You're killin' me, Old Man Winter!

That's a satellite image from just a day or two ago that shows the snow and ice cover in the Lake MI region. Notice how the Green Bay is nearly frozen solid all the way across. It's gotta be pretty cold for an extended period for this to happen.

We're on the other side of Lake MI, on the western side of lower Michigan.  Between the cold (windchill figures in the negatives or single-digits), snow, and dreary skies I have lost ALL MOJO.  I quit.  I didn't run outdoors yesterday and today I am hitting the nowhere bike.  Tomorrow I *should* go run outside, but the current weather pattern is looking like it's going to hold steady through the weekend.  Meh.  I would KILL for just a few days above freezing.

Running on snow and ice have started to take a real physical toll on my body.  After a week or two of bad roads I always seem to find my knees complaining, along with my hips and lower-back.  That unstable running surface just really beats me up.

And I'm not fond of the mountains of laundry, either.  A single run requires heavy tights, warm top, windbreaker, hat, gloves, wool socks, and snot rag.  This is part of what's keeping me indoors on days when the windchill is in the single digits or lower.  Adding windbreaker pants and Buff or balaclava to the mix is a bit of a deal-breaker for me.  Every run seems to require a FULL load of laundry.  This has gotten old.

Plus the cars that WILL NOT GIVE ME ROOM.  I can't run on the shoulder, since the shoulder is now a 2-3' deep snowbank.  Folks, you gotta move the heck over...I don't want to play chicken with your side-view mirror, OK?!

And the roads are slippery.  Even the drivers who DO give me room make me nervous. Yesterday DS had a half day of school for teacher inservice.  In the 20 miles between our community and his school (he attends a public charter Montessori academy down near DH's work) I saw EIGHT cars in the ditch.  I have awesome snow tires on my car and my ABS still kicked-in when I had to brake for a pack of slowing cars ahead of me on the interstate (the interstate that actually is plowed and salted, unlike the backroads that I run).  I was terrified that the cars coming up fast on my rear would collide with me--my car is relatively small and lightweight and can stop a lot faster than these larger vehicles can, especially since most of them are likely rolling with average all-season rubber on their wheels.

An early Spring would be nice.  The snow is no longer pretty, it's just a menace that has overstayed its welcome.


Gonna Be Busy

I've finally put together a race/event list for 2011.  This should keep me from slacking, at least until close to Halloween.

2/18-19 - Ultimate Cycle Challenge - 24 hour indoor charity bike relay - Holland, MI
3/27 - Fisk Knob Time Trial - 17.36 miles (cycling) - Cedar Springs, MI
4/16 - Out For Blood Duathlon - 5k run, 20k bike - Mt. Pleasant, MI
5/1 - Steelcase Grand Duathlon - 5k run, 30k bike, 5k run - GR, MI
5/28 - Energy2Action Duathlon - 2 mi run, 15 mi bike, 2 mi run - Shelbyville, IN
6/18 - Ride For Nature Century - 100 mile bike tour - Door County, WI
7/10 - Grand Haven Duathlon - 5k run, 20k bike, 5k run - Grand Haven, MI
7/16? - Holland Hundred - 100 mi bike tour - Holland, MI
8/20 - ODRAM - One Day Ride Across MI - ~147 mile bike tour - Montague-to-Bay City (I LIVE in Montague...but I'm not sure I hate myself enough to commit)
mid-Oct. - JDRF Ride To Cure - 105 miles (bike, of course) - Death Valley, CA

I may try to squeeze a 5k race in there after the duathlons...I'd love to see what I can do with that shorter distance on all that training.


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

The view from my computer
I just asked my son if he knows who Mister Rogers is...he gave me an utterly clueless look.  Sad.  Would you be my, could you be my, won't you be my neighbor...hello, neighbor (heh, did I just share an earworm?).

It really is a beautiful day, though.  I was sorta dreading my planned 5 miler for today, as our windchills are still in the single-digits and may only get as high as the teens.  That, and I'm almost certainly going to need the YakTrax traction devices on my shoes to handle the snow underfoot.  But the sunshine makes such a difference, especially if I wear dark-colored running duds.  I love requiring sunglasses for sun, instead of for eye protection against wind and blowing snow, for a change.  Sunshine is relatively rare in these parts, thanks to the Lake MI cloud machine.

View from back door...
through cat nose-printed window
We've been back from our Wisconsin road trip for just over a week.  We spent 3 nights in Green Bay at the Hotel Sierra with my family for a belated Christmas celebration.  My sister's BF works at the convention center attached to the hotel and was able to get us CHEAP room rates for our stay.  Well worth the drive.  The rooms were all suite-style with ample living space, microwaves, tall dorm fridges, wet-bar, Mp3 player docks built into the clock/radios, free breakfast (omelette/pancake/french toast bar with choices of bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cereal, pastries, coffee, juice), pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, gym.  We paid a meager $60/night for all of this.  As long as Rich works there we will continue to do this every year, I think.  It was so nice to be with family, yet all have our own space for down-time.  In the past we've gathered at my brother's place once/year, but even in his relatively large house it got really cramped with 8 adults and 3 kids.  The pool gave the kids something to do to burn off childhood energy.

We ate like kings the entire weekend.  My sister and her BF really chose great eating options.  The first night we were there we ate at the Title Town Brewery.  Delicious...and the food was good, too.

The following night we enjoyed a supper sans-kids (sis had a sitter stay at her house with my son and my nephews) at a wonderful Irish restaurant/pub, St. Brendan's.  I was even able to order a snakebite black (half lager, half hard cider, shot of blackcurrant liqueur)  I haven't had one of those since the early 90s when I did a semester in the UK.

Our last night there we ate at HuHot, a mongolian BBQ place.  It was amazing and really fun to create our own dishes.  DH was feeling uncomfortably stuffed after eating very little.  He figured it was from all the overeating we'd done all weekend.

Later that night he was hit by some intestinal evil.  The next AM we discovered that my brother's GF was similarly sick.  They initially blamed it on food poisoning from the BBQ, but they didn't eat many common things and those things that were in common were things that the rest of us had also eaten -- plus food poisoning takes more than a few hours to hit.  Within the next couple of days my sister's BF and my mom also fell ill, so we're pretty certain now that something viral was shared, not any bad food.

That was still a rough trip home for my hubby and included extra bathroom stops.  Poor guy.  On the bright side, he didn't gain nearly the weight that I did over the course of the trip.  My weight come New Year's day was the highest it's been in something like 6 years. *shudder*

New Year's Eve was spent with our JDRF friends, which has become our standard gathering for the night.

The past week has been quiet.  I've been running and nowhere biking just enough to maintain a moderate level of fitness, but this is definitely the off-season.  I feel no motivation to do more than bare minimum.  Eventually I need to get back to weight training, but I think I will wait until I actually start training for my Spring duathlons...which I still need to register for.  I ate at least $20 by not registering by 12/31 for a couple of those.

I also discovered that one of the races I'd been targeting is no more.  They no longer offer a duathlon option, just the tris.  Instead I may go do a du down by a friend in Indy.  I'm also looking at a race in the middle of the state, near my best friend.  It's not a "true" duathlon, as it only has a single running leg.  But it would be a great, hard workout 2 weeks before my first du of the season.

I'm not dead!

I promise.  I just haven't had a whole lot to talk about, at least not running/biking-wise with the holidays and the weather and stuff.  We're really into that dark, seemingly endless part of Winter, now.  In the next couple of days I will recap the holiday fun with my family...unfortunately we didn't take any photos.  We were having too much fun lounging around a really nice hotel.