Winter blues calls for a plan

In the fall of 1993 when I was 16 I had a bad ankle or foot sprain. I remember being at the Northtown Mall in Toledo at a skate shop that was there briefly. For those interested in Toledo skate history this was not the Scooters skate shop that was in that same mall about a year later. I don’t remember the name of this shop but sometime in late 1993 I was in there belly aching about my injury. The worker there, an older skater in his twenties, said this to me, “Why don’t you take the winter off from skating.” To my teenage mind this was a shocking suggestion.

How could someone take months off from skating I thought to myself? In my life I’ve taken years off for more serious and less serious reasons than a tweaked ankle. That skate shop worker meant no harm by that suggestion in 1993, and now it brings up the serious problem that happens every year to most skaters except for lucky ones that live in warm climates. The problem is winters. Also in my teenage years at my college prep private high school, there was a college counselor. Most other students took college prep very seriously. But my response in high school to where I wanted to go to college was simply ‘someplace warm.’ I went to college in Toledo Ohio and then I went to grad school in Kent Ohio. For the last six years I have lived in New York City.  So since the age of 8 when my family moved away from Albuquerque New Mexico I have experienced winters year after year.

Coldness set in around Christmas. 2010 was a pie in the sky great year for me as far as skating goes. Summer through fall I skated every weekend, in summer I skated more than that sometimes on weekdays with the longer days and later sunsets. Today is January 8th, the last day I skateboarded was December 23rd in an indoor park in Ohio when I visited my parents for the holidays. That is over two weeks ago. Two weeks is not an enormous passing of time, but it is enough time to completely throw me off from my positive active routines.

Since November I’ve been drinking moderately, having some fun, and not doing anything regrettable. However with the entrapment of the aftermath of the blizzard a mindset of boredom set in and in a week I went back to the ways of excess. Nothing happened but it opened my eyes that it would be very easy to go back to drinking too much. I never want to go back to having 100 dollar bar tabs several nights a week. Thinking back on years past, around the holidays I always indulge. Now that the holidays are over I need to get my focus back and figure out a way to make progress this winter.

With skating I think it’s possible to skate if it’s over 30 degrees and no snow on the ground. The coldness seems to be a little bit below that and the snow from the storm still hasn’t melted completely. This is only January, and now I have to assume the worst case scenario that this winter will be cold.  My skating outside will be limited and sporadic at best. I can skate the mini at the KCDC shop in Brooklyn, but transition skating is a different type of skating that I don’t know if I have the patience to learn. I think I’ll start going there on weekends, but I don’t think I can skate that all day. There are no full public indoor skate parks accessible by NYC transit. There is one in Long Island near a wedding I went to in November. Getting there would entail a bus ride to the Woodside L.I.R.R., then a half hour ride train ride, and a cab ride at the end to boot. Then there are some indoor parks in New Jersey that would need more of an orchestrated multiple transit lines commute. This past year I made progress from consistently skating, and this winter will be difficult to keep up the routine.

When changes come along there are always decisions to make and how to respond to the change. One option would be to take the winter off from skating and exercising in order to have some fun. Instead of focusing on being active I could write more while going out on weekends. That would be easy, but I don’t want to stop being active. I think in the past two years physically I’ve made progress. It has been slow, but if I stop I would lose it very quickly. If I did nothing exercise wise in spring if I wanted to skate it would be much harder. Another option would be to try to maintain what I have by keeping the workout routine the same of three days a week. That would be okay and I wish I was consistent with exercise. Maybe the way to consistency is to make a very predictable yet practical routine. The problem with the gym three times a week is without skating hard on two days off per week, the amount of exertion would be much less. So my final option on how to deal with the winter and the one I’m planning to do is to increase my exercise routine. This way I would be in better shape for when the weather turns.

Before this blasted winter I had a routine of doing my gym workouts three times a week. I am going to keep those days at the gym the same, on those workouts I will try to get my aerobics up to a half hour from the current twenty minutes, and I will test myself with the weights. In addition to the gym workouts, twice a week I will do medium length runs outside. I might need to purchase a sports watch for time, but I think the goal would be doing neighborhood or park runs for around 40 minutes twice a week. So this goal includes two outside runs and three gym workouts a week. This would total to working out 5 times a week. I plan to do the gym workouts Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and the outside runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  I think this is a good exercise plan, and it also serves as structuring my free time, so hopefully being busy and active will mean I’m less drawn to bars. I will also skate when possible on weekends.

I have made real progress with being active, but it is always good to set the bar high and strive for success.  I want to exercise intensely this winter. By May I hope this exercise regime will result in me having a flat stomach, and thinner facial features when I shave my winter beard. But the ultimate goal is to be in tip top shape for next year’s skating season.

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