Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekend Running and Hiking

Ryan went over to Lost Valley for one of the Baxter Outdoors races on Saturday, while Sam and I went to swimming, enjoyed donuts at Frosty's with Kristen, Anne and Thistle, and checked out the new candy shop downtown. Sam came home with some interesting gummy candies, including chicken feet! :0 Later in the afternoon, once Ryan was home, I headed out for a run down to the river and back. I wore screwshoes and had plenty of traction. My lower right leg didn't miraculously feel better after my Friday appointment with Dr. Jamie, but it was a nice afternoon screwshoe run!

This morning, I donned my road shoes and headed out on Highland Green Road. It was windy and I didn't want to risk the back dirt road, which was looking pretty icy, so I just did an out and back. Tried to keep the pace up-tempo, managing to keep in the mid 8:00s for the first 4 miles, but took the powerlines back, which were a bit icy, so that final mile was a bit slow, but overall a good run.

After lunch, we put my old YakTraxs on Sam's boots and we headed over to the Cathance. It was sunny and in the high 30s. Still windy but once we got down in the woods, we stayed plenty warm. Sam did great with the YakTrax and even did some trail running along the way:) The trails were nice and packed, if icy and bare in some spots, and we had a great time hiking the outer perimeter trails for a good 2.5 mile hike. There were lots of tracks to look at along the way, the river was roaring and we found a small patch of ice pancakes!! Yah!

A fun afternoon hiking in the woods with my two loves :)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cathance Running

Got out early Thursday morning for a run as the sun rose. After our snow and ice storm, things firmed up nicely for microspike running. A nice morning for a 5 mile run down to the river and through the woods.

This morning, Ryan and I hit the trails for a tromp through the woods out to Head of Tides. Conditions were variable, with some good packed running, a fair amount of ice, some postholing, undermined snow, bare batches, wet ground, some slush, pretty much everything ;) Still, it was a nice sunny morning, if windy, and we enjoyed a good 10+ miles together. The river was roaring and the ice build-up was pretty cool to see! Always fun to get in a run with a Snowman :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Icy Fun

You know you've reached your own special level of crazy when you decide 1) that you might as well take advantage of the snow day and get a daylight run in, ice pellets be damned, and 2) that after assessing the roads, there is no way you're going to drive the 3 miles to work for the afternoon but that 3) it really wasn't bad out for a 5 mile screwshoes powerlines/back road run 😜

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekend Afternoons

Didn't get out on Saturday until around 2:45, as I was too lazy to get out of bed and run in the darkness before Ryan headed over to the Brad to do course marking, and he ended up being there for way too long shoveling much more than he'd ever want to admit. With warm temps, the snow is disappearing quickly.

When I did head out, I figured I'd just wander and see what I could find. I wore my screwshoes, hoping I'd be able to get onto the trails, and so with that, I took the low road through the highschool trails and out onto the golf course. Portions of the golf course were nicely packed and the rest was a slushy, sloppy mess ;) I considered running the cart paths, so stayed on through holes 4 & 5, where I found a porcupine off on the fairway, eating grass and completely ignoring me. I stopped to watch him for a while, because, well, porcupine! They really are cute ;)

I turned off on the Heath trail, where I found a Pileated Woodpecker, calling up high on a tree and a mixed bag of conditions from straight up bare ground to soft snow to soft ice to a thin layer of slush atop the ground. But it wasn't terrible so I figured I'd head across the street into the Cathance to see what I could come up with. The screwshoes seemed to be working well on a day when things were pretty soft and not too slick, so I took the high trail out into the woods and then turned down toward the river. There had been some recent snowshoe traffic but again, a total mixed bag. Still, it was warm and nice out and I was having fun tromping around on the trails with no real agenda and no pace goals. Very pretty ice patterns along the rocks near the falls. 

Got in a lovely 6 miles for the afternoon.

Sunday morning was more of the same, with the alarm going off and me almost immediately going back to sleep for another 1 1/2 hours. Oops ;0 So, once again relegated to the afternoon for a run, this time after the snowshoe race, which meant a full stomach from a late lunch and tired legs from being out in the air for 3 hours helping during the race. Always fun though, and a great turn-out too! In any event, it wasn't until around 3:00 that I finally headed out. I knew I was unlikely to have much pep and I didn't want to think much, so I just figured I'd wear my road shoes and stick to the pavement. I took the path out, and found some ice in the shadows, just enough to slow me down a bit, then crossed over to Highland Green Road. I went out and back and returned via the powerlines back, slow again but mostly clear. Certainly not the best 5 miles, but I got it done ;) 30.3 miles for the week - I'm getting there....

Friday, January 20, 2017

Back to Snow

Tuesday morning, I got out for a run on Highland Green Road. With most of the snow melted around here, the ground was either bare or glare ice. I was able to take the high route on the powerlines over to the road, in my Inov-8 Ultra 290s, and encountered all dirt with only two small patches of ice, one at either end of the powerlines. Pretty sunrise.

Decided I'd see if I could start a trend of one "speed" run per week. I have tried this before and failed, but I really do think I need to work on this a bit, so I'm putting it out there - 1x speed a week. I'll add in 1x hills later this winter. Of course, speed and hills are all relative ;) I'll put my Simpson's Point run from last week in the "speed" column, so this would be speed #2. Ha. I kept it simple - uptempo in the middle three miles at a doable not super speedy pace, but it's a start. 8:29; 8:12; 8:26. 5 miles total for the day.

Snow started over night and on Wednesday morning I didn't want to be out on the roads with snow still falling in the dark so I took the day off. We got about 3" of snow. Woke up on Thursday morning to another 1+" of snow, and was unsure what I'd find condition-wise, but donned my screwshoes and headed out anyway :) Ran the high route on the powerlines through the powder and found Highland Green Road unplowed. It was slow going with powder atop iced over pavement and icy dirt road. Of course, I also got the idea to run the short 0.75 mile lollypop down to the river and back along the way. It was beautiful out in the woods, with the the snow sitting atop the evergreen boughs like frosting, but the screwshoes were not enough for the ice under the snow. Then, I had the dumb idea of taking the new path and sidewalks back for the final mile. I found the path completely unplowed from the past 2 days and the sidewalks piled with snow from the plows. Not the best way to end a run, but sometimes what can you do in these conditions? Well, other than stay inside or run later in the day, neither of which were really options... ;) 6.2 miles for the morning.

This morning, I met up with Keri and Mindy over at Bradbury. Due to schedules, we didn't start until 11:00 by which time it was nice and sunny and warm out. I figured our best bet was to head out onto the Snowmobile Trail, so we all donned our spikes and headed out. Conditions were pretty good, with solid footing and we were able to keep in the fat bike tracks the whole way, which helped a lot. The only funny thing was that with the warm temps and new snow, the snow was clumping and creating lovely balls along our spikes. Kind of like hobbling around on extra cushy Hokas ;) Ha. We had a great time chatting away as we ran along. We hit the corn fields and turned around for a nice 8 mile out and back. Lots of tracks along the way - deer, turkey, squirrel, snowshoe hare, little rodents - and a lovely sky out in the corn field.

We met up with Ryan and John, who had been out checking out and running Sunday's snowshoe course, at Edna & Lucy's for lunch, so a fun morning! Much better to be out in the woods than pondering the state of our country during the inauguration.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekend Running

I never made it out before Ryan headed over to Brad on Saturday morning, so I was relegated to an afternoon run. I really do prefer to run in the morning, but sometimes it is nice not to have to get up before the crack of dawn :) Headed out around 1:30 across the street. I wore my screwshoes and decided I'd try to make it down to the river. Success but it was a bit of an icy, slippery, uneven run. There were some stretches clear of any snow and ice at all, others with some nice hardpacked but slick snow and otherwise just a lot of hard ice. I would have had better traction with my Hillsounds but they would have been overkill on parts. Despite the sketchiness, it was still nice to be out and the river was roaring. Got in 5.2 for the afternoon.

Sunday morning, I met up with Amy over at Runaround Pond for a run on the snowmobile trails out that way. It was fun to explore a new area, and great to catch up with her. It was chilly - 9 degrees to start - so the trees along the open streams and swampy areas were all frosted and iced over, but the sun was bright and there was no wind as we wound our way through fields and forests. Really pretty, and quiet, out there, and pretty decent conditions, considering. Nice solid snowmobile trails with a few dicey icy spots. A good 7 miles for the morning, followed up by coffee and a cookie :)

At this point, I am feeling much more like myself, although my legs are not quite back to 100%, but it is nice to feel happy while out running and not have it be a painful endeavor. Got in 28 miles for the week - not a whole lot of miles, but it's a start ;) Onward by all means!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday at Brad - Laugh or You'll Cry

The weather this week has been a bit demoralizing for those of us who like snow with our winter! Between the warm weather and the rain, most of the snow has disappeared from our backyard. We knew there was more snow over at Brad but weren't sure how conditions would be. Ryan decided to join me for a run to check things out for next weekend's snowshoe race and I just wanted to get in 6ish trail miles. We parked at John's and stopped in to say hello to Zippy before hitting the Link. Wow, let me tell you, things were pretty grim. The snow and ice storm a few weeks back did a number on the park and although the big blowdowns had been removed, in their wake were lots of branches and debris, and the park tractor had, frankly, left the trails a bit mess. It was distressing to see. The snow was only kind of packed, so it was slow going out to the Snowmobile Trail. We almost turned around but decided to go up and see how it was further along the trail. Well, turns out it was pretty bad and we turned around soon after Fox East.

I suggested trying the mountain side, well, you know, since we were there and had only run one mile ;) And actually, the trail up to the summit was well packed, and although there was a lot of open water along the edges, we were able to stay atop the snow/ice pack and move along without fear that we'd be falling through. I'd say that was the best mile of trail throughout the park. At the top, we stopped to take in the view and then continued on the Boundary Trail. Much less traffic, more branches and debris, more open water and bare spots, more undermined snow, ice and a lot of walking. Let's call it a run/hike for most of that stretch ;) We ventured out a few yards onto the Connector, but it was too soft and undermined to continue on so we returned to Boundary.

Despite the time we'd been out there, it had only been about 3.8 miles when we got back to the end of the Boundary Trail, so we ran back up to the summit and down again to finish off the run with 5.6 miles and much more effort and time than we'd intended or hoped for. I was extremely thankful for the traction given by my Hillsounds but I'm still a wimp on the downhills, especially when conditions are iffy and icy. It was definitely not good conditions today but hey, sometimes you just have to laugh or you'll cry ;) A "fun" adventure nonetheless and always good to spend time on the trails with Ryan!

Another plus for the day was that my right leg didn't give me any issues, and we followed up our run with a yummy lunch at Edna & Lucy's! Hurray :)

Icy, sunny summit view

Smile :)

Can you see Ryan's flourescent tights off there in the distance? ;)

yes, that is the trail... undermined snow and waterlogged bare ground...