Meanwhile, on our porch…
Oh, hi. We got more snow again. If you’ve read any of my previous posts about my wishful 50K training plans you can surmise what more snow means: I AM DOOMED! What did the plan call for this weekend? 18 miles?
That being said, my mood improved once I finally got out the door. Read on.
I went to Mahlon Dickerson Reservation to run yesterday. I lacked motivation and felt like a loser after not going for my long run that morning… because I lacked motivation and felt like a loser. It’s a vicious cycle. But my wife came home yesterday afternoon and said, “Hey! It’s really nice out! You should go for a run!” That, in my mind, translated to, “Hey! You’re a lazy fat slob! You could really use some exercise! Why don’t you get off the couch for a change!” So, I got up and went.
It turned out that the trails were even more snow covered than the week before, as seen below. The previous weekend it took me 2 hours to trudge through 5 miles of snow and I took the road back to the parking lot for the last mile because my feet were so cold. This time I decided to go 2.5 miles and turn around instead of attempting the 6 mile loop.
Since I didn’t have a lot of motivation and since the snow made my effort to exercise turn into one big suck, I reminded myself that it has often been under those circumstances that I’ve been rewarded by seeing something cool, like a bald eagle, or a deer up close, or a cool snake. Though snakes don’t usually come out in the snow.
I saw a few ducks at mile 2, not too exciting. Then I was taken by surprise to see beavers swimming in Saffin Pond, which is near the parking lot. I had seen evidence of beavers in another area of the reservation (see photo). I had not previously seen any indication that they were in Saffin Pond, which often has many humans about it given its proximity to the parking area.
Seeing the beavers was truly rewarding. I could have watched them for hours if it wasn’t close to sunset and my wife wasn’t waiting for me to come home for dinner. So I recorded several minutes of their activity. The video above is 5 minutes of peaceful beaver swimming with a momentary disruption of an angry beaver slapping his tail.
It took me an hour and 45 minutes to go 5 miles this time at Mahlon. It was a little faster than the prior week because I just wanted the suck to be over. However, all the snow we have gotten this month has buried my training plans. I was supposed to do 18 miles this weekend. That’s hard to do when it takes almost 2 hours to just go 5. It’s impossible to do when your motivation tank is empty. I need to get with the program because my 50K is only 4 weeks away. Here’s hoping for a warm week and some rain to clear this snow before next weekend!
One of the things I love about running at Horseshoe Lake is hearing the red-winged blackbirds sing along Fishermen’s Lane. (See my post Where I Go to Start Over.) You can hear them in this video. There’s a cardinal singing in there too.
The song of the red-winged blackbird takes me back to my childhood in rural Warren County, New Jersey. These blackbirds were common sights throughout the many fields, pastures, and wetlands in our area. You don’t find red-winged blackbirds in the woods. They like the open fields like bluebirds do. They like to sit on tall weeds, trees near the fields, electric wires. I remember riding in my mom’s baby blue Ford Falcon past the horse farm on Jackson Valley Road with the sound of Dopplered red-winged blackbird song whizzing by the open windows. Their song has always been one of my favorites. As kids we always felt rewarded when we spotted these blackbirds sporting red and yellow feathers on their wings, so much more exciting than your run-of-the-mill average plain-winged blackbirds.
Feel free to hang out here on this page and listen to the red-winged blackbirds. The video loops automatically. Stay all day if you wish.
This morning I was organizing bookmarks in Internet Explorer, something I rarely do, in a browser I never use but for work these days, and I came across a link to ISS sighting opportunities. I had forgotten all about it. As chance would have it, the Space Station was flying over my area in New Jersey just after sunset today!
Also as chance would have it, the sky was clear at that time of the day. I was able to go outside to view the flyover. I made a video.
It amazes me that there are people living up there 240 miles away from the Earth.
It amazes me that it is moving so fast:
The ISS circles the Earth every 90 minutes. It travels at about 17,500 miles (28,000 km) per hour, which gives the crew 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. In the more than 15 years that people have been living onboard, the Station has circumnavigated the Earth tens of thousands of times.
Moving that quickly, they probably didn’t see me waving.
The speed is even more astounding when you realize that the Station is the size of a US football field.
I’ll have to keep an eye out for another good sighting. There’s just something fascinating about it.