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:
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:
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.