So since it’s been 68-73 degrees around these parts, I’ve started running outside. And by running, I mean speed walking like those old ladies in spandex with tube socks and visors. I used to be a big fan of the gym, but since adventuring into the Great Outdoors, I’ve come to notice and appreciate several of its qualities. They have been very carefully categorized into 3 specific areas…
The Good: Exercising in the hills of southern california is actually really beautiful. Although mostly brown during the summer, the winter brings out a picturesque mixture of greenery accompanying small creeks and dirt trails. Trying to stay motivated, I offered to bring my sister’s most athletic puppy, Baxter, out for a 2nd walk of the day. I thought, ‘this little fluff ball is not going to be in any rush’, so I prepared myself for a leisurely stroll. Little did I know, Baxter was expecting WAY more. As soon as we hit the steepest hill, he looked at me like, “Oh my gosh! I’m having so much fun! Let’s RUNN!!!”, and broke into a run. I was so surprised by his spunk and just started cracking up. Basically for the rest of the walk, we ran like a couple of champs. What a cutie! Another fun thing I like about running outside are the people you see. As you pass others who are also working out, you can usually smile and they will politely smile back. It’s always nice to exchange happiness with others. But the REALLY great part is the several asian families I pass by. Sometimes they are older, and sometimes they are young with a couple of kids on bicycles, but they are the best because they are always always there, they take their sweet time, and the women always wear the most gigantic visors. I really find joy in them.
The Bad: I have the habit of doing cardio with my iPod in my ear, but today I thought I should take my headphones out and really take in the nature that surrounds me. I really believed I would be spiritually enlightened by this little gesture, so at the prettiest part of my walk, I took them out. Suddenly, I realized why I should always listen to music. Here are a list of things I didn’t realize I couldn’t hear with my music on:
- My be-labored breathing (seriously, it sounds like I have asthma)
- The squeaky sound of my shorts rubbing together
- My burps (sometimes running makes me burp)
- The hoots and hollers from the mexican construction workers (I just thought they were staring)
- The awkwardness of the meager “hi” I blurt out at other runners
I didn’t exactly realize that when my music is blasting in my ears, I feel like I’m on top of the world. I’m pretty sure my inner dialogue sounds something like this: “I’m so cool, I’m running so fast, and this song is like a soundtrack to my life, I’m SOO pumped up! I bet that cute runner guy thinks I’m so hot”. Without Kelly Clarkson screaming that her life would suck without me, I am just a sweaty, beet-red, burping girl. It’s not pretty.
The Ugly: I’ve also come to realize that the best part of not being in a gym is the significantly less amount of people seeing your “Work Out Face”. Now, I’m not trying to speak on behalf of everyone, but most people’s work out faces are a mixture of constipation + pensive thinking + dying of heat exhaustion. Ok, let’s be honest… it’s just me. But being aware that only three or four people (not including fun asian visor wearers) saw my painful face, makes me wayyy more motivated to go the next day.