, my forehead was dripping.  I had actually worked up a lather in the warm up.  It was an awesome feeling.  My energy definitely came down some towards the end of the game, but all in all, the day was a success.  I get a kick out of trying to string together a day full of exercise like that, and will be trying my best to outdo that day. 

The other thing that really motivates me when I exercise is the constant struggle to over come the desire to quit.  Be it acute pain in a body part,or general fatigue, often people cut exercise short due to their inability to direct their attention away from the problem.  If you don't enjoy exercise and are doing it for some other reason, you are likely to struggle to motivate yourself.  When you do manage to get yourself to get active, you have only partly won the battle.  It goes without saying that the longer duration of time the better when you are active.  If you aren't motivated, you will be looking for any reason possible to cut your session short.  This search for a reason to stop, goes hand in hand with the level of intensity the exercise is performed at.  It is quite normal for someone who is looking for a reason to quit to also be paying little or no attention to what they are actually doing.  This is not a recipe for high intensity exercise.  One of the reasons I enjoy exercising outdoors is the distractions available.  I have to balance focusing on my intensity level, with the need to distract myself from any pain or fatigue I may be feeling.  Music and visual distractions are two keys to getting through the distance you want to complete.  If I feeling truly sadistic I will actually focus my thoughts exclusively on the potential road block, my most common being shin splints, or knee pain, and force myself to get over it.  Train the mind so that when your body is physically capable of more, your brain will already be ready to handle it.  The way I see it, is that I will be able to gradually increase my capabilities by fighting through things that may have previously made me stop. 

My whole family has become quite the active bunch.  Jasmine has found a couple of sports that she really enjoys in soccer and basketball.  She also swims regularly, often twice a week.  Jasmine also has pretty healthy eating habits, eating large portions of lunch and dinner including vegetables that some kids detest.  Asher is developing a love for all sports, probably due to his family's influence.  He runs around the basement with a basketball because he watches Jasmine play with her team.  He doesn't go a day without playing hockey because he sees it on t.v. constantly, and has come and watched dad play a few times.  Asher also loves to swim, and as I mentioned earlier, is quite the handful when he goes.  Sheila as I have mentioned here before has made significant changes to her diet, and is more energetic because of it.  She also exercises a few times a week at the pool, or down in the dungeon at home. 

As the weather warms, we will all likely get more active outdoors.  Jasmine and I are both signed on for another season on youth soccer, player and coach respectively.  I'm hoping to find time to play soccer myself this year, but my weekend work schedule will likely reduce my options.  The recreation league plays on Monday nights so I can play there.  Jasmine and I have also been discussing trying a few road running races this year.  I've gone ahead and scheduled a few days off for races that I would like to run.  The YMCA road race is in June, and it includes a shorter race for kids.  It's going to be fun cheering her on.  I'm also going to try the "Beat the Bugs" race later in June as it falls on a Saturday and I won't be working.  The other key race is the Labour Day Classic, as it serves as the only race I have done before.  I ran the 13 km course years ago, and I have been itching to try it again.  They also hold a kids race that Jasmine tried the same year I ran.  She has fond memories that we can hopefully add to.  Two weeks later is the Terry Fox Run.  Usually, I walk the course in support of Cancer, but I hope to run it this year.  I wrote in this very space about last year's walk that saw my friends overcome physical challenges and walk much further than they are used to.  I'm looking forward to getting myself ready for these races.  Jasmine asked me recently "Dad, is there prizes or anything for these races?"  I just laughed, "There is Jas, but Dad doesn't have a chance.  I just want to do my best."  Running these races has been a life's dedication for many of the people who go, my efforts to complete a few races shows me how difficult this lifestyle can be.  Dedication, will power, and strength, both physical and mental are not things to be taken lightly. 

Today, as I type I am well into my weightlifting, and Asher has played soccer, tossed the football and shot a few hockey balls.  Soon we will head upstairs for lunch, then Asher will lay down for his nap.  I will hopefully keep my day going, Asher and I are going to walk to pick Jas up.  I have hockey tonight and it's a matchup with the top team.  Maybe I'll be dripping sweat and loving it tonight as well.  It's day one of a ten day break from work, and I'm quite happy about the way it has started. 

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