Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snow? what snow ?

                                                              Sunset on Christmas Day
                                                        Laura finishing 2nd in the 1 mile
                                                            After the 5 km road race
                                                             Down on beach after race  
                                               Memorial Bridge where the race goes over
                                                                     Christmas Day
Tuesday 5th January
Happy New Year to everyone and  good luck in 2010 with all your schedules, ambitions and races.  No posts for a few weeks as we have been over at our beach home in Florida at Sand Key on the  the Gulf Coast. We left on the 18th of December and it was -4 as we boarded the plane and today we returned to -6 and six inches of solid ice and snow on our roads and pavements.  As I looked at Sky News during our holiday, I kept saying "it will be all gone by the time we return no problem". How wrong was I?  While I was over in the States they had their worst storm for over 10 years in Washington and the Eastern Seaboard up to Maine with snow falls of up to 26 inches.  In New York with over 12 inches of snow, they had the city roads and pavements mostly clear within 12 hrs with no snow in sight.  The city pays $12 for volunteers to help clear the streets and with huge blowers and snow melting equipment they leave streets and pavements clear and safe for people to walk on.  

Arriving home today, I was shocked to see the appalling conditions the local councils have left the roads and pavements in when they are always preaching about health and safety in all walks of life.  To see elderly people holding onto walls and lamp posts or staying in as they are scared to venture out in this skating rink, is a national disgrace. To be running out of salt after 2 weeks of snow and ice is unbelievable.  If it was 2 months, I could see how the problem would arise.

That's me got that off my chest but for the last 16 days we didn't have to worry about snow, though it did get cold a few days as we had some cold fronts sweeping down from up north (cold was 58-62). Christmas Day was 71 degrees and nice beach weather.

This year we ran a 5 km race in Clearwater on our first morning after arriving.  Last December all 4 of us ran the annual Clearwater Say No To Drugs Holiday Classic and we all enjoyed the race and atmosphere and were looking forward to this year's event.  Unfortunately, it was the worst organized registration for a race I have ever taken part in and for the first time ever, I missed the start of a race. We had pre-entered in early November and all we had to do on the day was pick up our numbers, chips, long sleeved shirts and goodie bags and make our way to the start at 8 am. Arriving at 7 .10 am the lines were huge and after 1 hour we still hadn't got anything and there were still hundreds behind us in the queue ( 1,700 ran the race, 800 more than last year) when they announced the start was being delayed till after 8.15 am. As we were putting on our chips and getting ready to go to start some 300-400 yards away the bloody horn went off and the race started, even though there were hundreds still waiting for their numbers. Alison ran off to get to the start but I was in two minds whether to bother as I was desperate for the toilet after standing in the queue for over an hour, so I walked over to the start and joined in nearly 3 mins after the horn had sounded. It is a nice scenic run over the Memorial Bridge into Clearwater Beach and back to the park where we had started.  They were also holding a 1 mile race for kids and Laura finished 2nd in the race overall.  I ran through the field till I caught Alison and we ran the rest of the way together. Times were slow as it was very hard to get past the mass of bodies, but Alison's chip time put her 4th in her age group while mine was some 8 mins slower than last year where I was 3rd in 45-49 age group. After the race there was a free pancake breakfast with fruit, muffins and drinks.  The problem was that they were not ready for such large numbers and didn't have enough officials at registration and they ran out of  goody bags, shirts and food at breakfast.

Apart from the mess at check in, we still had a good morning and Laura was presented with her ribbon for second and we all enjoyed the breakfast afterwards.  Craig held the gear this year as he said" he is too big to run the mile and too unfit to run the 5 km this year".

Craig and I played 7 rounds of golf this holiday and Craig was easily the Christmas Champion winning 6-1 in games. I ran 6 times the first week out there all in shorts and tee-shirts but my running the second week was just about non-existent, as I slipped at golf and twisted my knee which became painful when I tried to run on it, so it was another blank week as I decided to rest it. Now that we are back hopefully I can get some runs in if I can find some black tarmacadam to run on!

Yesterday just before we left Sand Key I spoke to a friend who lives about 30 mins away inland but was working nearby, he had to scrape ice off his car windscreen in the morning as the temperature had dropped to freezing in some parts inland. So if you only have been in Florida during the summer you would not believe how cold it can occasionally be.

On a finishing note, we started  our holiday with a race and finished with a race but yesterday's race was not as scenic or as enjoyable.  Our flight from Tampa was 2 hours late getting into New York and we had 15 mins to get the only flight to Glasgow that there is each evening at 7.50pm. It was Sod's law that the Tampa flight landed at a gate at the opposite end of Newark airport so we were as far away as possible from the Glasgow departure gate and it left us with a good half mile plus to run to the gate. I ran ahead and Laura kept up as we ran down to the gate, arriving just as they were about to close the gate and they had already changed the gate overhead to read 'Los Angeles' which was the next flight out of that gate.  If we had not ran and managed to board at the last minute, we would have been stuck in New York until we could get onto a flight with 4 available seats to somewhere in the UK. Once on the plane Craig was limping and groaning he had twisted his ankle  sprinting and Alison spent the first half hour with a sick bag in front of her feeling ill with all the stress and that was before we had to slip and slide home from Glasgow Airport. 

At the airport, my father-in-law lost his car in the multi-storey  and we were wandering about for 20 mins in minus 6 degrees looking for a bloody Mondeo on either level 1,2 or 3! 

Once on the M8 his visibility was zero due to his screenwash being frozen and it was getting to the stage where we were going to have to stop on the hard shoulder and wipe it clean when Alison said she had the remains of a bottle of water from Tampa airport and came up with the idea of me leaning out the front passenger window and squirting the water onto the windscreen.  We did this from Glasgow to Lenzie with the water running out as we came into Lenzie.  Glad to be back?

1 comment:

  1. You sound like Victor Meldrew..............roll on the Fling