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January 23, 2011

The Winter of my Discontent

Being from New England helps when you truly love all the seasons.  I enjoy the warms of summer (not the humids), and a spring shower where everything smells fresh.  I don't hate mowing the lawn, though in humidity I could take it or leave it.  In the fall, I love how crisp everything is, and the colors popping is really nice, aesthetically. 

Then there is winter.  Everyone that complains about weather and climates complains about winter.  I love winter.  I love snow.  I even love shoveling.  However, I appreciate when things are spread out more.    Since the New Year began, I have worked a total of 9 days.  We have had snow days on January 7, 12, 13, 18, and 21.  There was also MLK, Jr. Day on January 17.  There have been dustings, high winds, wintry mix, slush, ice pellets, and even a full-on Nor'easter.

In this time, I have dug out my mailbox 3 times (twice in an hour...thank you town plows).  I have shoveled the driveway too many times to count.  I have used a hoe to clear off my roof...twice.  And today, I climbed up there, and shoveled off some more.  I'm not complaining, so much as asking for a reprieve for a week or two.  This isn't happening, though, because we're either getting wintry mix OR a blizzard on Tuesday/Wednesday. C'est la vie.

Why am I putting this on the running blog, you ask?  Running has kind of been a savior.  Cabin fever has certainly set in...a few times.  Because of this, it has been really great to get OUTSIDE.  And due to the cabin fever, I haven't brought myself to go to the gym and use the treadmill yet.

This has been fine.  I've got some great gear for the cold.  Yesterday, however, it was about 10 degrees with a 0 windchill.  Two miles was the decision.  Half-way through, I was questioning the insanity (kind of like my trip up to the roof) of such an endeavor. That was until I saw him.

He was a 40-something runner, approaching the same corner as me from a different direction.  Decked out in some traffic-cone orange (I had bright yellow), he kind of gave me a grin, as he blew past me in the intersection.  I took the bait.  He was clearly a better runner (evidenced by the fact he didn't need to wear shorts over his tights), with a much longer stride.  Inspired, I worked to keep up.

The mystery man took off on the flats.  But on every incline, I made up a lot of ground.  Slowly but surely, I was making some head way (and struggling to breathe based on the pace and cold).  Each time we hit a flat or downhill, he'd take off on me.  Each time we started climbing, I'd reel him in a bit.  Eight minutes later, I had covered the 2nd mile (WOW), and we went our separate ways.

He was exactly the thing I needed.  I don't know where that guy came from, but I sure appreciated it.  Once again, the guy a few yards ahead is my greatest running inspiration...

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