Friday, March 30, 2007

Signs of Spring

Let’s see, the high on Monday topped 80 degrees in some areas of the Twin Cities. Today was almost half that; 42 and drizzly when I went for my run.

It has been raining all day here, but my run was not uncomfortable. I don’t mind running in the rain so much. You get sweaty when you run anyhow, so what is a little extra water going to hurt? :) I had on a long sleeved running shirt, shots, and a cap, and I felt just fine for my usual 4 1/2 on the trail.

Kind of a quiet bird day today because of the rain, however the osprey was on her nest again, and I also saw a common loon flying over the lake in the park. Our official state bird is back!

In addition to the new bird arrivals that I have been reporting, we are starting to see other signs of spring. Some of the shrubs and small trees have started to bud, and if you look closely you can see an ever-so-faint hint of green. It is almost imperceptible if you are not paying attention, but if you stop and look, the green is starting to show. Some green grass is even starting to appear along the bike path. Very nice to see!

Another sports-filled weekend ahead of us with PGA golf and the first LPGA major of the season (I have Padraig Harrington and Annika Sorenstam in my leagues, and neither one of them are setting the world on fire), we have NASCAR at Martinsville, and of course, the Final Four. I haven’t followed college basketball enough this year, so I have no idea who to pick. Then again, with no allegiances, it might make for more enjoyable games because I won’t have to root against anyone!

Related to the Final Four, the noted pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman is covering the event for ESPN and is keeping a blog throughout the weekend. Entertaining stuff.

Enjoy the weekend!

Jean

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I wanna rock!

I just got some cool news. I received a voicemail from my favorite radio station, 92 KQRS. They are running a contest called “KQ MyTunes” that allows listeners to create a custom playlist of up to 8 classic rock songs. Those that get chosen are played over the weekend.

As you might have guessed, they selected my entry! So if you aren’t doing anything at 7 PM on March 31st, tune into KQ to hear my playlist, which is as follows:

-KISS “Lick it Up”
-Three Dog Night “Shambala”
-Boston “Feelin’ Satisfied”
-John Mellencamp “Jack & Diane”
-Free “All Right Now”
-Beatles “Let it Be”
-Pink Floyd “Young Lust”
-Jackson Browne “The Pretender”

Rock on,

Jean

Good running, and Dwight's blogging

A perfect running day! This is what spring is all about.

It was about 55 degrees, overcast, with a nice breeze. I ran my trail through the park and did the typical 4 1/2. There was hardly anybody out there, so I had the place virtually to myself. It was a pretty strong run today as well. I had a lot of energy, as well as a tailwind pushing me home for the last mile, so I finished with a good kick. Fun!

Another good bird day out there (this is likely to become a regular blog feature!). I saw the usual cardinals, chickadees, robins, mourning doves, numerous sparrows, and the osprey even cruised over. Also of note was a red-bellied woodpecker (although he is here all year long, it’s exciting to see this colorful guy!).

I’m excited because there is a marathon of ”The Office” tonight. All are reruns, but they are some classics. Always a good time. And who knew, but the character of Dwight Schrute has his own blog! it doesn’t appear that he updates it often, but it is worthy of a laugh.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday,

Jean

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Varied weather, and more nature stuff

Pretty nice day today, but a little strange weather-wise. Much cooler than yesterday, with temps in the low 60’s, and a combination of sun. overcast, strong wind, and a few scattered raindrops (and now some big raindrops as I sit here and write!). A veritable buffet of different weather conditions!

I ran 4 1/2 miles on the trail and bike path. It was a good run, a little tough coming home into the strong wind, but a productive run nonetheless.

A good nature day as well. I saw both the mama and papa ospreys circling overhead and riding the wind currents very near the nesting site, so it appears they are making themselves at home. I also spotted an eastern kingbird in a thicket, which makes for my first flycatcher sighting of the season.

I even rescued a cute little woolly bear caterpillar who was trucking as fast as he could across the bike path, guaranteeing him a safe journey to the vegetation on the other side.

Tomorrow is a day off, and the weather forecast seems to indicate a chance of rain from here to eternity (or at least as far as the long range forecast goes). Well, we are getting close to that “April showers” time of year, aren’t we?

Awaiting those May flowers,

Jean

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring arrivals

Exactly three weeks ago, the high temperature was 15 degrees, and we were still shoveling out from a snowstorm.

Today? 78 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous. Wow, what an upswing!

I dug out the tank top for my run this afternoon, and I went 5 1/2 miles, mainly through the park on the trails. There was a pretty stiff south wind that offered a little bit of cooling, but it felt pretty hot. My body hasn’t adjusted to the weather transition just yet!

Some new bird sightings to report. I saw a number of chipping sparrows today, the first I have seen this year. I love this little bird. Sure, they are common, but they have a lot of character. It is good to see them back.

Also, along the trail in the park, there is a nesting platform that was built on the shoreline of a pond. Today, there was an osprey sitting on the nest, also a first for the season. I was pretty excited to see her, and it is going to be fun to watch them over the summer.

How wonderful to see all of the birds returning. This is a great time of year.

Loving spring,

Jean

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yesterday's food and fun

As today is my day off from running, I thought I would share a little more from my day from yesterday!

After my run in the morning, I went to Maple Grove to go to both Dick’s Sporting Goods and R.E.I. so I could pick up some running supplies. I wasn't thrilled with the selection of short-sleeved running shirts (uh, guys, the season is upon us!). But I found a long-sleeved technical shirt on the clearance rack for $11, bought a pair of shorts and some socks, and stocked up on concentrated energy; I picked up several packs of Clif Shot Bloks and gels, and even some Jelly Belly “Sport Beans.” That ought to keep me going for awhile!

Following my shopping excursion, I went for lunch at The Lookout Bar & Grill, also in Maple Grove. It is a really cool little neighborhood joint that has been there for decades. Damn good burgers, and very reasonable prices.

My “Shroom Swissburger” at The Lookout



The afternoon brought a little grocery shopping, and then I returned home to take in more sports than I could handle. NASCAR racing, NCAA basketball, and some PGA golf where I watched my fantasy golfer, Robert Allenby, slowly slide out of contention at the WGC - CA Championship!

Not to be outdone by a restaurant, I managed to make some good food of my own for dinner.

I made a batch of pizza dough earlier in the week, so I decided to put it to good use. iI whipped up a homemade pizza with Nueske's Canadian bacon, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some of that wonderful fresh spring asparagus.

Fun with homemade pizza!



It was both pretty and delicious, if I do say so myself! :)

All in all, a great day. And today is more of the same. More NASCAR, more basketball, more golf. more, more, more! And this evening I am making a pheasant that my brother gave me. I'm preparing it "coq au vin" style with red wine, so I am greatly looking forward to that!

Until next time,

Jean

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"The fog is getting thicker..."

“...and Leon’s getting larger!”

Sorry, sorry, I just had to use that classic quote from the movie, ”Airplane!” It is such a foggy morning here, and that line popped into my head! :)

The Twin Cities is currently under a dense fog advisory until noon. As I type this, I can barely see the condos down the street from me, which are probably a football field’s length away. That didn’t stop me from doing a long run, however. I did 10 miles today, sticking to the trails and bike paths. It was a comfortable 45 degrees with very little wind and a hefty dose of humidity (obviously!). Really excellent running weather.

In spite of the limited visibility, I did manage to see lots of interesting wildlife. The usual suspects, the cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, mourning doves, assorted sparrows, crows, and geese, were out in abundance. A mother and father killdeer scattered from the trail as I approached them. The beady-eyed grackles have returned, as have the red-winged blackbirds. I did not see a single one of these yesterday. Today, the swamps were alive with them, and their piercing yodel could be heard everywhere. I also heard the grating crow of the ring-necked pheasant in three different spots along the route. It is nice that there is still some habitat for them here in the metro.

The highlight occurred when I was on a bridge crossing a creek. Below me, I saw a large beaver swimming down the middle! I stopped to watch him, hoping he would do his patented “tail slap,” but he could have cared less that I was there. The beaver just kept lazily chugging along as he disappeared around the bend.

Needless to say, I had a blast on my run this morning.

Currently I am waiting for the fog to lift so I can head out and run my errands. I want to go somewhere for lunch, buy some groceries, and visit a sporting goods store. Then at 2 PM is the NASCAR Busch race at Bristol, so I need to be back in time for that!

Fogged in,

Jean

Friday, March 23, 2007

Great weather, pretty hawks, and a woodpecker's lunch

What a spectacular day in the metro. We had 62 degrees, sunny, and just a little bit of a breeze. Wonderful running this afternoon.! I did 4 1/2 miles strictly on the bike path and trails. There were several walkers out enjoying this fantastic spring day as well.

I saw lots of birds, including chickadees, cardinals, geese, and a pair of enormous red-tailed hawks sitting very low in a smaller tree. I stopped to take a look at them, but they were well aware of my presence and took off for higher ground.

In my earlier post, I told you about the carpentry the pileated woodpecker has been doing along one of my running trails. I brought a camera with me today to show you what he’s been up to.

Pileated’s carpentry



I’m not sure if the picture does justice to how deep these holes are, and what you can’t see is the pile of wood chips at the base of the tree. What is really impressive is that it didn’t take him very long to do this. These holes were not there earlier this week! A magnificent bird, for certain.

Tomorrow is a long-ish run for me, and then I have a bunch of shopping to do and errands to run. And this weekend we have NASCAR racing at Bristol, baby! Short track racing at its finest. :)

Enjoying the arrival of spring,

Jean

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

“Lost” in the fog with the birds

Weird weather today. The Twin Cities was draped under a blanket of fog and mist. The temperature in my neighborhood was 49 degrees though, so it was really comfortable. Spring is officially here, so it is time to break out the shorts!

I changed up my route and stuck mostly to the trails this afternoon. I did 5 1/2 miles, and It was most pleasant. I only saw a few other folks, mainly dog walkers, and one other runner. For the most part, the trails were all mine.

The birds were very active today. I heard my first killdeer when I was running through the open field in the park, so they have returned from their winter down south. I also heard my buddy, the pileated woodpecker, laughing away in the woods. I even got to see a dead tree that he has absolutely shredded in recent days. His work is impressive. I will have to bring a camera on my next run to capture his handiwork, because it is most impressive. Quite the carpenter, this majestic bird!

Unrelated to anything, I can’t wait for the new episode of ”Lost” tonight! What is Jack doing with “The Others?” What will Ben reveal to Locke, if anything? I’ll be tuning in at 9 PM to find out! :)

Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Change in the weather

A pretty day down here. Blue sky, wispy clouds, and a temperature in the low 40's. Comfortable for running, in spite of the howling wind! I got back on the horse today and did my first run since the race. An easy 4 1/2 mile scamper along the usual route. I even saw a big, beautiful red-tailed hawk soaring overhead, enjoying the wind currents. Nice day to be outside.

The weather is definitely starting to change. They are projecting temperatures in the low 50's for most of this week, and possibly creeping upwards of 60 by the weekend. This rules! And it gives me an excuse to buy some new summer running clothes! :)

Unrelated to anything, I just learned there are new episodes of "NCIS" and "The Unit" tonight. Awesome! I am looking forward to some good TV this evening.

Until next time,

Jean

Monday, March 19, 2007

Beating the post race doldrums

Here are a couple of links to some photographers that were capturing the action at yesterday’s Human Race. Glossy Digital Photography was there (you can find shots of me on page 23, 2nd row down!), and also the Charities Challenge folks were taking some pictures as well.

Ah yes, the day after a race. Today is a day off from running so I can recuperate. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes I experience some post-race doldrums. I have so much fun, and the next race is still aways off. The euphoria subsides a little bit as I realize it’s back to the old routine. Get up on a Monday morning, go to work, sit through more and more meetings, blah, blah, blah.

Races are a great escape from all of that, as is running in general. And I am finding it is helpful to plot out some future events so I have something to work towards and keep me motivated.

It is almost a month until the next race, which will be the Pike Island Rundezvous 10k on April 15th. This is a pretty small trail race at Fort Snelling State Park. Should be a pretty low-pressure and quite scenic event, and it will be fun to hit the trails! I can't wait.

Until then, I look forward to lacing up my shoes tomorrow and going for my afternoon run. :)

Jean

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A sort of homecoming at the Human Race

Two years ago on this very weekend, I found myself standing at the starting line of the St. Patrick’s Day Human Race 8k. It would be my first official race since I started running a few years ago.

So today was an anniversary of sorts. Two years and 27 races later, I am back at the campus of St. Thomas University to participate in my third Human Race.

St. Thomas University



Not to rip off a classic song title from U2, but it felt like "a sort of homecoming." I still remember my feeling of nervousness when I first set foot in the St. Thomas fieldhouse two years ago. I wondered if I was ready for this, if I was crazy for trying, and if I knew what I was getting into. Turned out the event and my performance far exceeded my wildest expectations and set me in motion to pursue more races. That is why the Human Race is special to me. This is where it all started. As long as I live in the Twin Cities, the Human Race will be a yearly fixture on my race calendar.

The St. Patrick’s Day Human Race is a very popular and rather historic event put on by the folks at The Sporting Life. In its 35th year, this race is regarded as the fastest 8k in the state, and it attracts many of Minnesota’s top runners. The course (for both events, the 5k and 8k) is a relatively flat out-and-back down scenic Summit Avenue past many beautiful homes and buildings. For many Twin Cities runners, this race truly marks the start of spring, launching us into the summer racing season.

I arrived early, milled around, and watched the 5k race that started first. I love the atmosphere at races. It is so much fun being here. And adding to the fun, I had an unusually high number of really hot female runners asking me for directions to the registration area, questions about the race, etc. Seriously, I was approached by at least a half a dozen. Not sure if it was my spiffy outfit, or if I looked like a tour guide, but it was astonishing. No phone numbers were exchanged, however.

Who could resist the charms of a guy dressed like this?!? :)



The race started, and we were led by a trolley car down Summit Avenue going east. I got off to a fairly slow start. There would be a crosswind hitting the runners in the face for the first half. And due to congestion at the starting line, I boxed myself in behind a pack of slower moving runners (which was my fault). But once I broke free of them, I made it through the first mile in something like 7:20.

Shortly before I hit the 2 mile mark, the men’s leaders came blasting past us the other way. There was a pack of 5 of them, and they were flying. Wow, do I feel slow! :)

With a lap around the block at the William Mitchell College of Law, we were heading back west on Summit. The wind was now sort of behind us, thankfully. I maintained my pace and kept on plugging away. After a slight uphill stretch, I reached the 4 mile mark in 28-something, and the course runs ever so slightly downhill from that point on, so it is clear sailing to the finish.

I crossed the line in 35:42 (you can see the results here), which was a good time for me, and only 29 seconds shy of my 8k PR. Anytime I can run a low 7-minute per mile pace over a distance like this, I can’t help but be pleased. Sure, I was more than 11 minutes behind the guy who won, but I also beat the Mayor of St. Paul, Chris Coleman, by almost 11 minutes, so I figure it comes out in the wash. :) A great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

A proud Irish Nissan Xterra at the St. Patrick's Day Human Race



Tonight I treated myself to some good takeout from a local Chinese restaurant (mmm...Szechuan beef, and chicken in garlic & black bean sauce!), and I am enjoying a nice glass of Cabernet as I type this.

I am off to a good start this year. Here is to a fun, enjoyable, and successful 2007 racing season, and here is to more anniversaries!

Jean

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March madness

I did the typical route today, nothing to strenuous. Just trying to take it easy with the race coming up on Sunday. The day was beautiful when I got home from work. I had a great run in the sunshine, with temperatures near 40. Aside from being a bit breezy, it was spectacular.

As I type this, the skies have turned overcast, and I see snowflakes streaming past my window!

Welcome to Minnesota, where the weather can change in a heartbeat. And to think it was 63 degrees on Tuesday. It's March madness, I'm telling you!

And there is another kind of "March madness" going on as well. Today is the start of the NCAA basketball tournament, so I will probably be tuning in tonight. Admittedly, I don’t follow college basketball as closely as I used to, but the first weekend of the tournament is always a lot of fun. So many games, and usually a few surprises.

Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Melting away, and protesting leprechauns

Yesterday's nice weather has officially been topped. 63 degrees here in the metro! Wow, does it ever feel nice. In fact, it is so nice outside that, as I type this, I can see a person down the street in the condo development unloading a keg of beer from his truck wearing just shorts and a tank top. That is a sign of spring, right?

Anyhow, what a great day to run! I took the the usual route in my summer gear; shorts, a short-sleeved running shirt, and my cap. Awesome! I ran somewhat easy today, since I went longer yesterday, but it was a joy to run. It felt like spring, and I loved it.

The snow is virtually gone, with the exception of areas that receive little sun, or where it was piled up by the plows. I have never seen so much snow melt so quickly.

And finally, in running news; With the Human Race 8k in St. Paul rapidly approaching, we just got an e-mail from the race director. Apparently the race is being protested by leprechauns! Ought to be interesting.

Starting to feel a wee bit Irish,

Jean

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who likes short shorts?

I like short shorts!

Or perhaps I should say, I like being able to wear running shorts on a 55 degree March day in Minnesota! :)

These are the kind of days runners dream of. Mid 50’s, slight breeze, with a mix of sun and clouds. Perfect. I threw on some shorts and my new super-cool Asics long-sleeved technical top, and I was off. I ran my usual route, and it wa so nice that I just kept on running. I ended up running 6 miles tonight, if for no other reason than to celebrate the beautiful weather. A great run.

It is astonishing how much snow has melted in the past week. Exactly a week ago, we were digging out from two different snowstorms with close to two feet of snow on the ground. Today, I look out the window and can see bare grass on the lawns of the condos below me. Wow!

Last night's dinner...yum!



It was a great weekend, too. Sunday brought a nice walk, a pot of homemade pollo alla cacciatora (delicious!), and lots of sports viewing on TV. My fantasy league PGA golfer missed the cut, and I am getting my butt handed to me in fantasy NASCAR this season, so it was not a successful weekend for leagues. But it did not diminish my enjoyment, for I am happy that spring is just around the corner. We're almost there!

Loving the warm weather,

Jean

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bring on spring!

What a fantastic day! Right now it is in the upper 40’s and is bright and sunny. Nice!

This morning I ended up doing a 9 mile run. It was so comfortable when I went out, about 28 degrees, and I was treated to a beautiful sunrise. The bike path was nearly impassable because all the water from the melting snow had frozen overnight, so I stuck to the streets in my neighborhood.

While on my run, I noticed a remarkable number of birds that were singing, a clear sign of spring. There were the new arrival robins and mourning doves who are back from their winter trip down south. The cardinals, chickadees, and blue jays were chirping away. The pileated woodpecker was cackling and hammering away on his trees. And I saw a sharp-shinned hawk making a couple of circles over the rooftops in search of prey. A great day for birds. They are happy that spring is around the corner, and so am I!

My run was a really good one. As I said in my previous post, it is so nice to have traction again! I just set my cruise control and ran a pretty easy pace.

After my run, I went and did some shopping, and I had lunch at a local joint, the Ole Piper Inn. I’ve been here a couple of times now, and I highly recommend the “Piper Burger.” Yum! And if you are in the area on St. Patrick's Day, they are giving a way a "basket of booze" to the best dressed leprechaun! Hmmmm...I think I will pass. I have a race the following day! :)

Currently I am watching the NASCAR Busch Series demolition derby...er, I mean, race. Two big crashes in the first 20 laps! The boys are having a little trouble with the new track surface at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ought to make for a most interesting cup race tomorrow.

Enjoying nicer weather,

Jean

Friday, March 9, 2007

Terra firma

What a difference a couple of days makes.

Today was a 45 degree sunny day. The temperatures stayed above freezing overnight, so the snow we got from the storm last weekend is melting like crazy. All of my streets that were previously covered in slush were perfectly clear.

It felt so good to run on solid ground, to have some traction, and to not spin your wheels. I felt downright speedy on my run this afternoon. And it was my first run of the year where I did not have to wear a stocking cap! I hope this means we are turning the corner.

No real solid plans for the weekend. I will do a run tomorrow (perhaps 8 miles or so), and then I will probably do some cooking (although I don’t know what yet), and the amount of televised sports is absolutely off the charts. We have tons of college basketball (including the NCAA bracket selections for the tourney), PGA golf, and a couple of NASCAR races from Las Vegas to keep me entertained. So I think a great weekend is in store!

Melting away,

Jean

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Slush sucks

If you read yesterday’s post where I complained about the conditions of my streets. Today was worse.

It was 25 degrees today, but even so, the high March sunshine has started to melt some of the massive amounts of snow we got. That being said, the snow-packed streets have begun to soften.

There was about 4-5 inches of slushy snow and ice on my regular route. It made running extrememly challenging. Even cars were having a tough time negotiating the hilly areas. I can’t believe the city wouldn’t have run a plow through there to clean some of that off. My legs even got sprayed by a passing car, which didn’t exactly make me smile!

At least we have some warmer weather in store for us, so hopefully all of that will disappear soon. Running in the slush sucks.

But what didn’t suck was the homemade pizza I made after my run! :)



Yum,

Jean

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Period of adjustment

Running was very challenging today. A few days ago, it got warm, so some of the snow melted. In the last two days, it has been rather chilly. Therefore, the streets were a combination of slippery and slushy. Of course the city did nothing to clean off the streets while it was warm, so this stuff is pretty much here for good until we get some warmer weather. Every step felt like one step forward, and a half a step back. Slow going on the roads this afternoon!

The last two days have been a little long. Even though the office is closer to home, as with any new place, there will always be an adjustment period. I feel like I am starting to get settled in, but I am still trying to get the lay of the land, as well as trying to figure out the cafeteria setup!

Speaking of adjustments, I’ve been looking at my race calendar, and I might make some changes to it. I have the Human Race 8k in less than two weeks, which will be an anniversary of sorts. But I may change up my April race from the Trail Mix 25k to something else (namely, something shorter!). It has been tough to get in the long runs over the last few weeks, given the cold and the snow. I don’t feel like I would be ready in time. And, I originally had my heart set on the Fargo Half Marathon in May, and I don’t want to fry myself before that!

So we will see. Some adjustments may be forthcoming. But it’s all good. Running is about having fun, and fun I will have wherever I run! :)

Ready for spring,

Jean

Monday, March 5, 2007

New digs at work

Today my department moved into our new office. It is a pretty nice setup. The best thing is that I reduced my commute by 75%, so that will be good. But it was a slightly chaotic, tiring day, given all the unpacking I had to do, as well as all of the various orientation sessions for the new campus. It feels good to be home.

Tonight, I relax. I made some really good beef Bourguignon yesterday, so the leftovers will supply me with my dinner. And then I will watch FOX’s action-packed lineup of ”Prison Break” and ”24”. A fun evening of TV!

There was no run tonight, as it was my day off. Yesterday I did get in a nice run in the morning. It was very cold, all of 5 degrees, but I still got to enjoy the crunchy snow on the side streets, so running was comfortable with good grip.

On my drive home tonight, I got to see that the bike path in my neighborhood had about 4 feet of snow piled upon it from the snowplows last weekend. I am not sure if they will be removing that anytime soon, or if they are simply going to wait for it to melt, but I might have to find some alternate routes!

Only 16 days until spring,

Jean

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Back to normal (somewhat!), and a few storm photos

The snow has finally stopped, and as Johnny Nash once sang, “It's gonna be a bright (Bright), bright (Bright) sunshiny day!”

Snow, snow, everywhere! Keep in mind that a mere 8 days ago, the ground was bare.



The sun shines bright in the northeast metro today, although it is a cold one. The temperature was all of 12 degrees, and a fierce NW wind kept the wind chill around -4. How much snow did we end up with? Not sure. According to the National Weather Service, my area was in the 12-15 inch zone. Not that far west of here got 20! Whatever the case, we have a hell of a lot of snow. That was a crazy storm, bigger than last weekend’s.

One of the streets I ran on today. No pavement in sight!



For my run, I had to dig out my long underwear and face mask, because I haven’t needed them lately! And, needless to say, they haven’t quite gotten around to plowing the bike path that I normally take on the weekend. Clearly, there are other priorities, such as clearing the roads!

Notice the plow has nearly buried the stop sign!



I ended up running a variation of my usual route, except that I did four laps around the lake instead of two, so I got in somewhere around 8 miles. The roads in my neighborhood are still quite snow-packed and crunchy. Trail shoes served me well once again for added traction.

...but clearance is only about 8’, 3”! :)



After my run, I ventured out in my car for the first time since Wednesday. It felt good to get out. The only time I had been outside in the last few days was to run, so I was starting to go a little crazy sitting in the apartment! Most of the highways were pretty well cleared off, but the side streets and parking lots of stores were still packed with snow and quite slick. I did a little grocery shopping and bought some ingredients to make beef Bourguignon tomorrow. Nothing like eating a nice braised dish while staring at huge drifts of snow! :)

Digging out nicely,

Jean

Friday, March 2, 2007

The aftermath

Today was not a scheduled run day, and that was probably OK.

I am not sure what our official snow total was. It is hard to tell with all the drifting, but it was well over a foot. In fact, check out the snowdrift that has formed in front of the condo below me.



I think they are going to have a little problem getting in and out of the side door...and, they are getting close to not being able to see out the window!

WCCO TV in Minneapolis has a slideshow of storm photos that viewers have submitted so you can see some of the impressive snow amounts.

And guess what? It is still snowing! :)

Wow,

Jean

Thursday, March 1, 2007

In like a lion

If I may digress for a moment, I am a huge fan of the TV show "Lost." Hands down, my favorite thing on TV. Every week leaves me intrigued, and usually with more questions than answers. I never know what will be next, and it keeps me guessing. Few programs do that for me anymore.

Anyhow, a pleasant and unexpected surprise from last night's episode was that the song "Shambala" by Three Dog Night was featured prominently. I love this song. If it were not loaded on my iPod, this is a favorite classic rock tune of mine that I would rarely hear. What a treat to see Hurley driving the bus with a little Three Dog Night blasting in the background!

And if the "road to Shambala" is located in Minnesota, it would be snow-covered today. :)

I am sure many people (at least those in the snow belt, for certain) have heard the expression "In like a lion, out like a lamb." This is in reference to March weather, the premise being that if the weather is horrible at the start of the month, it should be nice at the end. The converse of that expression is also used if the weather is good at the start, that could mean it will suck at the end of the month!

Well, March definitely came in like a lion. We got slammed with our second storm in less than a week, just as predicted. I was able to work from home today (which I was extremely thankful for). And because of the dire weather forecast for the afternoon, I decided to do my run early in the morning before I started work (which I am glad I did). Despite getting hit by freezing pellets of rain, it was a really nice run. There was a crunchy layer of an inch or two of heavy snow that fell overnight that aided in traction and cushioning. A good run.

And I am glad I did it in the morning. While working on my projects today, I would take the occasional look out the window to see "white out" conditions. At times, the snow was coming down so hard that I could not see the condos that are right across the street. A couple of people were even driving their snowmobiles right down the middle of the street (which is illegal, but who is going to stop them?). As of this afternoon, they still say "the worst is yet to come." Wow.

Enjoying the indoors,

Jean

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