December 8 -- 6:00 PM
It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had! Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks.
This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry-we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.
Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska , after all.
Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.
Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own livingroom.
Electricity is back on, but had another 14 inches of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling! Took all day. The damn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying.
Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.
Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold, it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think the asshole is lying.
Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.
6 inches - Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snow plow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow.
Merry f---ing Christmas! 20 more inches of the damn slop tonight - Snowed in The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.
Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.
Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.
Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The BITCH is driving me crazy!!!
10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?
Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver, and now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only for the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home to her mother. Nine more inches predicted.
I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.
Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?
Sunshine is delicious,
Rain is refreshing,
Wind braces us up,
Snow is exhilarating,
There's really no such thing as bad weather,
Only different kinds of good weather.
I just got back from one of those runs that reminded me that I am enjoying what all the wimps who wuss-out and resign themselves to endless hours on the dreadmill miss. Just ran in 29º airtemps with 17º windchill and whiteout conditions...it was awesome! I saw only a handfull of cars and one snowmobile (who looked at me in utter disbelief), as well as an old guy leaning on the shovel and watching while his wife pushed the snowblower (I about booted him in the rear...lazy old fart--no wonder we gals outlive the guys).
I also saw the neighbor dachshund (same one that tried to bite me on the calf last Spring, but my compression tights and sizable calves were more than his teeth could apparently get through *rolls eyes*)...he came running out yapping, crossed the street, slammed into me, and continued to bark at me "ferociously." I stopped, yelled at him to stop and go home and told him sternly that the next time he came at me he'd be getting a shoe in his obnoxious f*cking head. Seriously...I was having such an utterly kickass run that he had the nerve to interrupt. He's lucky he didn't take my foot in his yapping windpipe today.
Aside from the dumb canine "attack," this will definitely be one of those runs that sticks with me all Winter...every time I try to come up with excuses to stay indoors I'll call this one up to get me out the door. :D
I am still pretty bummed that the 5k prediction trail race scheduled tonite (on the state park's illuminated XC ski trail) was cancelled was converted to a prediction XC ski race. Bummer. Apparently I'm more hard-core than some... ;)
Prediction Run has been changed to
Prediction Cross Country Ski
Damn. We have all this it's-not-even-Winter-what's-up-with-all-this-damned-snow to thank! :(
So I guess I will be doing 5-6 miles this afternoon, instead.
A poster on RunningAHEAD.com posted a link to the following article from MSN. Interesting stuff. Nothing too surprising to me, but the sort of thing that non-runners with apprehension towards the sport due to high-profile news stories surrounding marathon-related deaths could really benefit from reading.
I'm adding some commentary to the parts that struck me as interesting or relative to my own experiences since I started running almost 3 years ago. The entire article can be found by clicking below:
Last fall was a tough time for those of us who believe running makes us healthier. The day after Shay's death, Matthew Hardy, 50, died of an apparent heart attack an hour or two after finishing the ING New York City Marathon in 4:48:21. A month earlier, Chad Schieber, 35, who'd been diagnosed with a heart defect (mitral-valve prolapse), had died in the unusually hot Chicago Marathon. These stories often get more attention than those of the race winners. And they always raise the question: If running is so damn healthy, why do runners keep dropping dead in their tracks? Statistically speaking, a handful of runners will die in a marathon this year—the vast majority from heart attacks (the others from heatstroke or hyponatremia). Is running—as the alarmists and cynics often suggest—a dangerous activity?
We've discussed this issue at length on Running AHEAD. So far I have not run into non-runners who have tried to use these cases as "proof" that running is inherently dangerous. I think most non-runners realize that these deaths are still rare and are only so high-profile BECAUSE they are unexpected in an otherwise healthy pursuit. Sort of the "exceptions that make the rule" sort of scenarios.
Reams of research have shown that excess body fat increases mortality rates, but Blair is banking on his morning runs to protect him. His own findings offer much hope. Evidence from the ACLS indicates that the fit-but-fat are nearly as healthy as the fit-of-normal-weight. In other words, regular exercise offsets many of the dangers of being overweight. For that reason, Blair believes American public-health leaders should stop screeching from the rooftops about obesity and instead switch their message to the benefits of exercise. "When you look at me, you can tell I'm surprised and delighted by the fit-fat finding," says Blair. "But the point is, we're losing the obesity battle. So let's try something else. Let's focus on fitness."
I could not agree with this more. My BMI hovers just barely below "overweight" for my height and build and has pretty much ever since I started running (I should be "eating to run," but I tend to "run to eat"--and too much...oops), yet my most recent bloodwork #s suggest a near elite athlete:
My PCPs eyes nearly bugged-out when he looked at my #s, particularly my HDL/LDL ratio and my triglycerides. On the outside I am a chubby mom, but on the inside I am a (slow) running machine. Just imagine if I actually ate a truly "healthy" diet and dropped the 20#s that I need to to be at my ideal "skinny" weight of 126 (on my 5'3.5" muscular/stocky frame).
This doesn't discourage Williams. In one 1997 study of 8,283 male runners, he compared those running more than 50 miles a week with those running less than 10. The high-mileage guys were 2.5 times as likely to have heart-protective levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol, and 50 percent less likely to suffer from high blood pressure. Just six months ago in the Journal of Hypertension, Williams updated his information on running mileage and high blood pressure, now using data from more than 24,000 male runners. He looked at runners doing more than 25 miles a week versus those doing less than five. Depending on age, the higher-mileage runners had a 57 to 80 percent lower rate of high blood pressure, a major contributor to disease and death.
Yep. See my #s above. I have never had "high" blood pressure, but pre-running it was closer to the standard 120/80.
In Thompson's classic 1982 study of runners' heart-attack deaths in the state of Rhode Island, he found that a runner's relative risk of dying during a workout was about seven times that of dying in front of the TV. It amounted to one death for every 396,000 hours of running, almost exactly the same rate found decades later in several marathon studies. This doesn't mean that running caused the deaths. It would be more accurate to say that artery disease caused the deaths, and running was merely the trigger. Here's why: Another Rhode Island study showed that the blizzard of February 1978 touched off a mini-epidemic of snow-shoveling deaths. A week later, however, heart-attack deaths dropped below normal levels. In other words, after all the people with advanced artery disease had died, there were few diseased hearts left.
That last bit...wow. Kinda grisly, but it makes sense. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" thing with the weakest having already being picked-off by the predatory heart-disease + bad weather beast. Every Winter we hear stories here in the Great White North of "grabbers" taking shovelers right in their own driveways. It's not the act of shoveling that kills these individuals, but existing heart disease due to genetics and/or lack of physical fitness. Shoveling is not a dangerous activity to a healthy individual any more than running is to someone who is healthy. But no matter how fit one looks on the outside, if their heart is weakened by inactivity or genetics they are at risk of death. Running and other physical activity merely helps to remove the one risk factor we have within our control.
This can happen even to fit runners with low cholesterol who've passed a stress test in the last 48 hours. Still, the occasional exercise death doesn't change the advice for healthy living. "If you want to live a long, vigorous life, you should do an hour of moderate exercise a day," says Thompson."If your only goal is to survive the next hour of your life, you should get into bed—alone."
Boy...ain't that the truth!? :D
Was mostly a quiet holiday...had turkey and fixins, sat around, drank some beer and wine, ate some more, Grant and I ran some miles, more food.
Getting TO my brother's place was interesting. Traffic was smooth and fast until we got near the city, then it was a stop-and-go mess for the rest of the way. Eventually we hopped over to Algonquin Road to drive the rest of the way to his place. Stoplights are faster than dealing with the parking lot on the toll-way. Plus, why pay toll to not get there any faster? Next time we do this trip over Thanksgiving I think we would head out as soon as Dane gets out of school on Tues., instead of waiting to travel on Weds.
On the way out yesterday we made a stop at my brother's girlfriend's dad's place (heh, that's not as confusing as it sounds). What a nice guy and what an AMAZING house so close to downtown. I also discovered that he is just a few blocks from the Chicago New Balance store--oh, I would be in such big trouble living there! :D
At his house we had a nice late lunch of fresh bagels and leftover turkey. We hung out in the big kitchen for a while chatting, then Dane and Derek and I left to head back to MI. My folks and my brother were joining his GF's sister and dad for dinner.
Today I managed a decent 5 miler. My 2 runs in IL were pretty miserable. I think because when I run from my brother's house there's no warm-up walk and I am used to walking a few blocks to get the blood flowing before starting to actually run. My lungs have also been kinda cranky for a few weeks. I have learned with this asthma business that even the mildest of chest colds can pretty much kill my lung function for a minimum of 2 weeks, regardless of how I feel just sitting around. Running in the cold doesn't work well.
Tonite and into tomorrow we are under a blizzard warning. Hopefully I can still manage some sort of run tomorrow. It will depend a great deal on whether or not DS has a snow day.
Be safe and have a great Thanksgiving holiday, everyone!
The run itself was FAR more painful than the minor tumble. I chose to hit the paved rail trail instead of the icy/slushy streets, but after almost 2 miles of trudging in 6" of snow had to stop and walk and ended up changing my route to the street. I also cut 2 miles from my run, as I was making poor time and was in a bit of a crunch to get back, shower, and head down to pick up DS from school. So my 8 miler became a 6 mile run/walk.
I am happy to find that my Gore-Tex NB trail shoes do REALLY well in snow (awful on ice, as I found out...heh) and keep my feet very warm and dry. I think on days when the roads are very snowy and/or slushy with no ice that I won't even bother with YakTrax. Though I think today would have been a good day for them...snow, ice, minimal clear pavement.
Tomorrow I will do ~5 miles of trails with Heather (assuming the snow isn't a foot deep back in the park...perhaps the XC ski trails will be packed down a bit, already, then that might work OK), then in the evening we have plans to spend the night with a bunch of crazy JDRF peeps and their families at a lodge affair of some sort about an hour away. Should be a lot of fun.
Sunday is house cleaning day before my MIL is in town for the holiday and before we head out of town (it needs it, anyhow, so that's a convenient excuse to actually do it). Tonite I am enjoying an Oberon or two. DH managed to find a 6 pack...they stop distrubuting it after October and don't start back up until April or May, so it's a really welcome find. Tastes like Summer in a bottle.
I ended up going with my trusty, comfiest road shoes. Worked pretty well. My feet got pretty wet and cold, but I'm not yet sure that I want to do longer distances in the trail shoes. They are just so heavy, clunky, and stiff. Not bad for running actual trails and maybe short runs on snow, but I have a feeling I won't like them for much more than 6-7 miles at a pop.
Speaking of snow...DH put on my snow tires last night. Man, it seems WAY too early this year. I am not ready. And the forecast in the next couple of days is for gray, cold, and windy...windchills in the teens. I HATE that. Though I think we did discover why my car was doing that whu-whu-whu-whu thing that would disappear at faster speeds. We figured it was a warped disc or maybe a stuck caliper, but it's pretty apparent that the front passenger side tire must have worn funkily. Time to replace the tires, which we planned to do come Spring, anyhow.
Today I had my my tattoo finished. I still want to post pics of the "befores" with just the black portions, but the dumb memory card doesn't seem to be agreeing with my card reader, so I'm going to have to have DH get my pics off the card and e-mail them to me or something. PITA. The color looks really nice. It's already doing that weird "puffy paint" thing and weeping quite a bit. By this time next week it should be itchy and peeling. Maybe in a week or two after that I can take "after" pics.
Today the roofers also finished with our roof...for the most part. I think there maybe are a couple of small things they are coming back tomorrow to complete, but other than that it's about done. Looks nice. Gray shingles...I think the old ones were black and kind of harsh looking. Our siding is gray, too. I kind of like the mono-chromatic effect.
Tomorrow I am doing lunch with a friend (*waves at Nicole*). Haven't had the opportunity to chat with her in a long time. This will be fun. Before lunch I need to get out and run 5-6 miles...so that I can replace those calories at lunch...
Run with the Cougar, aka Hoffmaster Trail Race, aka .90 mile less than advertised, but it's all good...
This race was named thusly after several reliable sources had spotted a cougar/mountain lion/puma within the park bounds and near the park a few years back. Mountain Lions aren't common in lower Michigan, but they aren't non-existent, either. So this was a race where it was good to be a mid-packer--or at least not first or last.
No big kitties spotted, but at least 100 runners showed up for this race that very nearly went extinct. Hopefully today's run removes it from the endangered species/threatened list. It was super fun!
At one time the race had been a full 10k, but a particularly brutal stretch with ravines on either side of the trail, slippery wood steps (especially with all of the wet leaves this time of the year), and tons of roots obscured by heavy leaf cover had organizers cut it down to 5.2 miles (last time they ran it as a full 10k a woman broke her ankle), which is what it was billed as. I wouldn't mind the full distance, since risks are part of the game and why we sign the release...but, whatever.
In actuality today's course was 4.3 miles. Had I known this going in I would have pushed myself harder, particularly on the 1.25 miles of beach approaching the finish. But I thought I had almost an additional mile remaining after running up the dune off the beach, so I took it too easy. A guy at the top of the steps off of the beach said "hey, finish strong...you're almost there--the finish is just over that rise." I was thinking "yeah, sure...I bet you say that to all the girls." But he wasn't kidding. It was literally like 1/10 of a mile after exiting the beach. I was kinda annoyed, but it was a fun race and next year I will have a better idea of what to expect, assuming they keep the course as-is.
That beach section was pretty boring, really. But it was very scenic and dramatic coming down the dune onto the beach. Lake MI looks very moody on a windy Nov. day. Gray sky contrasted with whitecaps. One had the choice of running on loose sand (difficult, but feet stay dry) or packed, wet sand at the shore (easier, but risk of getting nailed by a wave). I chose the waterline option. I did get doused good at least 3x, but it was part of the fun. My Gore-Tex trail shoes are excellent on loose sand, leaves, and muddy stuff on the trails, but once those waves went over my feet they still got wet. Not too cold, though.
I still posted a better pace than I had anticipated (still waiting on official results). Heather73 and I ran the trails last weekend at an easy pace of about 13mm. I figured 11:30 would be a reasonable race pace, but my actual pace was closer to 11:10, even holding back a bit. This race definitely attracts a fast crowd, though. Heather and I brought up the rear of our 35-39AG, 11 and 10, respectively...out of 11 (at least when she checked the results board). During most road races I finish almost exactly middle for AG and overall field (unless I have a major crash-and-burn race).
An added bonus...the husband and wife who will be joining Heather73, PoQ, backroadrunner and I for our trail relay this coming June were there. That was a pleasant surprise. And Mary/hopeful4ever ended up deciding to do the race at the last minute, too. We compared our new marathon tattoos.
So...to make a long story short--I am completely and utterly hooked on this trail running thing. And tonite's post-race celebratin' will include Heather and I enjoying beer and bluegrass while wearing our race Ts!
BY SYLVIA DANA
FERRYSBURG — Walking on sunshine on a warm November day in West Michigan is always a plus — and making a little money at the same time is gold.
Students earned pledges to walk almost two hours from the school on Roosevelt Road to West Spring Lake Road, up Ridge Road, and back to the school. After the walk, students received water bottles and snacked on donuts.
The Walden Green Foundation, a parent organization, has raised $11,000 already this year.
"We're hoping we've reached $15,000 with the walk," said Dr. Kathleen Fox, a Walden Green Foundation parent.
"A hundred percent goes right back into school," she said.
Last year, the foundation purchased a field trip school bus and microscopes for classrooms at Walden Green, a free public charter school.
On the Net:
The Obama office folks brought balloons, a life-size cardboard Barack, and noise-makers. Dane was having the time of his life...he was yawning, but well-behaved and cheerful. Most of the fellow supporters were retirement age with very few results viewers under the age of 50, which surprised us...but Heather and I figured that a lot of people our age have small kids and stayed home for that reason. The other revelers were thrilled to see Dane watching the returns and cheering for Obama. I hope that Dane will always remember last night--the night that will hopefully turn our nation around.
One woman in the bar was familiar to me. She had a son in preschool with Dane the first year. Ian was Dane's buddy and his mom and I were both very upset 4 years ago when Bush was elected for his second term (ie "fool me once..."). She and I were both thrilled to see the outcome of this election.
I wonder how many sleepy kids there are in school today. Dane was very happy this morning when I told him that Obama won. 3 more elections and he can vote, too.
But what a great night...we're especially happy that proposal 2 passed and Michigan can go ahead with embryonic stem cell research. Hopefully cures for so many horrible diseases won't be too far behind. Perhaps someday we can get together with our JDRF friends to simply socialize...without that giant elephant in the room.
Speaking of fundraisers, I have pretty much wrapped up my own Girls On The Run fundraising from my marathon race a month ago. I raised a total of $1155--$155 over my goal, which is fantastic. I have never before reached my goal, much less exceeded it. A HUGE thanks go out to my generous friends and family. You all are so supportive of my running and my efforts to get young women involved in such a healthy, empowering activity.
After today's walk I grabbed lunch at Taco Bell (hey, it's healthier than my candy/sweets diet of the past few days...how I didn't gain a pound in the past week is beyond me), let my lunch settle in my gut, then went out for an "easy" 5.
I say "easy," since very few of my runs in the past 4 weeks have been truly easy. It's REALLY taking my body a LONG time to recover from that stinkin' race. My best runs in the past month have been my 2 trail runs. I think because all the beautiful distractions of the park, the semi-treacherous footing, and the chatter with my running pal help to distract me from the bodily discomforts. As a result I am REALLY enjoying the trail running and looking forward to more of it. Once the snow flies I may start investigating snowshoes so that I can keep doing some trail "running" in a fashion. There is also a great snowshoe race in the park I've been running in--it's a ton of fun, from what I hear.
I have also registered for my first trail race in less than 2 weeks. It's supposed to be a pretty brutal, hilly course with 1.5 miles on loose sand along the Lake MI beach. I think it's going to be fun...I hope I get filthy!
I also just mailed off my 6 person relay team's registration for the North Country Trail Relay in June. All those months away and I'm already really looking forward to it.
So we have put Winter off for at least a few more days. Awesome. Today I plan to go run in my half-length tights. I would wear a skirt, but my legs are already taking on that Winter pallor and 60 with 13mph breezes is still kinda chilly to have fully bare legs. I've also acclimated back to wearing long pants and jeans, so now having everything below my butt uncovered feels kinda nekkid. Plus there's the "raw bratwurst" look to my legs...amazing how fast my Summer color reverts back to pudgy, pasty sausage-looking flesh. Yech.
Tomorrow I plan to do another trail run in the park with a local running buddy. Last week we did 3 miles, I think this week we will plan on 4. Such a nice change from running on paved roads and paths. No risk of being hit by a car, no stress about pace, just running for pure effort. Great vantage point to view the remaining colorful leaves.
Still feeling pretty beat up post-marathon...I can't believe how long it's taking me to feel back to strong, again. I'm sure the lingering sinus/respiratory garbage is not helping matters. It's been almost 4 weeks since race day and I don't feel as strong now as I had expected. Hopefully that 1 month mark will be magical.