The winter blahs have begun to set in, and the daily routine of coming home to a cold dark house after a long day at work means I’m watching my motivation to get off couch to do something productive wither and die before I’ve even pulled the blanket off. Last night I didn’t get off my butt from 2:30 to 7pm, and spent hours of that time browsing bad tattoos online. If that isn’t a wake up call to make a change, I don’t know what is. Hence, I’m writing this post to shame myself into shaking off the dark day doldrums.
In the past, the way I’ve gotten through winter is through physical activity, primarily running. High school and early college was dominated by training for the spring season of track, and in the past two years I’ve signed myself up for one long distance race per year as incentive to train through the cold months.
Ian even joined me a couple times!
Don’t judge me for all my peace signs. It’s a bad habit I learned during my semester in Thailand that is proving nearly impossible to break.
With that history, it seemed it was about time to sign myself up for another race. I spent a couple hours one boring afternoon researching races in the region and finally decided on the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville because of its late April race date and proximity to my cousin and her brand new baby. It was a marathon, yes, but it was months away and I’d already run one before. With the proper mindset and some diligent training, this could be very doable.
Theeeeen, I made the mistake one day of complaining to Ian that he wasn’t taking enough responsibility for his own mental and physical health. I made a big freaking deal about it and challenged him to prove me wrong, to prove that he took my concerns seriously.
Well, be careful what you ask for, because the next day Ian sent me a text that he had signed us BOTH up for Haulin’ in the Holler, a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) trail run that was going to be a full month earlier than my marathon. To make matters worse, over 85% of this course consists of single track trails that relentlessly travel through the hills and valleys of central Appalachia.
I HATE hills. He got me good.
So THAT’S happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m begrudgingly thrilled about both races and think they will be a great challenge, if a little more ambitious than I was initially going for. I’m especially excited about the fact there is an option to tent camp at the race site for the 25k. Early spring camping will be a new experience for me! Yet it can’t be denied that the time has come to start some serious training unless we both want our butts to get kicked. Our unofficial training started in late November, but a foot tattoo for me and a bad head cold for Ian halted our progress for a few weeks, and only now are we finding ourselves ready to train in earnest.
The first step was getting some cute new trail running shoes over Christmas break so that I could actually get motivated to take my fuzzy socks off once in a while.
Another tool of the trade has been the trusty old treadmill that came with our house. When we first moved in, many well-spent hours were spent taking it apart and moving it from our bedroom into a more usable space in the spare bedroom. It’s a lifesaver this time of year because the seasonally short days often mean we don’t have enough daylight left after our workday to get an outside run in.
But on weekends and shorter school days, I live for the chance to run outside on the trails near our house. Our route is essentially limited to a 4 mile stretch of ridge line road that is relatively isolated, save the occasional four wheeler or mountain truck. These hills are more moderate than the steep descents on either side of us, and if I must run the same route ad infinitum, it’s as good as I could wish for.
There! I’ve done it. I’ve now confessed publicly that we’ve spent money on nonrefundable race fees. Hopefully this will give us the motivation we need to train to the best of our abilities this late winter. As March and April creep closer, maybe give me a nudge once in a while to make sure that I’m still fighting a winning battle against that ever tempting couch.