Liveblogging the Blizzard of 2016

So… there’s a blizzard coming.  And because I will be stuck in my house for the foreseeable future, I thought I would try liveblogging the storm.  I’m not sure anyone will find this interesting except my mom, but I thought it might be a fun record to have.

Besides, it’s my blog.  I can do what I want.  So here we go.

Friday

7:00am – My boss is amazing and told us yesterday that we could telework today.  So I just got out of bed.  I’m exasperated, but not surprised that the federal government opted to open today.  Basically, the offices are open and employees can telework (if eligible), take a vacation day, or they can go in and then leave 4 hours early, but no later than noon.  They’re calling this a staggered departure to prevent everyone from being on the road at once, but I can think of one person in my office who might leave before 4 pm on a normal day.  The snow is supposed to start between 12 and 2.   This is a terrible idea.

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The sunrise was really pretty today. The calm before the storm? Only time will tell.

8:00am – This quote from the local forecasters is interesting:

The way in which the system is presently developing also argues for the unbelievably-high totals to occur somewhere in this event. That somewhere could be here or very close by.

Yay snow?

8:50am – Pippin is hunkered down, ready for the snow.  Yes, I put a blanket in front of the heating vent for him.  Don’t judge me.

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9:40amKim begins bragging about how she now lives in Florida.

10:30am – I have now received robocalls from both the power company and my insurance company offering tips on how to stay safe.  I interpret the one from the insurance company as “Don’t burn down your house, fool.  We don’t want to pay for it.”

11:00am – I just realized that I live on the border between the 16-24″ range and the 18-30″ range.  I’m short!  30 inches of snow is almost half my height!

11:45am – The storm is officially named “Snowzilla.”  Apparently, the winning name was really “Make Winter Great Again,” but it’s just not as catchy.  Oh, DC humor.

12:50pm – IT BEGINS.

1:25pm – The flakes are small, but steady.

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2:35pm – The snow has picked up.  It’s still relatively light and really pretty.  But this is only the beginning.  It’s sticking to the roads pretty significantly.

2:45pm – The flakes are much more significant now, but it’s still not very windy.  Yet.

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That long metal thing is the stand for my hammock. Which I clearly do not need right now.

3:20pm – Total crafts completed: 1

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4:30pm – The snow falling outside is so peaceful and beautiful. Sadly, I don’t think a blizzard is going to be very peaceful.  But for now, it’s pretty gorgeous.

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5:20pm – First round of snow shoveling complete.  2 inches so far, according to my trusty yardstick.  Cleared off my sidewalks and my car.  By the time I finished the car, the sidewalk had a nice coating of white again.

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6:30pm – It would be wrong to put vodka into my smoothie, right?  Eh, who cares.

7:45pm – Just finished round two of shoveling.  My yardstick indicates that we’ve got somewhere between 3.5 and 4 inches.  I think we’re supposed to wake up to a lot of snow in the morning.

9:30pm – It is dark and windy outside.  Snow is clearly coming down pretty fast.  And taking pictures through windows at night is hard.

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What happens next?  Check out part two.

Wednesday Workout Recap

… or not.

Yep, this one was a joke.  In my defense, on Monday, I realized I was getting sick with a cold.  And I was still in Florida.  So I walked a lot.  Does that count?  I say it does.

Tuesday through Thursday, I was in bed early trying to fight off the cold.  It’s been a while since I’ve gotten the Disney crud this bad, and I shouldn’t have been that run down.  Is this what happens when you get old?  I’m officially on the downward slide to 40 and my immune system has hit retirement?

By Friday, I was feeling marginally better, so I did an easy 45 minute bike ride. It went about as well as you would imagine, seeing as I had been sick for so long.

Saturday I went for a Bike Fit by Smiley and if you are a local cyclist, GO!  I haven’t been happy on my tri bike for a while, even though I went back to the store a few times to get the fit right.  Going back to the store is no longer an option since it closed, so upon the recommendation of three separate people, I went to see Smiley and I’m so glad I did.  He works out of his garage and isn’t trying to sell you anything, so he’s really looking for what’s best for you and your bike, not what he has in the shop that will work.  It can be hard as a bigger cyclist to go into these experts, but I never once felt like I was a lesser customer to him.  In fact, some of the big adjustments he wanted to make were things I had asked the bike shop about (bringing my elbow pads back, pedal spacers) and things they said really weren’t done.  Considering my road bike has pedal spacers, this seems obvious.

Of course, since he doesn’t have parts in stock, he sent me away to buy pedal spacers and I have to come back so we can perfect the fit, but it’s one way to know I’m not being sold something I don’t need.

That evening, I rode for a little over an hour before my lungs decided enough was enough, but the fit already feels better.  Now I just need to work on my hamstring flexibility and my core strength so I can be even happier in aero.

Sunday I opted to not run and took down the Christmas tree instead.  It was time.

Oh no! Snow!

IMG_1714There is snow in the forecast.

And you would think the world is ending.

Admittedly, the DC area does not handle snow well.  On the radio this morning, the meteorologist described the storm as a “disruptive weather event.”  The host commented back, “What are we talking, because snow flurries are a disruptive weather event here.”

It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

There is possible snow coming (or maybe just rain) and the people in my office are in a total panic.  Lots of talk about hitting the grocery store early and stocking up in case they get snowed in.  Now, if you notice the forecast above, the snow may start on Friday, but with the warmup on Monday, it’s not as if someone is going to get trapped in their house for a week.  If you usually do your grocery shopping on the weekends, I can see hitting the store early, but really, you’re probably going to be okay.  Make sure you have milk for the kids plus sugar and vanilla for snow ice cream.

I have cat food and Kind bars and wine, so my mom would say that I’m well prepared.

Of course, this means I will probably be doing my long run inside again this weekend.  Yes, I could go out in the cold and snow, but given my luck, I would find all of the ice and fall.  But it’s not the end of the world.

That said, part of me wants to go to the grocery store to just watch the crazy eyed people.  When snow hits the forecast, it’s like they go insane.  No one needs a cart filled with toilet paper just because the snow is coming.  Really.  You’ll be okay with just one bulk package.

Cigna Blogger Event Recap

Now that I’m almost recovered from my cold, it’s past time I do a recap of the awesome Cigna blogger event that I was invited to during Disney Marathon Weekend.  Cigna is the main sponsor of marathon weekend and it was great to be a part of their blogger event.

This year’s event was themed “Go.  Know. Take Control.”  We learned a lot about preventing common health issues, while having quite a bit of fun in the process.

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The event started with a quick meal where we got to meet other bloggers, then we were divided into teams.  I loved this because I got to meet all sorts of new people and meet a few people “in real life” instead of just online.

We learned a lot through playing games.  There were multiple choice questions where you had to perform an action to “call out” your answer.  Doing squats, jumping up and down, all sorts of of fun things.  (Well, I’m not sure squats are ever fun, but you know what I mean.)  I was proud of myself for knowing a lot of the info about things like a healthy BMI and good cholesterol numbers, but some of the facts were pretty shocking.

Cigna did a study of their insurance holders and 45% of them didn’t know they should have an annual checkup.  And if you have insurance, this checkup is free, so all 45% of them were missing out on a hugely important health resource.

I get it.  A lot of people think “Oh, I’m healthy.  Why do I need to go to the doctor?”  And I get it.  I’m relatively healthy too.  But you know what I can’t tell from how I feel or look?  My cholesterol numbers.  My blood glucose numbers.  My blood pressure (okay, sometimes I can feel that rising).  And your annual checkup can tell you other things as well.  Cigna profiled a 50-year-old man whose doctor discovered his cancer thanks to preventative screenings.  Early detection, early cure.  The same goes with my mom and her breast cancer.

As I have discussed before, my test numbers aren’t bad (well, my BMI isn’t good, but it’s getting there).  But they could be improved.  So I have taken charge of my health and am working to prevent any problems before they start.

You can learn more on Cigna’s website.  They have a lot of great tips on how to improve those key numbers.  This is something that I find hugely important, so I’m not just sharing it because I went to Cigna’s event.  I’m under no obligation to write any of this, but I really think that preventative health care is so important.  And if it’s covered under your insurance, what are you waiting for?  GO!

Back to the event.  Apparently, I was at the smart table, because ultimately, we won the competition.  Personally, I think it was all about our skill at picking up penne noodles using a spaghetti noodle held between our teeth.  But look at our delight in winning!

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I am clearly super excited here. I like to win.

And then, some special guests came in to say hello.

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This girl is never going to turn down a chance to get a photo with Mickey and Minnie – though next year, maybe Minnie can be playing football too.

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2016 Disney Marathon Weekend Cheering Recap

Did you see this sign along the race course?  That's me!

Did you see this sign along the marathon course? That’s me!

After the very hard work of 10k running, on Saturday and Sunday last weekend, I was out cheering the half marathoners and marathoners at Disney World.  I was lucky enough to be out with a pretty fabulous group of cheer squad members.

Saturday morning, I was up at 5 (yes, I got to sleep in) and out cheering around 5:45 at the Grand Floridian.  We had a bunch of friends running the half, including my parents, so we were excited to get out there and cheer.  I, of course, had failed to bring my cowbell, so I was stuck clapping.  Cowbells = way more awesome.  Thankfully, Katie had a fabulous cowbell that drove everyone around us crazy.  We showed up in time for the first wheelchair racer to come through and stayed until the “parade bus” (aka the sweeper bus) made its way through.  And yet we still managed to not spot Paula Radcliffe.  That’s what happens when it’s dark, I guess.  I was really impressed by the reactions we got from some of the super fast people.  A lot of them took a second to sort of wave or smile in our direction.  I guess they’re not used to crazies getting up so early to cheer.

Sunday morning was my birthday, so I put on my fabulous birthday hat and headed back out.  Katie’s mom had made me the fabulous birthday sign above.  I’m pretty sure I’m in a lot of pictures.  I also discovered a lot of people share my birthday and chose to run a marathon to celebrate.  While I admire their spirit, I do not regret my decision to cheer instead.  We started out at the Grand Floridian, cheered for every single racer, including the sweeper busses and trucks picking up the equipment.  I think the cast members enjoyed the applause they got from Nathan.  He certainly enjoyed the trucks.

We had a lot of friends running, but I was mainly stalking my dad and Kim, who were somewhat running together.  They hadn’t met before that morning, but when Kim swore to me that she would find him at race start, I knew it would happen.  As everyone came past, we had lots of happy runners, which we enjoyed seeing.  This year, we didn’t see anyone trying to jump into the race at mile 7, which was reassuring.  Of course, we heard about numerous cheaters later, but it was nice to not see it in person this year.

After the last runner came through (and the trucks), we took our cheer break and went inside to eat a delicious and nutritious breakfast.  Cheering is hard work, and let me tell you, those people aren’t lying when they say their arms are tired from holding their sign.

Then it was back out and over to Epcot to cheer runners as they exited the park and ran past the gospel choir.  It’s a great spot to cheer because we see runners in every emotional state.  Lots of smiles and laughter, lots of happy tears, and lots of people just gutting it out to finish.  And of course, lots of people who have stopped to get snacks along the way.  We saw lots of beers, margaritas, frozen drinks, hot pretzels, and even some tacos and fish and chips.  Which is not what I would want to eat after running 25 miles, but to each his own.

Lots of friends came through, including my dad, who had this look on his face that said “What the hell am I doing?”  This is why I am in marathon retirement, Dad.  But then he saw us and smiled and headed to the finish.  We got lots of sweaty hugs from lots of awesome friends and cheered all the way to the last runner.  We even saw our new cheer friend, who we met Saturday morning.

One girl was slogging along very close to the end of the runners and all of a sudden, she put on a huge burst of speed and tore towards the finish.  It was hugely impressive and everyone cheered for her.  She was going to finish no matter what.  It was also great to see all the Team in Training coaches helping people along, even people who weren’t TNT members.  Those coaches have to put in an insane number of miles during a race.

And then the race was over and it was off to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments.  What a fun way to spend my birthday!