In the Paddock

Rolling out of bed this morning and the first thing to do – even before pouring that first cup of coffee – was ask Alexa the current temperature.

“In Saratoga Springs it’s minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit with mostly sunny skies. Today you can look for intermittent clouds with a high of 13 degrees and a low of minus 4 degrees.”

Who doesn’t love modern technology? Well, at least I think it’s fairly modern.

The reason for the query isn’t because there are a lot of tasks to do outside the house here in the waning hours of January. Just one in fact: keep the streak going.

The Streak – a pledge to get outside for a run every day in January – officially started New Year’s Day in Winooski, Vt., about two hours before kickoff of the Citrus Bowl between the University of Kentucky and Penn State. Technically it started the day before with a 6-mile run in Vermont but since that was so 2018 it won’t count for The Streak. More serious runners (you know the type) with long streaks will talk about minimums or years running without a break but those are their rules, too rigid and far from verifiable so nothing to even factor into this exercise. 

Looking back at my daily activity on Strava shows runs early in The Streak named “Oklahoma Annex,” “St. Charles Place,” and “Circular and West Circular,” homage to places in life past and present. Another pops up Jan. 9 called “Last run in shorts for a while…” and that seems like a distant memory after hearing that minus 4 temperature this morning.

Winooski pops back up Jan. 12 and is followed the next day by a short run in Sturbridge, Mass., in and around the Hampton Inn where we stayed the night before hitting the Patriots-Chargers AFC Divisional Playoff game at Foxboro. By the next day it was back to Saratoga for three runs, then the annual ST Summit run at Fair Hill before back to Saratoga for the “Pre snow hysteria” run Jan. 18.

Two days later came the “Tom’s End Of The World Snowmageddon Snowpocalypse, Snowzilla (all packed into one) Run” that I coerced a friend to join in about 6 inches of fresh snow at lunchtime.

Escaped the cold last week for four runs – all about 3 miles in length – in Fort Lauderdale while in Florida for the Eclipse Awards and Pegasus.

The hard part of The Streak was certainly complete after keeping it going while going to an NFL playoff game, dealing with a big snowstorm and traveling to Florida. Or so I thought.

The return to upstate New York brought new challenges, a run called “Ice Bowl” kicked off the week, a 5-miler spent avoiding ice that formed when snow melted and rain fell a few days before, and another snowstorm run Tuesday. Not to be done in by 4 degree temperatures with a wind chill that made it feel like minus 14, seven brave members of the Saratoga Stryders turned up at R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery Taproom Wednesday night for the Wednesday Night Run. The 4.4-mile up Broadway to Skidmore College and back made it 30-for-30.

Thursday will make 31. I haven’t picked a name yet, or a time and distance. It might be a while, since Alexa just informed me it’s still minus 1.