Nemo 2013

I feel a little bit silly referring to a huge blizzard as Nemo, but only because I can’t get the image of that little clown fish out of my mind.  The last 36 hours or so have been interesting, to say the least.  Tonight, while I downloaded all my photos, I took a little time for some Bailey’s coffee to warm up a bit!

Today, I really needed a Bailey's Coffee!

Today, I really needed a Bailey’s Coffee!

The storm started on Friday afternoon (here, in Massachusetts).  Our yard looked something like this –

Back Yard

Back Yard

Front Yard

Front Yard

After several hours (around 8 p.m.), I went out and shoveled.  Wendy saw me putting on my warm clothes (which are the same as my winter running clothes), and got very excited – she thought she was headed out for an adventure!  I don’t think she really knew what was in store!  I think she lasted about 30 seconds.

Wendy is NOT impressed

Wendy is NOT impressed

We thought Jeb would have to work all night (since he works in law enforcement and is essential staff), but they sent him home at the end of his shift.  After some treacherous driving, this is what he found when he arrived home.

So much for all that shoveling...

So much for all that shoveling…

Despite the hours I spent shoveling (only about 3 hours prior to this photo), everything was still pretty much covered.  Plus, the plows pushed another huge pile of snow at the end of our driveway, so Jeb had to shovel his way home.  It took TWO hours.

We finally went to bed around 3 a.m., thinking we had been through the worst of the storm.  We were wrong.  I don’t think I was really prepared for what we found this morning.

we couldn't even get out the front door!

we couldn’t even get out the front door!

Front yard - did I mention that we both drive Mini Coopers?

Front yard – did I mention that we both drive Mini Coopers?

Cold dogs.  Wendy is sticking out her tongue!  Duke isn't really sure what to make of things (he's behind Wendy)

Cold dogs. Wendy is sticking out her tongue! Duke isn’t really sure what to make of things (he’s behind Wendy)

Back door onto our deck.  The drifts were over 4 feet high!

Back door onto our deck. The drifts were over 4 feet high!

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Back Yard

Yikes.  So, we spent quite awhile clearing out the snow so Jeb could go to work.  My dad came by later in the afternoon so he could help us snowblow the worst parts (thank goodness).  Little did we know how lucky we were, however.  About 15 minutes before he arrived, I heard water splashing.  A pipe burst on our 2nd floor, and water was leaking through the ceiling.  Ugh.  We had a big mess, but my dad was able to help me solve the problem fairly quickly.  Phew.

The pipe thing is what led me to the Baileys – a few years ago, pipes froze in our house while we were both at work and more than half of our house was destroyed.  We had to gut several rooms, and it took us years to completely renovate (even now, we have some water damage on our hardwood floors but insurance didn’t cover those repairs).  I think I had some flashbacks to coming home and finding my house flooded.  The worst part was that we would have had a repeat incident if I hadn’t been home.

All in all, we were lucky.  We got a LOT of snow, but didn’t lose power.  We still have some snow to clear out (we haven’t even touched the deck yet), but we definitely made out better than many people in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Snowy Run

The weather continues to be slightly warmer here, though it snowed for most of the day.  Not wanting to miss another workout, I headed out for a 2.25 mile loop around my neighborhood.  I am not normally a fan of the winter (in fact, I’m sure I’ll be cranky about it tomorrow when I’m walking around campus), but there is something so peaceful about running outside in the snow.  Granted, the running is a little more challenging, but we take our time and are very careful to be aware of cars.

I’m learning a lot about winter running this year, and what I need to do to keep my workouts successful in any weather.  One thing that helped today was…. I got those shoes I wanted!  It was perfect timing, really.  I ordered them from L.L. Bean a few weeks ago (I had a couple coupons), but they were back-ordered.  Luckily, they arrived just as I was getting ready to go running, and I couldn’t resist wearing them!  For the first time, I ran in snow without getting my feet wet.  Awesome.

Brrrrr…

Well, I got out there for a quick (but cold) run.  Despite every local forecaster’s prediction that the weather would start to warm up, it was still only about 15º F.  I bundled up and, honestly, when the wind wasn’t blowing, it wasn’t TOO bad.  Unfortunately, the wind was blowing about 75% of the time.

I was also really worried about Wendy getting too cold.  She wore her coat, and I put a thin layer of vaseline on the edges of her ears.  Apparently, that can help prevent frostbite, and it made me feel better to do anything I can to keep her comfortable.  Even still, her feet definitely got cold, so we came home early.  I washed her feet, covered her in a blanket, and she is sleeping soundly now.  I think the short workout was as good for her as it was for me!

Either way, we covered a nice, quick 2.25 miles and, despite the cold, it felt great to get back out there.  Now, to enjoy one of my last Saturdays before I get swamped with work again!

Keeping Calm… or at least I’m trying!

I missed my run today.  It was extremely cold (below zero with the wind chill), and when my face started to hurt after a 5 minute walk across campus, I decided the risk of frostbite was too great.  Plus, it turns out that dogs can get frostbite – especially dogs with long, floppy ears.  I couldn’t take that risk with Wendy.

It is frustrating, though.  This was the first run I have missed since NOVEMBER.  I had quite a streak going!  Plus, Wendy is very used to her every-other-day runs, and she gets a bit of cabin fever if she misses one.  (Yes, I consider how these things affect my dog – but it also helps me get out the door when I’m not motivated.  It’s hard to let her down!)  Also, I’m really starting to feel the pressure of my goal race in April.  I know I have plenty of time, and I’m not even a little bit worried about having to cover the distance.  I’m worried about my speed.  I need to get my pace faster… and not get injured.  I’m trying not to stress about it, especially since everything I read says that winter running is about building a base (endurance), not speed.  Still, I thought my pace would be faster by now.  I improved pretty quickly after the NWM in October (by roughly 2 min/mile), but I walked most of that race.  Now that I’m running more, it is concerning to me that my pace isn’t continuing to increase at that rate.

So, this is my plan (because I always have a plan):

  1. Relax!  Stressing about it isn’t going to help.
  2. Finish my half-marathon training plan, as written.  That means no speedwork.  I’m on week 8, and should finish in early March (weather permitting).
  3. Remind myself that I have to be a bit more flexible with my running because it is winter, and I live in New England!
  4. Continue adding in cross-training whenever possible.
  5. Research ways to gradually improve speed.  Implement them as appropriate, but plan to do a speed-focused plan for March and early-April.
  6. Tighten up my nutrition.  Weight loss can only help with speed.
  7. Oh – and relax.  I have to remember to relax.  I have 95 days to figure this out.

Winter Motoring

Today was a rest day, so I did a little bit of stretching and drank a TON of water.  The weather was decent, so we decided to take a short road trip out to Western Massachusetts.  Since Jeb and I both drive Mini Coopers, we’ve started to refer to our little adventures as “motoring!”  The dogs always love a good road trip, too.

 

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First, we stopped at the Pumping Station Bridge, a covered bridge in Greenfield.  It is closed to traffic, but we were able to hike around and check it out.

Then, we drove over to the Montague Bookmill.  It’s an old sawmill that has been converted into a used bookstore/craft store/bar/restaurant.  It has such a warm and cozy atmosphere, which is why I prefer to visit in the winter.

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We took our time driving home, even stopping at a new doughnut shop in Amherst for a snack.  It was a cool little place – small (no seating), but there were TONS of varieties of doughnuts and the owners try to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.  We passed on Maple, Lemon, Key Lime, Maple & Bacon, The Elvis (peanut butter and banana), and so many more!  Jeb ended up with an Apple Fritter, and I got a Chocolate Frosted with Toffee.  Both were delicious.  I especially liked that the doughnut did not taste heavy and greasy – it was very light!  I will definitely have to limit my trips back, but I’m already deciding if I will try Lemon or Maple next!

We finished the night with a big ol’ salad (with chicken), and some relaxing on the couch.  Back to the pavement tomorrow!

 

Well, at least I didn’t face-plant

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This was the terrain for about half of today’s long run.  The rest was wet and slushy or some combination of snow and slush.  It was sunny, though, and not too cold (despite the wind).

Things I learned today about winter running:

  • Wear wool socks.  My feet were so wet and cold after the run.  I think the wool would have done a better job protecting my skin.
  • Wear socks with coverage.  Those no-show socks aren’t going to cut it in the slush!
  • Pace will have to go out the window in this kind of weather.  I can’t get the same kind of stride on uneven and (sometimes) slippery terrain.
  • Running in snow is kind of like running in the sand… you know, except colder.  I could really feel my lower legs getting a different kind of workout.  This can only be beneficial in my training.

All things considered, this was a good workout.  I was way off my normal pace (almost one minute/mile), but I’m glad to be increasing my mileage again.  I felt like I could have gone further, but I don’t want to overdo things (MUST stick to the plan!).

Besides, I had to go wedding shopping with my sister!