Sunday, March 2, 2014

Some Day This Blasted Winter Will End...

...and I will have something to write about again. I can't wait for that day! I have hope that it will come, even though last night, the first night of March, it snowed 4 more inches, and today, the second day of March, we only briefly made it into double digits and only for a very short time. Surely this has to stop soon, right?

And surely I have to want to do something athletic again, right? Some day? Oh, it's not that I haven't been doing anything. I belong to the nice gym and because it's so expensive, I am there at least four or five times a week or else I start thinking I'm not getting my money's worth and if I'm not going to get my money's worth, maybe I ought to just stop paying for it and accept that I live in the Midwest now and can get fat...NO! Unthinkable! Anyway, I'm going to the gym regularly and listlessly plodding through an hour on the elliptical or on the treadmill or in the pool or in spin class, but talk about no passion whatsoever. I don't know if I will ever get it back or if it's just something that was part of my Arizona life and isn't part of my Michigan life. I can explain it a few different ways, thusly:

1) THE WEATHER. Well, obviously. It's super hard to feel like busting ass when the weather busts you every day. We have had by all reports the worst winter in recent memory, both with snowfall and with the crazy, bitter cold. Last year I came for my interview in January, and it was 55 and rainy. I remember running in one layer and thinking, Yes, this sucks but it is doable. I wish I could get mad at someone for false advertising. I really have nothing more to say about this winter; everyone knows it sucks, and the whole country has heard about it for several months now and doesn't need to hear about it anymore. I will only add that I have to work outside in it (if I want my dogs to get trained for class next month) every day and that leaves me with no energy at all to spend any more time outside in it at the end of the work day. Also, it's not the cold that stops me from running so much as it is the ice. If I slip and break an ankle, I can't do my job anymore, period. And that would be very bad. So, no running and no riding till there's no more ice. Which might not be until April, the way it's been lately.

2) THE "WORK-LIFE BALANCE" IS ALL WORK. This is not really a bad thing. My job in Tucson was the place I went to recover from my grueling weekend workouts. While the people I worked with were nice (mostly), I had little in common with them outside of work and almost never, with only two exceptions that I remember, voluntarily did anything social with them after work hours. (One of those exceptions being biking 50 miles, with an unspoken agreement to never ever mention work during those 50 miles, and the other exception being something currently unmentionable on a public blog.) The people in WOG and TTR were the cool people in my life, the interesting ones, the ones who I wanted to spend time with. I did not see those people at work, so I had to see them outside of work. Here, it is completely different. ALL my friends in Michigan are work friends. I don't know if it's just that I work with cooler people to begin with, or if it is shared passion for the job (as opposed to shared enjoyment of high salary, non-taxing workload, and job security that I had in Tucson), but the people I work with all day are simply more interesting than any other people. I don't have any desire to go outside of work and meet new people or get involved in any local athletic community because, why should I? I have everything I need right there at Leader. And my coworkers work out, too. Lots of us (grudgingly) go to the gym right after work. But it is just something we do because we should and because we don't want to be fat and because we don't (most of us) want to change our eating habits. Actual enjoyment of it? I don't think anyone would actually go that far. (Long-time readers of this blog know that I have NEVER claimed enjoyment of running, triathlon, or any other form of workout. But they have always been part of my identity in a way that they just are not right now.) Don't get me wrong -- it is great to have a job so engrossing and fascinating that it's not just a job, it's a hobby. But it doesn't leave room for much else.

3) NO CONNECTION TO THE LOCAL OUTDOOR SPORTS COMMUNITY. This is related to #2 and is totally my own fault. There are all kinds of outdoor sports groups here. There is an awesome running group right there in Rochester. I ran with them off and on through the summer and fall. That group was full of great people, and the dynamic reminded me so much of ComeRun that I am kicking myself for not continuing to run with them. What happened? It got dark and cold and I got to feeling guilty for leaving the dogs in the kennel for such a long time and I felt like I should be going to the gym because I was paying for it and... and... I haven't run with the group since November. Not that they're doing much running either. But still, going back there as soon as it gets warmer might be a good idea.

4) I'M HAPPY. My best training has always taken place when I was trying to get over something or channel life-related stress into something more productive than sitting home drinking. When life is happy, there is so much less motivation to try to change anything. I'm glad I'm happy (or as happy as I can be, not living in Tucson). But why do happiness and motivation seem so mutually exclusive?

I have exactly one race on my calendar, the Corktown 5K in Detroit March 16. I haven't run a 5K in a long time, except for the Meet Me Downtown 5K in Tucson, which I ran every year just because I loved downtown Tucson so much I couldn't NOT run it. I registered for this one because it is a huge race and because they have a cool shirt. The first year I was in Tucson, I ran practically every local race just to see what they were all about. Maybe I need to do the same thing in Michigan; maybe I will magically become interested in the community again and make new running friends and start signing up for marathons again and get the missing piece of myself back? But then again, I would not want to trade that missing piece for all the other missing pieces I've found here, either. I guess we will just have to see.

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