Thursday, February 28, 2013


If nothing else, my last three days of training help demonstrate my consistency.  As pointed out in another's blog recently...there are many benefits to training consistency.

Tuesday...6 miles on the trails at Lime Creek.

Wednesday...7 miles on the trails at Lime Creek

Today...7 miles on the trails at Lime Creek

Also good that I'm not building up to a specific race at this time but simply trying to regain a strong base. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


37° out today and the snow cover, that I was so happy about, is quickly disappearing.  A couple days ago what was 6" is now more like 3".  Took a photo across from the slope I run down and around a bed of cattails. You can see the prints in the snow. Noticed by other snowshoe tracks that someone else followed my lead.

Also a quick look across the pond at the cairns someone built this summer when the water level reached its lowest level since I've been running the trails around the quarry.

I used a trick to help keep the snow from packing unto the snowshoes...silicone spray on the cleats.  It was still a chore to run in these conditions and it took a bit longer today.  I took the dog out for a 4 mile warmup then used the snowshoes for an additional 6 for a 10 mile day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Naughty Temple

Intentions to get in another run on the snowshoes today were postponed at noon in favor of an impromptu trip to the Toppling Goliath brewery taproom in Decorah.  A very rare beer became available this week and I wanted to try it. The owner was in the tap room this afternoon and Cathy and I  had a very educational and enjoyable visit with him.

Snagged a bottle and, soon after heading home, wished I bought two
The drive through Iowa's countryside was relaxing.  For some reason, I've always had an affinity to rock cairns.  Here's some from along today's route...more interesting than the typical pile in the corner of the fence row!

 Put in 4 miles on Lime Creek trails before the road trip. 46 miles for the week.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Knocking the Air Out

Predictions of total snowfall were short but it still snows more at one time than any other this winter.  Around 6 inches and it was basically down by after clearing the driveway and sidewalks, I hit the trails at the quarry with my Iverson's.  The slightly larger and heavier wooden runners are perfect for self-grooming the trails.  For the most part, I was making first tracks. Also surprised by a Barred Owl that allowed me to make a close approach.

Beautiful day out but very taxing because of the trail breaking.  Today I wore the Dions and held a much better pace.  I saw where a xc skier misstepped and slid nearly 40 feet down a steep slope when trying to walk down that slope...I've often wondered what skiers think they're doing on the more difficult trails!

8 miles on Thursday, 9 on Friday and 10 today.  Today's "reward" was to check out the grand opening of a new local microbrewery...Mason City Brewing...good IPA!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feels Like A Chinook

The change in weather that I mentioned in Monday's post resulted in a very bitter day yesterday.  The dog would immediately take care of business when I took her out and bee-line it back to the house with no hint of her usual outdoor playfulness.  Temps were single digits and the wind was wicked.

So even with fairly cold temps again today, the wind was down and it was rather pleasant to get out on the trails. Forecasts are once again for snow so I'm once again anxious for the opportunity to get out the Dions for a snowshoe run.

2011 Snowshoe Nationals near Cable, Wisconsin.  
Only 2 miles yesterday but another 7 today.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coffee Time

A bunch of former Iowa DNR employees, that have retired, got together for a morning coffee today and we talked until noon! So after a quick lunch I needed to be to NIACC for a short "strategy" meeting with the other coaches to help identify the best line-up of qualified athletes for the indoor national meet in Texas on the 1st and 2nd of March.

As a result of the meetings, I didn't head out for my workout until close to 4 P.M.  The weather had changed drastically throughout the day.  Even with the prospect of the icy trails, I chose Lime Creek because of the protection from the wind.  Using screw shoes was of benefit and I put in 6 miles today.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Indoor Regionals ---Storm Lake

Friday was a busy day as I prepared to be with NIACC  at the regional track and field meet held at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. I did get out for some miles before we left so ended up with 7 on the day.  The evening's events didn't start until 8 P.M. so it was a late night.

Saturday's events started at 10:45 A.M. so I got out to explore the campus a bit and find a coffee shop before the competition began.

This little coffee shop was a few blocks from campus but had good coffee!

There are meeting rooms and shops under the central campus.  Entrance at the domed doors beside the road.
Under the central campus.

Most of Iowa lakes are below normal due to drought conditions.

The athletes ran some good times with quite a few near misses for national qualifications.  We did gain the 4 X 800 relay qualifying, however.  Some are close enough to consider carding in if they happen to fall short at the last-chance event at St. Olaf next Friday.

4 miles Saturday then out for 7 today so the week totaled 45 miles

Thursday, February 14, 2013

All Gaggled Up

The trails have been pure ice and not conducive to good running.  I should have opted for the Hokas and the roads.

But I've spent the time on the trails in order to get some more time in on the backlog of podcasts.  One neat thing about today's timing was the large number of Canada Geese that were hanging out on the river's ice.

8 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles yesterday and another 5 today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Perfect Tracking

The amount of overnight snow turned out to be perfect for observing the tracks on the trail.  There's definitely some ice underneath, and quite slick after yesterday's rain, but the snow depth was like nature's the trail a fresh slate.

It was fun to see how many others had been out prior to my run but even more interesting was the wildlife tracks.  Lots of squirrel action but also turkey, fox, raccoon  and on the far-back trails, what was most certainly a coyote.

photo courtesy of Bernie Boettcher
Then nearing the end of the workout, I saw some tell-tail signs of the form of snow tunnels.

It was a very wicked wind when in the open this afternoon but I was comfortable in most cases because of the protection offered by the woods and bluffs...not so good in the open prairie section though!

9 miles today

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Weather and the indoor track meet took their toll on my ability to get out for any good workouts.  I'm looking forward to better conditions soon because the Hokas are showing promise of some pain relief while running.

Mason Powers just qualified for Nationals in the 5K. I'm joking with Jonny Worley who earlier qualified in the mile. (photo courtesy of Susie Smith)
I'm not only losing some touch on mileage, but also getting quite behind on listening to the podcasts that I try to follow.  Yesterday, I was able to get a good session in (on the trails and while at the computer).  While listening to a podcast it occurred to me that after over a year's worth of weekly recordings (or nearly every week), you begin to know a little about the people you listen to.  I'm even beginning to remember stories and examples used in past episodes.

So not unlike new friends that you meet at a local party or friends you run/bicycle with, you begin to feel like you know the folks through the wonder of the internet.  Sometimes I've interacted through comments on blogs or emails. Then when I happen to be able to meet some of the folks in person like this past summer, I feel like we're friends and we've already met!

Only got 1 mile each day except for 10 miles yesterday.  Puts me at 36 for the week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Not much change in the weather lately.  At least not enough to improve the trail conditions.  I can tell by the tracks that most of the hikers/runners are slipping fairly often.  It might be fun to be able to just watch some of the slips and falls as I can attest the show might be somewhat comical.

Saw where someone before me bit it.  Left the imprint of a coat on top of the foot slip!

Got news that a photo I submitted in a Facebook promo made the least a new Atayne technical shirt coming my way and perhaps a new pair of snowshoes, Dion 121's!!!

Got in some easy stuff yesterday and again today for 5 miles each day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creatures of Habit vs. Spontaneity

Still fighting poor trail conditions but hit the trail anyway Monday afternoon. The advantage of the light skiff of fresh snow is the ability to see trail activity in the form of tracks. At more than one location, I could see a well-worn game trail crossing the path...headed to the river for water from what I could discern.  

The game trails made me consider how humans become habitual and follow the same trail or pattern of doing daily actions.  I know I most often follow the same route down to the same direction on a loop. 8 miles on these trails today.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when my wife agreed to break a pattern and with some spontaneity, we drove an hour and a half to Cedar Falls yesterday for me to be able to run snowshoes with the Monday Mayhem group from The Runner's Flat.  Led by Scott Gall this workout really taxed me because the area had much more snow than we've had in Mason City and because Scott prides himself for adventurous, off-trail excursions when on snowshoes.  That's what they're for, isn't it?

Great time with the crew and had the opportunity to test out a Mizuno Breath Thermal top provided on loan by the Mizuno rep (Joey...who ran with us). Resulted in around an extra 4 miles for me tonight.

Very pleased to have done something completely out-of-the-ordinary.  Only disappointment was Monday nights are an off night for the Cedar Falls businesses so Cathy didn't get to shop nor did we get to try a new brew at the micro-brew next door to The Runner's Flat!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

She's Baaaack!

My son needed to have us dog-sit again, so Piper is back in Mason City.  My short-lived, self-imposed break from training is over!

Got out briefly yesterday and then a good amount on the trail today.

14 miles for the week.