I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am tired of winter.
As I write this - two days before the official start of spring - it is 14 degrees with 25 mph winds and a wind chill factor of minus three. I am tired of the cold! I'm fed up with the snow hanging around, denying the grass the opportunity to come back to life. I get aggravated when I check the 10-day forecast and can't see even a single spring-like day anywhere on the horizon.
But as I'm so often reminded, there is no point in complaining about the weather. It's unpredictable. Uncontrollable. Inconsistent. Indifferent to our wants, needs, and desires. We each must find a way to deal with it.
Most of my frustration comes from being forced to exercise indoors.
I just can't get excited about walking around in circles or running in place. Simulating a stair climb is about as fun as, I don't know, climbing endless flights of stairs in a high rise stairwell. I'm not even sure what type of real world activity the elliptical trainer is trying to mimic - cross country skiing up stairs, perhaps?
The least exciting piece of cardio equipment has to be the stationary bicycle.
Aside from a pair of pedals, a seat, and a place to grab on to - the gym bike bears no resemblance to the real thing. It requires no balance. It doesn't steer. It doesn't lunge forward when you accelerate quickly. It doesn't sway beneath you when you stand on the pedals. There is no correlation whatsoever between the cadence you pedal and the exhilaration that comes with speed. You're going nowhere fast, yet you don't even get to feel the fast part.
I miss the trees whizzing by in my periphery. I miss the constant mental stimulation - the dozens of small, quick decisions necessary to keep moving forward uninterrupted. I long for the fresh air in my lungs. The breeze against my face. The sun on my skin. I want to smell the flowers, the trees, and the grass. I need to feel it all. I crave the adventure.
And each ride is an adventure.
Whether I'm riding the same old route or blazing a new trail, I never really know what I may encounter. I might spot a family of deer crossing the path or a wild turkey strutting in a clearing. I may discover a new place to eat or grab a tasty micro brew. I can explore forgotten little towns that haven't changed much since their railroad heydays. My mind might even be tricked into believing that I'm riding through unspoiled marshes, savannas, prairies, and woods when in reality, I'm never more than a mile from all too familiar suburbia.
I don't want to exercise - I want to adventure-cise!
I want to stimulate all my senses while I push my body to its physical limits. I want to relax my mind as I activate my imagination. I want to fuel my rides with adrenaline - the excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead, the uncertainty of what comes next. I want physical exercise to be a byproduct of fun - not its antithesis. I don't want to simulate - I want to experience.
As I listen to the wind howl, watch the trees sway and the snow blow, I can only imagine what that first day of real spring weather is going to feel like. When that day finally arrives - and it will - it will be the day that I happily say goodbye to the good ole Y...