Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Holiday happenings

Happy belated holidays everyone! My apologies for not posting earlier but I decided to flip the bird at the internet for a while in order to block all reminders of the shit-ton of work I have waiting for me. It was a glorious week, let me tell you.

The Xenia family Christmas was as fun and eventful as ever. The tree went crashing to the floor twice killing about a half dozen ornaments in the process. We also managed to lock ourselves out of both the house and car one freezing day and were forced to break in the front door using a credit card, spade and a lot of brute force. Family bonding at its best.

The first half of my stay has been quite productive in a lot of ways. I’ve seen and chatted with a lot of my family, bought and wrapped gifts well before Christmas Eve, sent out Christmas cards, waded through a year’s worth of mail, broke out a can of whoop-ass on my credit card company for being disorganized douchebags, driven a car without veering into the wrong lane (much) and eaten almost everything on my food list. My stocking included York peppermint patties and I’ve pretty much eaten an entire batch of my grandma’s balls by myself. They’re delicious. The last item to tick off (Mexican food) will be taken care of this weekend.

What I have not been so productive at is running. In the ten days I’ve been here, I’ve run only once. Stellar considering I’m training for a marathon, no? But I have excuses. And a couple of them may even be valid.

There is no treadmill at the homestead, so all my running has to be done outdoors. That’s not a bad thing except the weather has not been cooperating. For the first four days here we had a cold spell which plummeted the temps into the teens. Add in the wind chill and there was no way I was running. Then there was a day of incessant rain and yesterday we got about four inches of snow. Now we’re heading into another cold spell which will probably derail things even further.

My location also needs to be taken into account. Take a look at where I am:

Civilized, this is not

If you’re thinking to yourself “Geez, this looks like the middle of nowhere”, you’d be right. We’re pretty much about a 20 minute drive from civilization and have no cell phone service. The homestead is on a dirt road next to Route 123. Even in good weather it’s impossible to run on 123 because there’s absolutely no shoulder, which leaves me with the dirt road.

The homestead is situated at the bottom of a hill, so the only direction to run is uphill. I’m not a fan of hills. There are virtually none in Nerdtown so I’m not used to them, hence I don’t like them. The road surface is currently covered in a thick layer of compacted snow, ice and gravel. I don’t own YakTrax and I’m not an ice skater. You do the math.

Though most of the route is quite picturesque with snow-covered trees and tinkling streams, the relative isolation makes the last part of the runable road rather disturbing. Here, take a look at this:

Nowhereville according to Xenia

As you can see, I leave the homestead and run south-west. Besides the sucktastic hills, everything’s fine as I’m surrounded by woodland dotted with the occasional quaint house. However, when the road turns toward the south and I crest the final part of the hill, things aren’t so nice. There are about a half dozen rundown shacks along this part of the road. They look like they’re straight out of the movie Deliverance. Apparently, these are their vacation homes. Nice. But the piece de resistance is the turn-around point—a large farm house which itself is actually fine, but no so much the gigantic scary barn next to it. It’s not a very inviting structure and by that I mean it’s straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To be fair, the farm is only about a quarter mile from the next town, but I’m not a fast runner so you know that shit wouldn’t end well for me.

My irrational hysteria aside, the running conditions are less than ideal in Nowhereville and holiday sloth has taken away most of my motivation. I may have to rethink the spring marathon. Maybe I should choose another one a month or two later. Eh, I’m not too fussed about it at the moment. Grandma’s balls seem to be having a calming effect on me. Sweet.

All right, time for me to get back to stuffing my face and gaining weight.

Have a happy new year, everyone.

Later gators.


Kristina said...

OMG, we're neighbors.

joyRuN said...

Good Lord - no joke you're in the middle of freaking nowhere. No trail running for you then?

It's all good. Gram's balls are worth it.

Razz said...


Morgan said...

LMAO! Glad you made it back alive with those conditions!

The tree fell twice? Someone needs to work on their tree stand skillz for realz!

Enjoy the holiday sloth, it'll be over before you know it and you'll be wishing you had!

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

You're in Frostburgg!!!!

And because Glaven is no longer with us and it just MUST be said: Stop eating your Grandma's balls. This is wrong on oh so many levels.

Also I ran seven miles today with wind chills at -15F. It was not the sanest thing I've ever done, but Razz might be on to something. Not running when the temp is in the balmy teens might just make you a wuss. Just puttin' that out there...


Jess said...

Yeah, you don't want to get close to those deliverance houses! Stay indoors!

The Merry said...

Better to be a wuss with all your toes toasty warm by the fire than to run and deal with frostbite. Or psycho neighbors.

The Laminator said...

Yeah, the only people who's giving you grief about staying indoors during this whole mess are the people who aren't living here! I'm with you, stay indoors now, worry about your marathon later!

MCM Mama said...

Eh, you can make up the miles later. Enjoy the balls and the warm fire and run when you get back to civilization.

carpeviam said...

Perfect visual. LOVE it. Hope you haven't heard any dualing banjos.

Happy New Year, X!

RunnuRMark said...

I hope you loaded up your ipod with some banjo music to really complete the effect. Sounds like a great time!

The Merry said...

Happy New Year!

The Running Knitter said...

Happy new year!

X-Country2 said...

Get yourself a tracking device and get out there!