Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Neither hail nor snow...

Nor gloom of morn, nor thunder and lightning, will stay me from the moderately swift completion of my morning rounds! Seven mile recovery run, that is.

Reflective in the darkness!

I can't claim that my weather adventures this morning can compete in any fashion with the extreme cold and snow that runners throughout many parts of the U.S. are still tackling. I am probably not alone in facing a surprise twist in the forecast after winter had seemed to be going away! My Facebook post from earlier in the day says it all: "The rumors of winter's demise have been greatly exaggerated."

Early this morning (like 4 a.m. or so) I woke to hear what sounded like two different kinds of precipitation pounding my roof. Heavy rain, a familiar sound...and something else, at the time unknown. I now believe it was hail. By the time I officially woke up at 5:30 I heard only the sound of rain. And in fact, it was probably the sound of leftover rain dripping from the eaves and gutters, as it was not actually raining by the time I left the house at 6:30.

Considering the 20 miles on Sunday and downhill skiing yesterday, my legs felt quite good this morning. By the way, let me insert that I had fewer after-effects from Sunday's run than I have had from any long run ever! Even though I didn't take an ice bath! My only treatment was taking Advil when I finally got around to taking a shower in the mid-afternoon, and then another dose of Advil before bed. Although I felt a little stiff throughout the afternoon, I had absolutely no leg aches and pains during the night, and on Monday (and today) I felt just fine. My quads felt just a little tired after a couple hours of skiing, but they probably would have anyway. Monday night I went to the Y and squeezed in 20 minutes on the elliptical before my yoga class. I love this yoga class because although there is a good amount of difficult core and strength work, we also get some great stretching in. Last night near the end we did two minutes of frog pose, followed by pigeon. Fabulous hip stretches.

Anyhow, back to today. I had run about a mile and a half when the skies opened up and I was pelted with hail! I decided to keep going, as none of the hailstones seemed big enough to cause any injury. This first hail episode didn't last too long, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I was trotting along when I saw a huge flash of light in the sky. "Is that lightning?" I asked myself. A few minutes later the thunder confirmed that it was, in fact, lightning. It must have been pretty far away, though, as there was a pretty good delay between the lightning and the thunder.

What next, a funnel cloud?

No, in fact what was next was more hail! This time it did not stop very quickly. I am pretty sure it hailed steadily for at least half an hour or more. I took this picture to reflect the scene, but you can't really tell that the streets are covered with ice pellets, rather than light snow as it appears here.
As I was running along I held my hand out and caught some hailstones to photograph for posterity. (You can also see the hail on the sidewalk below.) I also ate a few that I caught in my mouth.
I greatly preferred the hail to rain. Even though my jacket eventually got soaked, my face and glasses did not get wet as they would have in the rain (even with a hat).

By the time I reached downtown, the hail had turned into snow, and continued the rest of my way home.

I think my efforts to outrun the weather paid off, because my average pace for 7.01 miles was 10:30 per mile, which is a little faster than I would normally get for the first morning run of the work week.

I am very glad I made myself get out of bed and didn't allow myself to postpone the run "till afternoon." I don't know what the weather is right now--we had heavy snow in the late morning and sun in the early afternoon--but by the time I finish stuff up and get home I will be happy just to hang out with the cats, take out the garbage (ugh) and have dinner.

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