|My backyard on Wednesday morning1|
Do not be fooled by the deceptively attractive appearance of the above scene. This can mean only one thing: winter is here. Yes, I know that winter doesn't technically begin until December 22nd. This is Michigan! Winter prematurely ejaculates on us every year! You think it's still fall...you spend part of the Thanksgiving holiday walking outside in 55-degree temperatures...the sun is shining...and then...
You get hit with a big wet mess when you weren't expecting it.
Yes, I am participating in the annual "woe is us" collective groan that arises from the Midwest at this time of year. Most of my Midwest run-blogger buddies have already posted a variation on this theme. WE CAN'T HELP IT! We forget what the weather was like eight or nine months ago. We are lulled into complacency by warm weather and green grass. The memories of those horrible long runs in 15 degrees and four inches of snow recede until we kind
of remember that something
unpleasant happened in February, but we're not sure what. Our gloves, hats, tights, long-sleeved shirts, and jackets get shuffled to the bottoms of piles and drawers or lost altogether. The long, lazy days of summer stretch on and on...
We know what's coming, but we pretend not to notice the days growing shorter, the temperatures falling. We wear shorts and T-shirts long after a "normal" person would have donned pants and a jacket. We refuse to try on that one jacket that was always a little snug to see if it still (sort of) fits. Maybe we can't find that jacket at all, and that's okay. It's still fall! It's still warm! It hasn't gone below freezing at night yet! I don't have to drive to work in the dark! IT'S NOT WINTER! IT'S NOT! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA LA LAAAAA...
That was the big wet mess. HEL-LO! It's winter, remember her?
We sigh, square our shoulders, dig out the gloves, hats, tights, long-sleeved shirts, and jackets. We make sure the battery on the headlamp is fresh and there's a safety vest to wear on those dark, cold mornings. We're relieved to find the close-fitting jacket still fits after all, and that pair of thick tights mysteriously appears in a pile of sweaters. We acclimate to the temperature, embrace the darkness. We run in 30, 20, 10 or zero degrees (not without occasional consequences
, however). We run in sleet, snow, wind, rain. We feel like badasses, we consider ourselves hardcore. We are the Michigan winter runners.
The Redhead and I extended our streak of good luck at Lillie Park with a walk on Monday. However, Tuesday (pouring rain) and Wednesday (snow) were not as kind. In lieu of the park, we elected to climb stairs in the tall building next to my office. Thirteen flights of stairs at 22 steps per flight and four trips up equals 1,144 steps. We were both sweaty and breathless when we finished. My heart was thundering. As relaxing and bucolic as the path through Lillie Park is, it does not equal a true cardiovascular workout. Stair climbing, on the other hand...whew.
This morning when I arose to go to the gym, my calves were like "HEY! What did you do to us yesterday?" I was unable to meet up with Redhead at lunch today, so I climbed stairs by myself. I managed two sets before my calves were all "WHAT THE HELL CUT IT OUT ALREADY!" I spent the rest of the afternoon slowly walking around the building when I had to; my quads and calves were more sore every time I stood up. They were in full-on revolt by the time I left work, screaming "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO US, ASSHOLE, JESUS IT FEELS LIKE WE JUST RAN A HALF MARATHON OR SOMETHING, YOU BETTER NOT FUCKING DO THIS AGAIN TOMORROW! ARRRRRGH!"
Little do they know.
1: In the picture you can see four of my five bird feeders. I am very serious about my bird feeders and bird seed. I have suet cakes, thistle seed, sunflower seed, and a mix. This is calculated to attract the maximum species diversity to my yard.