Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004
Dear Diary:

They closed stretches of several highways between Montreal and the U.S. border yesterday because of the bad combination of blowing snow, black ice and insanely cold temperatures.

So when I pulled back into Canada that day and told the border guard that I'd gone down to Vermont to work out, he whistled softly and remarked at how dedicated I was. When I told the story to the spousal unit, he sourly replied, "Well, I guess that's one adjective you could use."

My determination to see something through is both one of my strengths and one of my weaknesses. When I was young, at one point I had to juggle university and the full time job I needed to pay for that degree, but I wanted the piece of paper and I made the sacrifices.

That same mulish pig-headed obstinancy determination is what made me hit the road yesterday under poor driving conditions. I've signed up for an interval program to run a 10K race in June, and I am going to see that program through.

Yes, I am completely aware of the stupidity of this situation.

The spousal unit, bless his heart, knows better than to try to tell me not to do something. That Way Lies Madness. So he tries to reason with me. It's so sweet, really, that after all these years he still believes that reason might actually work. That kind of optimism is touching, especially in a man in his 50's who has been hitting his head against the wall of my mulish pig-headed obstinancy determination for over 30 years now.

He is a testimony to the power of the human spirit.

When I was trudging up the hill back to the house I happened to look up and see his silhouette against one of the windows. I realized he had been watching for me and worrying. The wind was pushing the icy air into my face so hard that my eyes watered, but the pain of that was nothing compared to the little icicle that went through my heart when I realized what my selfishness had cost him.

I know how it feels to stand at a window, eyes straining to pick out movement. I know how it feels to wonder why he was late, to imagine all the things that can go wrong. That I did that to him for what amounts to a silly little vanity project ... oh, man, I have so much growing up left to do.

I sweartogawd I'm going to do it. It's right there on My Life To-Do List, right under the words, uh, Run 10K Race.

Shut up. Not. A. Word.

My dedication to this running project knows no bounds. As of this week, I've started to go into the gym on Saturday so I can do the extra day's running the interval program now requires.

Yes, Saturday, the day when the people with Good Hair wearing Co-ordinated Workout Clothing show up. You can well imagine my horror. You can well imagine their horror because after 30 minutes on a treadmill I'm all icky and sweaty and great balls of fire Where Is The Style In That?

Talk about your worlds colliding, eh?

Since we're talking about my stupidity, a topic of great vastness, (it might be wise to get yourself the hot beverage of your choice and settle into a very comfy chair Because This Could Take Some Time) I guess now would be a good time to admit that the enormity of my 1,000 mile pledge over at Going Nowhere has whomped me upside the head.

Okay, I knew that I would have to clock about 20 miles a week to come in at 1,000 miles. But since I was going to be able to count all the alternative cardio I do -- snowshoeing, power walking, elliptical machine, treadmill running, rowing machine, etc. well, I figured that would be a piece of cake.

Old exercise bikes never die, they just annoy people forever.Except that it has been insanely cold and I haven't been able to get outside on my non-gym days to log any distance. I've been falling farther and farther behind. With my back against the wall, I have been forced to turn to the Apogee of 1960's Exercise Technology:

Yes, I'm using my mom-in-law's old exercise bike.

This is a lumbering dinosaur of an exercise bike and since it was probably last used sometime in the 1970's, all the gears are kind of rumbly and grumbly. The thing makes serious noise. The cats are afraid of it. The only place we can put it is upstairs in our livingroom. The time I like to ride it is an hour or so after supper, a time when the spousal unit performs the sacred rite of becoming one with our sofa and the tee vee.

To say that having me rumbling away on this thing for 45 minutes or so just inches from his head is annoying to the spousal unit really does not begin to give you the flavour of what is happening. I am getting on his last nerve. Sadly, all this fun comes at a price to me because the seat on this exercise bike was designed by Ilsa, Nazi She-Wolf Torture Queen.

You would think my own voluminous natural padding would be enough to cover this situation, but you would be so very, very wrong. Clearly this seat was designed with diabolical cunning. I have tried an assortment of pillows, to no avail. Paula says a folded towel might work better and I'm going to try that tonight.

To throw the spousal unit a bone, I mentioned in passing last night that once my office was finished we could move the exercise bike in there. Talk about your lighting a fire under someone. He actually got up early this morning to work on the room.

Over the last few months I have pleaded, cajoled and threatened him over the slow progress with this renovation. Now, finally, I have found The Secret to getting it done--all I really needed was the Apogee of 1960's Exercise Technology.

Think of the grief I would have saved myself if only I had only gone for 1,000 miles last year, eh?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 41.51 piddling miles
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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