Weathering the weather

I have spent 3 out of the last 5 weeks being sick, which in addition to bringing me to my knees in coughing fits (literally), pisses me off. I drink water, I sleep well, I exercise, I got the flu shot. I am playing by the rules here, what the hell, logic?

So in addition to already being ornery and sounding like an elderly tuberculosis patient (thanks, asthmatic lungs!), I have been dealing with some weather here. You may have heard a little about it; this is Sunday’s delightful forecast:

Negative 50 below with the wind chill. Jesus Christ.

This morning, I took the dog outside before work and didn’t put on gloves because I was only going to be out for three minutes. I didn’t factor in the wind, which buffeted me against the house the second I stepped outside and made me say out loud, “Well, now you’re just being a bitch about it,” and yes, I talk out loud to the weather, because it is actually a physical being at this point. When I got back inside, my hands were curled into little frostbitten claws of pain, and I was whimpering, so I had to warm them under water for 5 minutes. Ridiculous.

Also ridiculous? The fact that I had to actually scrape the inside of my car windshield yesterday before leaving work. Please note the ice shavings on my dashboard. Unbelievable.

Luckily, our governor has called off school state-wide for Monday, so most of my coworkers, myself included, will be working from home. I intend to spend the entire day wearing fleece clothing and drinking hot chocolate while buried under an electric blanket and two heat-giving pets as I work from my bed-desk.

Sentenced to the electric blanket

We’re finally getting a blast of cold weather, and for once I’m not complaining. It’s already mid-January, and winter this year has barely been a blip on my radar. It was only last week that I was getting ready for work when I remembered, Oh yeah. My car has an automatic starter. The snowfall has been pleasantly light (minus the first 13-inch snowfall winter heaved on us), so my Snow Shoveling Rage has had a chance to simmer down on the back burner. I’ve bought a few pairs of extremely warm and toasty socks, I successfully used my circular knitting needles to whip up a soft and comfy infinity scarf, and I typically ensconce myself in a giant fleecy blanket at work because the maintenance guys find it funny to operate a building in which the temperature is never correctly regulated.

So on those rare days when the cold seeps into my bones and lies down to take a long, bear-like nap, I’ve been hauling out my electric blanket. And the pets are ecstatic. Shorty will jump at it as I’m carrying it into the bedroom, Sunny will come galloping off the couch, and even Abby will jump up onto the bed to wait impatiently for me to spread the blanket out, plug it in, and attempt to crawl underneath it before it’s pinned down by 60 pounds of heat-seeking animals.

I do this every morning after I’ve fed the pets and have some time to kill before I need to start getting ready for work. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I play around on my phone, and sometimes I fall back asleep. But mostly, I just watch the pets achieve various stages of bliss: Shorty circles around and around in my lap before finally plopping down with a satisfied sigh, Sunny curls around my feet like a toasty comma and purrs noisily, and Abby sits so high up on my chest that I can feel her breath on my face as she kneads my neck with her icy paws.

It’s my favorite part of the day. (And one reason why I find it so hard to get going in the morning.)

The Color Run

Way back in March, Jason called me at work to tell me about a race called the Color Run. I looked it up, read the description and immediately became rabidly excited. About a race. Where I’d need to run. But this race, you guys. You start out wearing a clean white t-shirt and at every kilometer you get pelted with a different colored powder. So yeah, I was in.

A few hours later, I went back online to read more about the race and saw a new message in bright red that said, “REGISTRATION FOR THE TWIN CITIES COLOR RUN IS NOW CLOSED.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo. God, I finally get jazzed about running a race and then this happens. I called Jason back to whine and moan, and then immediately signed up for the email notification list in case they opened up some more spots.

A few months later, they did.

Here’s us before the race:

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It was so hot. We didn’t bring any water to drink beforehand. Poor planning, selves.

After:

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Seriously, I cannot stress to you how hot and humid it was. The air was THICK. And I have asthma. So…this did not end well for me. Think, “Shauna couldn’t breathe or regulate her body temperature and had to walk most of the race and then came two dry heaves away from vomiting in the car on the way home before diverting disaster by blasting air conditioning on the back of her neck for 10 seconds.” True story.

I was dripping sweat before the race even started (mostly because I ran the ½ mile back to our car to grab our camera and then could not cool back down). I felt awful during the race. AWFUL. I ended up walking most of it (and I run 3 miles a couple of times a week). (At least I wasn’t the only one. At one point, we were in a group of maybe 75 people and every single person was walking. That’s how miserable it was.) Jason, of course, would’ve run the whole thing at the same pace without stopping, but he was nice enough to walk with me.

The post-race color toss:

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Chalky! Also: Cannot see my hand in front of my face! Also, also: INSTANT ASTHMA ACTIVATOR!

Oops:

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The color got e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. We sat on garbage bags in the car and ended up tossing all of our clothing (except our shoes). It took 30 minutes of scrubbing our skin raw with a loofah to remove (most of) the color. In some places, the color looked like it was never going to disappear (between my toes, especially).

Three hours later I notified Jason, “Um…I just blew my nose and the Kleenex was purple. So…ah…you might want to keep that in mind.”

But I’d do it again next year. (As long as it’s not in July.)

Streetrunner

Our treadmill is still broken and awaiting a new control panel/sensor/capacitor (I assume this is the part that likes to mess with me mentally by randomly slowing down so that 2-3 seconds go by without the distance changing), so we decided to run outside. Here’s how that worked out:

Shoes: Oh hey, our mesh exterior lets in ALL the cold air!

Face: Um, why are we running into the wind? You know it’s only 30 degrees out, right? And you saw how that giant American flag at the fire station was completely horizontal, yes?

Hands: We’re covered with gloves and yet we’re still freezing!

Lungs: Uh…you remembered to take your inhaler first, right?

Brain: CRAP.

Lungs: It’s cool. We’ll just repay you later with a 5-minute coughing fit. Nothing we love better than cold air crackling in our asthma-infected tissues!

Legs: No me gusta.

Shoes: HA! We became untied already — 3 minutes in. New record!

Eyes: How is Jason so far ahead of us so soon???

Jerkwad’s driveway/sidewalk: Hey, hope you enjoyed dodging the Ice Path of Death since I am apparently the only homeowner in the city who has not shoveled.

Stopwatch: Wow. You ran this mile in 10:21 despite running into the wind, stopping to tie your shoe and feeling as though you’re running in quicksand in a stop-motion film run at half speed.

Brain: How is that possible?

iPod: I like to think it’s because of you having Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a hero” on your playlist…like all badasses do.

Legs: I know we’re numb from the cold and all, but we really need to walk right now.

Lungs: Hey, just saying — because I’m sure you’ve noticed — but we’re not really “breathing” right now. All the air you’re inhaling is immediately getting exhaled – it’s not even reaching us!

Nose: You know what’s great? Exertion and cold air! Now you’re not the only one running! HA HA!

Jerkwad’s driveway/sidewalk: Ooh, I bet that jerking motion you made as you started to slip on the ice pulled a back muscle!

iPod: Because you’re so cold, I decided to shuffle to Rob Zombie’s “Numb.” Clever, huh? You’re welcome!

Lungs: It’s amazing how well we do using only 8 percent of our capacity.

Legs: We’re feeling awesome right now! For real, we’re not messing with you — for once.

Entire body: Yeah, this isn’t that bad, especially since you haven’t run in ages. We might be able to do that 7K next weekend without dying. No promises, though!

Stopwatch: You ran 2 miles in 22:08. Believe me, I am as surprised about this as you are.

Conclusion: I run faster when I’m cold and miserable.