December 23, 2013

SCOTT MARTIN: This year for Christmas, get active

Holiday the perfect time to give yourself the gift of fitness.

By Scott Martin smartin@centralmaine.com
Sports Editor

All I want for Christmas is a clear road, temperatures above freezing and an early morning wakeup call so I can run a few miles. Well, that, and some time with loved ones. Oh, and maybe a meat pie or two.

That’s it. Really. I’m easy to please on Christmas Day. A little family time, a little basketball on TV, some classic Christmas food.

Merry Christmas to me.

My dreams of an early morning, outdoor run on Christmas morning sure don’t look too promising right now. Not after a weekend of ice, ice and more ice. Ice, ice baby. Forget running, these are not ideal conditions for anything.

Looks like I’ll be on a treadmill Christmas morning.

And you know what? That’s OK. A run is a run and a run on Christmas morning will be pretty nice present, regardless. I’m not one of these macho, run outdoors at all cost types. I’m not a wimp, either. I’ll brave the conditions to a certain extent. I can deal with the cold because I can layer up. However, I don’t see the point of slipping and sliding around, trying to be “hardcore” and running on snowy, icy, slushy roads. I’d much rather hit the treadmill in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, and get in a quality workout, than slip and slide and fall on my face (which I’ve done a few times).

One way or another, I’ll give myself the gift of a run on Christmas morning, continuing the trend of sports related gifts I’ve received since I was a little kid writing wish lists for Santa.

There were the Air Jordans I received in the sixth grade, the Cal Ripken signature model Rawlings baseball glove I received my freshman year of high school, and the gift card for running shoes I got last winter. I can’t begin to tell you how many Red Sox hats I’ve unwrapped on Christmas morning or how many sports related biographies I’ve started to read before eating those Christmas Day meat pies.

And you know what? What better gift than the gift of sports? Especially when it helps you get out and get active.

So many people wait until New Year’s Eve to resolve to get fit, then go to the gym for a couple of weeks, lose momentum and forget their resolution entirely.

I say get ahead of the game. Ask for a pair of running shoes, or basketball sneakers, or cross country skis for Christmas.

Or better yet, treat yourself.

Don’t wait until New Year’s to get started either. Lace up those new running shoes and hit the streets, or better yet, the treadmill after opening presents on Christmas Day. That exercise will be the best present you get.

No offense to anyone who gave me a gift last Christmas, but nothing beat the feeling of that snowy 5-miler in the my old neighborhood. Pushing myself out the door, into the cold and wet, instead of sitting on the couch drinking coffee and eating donuts, was well worth the effort. The feeling of accomplishment, of knowing I am dedicated enough to my training and my fitness to not skip a workout, even on a holiday, gave me a great sense of pride.

I can’t wait to hang out with my family and friends Wednesday. I can’t wait to see my nephew and nieces throwing Christmas paper all over the living room of my sister’s house, their eyes bugging out every time they get that toy they wanted so badly. And I can’t wait for the meat pie.

But I’m especially looking forward to putting in a few miles, spending time making myself better. Whether it’s outside on a cold, raw, wet day or on a treadmill somewhere, I’ll cherish that hour or so of exercise.

Hopefully, you’ll give yourself the same gift.

Scott Martin — 621-5618smartin@centralmaine.comtwitter.com/scottamartin

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