Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blizzards suck

Ok, so it's been two weeks since my last update and we've got over two feet of snow in the area.  After the stair climb I was all ready and motivated to start getting serious about my training for Big Sur, then the blizzard of 2013 (aka - Nemo, yes they named the storm) happened.  It started on Friday February 8th and snowed straight through Saturday evening.  I measured 18 inches at 6am Saturday and I'm pretty sure we got at least another 6 inches after that.  Kind of ruined my plan to run 10 miles.
There was actually a driving ban in place from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon to let the plows clear the roads so I probably could have run right in the middle of the roads with my yaktrax, but I've already been hit by a garbage truck, I didn't want to add plow truck to the list.  I gave up completely and accepted the idea that I would not run at all that weekend.  Luckily, I had a back up plan, on my way home from work Thursday night I stopped at REI and bought myself some snow shoes.  I've been meaning to try it out for a while.  It's on my "to-do" list so I figured with a record breaking storm on the way, why not take advantage and try something new in the crappy running conditions.

Friday I stayed home from work to avoid the roads and the possibility of being stranded on 93N in my car (did that in college one February because my alternator died, it was NOT fun).  I parked my car overnight in a nearby garage to keep the road clear and to try and save myself the effort of clearing a mountain fo snow from my car.  So, snowed in, bored, couldn't run, I decided to start cooking and baking.  I had a ton of frozen super ripe bananas in the freezer so banana nut muffins were first.  In the morning before it started snowing, I went to breakfast with my Massachusetts parents - Ann and Jack.  Jack works for the town next to mine and would be driving a plow for the next 36-48hrs.  I gave him the first batch of muffins, still warm right out of the oven.

After breakfast I continued to bake and cook.  Cleaned my house a little.  Watched some movies.  Read a book.  Did laundry and dishes.  I guess snow storms make me extremely productive.  I had made about 4 dozen muffins and given the first batch to Jack.  Then as if they read my mind (or someone called them) the Lowell Fire Dept. showed up outside my house.  They were responding to one of my neighbors, I think their carbon monoxide detector went off.  Anyway, they were in and out pretty quick, but not before I slipped my boots on and brought them a bunch of the freshly baked banana nut muffins.  I told them I was going to walk them downtown to them, but they saved me the trip.  They were extremely appreciative and even honked and waved as they pulled away.  Mission "feed the emergency crews for the blizzard" - accomplished!

Later in the evening, my neighbor Annie came over and we hung out drank some wine and chatted.  We were both home alone so it was nice to catch up and have someone to hang with in case we lost power.  I went to bed before the storm got really bad, I think there was only 4-5 inches on the ground.  Then when I woke up Saturday there was 18 inches.  I had to push the snow drift away from my front door and shovel off my porch to get a broom stick into the level section of snow in front of my porch to measure.  I thought for sure it would have been closer to 2 feet, but it was still snowing really hard so, 18 inches was enough.  One of my neighbors works for the city and he had just come in to rest after plowing all night so I got dressed and went outside to clear a path for him in case he had to go back out.  And as much as I hate my neighbor upstairs from me and his dog, I thought about the poor animal getting up in the morning and having to pee, so I shoveled a path for him too.  Shoveling that little section of path took me a good solid hour.
I went in ate breakfast, dried my clothes and continued to bake.  Made brownies and cookies and more muffins.  By mid-day, snow was still coming down, but not nearly as heavily as earlier.  Time to try out my new snow shoes.  I grabbed a back pack from my closet and loaded it up with all the baked goods I had made.  Layered up warm clothes and put my boots on, then headed out on a little adventure.  Snowbanks were easily 5 feet tall, streets were not totally clear, sidewalks were covered in 2 feet of snow, and with no cars or people out really it was really quiet and peaceful.  I made my way downtown to deliver my treats to the police station.  Some people were venturing out to start the process of shoveling out their cars or driveways.  Some people were walking around just surveying the massive amounts of snow everywhere.  For the most part, downtown Lowell was a ghost town:

The police station is a little over a mile from my house, I made it there and back in under an hour.  I didn't really keep track of the time I spent getting my snowshoes on and off or how much time I spent unloading my baked goods at the police station and chatting with the officer (that I think I woke up when I walked in).  It was definitely a good work out though.  I was drenched when I got home and my legs were a little sore.  I got some lunch and then it was time to start shoveling. 

Even though I emailed and called all the people that live in my condo building and told them to park in the FREE garage, the idiot upstairs and his wife still left their cars on the street.  And there were a few other random cars parked in front of our building just to make the road a huge friggin mess for everyone to deal with.  One side of the street was almost completely cleared by the plows, but the other side was a mess.  People got out lawn chairs and tables and step stools and random items to save their shoveled out spaces in the street.  My idiot neighbor neatly snowblowed his car and his wifes car and left the rest of the street a huge mess.  So, because I'm nice and thinking of the other residents and of course my own car that would have no place to park, I started to clear the remaining snow in the street.  One of the random cars parked in front of our condo left this giant mountain fo snow behind when they left:
I worked for about 4 hours to move it off the street and clear the road so that someone could use the space to park.  One shovel full at a time, I moved a mountain.  I had a little help from my neighbor's grandson, but he mostly complained the whole time about how big the pile was and how impossible the task was.  I just kept shoveling and assured him it would get done, it might take time and effort, but it would get done.  And finally around 7pm.  We had cleared the road:
Needless to say I was exhausted and really sore the following day so I spent the entire day on the couch.  I didn't even go grocery shopping.  I did absolutely nothing.  Which was probably good because the week ahead at work was going to be pretty busy and very stressful.    After being snowed in for three days I was actually happy to go back to work, but we were having an audit and I was the scribe for the week so that meant I had to take the daily notes and try to keep up with my regular responsibilities too.  I worked 12 hours each day Monday through Thursday, then we wrapped up early Friday and I left before lunch.  I hadn't run in almost 2 weeks.  I made plans to do a long run the next day with Kim so I used my free afternoon to do some shopping.  I got my tax return and I've been eyeing a buffet table at IKEA for my dining room/accomplishment wall/craft storage space.  I went straight from work to IKEA, then home to assemble my purchase.
Looks good right?  All my scrapbook stuff and race photos neatly stored in the cabinet and vegan/vegetarian cookbooks on top, then shadow boxes and race certificates displayed above.

Saturday, it was snowing AGAIN!  Kim and I delayed the start of our long run hoping the snow would stop.  It took a break just long enough for us to get in a strong 10 miler.  Along the way somewhere in Ayer or Shirley we met up with this guy out for an 18 mile training run for Boston and started chatting.  We ran about 6 miles with him and learned he also worked in the biotech industry in Cambridge.  We had run a few of the same races and turns out he has an Ultra team for the Reach the Beach relay in Massachusetts and needs a few more runners.  So we exchanged emails mid-run and just like that I'm signed up for an ultra relay.

Anyway, after the run, I headed home and it started snowing MORE.  We got about another 6 inches.  It was a long weekend and I could have run again, but instead I relaxed, napped, baked a little more, made some vegan lasagna, watched a movie and then Monday went to my favorite running store Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen and got some new shoes.  Got some new underarmor tights and a free book, because I guess I won some online contest. 

Back to work Tuesday and I even squeezed in a short 5 mile run after work.  I brought my gear to run again today because according to the forecast, we may get another storm this weekend.  Mother Nature is really making it challenging to train for a marathon right now.  I have a 12 miler on the plan for the weekend.  Could be dangerous and I will most likely be running in the road with reflective gear on, but as long as we do not get a significant amount of snow I should be ok.  Oh and then I have a 3 mile race Sunday.  Almost forgot about that.  67 days til the marathon (87 days til the ultra relay).

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