Of course, mother nature, you’re going to make those last 40 klicks towards my annual goal cold, windy and very challenging, aren’t you?
Here we go again… December is Blog-Every-Day Month. No guidelines. No rules. No set topic. No nothing no how. Just an article with at least one complete sentence, every day…
December 13… because it decided to snow this morning.
After a (nearly) fourteen klick run this morning, I was content to collapse on the couch and ignore the great outdoors.
We were granted a few hours worth of falling snow this morning –a fact a few of us were met with head-on as we did a lovely and serene trail run through the creek just before nine, as the snow fell all around and we tromped along crunching it underfoot– and mid-afternoon Karin suggest we should actually pull out the cross-country skis and pay a visit to the park.
You may recall that we bought ourselves new skis in January and enjoyed a few months of local sport. With the new truck, I’d like to actually take them somewhere besides the park near our house, but for a lazy Sunday impromptu glide, I’ll take this…
Welcoming back some snow sports; Running through the snow, skiing in the park, and sledding with the girl…
As much as I was a little sad to see the snow, the upside was that it was my first official winter driving experience in the truck. I ended up the day by putting on a little over 60km around the city –commuting, picking up Claire, running some evening errands– all on some moderately sloppy streets. It’s dangerous out there, and I don’t want to be too cavalier about that danger, yet it was a modest comfort to be able to try out the 4×4 on the snow-and-iced suburban trails and have that comfortable feeling of near-guaranteed acceleration at an intersection, or the confidence to keep a safe speed on the freeway in thick traffic. I saw enough vehicles in ditches, and at least one truck wrapped around a light standard, so I know that confidence can get away from some folks. But some of that lingering uncertainty I had about the truck dealing with the winter is slowly melting away.
Ice, Ice Baby. (Or not.)
Having just completed my dutiful eleven klick run on a day filled with a bright blue sky, the sun low on the horizon but lighting the brisk and frosty air, and not the slightest hint of a breeze making the mid-winter morning’s twenty-three degrees below zero temperatures just barely bearable for about an hour of snow-bound plodding, I’m enjoying a cup of tea and thawing on the couch with an affectionate puppy. I would have attempted a classic trail-location selfie, eyelashes laden with miniature icicles and a toque frosty with frozen perspiration, but my phone had sucumbed to the elements and was not cooperating. Apparently Cupertino doesn’t design in Canadian winters. It’s a stretch imagining that on this particular Sunday last year I was running a marathon in Florida.
I’d cover the nearby creek valley in a temporary glass dome, heat it, and lead a winter running club through the snow-free trails.
Sparkle has cabin fever. The poor dog has just about enough fur to protect her from a cool summer breeze, and so in the deepest, coldest days of winter –as we’ve been experiencing here for the last week– she goes outside long enough to pee and that’s about it.
Add to the mix that I’m sick and I’ve only left the house three times in as many days and, well, you’ll get why she stands there looking at me with this look. The Look. The “why are you not letting me go for a walk” look.
I tried explaining that the temperature out the front door, at the park, and everywhere within any sort of reasonable distance is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the backyard… where she does her business numerous times per day and from whose wintery clutches she bounds into the house like her bum is on fire… but with ice and cold and snow clinging to her paws.
She needs a walk. And as every walk-less moment passes she won’t let me forget it.
In fact I’m getting the look as I’m sitting here on the couch writing this post. Right now. A glare of such pitiful puppy magnitude that I almost want to stuff her into a sweater, wrap her boney little paws up in the mittens she hates so much and walk her to the mailbox and back… because that’s about how far she’d make it before she was hopping down the street in a feigned “oh my poor paws” limp that she’s figured out gets her picked up and carried back to the house.
Instead, we’ll just camp here on the warm couch. I’ll nurse my lingering cough and she can cure her cabin fever with a few extra cuddles.
It’ll warm up soon, pup, I promise.
The sunlight through the window is deceptive. It seems like a nice, sunny day but outside it is crazy wicked cold.
Minus forty winchills? Stay warm everybody!
This year: it was too short. It was -20C this morning!
For no particularly good reason I’ve taken a break from coffee.
Well, actually… I try and do a purge every couple of years, break that build up of minor chemical dependency that follows daily consumption of any similar type of drug… even if it’s just the oh-so-socially-acceptable caffeine dependency that accumulates over time. So that’s my reason. My not-so-good, actually particularly arbitrary reason. And so until Christmas morning –about a month and a half away– when my gift to myself will be waking up to a freshly brewed cup-o-joe, I’m cold turkey on hot coffee.
I bring it up now because as I write this it’s been almost (to the hour) a week since my last cup. Seven days. Seven days that, to boot, have seen the weather turn bitterly cold and made the temporary separation between me and my go-to-hot-beverage even just a wee-tiny-little bit harder to bear.
Some past success stories of the same inexplicable process include:
- 2012 was my most recent sojourn into caffeine clear-ups, recorded in “Absolution, Art, and a Bit of Brew” and (later credited) as kicking off a kind of mental clarity that led to some self-realization and a span of moderation and body-changing eating habits.
- In 2009 I took a training-derived break from the brew in “In Lieu of the Juice, Day 0“, which was really more of an effort to find a balance between my running and my lingering dependency on the stuff
- My coffee break up in 2006 was noted in: “Caffeine Free?” and (pre-fatherhood) was loosely linked to an era of science-based self flagellation that materialized in the form of structured withholding of personal pleasures. I’m weird. I know.
Now… the fourth (as recorded here) effort of the same…
And I’ve been drinking tea, of course… not a clean break up from caffeine I’ll admit, but it’s really more about the coffee than the various levels of stimulant in various beverages if I’m being perfectly honest. Tea presents itself as a refined, nuanced drink, rich in variation and leaning more to the flavoured-water side of the scale of whatever societal gauge measures these things. Coffee, on the other hand, is a brew. A concoction. It’s more than flavoured water… it’s an emulsion of oils and particulates enriched with sugar and a ritual of daily purchase that shrouds it in a murky pool of guilty pleasure. Tea… tea is not so naughty.
But all that said, I’m not going to get on a soapbox here and try and lead any other of you caffeinated fools down a similar path. I’m just doing it… noting it… and getting on with things. Unless something more interesting than, say, a new favourite flavour of tea emerges I’ll shut up about it now… mostly…