Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Loss of Appetite

It's only happened a few times in all my years of running.....loss of my incentive to get out for a run or hike or whatever.  

It snowed overnight but not enough to get out on snowshoes.  I had been hoping that we'd get a deep enough snow to require some trail grooming and good running around the quarry trails but it just isn't there yet.

I started to change into running gear to get out on the roads but stopped and took a nap instead.  That's something that I would not have done in the past.  I realized the only reason I was going out was to get miles in my log book.  My body was better off for the nap.

When I was running my fastest times, in the past, I would usually take a self-imposed break between Thanksgiving and Christmas with no running at all.  That dissolved after I started snowshoeing because the snow conditions in late November and early December were sometimes the best to be out on the "shoes".  So what worked in the past just might be OK again now...maybe even more so as it takes me longer to recover  now.

No miles today. We'll have to see how long before I get enthused to start daily training again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trashed Again

It never ceases to amaze me how much trash is disposed along the streets and even the trails.  Last week, I filled more than one bag with cast off cans and bottles, only to repeat the exercise again today.  I recycle what I can (as in sell as scrap)  and redeem the deposit containers, so at least I get some monetary reward for the work.  But it is also rewarding to know the waste is removed from the environment!

I needed to stay on the roads more than the trail because of the freezing rain. Only 2 miles yesterday and increased to 4 today.  Got a pretty decent workout in my driveway...chipping ice.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ridiculously Icy

Overnight brought rain with temperatures just below freezing.  A majority of church services and afternoon activities were cancelled or postponed so folks wouldn't feel compelled to try to drive.  I saw cars unable to drive back up their driveway because of ice and the slope.

So I got around and headed out to the trails anyway...partly because I didn't workout yesterday but also just to enjoy some time outdoors.

The streets were crazy slick.

I had worn some grippers on my shoes and did OK while hiking but slipped a bit.  On a more sloped portion of the trail, it became impossible to get up the grade.  Even the rocks were covered in 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice and provided no usual traction.

By traipsing through the woods, I gained better traction and was amazed by the white footprints that resulted from the crunched ice.

Made me think that screw shoes would have been the best solution for today's run and I'm not sure why I didn't take time to prep a pair like I've usually done in past years!

4 miles for today so 40 for the week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

MSU Open - - Mankato

Spent the most part of this day helping coach and enjoying the indoor track meet at Minnesota State- Mankato.  There were some very exciting races and good performances but no new, national meet qualifying times for NIACC at this one...perhaps next week!

They did change the look of the track area since last year by installing a climbing wall as seen in the background of this photo..

Didn't attempt a workout today but got plenty of time on my feet such that the legs are truly dead!  Got in 5 on Thursday and 6 yesterday, though.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deja Vu

I retraced my route from yesterday and brought my camera to take my own frosted vent photos.

9 more miles.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Frozen Breath

I've come across photos of runners during the winter that shows off the ice that forms on their beards or balaclavas.  In fact, the past couple days, I've had ice forming on my eyelashes and neck gaiter!  But today, I was impressed by the frost that formed on the ground surface where warmer, moist air from beneath the surface was venting and making for a very interesting ice pattern at several locations around the rock quarry....and I had not bothered to bring the camera.  I did, however, find some similar photos through the wonder of the internet.

9 miles today despite the cold.

Monday, January 21, 2013

ISU Open

Quite a busy weekend.  My fall on the ice the other day really affected my ability to get out for any comfortable running but the indoor track meet in Ames also took some time.

The NIACC team was able to get some more qualifying times for indoor Nationals.  Trent Smith dipped below 15 minutes in the 5K for a personal record! And we hit the mark in the Distance Medley Relay, OJ in the 800, and Matt Bowman in the 1000.  The women's team has yet to get a qualifying performance but are getting close.

Men's Results        Women's Results

During some breaks in the action, I took time to hike around some of ISU's campus and reminisce about my days there as a student (40 years ago!)

I put in 5 miles before we left on Friday.  I chose Sunday as a recovery day because my right arm and hip continue to hurt from the fall on ice.  Ended up with 36 for the week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Falling On Ice

Definitely a hazard in the climate I live in, is the marginal weather conditions that cause ice to be present in nuisance amounts.  I've been careful but still came close in recent days.  Today my luck ran out and I landed on some solid ice this afternoon.  Tonight, I'm feeling some hip and elbow pain.

Put in 8 miles yesterday and 6 today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Change of Plans

Due to some problems with airline connections, I ended up driving down to Des Moines today to pick up the latest addition to the NIACC track team from Papua New Guinea.  Sapolai Yao arrived in August and ran a successful cross-country season with us. The connection to New Guinea has now expanded to include Paul Pokana.  Coach Vais had driven down last night only to learn that the LA flight had arrived in Denver  too late to meet the flight to Des Moines. As a result, I retraced the trip this morning and had a very interesting visit with Paul during lunch and the drive back to Mason City.

Sapolai Yao running in Iowa winter,

Paul Pokana racing in Australia.
As a result of the trip, I didn't get a chance to run until dusk.  Since the trails have been so icy, I decided to try the roads and also test out my new Hokas...what a difference...I'm very pleased with how much easier it seemed to run.  And on pavement to boot!

5 miles

Monday, January 14, 2013


This time of year always presents a dilemma when the snow conditions are poor.  In recent years, I've always looked forward to being able to run snowshoes.  But last winter and, so far, this winter, snow conditions in Iowa have not been very agreeable for snowshoeing.  So by removing any snowshoe races from my schedule and struggling with running on pavement, it becomes very easy to lose motivation for the daily workout.

The trails are very icy because of the thaw followed by a freeze.  Navigation beside the path is difficult if not impossible at times.  Today's temperature was comfortable enough but I just couldn't get going.  Even with a bit more time out on the trail, I'm having trouble getting caught up with all the podcasts I've downloaded.

7 miles.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Panther Open...Indoor Track Begins

I've missed a few days of posting.  Not much happening on the trails as the snow turned to slush and then ice with dropping temps.

Put in 7 on Thursday then another 6 on Friday before scooting out to NIACC to help issue uniforms to the indoor track and field teams.

Saturday was the Panther Open at UNI in Cedar Falls.  NIACC's teams did very well for the first meet of the season and it appears most of the athletes did a good job of working out on their own over the Christmas break.

We had a couple performances that are already qualifiers for indoor nationals.  There were also several top 5 results against larger schools.   Results.

Today was much colder and windy.  The trails were difficult to navigate due to ice and frozen slush.  6 miles today for a 37 mile week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Melt Down

Started yesterday's run on the seems that I was just claiming to be enjoying the snowshoes...but the warmer temps allowed for thawing and it didn't take long for snowballs to form in the cleats!  I found it necessary to take the snowshoes off and finish the run on the running shoes.

Today, I simply took off for the trails without even considering wearing snowshoes.  Wore my Salomon Fell-cross and it turned out to be the perfect choice for the snow-packed, melting trails. The aggressive tread was great.

6 miles each day.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Self Grooming

The recent string of mild, yet cold, days has allowed the snowshoe trails to remain rather constant this year.  No drifting or melting to cause any changes.

There has been a lot of use this year, as well.  Especially an increase in the snow bike traffic.

In the past, I've always been proud of running on some of the less conspicuous trails and keeping them self groomed and smooth.  The snow bikes don't cause much of problem with this but boot hikers have a tendency to cause toe digs and result in a very uneven path (actually the wild deer post-hole more than anything and that is where the early melting begins).  There are a few areas that have become very dimpled and wash-boardy.

But yesterday and today I noticed that a few stretches remain that are entirely snowshoe self-groomed and in very good condition.

5 miles on snowshoes yesterday and 6 snowshoe miles today.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Get the Lead Out

I mentioned on Thursday that I was thinking about my running highlight of last year.  Even with training for the Black Hills, hitting my highest total miles ever, and becoming more involved with the NIACC cross country/track and field scene, the highlight was really easy to pick....the trip to the Leadville 100.

I was able to meet and watch some of the elite in the ultra scene, able to relax in the high country scenery that I love, and even get to be a part of the race through pacing over Hope Pass!

Yep, Leadville was an easy winner.

6 snowshoe miles today.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pleasant Yet Disconcerting

A colder day with plenty of sun.  A small amount of fresh dusting of overnight snow.  And my snowshoe legs seem to be returning....made for a a very pleasant afternoon run.  It was fun to see several locations where tracks in the snow indicated a hunting coyote.  The colder temps seem to have reduced the number of trail users so that my tracks were once again "first tracks."

The only trouble I had with enjoying the outing was some one else's pride as there was distinct evidence  of a successful deer hunt.

I added on an additional pig-tail for an 7 mile run today and the overall time out was encouraging as my pace seems to be improving.  I've been pondering what moments of the past year might qualify as a highlight of 2012....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

White Snow and Black Ops

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me under the tree this Christmas was a bottle of beer that my daughter and her husband brought from New York.  A big bottle of something called "Black Ops".  Supposedly difficult to find and apparently not many made each year.  Here's the description:

Barrel-aged in Woodford Reserve bottles. Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly, "Black Ops" was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.

Not sure when I'll break down and try this one.

Another great day to be snowshoeing on the trails.  I did the 6 mile loops in my fastest time of this season.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Almost Getting Soft

Nothing sexual intended.

The day began with temps below zero.  TV had scheduled lots of football.  My knees ached from the moment I woke.  It was easy for me to justify a day off.  

However, I didn't have a hangover from any News Years Eve Party (In fact, I had more alcohol on xmas eve than I did on New Years Eve).  I've run in minus 20 degrees in the past.  The football was becoming boring.  I caved in and took some Ibuprofen.  

So at 1:30 PM  I chose to grab the snowshoes and hit the trails.  While the knees still groaned during the first half mile, listening to an Ultra Talk podcast and starting at a reasonable pace, I soon found myself running in the zone and had a fantastic 6 mile run that passed before I realized it!

Just proves the point that you need to get out and start running without letting the mind think too much!

Happy New Year!