Sunday, 21 February 2016

Something Crabby This Way Comes

The last place on earth I want to be right now is the gym. I'm cranky, cold, tired and hungry and all I really want to do is put on my fleecy polar bear pajamas and crawl under the duvet with a Big Mary and taters.

I know I'm not alone in this sentiment. I'm sure everyone has off days where they want to give up the fight against weight gain or loss, when the results you hope for aren't there, when you feel like you've been doing this forever and have nothing to show for it. It happens to everyone. Well, maybe not the size -2 lady on the Arc Trainer straight ahead of me, completely toned with zero percent body fat, going about a hundred miles an hour in her Fabletics, looking like a million bucks. But everyone else has off days, I'm sure of it.

Knowing everyone else feels the same from time to time doesn't make it any easier to motivate myself though. It just makes me want to find these people and invite them over for dessert. Misery does love company after all.

It's a good thing I have a support crew. Everyone should have one. It's the first thing you should invest in before starting any type of physical activity. I recommend having more than two people (four works great) to increase the likelihood that there will always be at least one of you who will actually want to do some exercise. For example, when Renee says, "Let's skip the gym and just have tea" and Paula and I say, "Okay", Hardcore Lori will say, "We have to do something since we are already here." And so we end up running 5 k.

I think Renee said it best:

"There are pros and cons about having gym buddies.
Pro: they make you go to the gym
Con: they make you go to the gym"

And yet, here I am at the gym, solo.

It's Thursday afternoon. I debated with myself all morning about whether or not to tell the girls I was considering going to the gym while they were at work. Part of me felt guilty going alone. If I told them they would convince me to wait and go with them in the evening. This is exactly why I finally decided not to tell them.

It's not that I didn't want to spend time with them. I didn't want them to spend time with me. I've been in a mood for several days now and I'm not fit for human consumption. Cranky doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Crooked as sin. It's the bite-your-head-off-for-no-reason type of mood. Think Red Foreman. Oscar the Grouch. Chain chomp.

It's an irritability that has been simmering under the surface for some time and has finally erupted into full blown surliness.

Maybe I should eat a Snickers.

I decide to do weights since I had skipped the Wednesday night workout due to my craptacular state of mind. As much as I hate all forms of physical activity our weekly weight routine is probably my favorite part of our workout schedule.

I finish the circuit and decide to do a short run on the treadmill before heading home, cursing Mr. Collins for the aches in my muscles yet again. I manage a couple of kilometers before I come to the realization that the exercise hasn't helped my mood and I'm probably going to be cantankerous for the rest of my life.

How on earth will I be able to train for our half with this storm cloud chasing me around, making me hate the entire process? How did I get back to dreading going for a run? I want to be able to enjoy the experience, not trudge through it like some ornery version of Eeyore. Somehow, I need to find a way through this maze of crabbiness that I've found myself in.

Saturday night I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. It was a simple statement, a reminder, from the lips of Sugar, something I had lost sight of in my quest to not hate running.

"You have to run for yourself."

That was it. I'd let myself get caught up in the planning, the training, the schedules, overwhelming myself with details and things to do in order to prepare, stressing over missed workouts, short workouts, short runs, slow runs, fretting over not losing weight and I'd forgotten to just run. Run because I want to, not because my calendar or scale tell me to. Run for fun. Just run.

It's like a huge weight has been lifted (see what I did there). This doesn't mean I won't train or I'll stop going to the gym. It just means I'll shift my focus a little, forget the goals, bring the fun back, run just for the sake of running with friends who are my counterparts, nothing else. If I focus on that aspect, all the rest will eventually fall into place.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

It Was Perfect For Running. Apparently.

The beach. Fireplaces. Hot chocolate. The sun. Hell.

Hate is a strong word and I'm doing everything in my power to avoid thinking it or feeling it.

Wood stoves. Martinique. Heated seats. Slippers. Tea. The fiery bowels of Hades.

It's Tuesday and I'm about to join the group run. Outside. It's 0 degrees (32 F for my American friends) and I'm trying to remember why I agreed to this. I vaguely recall three females on exercise machines suggesting that the weather had improved and we should join the other PRCers for a change of scenery. I guess I agreed.

Saunas. Hot tubs. Wool socks. Tenerife. Tanning beds. Quilts. Chai Lattes. A blazing inferno in the underworld. 

Yet somewhere between that conversation and today, two-thirds of those females suddenly have other commitments. I was also about to have "plans" when I realized that Hardcore Lori was going to go with or without us. There was no way I could let her go alone.

Not that she would be running alone in the cold, dark streets of Topsail Pond . There would be lots of others from PRC there and I know she would find a group to run with. I just had to be sure that she didn't.

See, Lori is the elite member of our little group. She's faster and more committed to her exercise routine than the rest of us. For example, yesterday while I went for a leisurely ride on the recumbent bike, Lori was doing two minute planks and kettlebell twists. If she misses a workout, she does a make up session while I'm more likely to delete "gym" from my iPhone calendar. If Lori ever realizes how great she is, she's bound to move on to a more dedicated group that can keep up with her pace and if she does, I'm fairly certain many more of our gym nights will turn into tea parties.

Tonight, it's up to me to keep our little group in one piece.

I know I'll need something to drink on my run, but I really don't want to wear my fuel belt. I ask Renee to set up a water table but no such luck. At 5:59 I stuff one of my fuel bottles in my pocket, get out of my car and head out of the parking lot with Lori in tow before she can find anyone else to join us. Crisis averted.

I hate running in the cold. I hate being outside in the cold. I hate the cold full stop.

Aruba. Fire pits. Hot stone massage. Irish coffee. Fleecy pajamas. Hot Paws. A pleasure cruise down a lava filled River Styx.

My new PRC shirt is refusing to stay around my waist and seems more interested in congregating in my armpits, most likely looking for a source of heat. I can feel the cold air on my back as I try in vain to return my shirt to its proper location. Lori is chatting away about how great the weather is for running. I'm tempted to push her in the ditch.

St. Thomas. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Bon Fires. Seal skin boots. California. A boiling vat of oil.

We run for 5 kilometers and as we head back to the muddy parking lot and our vehicles, I have to admit it and agree with Lori how nice it is to be running outside again, despite the cold. It's great to see all the familiar faces and have fresh air in my lungs. I was able to run at my normal pace so I'm sure things will work out when we start our half marathon training in the spring. This was the little boost I needed for my morale.

Before heading home I check my phone, which has been buzzing like crazy during the run. I hope the others realize the sacrifice I have made tonight. You are forever in my debt.