Monday, December 21, 2009

Cross Country Skiing...near home...yeah!

On this, the shortest day of the year, I have decided to write a not really short blog entry. The last few weeks have seen me basically abandon any racing of a half marathon at mile 8, enter my 10th month of practicing yoga, have a Holiday party postponed for two weeks, and finally got to use my cross country skis, right here in Metro DC!!!!

The half marathon I recently ran was held on a dirt/rock path due to a forced last minute location change. It was cold and rainy at the start, snowy at the end. To make a long story short, I was feeling nothing from the get go so I took the race in as experience racing in crap conditions. Until about mile 8 when I abandoned any real effort to race and just wanted to get back to the finish line, and to my dry clothes, without breaking my ankle. 1:56:something, my slowest half marathon ever, or was it a sort of fast training run? I've moved on and said hey at least I've completed 8 of these 13.1 mile races now.

Last Saturday it was 9 months to the day that I went to my first yoga class. Although I am still far away from being a kick-ass yogi, I have already reaped many benefits from these 9 months. It has really helped my running, I feel a lot looser when I run, it doesn't take me 2-3 miles to really get going anymore. I feel more flexible and as relaxed as I'm going to get. Another benefit comes from knowing what I need to work on to keep myself in better shape. I know yoga is supposed to be towards whatever you can go on a given day, that's where you're at, relax, breathe. But when I leave class, while I almost always feel better than I did going in, I do say to myself "man, I really need work on upper body strength" if I struggled with extended downward dog or its variations. This is odd to me because I college and early post-college, I was too concerned with building my upper body and almost ignored the rest of my body or even cardio work. Now, it's the other way around. Time to hit the push up bars almost nightly and weights twice a week Jeff.

I am getting better, albeit slowly, at doing the best I can in yoga and seeing where it takes me. One good thing on the fitness note, I may not lose 15 pounds in the first three months of 2010. I may not have to this year. I'd like to think I avoided most of the holiday 10-15, although I gained 5 in the 10 days after Thanksgiving (3-4 went right back off the next week). I won't lie, one thing I'm really working forward to when I land back at BWI next Sunday is an easier path to maintaining diet and exercise.

This past weekend, incase you haven't heard, DC had a vicious, nasty snowstorm. Woooohoooo! The forecasts kept going up as Thursday night turned into Friday. I started going away from my cynical "yeah, we won't get crap" mannerisms to "we may actually get real snow for once". Yeah, we got about 18-20 inches of real snow. I couldn't believe it but it happened!

Not only did it happen, but my Fun Run group continued the streak of never cancelling a run due to weather! Even if only two of us showed up because the snow was coming down more seriously than before, and 90 percent of the group was scheduled to go to the Celtic Solstice run in Baltimore anyways......we didn't cancel! What a way to make a debut as guest run host, huh! I only ran 4 plus miles since I wanted to get my last errand done and get home before it got really windy and hard to see. Everything accomplished.

I even took the cross country skis out late Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday! I was beyond thrilled to ski around the Mount Vernon bike trail on what was relatively light, fluffy snow for the east coast. Felt like Colorado again, at least for 24 hours! Great memories, great exercise, and a once in a lifetime experience, or at least once every 4-5 years. Yeah, I blew off the Pats game to take advantage of this rare opportunity to play in the snow. I'm de-emphasizing sports anyway so it works for me. In many cases I'd rather be outside doing something, and given the rare heavy snowfall (7th worst storm ever in DC), I would have taken a playoff game to keep me inside. I hope we get another storm this winter, even if it took me 90 minutes to clear out a path to the "driveway" for my car should I need it.

In short, I wish I had another day to play in the snow with Metro open so I could ski in the parks in DC itself. But the memories of this weekend will linger for a very long time. On a final note, after tonight, each day gets a minute or two longer of daylight until June 21. Cheers!

No comments: