Is It Almost Summer?
I am not one to complain about the weather (insert laugh track here), but now I must come forward and whine. Why is it so cold and snowy? I was duped. The first several winters we lived in Boulder, the weather was favorable, consisting of moderate temperatures and little precipitation. In 2009 I silently endured the horrible weather (ok, I was somewhat vocal about my displeasure) and I presumed that I was overreacting. Then, I read a piece in the Daily Camera vindicating my thoughts; 2009 was one of the coldest and wettest years documented.
Numerous weather records were set with the amount of cold days, rainy days and snowy days. The worst part, the summer, my favorite season, was 3 degrees colder than average and we had 1/3 the normal number of days above 90 degrees. I felt gypped! And, already, 2010 is off to a bad start. A week into the New Year and the temperatures have dipped below zero and the already existing snow has new snow on top. That means we have something along the lines of 3 layers of snow on the ground awaiting sunshine and warmer weather to melt.
I used to be heartier, or perhaps more stubborn, but I seem to recall when I lived in Chicago and Baltimore I managed the winter weather better (although, I was known to sneak over to a tanning booth to get a dose of UV light). In the Chicago days I ran like a fiend, never missing a session due to the cold. Armed with fantastic running partners who were equally tenacious, space aged pants I acquired at a running expo, an equally hideous jacket, and gobs of Vaseline spread on my face, I ran in temperatures well below zero with a frenzied wind blowing. I can say with certainty, I would NEVER, run in those conditions again. By the time I moved to Baltimore, I was a winter veteran with the experience of two Chicago winters. A blizzard greeted me my first winter in Maryland. Record amounts of snow shut everything down leaving people stuck at home for days. The biggest problem was where to put all of snow. Dumping it in the Inner Harbor is frowned upon. Finally, when I could take it no more, I dug out the space pants and the hideous jacket and went for a run. Fortuitously, a snow plow was on the main road, so I ducked in behind it and had a rare glorious run on the fresh white snow (snow on the East Coast seems to instantaneously turn black) with no cars around.
Riding outside in the winter is considerably more of a challenge. My bike hibernated for the winter in Chicago, no sense in trying to tackle the wind, ice and chill and as triathlon neophyte I was unfamiliar with the indoor trainer. In Baltimore, I was known to rally the troops even when there was a bit of snow in the air. I suffered many rides with numb fingers and toes unable to shift and barely able to brake. My water bottles turned icy and rides averaged several miles per hour slower than warmer days. One day, when the tears froze on my face, I realized the insanity had to end and decided the monotony of the indoor trainer sweating to the oldies was better than hypothermia. Now, in Boulder, I am a certified wimp and prefer riding indoors rather than battling cold and the infamous Front Range wind.
In Boulder we are lucky in many respects, though. Our gym has a year round outdoor pool. Even when it is too cold or icy to do anything else outside, at least we can swim in the great outdoors. Certainly the walk out to the pool is chilly; but a few minutes in the sauna coupled with my big, red parka from college aid in the march to the pool. The steam rising from the water beckons, indicating that warmth is looming. And, even when the thermometer reads 10 degrees, if the sun is shining, you are rewarded with a suntan and rapidly melting snow.
But here is the most unfair part of winter. Not only are the days colder and wetter, they are shorter and darker.