Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes

Since my last post, I've been to Hutchinson, Kansas and back and the weather has been remarkably wet.  This is , in some ways, great news as North Iowa has been too dry for two years.

The NIACC track team did well at Nationals with 3 top 8 placings and just missed the podium on 3 other occasions.

It took a lot of energy out of me for the trip even though all I did was assist with with coaching duties...surprising how much goes into helping meals, practice, warm-ups, etc. takes out of you!

I was able to get in some morning workouts and ran with Curtis on one of the AMs.  

Similarity between riding a bike and riding a horse?

I never realized the extra effort in repairing a brick street.

For you triathletes...this was my brick workout for the week!
Ended up with a 37 mile week.  Down a bit but I was definitely tired after some of the long days at the track.

The weather change has brought on the mushroom season and I love to spend the time in the woods looking for the delicacy.  Paul Pokana, from Papua New Guinea, helped with the search on Sunday and Monday and today also provided a good score.

Lots to observe in the woods and I saw interesting birds like the Scarlet Tanager and Pileated Woodpecker.  Also the river is bank-full, and woods alive.


High ground water resulted in a spring in the middle of the trail.

One of the widest flows I've seen at Ernie's Bridge.

Motionless fawn while I hunted for mushrooms in the vicinity!
7 mile run today and a 3 mile hike tonight.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I hate to dwell on the weather but....I've never witnessed such a strange pattern.  I just exclaimed that we were experiencing a late spring and then today we saw temps reach 95 degrees and it seemed like summer (without the humidity).

I was keeping watch for morel mushrooms today but the vegetative growth is not what is typical for good "shrooming".  Nothing found so kept moving for an 8 mile loop.

A 3 mile evening hike for an 11 mile day.

We leave for Hutchinson, Kansas tomorrow morning at 8 AM and will be there for NJCAA Nationals until late Saturday.  Arrive home around 1 AM Sunday so no blogging until then. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


In Iowa, we've been waiting for some typical weather to allow for typical training.  This year has been phenomenal for atypical conditions.  I finished out last week with some good steady workouts and am adjusting to the fact that I need more recovery between efforts in order to run.  Times are not like they use to be!  I wish my knees would feel like they did in days past.

Ended the week with 6 on Thursday, 6 on Friday, 5.5 on Saturday, and 5.5 on Sunday for a 47 mile week.

The woods are changing visibly every day now.  The Bluebells are out and Mayapples  are emerging.  The warbler wave is in full swing albeit a bit late.  I saw several interesting warblers today...Blackburnian, Yellowthroat, Redstart, Cerulian..............


Emerging Mayapples
Blackburnian Warbler


I've been checking for morel mushrooms but they are really late this year.  

I couldn't help but notice that an old tree stump has begun to show new growth in it's center.  A concept that I've been striving for in recent years!

 Put in 6 miles today with a 3 mile hike yet tonight.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


These first few days since the regional track meet have been the mildest, warmest days yet this spring.  The woods has responded with very prolific growth.  I have responded with some of the best runs I've had in quite some time.

Much higher water levels in Calmus Creek and the Winnebago River.  

Dog-tooth Violet

Dutchman's Breeches
Put in 5 miles on the trails Monday with a 3 mile hike at night.  A very good 7 mile run yesterday, and another 6 today with a 3 mile hike at dusk.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Second Day of Region XI NJCAA Track and Field

NIACC's best outdoor meet of the year so far.  Some excellent performances  and yet another national qualifier with Mason Powers running close to a school record on just his 2nd attempt in the 3000 meter steeplechase.

A few pics.

Another dreary weather day at the Iowa Western track

Alex Lugo to Nako Omat in the 4 X 400 relay

Paul Pokana in the 4 X 400 relay

I got out for a run before breakfast with Head Coach Curtis Vais then did some hiking on the hills at the Iowa Western site before the meet. I happened to spot a melanistic Fox Squirrel in the woods on campus. I didn't have the camera but found a similar photo posted on-line.

Curtis and I had a chance meeting with the announcer for a big 5K race in Omaha sponsored by Brooks and Warren Buffet's group.  Very nice yet short visit with Creigh Kelley. He has quite a running background and has been inducted into the running USA hall of champions, as well.

42 miles for the week.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

First Day of Region XI NJCAA Track and Field

Not many events competed today.  We were still at the whim of nature with a cold wind and some drizzle.
Emily Burchett set a new regional record in the hammer-throw and was over the qualifying mark for nationals again.
The 10K and 4X800 relays were the only running events today...JR improved his 10K by nearly 2 minutes since he last ran the event a couple weeks ago.
I was able to get in a few miles before the meet and after checkin at our hotel.  I'll try to add some results links and photos after tomorrow's events and the trip home.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Additional snow overnight to reach a total between 8 and 9 inches.  I've snowshoed in April before but today headed out to snowshoe in May.  The loop left me really worked.  The knees felt better than on any of my recent runs.  Makes me think that had we seen a normal amount of snow this year, I would be much more fit and perhaps the knees would be stronger as well.

I'll post a series of photos to demonstrate the trail conditions and you'd never know this is spring rather than winter.

Dion's in May? Another 'shoer and a skier were out before me.

May 3, 2013

At one point during the 7 mile loop. I saw evidence of where a cottontail rabbit became lunch to a hawk.  I saw where the initial hit from above occurred, a couple of hops losing fur and bit of blood then the bird's take-off with its prey.

wing angels from take-off

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Devastated By Debris

As I re-read yesterday's post, I realized that my current state of training is not dissimilar from what it was like to be a kid running around the neighborhood. That point was driven home today as an uncharacteristic snow storm in May hit and left about 6" of wet, heavy snow.  The woodland trails became devastated with broken tree limbs and fallen trees. There were over 2 dozen downed branches or trees in a 2 mile stretch. So today's 4 mile run/hike involved a lot of obstacle course work and included a fair amount of trail maintenance on my part as I threw limbs and dragged branches off trail!

Another interesting comparison goes back to a post I made a couple weeks ago but with an additional photo from today.


Also devastated by the surprise snow were the spring wave of migrating birds.  They were all over the place in the woods but seemed disjointed and surprisingly tame.

Yellow-rumped Warbler that refused to fly when approached.  I hope it survives the surprise storm.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Scurrying About

With no real event on my schedule, the training this year has been very haphazard and inconsistent.  Last year at this time was very exciting with the prospect of the Black Hills 50.  

I saw an Eastern Chipmunk scooting here and there along, beside, and across the trail...sort of how I feel when out there now. I'm easily distracted but still show brief moments of faster activity.

The rain and cold has returned but I've been able to work in a 7 mile loop between storms during each of the past two days.