Obsession IV: The Elliptical

I wrecked my knee while coaching indoor soccer in 1998. (I believe I uttered an expletive or two at that moment.) I had surgery to repair my torn ACL and then did rehab for some weeks to follow. “Use the elliptical,” my physical therapist instructed. “That’s the best thing to do.” IMAG2579I have taken his advice to the extreme. Since then, I have been on that crazy looking machine about 1600 times (an hour or so each time) at eleven different gyms until I finally moved into a building with its own machine.IMAG2581 I’ve been on this machine almost every day for the past nine months, averaging 1200 calories per session and getting my resting heart rate down to 49. It’s hard at first, especially in the morning, because my body doesn’t want to start; it knows what’s next. IMAG2583The first few minutes is a warm-up, getting the blood and lungs to work, and then it’s time to establish a more intensive rate, time to turn off the TV –  no more NY1 – and get into the music. (Nothing Is perhaps?) Minute 12 is the first real sign post. “How far am I off my pace? How much do I have to make up?” It is a matter of settling in and focusing on what’s ahead. IMAG2587Thoughts finally begin to move: an email to be written, a facebook message returned, a cheque cashed, schedules checked. And then the real ideas start to come, maybe halfway through: a scene that doesn’t work, stilted dialogue, a character developed, a new direction. Each and everything – the emails and scenes, all of them – must be reviewed, numbered in my head, so that they aren’t lost with all the sweat. IMAG2588The last ten minutes is for recounting the ideas one by one, reviewing the list time and again, and working toward the final numbers: calories burned and ideas logged. Today it was 1208 and 5, the last one of these for this blog.