August 05, 2005

Feeling the Burn

A little over a month ago, in an effort to further my training in the martial arts and, more importantly, to get off of my behind and actually exercise, I started attending classes at a local Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu studio.

Now, I'm typically a pretty active guy. I like to run and work out and take part in physically demanding activities. Thing is, for about six months or so, my interest in such demanding activities had been on the decline. Similarly, my interest in cable television and computer games had been on the rise. This confluence of interests and lack of interest was conspiring to produce a Ryan Rhodes who was no longer particularly a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness.

It wasn't that I was gaining weight or anything like that, but I sure wasn't feeling peppy any more. And, for those who have lost their pep, you know that a life without pep, a pepless existence, is kind of boring.

So, to re-pepify my existence, I started taking part in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes. Now, I'm a proud kind of guy. I don't like to admit when I can't do something, so much so that I'll go to great lengths to prove that I can do something, even when I clearly can't.

For example, during my first Jiu-Jitsu class, I wanted to prove that I could easily do 200 stomach crunches like everyone else, even though I secretly knew I only had about 25 crunches in me. Miraculously, I did manage to perform 200 crunches that day, as well as several other physically demanding tasks that I probably shouldn't have performed, or at least I should have scaled back on them a bit.

The next morning, I literally could not get out of bed. I was convinced that, during the evening as I slept, an army of dwarves had beat me from head to toe with miniature pick-axes. Every muscle in my body felt as if they had been squeezed through a strainer.

As I laid there in bed, pondering different methods of suicide, I remembered that it wasn't the first time I had foolishly worked my muscles into a mass of jello, only to feel the consequences later on down the line.

The summer before my eighth grade year, I opted not to prepare for the coming football season. So, come the first day of practice, the most physically demanding thing I had done for several months was go golfing which, as you may know, isn't all that physically demanding.

I worked out hard that first football practice. I did pull-ups, and I ran, and I did push-ups, and I ran, and did football drills, and I ran, and I did sit-ups, and I ran. And at the end of the day, I took a nap, and when I woke up, I discovered that all my muscles had decided to hurt as much as possible.

To make matters worse, I was disoriented and groggy from my nap, so I mistakenly believed that it was actually the next morning, and that I was late for football practice. So, I did what any young teenage boy would do who hurt all over and thought he was late for football practice: I hobbled into the kitchen with my best aching Frankenstein impression and I yelled at my mother.

To me at that moment, it was perfectly rational that my mother was somehow responsible for my sorry physical state, so yelling at her and blaming her for things seemed perfectly justified and productive. Until she informed me that it was actually 7 p.m. and not 7 a.m., which of course just made me feel incredibly stupid, so I went back to bed.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I found myself in bed, unable to move the morning after my first Jiu-Jitsu class. I felt exactly like I did all those years ago after my first eighth grade football practice. The only difference was that I didn't have a mother nearby whom I could yell at.

Lacking a nearby mother, I opted to yell at the alarm clock for going off, and then I yelled at the shower for being too hot, and then I yelled at the cats for being. . . well, cats. None of which made me feel any better, but at least I was blaming something other than myself, which was important.

It's sad what I'll do in the name of a peppy existence. It really is.

Posted by Ryan at August 5, 2005 10:49 AM | TrackBack

Reminds me of my first week of cross country practice in high school. I lost about 20 lbs in a week and felt nothing but pain in the bottom half of my body for a couple of weeks, but once I got acclimated I was thankful I went through it.

Posted by: Rick at August 5, 2005 12:34 PM
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