Nature’s gym: early morning workout

4:30 AM workout (Mrs. Emerging Runner)

The ten or so inches of snow that were dropped on Long Island today provided an excuse to skip my run and forced the need for some upper body exercise. I’m not a big snow-blower fan and hiring people to plow the driveway is a hit-or-miss thing (Are they coming? What if they don’t?). Over the years my wife and I have followed a strategy where we shovel the drive throughout a snowstorm so we never have to deal with big accumulations.

In the past we’ve gone out in the middle of the night to shovel, went back to sleep for a few hours and went out again early in the morning. Those were the days when I needed to get to the LIRR by 6:15 AM to catch the train into the city. I’m happy to say those days are gone. So instead of getting up at 1:00 AM, we went out this morning at 4:30 and dealt with about six inches of snow, freezing temperatures and blowing winds. My glasses alternated between fogging up due to trapping breath in my balaclava and going opaque from the snow freezing on the lenses. It was not as much fun as I’m describing it.

That was the worst of of it and we all went out again later to clean up the residual inches and dig our way past the wall left by the town plows. Through all of that, I got to use many neglected muscles above the waist, but I pushed far more than I lifted. I could have done a treadmill run today but I thought the shoveling workout would suffice as my workout of the day.

I don’t think the roads will be in shape for outdoor running tomorrow so I’ll definitely be on the treadmill on Saturday. Sunday’s temperatures are supposed to reach 41° and that might be an opportunity to get back outside. My 2014 running streak has come to an end all too soon, but 33% of my workouts this year have been upper body! If I could continue that ratio throughout 2014, I’d be in great shape.

Head for the treadmills, here comes the snow!

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

Today has been highly productive yet I feel like something is missing. Perhaps that something is the storm that is making its way toward western Long Island. The town just sent an email saying that schools are closed on Friday, probably because the Governor is shutting down the LIE at midnight. I’m less worried about the snow than the 45 MPH winds that could cause a power outage or knock down trees.

Earlier today, I pulled the generator out of the garage and ran a test to make sure it will be ready if we need it. That went fine, but if I have a choice, I’d prefer not to be running 30 amp lines into the house to power hot plates and heaters. Predictions are for 5-8″ of snow but I’m betting it will be closer to a foot. Either way, I won’t be running on the road tomorrow.

It was snowing this morning when I got up and I knew I’d be better off with an indoor workout. I love running in the snow, but not running in snow with cars. I’m working on a big project, so I focused on that while I waited for my wife to finish her treadmill run. Once she was done, I headed upstairs for my second run of the year.

Yesterday’s Hangover run was lots of fun. Being with friends and among a crowd of other runners helped distract me from the fact that we were running the same one mile loop over and over. Despite having the TV news for company, I found today’s treadmill session extremely tedious. I set the speed a little higher than normal, hoping that would get me through the workout faster.

I tried to imagine being out running the trails, rather than suffering through the unchanging view of my snowy backyard. When you run outdoors you can tune your mental state to the task ahead. A third of the way through my daily training run, I can visualize the roads that I’ll need to cover to complete my distance. On the treadmill, the first third is no different than the second. The only excitement comes at the end, when I usually increase my speed to the highest setting I can sustain over the last quarter mile.

The rest of the day was dedicated to my business project. I’m hoping to complete that by next Wednesday. Looking back on the day I’m realizing that a lot got done overall. But what’s still to do can’t be done until there’s enough snow on the driveway to shovel. I guess that’s what’s missing. But an upper body workout at 10 PM tonight might make this an even more productive day.

Do U really like me or is it just the code talking?

 

Today’s workouts (treadmill): 3.2 miles + 1 hour shoveling 

My Fitbit likes me. I know this because it told me so. Right on the display it said, “I LIKE U.” Every once in a while it will tell me something like “LET’S GO!” or “MOVE IT.” It’s kind of pushy. I think the reason it was liking me right now relates to my double workout, courtesy of today’s snowfall.

Believe it or not, this is a color photo

The neighborhood was already covered in snow by the time I woke up and it hasn’t stopped yet. I went out early to shovel and was surprised to see 4″ of the heavy stuff already on the driveway. It took almost an hour to clear both the drive and the walk. By the end, my Fitbit showed I’d covered over 4,000 steps and almost two miles of distance. I did go back and forth and up and down quite a few times.

After taking a break for a cup of coffee, I changed into running clothes and started a treadmill run. I decided that my morning effort gave me license to set an easier pace than normal. Shoveling all that snow had provided a nice (and well needed) upper body workout and running took care of the balance. By the time I finished my run I was almost to 10K steps and approaching 6 miles for the day. I didn’t do it so my Fitbit would like me. But I’m glad that it does.

Loathing this makes the treadmill more tolerable

Pretty sure I remember this happening before

Today’s run (treadmill): 5.2 miles

Hey, has anyone notice that it snowed? Seriously, the news stations are treating this blizzard like the second coming of Sandy. For most people in the area, it was just a bunch of snow. But I do have sympathy for the thousands who lost their power last night. Sandy happened at the end of October when temperatures were generally in the low 40’s. Freezing temps + no power = misery.

I was thrilled to see that we still had our power when I woke up this morning. The roads were covered in deep snow at 5:00 AM. My town supposedly received 18″-24″ and I was glad that we’d chosen to let our landscaper plow the driveway, rather that go out in shifts every few hours to shovel. I actually enjoy the whole shoveling experience, but this seemed a more practical way to move that much snow.

The snowplows went to work around 7:00 AM and I decided that the streets were no place to be. I debated between the elliptical and the treadmill and chose the latter. Today’s goal was five miles that I would run at a moderate pace. After a string of intense workouts, I wanted to ease up a bit while I still got some miles in. I wasn’t running outside, but the view from the window was postcard pretty.

I have trouble hearing the TV when I’m on the treadmill so I usually watch the news. That’s because it’s more visual with lots of readable information on the screen. But today I just couldn’t stand the repeating stories about the storm. Is it really that fascinating for people to hear that snow had fallen? Perhaps so. Instead of the news, I put on one of the commercial-free music channels provided by our cable company.

I started my run listening to really bad music. Most people like songs that connect them to positive experiences. For example, the music that was playing on a first date or during a fun event with friends will provide more meaning. Sometimes those songs are bad, but you love them anyway. The channel I chose was playing that whiny, tuneless rock from the 90’s that is usually described as grunge. I dislike it, but I kept listening, because it helped distract my enmity for the treadmill.

It turned out to be a very good workout and I was glad that I picked a run over the elliptical. It looks like street conditions are not going to support safe running for the next few days so I’ll remain inside. That being the case, I hope the TV news becomes more interesting. Or the music gets better.