October 28, 2008

Crisis? What crisis? It's an oppor -- oh, screw it

You can look on the current economical climate as a terrible crisis or a wonderful opportunity. Or both simultaneously. Financial experts such as Warren Buffet or Motley Fool are saying this is a great time to buy stocks. That's probably true, though it doesn't help much if you've just lost your job because some idiot higher up the food chain has decided to panic and shut down your whole division.

Similarly, with all this cold weather, shorter days, longer nights, the northern hemisphere is getting into Summer-recession mode. It's more challenging to run around outside and exercise in the evening after work. There must be ways around this.

I've thought up a couple of ways to make sure I don't lose my exercise momentum.

What, I can't use a teaser like that? I'm trying to be more like Crabby. It works when she does it...

Trouble getting up in the morning?

Have trouble getting up in the morning? Try a light alarm like the bio-brite. The one I have, 15 minutes before the alarm time, the light starts to come on. (According to their website, it's not just an alarm clock, it's a "Quality Dawn Stimulator." So there.) The light gradually gets brighter, until at alarm time, it is bright enough to wake me up. At least in theory. Unless I'm really tired. If all else fails, an audio alarm will go off.

Other light alarms come with a scent feature, where a pre-selected scent such as cinnamon or coffee will progress from a faint whiff to a full-fledged smell. I think I'd feel cheated if I woke up smelling coffee and then had to go make it.

Too dark to go outside and run?

Not to get too cheerful or anything like that, but this blogger found she quite enjoyed running in the dark. Maybe once I get over my twisted-ankleophobia, I might try it.

Have you tried a headlamp? I've been looking into getting one of these. I figure that I might look like a geek, but at least I'd be a highly visible geek. Presumably the drivers won't get so distracted that they veer off the road when they pass by. There are a lot of brands, so it's hard to know which one to choose. However, the charmingly named Running with Slugs was quite impressed with his headlamp.

And if your dog is up for it, you can get your pet a pup-light, so that the other dogs and humans can see you coming. (I think this is a really practical idea for people who have to walk their pups at night in a non-streetlight environment. All the same, I think my dog would find it embarrassing. I tried to get her to wear a coat once; she was mortified. Things like this don't fit into her view of Proper Dog Attire.)

I looked to see if there were any good winter exercise tips out there. There's a lot of stuff about making sure to wear layers yeah, yeah but not much else.

One website recommended that if you want to exercise outdoors in the winter, move closer to a ski resort. Not especially helpful advice if I want to keep my job. (I wouldn't think most people could ski after work. How many ski resorts are close to major population sites? Any Denverites out there looking to brag?)

It also recommended not taking your clothes off after exercising. That's going to make the post-run shower a little strange, and it won't do much for my social life, but it will certainly avoid post-exercise hypothermia.

Probably once the weather gets positively Canadian I'll start to rethink my stand on exercising outdoors. Until then, please don't laugh when you pass me on the side of the road, little headlamp bobbing up and down as I go. (The Merry bobblehead! Latest offering from the Cranky Fitness store. Get yours before they're all gone!)

Seriously, or as seriously as I ever get, anyone planning any devious ways to fit outdoor exercise into the upcoming season?


  1. I love the idea of a "dawn simulator!" But I'm with you on the scents--better to get a coffeemaker with a timer and wake up to smell the REAL coffee.

    Or, you could go the other direction... do they make foul scents on timers like cat barf or rotten eggs? That might do a better job of getting you out of bed in the morning.

    I do think exercise is harder in winter, so these are great suggestions.

  2. hmmmm COFFEE.

    need the real scent up in herre OR MAYBE NOT.

    good idea crabby as then Id stay in bed and the HUSBAND might get the Toddler.

    duly noted.

  3. I end up doing the majority of my 1/2 mary training in the pitch black. My housemates and I have an agreement taht if I can't see the whites of my shoes when I head out, I will wear the headlamp. I find it uncomfortable for long runs (it hurts my brain and I get a forehead rash). I usually compromise and keep it in my pocket until I see a car's headlights. Then I turn it on until the car passes by. I can see better --(usually) once my eyes adjust -- without the light.

  4. this reminds me of my step-sister's wedding...she and her husband registered at REI - they're big outdoors peeps - and I got them matching his and hers headlamps. For camping/spelunking. But I guess now they can add early morning running-in-the-dark to their list. You're welcome!

  5. Man, that last tip sounds strange to me. Keeping my sweaty workout gear on just makes me colder! Gotta get into some dry stuff and stat.

    And no, I live in Minne-freaking-sota. I do not exercise outdoors in the winter here:)

  6. I've run as early as 4:30 in the morning! Wearing a dark running suit, hat, etc, I've startled a few folks! What were they doing out there at that time anyway??

  7. At 4:30 in the morning?
    Probably coming home after a long night on the town :)

  8. Holy Cow Merry - did you know that I have made it my life's mission to wake up early(er) in the mornings? This clock may be the answer to my problems!!

    You rock the casbah.

  9. My exercise problems will soon be solved--when we move the mailbox will be three-tenths of a mile from the house.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  10. That alarm clock sounds amazing! Although, I think it would trick me into thinking that I could run in the dark, which isn't so cool.

    And what is wrong with running in the snow? Slip, sliding away makes it so much more fun!


  11. I've been wanting to buy one of those alarm clocks for years, but my demanding husband won't let me because he wakes up 3 or 4 hours after me. Jerk.

    I also live in Denver, but I don't go snowboarding after work. It's still a 2 hour drive up to the ski resorts. So I'm not sure who in the world is skiing after work.

  12. Okay, I now feel incredibly spoiled that NOT ONLY does my coffeemaker have a timer, but it can keep coffee fresh for up to a week. So I only have to change the grounds & add water twice a week.

  13. Our pups sport cute little blinking lights on their collars for early morning and night walks. People normally speed through our neighborhood and there is an obvious traffic slow down when they see our guys with their little bouncy lights.

    Just a tip... don't buy the expensively priced cheaply made ones from PetSmart. We got some heavy duty silicone covered ones from a sporting goods store for just five bucks a piece and they work great.

  14. Practice for the season by running inside of an industrial size beef refrigerator. I saw Dean K. do this while preparing for the Antartica Marathon. Have any warehouse size freezers in your neighborhood??

  15. I love the idea of a dawn simulator too! But it doesn't say anything about it being natural light (like those lamps for SAD)...I think it's a great idea and I want one with natural light!

  16. I went running in the dark yesterday morning and it was even 7 am! I took my dog for protection, but I still managed to trip over a giant branch and scare the pee out of both of us. lol.

    I soooo want that light alarm!!!

  17. Ugh, I HATE the cold. I was almost crying the other day on my way home from work because the wind was so bitter.

    But even so, its fun to workout in the dark! Maybe its the novelty or the fact that no one can see you or that you need to focus more on where you're going, but somehow its very enjoyable.

    Also, when I had a dog we had this thing where I'd take her for a long walk every evening no matter the weather... it was so beautiful because we'd just walk and look at the stars and enjoy the cold as being something that no one else was sharing with us because everyone else had the sense to remain indoors. It was a good bonding time for me and my puppy:)

  18. I'm with Crabby about the coffeemaker. My sister keeps her coffeemaker in her bedroom!! What a logical idea. And I want to know what kind Tricia's coffeemaker is.

    I don't have a dawn clock, but I do have a "moonbeam" clock that flashes light before the buzzer goes off. ("Moonbeam" seems like an odd name for an alarm clock, doesn't it?)

    I definitely do not plan on going outside in the cold to exercise. I have enough problems as it is.

  19. Living in California, I have no excuse not to exercise though it will get colder eventually and I might try to find any excuse when it rains but I have a treadmill and weight machine so I guess I'm back to no excuse.

  20. I also live in California, but I grew up in New England. I HATE being cold, so the only way I'd get my lazy butt out of bed before dawn was for something really fun, like ice skating.
    I do have one of those headlamps, for camping, and everyone always compliments me on it, lol! And when I walk my dog at night, I clip my flashing bike light (Lucy, $6) on her collar.

  21. Hi Merry - what color is your dog? (and is he/she ok? wasn't she sick a while back?)Mine is very black and a light is a must for him now when we go walking before work. I don't want him to be run over! He's wearing a harness and I've attached the light on his back so it's not in his eyes.

    And then there is the tiny LED flashlight for finding the poop in the dark...


    Have fun, Monika

  22. I used to have one of those "dawn simulators" that wakes you up with the light. I always called it the "light alarm clock". Anyways, my wife won't let me use it anymore because it wakes her up too.

    I'm one of those weird people that run in the dark. I've never thought about wearing a light, but I'm also one of those unsafe people who run with their iPod blaring, and I enjoy cursing out the drivers not paying attention. Its part of the stres relief.

    I also wake up to coffee, but mine is in the bathroom, is that weird?

  23. denverite over here, but like someone said, the closest ski resort is still at least an hour away (not counting traffic) so yeah.

    and it's not so much winter that throws a wrench into my working out but all my stupid jobs. stupid work. i mean, i'm glad i have work, but still.

  24. hmmm...may start running a little more in the winter, but I MUST get one of those oh so geeky headlamps!
    It's nice that the best time to buy stocks is when you have no moola. *sigh*

  25. You guys have inspired me to do my cardio outside today...We're having GREAT weather in Oregon this "fall", so here I go to change my clothes and head off around the neighborhood...
    You guys rock!!

    Coffee pot in the bathroom?? Ummm, that is so odd to me, but alas I can imagine how well it would work for some people...

  26. The only place I've ever seen a coffee pot in the bathroom is at a hotel. I guess they put them there because its close to the water source.

    Crabby's comment "do they make foul scents on timers like cat barf or rotten egg?" still has me laughing! That would most certainly make me LEAP out of bed!

  27. no matter how hard I try to find an excuse to not exercise, I just can't NOT exercise..........I feel too good afterwards..

    I would have a coffee pot in every room if I could............I love coffee.....!!!!!!!!!!! ADDICTION!

  28. I dislike running in the dark, so now I run on my lunch break. I'm the smelly kid in the office.

  29. The only thing that really works for me is just getting myself out there. Once I'm standing there freezing to death I know the only option is to get moving to warm up again...

    TA x

  30. Three chears for living in the southern hemisphere where it's comeing into summer. I've always loved running in the dark, and I do it without lights. Living in the country the star light is enough to see by.

    The summer means bush fire season though, so my runs could be suspended at any time.

  31. Bush fires would make it even easier to run at night. Indeed, that would provide quite an inducement!

  32. I'm already exercising inside. I hate it.

  33. Ahh, I love the feeling of running through icy grass, crunch, crunch. I skip out on the ipod on those days, the noise & texture of the ice is motivation enough. I know I'm strange. Hubby reminds me every morning.


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