Well, I have been trying really hard to maintain a work out routine doing a lot of sit ups, jump rope, weight lifting and kettle bell. It is a tough work out but it has been hard to be consistent and to keep up with it 3 times a week. I also did some running up until it got cold outside. The cold tends to put me in a hibernation mode from going outside to run. But here is the deal. Every year our great city puts on a marathon with the coolest name ever: The Flying Pig. Every year I want to participate in this great event. Every year we have a bunch of people from my church who sign up for this race. And even last year I had one of my teenagers in the youth group sign up and run the half-marathon! But here is the clincher that prevents me from signing up. The race is on the first Sunday of May. So that means if you are serious about this race you NEED to train and run through the Winter. And my attitude about those who I see running in the dead of winter has always been sarcastic to the point of being borderline violent. Just as all Christians know that there are "crazies" within our own religion, I consider myself a runner but I look at those who run in frigid temperatures as the "crazies" of the running world. I want to veer my car towards them to spray them with a wave of slushy snow. Their dedication drives me crazy. Instead of letting them inspire me I want to degrade them. Mock them! Demoralize them! Of course this approach never worked real well with Christian "crazies" so I only let this negative energy stay within my mind and feel prideful in my ability to stay warm and comfortable.
So I do crazy-hard workouts in my garage but here is where the other big issue lies. Every time I go to see my doctor my blood pressure has been going up and up. And I am one of those people that every single time they strap that thing around my arm and pump it up I can feel myself get all worked up inside. I can not relax and stay cool, calm and collected. I get tense and irritated like I want to gnaw this thing off of my arm and then bite the doctor. Then he does the concerned look and lets me know it is up a little more from last time. I know it's up! I don't like the freakin' blood pressure squeeze machine to begin with!
Now that the holidays are over the Flying Pig advertisements are coming out. I drive by the local running store frequently and I noticed that they have a sign out for information on how to train for the Flying Pig. So now the war begins within my mind:
Concerned Scott: You know, running is a healthy aerobic exercise that will help to naturally bring down your blood pressure.
Slug Scott: Running on the bike trail during the Spring and Summer is amazing and inspiring, but the Winter is for couch potato pleasures like reading, Xbox, Wii, LOST and 24.
Concerned Scott: I do not want to go on any medication if I don't have to. If there is a reasonable way to manage my blood pressure then why not?
Slug Scott: The Winter Olympics for February and then March Madness. I would rather sit and watch people exercise at what they do best.
Concerned Scott: THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!
Slug Scott: (projectile green vomit spewed at Concerned Scott).
So just a couple of days ago I drove by the local running store again. The Runner's Spot had a sign out for information on training for the Flying Pig. I thought I would sneak in and see what they got just for curiosity's sake. I walked in and looked around at the latest running stuff and found the pig training brochure. Then I was confronted by one of the workers. He was a nice Asian-American man of whom you could tell by his build he was a "crazy" runner. He is already cranking out miles on the road even in sub-zero temperatures. But then a strange thing happened. My hardened heart began to soften just a bit and I felt like I could ask this guy some personal questions. He reminded me of the Dali Lama. I sat at the feet of a great one dying to ask the deep questions of life. So I finally did it. I blurted out "I have always wanted to train for the Flying Pig but I just can't run when it is this cold outside. So how do you do it? Is there a way? A trick? A method? Right type of clothes, shoes, what?!?!?!?!" And he answered me in a Yoda-like way that spoke deep into my heart when he said, "You just have to get out there and do it." This resonated with me. I grew up in the 80's. I am familiar with this advice. JUST DO IT! That's it! Just sheer will power! I always seem to have a ton of that when it is warm and sunny but not in the Winter. Yet his words struck a chord with me. He also gave me advice to wear under armor-like clothing first and then layer up. Wear a hat and gloves. And get other people to run with so you have accountability.
I walked out of there really mulling over what the "spiritual guide of all things running" told me. I felt encouraged. I felt a glowing ray of something within. I felt like maybe, just maybe, I could do this. So on Monday I did my regular workout routine in the garage but I woke up this morning knowing that I was going to shake up my workout routine. I actually came home, spent about half an hour hunting down my under armour shirt, looking for my winter hat and gloves, suited up, got my I-pod on a Rob Bell sermon and lunged myself out into the arctic world of cold, snowy death outside. As is typical with most runs, the first mile is a battle within my mind but now the cold is a factor too. So here goes this conversation:
Slug Scott: Are you freakin' crazy? Quick turn around and get back inside where it is warm!
Concerned Scott: You can do this. You can do this!
Slug Scott: If you take one more step I am going to %$!@?! throw you in front of a car!
Concerned Scott: Do it for your health. Do it for your wife. Do it for your kids. Do it for your youth group!
Slug Scott: Is that ice crystals that I feel forming in my lungs? I have buggers that are turning into ice cubes. What if I slip on ice?
Concerned Scott: I just need to force myself for the first mile and then I will get warmed up and find my stride for the rest of the run.
Slug Scott: I AM YOUR FATHER!
Concerned Scott: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
So once I got back to the house today, the run in the cold winter weather wasn't all that bad! It was a matter of getting past the first mile and warming up but once I did I felt great. It was kind of fun to be out in the cold running.
So hear is the challenge I am throwing out to my youth group. I want to sign up for the half-marathon this year for the Flying Pig. I have to do this race simply because they have the coolest promo for it which states, "Get Your Oink On." I want that shirt really bad. But I don't want to do this alone. Are any of you up for the challenge? Let's do this together. Who's in? Let's get our oink on!