It's already "one of those days," and it's only 9 am.
We've had a lot of rain here lately, and that makes it hard to skate. Much as I'd like to be a badass and simply skate in the rain, it's just not possible--especially on the Oval. The Oval is apparently made of a substance that, while reasonably grippy when dry, turns into something resembling a Slip-n-Slide when wet. (The only surface I've ever skated on that's slicker than the Oval when wet is the Metrodome--you know, where the Vikings play and the Twins used to. The Dome has an indoor marathon every year--70 laps of fun around the upper concourse. The first year my sister and I skated it, we came out of one of the corners to see no less than 10 skaters sprawled on the floor in various stages of "crash," and we heard urgent yells of "water, water, look out." So I looked, and just had time to register--as my skate hit a slippery wet patch and almost went out from under me--the following facts: this is why skaters are not allowed to have water on the course; there is a wet, chunky patch on the floor; water does not have chunks; all of the downed skaters have crashed from, and then slid through, someone's exertion-induced puke; I did not want to slide through someone's puke; thankfully, I was not going to, although I did, undoubtedly, have some on my left skate. But, as usual, I digress...)
Anyway, the current soggy atmospheric conditions have made it difficult to get my workouts in lately. Ironically, one of the reasons I took up long track skating to begin with was that I was tired of having my sport (cross-country skiing at the time) be so weather-dependent. True, the Oval is outdoors, and some of the winter weather can be a bit interesting, but the Oval rarely actually closes in the winter. And Coach TieGuy is remarkably callous about bad-weather workouts. Many is the time that we'd step out the door of the warming house for a workout, into snow/rain/gale-force winds/sub-zero temps and, when I'd hesitate, TieGuy would say cheerfully "oh, it won't be so bad...I can still use the walkie talkie from inside the building and watch you through the windows." Nice. (He never actually did coach from inside, although he did hang out under the overhang on a few epically rainy--yes, rain in a Minnesota winter--nights.)
So anyway, I have one workout left to do this week so I decided to try the Oval this morning even though it rained yesterday and was supposed to rain again this morning. Now, going to the Oval for a morning workout is a complicated matter. It involves waking up around 5 to take my thyroid meds, going back to bed until 7, getting up and checking the weather stats online to be sure it hasn't rained/isn't raining at the Oval (which is 30 miles from home), packing my food/beverages/clothes/breakfast, and driving to the Oval while eating. Not a process to be undertaken lightly.
Today, all went well until I opened the garage door...at which point it started to rain. Oh, well, I thought, I've come this far in the process--I might as well go anyway. The Oval is east of me, I drive faster than the storm is moving; maybe I'll get half of the workout in, anyways...
So I drove to the Oval, and was greeted with this sight:
Notice the sprinklers in the background; I really don't think those were necessary, do you?
So clearly an interval workout was not going to happen, but there was enough room to dodge the puddles and I could make it all the way around the track without skating through any water. So that's what I did--dodging puddles on the backstretch, doing drills on the front straightaway.
After about 10 minutes of this, a new complication arose. Last week when I skated, I ended up in a figure skating camp. As I had sat on the concrete bleachers between sets, I was suddenly surrounded by coaches, pre-adolescent girls, and yoga mats. Yes, literally surrounded--one coach sat down on my left, one on my right, and the girls formed a semicircle around us...this despite the fact that I was only occupying one-twentieth of the available bleacher space and had the group moved 10 feet to my right, I would not have become an honorary figure skater.
Really, people, show some courtesy.
(In retrospect, it was kind of amusing. It was apparently the first day of camp and, due to my front-row seat, I got to observe the intricacies of dealing with little-girl figure skaters. The coaches were explaining to the kids that they would be divided into groups for the camp. The youngest group was to be the "Fantasy Princesses." Just as I began to internally snort with disgust, the two 7-year-olds in front of me looked at each other in amazed delight.
"Oh," gasped one, "we get to be the Fantasy Princesses!"
Clearly, their day had been made.
I however, had to resist the urge to ask if the oldest skater (me) could be the SCOWL (see this post) group, and since the princesses got crown-shaped Silly Bandz, could they perhaps look for a frowny-face one for me...)
So anyway, back to today...as I completed a lap, I looked up to see the Fantasy Princesses et. al. descending upon the bleachers again...and surrounding my gear again. By the time I got back to my stuff, I had to move two yoga mats just to get to get close enough to grab my water bottle. I wanted to take a picture of the carnage, but figured that would raise some awkward questions...
"Why are you taking a picture of us?"
"Because I want an illustration of how rude you are for my next blog post."
I decided to avoid the Minnesota Passive Aggressive routine, though. But just so you can picture it, here's a shot of my gear after the girls left. You can see it, right? The black bag and stuff? And you can see the empty bleachers to the left, right? Just checking.
Well, the reason I was able to get this shot of the empty bleachers is that, about five minutes after the girls and their coaches surrounded my gear, there was a flash of lightning and crack of thunder. The girls dove indoors, I got the picture, and then I reluctantly decided that I better leave the track as well. I really wanted to get a picture of the Oval completely covered in water, but the rain--despite the lightning and almost continual thunder--refused to appear. By this time I was cranky and hungry, and had decided to remedy both of these issues with an Egg McMuffin on the way home. (Yes, I know. Egg McMuffins are not exactly on my diet plan. Yes, I know. It's best not to "medicate" one's emotions with food. I'm a Board Certified Behavior Analyst; I know how reinforcers work. But dammit, an Egg McMuffin will make me happy. I'm getting an Egg McMuffin.) I finally decided that I couldn't wait anymore for a rain picture, and I headed for the McDonald's.
As I crested the exit ramp and looked ahead for the Golden Arches I saw...nothing. Or, more accurately, I saw a pile of dirt and a construction trailer. And a lonely red-and-yellow McDonald's "enter" sign where the driveway to Heaven used to start. (I would have gotten a picture of that forlorn little sign, but the traffic light into the McDonald's wasn't triggering for the direction I needed to go and I didn't want to have to come back through the malfunctioning light after taking the picture. So you'll have to imagine it. It was really sad.)
Now, rather than taking this as a sign that perhaps I'm not supposed to have McDonald's today--I am, after all, planning on pizza for lunch with a friend later today--I simply became hungrier, crankier, and more determined to get my McMuffin.
And I finally did, 5 miles from home.
And it was good.
When I got home, Keira greeted me effusively at the door. Usually, her greeting goes something like this:
Me: walks into house after hours away
Keira: opens one eye without lifting head from doggy bed. Yawns in my general direction.
Me: "no, no, don't get up; I insist."
Keira: goes back to sleep
But today when I stepped in the door, it was all waggy-waggy snorty-snorty bouncy-bouncy (the dog, not me). Then I realized--she's freaked out by the thunder. Which, of course, means that she won't go potty if I take her out now, even though she hasn't gone since 6 o'clock last night and it's now 10 am. And I'm leaving soon for lunch, and Hubster will be heading out soon, too...and now I really have to get going, and I'm not done typing...
OK, I'm back...didn't manage to finish the post before lunch, which was actually good because I'm not done whining. To make a long story short (which I rarely do): It rained. I forgot where the pizza place was and went to the wrong part of town. It still rained. Called my friend for directions. Drove back to correct place. It rained some more. Ate pizza. Started to drive home (in the rain). Encountered huge traffic jam; I assumed due to another malfunctioning light. Sat (briefly) in traffic jam--in the rain. Took another route home. It rained. Arrived home to find the power out. Took the dog out...in the rain. She finally "went." In the rain.
Now, all is quiet. The power is back on, the thunder has stopped, the dog is asleep.
And it's still raining.
But I still have an interval workout to do before the end of the weekend--a weekend in which both days are expected to have a heat index of 110 degrees.
I feel the need for another McMuffin coming on.