Sunday, March 31, 2013

Going Dutch

Spent Thursday travelling with the NIACC track and field teams to Central College in Pella, Iowa.  This area is known for a strong Dutch heritage.

The day was perhaps the warmest that we've faced in quite a while and that helped allow for some good performances at the track. During breaks in our events,  I was able to get in around six miles total between the track and downtown, then around a portion of the cross country course that surrounds the campus and hills nearby.

Friday was the anniversary of my Mother's birthday so my wife and I drove to Onslow for an overnight to help her celebrate.  I was able to get a 3 mile run in along the county road east of town. But Saturday was a bust with the drive home.

Today I chose the same route as last Wednesday's run, and was amazed to gather another 2 bags of recyclable bottles and cans.  These were mostly new castoffs during the past 3 days...a sad statement about some people's regard (or disregard) for the environment.  I sometimes wonder if the deposit law allows these folks permission in the sense that they believe "somebody" will pick them up.

35 miles for the week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dichotomy of Terrain...or Why I Prefer Lime Creek

This blog is named for Lime Creek trails and nearly all my workouts are on the trail system.  So why do I always opt for those trails when I'm in town?  The answer is easy when you look at my alternatives ... city streets or country roads.
Today's route!   as opposed to...

I spent the past two days running a 6 mile loop on the quarry trails of Lime Creek but the recent warm weather makes this a challenge with snow melt and slush.

So today I grabbed my Hokas and headed out to the country roads for an 8 mile loop.  I could keep a decent pace early on, but eventually became distracted by trying to pick up all the plastic, glass and especially aluminum deposit containers.  Had a couple bags full by the end and even stashed some of the glass in a couple spots so I could still run.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Playing Opossum

Another Sunday and once again we're getting snow!  This time it's quite light but enough for me to see fresh tracks across and beside the trails.  Even able to spot some of the critters...deer and turkey. But today I spotted a different track, one that I recognized ...opossum!

Photo courtesy of Seth Bell who had seen the little bugger before I saw the tracks!

Well, I feel like perhaps I've been playing opossum. The late season snow has allowed me to train each day on snowshoes and it's been going better than expected.  Some good runs...Friday 6 miles and today 6 miles.

Took yesterday off from running but some brisk hiking while travelling to Des Moines for NIACC's first outdoor track meet.  Quite a change in weather compared to last year. 


Even with the colder temps, there were some good performances.

So with my snowshoe runs improving and some good hikes scattered in, my total for the week reached 37 miles.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Calm and Bright

Cold temps with a wind has been the norm lately.  Today dawned cold again but with a strong sun and very little wind it seemed to be a lot warmer.  Loved the run today so added some time at the end to stretch it to 7 miles.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring?

5 miles running on snowshoes yesterday and then a good 6 miles today, again on snowshoes.

First day of spring...not anything like last year.  Here I was grousing about lack of snow and then we get the best snowshoeing conditions we've had at Lime Creek in two years!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Another Monday and another snowstorm overnight.  Schools were cancelled or delayed again for the third week in a row.  I hit the trails and found I was first tracks.

I've been surprised by the way I feel during these recent snowshoe runs...wish I had planned on the nationals in Oregon.

Good run today but limited on time to 3 miles.  Meeting at NIACC to kick off the "outdoor" season for track and field.  With the snow outside, it's hard to imagine an outdoor meet this weekend (in Des Moines).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Season of Change - - Transition

There hasn't been much to write about lately. The weather has been quite varied and I needed to travel to get training for CEUs towards renewing my certifications.  So lots of snow-shoveling and driving and not much running.

It seems that the switch in trail conditions during the spring are the most difficult to deal with in Iowa.  Ice, mud, and snow force us out to the roads.  I've been fortunate in recent years to have been able to continue to get quality miles on snow then switch smoothly to drier trail conditions.  This year has been different, with lack of snow most of the winter followed by some snow, then lots of rain, then some real heavy stuff this past week.

The rain prior to the snow resulted in lots of slush and puddles on the main trails.

I've struggled with motivation during this spell...something similar to what was described by one of my friends from Colorado in his blog entry this week.  I haven't had a race event to focus on.  I didn't think I could get serious about racing snowshoe nationals without much of a chance to run on them this winter. Then was surprised how quickly my snowshoe legs returned once we had some snow...missed out as the race was in Bend, Oregon yesterday!  I've not identified anything to plan for yet this spring or summer.

The river was interesting with its ice jams and breakup this week.

Ended up with only 30 miles last week and down to 24 this week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

I've been lamenting so much about wanting snow and the opportunity to run on snowshoes...but I forget that in order to enjoy that snow, you  also need to clear it from the driveway and sidewalk!  We finally received a decent amount of snow in a couple of recent snows.

Despite the extra work required to shovel my driveway, and subsequently the neighbors on each side, I got out on the snowshoes again and had a tremendously good time.  The sun even broke through briefly and the snow was essentially the best that it's been all winter.

I wish that I could bottle the feeling that I had.  About how beautiful every last breath of life is! 

The main loop had been groomed but the ancillaries were my first tracks again.  What a great run today.

Running beside the traditionally groomed xc ski trail

Along the trail groomed for hikers and snowshoers

Self-grooming a bit off-trail

Still 1st tracks on an ancillary trail
Ended up with around 7 miles today and a lot of extra work due to breaking trail.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Piper Goes Home

The past few days have been rather uneventful as I continued to get out with Piper but didn't get out on snowshoes as we lost more and more of the snow cover.  We drove to Minneapolis on Sunday to get Piper back to our son, Cory, when he returned from his trip to Brazil.

We enjoyed an excellent meal at a fund-raiser for We Can Ride organization but cut our trip short and didn't do any shopping during today's snow.  That meant I was back in Mason City in time to get out on the snowshoes again and was very pleased with the run today.

Friday - 5 miles

Saturday - 9 miles

Sunday - 3 miles... for a 47 mile week

Today -  6 miles with the Dion snowshoes and I was the trail breaker for all the ancillary trails.