Groundhog Day and First Ride of the Year

I want to start by discussing Groundhog Day (the actual day, not the film; though I must say I am a fan of the latter as well). I grew up near Punxsutawney and as that is one of western PA’s few claims to fame, we cling to it. There is seriously a billboard on I-80 near the “city” that says “Eat; Sleep; see Punxsutawney Phil” because that is all there is to do there. The movie actually makes the town look more exciting than it is, if you can believe that.

Anyway, this year, this one neighborhood in Harrisburg decided to have their own Groundhog Day celebration featuring their own “groundhog” they named “Shipoke Sheena” (Shipoke is the neighborhood name). This was supposed to be yesterday instead of on groundhog day for some reason.

A bit of background on this neighborhood: They like to make a big deal about how “diverse” their neighborhood is because they have people of different professions and ages (they are one of the whitest neighborhoods in the city). They also have a whole website that is basically about how they are the only neighborhood where neighbors are nice to each other that apparently includes info on things such as how to park politely. Note that the other neighborhoods are so inconsiderate that we are able to do this without instruction. But according to them, we never speak to each other or clean up our litter or shovel. It is a nice neighborhood, but it really bothers me how much they judge the other neighborhoods. 

Anyway, Shipoke Sheena sounded kind of cute, even if it meant going to the somewhat pretentious neighborhood, and there was a promise of donuts and coffee, so we ventured to the other end of town. When we got there, though, everyone had little kids or was really old and they all knew each other. We also saw no evidence of groundhogs, coffee, or donuts, so we left to go home and make pancakes. In the end it turned out that Sheena was not a real groundhog after all – she was a chihuahua in a groundhog suit! Note that we actually saw this chihuahua and had no idea until we read about it in the paper today (which also showed that there were no donuts; only cupcakes). I just thought her owner dressed her up for the occasion. I am glad we left such a silly event, now.


With the promised warm weather this weekend, Kris and I were excited to get out and enjoy it. Yesterday I was able to go running again – at least my 5K took less than 30 minutes this time – and while we were out walking Belle we discussed possibly taking a bike ride today. When we woke up we looked at the weather and saw it might rain in the late afternoon/early evening and therefore decided we should go around midday so that it would have time to warm up but not be raining yet. Around 11 we headed out with the goal of riding to Kris’s office and back (6 miles total).

The good news: our start to cycling this year went far better than last year. We feared the 6 mile trip would be difficult, but once we got out there we felt good. I even retained my ability to remove a hand from the handlebars! We decided to tack on some extra miles by crossing the river then circling City Island (a large public island with a lot of recreational stuff on it) before heading down to the office and coming back.

After getting onto the island, though, it started raining. It was super warm out (just over 40 degrees) so this made it quite cold. It was only sprinkling at first, but we decided to head back after getting to our side of the river rather than continuing down to the office. I was glad we made this choice, because it started to rain harder and for our last mile it was freezing and difficult for me to see (due to my glasses being wet).We still covered 7.6 miles, though, so we did stay out longer than planned.

I will admit that those 7 miles were at a “leisurely” pace (according to MFP). I am still the slowest cyclist that ever lived. Kris wants to take some really long rides this summer and he has suggested to some people that we know that they come along with us and I am quite worried that I will really embarrass myself if I have to bike with anyone else. It’s bad enough that Kris is about twice as fast as me and I have to make him slow down to come with me – I can’t imagine forcing acquaintances into that position. I wish I could figure out what exactly it is that I am doing wrong so that I could fix it. At least I have improved at cycling over the last few months, so maybe there is some hope for me.

Other than that, we have had a pretty lazy day. We don’t really watch football and I didn’t have to work (delivery drivers are busy on Super Bowl Sunday, not waitresses), so after our freezing bike ride we just had some hot chocolate then went to take a nap on the heated mattress pad. We then spent the evening gorging on hummus, crackers, and nuts while watching stuff on Netflix instead of football. At least they were healthy foods? And at least this is a reminder of why I almost never buy nuts?

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