Thursday, August 30, 2012

'Here' vs 'There'

I just got back from a Florida vacation, and boy is my checking account tired!

But seriously, is. This may have, it definitely was...the most expensive vacation we've ever taken. Twelve nights of boarding our dog, airline tickets, condo fee, food, theme park passes...

But I digress.

We were in St. Petersburg, FL for 10 days (minus 3 nights we spent in Orlando) visiting family and celebrating my mom's 70th birthday. I managed to run exactly twice while we were there. Both runs were at night, when it was 'cooler.' 'Cooler' being eighty-four degrees with high humidity; a tad more palatable than the hellish daytime conditions. But I gave it a go anyway, as I always do when we visit there. It wasn't pretty. Living in the Seattle area has done nothing to prepare me for running in hot, liquified air. After two jaunts, I shut it down the rest of our stay and worked on another physical goal: seeing if I could do more than 1,000 pushups while I was there (I managed 1,230). Then, I went for a single-week PR and did 1,005 in a full week (half of it in Florida, half back home), totaling 1,530 in two weeks. This week, I'm working on my pullups. As you might suspect, I'm big into the bodyweight exercises currently. I'll get back to the free weights eventually.

Something I wanted to write about was an observation I made, having spent time in Florida recently. It's an observation AND a comparison. I'm sure it will seem condescending and arrogant to some.

What is it? Generally speaking, people in the greater Seattle area are in better shape and more fitness-minded than those in the Tampa Bay area. There, I said it. I can't quote the source(s) off the top of my head, but there's a reason that Seattle usually ranks near the top of the various 'Most Fit Cities' lists found in various publications. Go for a 45-minute drive around Seattle-area neighborhoods and see how many runners and cyclists you see. Do the same in St. Petersburg and you'll be lucky to see any.

I know, it's hot and humid this time of year down there...but I ran (albeit at night, and only twice) and I never saw another fellow runner. The few cyclists I saw while down there were mostly commuters...and none of them wore cycling gear. Not that you have to do so to be considered a 'real' cyclist (or 'cool'), but you get the point.

Now, to get out of the corner I painted myself into. The message I want to relay is that, wherever you are, be that person who gets out and lives the fitness lifestyle. Be the one that others see as they're driving around. You very well may inspire them to do the same thing. It always inspires me.


  1. Having lived in Orlando for 11 years and having been in Tampa just this past weekend myself, I can tell you exactly why you didn't see anyone out running, because the real runners and cyclists start EARLY. We started our long run Saturday on Bayshore at 5:45 am, back when I lived in Orlando and would drive over to the Brandon area to run with a group, we'd start at 4:30 am. It's all about beating the heat and sun. No one in Florida goes out for a run when the sun is up unless they're crazy! LOL!

  2. That's a good point. Since starting at, say, 6:00am down there would feel like 3:00am to me, I chose to run at night instead. Not sure if early morning is any less humid than night. I imagine they're both evil. Come to think of it, I did do some morning runs back in '09 while we were there. They weren't quite early enough (the sun was up), so the heat still got to me. Maybe my point should be, "if you live in a hot, humid climate and want to be an endurance athlete...get the hell out of there!"