I swear to Kahless I have not been trapped in the transporter pattern buffers!

3 05 2011

Remember the episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation called “Relics” where they found Scotty trapped for 75 years in the pattern buffers of the USS Jenolan?  How I wish I had such a good excuse!  The truth is I’ve just been lazy.

After signing up for the Berlin Marathon, I had a huge burst of inspiration and went all out for a good month:  three runs a week, two cross training sessions, planning meals to include proper nutrients and recording calories on the Livestrong website.  I did pretty damn good too.  For a while anyway.

You see, in recent years winter has become a bit of a struggle for me.  Its long dark days and bitter chills make me want to hide even as I bristle against the sense of captivity hiding brings.   As Thanksgiving gluttony folds into Christmas craziness, I begin to feel trapped.   There is relief when the conclusion of New Year celebrations maneuvers the zeitgeist back toward sanity.  A new year and new goals are very refreshing to me.  Regardless, by mid-February I’m usually ready to snap.

However, I decided last year that I was going to break the cycle of midwinter misery by finding a way to enjoy or at least tolerate the awful season.  For me that means finding a way to embrace the tundra instead of despising it.  So I signed up for a snowshoe 5k in January and a frosty 5k in February which I linked to visits with friends (in order to ensure I’d actually get out and do both as well as enjoy the reward of pleasant company).

The two races were so much fun!   I lost my snowshoe virginity in the Glacial Park Snowshoe 5k while having a blast with my friend Pam, then went up to Wisconsin for the Frostbite 5k and a catch-up visit with my best buds from college.  I was doing great —flexibility, cross-training, weight lifting, Bosu work, running negative splits  —  and even the weather was getting better by the day.  Then it all went horribly wrong.

At some point in mid-March a cold snap hit and the skies turned grey.  I had planned to do a St. Paddy’s Day run in Chicago with a couple of friends.  Both ended up cancelling.  I don’t know why but that sent me into a tailspin.  It was like the giant dark cloud of winter depression which I had thus far managed to escape had suddenly overtaken me.  After a 7 mile run on the weekend of the aborted race, I just quit.  Each time I tried to work out the following week, I felt a leaden fatigue too heavy to shake off.  So after a couple of half-hearted trips to the gym, I gave up.

A month of lethargic bog-wallow later, I couldn’t stand myself anymore so I began to look for a way out.  I eventually concluded that if perceived abandonment helped break me, maybe a fitness support group was the answer.  This revelation came as I was watching an episode of  “Ruby” where she gathers her friends to petition their help after falling off her diet.  Envisioning the same scene in my own life, I fell back in raucous laughter.  First of all, I’d have to spend $300 on snacks and liquor just to host them all.   Then came the vision of Carie jogging in her Kate Spade shoes with martini in one hand and cigarette in the other or Fred beside me at Pilates class grunting like a newborn potbelly pig.  I couldn’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh!

So I hired a personal trainer.  I figured, “WTF, if you can’t find someone to work out with you, just pay someone to make sure you do it.”

And thus I am pleased to announce my return to serious training.  I had a great weekend of nutritious food and vigorous exercise with plans ahead for more of the same.  In fact, I’m sitting here right now procrastinating a 7 and 1/2 mile run as I write this post.  But I shall get off the sofa, leash the hounds and head out the door to do it.

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Bless you Scotty.  You will dwell in the pattern buffer of my heart forever.

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