Monday, February 8, 2010

What I Did On My Winter Vacation

We ended up with about 21-22" for our area, and there was more in the mountains and down in Maryland......and there's more (6-10" according to our Winter Storm Warning) on the way Tuesday afternoon/evening into Wednesday.

So, to pick up where I left off with the last pictures:

After I measured out the 18 inches, I decided that I should probably go do something about it (also, the more time I spent shoveling snow meant less time to join Beth for her FOUR HOUR trainer ride). I go to the back of our house to find that our neighbor across the alley had already used his snowblower on our little area behind the garage. So, I proceeded out to the front of the house (wading through 3-4 foot snow drifts) to take care of the front driveway.

The guy in the picture below was so excited about his new snowblower that he decided to take care of our entire street.....literally. He was working his way up the street when I snapped this pic from inside the house. By the time I got out to shovel the front, he was coming back down and offered to snowplow our driveway. I felt bad and told him that I could do it myself if there were any older folk who still needed their driveways/sidewalks shoveled. But, he just jumped right in and his snowblower was top-notch because it plowed through that 20 inches like it was nothing.

I felt bad that I hadn't really shoveled anything, so I followed him down the hill and we dug out a car that had been left out on the street from the night before. We dug out one other car and he decided to call it a morning. So, on to the trainer for me.

I ended up riding 90 minutes with Beth. We had the movie Duplicity (Clive Owen, Julia Roberts) from Netflix, but it was tough to follow and pretty slow-developing. So, 45 minutes into it, we shut it down and went back to the good old reliable Law & Order. I finished up a little early and prepared the ingredients for our 2pm chicken burritos for lunch/dinner.

Also Saturday afternoon, I expanded Roxy's roaming area in the backyard. Saturday morning (at 5am---why can't dogs sleep in!!!), I carved out the right rectangle that connects our back porch to our garage via the sidewalk. Saturday afternoon, I could tell that Roxy wanted more 'space' so I expanded off the left side to create a Figure-8. This way she could run a round like a crazy dog and not run out of space (not to mention more places to take care of business).

At some point Saturday night, our back alley was plowed, so we were able to get out to church on Sunday. (Had it not been plowed, we would have been able to get out of the garage, but would have ran into a 2-3 foot wall of snow for about the lengthof 5 houses to get out of our alley). The message was one in the series about change. The theme for this week was shifting from Spectators to Contributors--to get off the sideline and to make a difference with your time.

We went did a short run and then went over to the YMCA where Beth did some aquajogging (still healing up those rib muscles) and I swam. Every month or two I'll swim a 1650yd to see how I am progressing as a swimmer (remember, I slowly evolving from embarrasing to merely a slowpoke). My rationale for doing the 1650 yesterday was that we were a little tight on time, so I figured if I didn't stop at all, I could get in more yardage!!!

Over Christmas, I had some suggestions to improve my form from a handful of people including Beth, Chad & Jen H, an old lady swimming in a lane beside me, and a lifeguard. I definitely noticed in January that my interval times had improved and I felt a little more efficient going through the water. The big observation by most of the people was that the way my arm was going into the water, I was creating more drag and actually slowing myself down (never a good thing!!!). So, I figured I may do okay compared to my past 1650's. However, I had some things working against me:

1) I hadn't swam in 10 days due to the way my schedule played out
2) I was really sick in the middle of this past week and hadn't worked out much this week
3) I shoveled snow for a couple hours Saturday morning and then joined Beth for 90 minutes on the bike
4) I had just run for 30 minutes prior to going to the Y

Nevertheless, off I went after a 150 yd warmup. I ended up swimming 31:53-ish and beating my previous best by almost 40 seconds. I figure if I keep improving like that, I just need to swim 15 more 1650's to be as fast as Beth...that's how math works, right? I'll just be happy for the day when I can get under 30 minutes. Slowly but surely.

On to the Super Bowl. I didn't really have a team I favored. There were compelling reasons to root for both teams. I'm really impressed with Peyton Manning and how he's a coach on the field. I enjoy watching Colts games when they're at home because the crowd's quiet and you can hear all the directing and motions that Manning does. Here's a
great article on Peyton Mannning's character and charitable side. Also, the Colts' punter is Pat McAfee. He's a Pittsburgh guy and WVU grad and actually was a senior at the school that I student-taught at.

Then, you also have the Saints and Drew Brees. Just the fact that the Saints are still in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is amazing in itself. Drew Brees is also a great story. Given up on by the Chargers because of shoulder issues, he went to New Orleans and became one of the top passers in the league. On top of that, Drew Brees is a great character and he was
on the cover of the most recent FCA magazine called 'Sharing the Victory (STV).'

The bottom line, I told Beth, was that I just wanted a close game that came down to the end. They definitely delivered and, had it not been for an aggresive cornerback and Wayne's slight slip out of his cut, the game may have gone to overtime.

Today, we had school cancelled and it turns out that school is also cancelled for Tuesday. With this impending storm coming Tuesday night, I'm not sure what's going to go on Wednesday either. This is definitely throwing a wrench into my plans for the week. But, you adjust and make do. While we'll make up these days in June, they're after finals, so you lose the instruction time.

It's kind of funny how the roads are here in Pittsburgh are. As you can see below, around our house the roads are clear and dry for the most part.

But, if you head down closer to the actual 'City of Pittsburgh' it's a lot worse. Here's a photo slideshow from the local paper. I drove in with Beth this morning to drop her off and it took TWO HOURS. The roads looked like they hadn't even been treated all weekend in some places. And these were main arteries. So, more snow on the way and we'll see how much we get this time--if it's actually 6-10 inches or a whole lot more!!!

Stay tuned!!!


Steve said...

90 minutes, now that is more my style. 4 hours = NO WAY!!! :)

Steve said...

Oh, and you had your chance!!!

ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll:

Cornell #22 :)

Jennifer Harrison said...

Great job on your swimming, is coming along. Swimming is so hard sometimes to get FASTER quickly, isn't it! :) And, for ONCE in our entire lives, you got more snow than Chicago!! We are getting 12" as I type and work, kids, meetings all go on. I do not think we have ever shut down anything. LOL Enjoy your days off!