Monday, February 2, 2015

THE RODENT OF FEBRUARY

For my entire life, I have resided in northeastern Pennsylvania. (although I'll be spending more time at my Myrtle Beach condo in the coming years)

From east to west, Pennsylvania is a vast state, about 283 miles wide. Often, events in places like Pittsburgh seem far away from our world here in the 'east.'

This morning, in Punxsutawney, (an Indian term meaning 'poison vine') Pennsylvania, a small town of about 6,00 people, in the mountains of the western part of our state, a large, ugly rodent, a groundhog, dubbed Punxsutawney Phil, appeared, groggily, in front of a crowd of thousands of screaming spectators, to make his annual weather prediction.

Go figure.

Groundhogs are detestable animals. They ravage crops, sometimes burrow tunnels that are hundreds of yards long, and wreak havoc in farmers' fields. My dog returned home, bloodied after a groundhog assault this past summer.

Following an ancient Celtic tradition, if the groundhog, a hibernating animal, sees its shadow on February 2, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will arrive early.The tradition was probably brought to Pennsylvania by German immigrants.

This morning, under dreary, overcast skies, the obviously sedated rat, "saw" his shadow, signaling six more weeks of winter. For the record, spring begins on March 20, meaning that spring IS indeed, six weeks away.

Today, our newest weather term emerged. We were warned to beware of "flash ice." After a snow/rain event, temperatures plummeted rapidly, and winds gusted at 30 miles per hour. In an instant, wet surfaces turned to slippery glass.

Mountains of snow are everywhere, surfaces are treacherous, and much more of winter lies ahead.

Persevere.

Grind out the miles.

Plan properly.

For example, yesterday, before the snow, rain, and ice appeared, I turned in a long run. Today,under dismal conditions, I ran short and slow.

Be fanatic about the weather forecast and plan your future workouts accordingly.

The days are getting longer. By the end of the month, the sun will rise before 7:00 a.m., and will set after 6:00 p.m.

We ARE coming out of the darkness, and in 46 days, spring will be here, with or without a prediction from a furry critter.

Hang in there.

Better running days are on the way.

Now I'm off to chow down on some groundhog stew.

www.muldowneyrunning.com