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In the past as the weather grew cooler, my workouts would move indoors to the treadmill. This year, with Dale’s help, I’ve purchased some cold weather clothing so that I can continue to run outdoors. I have a 1/4 zip mock t-shirt that has long sleeves and a slit to put my thumb through so that my hands stay warm. I’ve worn that shirt a couple of times for both running and biking and it’s worked really well. I also have a pair of wind resistant pants and a jacket. The prairie winds continue to blow, no matter what time of year.

The temperature has been in the low 30’s when I’ve ran, so it’s not terrible cold and in reality, I was overdressed. In effort not to be cold, I underestimated how much heat I would generate by running. I must say that I really enjoyed running. Even though I probably won’t run in as cold or extreme weather as Dale, it still provides a nice alternative to the treadmill. I admit my distances aren’t much to brag about, just 2-3 miles, but it’s more than I did last year, so I consider that progress. It also fits into my original goal that I started with this Pork Power blog, to challenge myself and to try some activities I hadn’t done for a while. So far, so good.

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My apologies to the turkey growers, but this year I’m serving pork for Thanksgiving. Dale purchased a Traeger grill and so when my family gets together this Thanksgiving, which will actually be on Friday, we’ll be serving a smoked, grilled, boneless pork loin.

To test out the new grill, Dale smoked a pork tenderloin this last week. It was fantastic. Seasoned with Martin County Magic, the meat was moist and tender. The cherry woodchips Dale used in the smoker provided a smooth taste. Our daughter Beth, who can be a little choosey when to comes to meat, was really impressed.

We still have our regular grill, but when we have the time and the desire to take our grilling experience to a new level, we’ll be using the Traeger. To borrow a phrase from Alton Brown, Food Network chef, “Here’s to Good Eats.”

It’s seems timely that the first snowfall of the season falls on the start of basketball season. Today Beth’s 5th grade girls’ basketball team had their first practice. As the coach, I told the girls I had two goals for them this season, which really are the same as last season; to have fun and to learn and improve.  

For those of you that have followed this blog, you know that Power Power has not only dealt with what we do, how we eat and how we train. It’s also dealt with what we think and how will feel. For these girls it’s just as important to have a positive self-image about themselves and confidence in what they do, as it is to make a basket. I also like to stress teamwork and supporting and encouraging each other through the games.

I enjoy coaching and have been fortunate to coach a number of the kid’s teams in a variety of sports. It’s not just the winning, although I am competitive. I enjoy watching a group of kids work together to accomplish common goals. I love to see the “Ah Ha” moment on their faces when the things I have been telling them finally make sense and they actually do them.

So stay tuned, basketball season has started and we’re in for a fun time.

The weather has been so beautiful this fall that it has been easy to get outside and run.  It really is the perfect time of year to be outside, neither too hot or cold.  I’m realistic though, and know all things good or bad will change.  I really don’t mind running in the cold.  I actually rather enjoy the brisk air and the feel of snowflakes on my warm face.  What I don’t appreciate about trying to run in the winter is the ice. 

When the ice starts to take over the city streets and country roads, it’s time for me to move inside.  My treadmill died last summer, so that is not an option.  The building I head for is not our local YMCA or gym, but our public school.  I meet a friend year round at 5:30am to exercise, and in the winter we head to school.  It’s such a great option in a small town.  We have a lot of steps to maneuver and that makes for a great workout. 

It’s easy to stop exercising when the weather turns ugly, but you don’t have to.  Look around your community.  There may be more options than you realize.

Last Thursday the boys had their final cross country meet, which was Sectionals at Blue Earth. Only one USC runner, a member of the Girl’s team, will be advancing to State. All our runners did well, but the Waseca and Fairmont teams are pretty tough competition.

Brett and Adam did well this year, both showing great improvement in their running times and meet experience. Running, like most sports, is exhausting both mentally and physically. You can see on both of them that while physically they are in good shape, mentally they’re ready for a break.

Saturday night the boy’s team was over at our house for an end of the season party. What continually impresses me about the cross country team is how well all the age groups interact. I participated in sports in high school and I’ve seen how rivalry can develop between grades but in the case of our team, everyone, not matter what grade, seems to genuinely support each other.

So we move on to another season. Brett will be doing some winter running to stay in shape for spring track. Adam will be playing basketball. In a couple of weeks I’ll be coaching Beth’s basketball team. The fields are turning black and the weather is cooling off. Snow can’t be far behind. The end of one season leads to the start of another.