Monday, November 28, 2011

Update and I Know Where I'm Going for the Winter!

I know at some point recently I mentioned that the less I blog, the worse things are going.  Well, this time that is not the case and I'm just a bit embarrassed that it has been so long between updates.  I really do want to keep up more often and maybe even every once in a while have something actually interesting to say. 

So, what was the culprit of this extended absence?  Initially, it was a rogue snowstorm.  October sometimes has a little bit of snow in the forecast in between the roller coaster of 65-degree days and 40-degree days.  A few flurries here and there, and that's it.  We had a night where snow was predicted, which isn't exciting but not that unexpected either, and I saw it falling before I went to bed and awakened the next morning to drive to the pool to see almost no evidence that it had snowed that night. 

That was a Thursday.  So I wasn't exactly concerned when I heard that snow was once again predicted for Saturday night.  Annoying?  Sure, as I'm still not ready for winter, but no big deal, right?  Wrong.  Oh, so wrong.  I did my long bike ride early that morning, heading out in the cold because if I waited too long to ride I'd just get stuck in snow.  I don't necessarily mind riding in the cold, I've got good clothes for such instances.  And I was fine for a while even though it was 25 degrees when I started.  It "warmed up" to about 34 by the time I finished, which meant my fluids actually remained fluids, but due to the total absence of the sun, I found myself darn cold on that ride. 

But whatever, I was done with it and I survived.  So later that afternoon I was parked on the couch in front of the TV, as is my usual post-long ride spot.  Honestly, I don't know how you people with kids do this sort of thing when you have to go train for seven hours and can't just come home and collapse on the couch and spend the rest of the afternoon drifting in and out of sleep.  I watched the news and it seemed unclear how bad the snow would be.  They said it could just be all rain if it started later, and the earlier it started, the worse it would be.  The earliest they predicted was about 4:00, the latest midnight.  Well, at about 3:30 I looked out the window and saw it had started.

It piled up way too fast.  Heavy, wet snow that started bending trees in the back yard in half, pulling tree limbs down, most of which still had leaves and many of which those leaves were even green.  We had been warned that there would be power outages, so I was ready for anything.  Fortunately I did not have to worry about trees falling on the house because after an ice storm and a couple of bad wind storms over the last three years, there are seriously almost no trees left to fall on the house.  Honestly, after all of these freakish storms I'm amazed there are any trees left to fall anywhere.

I don't tend to lose power under those simpler instances where a few people lose power for a thunderstorm or whatever.  I'm across the street from a Wallgreens, very much a part of civilization.  So I held out some hope that I'd be fine.  Of course then as I sat there watching TV with the cable intermittently going out, the lights flashing here and there and already a foot of snow in the back yard, I didn't have much hope.  To put things in perspective, the snowiest October on record around here was a whopping 2.2".  And that was for the entire month.  We surpassed all but one November. 

I went to bed with electricity, and woke up without it.  The last time this happened, I utilized an old walkman I still have for some reason and listened to the TV band to find out what was going on.  Well, apparently now that we've switched to digital, that doesn't work anymore.  I'll probably still keep it just in case some day I have the urge to listen to one of my mix tapes from high school. 

14" of snow and no electricity anywhere around here.  Great.  The last time we had one of these widespread outages I didn't have power for a tad over a week.  So I was expecting similar.  Halloween was canceled across most of the state.  Well, postponed, but still.  Trick-or-treating November 6th just seems a bit odd, but at least the kids still got their candy.  There was no long run not just because of snow but because half the remaining trees in town had fallen down and surely there were going to be some shaky limbs just waiting for the right moment to snap and take out a runner. 

The good news was that Mom's lake house had water, electricity, cable, internet... just like it was the 21st century.  I had to stay down for a christening party that afternoon, but then it was off to see the lights.  I did come back before the power was back at home so I could use the pool and such and spent a lot of time hanging out at the coffee shop across the street on their internet

Well, anyway, the point of all that was that it threw me off a bit, and blogging was not on the radar screen.  I was lucky at least that the power outage came during a rest week.  And that the snow did eventually melt and now it's like it never happened.  But seriously, enough with these outages already! 

Then eventually it was back to the normal routine.  Since then things have been pretty uneventful.  I've mostly still been riding outside with the exception of a couple of rainy days (I don't always ride inside on rainy days, but rainy and 60 is different from rainy and 40) and running has even started to feel more like actual running for the first time since.... I don't even know.  That's not to say I'm fast by any means, but I probably at least don't just look like I'm shuffling down the street to passers by. 

I've been back and forth between running in shorts and short sleeves to my Thanksgiving morning ride that involved my wearing of seventeen individual items of clothing not including shoes, helmet and sunglasses.  Can you imagine how much faster I'll feel when I don't have to wear forty pounds of clothing on my rides?  Not to mention cutting the time down because it will no longer take me like twenty minutes just to get dressed.  But the good news is that I wasn't cold.

Saturday was warm for my long ride, although I rode my bike from no snow at home up to some higher elevation with lots of snow.  Thanksgiving itself was pretty quiet and uneventful.  Dinner was exactly the same as it has been every other year I've had Thanksgiving at Nana's, which is most of them. 

But the most important development is that it appears I have nailed down the majority of my winter plans.  As discussed earlier, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go, but I knew I needed to go somewhere warm.  Nothing in particular was jumping out at me.  I happened to be talking to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and mentioned my dilemma and she used to live in Birmingham, Alabama and was just raving about it.  She also said she had some friends there and could probably find someone for me to stay with.  I mean, I never would've thought about Alabama as one of my possible training destinations, but this was starting to sound like a good idea. 

So, long story short (I never do that, I usually make long stories as long as possible, as evidenced by the wordiness of this blog) she gave me the name of a good friend of hers and I'll be spending about two months in Alabama.  If it was good enough for Forrest Gump, it should be good enough for me.  It's so nice to have that settled and even nicer that I won't be entirely by myself this time.  I've said it before, I'm fine with alone time.  I get a fair amount of it and I don't mind it for the most part.  But three months of being alone is way, way too much.  And it will be nice not having to figure everything out for myself.  Not that I had problems with that before, but it will just make things easier.  So that is where I'll be spending my training time for IMTX.  I never would've guessed it, either. 

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