Tag Archives: weather

Chilly Appreciation

Liar!

Liar!

See what my iPhone 5S’ weather app showed this morning?

Reality

Reality

Compare that to what it really looked like outside. Although it did rain last night and early this morning, I didn’t see any snowflakes at our house. Plus it had stopped even drizzling by the time I took the weather app screenshot.

When it’s cold and windy, as it is right now (30 degrees but feels like 17 degrees), I always think we might as well have some snow to remind us that it truly is winter. It makes for such a great photo op!

Yikes!

No thanks!

But then I’m reminded that I experienced enough snow and frigid temperatures during my 30 years in the Chicago area to last a lifetime.

Right now I’m appreciative of our “milder” Houston winter, with or without snow!

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

Dream . . . or nightmare?

Dream . . . or nightmare?

The self-doubting, as usual, started a couple days ago. The self-loathing will wait until, oh, maybe mile six.

Yes, friends, it’s time for my annual loooooong morning of self-induced torture, also known as the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

“Race” day (in quotes because I wobble more than run) is Sunday morning, starting and ending at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Today I travel there with my friend Janet B. to pick up my packet at the marathon expo. I’ve attended almost every expo since 1986 (after moving to Houston), and it’s fun to be in such an energetic atmosphere. Plus it’s nice to share my nervousness with others who speak my language.

Thanks to a great half-marathon sponsor (they missed out on the first couple years).

Thanks to a great half-marathon sponsor (they missed out on the first couple years).

I’ll be trying for my ninth Houston half-marathon finish, which also will be my fifth straight. You would think that running this event would be old hat by now, but it’s not. Every year presents some new wrinkle (and not just on my face).

This time it’s a biggie!

New and improved?

New and improved?

For the first time since the half marathon debuted in 2003, the course has radically changed. The city told the marathon committee not to count on having the evil, devil-designed Elysian Viaduct available (it’s scheduled to be demolished, thank goodness), so the race has to start in another direction. The end result? The first nine miles are different and, thankfully, flatter.

It’ll be nice having a change of pace (which might cause me to have a faster pace), not that I really remember the course from year to year, because I so often have my head down as I try to avoid the potholes. I do have a plan to try to help me deal mentally with the unrelenting concrete:

The first six miles are for me. Just as I finish beating myself up for having too many pounds and not enough miles in my legs, I’ll turn my thoughts to my friend Janet Ely, who recently passed away after an amazing, long-term battle with breast cancer. I’ll count on her help from mile seven through eight.

After that, I’ll be thinking about my buddy Steve Terese, who unexpectedly died last fall from cancer. Steve was a Houston Marathon veteran and triathlete, a wonderful runner and a caring friend. I’m hoping he’ll carry me through miles 9 and 10.

Before I take back the mental reins for the final 1.1 miles, which I always dedicate to my beloved father, who passed away from leukemia in 1991, I’ll be reflecting on a similar battle that my former brother-in-law, Howie, has just begun. He’s been diagnosed with a different form of leukemia and will start chemo soon. I pray that his outcome will be different and that he’ll live to watch his grandchildren grow up.

A Chamber of Commerce day

A Chamber of Commerce day

Here’s hoping that Janet, Steve, and Howie can help get me to the finish line. The weather has decided to cooperate (Mother Nature owed us big after last year’s miserable conditions), thankfully. Now it’s up to me to do the rest.

Good luck to all the marathoners and half marathoners on Sunday!

From Brrrrr to Ahhhh!

Although it’s getting a bit warmer in Chicago, it’s still too brisk for me.

Chicago is too brisk for me.

Today I’m flying home after a wonderful visit in Chicago with my beloved relatives and a couple friends. I’ll return from being a temporary Midwesterner once again and resume extending the Texan part of my life (hopefully, for a loooong time).

I’m looking forward to the milder temps.

I’m looking forward to the milder temps.

Just consider me gone (back) to Texas!

Lying Weather App

Looks like clear sailing ahead!

Looks like clear sailing ahead!

One of the first things I do when I wake up is check my iPhone 5S’ weather app, especially on long run days like yesterday. I need to know the temperature and the rain chances, so I can dress appropriately (or, occasionally, convince me to go back to bed).

As you can see from the above screenshot, it looked like gorgeous conditions for my scheduled 10-miler. Finally! It’s been so hot and humid that we’ve wondered if fall would ever arrive. I was stoked!

Oh oh!!

Oh oh!!

As I jogged through my first mile, I could see bright skies to my right. However, to my left, coming from the north, were those distinctive dark clouds that signified one thing: Rain.

Could the weather app have been misinformed?

Yep . . . and so was I.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Who’ll stop the rain?

Drizzle began during mile two. The Mister texted me, asking if I wanted him to pick me up. Easy answer: No, thanks. I needed to finish what I started.

Note the demarcation line.

Note the demarcation line.

I continued to hope the precipitation would stay light, because the conditions were awesome. Crisp temps with occasional wind gusts and a cool rain—what’s not to like?

Well, a cold downpour isn’t on my list of favorites. But that’s what greeted me starting at mile three and continuing until I returned to our house soaked and drippy, thankfully with 10 miles under my fuel belt.

It’s always a good feeling when you set a goal and attain it no matter what the conditions. In fact, persevering makes you stronger, helps you believe that you will be ready on January 19, the date of Houston’s marathon/half marathon event.

And you never know when that experience can come in handy, as it did for this year’s wet and cold Aramco Houston Half Marathon. It’s all a great learning experience.

Want to know the knowledge I gained yesterday? Not to trust the iPhone’s weather app!

Rainy Day Players and Photographers

My younger son lasers in his birdie putt amid the raindrops.

My younger son lasers in his birdie putt amid the raindrops.

According to the Southwest Handicap Mini’s fearless leader, Eric, it should never rain on Tuesdays during the 18-hole disc golf tournaments. So we were all surprised when Mother Nature had the audacity to defy Eric and briefly dump some drops on our heads during this week’s contest at Community Park in Missouri City.

Mike keeps the basket in his sights.

Mike keeps the basket in his sights.

As much as I don’t like getting my photographic equipment wet, I went with the flow (literally) and just kept on shooting while hoping for the best. When I looked at my pics in Photoshop later, I loved how my fast shutter speed had captured not only the action but also the rain.

Glen hams it up with his no-look putt.

Glen hams it up with his no-look putt.

Talk about your spray and pray!

Winter’s Last Gasp . . . But Not Really

My younger son hopes his jump putt hits the chains.

My younger son hopes his jump putt hits the chains.

Yesterday was the first day of spring. Here in the Houston area, all that means is that March 20th’s weather was virtually the same as on March 19th—beautiful.

And not cold at all, thank goodness!

Hiral shows his serious putting side.

Hiral shows his serious putting side.

The last day of what passes for winter here found me at Imperial Park at our weekly Southwest Handicap Mini series. This is the best time to play disc golf there, because the foliage is beaten down and thinned out. Discs don’t get lost as often as they do during the summer when the park regains its lushness and is more challenging.

Purple power!

Purple power!

Of course, I’m drawn to Imperial as much for the nature as watching the kid play. As I approached hole seven, my eye immediately was drawn to bright batches of phlox. I’ve seen that wildflower here before but never in such abundance.

Maybe this is foxglove?

Another purple park inhabitant

My Nikon 105mm macro lens captured the few flora that were ready for prime time this early. We should see plenty more, though, in a month or so when the series returns to the ever-blooming park.

A wee spider peeks out from his lantana perch.

A wee spider peeks out from his lantana perch.

Wonder if this guy will stick around?

Returning to What Passes as Normal

That’s much better!

That’s much better!

When I last left all of you, I was kvetching about the bone-chilling conditions in Chicago.

I returned home yesterday from my short visit to my hometown and was greeted by a glorious final day of spring break. Of course, we know that before long I’ll be kvetching about how flippin’ hot it is here in Houston. But let’s not go there right now.

I enjoyed a splendid time in the windy city, where I was reminded of what I miss and don’t miss about my kind of town.

Just so ugly!

Just so ugly!

Number one with a bullet on that don’t-miss list? Dirty snow! As well as constant temperatures at or below 32 degrees. No, thank you!

This iPhone 5 photo does NOT do this magnificent work of art justice.

This iPhone 5 photo does NOT do this gastronomical work of art justice.

Can you tell what I miss second-most about Chicago? Yep, it’s the great food. During my four days there I managed to consume a Portillo’s hot dog, Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza, half a corned beef sandwich on rye, and ribs at L Woods. So delicious!

My mom (right) and her twin sister sandwich the birthday girl.

My mom (right) and her twin sister sandwich the birthday girl.

Of course, what I miss most about Chicago is family. So it was wonderful being able to spend quality time with my mom as well as her twin sister, who also stayed with her. It also was great sharing dinner with my brother (the hot-shot Chicago lawyer) and his family at L Woods.

The marquee event of the weekend, though, was helping my mom’s younger sister celebrate her 70th birthday last Saturday night. Believe me, this gal looks terrific! And she’s as beautiful inside as she is outside. I also got to spend more time with my little bro as well as my cousins, who I don’t get to see often enough.

All in all, it was well worth braving the cold; I’m really glad I visited. And I’m looking forward to making another trip north this year . . . probably in September.

When the weather should be ideal!