The summer is over! At least here in Oregon it is. With that, gone are the days of running in the sun, sun tanning after a workout in the park, or going out for that daily evening walk while watching the sunset. But is it gray and grim until next year, or could we possibly look forward to something different? Maybe!
My beautiful wife Andrea is of Portuguese heritage and was born here in Oregon just outside of Pendleton in a small town called Pilot Rock. Yup, I married a Portuguese cowgirl from eastern Oregon! This past weekend we packed our bags and we headed out to Pilot Rock. I have to say that I just love going there. The drive is absolutely gorgeous, even awe inspiring. As Oregonians it is the perfect reminder of how lucky and privileged we are to live in a state like ours.
As we stepped out of the car on Friday evening to greet Grandma, I took a big deep breath, the air is different, it smells like mushroom and wood, yet crisp and refreshing. We sat down at the bar to eat our work-week lunch left overs. Brown rice and smoked chicken, and added grandma’s just off the stove stewed beans, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, my favorite combination. All while I looked out to the mountains, you feel like you are in heaven. Once I finished my dinner, and Grandma, Andrea and Lily headed to bed, I grabbed whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. As the night passes I am already looking forward to my morning coffee out in the patio and my midmorning run out towards the Blue Mountains.
Morning comes, it is a crisp one, it can’t be more than 55 degrees, but with coffee in my hand, it is utterly perfect. After a couple of cups of coffee, a light breakfast of Greek yogurt and whey protein, a toasted slice of Grand Central Bakery Campanioglo bread and our traditional family morning talk, Andrea and myself head out for our run. At this point it is about 60 degrees, but the sun is bright enough to stay warm. It is pretty magical to run out in open wide country, big wide skies! The Blue Mountains are as interesting as they are beautiful and the weather was just perfect that day. The run was just as expected, beautiful, enjoyable, almost effortless.
As the weekend came to an end and we headed back to Portland, we’d drive through The Gorge and can see the season change to full Fall. I think of the run and how great it was. Eastern Oregon is much drier and even colder than Portland, and in fact that particular weekend it was. Why then was that run as good as it was, was it the weather? Or was it the fact that I disconnected from my usual? Was it just because I was looking forward to it and my attitude about it was different? I cannot help but think that all of them had something to do with it.
As we inevitably change our workouts, particularly our cardiovascular workouts to adjust to the season, and we dread that treadmill, or that bike, or that stair stepper, perhaps what we need is an attitude adjustment and an action plan. Maybe this is the time to make small changes and take advantage of the season, and not to make changes because you have to. Perhaps this is the perfect time to substitute a day of cardiovascular work for an extra day of strength training. Maybe now is the time to take that group class you have been wanting to take, or time to discuss with your trainer what type of conditioning training fits and could be a good transition point within your current program. How we approach and our attitude towards working out has as much to do with the result as the workout itself. If you look at the changing weather as a negative impact on your workouts, then chances are both the weather and the workout are going to be unsatisfactory. On the other hand, if you look at the change in season as an opportunity, you will be positively looking forward to it. In fact, perhaps you don’t have to change anything, and just look forward to that sunny crisp cool day, just like you look forward to those sunny hot days and make the most out of it! After all, as long as The Earth continues to make its rotation around the The Sun, there will be seasons, and just like every organism on earth we can adjust with them and make the most out of them.