In the Paddock

The buzz started before the weekend was through. Snow was on the way to upstate New York, a surprising revelation to some even though we live in, ahem, upstate New York.

Friends looking to continue training for spring marathons, not even finished with a Sunday long run, shuffled schedules around to get a workout in Monday. Before the snow. I suppose doing this is the equivalent of most people rushing off to the grocery store to stock up on “supplies” for an entire day or two days of being house bound. Oh the humanity.

I’ll get back to the grocery store in a minute.

More buzz for the storm Monday night at the Saratoga Stryders running club’s annual meeting at Mama Mia’s. Waiting at the bar for a beverage someone mentioned it was supposed to start snowing at 6 a.m., continue to about 9 p.m. and drop between 1 to 3 inches per hour during that stretch. I thought about doing the math in my head on the spot, quickly realized that was impossible, but now that I do it from the comforts of my office it comes out to be between 15 inches and 45 inches.

Not sure about you, but 15 inches sounds a heck of a lot better than 45, especially considering the snow has been gone from Saratoga for about a month, and the NCAA tournament starts this week, and St. Patrick’s Day is this week, and it’s about a month to go before the Oklahoma Training Track opens, and … well, you get the point.

Later on the television the panic inciting was in full effect, live reports from alongside the Northway, on the city streets and of course at the grocery store.

The latter angle is about as tired as columns lamenting this team’s unfortunate fate of not getting into the NCAA tournament because they have 14 losses or another’s cruel placement in a loaded bracket, or (from our game), mentioned that “this is the most wide open Kentucky Derby in years” and then watching the fourth straight favorite win or better yet the eighth chalk since 2000 come home a winner.

But back to the grocery.

Here’s a bit of advice, if you’re in need of a few necessities because you completely spaced out and forgot to get them over the weekend and there’s a storm coming, skip the trip to the store. Even at 9 p.m.

Arriving at that time seemed like a good idea, until walking down into the produce section told a different story. Entire sections were cleaned out, leaving one to at least get a hint of optimism that people thinking they’re snowed in at least want fresh produce to keep the vitamin flow going.

Strolling down a few aisles, grabbing some oranges and bananas, coffee, bread and a 6-pack of the best IPA one might find at your everyday American grocery, I bumped into another brave soul from the Stryders meeting out for supplies. Her cart showed she, too, was buying more staples and less items she felt were an absolute must with the forecasted snow on the way.

“It’s crazy in here,” she said. “There’s like no meat left.”

Hmmm, another interesting angle I thought, people must like to get serious about downing some meat at the threat of a storm. I had to see for myself. I’m a bit particularly about meat myself – grass fed, non hormone induced, humanely raised all good versus grain-fed and factory raised very bad – so that’s not something I buy regularly at said grocery store. I still knew where it was located and when I arrived in the meat section, sure enough entire shelves were cleared out. Apparently it’s not just meat but ground beef that’s coveted when the white stuff flies.

Nothing else seemed all that out of the ordinary, the canned goods section was pretty much fully stocked and even the milk and bread – staples that people must buy before a storm – were ample.

The thought crossed to grab another pint or quart of half and half, I was buying coffee after all, and that revealed another must-have item. No half and half to be found, at least not any of the kind I usually buy. Thankfully there’s some at home in the fridge and even if I ran out before I could dig out, I could still (aghast), walk to the store to buy more.

Right now the storm is just getting rolling, small flakes of snow falling just outside my window here before 9 a.m. and not many cars making their way around town. Word is it’s going to be here a while, both today and in the coming days with nary a day above the 30s in the extended forecast.

Perhaps it’s not quite time to break out the spring clothing just yet.