when you wake up early on a saturday and jump in the car to go somewhere, and it’s almost summertime or it IS summertime, and the sky is blue, the sun is bright, and maybe there are big, puffy white clouds in the sky, and you for some reason are driving away from the sunrise, and the windows are down, and the morning air is a little chilled but not too chilled, and the tires are humming the pavement beneath you, and the road is before you, it might be time to travel.
I-90 swings across the bottom of the state. when i tried to sleep at night with the windows open while growing up, the hum of truckers and travelers whizzing past austin, mn, lulled me to sleep. now the freeway calls me to travel. i hop on and think, hmm, what if i just keep going…
welp, it’s that time of year! this weekend, charlie and i planted a couple trees in the front yard – one maple and one plum. i cleaned out a couple garden beds and planted black walnut friendly onions. i ended up pulling up a potato leftover from last year, and it was already sprouting and ready to go. next sunday i might plant potatoes.
last weekend i put three lilac bushes in the ground, and they’re already sprouting and ready to get moving. i doubt i’ll have any blooms this year, but hopefully next spring i’ll see something. my peonies are also sprouting, and i know i won’t have any blooms on a couple of them. maybe a couple will have blooms since i bought them potted last spring. we’ll see what happens.
i was also surprised to see some volunteer lettuce popping up already! it’s time for lettuce to be planted, but i hadn’t thought about last year’s crop pollinating the area (it makes sense though). so that’s good news! the bad news is i’m not going to be able to get in there with my hoe and some fertilizer like the rest of the beds, but it should be ok.
at the end of march, i ran a 10k race. after a winter of treadmilling it, i was able to run 10k at least once before the race, which i did around the track at the high school. liz and i finished the race with decent time, and it was the first time she’d actually run that far.
and since liz is a masochist, she wants me to train to run a half marathon with her.
so, this summer i guess i start training for a half marathon. i had already thought about the fact that i needed to start running at least three miles every time i went out, but this sort of pushed the matter. but the matter with this matter is my muscle fatigue.
after five miles, my muscles decide enough is enough, and it’s time to sit down and lie on the ground for an hour. that just won’t do if i’m supposed to be running twice that distance. so i googled it and asked facebook advice from the runners on my friends list, and really i just came to a simple realization.
i need to just run longer distances more.
i did decide to bring along a water bottle and some refueling snacks for the longer runs. the general advice out there is if you’re going to be running for more than an hour, you need to bring water and something to eat (but especially water so you don’t get deyhdrated).
i bought a nice looking fancy fanny pack for the water bottle and foodstuffs, as well as a place to hold my key (yay!) when i’m starting from the high school parking lot. i went out a couple weeks ago on a 6-mile run, and it actually worked pretty well. i stopped twice for water and eating, and when i got back to my car, i was still fatigued, but a little less so. (that was when i had my realization about long distances.)
last week, i ran 3+ miles every day i went out, and two of the days were 4+ miles. my body hated me by the end of the week.
(as an aside, this week has been horrible windy, so i went out for the first time today. i am not going back to the treadmill til i have to.)
so this summer, bring on the long distances.
the hopeful part of me gets wildly optimistic when we get the first few nice days of weather in the year. what is it about sudden 60º weather that grabs minnesotans’ attention and drags it to the outdoors? the small, green buds? the sun’s, which has been subdued and southerly for six months or so, trip north and lengthy day stays? the warmth? the combination of events excites every single person. maybe talking about the weather is a cop-out conversation piece, but here? it’s the number one thing on our minds, especially during seasons’ changes.
but to understand this, you have to understand upper midwest winters.
around september and october, we start to notice the sun’s early setting times. the weather gets a little chilly. this is fine, especially if, like me, you enjoy autumn.
then it gets cold. and the leaves are off the trees. the ground turns brown. then the snow comes, and while it’s pretty, it does make everything pretty stark looking: white snow with black tree limbs dotting the countryside. the wind blows. snow swirls. it gets so cold that it’s hard to breathe. your nostrils glue shut because it’s so cold.
there are some plusses: you get to ski and ice skate and sled. christmas is pretty nice. sometimes when the snow is falling, it’s so silent you can hear it.
but after a while, it just gets oppressive. february is so dark and cold, and the sun barely peeks through the entire month. it’s been so cold for so long, it seems like winter is never going to end. was there ever a time when i wore short sleeves outside? who knows?
so when it starts to peek above 30º, we northerners get a little anticipatory. above 40º? looking good, but we don’t want to get our hopes up. 60º in march? we’re downright giddy. then april comes, and trees start to bud out, and there are days above 70º, and the air starts to smell like dirt, and if you’re like me, the smell of mud and manure brings thoughts of spring, and the ground starts to get squishy, and birds flock back, and oh my goodness the frogs are croaking like CRAZY, …. and april, being april, sinks us back to freezing for a couple days just to let us know who’s boss.
may, on the other hand…
1.5 weeks to wine and roses!
3 weeks to wizardworld!
8 weeks to south dakota! (eee!)
17 weeks to july 4!
19 weeks to the derry reunion!
23 weeks to tasha’s wedding!
this summer’s going to be fun!!!
today i went for a run, a little less than four miles.
it was 70 degrees out and about 5:30.
i wasn’t thinking.
precautions weren’t taken.
and i got sunburn.
it’s been too long 🙁
here are a couple pics. i am happy to see green things growing again.
i’m also happy that i made chocolate-peanut butter ice cream…
tonight the moon rose orange and huge. it was a halloween moon, and the weather reflected that, for sure. so i went out and grabbed a couple pics.
april, you fickle beast, you.
i guess i shouldn’t be one to talk; i have christmas decorations yet on my chandelier and a greenhouse with baby tomatoes reaching for the light 6 feet away.
while you tease me with 76º on the way home from work one afternoon, you drop to 64º within the hour after i happily donned my shorts and tank top.
then after a drenching rain, you drop completely to under freezing so i’m forced to bundle up the next morning for work.
you’re certainly living up to your reputation of april showers, as the next week holds the promise of drops from the sky, which ARE needed here, as 80% of the state is in a drought.
but after months of running on a treadmill, i finally got out of the house for runs, and that’s all i want to do – no going back to the treadmill this season.
but the WIND the WIND the WIND. not only is it maddening overall and a beast to run in, but it stirs up stuff on the ground and gets in my eyes and nose and lungs, and i’m sniffly and snotty and gross.
so i wait: hopes a little quelled; watching for the perennials to pop up; running shoes tapping impatiently; tethered to the 10-day weather outlook.
soon the weather will stabilize into above-freezing nights; the grass will green; my plants will get in the ground; my running shoes will hit pavement.
but until then.
april, you fickle beast, you.