I haven't been graceful about accepting winter this year. Back in late October/early November, I started feeling this panic about dark, grey days, temperatures that I believe would convince sane people that this area of the country is not inhabitable, and the wonder that is lake effect snow. I felt the weight of impending cabin fever so heavily, that we broke down and bought a treadmill. It was the best damn purchase ever.
We trained the dogs how to use the treadmill, and when it's too cold out, or the roads are too messy, they get their morning walk indoors (while I happily read and drink coffee, sitting on our big blue exercise ball next to the treadmill, cheering "good job" every five minutes or so). And I have discovered the extreme awesomeness of having a treadmill in the privacy of my own home.
I can walk barefoot. I don't have to worry about having a cute, (or at least presentable) workout outfit. I can exercise with crazy I-just-woke-up hair. And, I can backpack.
I've been walking on the "mountain climber" program setting, carrying a 15 pound pack. I'm working my way through the seasons of Gilmore Girls (except I'm going to skip the last one, because everyone knows it started sucking when they ditched the original writers). And I look forward to that 45 minutes every day more than I've ever looked forward to any workout.
I'm planning to add a few more cans of beans to my backpack to get up to 20 pounds this week, with an overall goal of being comfortable hauling 30 pounds. And when backpacking season starts up, look out. It's one thing to be in shape, and it's another thing to be in backpacking shape. It's great to run all winter, but then you put on a pack and you're using different muscles and your stride is different, and muscles you forgot you had start telling you to f-off. I might not have a lot of time to go backpacking this year, but when I do go, I'll be able to make the most of it. No re-acclimating to my pack. No sore ankles. No feeling like I'm going to fall over backward the first time we hit a big hill.
I know some hardcore backpackers hit the gym treadmill with their packs, but I'm really not comfortable working the crazy out in public. I prefer to maintain the crazy in the privacy of my own home. And then blog about it.