Yep, it's that time of year again. The time when The Weather Channel sends people to Florida for...nothing. Now, don't get me wrong; tropical storms and hurricanes can be deadly. It's just that, statistically, most of them really aren't.
Yes, there's a lot of wind and rain and flooding. But unless you're a moron, those things generally aren't life-threatening (caveat: if a tree falls on you, that doesn't make you a moron necessarily - but it could in certain circumstances). It's not like you don't know the storm is coming - usually several days before it arrives (I'm sure there's a government program to tell people that there is a storm coming...I'm pretty sure I can WALK out of harm's way within a few days). It's not like you can't see the water rising (unless a dam breaks and it all rushes at you at once). It's not like you shouldn't know better than to drive your car through water that is deep enough that you can't see the paint on the road underneath. It's not like you should be outside enjoying the nice weather in the middle of a torrential downpour. Yes, if you die in a hurricane, it's usually because of your own stupidity.
That said, this morning I've had enough rain. We've had pretty much three straight days of it here, and I'm ready for some sunshine. I did manage to get a run in on Saturday morning before the rain started, but now that it's Tuesday, I'm getting stir crazy. So guess what I did today? I was an idiot and went for a run in the middle of a tropical storm. It was fantastically, exhilaratingly glorious.
Here are some things to remember when you want to exercise outside in a tropical storm:
You are going to get wet. Really wet.
Being wet makes your clothes weigh about 1,000 pounds. Yes, even those stinky sweat-wicking clothes.
A hat will not keep your face dry (in my defense, it wasn't expecting it to; I wanted it to keep my hair out of my face while I was running)
The wind is far more irritating than the rain. While the rain feels like needles in 30+mph winds, the constant change of direction means you never know where the pain is going to come from next.
If you do MovNat on a metal and plastic playground during a tropical storm, it will be slippery.
If you are even moderately good at getting up on top of a bar, you can still do it, despite how slippery it is (even I managed to do it, and didn't slip off).
You do not run barefoot on pavement in the rain (no, I didn't try it, I wore VFFs).
Mosquitoes will still eat you alive even in a torrential downpour. What. The. FUCK.
Throwing a big wet limestone rock around your really squishy yard is an excellent workout - especially when you're dancing around because you're being eaten alive by said mosquitoes.
73-degrees Fahrenheit in the rain and 30+mph winds is NOT warm.
You won't be nearly as dirty as you hoped when you finish your foray into nature when you exercise in a tropical storm (assuming you're just out in the neighborhood).
You will finish with a smile on your face.
Yes, if you love the outdoors, now is the time to get out there and enjoy Mother Nature's raw power. But please, don't be a moron.
** Note: I did not endanger myself at all on this run. While it was a bit windy and rainy, there was no thunder or lightning, and there is no flooding in my area. Literally, the most dangerous thing I did was play on the wet metal playground...and being the clumsy fool I am, I was very careful (and actually managed to not get injured). Please don't go out in terrible weather and say I told you it would be safe. That would make you...a fucking moron.
find time to exercise, finding time to do it all, florida, heather duey, movnat, outdoor exercise in the rain, playground, tropical storm debby, vff, vibram five fingers, weather, weather channel
On June 2, I had the opportunity to participate in a MovNat one day workshop. It was one of the most fun and educational things I've ever done. Imagine learning how to work out while playing!
The basic idea behind MovNat is to move as our ancestors did. They didn't work out in gyms, but rather they stayed fit by doing what they had to do to survive: climbing, running, sprinting, throwing things, etc. The thought of a caveman with a barbell is just silly, isn't it?
If you're like me and a) don't have the time and b) don't have the gumption to join a gym (or find them incredibly boring - I can't stand watching dudes pose in the mirror; there's something creepy about that), MovNat might be for you. Part of the premise is to get back to nature, so the back yard is your gym (or the trail where you run, the woods, the jungle, the beach, etc...you get the point). I love this idea so much I can barely stand it!
My back yard is full of gigantic oak trees. Some of them are really funky shapes, and are fun to climb. I also have a bunch of limestone rocks that I use as decoration for my garden, and I've been known to pick them up and throw them around to "work out". Yes, it sounds silly, and maybe it looks silly, but I'm outside, enjoying the sunshine, and working out...and making my garden prettier at the same time (well, sometimes - other times I'm just throwing rocks around and putting them back where they came from). Can you kill two birds with one stone (ha - a pun!) while you're working out?
My goal for the day was to learn how to climb a tree, two different ways. Or rather, do a leg-up and literally climb/shimmy up a tree. I was certain I could be taught the basics and practice later, even if I couldn't get up on the tree during the workshop. To my amazement, our instructor, Amy, was so good I was able to climb the tree on the first try. The leg-up method took me two tries, but that was of my own doing (read: I am a 125-pound weakling and was done-in after doing one muscle up and needed more time to rest).
We did things like walk, crawl, balance, run, roll, and climb. We played tag (yes, really!). There is nothing better than seeing a bunch of people over the age of 30 smiling like idiots after a game of tag. I've decided this is something I need to figure out how to do on at least a weekly basis. And yes, I'm pretty sure we were all over 30 and we were indeed smiling like a bunch of kids who'd just been fed ice cream.
I was initially worried I wouldn't measure up because despite being relatively fit, I'm not very strong. I don't do a lot of weights because I bulk up fast and while I love the look of toned muscles, I don't love the look of big muscles. You should be strong enough to drag your children out of the house if it's burning, but you don't have to be big enough to move a car. Just my opinion.
Anyway, I was worried because I didn't want to be the weakest person in the bunch. As it turned out, I was plenty strong to do some of the things I was worried about. Even better, I could do things that some of the more-fit people couldn't do very well. I was pretty good with most of the ground movements while a lot of the men had a more difficult time with that (something about hip mobility - I won't make the joke despite its obvious need). I can't remember the last time I got so dirty while having so much fun!
One thing that's even better than just having fun is getting to know some new people. I met eight really cool people that day and made some new friends. We all had different backgrounds and one person came all the way from L.A. (and no, I don't mean Lower Alabama this time). Everyone helped each other and cheered for other people, and we all had fun. By the end of the day we were all thoroughly exhausted, filthy, and a little closer to our ancestors than we were that morning.
So, if you have an interest in working out in a much more natural way, and think MovNat might be interesting, check it out. You might enjoy taking a walk on the primal side too.