Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Where the Hell Did McDuff Go?

I'm not sure why I haven't been posting to this blog.....

For sure I've been busy, but almost everyone that blogs is busy.

So rather than make excuses, I'll simply state that I've enjoyed a few brews and am ready to make a short post!

Often when there's a break from posting, it's due to injury, illness, etc.  Well, I was injured when I started blogging and I haven't been ill! So I guess I can say I've been lazy....

The NIACC XC teams came together very nicely with the men placing 8th nationally and the women 13th. Both very close to their final rankings. It was a fun year and I had fun with some team-building ideas like a "Mojo Stick" and "Who's New On the XC Crew" 5 questions!

I was resigned to more hiking than running but did put a Master's Team together for the annual Living History Farms Race and we came up with a podium finish (2nd) after missing out the past couple years.

I was able to get a bit of biking in so I could ride a 50 mile gravel ride in Minnesota at the same time as my good friend, Dave Nauman. He bikes a lot and was obviously more prepared than I was.

I'm currently enjoying an off time from coaching with indoor season starting in January. I've been disappointed with the surprising thaw as I hope to prepare for the US Snow Shoe Association National Championships in Eau Claire this winter. I've been out on snowshoes a few times already this year but it's been rather dismal for snow lately...I never thought I'd be so anxious for a snowy winter!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making Right Turns On the Track!

This week has been a bit hectic....I've felt a bit rushed and confused at making right turns on the track.

There's been a bit of sensory overload as I want to read race reports from Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon and from Leadville. Lots of excellent reports to read and lessons learned! Friends like George Zack and Brandon Fuller's reports but then podcasts with Leadville's winner, Rob Krar, or 2nd place finisher, Mike Aisch. There's just not enough time what with NIACC XC Camp and all.

I spent yesterday marking the trail for the afternoon practice at Pilot Knob.

I was able to include a full loop of the park and the varied terrain. It was a great workout for me in the morning and seems that the athletes enjoyed the run in the afternoon. It's a great park for a hill workout and only 30 minutes drive from Mason City.

In addition to the practices, I've been trying to introduce the team to our followers of the NIACC Track and Field / XC Facebook page. By using 5 questions, I've been posting a different individual each day. Lots of fun and a chance to reuse "off the wall" questions that I've heard on some of the podcasts that I subscribe to.

Monday, August 18, 2014


By virtue of logging my miles on the Lime Creek Trails nearly every day, I tend to see patterns in frequency of use.

Sunday afternoon was a day that the NIACC Cross Country teams chose to use the trails for a longer run. The new dog park for Mason City is currently nearing completion of a building phase, so additional parking is available at the trailhead on Elm Drive. I've never seen so many cars parked there, at once. And only a couple were for the dog park. The rest were out using the trail system. WOW!

Zerble Trail entrance to the Lime Creek system

Whereas I usually run to the trail, today I needed to have my Jeep available

Out on the trails was hot and humid today but enough shade to be tolerable. Every year it's amazing to see a few clumps of Surprise Lilies erupt beside the trail!

I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday and Sunday on the computer using live-tracking to follow friends and acquaintances who were running Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon and some at the Leadville 100. Some great performances and brought back lots of memories for me.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nothing Stays "the Same"

Looked at how long ago I last's been a while.

Sure I have lots of excuses, but plenty of busy guys like Hypoxic Marmot, still get their daily post out.

I've always noticed that the running blogs I follow seem to drop off while they rehab from injury. I've been struggling with actual running for quite some time. Sure I get in an occasional long race where walking actually is good strategy, but I've been missing the pain-free, easy-going, smooth runs of my past.  

A month ago, I tried a new therapy for my left knee, PRP injection, and after some initial improvement on stairs, the running has been a bit less fruitful. I'm still holding out for improvement though.

The NIACC XC season has begun and it's been a blast to help get our athletes headed for another successful season.

As far as Lime Creek Trails go, the wind and weather has caused a bit of change to the view of things.

June 19, 2014

July 28, 2014

My reference tree has succumbed to the wind.
So the trails have changed, the NIACC team has changed, and my knees have changed....hopefully all for the better!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

40 Days and 40 Nights

Seems like I'm still uninspired to keep up with the blogging. Not that I haven't been getting out...I still get in a run, hike or bike almost every day. The knees still make it a sometimes uncomfortable workout though. 

I'm taking steps towards some new therapy, however. By mid-July I will attempt some PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections. I have approval from insurance and an appointment with the only doctor I could find in Iowa performing the technique!

The past four (not really 40) nights have produced thunderstorms that have been raising a little havoc with the streams, rivers, and trees in this area. The Lime Creek Trails have taken on a new look.

My time contemplating while on the trails helped me realize that this whole time writing about and sharing photos from Lime Creek and I really haven't described what the conservation area really is! Therefore, I soon intend to dedicate a post  to explaining the area and what a blessing it is to have such an area so close to where I currently reside.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Case of the Recalcitrant Blogger

Since I last took time to post on my blog, I've stubbornly resisted the urge to that end I will still basically just use photos to catch up to June!

April 22, 2014 

Interesting conglomerate on the fringe of Lime Creek's Badlands

Trash beside the trail that reminded me of my father for some reason

NIACC had some qualified athletes participate at the Drake Relays on April 27

Taking Piper out along the lake in Chicago May 3 while NIACC was at Regionals Track and Field

First mess of morels for the season, May 10th

Mesa, Arizona for Nats from the 13th to the 18th

Downtown Mesa

at the Mesa Community College track

Phoenix Airport on way home May 18

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on the 22nd

still finding morels on May 23rd

Beside the trail on May 31at same spot as this photo stream started

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RAGBRAI Announcements -Hump Day

The local planning group for RAGBRAI revealed the theme, the route through the city, and the main stage entertainment tonight. This cycling event is quite the experience and i've enjoyed many a great ride in the past.

As current president of the North Iowa Touring Club, I feel a little stress towards volunteering and helping promote Mason City vs. riding and enjoying the party!

Had some company on today's run as Steve Younker and Shawn Kittleson...both of whom have been training partners in the past...came up on me and encouraged me to run a bit today. 7 miles.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chasing Tail

It's been a week since I've had a chance to post...busy times with a lot going on.  

The NIACC track meet scheduled for last Thursday was moved up to Wednesday because the weather forecast was for cold and rain. Wednesday, by chance, turned out warm but windy as hell! Any event other than than one that only used the home stretch was at a disadvantage. Upside...our 110 m. hurdler and 100 m. sprinter both saw drastic improvements in time (NJCAA doesn't adjust for wind-aided!). 

Thursday was spent getting back to Onslow, Iowa so I could help my Mom get through some appointments in prep for a knee replacement. This was interesting to me because my doctor has suggested that I may need a knee replacement and my younger brother has already undergone the surgery. The process of helping Mom gave me a lot of info regarding what the capabilities of the current state of knee replacement can achieve. Bottom line for me is, keep running with what I have and hope that better therapies are developed in the future.

Once back to Mason City, we were faced with Easter and drove to Cathy's sister's house in Forest City. That gave me a chance to run at Pilot Knob State Park again and it was a good day. The woods are beginning to evolve from winter to spring and wild flowers are emerging.


Yesterday was spent with a morning watching the webcast of a very inspirational Boston Marathon. I ran Boston in 1983 (the last previous US citizen winner, Greg Meyer) with several others from Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa. A daughter of one of those Mason Citians from 1983 ran yesterday and did very fact a few minutes faster than her mother. The daughter just happened to also be a former NIACC XC and track runner that I had the privilege of  helping coach!

The current weather conditions have left the woods particularly transparent and I've had a good run at cleaning up recyclables and trash. It felt good to collect a couple bags of redeemables and even more trash to take off the trails on Earth Day. I've been turning in cans and bottles for deposit at the rate of $15 a week and the scrap aluminum from flat cans will likely add an additional $10 yet this week! 

Today's run took me past what has now become my checkpoint for comparison...and as I passed there were a couple Canada Geese visiting.

Noticed at the base of a storm damaged tree today, was some honey-comb...makes me believe that there had been an active hive that likely held some local, raw honey.

Then, while running through the Badlands Loop. I saw that someone had repaired the damaged rock cairn and I took time to build some surrounding cairns. These cairns have taken on an interesting "life of their own" since the small beginnings that I started years ago. 

Last week ended a bit lower in mileage because of the meet and travel to Onslow but I'm feeling pretty good and a step back probably doesn't hurt once in a while when building up. 37 miles on the week.  5 yesterday and 7 today.

It looks like I've been a bit more chatty today but that's likely the result of a week off the blog and also the Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues that I relaxed with before sitting down to write.

So that brings me up-to-date for now but with the Drake Relays , my Mom's operation, and then Regionals, I may not be very routine with the blog.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Double Digits

The snow was gone (for the most part) and with cooler weather, a calm, sunny day was great to be out in the woods. The spring birds are still moving through. In addition to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet I mentioned yesterday, it was obvious that there are also Golden-crowned Kinglets flitting about! Also a great view of a Wood Thrush today and a glimpse of a Barred Owl.

With plenty of podcasts to catch up with and good running conditions, I stayed out a bit longer and finally hit the double digits again for daily mileage.  10 miles today.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wishful Thinking

The prospect of a stretch of favorable weather was cut short overnight. Temperature drops and cold rain then snow made for quite the change. I've also been having some fun documenting the changes from year to year and season to season along the Lime Creek Trails.

April 16, 2013
April 14, 2014
I got out before the rain was more than a drizzle yesterday and put in 5 miles for a 47 mile weekly total. Today I put in the time to run an 8 mile loop so another good start to a week in which I intend to continue to build mileage.

The underbrush was alive today with movement from a bunch of little birds. Mostly Ruby-crowned Kinglets but also saw the distinctive markings of  Yellow-rumped of the earliest but still a sign that the warbler waves are commencing!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jim Duncan Invite

Not only did yesterday's run turn out to be a good one on great trail conditions, but I then got to help with NIACC's teams at the Jim Duncan Invite at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

(photo by Megan Bedford)
The distance crew ran well with Hannah Palmeter running a 10K on a track for the first time and qualified in the event for NJCAA Nationals. Then Jaime Zarate also qualified in the 5K.

While taking split times, I bumped into former acquaintance, Rod DeHaven, coach at South Dakota State. Rod once ran on the master's team we put together for Living History Farms Race in Des Moines as a McDuffer. McDuffers began as a Mason City based team that has expanded through the years. It was a privilege the year that Rod, a former U.S. Olympian in the marathon, accepted my invitation to be on the team.

6 miles for me again today under sun and light rain conditions.