Thursday, January 30, 2014

What the Hell Happened to Me?!

This past Sunday morning I woke up and the sun was streaming in through my window.  There were several inches of snow on the ground, and it appeared that the whipping winds of the previous day had died down.  This all boded very well for my skiing group.  Well, other than the fact that it was all of NINE degrees outside.  Yay, Polar Vortex!

One of the hardest parts of keeping my fitness regimen up in the winter is getting the motivation to actually GO OUT into the harsh weather.  It's so easy to sit around in one's flannel pajamas, cursing the weather while flanked by cats and pizzas and hot chocolates and remote controls, and so not easy to change into workout gear and walk out the door. But I decided to take up cross-country skiing in an attempt to overcome my rabid hatred of the season and to thwart my usual MO of hibernating and stuffing my face with warm, carbalicious, fatty, salty comfort foods and sugary hot beverages.  

I hate winter for so many reasons, one of which being the amount of clothing I'm forced to wear during it.  It just seems like endless layers of hats and scarves and sweaters and coats and gloves and eight pairs of socks stuffed inside chunky, clunky boots that get all caked with snow and ice and then drip everywhere when you get in the car. Everything is just such a goddamned production all the time.  Layer up, go outside, get to where you're going, peel it all off, change the shoes, set it aside, put it all back on, venture back outside, and pray that you don't fall over at any point, lest you end up like Randy from "A Christmas Story."

Anyway.  I thought if I took up a winter sport, something that required snow and cold to participate in,  something that got me outside and engaged me, that maybe I'd embrace winter a little more.  Maybe I could even...appreciate it?  Well, I wouldn't go quite THAT far, but I do know that learning how to cross-country ski HAS made me hate winter a little less, anyway.   

So this past Sunday I'm skiing around Delaware Park with three other people, and it's nine degrees, my face is numb, I can't speak, my nose is running -- and I'm having the time of my life.  One of the things I really, REALLY like about cross-country skiing versus downhill (aside from the positively terrifying prospect of falling off the side of a mountain, which ranks right up there with my paralyzing fear of parenting, circuses, and the GOP) is the fact that it can be done wearing little more than some running tights and a lightweight jacket over a thermal top.  Seriously.  No insane puffy jackets, no extra-thick pants, no stormtrooper boots, no goggles, no helmets. Just this:

Note the color of my face - that's called "Single Digit Crimson" - surprising I could even get it to move into any semblance of a smile - but everything else on me was pretty toasty thanks to the constant movement.

Not only is it fairly low-maintenance,  it's a GREAT workout, too!  It's kind of like being on an elliptical, except for the freezing face part.  And the occasional part where you unsuspectingly ski into a branch.  But after an hour, I definitely felt like I'd done some serious calorie burning damage (an hour burns close to 500 calories) and if it hadn't been SO cold, I might have kept going because the actual act of skiing is so much fun.  You're outside, you're breathing fresh air, you're meeting people along the way, and you're getting exercise.  All-around winning.

So this brings me to the question I've been asking myself a lot lately.  Who the hell AM I?  I mean, back in May I did the Gay 5K and wrote about the "new me" emerging.  But eight months later...who is this girl who gets up on a Sunday morning in the grip of a Polar Vortex and skis around the park for an hour?  Who is this girl who is on the elliptical as early as 6:30 some mornings?  Who is this girl who braves the snow and the cold to make it to the gym (albeit not without a fair amount of whining under those conditions), who arranges her schedule around yoga and spinning and just signed up for a 4-week Bollywood dance class? Who is this girl with seemingly boundless energy most days?  Is this really me?  

Sometimes I wonder.  

I always maintained that losing weight wouldn't change me fundamentally; I'd always be the same person I was all along.  I'd still be broke, still hate doing dishes, still despise tomatoes and love pet rats. And yet...there's something about me that's not the me I knew before.  This person actually LIKES to exercise.  This person actually CRAVES physical activity.  This person wants to engage in SPORTS.  Seriously. This person spent the better part of a recent date with an avid runner (five marathons...HOT) talking about fitness goals and future activities to do together.  Never in my LIFE have I sat across a table from a self-proclaimed jock and suggested bike rides and hikes as a way to spend time together.  Never have I nodded enthusiastically in agreement when a man has offered to give me weight-lifting pointers. Never in my life have I said to a man, "Yeah, a Tough Mudder is on my bucket list." And truly meant it. 


Of course, losing weight isn't going to change the fact that I'm still chasing this dude after months and months and will likely never see any development because I'm losing patience with him, nor will it change the fact that my other dating prospects are still pretty grim around here. But at least I have a whole new list of interests and activities to keep me active in the meantime.  And when the next prospect does come along...hell, if I keep going like this, by the time that happens he'll have to run a whole lot faster to keep up with me.

I'm still getting to know this girl, but I like her.  

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