Paddy melt

The ground drank that snow like a college kid hitting a beer
during spring break in Florida.

Our St. Paddy’s snow lasted about as long as bipartisanship in Congress.

Herself went out for a short run yesterday afternoon and reported that the trails were barely tacky. And this morning is as you see.

When the weather gets goofy like this I miss running. It’s such a convenient workout when God is pitching changeups at you. Efficient. Minimal gear. No coasting.

A 45-minute trail run isn’t long enough to be boring, and it doesn’t gnaw off a sizable chunk of your day the way cycling does. You can get started early, and finish early, too. Nobody honks at you, unless you’re running past a goose with attitude.

Running and swimming are probably our purest forms of exercise, although an indoor pool is an expensive accessory. You can always acquire property on some placid sandy beach in a tropical paradise, but that’s even pricier than a Y membership.

And the ocean likes to go for a run every now and then too. Sometimes it takes you with it.

Oh, Lord, I can feel myself getting talked into it. Running, not swimming; we got sand, but this ain’t no tropical paradise. My feets have already failed me once. Spring can’t come soon enough.

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27 Responses to “Paddy melt”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Last time I went for a run it took two weeks for my knees to stop hating me.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It reminds me of cigarettes. My last few hikes I’ve been jogging the uphills. It’s like, “I can have just one cigarette.” Hee, and also haw. Next thing you know it’s three packs a day and your house smells like a Dumpster fire.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Cancer sticks are one bad habit I somehow avoided. Wish I had avoided a few others.

        My stepdad was a two-plus pack a day Pall Mall smoker when I was a kid. House had that stale smoke odor. Then he went in for back surgery after an accident in the Chevy plant. Recovering in a semiprivate room with a guy who just had half of a side of his face removed from cancer, he got The Fear. Quit cold turkey.

        He was a bear to be around for most of a year as he went through the usual grumpiness of not having the nicotine hits, but that was almost fifty years ago and he is still kicking around.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        A vile habit. The worstest. Both my parents smoked, but the old man gave it up cold turkey when we were stationed at Randolph AFB. Too bad he couldn’t shake the hooch the same way.

        Mom smoked until we moved in with her in 1991 and put a stop to that shit. We tried washing the walls in her bedroom but no dice. They were soaked with old nicotine, and it just kept seeping out. Two coats of KILZ and a couple of more of paint finally did the trick.

        • SAO' Says:

          When you can’t get people to quit for their health, what sometimes works is to explain the property value angle. Agents HATE selling a smoker’s home.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    “If I have told you this story before, don’t stop me, because I want to hear it again.” Groucho

    The army cured me of running. And, the old bod just can’t take the pounding anymore. And just like riding, the scenery goes by a little too fast. So, lace up those boots, grab a water bottle and some binoculars, although I prefer a monocular with enough eye relief that I don’t have to take off my glasses, and go walkabout.

    • SAO' Says:

      Got the same anti-running prescription from Uncle Sam. Not opposed, constitutionally, just can’t seem to get two working knees in the same calendar month.

      Had one of those “living in Hawaii but working in Alaska” moments this morning. Our 18” of white stuff got two days of sunshine, rendering it soft and mushy, then froze solid last night. So trying to get some fresh air this morning reminded me of stumbling through the Big Island lava fields, except everything was white. Didn’t lay waste to the Vibrams like the lava fields did, but took a chunk out of my knee the one time I did go down.

      Not going to sneak up on anyone with that crunchity-crunch going on under my boots. My presence was announced loud and clear to anyone within a quarter mile.

      • khal spencer Says:

        One of my colleagues at Manoa was a volcanologist who regularly went through boots. His gig was to walk up to one of the skylights and toss in a rock hammer bolted to a steel cable. The hammer would sink just deep enough to the river of lava that he could pull it out and have a glass sample for analysis. Needless to say, you did that before your boot soles turned to Vibram mush.

        I always wondered if anyone ever had the rock go out from under them doing that. Would be a quick end.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well, the way I “run,” the scenery doesn’t exactly zip by. Still, I take your point.

      And yeah, the falling over is always an option. When I’m on the bike I mostly stay focused on the task at hand, because there are many people out there in family tanks who wish to cause me grievous bodily harm. Many, many of them. But when I’m running, the mind wanders, and sometimes it doesn’t come back until the body has made a few bad decisions.

      “Ah, Jaysis, what’ve ye done to yeerself now? Find a stick and we’ll hobble off to the EmergiCare.”

  3. carl duellman Says:

    running looks like it should be fun but i’ve never enjoyed it. we live in a neighborhood where lots of people run and some look especially good at it. i’ve tried it a few times. sometimes it’s tolerable but mostly it’s painful. swimming is ok and is a pleasure in the warm gulf waters when it’s 90 degrees outside. swimming in a pool i can do without. now walking i can do and i do it most days along with cycling. both help clean out my brain pan.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Last time I ran lots was in grad school. I weighed about 145 rather than 160 and was thirty five years younger. We had a nice dirt track around the loop road around campus. It was about 2.7 miles long so I worked up to doing two laps a few times a week, esp. when it was too cold to ride. Did three laps a couple times and decided that was overkill.

      Usually did that running late at night to burn off a whole day of grad study, then went home, took a shower, a beer, read a book unrelated to work, and went to bed.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I can’t run on pavement. It’s Death. But trails, yeah, that’s … OK, kinda, sorta. Can’t say I ever loved it, or was good at it, but occasionally I’d find something like a groove.

      Pools I got over after 10 years on one swim team or another in Texas and Colorado. Finally bailed on swimming as competition when I went to college, by which time I’d discovered beer, drugs, and girls.

      I got back in, briefly, in Denver, Santa Fe, and Bibleburg, when I had memberships at the Y or some other gym and wanted something different to do in the off-season. But I never stuck with it. Covering the same 25 meters over and over and over again is BOR-ing.

      • khal spencer Says:

        High school gym class cured me of swimming pools. I could barely swim and the chlorine in the pool made me sick. One year I had swim class right before geometry for a quarter. Was the worst grade I ever had in a math class in high school, as I was nauseous, buzzed, and barely could think that quarter. And to make matters worse, the gym teacher coulda been an SS commandant at a death camp.

  4. carl duellman Says:

    anyone tried rucking? about once a week i walk down to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and a bottle of wine. i carry it home in my backpack but i don’t think that’s really rucking.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve seen some people rucking around here. Some of them look to be carrying some pretty heavy weight, too.

      Bob Roll used to ruck Back in the Day® to keep fit for Euro road racing whenever the winter weather was too filthy for riding. He’d load up a pack with some old Civil War cannonballs, sacks of cement, or dead Belgians, and go postholing around in the mountains.

      I did some light rucking when I was between colleges and driver’s licenses, mostly to the grocery, liquor store, and/or laundry and back.

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    The only time you’ll see me running is if there is only one seat left at the bar. I know, old joke but dammit I’m an old guy. I used to run and did appreciate the simplicity of it. But as I tucked into the miles it was one thing after another. Knees, hip, low back and my gawd the feet were always bitching at me.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Never run with empty hands, as Hunter S. Thompson once wrote.

      I’ve never done big mileage. For me, running was always a secondary form of exercise. I started doing it for cyclocross, and ramped it up a bit when I got interested in multisport. Then I did a fair amount of it up to Weirdcliffe, where the weather and indifferently maintained roads often made cycling unwise.

      I think my longest outing ever was in training, maybe a dozen miles. Never raced more than a 10K at a sitting (once with a burro). The Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon required me to run 10 miles on snow-covered dirt, five uphill and five down, but there was a rest interval while my partner did the ski and snowshoe legs.

      But yeah, the aches and pains. Blisters. Lost toenails. Plantar fasciitis. Rolled ankles and falls. Shit, some of the worst crashes I’ve ever had came while running rocky, pulverized-granite trails.

      Nevertheless, I thought about having a go at it yesterday. And then I thought again. I mean, shit, I got a garage full of bikes.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Plantar fasciitis is the worst! Mail order mountain bike shoes, Cannondale, I think, from Nashbar, did my right foot in. I went on a longer ride one day, and woke up the next morning. Put a foot down to get out of bed and thought I had stepped on a nail. Haven’t bought a pair of footwear of any kind since without trying them on.

        • SAO' Says:

          Hawaii, second crack at the Honolulu marathon. Bought a pair of racing shoes designed for a 120 lb Kenyan, not a 220 lb haole. Took 10 years to get over that bout of plantar fasciitis, and it still pops up.

          Glad the world has gone towards permanent casual Friday, cuz I wear motion control, max support running shoes 24/7.

      • SAO' Says:

        Went through a brief marathon stage. Brother had just killed himself, my mom and dad were suing each other, youngest brother was in a car accident and had a TBI that would turn out to be serious. So I ran. Like F. Gump. Just kept going. Casual 20 milers along Korean back roads. Could go 2 hours without seeing a human. After one jaunt w/o food or water, did some pretty good hallucinating. Had this experience where I was one with the universe and solved all of the world’s problems, then forgot it all as soon as that first bite of a Clif bar slid down my gullet. But my bod was not designed for that kind of abuse. I’ll never covet my neighbor’s wife, but I’ll cover the shit out of anyone with two working knees and arches that don’t require SuperFeet insoles.

    • B Lester Says:

      The only time I ran was when I was twixt jobs about 40 years ago. that fall I realized I was out of shape for the impending downhill skiing season, so I bought some shoes. Bored me to tears, but then my routes consisted of suburban Milwaukee side streets, so yeah.

  6. John A Levy Says:

    Did the Missoula Marathon a few years back but last October the orthopod suggested that the right knee might need to be replaced. running is contraindicated. So back to gym to strengthen the structure around the knee and keep the OEM parts intact. running was always punishment in high school athletics. Like the courses and the swag but still flipping hurt and afterward the stuff you had to drink to replace all the stuff you sweated out. No still the bike still does it for me. Cigs I gave u 20 yrs ago savings bought my LeMond steel bike $1500. damn, csa’t even do a doob anymore even if it is legal on e is too many and a million not enough.

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Plantar fasciitis Is the worst of the Itis brothers. Just when you think he’s gone Here’s Johnny!! rears up. I scoffed at treating it with the sock and toe strap gizmo at night but damned if that didn’t work. Along with untucking the footbed covers. After $$ in custom foot beds I also learned that off the shelf ones you heat up and form yourself work even better for far less scratch.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve had PF on and off since forever. Nothing quite like that feeling of clambering out of bed and getting the feeling that a sniper put one in your heel.

      Last year’s busted ankle brought it back, so I do a bunch of stretches in the sack before I set foot to floor, and then one more while standing before I do any moving around. I limp a bit for the first few minutes and then everything settles down.

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