09 February 2015

Helluva Hump

Saturday morning arrived with the kind of surprise that tells you that you’ve dug in, you’re into the winter thing waist-deep (literally). Rolling out of bed with nary a minute to spare to meet my local club-mates for our weekly donut run, I depended on the forecast from the night before and slid on the one and only pair of fleece tights I own, the ones reserved for sub-twenty days, since the Weather Gods had called for eleven to fourteen. Creaking stiffly down the stairs, I made a quick diversion to check the thermometer mounted in the dining room and – say what? It read twenty-three. And I thought, wow, it’s warm outside!

When twenty-three seems warm – and indeed, that morning’s run did feel warm and comfortable – it’s time for spring to set your sanity back in order. And to my way to thinking, it’s near, having passed the halfway point in the Sixty-Day Challenge (my definition of winter as the sixty days from January First to March First, after which is it spring, no matter what the calendar reads). Hump Day was January Thirtieth. For a while there it looked like we’d make the Hump with a light sentence. Ah, how wrong we can be. Summer has dog days. Clearly we’re in the sled dog days.

You’ve lived in a cave in the tropics out of range of all media if you don’t know about the blizzard that started New England on the catch-up trail to Buffalo status. Round One: Thirty-six inches – measured personally and confirmed officially in Hudson, just a mile from my front step – awarding us the crowing apex of the Blizzard Snowfall Derby. Six hours of hard shoveling over two days – I prefer an aggressive, rhythmic style – helped ratchet up the logged count of upper body workouts. Round Two - another eighteen inches less than a week later. And ignoring some noise of a few extra inches here and there in-between, Round Three, still tapering off, has added close to another foot and a half. We’re talking about six feet in two weeks. It’s enough to even make this native Upstate New York boy both proud and amazed, and dreading the melt behind the already massive ice dams.

School has been off more than on, the venerable Martha’s Vineyard Twenty-Miler has been cancelled, Massachusetts’ groundhog muttered something unprintable, and probably the most unthinkable result, I’ve actually hit the Hamster Cage (a.k.a. the dreadmill) more than once. Suffice to say it’s been a helluva hump. Yet amidst all of this, good things are happening.

Various bits that have been hurting actually seem to be healing. The Achilles feels better than it has in a long time. A brief scare with an inflamed sessamoid, the bit under the ball of your foot (very scary to me since that was the genesis of the Torn Tendon of Oh-Eight) passed by in the night with the tried-and-true medication of running right through it. And despite the snow, I’ve turned up the mileage dial, hitting two-hundred on the nose for January and getting a good jump on this month, resulting in at least a mild semblance of returning to a decent level of fitness. Not in spades, not in racing shape, but certainly in small, bite-size chunks. Hard work would seem to be paying off.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing like adversity to inspire. Damn the torpedoes, we’re over the Hump, even if a Helluva Hump it has been. Three weeks till spring.

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