Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Challenging weather

Okay so yes, I did go out and run for two hours yesterday afternoon while the kids had a class at the Mystic Seaport. Perhaps I need to be committed to some sort of mental institution? I think my husband would gladly drive the padded white van. After I came home from my first run of the day, in the early morning dark, glazed in ice, he thought I was nuts. When he saw me suiting up to head out again that very same day in the sideways, 35-degree winter-rain-creating-slush weather, he just shook his head. He just stood there shaking his head.

But I don't get to run in the afternoon very often. I am training for a 100K in March. I will not run on a treadmill. A girl needs to do what a girl needs to do.

And I had a lovely run. "This is a beautiful day!" I said to my daughter Nell as I dropped her off at her class.

Which gave her the perfect opportunity to use her new, 9-year-old vocabulary word. "Are you being ironic?" she asked.

I guess maybe I was. The weather here this past week has been challenging. Single digit temperatures last weekend made my Saturday long run a bit tough. After three hours I was exhausted and cold and called it quits. And we had a blizzard right after that. I love snow, love running in snow!

I wrote a little piece about running in that blizzard.

The Day we Got 2 Feet of Snow in Connecticut

I should have been a pioneer, working outside all day digging and plowing and whatnot. Days spent entirely inside are wasted on me. I start to feel like I’m filling with dust.

The day all the snow fell last week was a perfect day, full of hard work, all outside. It was dark when I woke and the wind was blowing icy snow against the windows. It sounded like someone was out in the yard tossing up handfuls of sand. I sat at my desk with a cup of hot tea and told myself, “I’m not going out in that!”

But an hour passed and I got fidgety. On went the boots, snow pants, jacket, hat and gloves. I stepped out and squinted into a sublime world of black on gray on white. A faint half moon lit the clouds and everything shimmered. I post holed down the long driveway in the wet snow. To my great surprise, the road was plowed. Not plowed so you’d want to drive on it, but perfectly groomed for running.

I didn’t even think about it. I stumped back up the driveway and changed into my running clothes, which were patiently waiting by the front door. “What does this say about me?” I wondered as I trotted through the blizzard, wet snow hitting me full in the face.

With the exception of a distant plow, no one else was out. Closer to downtown Mystic a single set of footprints appeared along the side of the road. I saw no dog prints running alongside, indicating a dutiful chore. Some odd loner had simply wanted to walk out in a blizzard.

On Main Street in Mystic I saw a big guy bundled up on a three-wheeled ATV. He had a gut-buster belly and a loopy grin. “Hey, lady,” he yelled over the engine noise, “you’re in great shape. Go home and have a cuppa coffee and a donut!”

I giggled and kept running. He was right, of course. I wish it were that easy. How to explain that I’m just not wired that way?

A few miles later, still dark but slowly starting to get light, or perhaps a lighter shade of gray, I saw a live human out shoveling the high ridge of plowed snow off the end of his driveway.

“Good on you!” he shouted with tremendous enthusiasm. “I’ll finish up here and then I’m out to join you!” Clearly this man is on my team.

Lucky for me, my kids seem to have embraced their genetics. Back home, it took three hours to shovel the cement-ish snow off our 50-yard driveway, and they stayed with me the whole time. Never mind that their tunneling into my snow banks was actually reversing a good bit of the work I had just done. Life is short, and they were having fun.

We all went out again later in the day, the kids to sled on our little hill and me to play Pa Ingalls and dig a path to the woodpile out back. I took a few sled runs with them until then it got dark, then went inside to take a much-needed shower.

Later, as I was getting dinner started I heard a rustling at the front door and a snowy creature burst into the hallway. Evidently my 9-year-old daughter Nell was just coming in.

“Where were you Nell?” I asked, all astonishment.

She smiled and sort of shrugged and said, “Everywhere.”


  1. Glorious :) I'm smiling thinking of all your beautiful snow! The way I see it, if it's going to be bitterly cold, then it needs to snow. Chicago doesn't have that rule dialed in just yet. I'm jealous of your wonderful weather. Keep on enjoying!!

  2. Thanks, Paige. Yesterday was rainy/yucky but we have more snow due of Friday. Hoping for more of the same for Chicago. It just ain't winter without a bunch of snow!


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