So everyone knows that winter in New England isn't really the greatest time of year to be logging tons of outdoor road miles. It is cold, snowy, icy and sidewalks aren't always clear. Visibility can be limited by the high snow piles, and did I mention that it is cold? The older I get, the more I don't really like being in the cold. I think I've contracted some Reynaud's syndrome conditions in my fingers and toes from being out in frigid running conditions, and as a result, I now tend to favor the treadmill at the gym in the cold months.
This year hasn't been too terrible as far as snow totals go, and more often than not, the temperatures have been reasonable for running outdoors. I've enjoyed some nice long runs on weekends even this far in to January. I ran a 7.5 miler outdoors yesterday, and it was pretty enjoyable.
This year, though, I've added a new cross-training activity to my routine. Downhill skiing. I haven't skied in years. I didn't start skiing until I was in high school, and although I enjoyed it, pretty much after that I didn't really do it anymore. As a young professional in Boston, I basically earned enough money to scrape by, but not enough to pay for expensive lift tickets or equipment or travel to the mountains. So that hobby went by the wayside.
Last year a friend of mine asked if I'd be interested in having my daughter take ski lessons with her daughter. It was the perfect way to get our kids started in the sport, and a great way for me to start again. Unfortunately, last year was a lousy snow year in CT. We only had about one substantial storm, so the skiing wasn't great, but it was good enough to get us all reacquainted with the sport. My girls learned the basics, and my husband (a complete non-skier) even got in to it. In fact, he became so enthralled with it that after a couple of private lessons, he ended up getting a family ski pass to a local mountain for all of us for this current year.
We usually head up as a family on Sundays. The kids take a two hour lesson while my husband and I get to ski the mountain. It has been so much fun! I have to say, too, that it has been terrific for cross-training. I get a rest from the pounding of running, and my quads get a massive workout coming down the slopes. Not to mention that it has been a wonderful way to beat the doldrums of winter. We get fresh air and sunshine and get our bodies outside when otherwise we'd be hibernating in the house. It's all good.
I think that we don't really even realize how much of a workout we get while we are out skiing. Mostly it just feels like fun. I like fun. It has been a real joy taking up a new sport this season and enjoying it as a family. Consequently, I feel like my fitness is staying strong when typically this is a time of year when things can get dicey.
I hope my other running friends are finding their favorite winter cross-training activities. Only a couple of months until we are all back out on the streets pounding the pavement!