Sunday, January 29, 2012

Janie Went Way Up North

Everyone in Wisconsin goes "up North" at some point. You see, apart from Madison, Wisconsinites are really big into fishing, hunting, snow mobiling and the Green Bay Packers - you know all the things you can picture me doing regularly. [Sarcasm]

Although I didn't describe my tailgating experience at the December Packer game at Lambeau, I did it. I went to a game. And the scene around Lambeau is really something.

So when I was invited to go way up North for some ice fishing in a shanty, I jumped at the chance. [Ok - maybe I didn't jump at the chance. Since I just told you that I am fairly certain that I have Raynaud's]. But I am willing to try anything. Like when my boyfriend asked me to go watch the girls at the Roller Derby a few weeks ago and I walked around and recruited a bunch of people to sign this petition for Planned Parenthood.

But me? In a shanty all day on the ice?! Of course. So, after loading up the car with my tiny bag and my large golden retriever, we were headed "Up North." Not sure really where, but I know it's just what Wisconsin people do.

As we drove out onto the ice, the wind was blowing hard. We got the shantys up quickly and some of the people we were with started drilling holes in the ice right away. After settling into the shanty and eating "beer dip" ["What is this? Is it vegetarian?", asked the little girl from Cleveland, Ohio], we sat on chairs and drank beers before noon. Welcome to Wisconsin!

I was also the only one who didn't say "Sewwww" instead of "so" and "Noooooow" instead of "no." I know that I am the one with the accent, though.

After a while, it was time to break the seal. [Oh - did I mention we were ice fishing, too? Oops]. One of the gals didn't want to use nature's restroom, so a few of us girls piled into a car and went to the town bar. Now, the town bar was full at 2:20 PM. And let me have you know that everyone turned and looked at us when we came in. They wanted to see if they knew who we were. Maybe it was their cousin's girlfriend or something - I don't know. My PBR in a glass was $.75! Yes - that is correct! That is seventy-five cents, ladies and gentleman! After a few rounds [roughly costing $5 for four women/round,] we went back to the shanty.

My boyfriend was very, very busy on the ice. He was building a "Wizard Stick" and speaking with a strange accent. None of us had heard of this before but his high school pal was easily convinced to make one as well. Oh - yeah - I forgot. We were fishing, too.

It was really cold and the sun was setting so we all packed up and went back to the cabin. Being a vegetarian from Cleveland, Ohio - I was already full from cheese curds, chips and garbage that my stomach is still giving me problems for a day later.

It was such a fun time and I look forward to doing it again next year. I can't say I caught anything, but I wasn't planning on it. Let's just say I am no natural when it comes to fishing. What's the point when you throw them back, anyways?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter is Back

Winter finally arrived in Madison, Wisconsin. Shockingly, it took long enough. If you look at the calendar of seasons, I believe winter started on December 21st [so not quite one month ago from today] and it ends on March 20th. Yes, winter hasn’t even been official for one month. Yet, we typically have a lot of snow by now.

For someone who is scared of running in the snow, I was still running in shorts and outdoors in this winter. Mind you, it was pitch black out.

I was itching for some snow to go cross country skiing. Other than that, I wasn’t dying for the snow this year. I mean, I love to get snowed in. And I love watching the snow out my window while having a glass [or several] of red wine [pinot grigio is my “warm season beverage.”]

I started taking the bus about a year ago and I love it. I never liked public transportation before. Everything is better in Madison, Wisconsin. Here, you get on the bus and it’s full of normal people. [And some typical Madison sketchy people.] My route goes through the University. Non state-employees, please don’t start complaining, but it’s free for me. And I realized the other day that since I have moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I have put less than 500 miles a month on my car. [Even moreso, now that I take the bus] which results in rare trips to the gas station. The last 3,000 mile check-up I had was in July and I am still not due for my next one.

So, I was worried about waiting for the bus because it was going to be “SO COLD” in these Wisconsin winters. However, as you may know by now, I run in the morning and it takes me a long time to cool down so this is not an issue.

Although undiagnosed, I am sure I have Raynaud's. My hands go numb less than five minutes after going outside. I have learned to power walk [no offense but faster than some people jog] the majority of the time and wear mittens [and have hand warmers for excessive outdoor activity].

Here is how you can enjoy this cold weather:
Walk fast and wear layers. A nice and heavy windbreaker with mittens and several pants are a must.

For example, today I took the bus to work and it was a high of 7. When I went to the bus this morning, it was 4 degrees. I had just worked out, so I was still warm. I wore my coat, work pants with leggings under, a sweater with a tee shirt and winter boots. Upon my walk home from the bus, I took the dog for her daily walk around the square. This walk is .92 miles. I decided to add a little to it. Here is why. The more I walked and walked faster, the warmer I would get. So when I returned home, I was warm through the middle.

All you need to do to enjoy the cold weather is embrace it! When I am cold, I layer up and literally go out into it. Once I get my heartrate up, I am toasty.

Embrace the cold weather. Don't stay away from it. That will just make you hate it. And then you may want to quit complaining and move to Florida.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Still Unmotivated?

So I recently blogged about my life with running and nobody commented. I told you my weight. I told you how easy it is to get there. My dad told me [via phone] that he ran one summer and hit the “runner’s high.” My sister texted me that I should do some Central Park run [maybe the one on New Year’s Eve?]

But I am going to break it down, now people. Has anyone read that post or read my posts on exercise been inspired to do anything about it?

I have always noticed that the first week of January, the workout room is way more packed than usual. By the third week, it’s back to all the regulars.

After I wrote the last posting, I managed to do my daily four miles at a 7:07 pace. I am hoping this will move me up in my age range in whatever race I do next – which will probably be the Shamrock Shuffle. This is because I am a wreck on the ice and would prefer not to race in it. The ice slows you down. I am thinking St.Patty’s Day should be warm enough. Besides, if you are into meteorology, Madison has had almost no snow this season. None. Notta. No cross country skiing for me. It’s the oddest thing.

I am going to try to help you if I can. Because I think it is so easy to wake up and hit the pavement, I am going to list problems that you may be having that can be actually cured by this thing I am doing [called running].

1) Are you able to turn off the water and save some energy when you shower? If you answered “No because I am too cold,” this is because you do not work out in the morning.
2) Are you freezing when you walk to the car/bus/train? If so, it’s because you do not work out in the morning.
3) Are you exhausted all of the time and feel the need for a nap? If you answered “yes,” it is because you do not exercise. [Or you are pregnant, are anemic, have sleep apnea or are depressed – many of which can be treated with exercise- except pregnancy.]
4) Are you down about your weight? It may be because you do not exercise.
5) Are you worried about not being there for your children? Workout.
6) Low self-esteem?

You get the picture. If I have motivated you, please feel free to comment. If you are wanting to workout, but can't, feel free to e-mail me. I am happy to help.