Tuesday, May. 03, 2005 | 10:01 a.m.

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When it comes to introspection and trying to figure myself out, I'm like a bulldog. No worry about not finishing things there. I probably spend too long on things, overthinking. So of course I've spent the past week thinking about that entry and the responses to it, both on and offline. A couple of my friends have said "if you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen." Sound theory, but not necessarily the case for me. And I don't have it figured out yet, but I'm working it. Expect a post about it soon. And I did go to the gym four days last week and went last night despite neck pain and did lower body cardio (with the blessing of my chiropractor, so don't yell at me Lora!).

As I mentioned, last night I went to the gym by myself for the second time in the past seven days. Thalia, my partner in fitness crime, is up against some serious deadlines this week and our schedules don't sync. That's probably not a big deal to most people, but for me it's major. First of all, Thursday's workout was truly a test of how much I didn't want to quit. My neck and shoulder has been in excruciating pain for the better part of the past two weeks. Thalia and Jeff will attest to all my whining about it. It's affecting my sleep, making me cranky, etc. I don't know exactly what I did. First I thought I just slept wrong, but then it kept going, so I've just been living with it.

I wanted to write about Thursday's workout last week, but we went out of town the same day and I didn't have time. It's a good thing thoughts aren't broadcast to those around us, because I probably would have been committed. Or maybe I would have found out I'm not alone in struggling with this. At any rate, I started on the arc trainer, which is just about as tortuous as the new stairclimbers that are like the evilest escalator you've ever had the misfortune to encounter. The arc trainer is to the elliptical as the new stairclimbers are to the old. I hate it, but I get a good workout.

I did my full body weight workout -- one exercise per major muscle group, which took about a half hour. I had the iPod (remembered the earphones this time -- bonus!) and was in the back so I could avoid having to see Faux news. Had my towel and water bottle at the ready. Everything was good except my psyche. Almost as soon as I began to move, my brain kicked in with the no-nonsense street voice: "Why the hell you doing this?" Followed by the more insidious enabler, "No one would know if you only did ten minutes... and your back is hurting... maybe you shouldn't push." As the workout went on, the wimp inside whined, "You can't do this, it's too haarrrrd." And that's when I started yelling. Internally, of course. Else I'd be writing this from the mental ward. "Yes, I can. Yes, I can!" "No, you can't!" "YES I CAN!!!" And that was that. I finished my twenty minutes of torture there and rewarded myself with another twenty on the elliptical machine. By this time, I hit the endorphin high and finished in fine form.

This weekend I paid for ignoring my neck. Jeff tried to help by manipulating it. When that didn't work, he suggested sleeping on the floor. That resulted in me not being able to move my head from side-to-side and great apologies from Jeff. Mom took care of me, though, with a lidocaine pad and a few painkillers. By Monday morning I was in better shape but still determined to see a chiropractor. He did some work on my back yesterday, took x-rays, and I go back today to see what else we need to do. He also gave me the okay to do lower body cardio, so I went back to the gym last night, which I did, alone.

Having the right mix on the iPod makes a huge difference. Here's my current favorite:

"Big Time Sensuality" by Bjork
"What You Waiting For" by Gwen Stefani
"Geek Stink Breath" by Green Day
"Finding Out True Love is Blind" by Louis XIV
"Dammit" by Blink-182
"Sugar" by System of a Down
"All the Pigs, All Lined Up" by Nine Inch Nails
"Aenima" by Tool
"Supermoves" by Overseer
"Going Under" by Evanescence
"Girl Anachronism" by The Dresden Dolls
"Transylvanian Concubine (Yes Sir Mr. Sir Mix)" by Rasputina
"Blue Monday" by New Order

Watching a funny movie with Matthew Lillard and Seth Green in it ("Without a Paddle") prior to the workout helped too.

I had a great workout despite the late hour and thought, "Wow, I'm so good at beating up on myself, I really need to give myself credit. This exercise change has held longer than any other. On May 15, it will be five months! And what's more, I really wanted to go to the gym last night. Maybe I am getting hooked on the endorphin rush. Today I'm patting myself on the back -- but not too hard since my neck still hurts -- for a job well done. Whatever slight derailments I've had in the last four and half months, I've mostly been on track. My strength and stamina have increased. I have lost pounds and inches and fat. I feel better than I have in ages. And I even belly danced in front of strangers. So take that annoying voices!

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