Friday, January 22, 2010

Five storms in a row

This week we got hit by five storms in a row. One for each day of the week, starting on Sunday. The one on Wednesday was particularly bad, dumping tons on water and causing flooding and mayhem everywhere. On top of it all the temperatures dropped steadily as the week went on and now we are braving 40's to low 50's as a day-time high.

For those of you who live where there is a real winter, 40's may sound balmy, but to us, Northern Californians, it is downright cold. Needless to say, people's blogs and facebook pages overflowed with stories about daring-do survival and building character. I for one, chose to stay inside instead.

Given that the human body does very little, if any, cold adaptation, and that cyclists living in colder climes migrate South every winter like the starlings do, I wonder what the use of suffering in the cold really is. But to some of us though ones, it seems a proof of moral fiber (not to say manliness so as to be politically correct).

On Wednesday and on Thursday, I ran 8.5 miles on the treadmill, trying to keep an 8 mph pace. For some odd reason I seem to have a lot of trouble doing that now. Whereas I could run 8.2 and 8.3 last year, this year I have yet to run over 8 uninterrupted. Today, I ran 7.75 miles in the hills, as the storms finally disappeared. Nevertheless I still had to deal with drizzle for the last 3 miles.

Compounding my treadmill problem is that the new machine has a tendency to go out of alignment and the belt then moves to one side or another. When that happens the only option is to stop and adjust the tension on the roller. However, it appears to me that the vibrations of running undo the adjustment and after half an hour or so, a new iteration is needed. I hope a mat will remedy the situation. This never happened to my (equally cheap) previous treadmill.

However it is clear that this improved version means more useless gadgetry on a cheaper frame. The Healthrider I owned before had a steel frame, whereas the Reebok (don't be fooled they are both Icon treadmills) sports a lot of plastic instead.

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