Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Blues are Bullshit

They're not. I like to use attention grabbing titles which are total lies. Winter sucks, at least where I live. But even other runners online complain if it's "only" 50 in Florida. This past weekend I ran 14 miles on Saturday and 9 on Sunday, and both times it was under 20 (Fahrenheit. Under -7 Celsius for everyone else in the universe).

What I really mean is that being cold and sad are stupid excuses to be lazy.

Last winter I didn't run outside AT ALL for the entire months of January and February. I still did cardio almost every day. I either ran in place for an hour straight while watching TV (which actually is not too bad), or I rode a stationary bike, also while watching TV. It was pretty bourgeois.

This past summer I got into the routine of running 6 days a week, occasionally all 7. Routine rocks! After I ran the Wineglass marathon I just kept on running  6 days a week. Once I get into a routine, I hate breaking it. On Christmas eve, it was 60 degrees. I ran 18 miles with no shirt on. Then after the New Year, winter punched me directly in the balls.

But I refused to slack off this time around. My friends and fellow runners get annoyed when I whine about feeling fat. But I often do feel like a big fat asshole.
A big fat asshole.

Being obsessive and totally insane is kind of a prerequisite to exercising every single day. Because if you don't hate yourself at least a little bit, you'll just cruise through winter with cocoa and cupcakes. Which sounds amazing.

At first I told myself that if it was under 30 degrees, I would run on a treadmill. Then I dropped that to 25. Then 20. And now I just say, "F#*k it, I'll freeze. Whatever." It doesn't matter. Treadmills suck.

The fact is, there's always a reason not to exercise. It's dark, it's cold, you're tired, you haven't slept in days, you kicked 3 kegs at the bar last night while watching an oblong ball get thrown around for two hours on a massive screen. Every morning I get up at 6am to lift, and most of the time I'm totally fried. My muscles hurt, because I lift and run every day. I didn't get any sleep, because my cat was walking all over my face all night. And there's just all sorts of personal bullshit that inevitably says, "I don't care if you need to run ten miles, here's some more shit for you to deal with."

It's 2am, and I need to eat RIGHT NOW.

Winter is just another excuse. That's all they are. Excuses. Some folks will feel bad flaking out on a workout because they're "a little tired." But those same folks feel totally justified taking a day off because "holy cow my mustache has ice in it!" Ladies especially hate it when their mustaches freeze.

You can't think about it. I look at the weather, because I need to know how warmly to dress ("looks like 4 pairs of underwear today.") Otherwise I just stare stupidly at the part that says "feels like 0 degrees." Some part of my brain that used to register this as meaningful information now just crawls into a dark corner and curls up into a ball. Routine is a magical force that pulls up on my body like marionette strings. I'm not exaggerating. One moment I'm lying cozily under four blankets. The next moment I'm standing, digging through a pile of running shorts looking for the one that smells the least.

I barely slept last night. Every half hour I looked at my phone, and rolled back over again. I got up at 5:44am, a minute before my alarm would normally ring. My cat still had food in her bowl. I think she was torturing me just out of spite. I lifted weights.

Perfect time to exercise.
If you're stressed, you're going to feel stressed whether you exercise or not. If it's cold, it's going to be cold whether you exercise or not. If you're exhausted, that won't change either. You might as well exercise. But, most of the time, you will feel much better after you exercise. This is kind of impossible to appreciate until you've actually done it. I've been running and lifting and doing all sorts of stuff for a long time, and I still forget how good I feel after a workout until I've actually done it. My brain doesn't want to remind me of that. My brain would much rather I stay in bed when it's pitch black outside.

That's something I remind myself off every day. I'm awake anyway. Staying in bed longer is stupid. If I have exactly one hour in between work and something else I have to do, I could rest. But what the heck would be the point? If I use that one hour to exercise, it will pay dividends in the future. If I decide to rest, because my body is destroyed, it will do nothing for me. It will feel nice for an hour. And that's it. What my deadlift challenge taught me is that my body is capable of doing pretty much anything I ask of it. Rest and healing are irrelevant.

It's an entirely different mindset. It's impossible to explain to a sane person. And getting to the point where working out is second nature takes hard work. But once you get there, it's just autopilot. It's cold, it's dark, you're tired, your cat hates you, but you just do it anyway.

Excuses are bullshit. Winter is bullshit.

Winter is bullshit.

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