Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Frigid Florida???

We're back!

We made it!!

We've survived!!! (Just barely, though. I went to bed around 1 am this morning after staying up and talking with Mom. It's just so hard to leave! And the 3:30 am wakeup call didn't help my cause. We needed to get to the airport early for our 6 am flight, but as we had to return the rental car and travel with the bike box, it made things interesting. My Dad followed because our rental car return was at the Lindberg Terminal, a few miles away from the Humphrey Terminal which we were flying out of. So I got dropped off at 4:30, and met up with Nathaniel by 5:15 - we made the flight just in time. And even better, all of our bags, bikes, gear, and stuff arrived. Excellent - a New Year's Surprise from the airlines. Anyway, I'm working off of very little sleep, but wanted to get this out.) So yeah, we survived. The plane didn't crash, and I haven't (yet) crashed from lack of sleep. But I'm looking forward to a lot of zzzzz's soon.

I snagged a bit of sleep on the plane, but was pretty distracted when our pilot from Atlant to Pensacola, announced that the current Pensacola temperature was 39 degrees.

Whoa Nelly! What was that? Did he just say 39 degrees? Holy Cow! And then he joked that the prjected low for tommorow morning is 17. That means that...

The temperature in Florida isn't all that different from the temperature in Minnesota. Go figure. We fly a mere 1200 miles south, and the morning temperature difference is 15 degrees. That comes out to around 1.2 or 1.3 degrees per 100 miles (but don't trust my math too much - I'm the one who looses count in the pool doing 150s.) Great.

But 15 degrees is still 15 degrees, and I'm not going to complain a bit. Because it could be a lot worse.

Like I mentioned before, tomorrow, our expected morning low is forcasted at 17 degrees. Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Today in Minnesota, the morning temp was 2 degrees, but it felt like -15 with the wind chill. Even better.

Like I said before, I'm not going to complain. Not one bit.

I've got a whole new appreciation for all of my Northern counterparts. Anyone who endures long winters, cold temperatures, and blustery winds has my total and utmost respect. It's one thing to participate in a winter sport: I grew up Nordic skiing - so you figure that you're supposed to get the cold and wind and snow. But as a triathlete, it takes a heckuva lot of guts, determination, and will to grind out endless hours on the trainer, jump into the pool when the outside temperatures are well below zero, and run outdoors when your eyelashes freeze open.

I feel like such a dope for "complaining" about 42 degrees a few weeks ago. I tell you, I needed to HTFU. And in a way, my trip home to Minnesota and Wisconsin gave me a dose of reality that I needed.

I jumped into the pool while it was snowy and cold outside. So much, so that my post-swim damp hair became brittle on the way out to the car. It's been a long long time since my hair froze, and while my braid wasn't solid, it was pretty rigid. Last time my hair froze, I was skiing on the birkebiner trail with my high school ski team. It snowed 18 inches that day, and then the temperatures dropped. My exposed hair was frozen solid, but I was okay in the end. (That ski trip was the epitome of HTFU. For a while I was on the same page as "Bevin". Check out the clip - it's hilarious).

I've always enjoyed running outside - even the cold Minnesota temperatures don't dampen my spirit. I just bundle up, layer after layer, and run my heart out. Even frozen eyelashes, frozen hands, and a hacking cough that persists for hours afterwards is okay. "Cold" weather in Florida - the kind that I wrote about earlier - was a bit of a stretch. Go for a 75 minute run in -5 degree windchill and then we can talk about 35 degrees. Yeah.

And finally, quality time on the trainer. Last Sunday, I spent 3 hours cranking out zone 3 to zone 4. Yes my coach is evil, but he's got my best interest at heart. And besides, in a sick sort of way, I look forward to workouts like this. The workout was truly a break through: it would have been one thing to bike 60 miles outside in the weak December Florida sunshine (the high temp that day in Florida was 67). The workout would have been pleasant, possibly even pleasurable. However, spending 3 hours on the trainer (starting at 5:15 am... we had a busy day and an early morning session was the only time I could fit it in), looking at the basement walls, looking at the floor, watching the sweat pop out on my arms, feeling every sensation because the only thing to do was to listen to music and watch CNN in the background. I felt every single minute of the workout, and I reveled in the strength I gained.

Would the workout have been better outside? Perhaps. But up in Wisconsin, at 5 am and with a morning temperature of 20 degrees - biking outside wasn't an option (for me). SO the trainer it was.

Man, you guys are hardcore!

Winter sports in a winter climate is one thing; training for triathlon year round in a winter climate is another. You guys rock!

As for me, I will not complain about "cold" in Florida. IF it gets cold, it'll be for a few days at the most. Nothing that the Nordic child in me can't endure. I'll just pull on my Wisconsin top, my swix earmuffs, layers of clothes, and laugh like a madwoman as everyone else cowers at the trail head.

I've seen the other side, have felt the icy breath of winter, and realize that we've got it pretty easy down here.

So when people at the airport, at the grocery store, and on the news in Pensacola complain about the cold weather, I'll just roll my eyes. 17 degrees is a bit "cold" for down here - I'll readily admit that. Hey, anything that threatens the citrus crops isn't that good (gotta have my grapefruit!). But in all reality, it's not that bad. It could be a lot worse.

And the most "hilarious" myth/rumor that's going around? Everyone is fearful of "the black ice" that supposedly shows up on the road when the temperature dips below freezing. Ice that you can't see, but is rumored to send cars slipping and sliding around with no control. It can strike at any point, and there's nothing that can be done to combat it. :)

Listen up my fellow Floridians, black ice does NOT form at 17 degrees. It forms only at temperatures that are well below zero. And only when there's enough moisture in the air for the car exhaust to freeze to the road before it gets a chance to evaporate. 17 degrees is NOT enough to cause car exhaust form into black ice. End of story.

But I guess even Floridians need to vent, need to feel as though they endure cold weather like the rest of the country. That may be true: but only for a few days, maybe a week here and there.

So yeah, it'll be a "chilly" 17 degrees tomorrow morning. And people will drive cautiously, ever afraid of the black ice that they don't understand - but assume is out to get them. They'll bundle up, stamp their feet inside warm buildings, complain of the bitter cold, drink excessive amounts of warm beverages, joke nervously about frozen pipes, and swap stories from past Florida cold snaps. My concern is with the grapefruits: I hope they're okay.

As for me, well, I plan on paying homage to my Minnesota roots. I'll get up early, throw on a few layers, my earmuffs and swix hat, and bound outside. I'll run past cars, whose owner are decked out in warm coats, hats, mittens, shawls, and any other clothing they can find to keep themselves warm. They'll watch me running, and assume that I'm crazy. "Who on earth would actually run in this weather?!?" they'll ponder as I run past.

But it won't matter. I'll be happy, I'll be content, I'll be warm. Because I'm doing something that I love, running because I love running, and keeping connected to my Nordic heritage. 17 degrees? No biggie - I've run in colder! And I'll think about all of my Northern counterparts - many of them running in colder temps at the exact same time. Temperature won't matter; we'll be connected through our sport, our love for the great outdoors. We'll be getting stronger, bounding across the pavement, reveling the the early morning cold and light.

And after the run, the hot cup of coffee will taste all the better. Stay warm! Have fun! Watch out for black ice! And let's cross our fingers for grapefruits!


Train-This said...

I thought of you this morning when reports came accross the wire that Florida was freezing!!! Way to HTFU Marit!

:-) Mary

BreeWee said...

Ha ha ha! I remember when I lived in Florida and it was cold- nobody that doesn't live in Florida believes it gets cold there! Hope training is going really well for you! I am looking to do an IM in June and I thought of you today...

Anonymous said...

Yeah...all people need is a dose of reality. So, today when the mercury hit 22F out we were ESTASTIC....even outside w/o jackets..I mean, who needs jackets when it is 22F ?? Not us....heck, it was -5 w/ -20 windchill just 2 days ago. 22F .. heat wave. Hee hee......Jen H