The weather is turning to fall, my favorite time of year. Fall brings cooler weather, changing leaves, crisp air, apples, my birthday, but it is also the perfect time of year for running. Yes, I run year round in Minnesota. Yes, it is possible and some what crazy. This summer brought three weeks of 100 degree plus weather. According to NPR and the weather gods(who ever they are but I feel that encompasses a wide variety of sources), August was the 15th month in a row of record setting warmth. Not only does that mean we experienced a day of record setting temps but the month itself was just hotter than previous months on average. I don’t mean this as wow it’s so hard to work out when it’s hot but it sort of is. Some days, even in the morning, running was near impossible because air quality was so low that your weather man says stay indoors. It’s not pleasant. When I looked at the weather for this week and it says a low of 48, on multiple days! I got excited. Which is good because when it comes to working out, I haven’t been excited.
What I have been doing is treating myself. A lot, to whatever food, drinks and days off I want. That isn’t bad, but when it leads to a change in habits that lead to less than healthy living it’s not good. I don’t need to treat myself every day because I ran three miles. I don’t need to treat myself to skittles, a Cinnabon center of the roll, two margaritas, and more all because I ran five miles. I need to let the run become the treat. Exercise is not punishment. Sure it can feel like it. It doesn’t help when you have quotes from celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels saying things like “You should feel like you are going to die, I designed it that way, that’s when change happens”. And then she makes this smirky face and you think well, okay Jillian.
Exercise is fun, it is a treat. Not everyone is able to enjoy it for a variety of reasons. My sister recently did her first triathlon. Her inspiration came from a friend recently going through chemotherapy for leukemia. We lost an uncle to Multiple Sclerosis this year. Our mom is regressing in her MS, meaning walking is becoming more difficult for her. Not only is her balance worse, but her legs are stiff and she doesn’t have the same range of motion she once did. It’s hard watching someone you remember being active needing help walking a short distance to get something accomplished. But it also reminds you that you don’t have excuses when it comes to your health. You can’t take it for granted. You never know when it won’t be that way for you.
I still struggle with the motivation. I am still trying to work my way out of my own work out slump. Luckily for me, Fall is coming. Which is a reason to treat yo’self to a walk among the beautiful leaves, crisp air and cool breezes.