One of my goals for 2012 is to play basketball again on a weekly basis by February.
However, that has no chance of happening if I can't get my stamina up by then so I've been working out every day so far in the new year. Typically, I like to work out in a gym in the winter. There are many reasons for this and almost all of them have to do with it being warm.
However, today was a beautiful day, perhaps my favorite January day since moving to northern Illinois from southern Indiana almost a decade ago. So, I decided to hit the Chicago Lakefront Trail, something my wife does regularly, but I've never attempted on foot. (I've biked it once or twice.)
I'm not a natural runner. I derive no joy from the sport. I've written about this a few times, so I'm not going to delve into it again. You can read a past column on the subject here. But running on the ground or a treadmill and working out on the elliptical machine is the only way I'm going to get my wind back so I can compete on the court so it's something that has to be done. The last time I tried to play a full-court basketball game I ended up refusing to move from the top of the 3-point line on offense because it was the only was I could get back on defense. It was pretty sad.
So, I hit the trail a little after 1 p.m. wearing shorts and a long-sleeve T-shirt. Yes, I was outside wearing shorts and a long-sleeve T-shirt in Chicago in January. Favorite. January. Day. Ever. And I began to jog as a constant wave of people passed me. I essentially was a combine on a highway, though happily one that is easier to pass.
But it's a beautiful trail to run on so I was OK with being the slowest person out there. With the lake to my left as I jogged, I could see myself, maybe, just maybe, running on this trail on a semi-consistent basis when it gets actual warm and not just teasing warm.
I didn't run far, maybe a little less than a mile, but it was a good start. And I'll happily make a deal with January. If it keeps giving me days like this, I'll continue to run on the Chicago Lakefront Trail. We'll see, but my gut is telling me January will refuse and I'll be back in the gym by next week.
• Joe Grace is a writer who lives in Chicago with his wife. He still can't believe he was wearing shorts outside today. Crazy. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Joe Grace Columns