Thursday, February 02, 2012

Alaska Hoary Marmot Day

We don't have groundhogs here, but their cousins the hoary marmot are native. If one decided to crawl outside its burrow at noon it would see brilliant blue skies, snow plastered to the tree branches, and it would feel the relative glow of -7 F temperatures. That temperature, while far from warm, actually feels refreshing.

Ahhh, winter how it's supposed to be! Six more weeks if you believe in the legend. Besides it's always winter here through March, so make it eight.

I love February and March here, but this year I'm stumbling into the best of winter (from about President's day to the end of March) sort of bleary yet restive. Almost as if the freeze has already beat me down. (i.e., already looking forward to running).

January 2012, be gone and never return. Final weather tally, average temp of -26.8 F, 16 days with lows at or colder than -40, six weeks of sub zero, no inversion. Just the winter pits imo.

Yesterday was like an awakening. The day started as same old same old, -35 in town and -20s at Birch Hill. But things warmed up incredibly quick. I left work in the afternoon and it was -18 in town, and by the time I got ready at Birch it was -5 up there. Skiing without freezing your face, hands and feet! The glide wasn't good yet but at least we weren't fighting against that draggy sandpaper feel. By the end of the ski we were enjoying +5 temperatures!

Nevertheless, I felt sluggish and out of it, this the first day on the snow in over a week and second ski in Fairbanks in two weeks. I did 90 minutes classic but was just going through the motions. Hopefully with longer days (up to 7 hr of daylight, gaining 7 min a day) and reasonable temperatures (anything above about -10 is fine for skiing although 0 to 30 above is preferred) we can enjoy the final two months.

This has wreaked havoc on marathon training. Oh well. Tour of Anchorage will be my tune up for the Sonot. Meanwhile, looking forward to Besh Cup 6, 10K freestyle this weekend and the return of the Wednesday Night Series next week.


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