Get in shape? Well, not in this weather

Like most middle-aged people, I’ve made sporadic attempts to “get in shape” and “drop a few pounds.” (And by a few, I mean 20).
I’ve tried everything from long-distance bike riding to Wii Fit and Tae Bo.
A few years ago, I read somewhere that the best “fat-burning” exercises are those in which you bear your own body weight, such as walking or running, as opposed to swimming or bicycling.
Up until that point, I didn’t run unless, as the jokesters say, I was on fire or a violent criminal was chasing me. And I certainly would never have dreamed of paying some organization so I could jog in some so-called “fun” run.
Last year, my niece challenged her dad (my brother) and me to compete with her in our first-ever 5Ks. By summer’s end, I had managed to complete four or five.
Now, she wants to do a 10K, a half-marathon and, in January 2016, the Disney full marathon.
Admirable goals, thought I. January 2016? That gives me plenty of time to train.
And save money for a trip to Disney World.
So here was my plan: each day, I would throw all my leftover change and a dollar for each workout I completed into a coffee can, with hopes that I’d have a good share of a trip to Disney funded by January 2016.
Here’s how much I’ve saved since Dec. 1: $5.86. This isn’t going very well.
Part of the problem is that the weather turned cold and snowy the first week of December, and there has been no change since then.
I have a membership at Snap Fitness, but it seems that most days, it’s snowing, blowing, icy or the windchill factor is in the danger zone.
Somehow, risking my life to drive to a fitness facility to get healthy seems … I don’t know: Counter-productive? Ironic? Stupid?
And it’s dangerous to try to run outside in this weather. In fact, the longest walk I’ve taken this winter is from my back door to my garage.
So here’s the deal: as a transitional step from a 5K to a 10K, my niece and I signed up for a 7K in the Twin Cities that’s set for March 15.
Last weekend marked four weeks until the big event, and I decided I’d better get serious about training. I trained two days, then caught the head cold of all head colds, which has set me back another week. I’m not coordinated enough to run on a treadmill, cough, sneeze and blow my nose all at the same.
Just as I was start to feel better, Friday’s blizzard scrapped my plans again.
Saturday, I drove to the Twin Cities to pick up my 7K packet so I could save $13 bucks in shipping.
I left about noon, hoping that the plows had been out again and that the sun had gone to work on the road salt.
The trip wasn’t bad until I reached the stretch between Norwood Young America and Cologne, during which I once again found myself risking life and limb and for what? To run in a stupid race that I paid to run in.
Traffic pretty much crawled all the way to Roseville, where I was to pick up my race packet at a sporting goods store.
As I merged onto a ramp to get off Highway 36, traffic came to a standstill. From the ramp, I could see why: the driveway to the sports store parking lot was up a steep incline. As I slowly crept forward, I watched several cars back down to the bottom of the hill and then gun it back up to the top.
When my turn finally came, I pushed a little button on my dashboard that has a little drawing of a car with skid marks. I have no idea what it does as I’ve only owned the car for 16 months and haven’t had time to look it up. I was hoping it was an anti-skid something or other.
Anyway, my little Corolla scooted right up the hill, at the top of which an alarm went off, making my heart rate jump into its training zone, where it hasn’t been since November.
I found a parking spot and locked the car, noticing that my once shiny black car was now white with road salt and had ice-encrusted snow boogers hanging from the wheel wells. I tried to kick one off and nearly broke my toe.
I picked up my stuff and headed out. As I got to the driveway on the frontage road, I noticed a car trying unsuccessfully to barrel its way up the hill. The driver in front of me, who was headed out, had her window rolled down and was yelling, “I think I can, I think I can,” after which she’d howl with laughter.
I finally tooted my horn, which in a Corolla sounds like about as threatening as a Fisher Price toy. She yelled something at me but, fortunately I had the window rolled up and the radio on.
Four hours after my journey began, I was back home, sitting in my car in the garage, debating whether I should grab my gym bag and head to Snap Fitness for a run.
Nah, I thought. I’m too stressed out from the drive. Maybe tomorrow. Or Monday. For sure, Tuesday.