Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vicariously

Even as I spend time on the trails frustrated by moving less efficiently than 9 years ago, it still gives me much joy to help with NIACC's XC teams every fall.

Workouts recommenced August 9th and we're set to have another successful season.

The first week was hot and dry but this week has been affected by rain and cooler temps. Here's some pics from the first Pilot Knob trip, a run on Lime Creek Trails, and also the Cedar River Greenbelt runs starting near Nora Springs.

View from the top...Pilot Knob...2nd highest point in Iowa

Some portions of the trail were "not so open"




Repeat hills at the Knob!

This year's crew (minus 2)

Shell Rock Greenbelt 1st Week

Cedar River

Greenbelt in the rain! 2nd week

Rainy day on the Greenbelt.
Surprise Lilys on the Lime Creek Trails

Tiger Swallowtail on a thistle

Cicada on the trail but they sing at a frequency I no longer detect so I don't hear their droning at night?
Bookmarked site along LC Trails August 15, 2015 (see others below)( river quite low)

June 19, 2014

July 28, 2014

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Still On Hiatus from the Blog but Not the Jog

Mines of Spain Race in Dubuque, Iowa. Beautiful course but with over 1000 stairs, not well suited to my current state of knee issues!!  

I enjoyed it very much regardless of the struggle. Perhaps though, this has caused me to consider if I will continue competing in trail runs or put more effort into biking.





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nationals (times 2)

After another rather lengthy break from blogging, I need to post an update on the past couple of weekends.

I drove to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for February 28 and March 1 for US Snowshoe Nationals. While I had continued to get out on snowshoes most every day, a lot of my training was reduced to fast hiking. This fact resulted in a definite reduction in my ability to stay competitive in the race. I don't know why I expected to be able  race like the past when I didn't train like the past.

Half way through the race I found that by favoring my left knee on the rolling hills and stream switchbacks, my right calf either severely cramped or pulled. I was reduced to hiking out the rest of the 10K with only brief sections where I could jog. I finished behind a lot of runners that I had out-raced in the past and ended up in 9th of 13 in my age-group.

I was pleased to be in a race of this caliber and on a beautiful course but disappointed in my ability and I began to question my future as a runner. Perhaps it's time to shift more to the bike!




the start






One of many hills

Finally the finish

The following weekend, March 6, 7, I flew with the NIACC track and field team to Albuquerque, New Mexico. (And I didn't even have to find my passport :)

Panoramic of the indoor track.

Both Men's and Women's qualified athletes for Nats. Sightseeing the day before.

Resting with a new friend at the Museum of Natural History



Our women's team came in ranked 8th and did well, although they came up just short in a couple of events and a bit better in others, they claimed a 10th place finish. Highest finish was Rellie Kaputin in the triple jump. Also Hannah Palmeter claimed two 5th places in the mile and the 3000.

Rellie

Hannah

Hannah in the 3K


The men's team was ranked around 25th and finished in 18th! Highest finish was by freshman, Imad Amenzou, with a 2:56.05   800 meter.

Imad in 800 prelim



I enjoyed a couple breaks to get away for a bit of a workout...hike and light run along the Rio Grande river and later a hike in the Petroglyph National Monument.

Rio Grande river in Albuquerque


Reminds me of my snow circles from a few weeks ago!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reminiscing Past Snowshoe Mentors

Every snowshoe season, the time around Nationals arrives and I can't help but remember a couple of  past enthusiasts that affected my approach to the sport. Both of these athletes were always active in their local events as well as Nationals. We crossed paths many times. 

Unfortunately, these two are no longer with us due to eventually losing their race with cancer.

The USSSA gives an annual award in the name of one, Cindy Brochman. I first met Cindy as Cindy Schneider before her marriage to Kevin Brochman. They were both very competitive at trail races that I raced in Minnesota and Iowa.  Cindy asked me to be a part of a mixed-masters team for a relay at my first Snowshoe Nationals in Vermont in 2006.

Jim Graupner, Curt Krieger, Cindy Brochman, Jim McDonnell
Here's a video of the 2011 award in her honor.



Also this year's Nationals are holding the banquet on Saturday night in honor of Tim Dusick. I met Timmy D at snowshoe races each year in Luck, Wisconsin. 




One year, he was going to sell me a pair of his used Tubbs racers but ended up just giving them to me.  I'd brought a running moose ornament with miniature Tubbs snowshoes that I'd made from paperclips that I gave TimmyD for the favor of allowing me to buy his used snowshoes. After the exchange, he told me to take them...no charge.

.

I have very fond memories of both these athletes and miss them , especially when I'm able to attend Nationals!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beware the Talons

While I haven't been posting daily as I did when I first started the blog, I have continued to get out on the trails almost daily.

The really cool thing about running the trails on snowshoes is the snow...or rather the signs of activity in the snow. I can see when hikers have been out, when dogs are along, the paths preferred by snow bikers, and animal tracks or similar sign.

Yesterday and today I was intrigued by several locations with blood spatters! Some appeared to be from rabbits others from squirrels, but in either case I wondered about the cause.





Squirrel feeding activity via acorn shells

Largest spot of blood and nearest where I flushed a Barred Owl

Again some obvious squirrel activity by way of walnut shells

At the location of the largest blood residue and waste pile of walnut shells, I noticed a movement in the trees as a Barred Owl flew from its roost. This is very likely the source of the mayhem that resulted in what was most certainly an evening meal.

Fun to see an adult Bald Eagle yesterday then a juvenile Bald Eagle (probably 2 -3 year old) today. A Red Fox ran across an open section of the quarry pond today while I was just emerging from the woods.

I've been pleased with some progress on the snowshoe running front. It helped to have received a significant amount a couple weeks ago, although that has slowly deteriorated through all the temperature fluctuations. Snowshoe Nationals are this weekend so there's no time left to improve my fitness. I'll be racing with the knees as they are and hoping for a good day with adequate snow conditions.