Today might have been a nice day to get out and play on the roads. The February thaw we’ve been waiting for began in earnest this morning. Temps hit forty-four degrees. The 21″ snowbanks are sagging now. The earth welcomes the moisture or it runs down the gutters into the run off systems. The river two miles away will carry salt for weeks. I always wonder if the fish can taste it.
The cardinals have begun singing in our neighborhood. They like to perch in the morning sun in the most obvious possible spot.A few years back, I painted this image of a cardinal in early spring, one of my favorite times of the year.
These days my approach to spring is considerably different than it once was. Two days ago the faint smell of sun in winter air reminded me of doing an indoor track meet in Sterling years ago. It was time to test my state of fitness before the racing season began in March with the Shamrock Shuffle, a five mile road race that kicked off the racing year in the Chicago area. I ran a 9:28 indoor two-mile and felt pretty solid about the effort. But the weather never warmed up that year and we wound up racing five miles in sixteen-degree temperatures in a race that looped around Montrose Point with the freezing winds whipping off Lake Michigan.
I managed to run 26:15 that day. Not fast, but the winds were so fierce and cold all I wanted to do was get the race over. If memory serves, I got about sixteenth place.
These days there are no pressures to race so early in the season. Of course last year, the surge of the pandemic canceled races starting in March. The previous year, we raced in the Champion of Trees 10K t Morton Arboretum. At the mile point, it started snowing like mad. Big, white flakes that melted when they hit your face and eyelids. I love sensations like that. Any more, it’s one of the big reasons I find to race. Being in the moment.
We did race a few times last year, which produced sensations both good and bad. Doing an Olympic distance tri in the heat of Springfield in July? Hmmmm. Racing a Half Ironman on a cool September day in Madison, Wisconsin? That was an “in the moment day” all around. First ever finish at that distance.
The last race was an Olympic over in Muncie. I was grateful for all three safe opportunities to get out there and “feel it” for real. That’s my goal whatever I’m going. What are your goals this year?