Monday, February 16, 2015

Warding off winter with a spring fix

Three degrees. Just three teeny tiny degrees. That's all my dashboard read during this morning's drive.

My hands were bundled in down-filled mittens. My body likewise encased in a down-filled parka. My neck was triple-wrapped in a long scarf. And my car seat heater was turned to broil.

I kept contact with the elements to a minimum, with mad dashes between car and destinations. It wasn't until my last stop when I could actually straighten up and smell the roses.

Well, not quite roses, but something just as special because they herald the start of another growing
season: miniature daffodils, known as Narcissus Tete-a-Tete, and primroses. It was like walking into the Philadelphia Flower Show, but without the crowds or hefty admission charge.

These early, early spring flowers don't mind a little chilly weather, although it's certainly too soon for planting in the garden. They'd do fine on a window sill or tabletop. Except if you have pets.

It's tempting to buy the first flowers of spring, especially while winter is making such an impact. But do yourself, and your pets, a favor. Check the list of toxic and non-toxic plants on the ASPCA website before you buy.

I know my cats are curious about plants and like to nibble, so I'll hold off buying these flowers until I can leave them outside.

For now, it's good to know there are a few places where I can go for a spring fix, if only to stop and smell the primroses.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Trails to You

Well before Roy Rogers was a fast food restaurant, the man himself was a singer, actor, and America’s favorite cowboy. He and his wife, Dale Evans, had a TV show that aired before most people on social media were born.

I wasn’t around when “The Roy Rogers Show” started, and I don’t remember the reruns, but the theme song sticks in my head: Happy trails to you until we meet again…

Maybe, just maybe, that song has something to do with why I enjoy running on trails. Or it could be that pounding the pavement mile after mile can grow stale if not mixed with some off-road adventure.

I find trails rejuvenate my running by lifting my spirits and providing an ever-changing backdrop of scenery. Even winter trails are better than streets, with YakTrax on sneakers providing similar traction as snow chains on tires.

Some runners turn to treadmills in the winter, but if I’m not outside, I’m not running.

I know I’m not alone because the top spring race listed on Philadelphia magazine’s Be Well Philly is the Tyler 10K Trail Run at Tyler Arboretum, a Delco RRC event directed by John Greenstine (full disclosure, John’s my husband). Each year the 400-spot race sells out, and right now the April 11 event stands at more than 300 registered runners.

I have run this race several times, but these days I have more fun behind the camera watching runners navigate the course. Some runners hurdle the streams, some tippy-toe across, and others splash right through.

Me? I’m happy to record it all, sharing the trails that keep me running week after week, all year long.

Happy trails to us all.