Friday, February 9, 2007

The Long Cold Winter

According to NPR this morning, this has been the coldest February in something like 75 years. A fact that was not lost on me when I decided to go running for the first time in three weeks last night. Now, I've never been a huge fan of winter running. Call me crazy, or lazy, but when I wake up at 5:30 AM, the sun is not even thinking about coming up, and the thermostat says 9 degrees, going for a jog in the Iraqi desert in full combat gear sounds more appealing.

Anyway, I just finished replacing or refitting just about every piece of clothing I own following losing four sizes last summer. I'm happy to be a smaller version of myself now, and don't have any intention of slipping back to those bad old days. That said, with winter comes a lot of eating a drinking, and, as I mentioned, not so much running. So the most compelling reason to try to get a little exercise while I wait for warmer days has become my wardrobe. The pants that fit me well, even a little loosely in some cases, were starting to feel a little tight.

So there I was, pounding the pavement at 6 PM, in the dark. It was 19 degrees in the city. I saw exactly one other jogger while I was out, and I couldn't help wondering if I looked as deranged as he did. My route takes me by two metro stations on the way out, so there's a lot of foot traffic at this time as people return from work. Most people seemed to either ignore me entirely, perhaps not even noticing. It has been demonstrated that, sometimes, human beings can actually convince themselves to deny the presence of something that is completely improbable in a given situation. I suspect this is what was happening with most people; they just didn't see me. A handful of people would look at me quizzically from behind their enormous winter coats and scarves, wondering what sort of drugs I must have taken.

In any event, I got through a paltry 3.5 miles. The half-hour run itself was not bad. The 45 minutes of dry-throated hacking afterward, on the other hand, was bad.

In conclusion, this is an experiment I am not anxious to repeat. On the other hand, the waistline problem persists. As much as I hate treadmills, I am seriously considering exploring this as the only sensible option I have if I want to remain a reasonable size through the winter. Running on a treadmill is about as much fun as watching Barney and Friends, but at least I won't be scarring my lungs with arctic air.

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