Ready Or Not, Baseball Season Starts In One Week

I had some time before work this morning, so I took a walk around downtown to take some pictures. I gravitated toward Busch Stadium to see how “Ballpark Village” is coming along, visit the statue garden, and see if the yard looked ready for baseball.

Well, it might be ready, but it’s hard to tell underneath all that snow. Yesterday, St. Louis got hit by a freakish snowstorm, with lots of wet, heavy snow—up to a foot in some areas. We got eight or nine inches at home; downtown looked to have a little less, but still a pretty good load for Palm Sunday.

The Cardinals’ season starts a week from today, but their home opener isn’t for a week after that. That should be enough time to thaw the place out.

As usual, please feel free to click on any image below to see a larger view.

Not Much Going On At City Garden Today

ImageTemperature right around 32 degrees. Steady snow falling that felt, really, like rain. And a cold, cold wind whipping around between the city buildings. Not a great day for City Garden, and for much of the time that I walked through today, I was the only soul in sight. A perfect day for black and white.

Forecast: Snow, Ice, Slush, Snow, Slush…

Six inches of snow, followed by several days of temperatures in the teens or 20s.

Rinse. Repeat.

That’s January in St. Louis so far. Or at least the last couple of weeks. And although the driving portions of the roads have been cleared nicely, the edges of the roads and the sidewalks have been covered by a layer of snow and slush. And mostly, in the prime early morning running hours, ice.

I’m getting old. I have to worry about things like falling down and breaking my hip.

All right, maybe not THAT old. But I do hate the uncertain footing, that feeling of never knowing how solid the next step is going to be. So it’s to the treadmill I go.

Now, before a couple of days ago, I hadn’t been on a treadmill for nearly a year, and I was of course dreading it. If you’re used to running outside on the streets (or better yet, trails) in beautiful weather, there’s not much to like about grinding out the miles on a treadmill.

It hasn’t been a very good January for me for running. I took the last three weeks of December off after the Pere Marquette Trail Run (What a crazy race! Check out these two videos!) — a planned break to give my legs some rest after a busy 2010 — but then it took longer to get back into the groove than I’d expected. That’s OK, though; it’s just January. Still, through the first three weeks of the year, I was behind even my meager mileage total from January 2010, a month that had me recovering from some nagging injuries from late 2009.

Fortunately, last weekend brought some good news in terms of motivation: entries opened for the Quivering Quads Half-Marathon, to be held March 20. I ran this race last year (and wrote about it here), and it was both a fun race and a great kickoff to what turned out to be a good racing year for me. I wasn’t in shape last year, so I’ve been looking forward to this year so I can hopefully destroy my time from 2010. I’m now officially entered, and counting down the weeks ’til the race.

Finally, some real motivation to get back into training!

But there’s still that treadmill business to deal with. Fortunately, ‘mill running does allow me to indulge in one thing that I normally shun: my iPod. I never run with an iPod on the streets, because I want to hear the cars coming up behind me. I have as much of an aversion to being run down by a car as I do to slipping on ice and breaking my hip.

But on the treadmill, if a car’s gonna hit me, it’s getting me whether I have the headphones on or not. So I’ve pulled out the trusty old iPod, and I can rock while I can roll. I can bump while I grind. I can … well, you get the picture. I honestly don’t have a whole lot of use for the iPod except for running, so it had been a while since I’d used it, and I’d forgotten what a joy it is to listen to music through the headphones. The first time I wore it, I listened to DMB’s Before These Crowded Streets straight through. The second time, a couple of Beatles Albums. Last night I had an exceptional run, with some vintage Rolling Stones blasting. (In what was supposed to be kind of a long run, I had to crank it up to basically 5K race pace during the guitar solos on the YaYa’s version of Sympathy for the Devil. Maybe not the smartest workout strategy, but you have to go where the music takes you.)

So anyway, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting back into shape. Even though last night’s 5.73 miles was my longest run since Pere Marquette in mid-December, I am confident I’ll get the mileage up to be able to do the half-marathon in March.

Longer-term, though, I’ve pretty much discarded the idea of running the New York City Marathon in 2011. I’m not saying I won’t do ANY marathon this fall, just that if I do crank it up for a second shot at 26.2, it will be in some less logistically challenging event closer to home. New York, Boston … they’re out there, but not for this year.

Meanwhile, I have a list of shorter races I’m aiming for this spring and summer, and with the iPod strapped on I’m ready to crank out the miles inside if necessary. Let it snow!

Spring Training

Really? Baseball already?

Spring training began this week. Well, last week, if you count pitchers and catchers.

Forgive me if I don’t share the reverence that some apparently feel for the phrase “Pitchers and catchers report…”

This morning, it was 20 degrees in St. Louis. Early April is six weeks away, but there’s a reasonably good chance that we’ll still have winter-coat weather on opening day. I have personally …Keep reading