Last night was the first race in the NMTC Spring Series. Held in Superior, Wi on the Millennium Trail and the ski trails of the Superior Municipal Forest this is the 'flattest' run of the series. It is also notorious for being a windy, cold, wet race. Yesterday was no exception. The wind was gusting up to 20+ mph out of the east (=off the Lake = really cold) and it was raining. I popped out of my car long enough to sign up for the race ($1) and visit briefly before jumping into the car of a friend to wait until race start. Lining up for the race I tried to place myself in front of some taller runners for wind protection (not hard to do when you are 5' 1").
Went out too fast (easy to tell by who I was running with) and promptly notched it down just a little bit. The race starts on pavement so it is easy to go out fast. Within 1/3 to 1/2 mile (really closer to 2/3rds) we turned onto the ski trails and hit our first of many puddles. This was a small one and I don't think the water even soaked through my shoes before I was through it. That was not to hold true for the rest of the race. At one point I hit a puddle that resulted in very cold and wet feet. Then there was the puddle that came up to my knee ;->
Along with puddles come hills. As I said this is one of the flatter courses in the series. According to one persons GPS data there is only an elevation change of 45 or 46 feet on the course. Yeah, but they occur on either side of a steep ravine, over and over again. My goal for the past few years has been to become a better hill runner and a better mud runner. Will get lots of practice in the upcoming weeks.
The race heads out to the west and is a loop course with an out and back section on the paved part of the trail. Remember that east wind? Yup, would finish with a head wind. Seems to be a tradition on this course. But yesterday it was not as bad as it could have been, at least when I finished. I kept bracing for the headwind and never really got hit with it. Nice break really as this winter seems to have been all about practicing running into the wind.
Finished a full minute faster than my best time on this course! Apparently consistent training (and running with faster folks) does pay off. May join Wayne in a quest to run all my races faster this year. So far I am 1 for 1 (can't count Trail Mix as I have never run that race before even though it was a 25k PR).
Other running news: Commuted to work by foot twice this week (with an opportunity to do the same tomorrow as I am carless). Tuesday was the usual run from Job A to Job B. Then today - being Thursday - was 'run to work day'. It was also the first day I ran doubles. I hadn't planned on running home, but no ride, dark clouds looming on the horizon... a run seemed prudent. Took it easy even on the .8 mile section heading up hill through Lincoln Park. Arrived home in 24 minutes, not bad for all the hill climbing involved. Today was also the first day I ditched the small backpack for a fanny pack - must be spring!
Speaking of spring - my daffodils are blooming! And the strawberries have arrived. I ordered 100 plants to replenish my strawberry bed. I am not planning on planting all 100 plants, some will go to friends, but want to get at least 50 or more in the ground. Barrier - I will be gone much of this weekend so need to research keeping the plants healthy and happy until I can get them in the ground sometime next week. Next up will be preparing the rest of the garden beds for spring planting when we return from Isle Royale later in May. Garlic update - looks like all the garlic I planted is up and looking very healthy. Easy to tell which were the big bulbs as the greens are quite stocky vs the smaller bulbs with spindly greens.
Knitting: hmmm, not making much progress on the scarf or the socks. Very little knitting time of late and have decided that the scarf will not be ready for this weekend. Maybe next year? Arrived home last Saturday to discover my order from KnitPicks had arrived. Blocking mats, set of double point needles for a friend, and sock knitting needle holders. Guess I have an incentive to finish the scarf and finally block that lace shawl I knit a few years ago.
Upcoming plans: Saturday is the Superior Hiking Trail Annual Meeting where I will be presenting a workshop on Running the Superior Hiking Trail (thanks everyone for your suggestions on what to include!). I plan on arriving early in the day and running 10 miles on the trails around Wolf Ridge ELC prior to the workshop. Had thought about staying for the evening program and dance but may have to bail as have company coming on Sunday. Two weeks from now is the Superior Spring Trail Races and another commitment - In addition to running the 25k I told the race directors I would make a display of spring wildflowers seen along the trail. I have the photos ready, just need to get to work on printing them out and preparing the text.
Swine flu - had my first call today at work from a patient concerned about having contracted the swine flu. Sigh... here we go. Will be an interesting time in healthcare.
Selective Focus: Matt Kania
8 hours ago