Harbingers of Spring -- 02/23/03

Our front yard and our backyard are snow-covered. Deep piles of snow line our street. It is foggy as moist warmer air hits the mounds of snow; the houses across the street are viewed through a filter of fog and as I look down the street each succeeding house is fainter and fainter as the street fades away in the fog.

Thursday and Friday saw temperatures climb through the 40's, hitting fifty in mid-afternoon. Yesterday was around forty degrees with light rain in the morning and heavy steady rain all afternoon. Today's temperature is rising through the forties and yet the mounds of snow from last week's storm still remain. The weather forecast calls for light snow Monday night as colder air moves in; Wednesday's low is predicted to be ten degrees and Thursday may bring a wintery mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

That doesn't matter, spring is on its way.

On Friday morning, two months past the Winter Solstice, with just a month to go before the Vernal Equinox, we went to the Providence Flower Show. Bright sunshine, mild temperatures, just a few days after shoveling out of a storm that dumped more than twenty inches of snow on us, we got to wander through exhibits of plants and flowers and garden supplies.

About a third of the Providence Convention Center's main exhibition floor was devoted to garden exhibits -- fantasy gardens and landscaping, fountains and waterfalls and miniature ponds, flowers and shrubs and trees -- and the rest was row upon row of booths offering seeds and bonsai plants, garden tools, garden sheds, picket fences, picnic tables, hammocks and hanging chairs, bee-keeper supplies, organic jams and jellies, electric pumps for water gardens, hand lotion, scented candles, roasted nuts and chocolate candy, etcetera, etcetera. The upper level was setup for various lecture presentations on gardening topics (plus musical performances for children as well as a food court) and the various intermediate levels held more exhibits, everything from gardening book authors autographing their books and landscaping experts providing advice to a model aircraft carrier (a group that wants to set up a naval museum in Rhode island... right now they have the Russian submarine that was used in the movie K-19).

We went with Nancy's sister Janet and her husband Tom (that's Nancy with Janet and Tom in the picture above). I had to leave to attend a meeting at work in the afternoon but came back to Providence afterward to meet Nancy at the Providence Place Mall (reachable from the Convention Center via an enclosed elevated walkway, reminds me of downtown Minneapolis). (Cell phones can be very handy -- "Hi, I've just parked in the parking ramp next to the Lord & Taylor elevator, where are you?" -- "I'm in the Gourmet Chef store on Level 3.") So Nancy and I wandered around the mall for awhile, then had dinner there (Chicago Pub).

Yesterday I picked up entry forms for the Kelley's Pace 3 Mile March Hare Hop at Olde Mistick Village in Connecticut. I won't be very quick, but as long as my heel doesn't act up I should have no problem covering the distance. And, this morning my daughter confirmed that she is still interested in running it with me. We'd run this race together back in '97 and '98 (and I also ran it last year).

I'm hoping that my heel will be fully recovered before the end of March because I am really looking forward to spring running. In my previous entry I mentioned the last weekend in April as being my last chance to run before my birthday and the South County Hospital's Run for Your Life 5k on the following weekend being my first chance to run in my new age group. While picking up the Kelley's Pace entry forms in Camire's Running Soles store on Saturday, I also picked up an entry form for a 10k trail run on May 10th which was very intriguing -- I'm not fond of the 10k distance but I enjoy trail running, although I don't get much opportunity to do it these days -- but when I got home I checked my New England Runner calendar and found that there are four other races in Rhode Island that day. Rhode Island is such a small state, it doesn't make sense to have five races on the same day! And I was already having a tough time picking one event. There's the 8th Annual Shad Bloom Trail Run on Block Island -- the 16th Annual Narrow River Run in Narraganset (with both a 5k and a 10k) -- and the Duathlon on the Dunes here in South Kingstown (run three and a half miles, bike seventeen miles, and then run three and a half miles). I had already eliminated a 5k in Warwick (why drive twenty-five miles when there's a race five miles away?)... and the Block Island one would eat up most of the day once you factor in taking the ferry over and back, etc.... I've never run the Narrow River one... have wanted to but there always seems to be something getting in my way... so I would like to finally run it... but that duathlon sounds really interesting (assuming I could get into shape for that in the intervening eleven or twelve weeks).

It's definitely getting close to spring. If the bike path weren't covered in snow I'd be strongly tempted to go out for a run right now... I think I'll get this entry posted before I babble on any further and then get in a workout on the exercise bike and the treadmill.

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