Guinea Piggery

All right, y’all have inspired me with the 220-comment Exercise Smorgasbord thread! I stopped my private yoga lessons a couple of months ago (long story), and even though I’ve been mostly keeping up with my home practice, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of momentum. So I really want to try finding other ways into my body — which I suspect will help get the yoga back on track, too. I was already kicking around a few ideas, and then that thread came along and gave me a million new ones.

So. On Tuesday, I’m going swimming with M. LeBlanc — first time I’ve really been lap swimming since high school. (I’ve done plenty of swimming since then, but most of it just messing around.) Yeehaw! I am also going to take advantage of the fact that I have a bellydancing studio and a Pilates studio within two blocks of my apartment. A series of beginner bellydancing lessons just started, but I’m going to call tomorrow and see if I can get in on that late. And the Pilates studio has an introductory offer of 3 private lessons for a surprisingly reasonable price, so I’ll try that and see how I like it.

I’m also thinking quite seriously about joining the Y to get in on the water aerobics thing, which has always sounded hella fun to me, but which I’ve never tried because, quite frankly, it took me this long to get over wearing a bathing suit in public. Even in front of a bunch of little old ladies. Once again, the whole “acceptance” thing does not come in a complete package overnight.

Beyond that, I’m trying to convince Ottermatic, Tari, Colleen, Sweet Machine, and/or M. LeBlanc to join me for a hooping class next month. And finally, although it is FREEZING FUCKING COLD here right now, I’ve been doing some research on rowing and kayaking — both of which can be done on the Chicago River from the same location — for when the weather gets nicer. And the research is making me wish I could start tomorrow. Except for the part where tomorrow is also going to be FREEZING FUCKING COLD.

Do I honestly expect to keep up with all of these new endeavors? Hell no. At best, I expect to find one or two new things I like enough to do them semi-regularly. But in the meantime, I will be blogging the experiments — partly to give the Shapeletariat more information on the fat friendliness of these forms of exercise, and partly to keep up my motivation to at least try all this shit once.

Because I can’t (read: won’t) try everything that came up in that thread, I’d also like to issue an invitation to Shapelings to play guest blogger for a day. If you go out and try a new form of exercise for the first time — or the first time in years — write it up and send it to me. (Note: although you’re welcome to comment about your experiences here, if you want me to post something, please e-mail it to katesblog at gmail.) I can’t guarantee I’ll post every one that comes in, but I’ll try to make a series of it. I think that would be fun.

I also think rollerskating would be fun, but there’s no fucking rink less than an hour away from here. Grrrrr.

59 thoughts on “Guinea Piggery”

  1. I just want to say tha you will have a better time with swimming laps if you go a few times before you decide if you like it or not. THe first ten laps will feel BORING and hard, and you feel like a bobbing cork. The second ten laps will break through your discomfort and you will begin to ENJOY the feeling of the water on your skin; and the THIRD set of ten will feel like a joyous dolphin.

    If you are in an olympic size pool, you will have swum a mile (30 laps) and you will sleep like a BABY.

    I personally L*O**VE swimming in the winter, because it gets your blood circulating, then you have a hot shower and put on dry, warm clothes, and you go out into the cold feeling warmer than you ever normally feel. It’s even better than swimming in the summer!

  2. Roller skating is fun, or it was the last time I went (back about 30 years ago). I don’t know how popular it is now, but when I was a kid, we had two roller rinks in our town of 6,000 (this was in Illinois, the central part of the state). We had skaters that ranged in age from 4 or 5 all the way up to my parents’ age (they went with us kids on family night, they would have been in their mid to late 30’s then, back in the 70’s). I liked skating so much when I was a kid that I used to take my skates and go to the pavilion in our local park and skate there when the rinks weren’t open (took my portable radio so I’d have music to skate by). I wasn’t obsessed with skating, not at all…..lol

  3. I (although a new poster w/ very few posts to my name yet) have mentioned before that I play roller derby (or did- I’m having to take a break to gain funding for a wedding).

    Roller derby has been the most fun- It took away a lot of my fears- I’m much, much braver for it! It’s also very fat-friendly. They need bigger girls to be blockers (the girls who protect their scoring teammate- or jammer- and slow down the other team’s jammer.)

    It’s hardcore and competitive as hell- but your teammates are your sisters through and through.

  4. Water aerobics totally rules. If you have a good teacher, she will provide a workout that lets you go at your own pace, moving faster and more energetically if you are in better shape, or slowing down and modifying the movements to your own level. All the little old ladies other folks there have gone through their own body-image stuff to put on bathing suits. People are friendly and it’s a lot more fun than swimming laps, which personally I find boring as hell.

    Also, the water supports your body and lets you do moves you can’t manage on land, which provides a pleasant feeling of accomplishment. It’s great for anyone coming back from an injury.

    (Side note: I do water aerobics because I have lipedema, a hereditary condition which causes the women who have it to have fat, painful legs. I blog about it at http://blog.biglegwoman.com

  5. I am actually a little afraid to go roller skating these days, though I ADORED it as a kid. It’s mostly because, as a junior in high school about to take my final exams, I went roller skating and broke my arm, right at the wrist joint, effectively breaking my hand off. I had to wear a cast through the summer, which meant no swimming, so washing my own hair, no nothing good.

    And I just didn’t get a chance to do the whole getting back on the proverbial horse thing. There IS a rink fairly near here. Perhaps I ought to give it a shot with the husband. But if I break my other arm, I am so blaming you. *laugh*

  6. You will love rowing. Rowed up until I hurt my back on an old Concept II Rowing ergometer in my mid 20’s. Part of the reason I loved rowing is because I could sit down and do it. Yep. Like to do my exercising sitting down if at all possible.

    Going out on the water never failed to make me feel good physically and mentally. Wish I could still do it but the old back injury won’t let me. And I found that really interesting folks like to row…you’d fit right in!

    Good for you about the swim suit issue!

  7. Kate – yep, it is very hard to get enthused when it is cold (and by the way, at my house this morning at 7:30 a.m., it was 9 degrees F. I have no idea about wind chill factors, but 9 degrees is bad enough). My form of exercise is bike riding(right now, it is difficult to get excited about THAT), though in the winter time, I do some snowshoeing as well and indoor boring stuff like weight lifting and treadmill. Something I did to get myself psyched to do the work this winter is that I signed up for an organized ride in Maryland in late April, Incentive is a good thing.

  8. I looked up letterboxing after the enthusiastic review it got on that thread — that’s another one for the warmer months. And I’m definitely going to try the burlesque classes that fireweaver mentioned, maybe once dance gets a little less crazy. I’ll blog those too. You’re so lucky this blog is your job!

    My trick for not getting bored while swimming (which I haven’t been able to do in some months, because I have to have Dan with me and fill out forms and pay money every time I want to use the university pool) is that no musings are off-limits. You can go through elaborate revenge fantasies, plan your princess wedding that you’d be ashamed to admit you even thought of in real life, etc. I never stop a train of thought just because it’s embarrassing to even be having it. So it’s kind of cathartic mentally as well as physically! (If you have a good ear for music you can also just put on an album in your head.)

  9. Temper212: OMG ROLLER DERBY!!!

    My huge motivation for going to the gym the last few months has been to join the Roller Derby team here. I didn’t know how to skate well enough to pass their first tryouts, but I volunteered as a ref to learn the game and learn to skate. My philosophy right now is – so what if I’m the fattest damn rollergirl out there, that’ll just mean I’m that much harder to knock down.

    What team are you on?

  10. Belly-dancing is awesome! I have a class tonight, actually, and I love it so much. :)

    Skating is also tons of fun. I really wish I lived close to a rink again because it is just such a great way to pass the time and get some exercise. I prefer ice over roller.

  11. Also, I’m so excited that you’re going to be trying belly dance. (They shouldn’t have any trouble with you starting late — make sure to tell them you’re a black belt in yoga, so they know that you have body awareness already.) Gemma, I’ve got TWO classes tonight! Hooray for Sunday belly dancers!

  12. I play ice hockey. The first time I went, there were two around my size already on the team. There was a bunch of used and borrowed gear for the beginners, and the players had no trouble finding stuff that fit me. The woman assigned to teach me how to dress said, “You’re just like me: junior skates, junior gloves, extra-large pants.” To play at a high level, you need some super skills, but for recreational hockey you just have to want to play. If you are big, you can be a forward and really put your size to your advantage. Park yourself in front of the goalie and you take up a lot of space, dig your blades into the ice, and no one can move you out of the goalie’s way. If the goalie cannot see around you, your teammates can score. Or they can bounce the puck off of you and score. My left thigh had a goal that way, and my shin had another. (I did put some in with my stick too.) Once you can skate pretty well, you might get a slower start, but you get some good momentum! No one wants to mess with you out there! If you learn to play defense, you can move all the little skinny ones who are trying to screen your goalie.

    Warning: this is a very expensive sport. They don’t tell you how bad it is until you’re hooked. Between gear and ice time, you’d better get a job at the rink, find a sponsor, or get your team to hold some car washes.

  13. As a Rogers park person dealing with the insane cold of the weekend, I shouldn’t have a suggestion, but I’ve kept with it since july, which is just hiking. My brother gave me thermal gear from Nike for Christmas, so I’ve been able to do it even in 17 degree weather. On the weekends, I hike from Lunt and Sheridan to Lake and Ridge (wilmette) and back. Weekdays, I do three miles going from work to Navy Pier during lunch, and post-work, from Grand and State to the Wilson Stop.

    If you can bundle up, and are a morning person, I’d welcome the company.

  14. Fillyjonk, *two* classes?! I’m so jealous. :D

    There’s only one belly-dance instructor within 60 miles of me, and her Sunday class is the only one I can get to. I hope that when I finally move, I’ll be in an area with more instructors so i can attend a few classes a week.

    I just moved up into the ‘beginners 2’ class, and it just gets better and better!

  15. About 5 years ago, I started swimming against for the first time since high school. I eventually joined the local masters team to get the structured workout, and I really enjoyed it, and as someone upthread mentioned, it really helped me to sleep.

    But a few years ago we moved across the country, and the masters team here is much larger and the pool is smaller. I didn’t really feel comfortable swimming with 8-9 people to a lane, so I have only been the one time. I felt like I needed to do something else instead, and while I was thinking about martial arts, I came across a place that teaches Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense). I’ve been doing that for almost 2 years. It does teach self-defense (punching, kicking, getting out of chokes, getting off the ground when someone is on top of you, etc), but the workouts are pretty intense and when you get to level 2 and above, they add more boxing skills.

    A lot of my friends think I’m crazy, but the classes are enjoyable, and I figure I get both exercise and potentially useful self-defense know-how, so why not?

  16. I’ve been a lurker here for a long long ol’ time *grin*

    But I had to post because thanks to that thread, I’m looking into starting some Tai Chi, and that’s amazing, as I’ve not been very active over the last few years.

    I’m *excited* about getting back into more activity. So, thanks!

  17. I didn’t just take it up, so I won’t be guest blogging (hi, I’ve been lurking) — but…

    I totally recommend, if you’re in a bike friendly city like I am (Denver), biking.

    I took it up last summer and by the end of the summer was able to do a not quite 60mi ride. It’s too cold to ride right now, but I really loved it. And your local bike shop can help you find the bike for you that’ll support your frame whatever the size/shape. (For reference, I’m approx 300lbs. My bike is a “comfort bike”, which is a road/mountain hybrid. Geometry and gearing like a road bike, sturdier frame and front fork shocks like a mountain.)

  18. I really admire my sister because she’s tried a lot of this stuff – water aerobics, pilates, yoga. She was a golfer for a while, and even trained for a half-marathon. She didn’t lose any weight, of course, she stayed a 14/16 – only 1 or 2 sizes smaller than me, and I’m not half as active!

    Bellydancing starts on Wednesday, and I convinced a friend to go with me. I’m really looking forward to it. After that class, I might see if I can find a beginner- beginner’s yoga class (since I tend to fall over a lot) – or maybe see if I can join a chorus. All that breath control is a workout of the belly!

  19. If you can bundle up, and are a morning person, I’d welcome the company.

    Rowan, I’m not much of a morning person, and I don’t think I currently have proper winter-walking gear, so thank you, but I can’t realistically see myself getting out of bed to do that before spring. (Yes, I read the Gina Kolata article linked above. Shut up.)

    In spring, however? I’d love to try the Lunt and Sheridan to Wilmette walk.

  20. Oh, and for the record, the main reason I can’t start rowing (on water) tomorrow, despite the Kolata article, is that they only have lessons in the late spring/early summer. But if I do join the Y, I might see if I like the rowing machine.

  21. Yay for experimenting! Roller skating reminds me of the Machiavellian social maneuvering of elementary school birthday parties, so the idea that it could be fun just does not compute for me. Of course, I also fall down a lot, so that might be affecting my view of it too. ;-)

  22. Kayaking is amazing. I love sea kayaking, which, since I live in the great lakes region, I can do. (Because apparently Lake Michigan is a SEA.) I am delightfully pear shaped, so sometimes its hard to find an actual sea kayak to fit appropriately, but the recreation kayaks fit everyone. Love it. Hope you try it out!!

  23. I am revisiting juggling 22 years after first learning how, so that I can add it to the mix for Big Moves’ circus-themed show coming up in mid-April. Now, I have been sighted juggling old lemons in other people’s kitchens, but that is extremely rare and more because the conversation in the living room is boring, not because I’m trying to perfect the skills or get a workout.

    Yesterday I participated in a short circus skills workshop that we organized for our Boston-area performers. Mostly I was watching the dancers to see who I could recruit for skill-based or comic interludes in the show, but I picked up the juggling bags. Yep, still got it. Scarves? Hell, yeah! I want to gradually increase the size of the scarves, to see how flowing and dramatic I can make the juggle look. Pins?

    Ah. Hmm.

    My Rack of Doom intruded in my normal sphere of movement. My jugs got in the way of the juggle. The plastic pins kept knocking my knockers. But I got some sense of where the pins need to be handled (oh, just 2 or 3 inches further in front than normal). I don’t think I’ll be spinning pins in time for the show (less than three months), but scarf-juggling and tricks involving making flowers and glitter magically appear in the middle of all of it, yes.

    It’s fast movement, it’s outstanding hand-eye coordination practice, it’s fun and transferable and flashy as fun… now _that’s_ my kind of workout!

  24. You know I just considered joining my local Y. Its like five blocks from my house As a student I get a discounted rate as well.
    Just need to figure out when I would go. Time is of a commodity in my life right now. But swimming, just the thought makes me happy.
    Of course I am a water sign and always happiest when I have a constant source of water around me.
    Now just to find a bathing suit.

  25. I don’t suppose anyone has belly dance recommendations in and around Cambridge, MA (no car, but I could T if it’s not too inconvenient)? The one place I found on Google looked a littly . . . new agey to me (although it might be awesome) and belly dancing is starting to sound awesome.

  26. Now just to find a bathing suit.

    Lilith, if you’re a size 26W or less, I have two words for you: Land’s End.

    If you’re above a 26W or just want another option, then I have one word for you: Junonia.

    And I would highly recommend checking the overstocks at Land’s End and Juno’s Closet at Junonia, because they have some fucking amazing deals on bathing suits right now.

  27. The one place I found on Google looked a littly . . . new agey to me (although it might be awesome)

    Yeah, Lilah, I’ve got that issue with the place I’m going (in about 15 minutes!), too. Furthermore, it’s also a yoga studio, but I’ve never been there because my old yoga teacher taught there briefly and said the woman who runs it is a complete flake. But I figure if I’m just trying it out, I might as well go to the place that’s a 5-minute walk away, instead of hauling my ass across the city — which would substantially increase the likelihood that I wouldn’t bother going back.

  28. Roller skating + it’s cold = ice-skating lessons. I did that once, I quite enjoyed it. I also like falling on ice much more than on land.

    Swimming + boredom = the otterbox, a waterproof case for your ipod. I don’t have one so don’t know how good it is, but I’m keeping it in mind for the day I get bored.

    Have fun swimming! I love the water, I find it very peaceful.

  29. the otterbox, a waterproof case for your ipod




    (Not that it’s easy for me to go swimming, but I’d fucking find and join a Y if I could swim with music.)

  30. you can also buy the Finis SwiMP3. I see lots of people using that.

    I prefer the quiet. I love the sound of the water and counting my breaths.

    Also, Old Navy has some pretty cheap swim suits that look rather suitable for lap swimming. Once they drop the price on one, I’ll give it a whirl. I’m not spending $40 on something that the pool will eat in three months, but I will spend $20 :-)

    Oh and Kate — goggles are your best friend.

  31. If you’re going to be swimming laps longer term, you’ll probably want a bathing suit WITHOUT lycra/spandex in it. The chemicals in the pool basically disintegrate lycra – before I sucked it up and paid the extra money for the lap suit, I was buying new suits every 4 months or so because by then all the lycra was gone and the material would just hang all over. Not attractive and more importantly, not functional.

    If it’s ok to make a recommendation, I get my lap suits from http://www.h2owear.com. It’s annoying that you have to check each suit to see what size range it comes in, but they do offer some models up to a 3x/28. They’re not cheap, but my current lap suit has lasted more than a year (I swim 3 days a week). Last I looked Junonia also offers a selection of chlorine resistant swimwear.

    (If you’re only just trying out lap swimming, a regular lycra suit will be just fine. It’s not like lycra falls to pieces overnight!)

  32. The last time I went roller skating, 2 years ago, I could not stand up in the damn things. At all. I kept flopping around like a damn flounder. It was embarrassing. (It was my second date with C., and he was a great sport about it, which just confirmed in my mind that he was a keeper!)

    I’m told most rental skates (ice or roller) don’t supply good ankle support for weak ankles. I might try it again soon with inline skates, since they provide much stiffer ankle support.

  33. Ooh, maybe this is off topic of me – i suppose i should’ve posted this on the original exercise post but i just have to share one of my favorite forms of exercise:
    Dancing. Alone. In a room. When nobody is looking at me.

    Actually I love going out dancing but it doesn’t happen often. But at home when I feel like I have to move around or I’ll burst, I either go to the gym OR I turn off the lights, put on my headphones, and pretend like I’m in a club. I keep going like this for a long time because it’s so much fun, and I don’t feel like I’m doing it because I “should” exercise but rather because it’s so much fun. But it actually is a fantastic workout.

    Perhaps this is too silly for you guys but I love it :)

    And of course when possible going out and dancing is fun too. When it’s late and dark and many people around you are drunk, nobody is judging you anyway and you can be goofy. Because everyone else is too.

    I’m not really a good dancer, but what I lack in skill I make up for with enthusiasm. If you really commit to the move, then you feel like you’re really cool haha.

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  35. otterbox.com

    I don’t like lap swimming so much as just being in the water. So the otterbox thing and the other MP3 player mentioned sounds amazing. I would always kind of sing/hum to myself while I swam anyhow

    This all makes me want to explore the open swim more at my local Y. I bought a swim suit a while ago and I always felt like everyone was looking at me, instead of just enjoying the water like I wanted to.

  36. Both Lands End and Junonia have options for chlorine proof suits, or at least they did last time I was shopping for a suit this summer. I ended up getting a Junonia suit- they were the only ones who had a suit in my size that was pink. What’s up with the assumption that fat women don’t want a bright pink swimming suit anyway? They’re so hard to find in colors besides navy, black and (if you’re really lucky) red.

    Kate- hooping? In Chicago? Where? When? I’ve wanted to try it so bad for so long.

  37. I totally recommend, if you’re in a bike friendly city like I am (Denver), biking.

    Hey, Meg, I’m in the Denver area and plan to buy a bike this March. I’m a little nervous, because I haven’t had a bike for, um 30 years. I want to get a three-speed cruiser and accessorize with a big basket. I have no intention of “fitness” biking, I just want to tool along my neighborhood and the Highline Canal.

  38. Kate, if you try out the rowing machines (and they are concept 2’s) in the gym you want to check and see where the damper setting is (it’s on the wheel). Other people’s experience at gyms is that the damper is always set at the highest setting and that’s not so great, especially for a beginner.

    The company has some getting started stuff on their website: http://www.concept2.com/us/training/start/

  39. I just discovered that the tai chi class I wanted to take is on at the same time as the bellydance class I really, really want to take. And the only other tai chi classes in town that I can get to are also ON THE SAME DAY. WTF.

    So, dance wins.

  40. Thanks for the tips about chlorine-resistant swimwear, I didn’t know about that.

    Glad you guys like the idea of the otterbox & other mp3 players – progress, huh? When I try to think of what music I’d like to swim by, I always think of Blur and Ewan McGregor swimming in the toilet in Trainspotting.

    I second the goggles recommendation. Also, if anyone needs prescription goggles (myopia up to -8), I got some pretty good ones here:


    Sadly, the ones that you can order separately (different prescription for each eye) don’t come in anti-fog, and mine mist up quite a bit. Still, it’s a nice alternative to being blind as a bat or worrying about contacts.

  41. I just signed up for a “tribal” bellydance class! It’s an American invention, sort of fusion dance. Check this out – http://www.tribalista.com.au — the teacher is fat, and a fantastic professional dancer. She’s 2nd right in the front row of the piccie. This is in Canberra, Australia.

    So that’s me committed for a while
    Sunday Charleston/Burlesque
    Monday Bush Dance (kinda like US contra)
    Tuesday Belly Dance
    Wednesday Swing Dance
    Thursday Singing lesson & choir practice, and yes that does work the abs
    Friday, Saturday – fall over in small heap going “what was I thinking??”

  42. Perhaps this is too silly for you guys but I love it

    Oh hells no it’s not too silly. Hey, I have been known to put on “Classical Gas” and spin around my house like a dizzy 5-year-old.

  43. Kate, another thing about rowing…when you take lessons you’ll most likely be in a four or an eight. You probably already know this, but in the big shells/boats you hold one large blade/oar. It can be very hard on your hands as in bleeding blisters and hard calouses. We weren’t allowed to use gloves back then(early 80’s). Maybe you can now.

    Also, the big boats can be hard to get down to the water…lots of shoulder bruises. But if the club has $$$ the boats will be made of lighter materials. We had old heavy wooden boats when I learned.

    Also, be sure to try a double if you have the opportunity. The double is what I ended up LOVING. You hold two smaller blades…one in each hand. Hard on the hands also but not nearly as bad as the big boats. And fun, fun, fun.

    Give it some time, don’t give up and you’ll be hooked. And get into a novice race as soon as you can. You will LOVE it.

    If your significant other learns with you, you can race in mixed doubles…good for bonding and all that.

  44. I was kinda glad to read the Gina Kolata article mentioned upthread — always nice to see exercise myths debunked. I’m a wuss about extremely cold weather, but given the choice between running on the hottest day of the year or the coldest, I will take the coldest, because personally I find exercising in the heat pretty nauseating. But then I got to this part of the article:

    “You should feel cool before you start exercising,” Dr. Castellani said. “You should not feel comfortable.”
    That means, Dr. Noakes said, that even in temperatures as low as 10 to minus-20 degrees, a runner probably needs to wear no more than a track suit, mittens or gloves and a hat.

    Uhhhhhh …. huh? I realize that most people are smart enough not to go out in the cold and run around under dressed because they read an article in the NYTimes, and I know the doctors are talking about not getting too sweaty and wet in the freezing cold so as to avoid hypothermia, but … wow. In -20 degree weather, I would typically wear four layers on top (t-shirt, turtleneck, sweatshirt and gortex coat) and three on the bottom (leggings, shorts and sweats) along with two pairs of socks, earmuffs, a scarf, a hat .. etc. Not trying to derail the thread, but if anyone here is getting inspired to try new activities, please trust your inner voice about what’s “comfortable” for you no matter what “experts” might say. Sheesh!

  45. Rowan, I’m not much of a morning person, and I don’t think I currently have proper winter-walking gear, so thank you, but I can’t realistically see myself getting out of bed to do that before spring. (Yes, I read the Gina Kolata article linked above. Shut up.)

    In spring, however? I’d love to try the Lunt and Sheridan to Wilmette walk.

    My brother sent me that article today. The same one that sent me the thermal gear. ;)

    I’ll keep you in mind for weekend hikes come spring. It’s a great view.

  46. Suzanne, I thought the same thing! I went out running/walking this afternoon at 25F, and I am very glad that I was wearing two layers on the bottom, and three on top. It sounds stupid, but my thighs get chapped in the cold if I’m only wearing one layer!

    Also, the thing about the asthma not being induced by the cold but by the dryness was interesting, but not really useful. In practice it correlates really highly. What would have been useful would have been to suggest using a preventive inhaler on cold/dry days before exercising. Works like a charm.

  47. Temper – I’ve been wanting to join the local roller derby team here for a while, but I between work and classes, I haven’t the time to devote to being on a team. It’s become so popular here that they’ve expanded to four teams.

  48. C. just reminded me that I have chronic low back problems and that falling on my ass repeatedly while skating might not be the best thing for it. I hate it when he’s right.

    But he agreed to let me teach him swing dance, as soon as I brush up on my long-forgotten steps. (We went to one of those huge “beginner classes” once, and he got completely confused by the instructor, so he wants me to teach him one on one, and then he’ll go dancing with me.)

    And for me to go running in -20 degree cold, firearms would have to be involved. No thank you.

  49. Also, the thing about the asthma not being induced by the cold but by the dryness was interesting, but not really useful. In practice it correlates really highly.

    I totally thought the same thing. Like, that’s just swell that it’s actually the dryness making it harder for me to breathe, and that I’d have just as much trouble in Phoenix or something, but the fact remains… CAN’T BREATHE. Knowing it’s dryness rather than cold doesn’t actually put the moisture back into the air and make it easier. Around here, only warmer weather does that.

  50. @ Art3mis — my thighs get chapped in the cold too! It’s been that way my whole life, now that I think of it. Hence the shorts (bicycle style) in my layering.

    Those doctors so sounded like they were spouting theories rather than speaking from any kind of first hand experience. Hate that shit. Like the “experts” who tell me that I should never play tennis again because they claim it’s too “unbalanced” of an activity (it favors one side of the body more prominently than the other). Well, so does writing with pen and paper and wiping my ass and a lot of other things, but I fucking love tennis, and I’m gonna play! Of course, they don’t play tennis, but they just know it’s bad.


  51. LaDiDa – for real? There’s another Canberran here? See you 6.30pm, 5 Feb, in the Griffin Centre!

    About the cold – I have problems with it, too. Seriously. You North Americans may laugh, since I’m talking maybe 25-40 in your degrees, but once it gets down there, just breathing hard hurts. It feels like my lungs are freezing. I have to give up cycling for winter. And I’m not sure I buy the dryness thing, because I am just fine in dry heat. I don’t have asthma, though.

  52. Cath – Yes for real! YOU CAN NEVER ESCAPE CANBERRA. You can go anywhere on earth/the internet/Vulcan and you WILL run into someone who’s from Canberra. :)

    I do have asthma and I’m fine in dry heat but once it gets below about 10 Celcius, it doesn’t matter what the humidity is it’s bound to set off my damn lungs. Stupid monkey.

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