Sunday, January 26, 2014

This difficult decision

This decision, relative to all the other daily decisions I and others like me have to face, should not feel so difficult. 

Perhaps by writing this blog I will either work the choice out in my head, through these words, or one of my faithful friends might read this and make a suggestion.  What would you suggest I do?

So it's the dead of winter in northern Ohio. It has been a harsh one.  The snow is one consistent challenge, one we expect living here, but the extremely frigid cold spells have been unusually rough.  The low temps have actually closed schools.  While I want to -- almost -- say, "suck it up you buttercups," here I sit in my warm house not wanting to run outside.  Thus I don't actually tell the little children to freeze their tootsies at the bus stops, cuz I get it, it's cold.  

Not running outside has become the issue of decision.  I get home from work late every day (pretty much because I drag my lazy butt into work late and have to make up the time).   It is dark.  Which makes the bitter cold feel even more bitter and insulting.  What are my options for fitness -- mileage -- aside from running outside, alone, in the dark cold snow every night?

1.)  I could fix the treadmill that is sitting in the garage over at the Friendship house.  I purchased it last year on Craig's list for $50, set up the whole garage for an indoor workout facility, and the treadmill belt began slipping.  So I walked on it.  Then it just stopped running.  It may or may not be a cheap fix.  Throw good money after bad? 

1.a.)  Sub-decision of choice 1.  Could have a treadmill doctor come out for $100 to assess whether or not it is worth it to fix.  Seems counterproductive.

1.b.)  Could buy the belt cleaning package somewhere, try and take the damn machine apart myself, tune it up etc., for about $25 but a whole lot of frustration.  I probably don't even have the tools (material or mental) to accomplish this task.  And yes, my engineer-in-training daughter does live with me, but no, has no interest in attempting to fix the stupid old treadmill in the frozen garage at Friendship. And don't even suggest that I have my handy boyfriend fix it.  There is no boyfriend.  And any friend, well, I would have to pay him... and we are back to the sub-decision of spending good money after bad. 

2.)  I could buy a new treadmill.

So many sub-decisions fall under this category, I won't even number or letter them.  Even if I buy one, get it shipped to my door, where do I put it.  How do I put it together?  My basement has flooded a few times over the past year... is it safe down there?  And again, how do I put it together?  No way I will have a treadmill in my living room, the house is small enough already and I don't even know if all that weight and pounding wouldn't shake the glass cabinet down, or worse.  Walking across the floor sounds precarious.  Not chancing that, so basement would be the option.  And how do I get it down there?  And again, how do I put it together?

Oh, yes, which do I buy?  New or used?  Tried the used route, that was a poor decision.  Is a new one worth the money? I would have to put it on a credit card.  After everything else I have had to put on the credit card.  Like a matchmaking service that I will forever regret falling for buying.

Worst question of all, would I use it after spending good money on it?  Probably.  But I am still stuck on how to put the thing together.  By myself. With no tools. 

3.)  There is always the gym at CSU.  But their treadmills are full of students. Busy.  Same with the Medina Community Rec Center.  Busy, always.  And time-limited to 30 minutes.  And I have to go in their window of open hours.  This is all just assuming I am motivated to get my workout stuff gathered together to go.  And no, I wouldn't, because I haven't.  This option has been an option for years.  And have I used it?  No.
4.)  Do I join a 24-hour gym instead?  Excellent choice.  But would I use it.  For $34.95 a month, would I even go there at 10 p.m.?  I am thinking this might be the best choice, financially, and mentally.  I could easily drive myself up to the Snap fitness center at 10 p.m. or midnight. And hope I am safe and won't get robbed or worse.  Hmmmmm. 

5.)  I could find a fitness friend who would force me to accountability.  Meet me at the gym.  Tell me to hang in there, spring is coming.  Unfortunately, this idea sounds real -- really real and believable, just like the matchmaking service sounded.  Then reality hits, and well, it is all an illusion.

6.)  OR, do I just sit here and look out my window, losing fitness more every day, as the snow goes falling and the temperatures stay at all time lows during global warming (what??)  waiting for that hour in Medina between the cold spells where it is 20 degrees and that would be the best moment to run 6 miles outside for free.  Provided I am not at work during that hour.  Or commuting.  Or sleeping.  Planets aligning? Doubtful.

I used to be tough.  I used to be an ultrarunner.  I used to do things that others would say Wow at, and I would impress myself with upon finishing. Where did it go?  With the sun... with the spring and summer... with the good days of motivation and young healthy muscles. 

And I do remember a time, too, where money wasn't this big of an issue.  I spent money to register for races, racing to train.  I spent money traveling to a warmer state in February to break up the monotony of the winter and to make me run and prove I still had a base.  Registration fees even for local ultras have risen so much I don't even know which ones to choose -- so I don't choose, and then miss deadlines.  Travel costs are so outrageous I am fortunate to get one more state in a year toward my 50 states. Why is everything so expensive? 

I wasn't always robbing Peter to pay Paul for gas bills or electric bills.  I wasn't feeling guilty for not riding the Rapid into work to save a few dollars.  Paying for parking at work wasn't a luxury, and neither was owning a television and having cable -- both of which I have sacrificed since April 2013 in order to pay for gas, electric, water, food.  

I didn't realize this decision was so political.  But it is, isn't it.  If I am having a challenge financially, emotionally, mentally, and *I* have a job,and healthcare and a car and a house, what of those folks who don't? 

I wonder if any of the good times will come back. 

So in the course of writing this blog, I have felt a range of emotions, from confusion to guilt to thankfulness to desperation.  And I still haven't decided on a winter fitness strategy. 

I want the days back when running was simple.  My simple solution to the bigger challenges of life. When everything didn't cost do damned much. 

Ya see, when you suffer with depression -- be it seasonal, situational, or major -- one of the strategies to counteract the disorder is exercise and healthy eating and living. 

So even if you believe this decision before me is minor, or silly-simple, the impact is pretty wide and truly matters.  Not doing anything, like I am today, is a circular, downward spiral.   Your opinion right now would be welcome -- your suggestions, your friendship and caring, a gift.  I am serious.

I need to make this decision soon, before there is nothing left of the me I used to be.