after last week's very sudden deep-freeze, it seems that this year's winter is really here with a vengeance. it is not out of the question to have a snow-less christmas morning in the upper 30's/lower 40's... but this time i'm gearing up for a brutal season. michigan winters are characterized by very low temps, fairly high humidity and eternally lead-gray skies. we get very little of the consistent, high-quality snow of the U.P. (not that we have any hills to ski down), we don't have any of the beautiful, crisp clear sunny days like they have out in the rockies and the humidity tends to make the cold much more bone-chilling. i'm seriously not trying to bitch about it, but winters here really do grind on you. just the complete lack of sunshine alone tends to drive everyone crazy by about february.
all of that aside, i'm trying to be as proactive and prepared as possible. i've got my snow shoes all cleaned up and ready to rock. i found some hand-me-down XC skis and i'm hoping to find a pair of cheap (ideally free) boots ASAP. i have a pair of MICROspikes on order for my running shoes and, as a last ditch, i've got my gym membership to fall back on.
speaking of which, i've been joining my dad for aerobics classes at the YMCA a few times a week as some additional cardio to round out my shorter-than-usual runs. for the most part, i've been pretty impressed. i had pictured old fat ladies doing trunk twists and half-assed (or extremely full-assed, i guess) squats while listening to the "dance" version of jason mraz songs. unfortunately, some of this turned out to be true, but thankfully the classes are also some pretty damn good cardio and it's also giving my quads, abs, lower back and hamstrings a very nice beating. i think i may keep up on this classes all winter, just as something new to keep my workouts fresh.
lastly, the super cold running is getting slightly easier. the transition to winter is not nearly as painless as the transition into 95 degree summer days, but it does still happen. yesterday, i did about an hour of trail hill repeats during our first major blizzard of the year and i literally had chunks of slush accumulating on my eyebrows during the descents.
i've also been doing quite a bit more speedwork in the last couple of weeks. it feels good and i'm planning on keeping it up over the winter. i've never been very fast, so it's definitely an area i need to work on.
The most important part of winter living in Michigan is keeping your blood full of natural anti-freeze so as to prevent frostbite or, even worse, death!
finally, i think the methadone tapering has really turned a corner. i don't want to jinx it, but last week's step down from 9mg's to 7mg's was super hard but now that i'm at 6mg's...i feel fine, i think. my plan right now is to stay at 6 this week, go down to 5 on friday, let that ride for saturday and sunday, too and then...Quit. Yeah, Quit with a capital "Q." I think that I've gotten low enough in my dosages that i can finally stop the methadone with as little discomfort as is possible. as it stands, these low doses aren't really very efficacious anyway, so i'm taking that attitude that rather than draw out the withdrawal process unnecessarily...i am now at the point where i should quit outright. as this plan coincides with my first week of christmas break from work, i feel like i should be able to suffer a bit in private, take care of myself as best i can and weather the storm in as comfortable a situation as i can. i know it's still going to be pretty rough, but i think it won't be as bad as withdrawing used to be and i think i can pull it off. as i type this, the idea of finally being clean just makes me so excited and happy. man, i hope this works and i know what i'm doing...
weekly total: 52 miles ran, two gym classes, 4 days of weights and/or core work.