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Yesterday I made a mistake while doing a forward bend stretch with feet wide and forearms on the floor. This is another handstand preparation pose that feels incredible after a run, though still a far cry from helping me get these feet in the air. Anyway, I opened my eyes and didn’t recognize the person I made eye contact with. Not to be mean, but she kind of looked like a gremlin with a staring problem. It took a second for me to register I was looking at my own half inverted reflection in the mirror. Turns out my upside down face is freaky AND intimidating. Next time someone makes me uncomfortable, I have this gremlin face in my back pocket to scare them off. It would be nice if this didn’t also require a presenting of the buttocks, but I guess that’s one more reason to keep working on my handstand.

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I’m hoping February will be a month of endless snowstorms. Sledding as it gets dark and the street lights cast that wintry haze is a fantastic way to end the day. Winter brings out NYC’s better side slush and all. I’ll gladly take these grey sky snowy mornings over any summer’s day. It helps that I don’t have a commute or shoveling responsibilities and our radiators work this year.

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My favorite thing about winter running is how the sometimes slippery ground forces me to slow down. A shorter stride feels more stabilizing but its not always enough. The snow gets so compact it’s as slippery as ice in parts. There’s no zoning out – I have to be mindful of every step and as a result I’m noticing more birds. Yesterday a young black and white woodpecker sang a squeaky song only a few feet from a blue jay.

Shorter steps combined with slippery surfaces made for lots of runs that were long on time but shorter than expected on distance. My own fault as I don’t like to track routes out beforehand or wear gadgets. My sense of length is relatively accurate up to about 12 miles. Then I begin to wildly overestimate myself and come back thinking I’ve definitely hit at least 15 miles. Nope. I didn’t break 15 once in January. I’m blaming compression pants. As an inner layer they keep me warm enough to run in the negatives, but they also weigh me down. I think someone sewed micro heavy weights into them.

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Some days there were more cross country skiers than runners and cyclists combined. They make it look effortless, gliding past us over the snowy trails as MoonPie and I trudge and waddle. It doesn’t matter how far or where we go, winter running feels like more of an adventure. And do I come back hungry. This was a month of continuous soups, though my food highlight was toasted gluten free bagels with Tofutti cream cheese.

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As much as I love running, yoga was what I looked forward to most each day. The gentle reminder to breathe and take up space boosted my mood, often when I didn’t realize it needed boosting. Last fall I found a whole stack of yoga and Pilates DVDs set out on a stoop. I’m alternating between them, Yoga with Adriene videos and a series of handstand preparation poses. Though still a long way from being able to do a handstand, I’m a tiny bit closer now than I was at the beginning of the month.

All the grey slop on the streets is looking pretty unwelcoming to sneakers so I’m skipping today. This month I’ll run as often as possible and as far as time and my legs will allow. Completing at least one 15-mile run this month is the goal.

January total: 163/ 1552 miles ran

February so far: 11 miles

2015 total: 174 miles

The freezing rain we’ve had all day is turning to heavy snow. Today is my niece’s 4th birthday. She refers to her superhero self as Taco Girl and loves to play in snow or slide around on ice. There was a huge ice storm on the day she was born so today’s crazy weather is fitting/her fault. Cheers and drive safely!

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