Home at last

Just a short post. I made it home yesterday afternoon after spending 2.5 days stuck at the office because of snow and ice.

All is well other than a possible reaggravation of an old back injury. Quite a lot of muscular pain in my middle right back (but only when I move). This started last night.

So now rest. No running and no work.

I hope you all have a productive weekend.

Tom

An unexpected consequence of being a runner

I love running.

Okay, when I am out there and it is really cold or really hot or I just don’t feel good, running can be a chore.

What I love most about running is the freedom that it gives me.  An unexpected consequence of being a runner.

Last Saturday was a rough day.  In fact it was a difficult week overall, it just came to a head on Saturday.  I needed to get away.  A couple of years ago that would have entailed driving to Walmart and surrounding stores and walking through the isles of stuff.  Not this time.  Instead, I walked.  In fact I turned off my phone and walked for hours.  I walked on a trail I have run before, but never actually just took the time to look at the surroundings.  It was really cool.  Waterfalls, beaver dams and quietness.

I realized that day that because of my running I could walk as far as I wanted and not worry about how to make it home.  I was able to just go and be free.  It was awesome.

The other time this “consequence of running” occurred to me was this week while shut in at work for two days because of the snow.  I was able to spend hours outside helping people get their cars going.  I walked miles to the pharmacy to pick up meds for a coworker (and buy toothbrushes).  I never once thought, “can I make it back?”  I had freedom.  Who needs a car!

So if you are debating if you should start running or you are a runner and are trying to encourage others to run, remember what I learned.  There is a lot of freedom in life once the chains of poor physical fitness are removed.  Once you run 26.2 miles, it dawns on you that if needed, you can walk the 23 miles home in an emergency.

Freedom.  A basic instinct.  One that I am glad I received almost 2 years ago when I started running.

Southern Snowstorm (Part III)

Honestly I have nothing to do, so I thought I’d write a post for my blog.

We are stuck.  Massively stuck.  The road where my work is off of only has two ways out.  One side has a sharp hill that is ice and the other is filled with a quarter mile of cars that were abandoned yesterday.  The Interstates are crawling and abandoned cars all over them.

Basically the weatherman made a booboo.  He said that this storm was going to be much more south than it was.  So they sent all the sand trucks (and what few salt trucks and snow plows we have) south.  Thus we had 2 inches of snow on frozen roads that turned to ice and no way to move.  I know people up North say, “2 inches of snow… those wimps”.  I am from the North and I’m telling you, if you had this snow with no equipment to clear it or melt it and sub freezing temperatures… Okay, you would have handled it better than us Southerners who haven’t seen snow in 10 years, but still it would have been a mess.

So I spent the day getting medicine and supplies from a CVS a few miles away and walking a co-worker to her husband’s hotel.  Oh yeah, I also worked some.

Another night her in the office and probably most of tomorrow.  I don’t see them getting these cars cleared very quickly.  It is a mess.

No running for me, but I did walk about 7 miles in the ice.  That should account for something.

UPDATE:

It has been two hours since I started this post.  Seems some cars are moving on the Interstates, but our road is still blocked.  Ugh.  The guys who brought the good came and picked it back up.  I’m not sure where they were going, but they were so nice and said to keep anything we needed.  The main guy was a pastor and his deacon was helping him.  Very nice people.

So another day is done.  I may write in the morning if I can keep my eyes open.  I have nothing to sleep on, so it will be another long night.  Reminds me of my collage fraternity days.  Sleeping on the floor in strange rooms. 🙂

I am so thankful for this experience.  It has been hard and I miss my family, but we are all safe and warm and have food and shelter.  There isn’t much more we can ask for in this life.

Goodnight!

Southern Snowstorm (Part II)

IMG_0667The saga continues.

I sit here at work.  It is 4:51 in the morning.  It was a long night.  I slept on an office floor and, being a runner, my hips have little cushion between them and the floor.  Ouch.   I got about 3 hours sleep and now am up for the day.  It is cold, icy and not going to get better soon.

It is supposed to get just above freezing today around 2:00 – 3:00 and then go back into the teens.  I have a strange feeling I won’t be going home tonight.  There are thousands of stranded Birminghamians and at 2:00 they will all try to head home.  The only thing worse than spending another miserable night on an office floor is to spend one in my car.

Okay, back to yesterday.  Honestly in many ways it was amazing.

I got about 1/4 mile from work when the cars in front of me stopped.  There was a hill and they were struggling to get up it because the snow was so slick.  I had to stop and each time I started to go forward, my wheels would just spin.  Funny, I drove my son’s car and had just told him that his front tires are getting bald and need to be changed.  Oh well.

My stranded car

My stranded car

I sat for 20 minutes watching 20 cars in front of me trying to get up the hill.  Some made it and many did not.  Eventually, at the top of the hill, there were several cars just blocking the road.  They either couldn’t move or were sliding down backwards.  I sat in my car amazed that no one was getting out to try helping these people get moving so that at least someone could head on.  Then it occurred to me… “Hmmm. Why am I just sitting in my car not helping these people.  Here I am mad at everyone else and I am doing the same thing.  Someone has to do something.”

So I got out and went up to a car and started pushing and tried to explain to Southerners how to drive in icy snow.  I have driven in a lot of snow in my life; not much in the past 15 years, but I know how to drive in the snow from a lot of experience.  So I explained to people how to get the car moving slowly forward and I pushed from the side of the car.  My little push seemed to make all the difference.  Honestly, as Christian, I’d have to say there were angels helping me.  I even pushed a small school bus full of kids.  As soon as I started pushing, the bus started moving.  It was quite amazing.

I finally came to a car that had been stopped for an hour or so.  It was in the wrong lane and sitting out in the road.  I couldn’t help them because of the angle that the car was sitting.  I finally saw 3 men walking down a nearby hill and asked for help.  The jumped in and we got this guy up the hill.  I mentioned to one of them that I wish I had gloves and he gave me his extra pair.  After about 20 minutes they left to get some people to shelter and after offering to help me get my car out (I declined), they went their way.  I still have his gloves.  He never asked for them back.

The irony of the situation was that the road was blocked ahead and behind.  After people got up the hill, there was no where for them to go.  But at least they were parked on the sides of the road and not in the middle of a hill.

After a couple of hours, I finally decided to walk back to work.  Then the next amazing thing.  Someone with a pickup truck full of food from SAMs had to park in our lot because he couldn’t get anywhere.  He asked if it was okay to leave his truck and then told us to eat anything we wanted.  I’m talking a lot of food.  There were probably 15 pizzas, lots of bags of rolls, pies, cookies and much more.  So the 10 or so of us got to cook anything we wanted.  I think we will be eating this for the next few days.  We made a list of what we eat so we can reimburse him.  The food was for a church ministry, but he didn’t want it unused.  So we have electricity, heat, tons of food and I even get to be one of the few people who will make it to work today. 🙂

Our food truck

Our food truck

I sit here in the quite as my coworkers try to sleep.  My hip hurts from all the pushing yesterday.  I am exhausted.  But I am thankful for the events of the past 24 hours.  I miss my family and my bed.  I do know that there were still people stranded on the highway late last night.  I pray they made it somewhere safely.

So no running yesterday. 🙂  Just lots of memories.  I hope and pray that I get home tonight, but if not, I’ll write part three of this saga tomorrow.

Photographic proof. We did run that race! :)

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Okay, I’ve gotten over my lack of recognition in this race and am glad that it gave money to a charity.  However, even though we are no where to be found in the results, below are pictures of TJ and me running and finishing the race (and stuffing out mouths with donuts).

 

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47a4df04b3127cce98548d3a71d800000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi

47a4df04b3127cce98548d21f0f300000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi47a4df04b3127cce98548d0271e000000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi47a4df04b3127cce98548d2071c200000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi47a4df04b3127cce98548240b00d00000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi47a4df04b3127cce98548223315e00000035100IbN3Dlo4aNi

 

It is now official for all time on the Internet and with the NSA that we RAN THIS RACE!

Have an awesome day!!!

Tom

Nailing the Doughnut Dash

The Krispy Kreme Donut Dash was a good race overall.

TJ and I decided to race the night before. I kept going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to go.  Finally on Friday evening I agreed to do it.  We wrote the race director and asked if we could pay at the race and they said yes.

So we got there and signed up.  It was about 25 degrees and 20 – 30 mph winds.  I was cold.  We waited around for a while because we wanted to get there early to sign up.  There was really no where to keep warm, but the bathroom was packed.  No porta potties (first ever for me), just a bathroom with one toilet out of service.

So the race finally began.  TJ suggested we run hard for the first two miles, since we wouldn’t know how we would feel on the last two after eating a dozen donuts.  I thought that was a good strategy.  I ran hard out of the gate.  I totally forgot to look at my time when I hit the donut station, but I think I was in the 7:30 range.  Then we were given a dozen donuts to eat.  It is hard to eat a dozen donuts when you are breathing hard from running 2 miles and it is freezing cold.  Also you had to show proof that your box was empty before they would let you continue.  So TJ was well into his donuts when I arrived.  Then he was off and I finished mine off.  I headed back the last two miles.

I finished strong.  I Ended up coming in 8th overall and TJ came in 2nd overall.  That was exciting.  Our first Donut Dash and we nailed it.

So we waited around for the giving of the medals.  This took an hour.  It was cold and my sweat made me colder.  When they called up the winners, they didn’t call TJ.  Hmmm.  Seems that since we signed up at the race, we weren’t included in the results.

So after all that, we turned and went home.  Sort of sad that we didn’t get our medals.  I would have placed first in my age group.  I think the race director should have told me that we could sign up at the race, but it would cost more and you won’t be included in the totals.

At least it was just a fun race.  Strangely I didn’t feel sick.  It was hard eating those donuts though and I don’t think I’ll be eating Krispy Kreme donuts anytime soon.

So that was it.  I’m proud as always at TJ finishing 2nd.  I guess I shouldn’t have waited to make up my mind.