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The stride

Thirty minutes into any strenuous exercise, time that had been passing slowly before starts passing quickly, the breathing becomes steady and tackling that next half hour becomes easy. It's the time when the body starts running on fat instead of calling for more sugar to be brought in to fuel all this busywork. What also happens is that the mind suddenly becomes clear and focused – not on keeping those feet moving or whatever it is you're doing, but on the things it wants to think about and now has energy available to do so. It's a great feeling, and it's enabled me to write both Telethon material and Gang of Four easily.

(By the way, the work I did on Monday to write and draw a longer story for the Telethon isn't completely wasted. There is now a finished test page in which I was able to try some new techniques, plus twelve pages of thumbnailed comics which will make a good second draft for the final version, plus some White House in Orbit material that I might want to do something with, plus character designs and better insight into my time budget than I had before I had a try at it. In the long run, these will all come in handy.)

My preferred sport is now swimming again. I use the pool below my workplace every other day. De Papiermolen is a city-owned outdoor pool that had very few visitors for much of the summer, because after an early heatwave it was mostly wet and chilly outside. But since the last week of August, the weather has improved a lot, and the authorities have decided to keep it open until September 31, instead of pumping it out on the fourth as originally planned. The last week of August was also when I decided to start using this facility instead of just spending hot afternoons at the lake as I'd been doing before.

I don't count laps – instead I just swim for an hour or so, putting some effort into it. Then I spend some time in the sun with my sketchbook until I get too hot and leave. It's working well: I get a bit tired in the hours after the swim but after that I become more focused again. More physically taut as well - it's too early to expect any visible changes in my muscle tone but I can feel more balanced, as if my stomach muscles are pushing me upright.

Only downside: I get tanlines from wearing a swimsuit regularly for the first time in a decade. The pool water reflects the sunlight causing people to tan twice as fast. One day I observed a gull flying over the pool, and the bird's belly looked sky blue from the light reflecting from the pool! So those tanlines appear quickly, faster than sunbathing unclothed at the lake can remove them again. But the lake environment doesn't encourage hour-long, high-energy swims, and I'm now at the point where the endorphin rush from that becomes addictive. I'm hitting my stride – now let's try very hard to keep up that momentum during the winter.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 8, 2005 2:43 PM.

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