Hibernating for the winter has its perks, most of which are supplemented by a steady intake of caffeine. The most widely abused hibernating perk of them all—according to the numbers—is Avoiding Physical Activity. Can you really be expected to maintain your peak physical state when Portland’s roads are iced over and the only safe thing to do is stay indoors and binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix? I think not.
In fact, being able to use the winter hibernation excuse to avoid…well, to avoid anything, really, is why I moved to Portland from Florida in the first place. In Florida, there is no winter. Winter is never coming. Actually there’s not much of a spring or fall either: just a never-ending cycle of humidity. Out-of-state friends constantly berate you for not spending enough time on the beach, but trying to stay in shape when you can’t justify taking a month off due to the weather is a full-time job.
That’s why I find Portland’s winter months so relaxing. Avoiding the cold during the day is relatively simple, and at night you can typically rely on the odd fire or two—which every decent city protest is likely to have—to keep you warm. The fires aren’t so much an act of defiance as they are a physiological necessity.
Which leads us to where we now stand. It is with great angst that I must report our period of hibernation is puttering to an end. Just yesterday as I was walking to class, I noticed a flower bursting forth from its dirt-filled coffin of a city planter. The insolent little beast. By my calculations we have, at best (after factoring in the spring cleaning excuse) another month until we will be expected to join the rest of nature in its seasonal celebration of all things living. The time to prepare your body for that celebration is, unfortunately, sooner rather than later.
“How the hell do I prepare my body for spring?” I shouted from my apartment window to no one in particular. Staring out into the night, I saw my beacon of hope silhouetted against the gloomy cityscape: the Academic and Student Rec Center. Thinking back to fall term, I suddenly remembered all of the Campus Rec Clubs recruiting students into staying physically-socially-mentally fit! Now all I had left to do was find the perfect club. Piece of cake.
Badminton, baseball, bouldering, oh my! The Campus Rec Clubs webpage (pdx.edu/recreation/rec-clubs) offers over thirty clubs, which is a problem if you’re as indecisive as I am. Eventually I plan on trying them all, but for now I could only choose one. Then I saw it: the RAP club. I’ve always considered myself a modern day MC, and compared to running around a basketball court, the idea of a leisurely stroll through the city while creating dope rhymes was tremendously appealing.
It turns out the “RAP” club—otherwise known as Running Around Portland—has nothing to do with dropping improvised beats. So much for avoiding running.
Not being much of a runner myself, I was close to performing an immediate about-face, but after being reassured that the club caters to all levels of running capability, I figured I’d give it the ole freshman try. Three weeks later and I love it!
This club really hits everything one might hope to find in a Campus Rec Club. Exploring Portland while getting in shape: check. Socializing while having the option to tune out the world with your dope beats of choice: check and check (got those dope beats after all). While running might not be for everyone, I highly recommend you give RAP a try for yourself. Cherry blossom season is nearly upon us (early March) and I’m sure there will be a few scheduled runs to take advantage of nature’s springtime bounty. I think there was even mention of a possible future run with a picnic afterwards!
And hey, if Running Around Portland isn’t your cup of tea, don’t let that keep you down. All you have to do is move on to the next Campus Rec Club! After all, with over thirty clubs to choose from, there’s bound to be a club out there to break even the most stubborn of us out of our winter hibernation.