Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ragnar Relay - much delayed report and some other stuff

Well, now I know something about a Ragnar event ;->

Last Wednesday night it finally dawned on me that this was a RACE. In other words, I was supposed to run hard for every leg ;-> Lost a little sleep over that! Thursday night it was time to finalize packing for the trip. Double(and triple)checked that I had my headlamp, inhaler, shoes, extra clothes, socks, and wool hat (laugh now - but it came in handy). Then went grocery shopping for food that I thought might be appealing midway through the event. Friday morning I repacked and then I got the call. "We are on our way, a little early... see you in Hastings!"

My sister J and her two kids (E and X - my sailing buddies)loaded me up and gave me a ride to our meeting point. I knew Leslie and Sam from Duluth (excellent running buddies and I credit them with my increased speed this past year) but had never met the rest of the team. Arrived at the Hastings Super America and met Megan K., Jill, Margot, and Sarah. Then it was into the Suburban and off to Winona to meet up with the rest of the team: Jess, Tien-Tien, Megan D., Mel and Andrea. I have not been in the southeastern part of Minnesota since... well, I am not really sure. Junior high, maybe? I had forgotten what a beautiful - and hilly- area it is.

We arrived at Levee Park with time to spare, which is a good thing as there were vehicles to decorate, runners and their gear to sort into the proper vehicles, and race check-into accomplish before our start time of 3:00 pm. Being runner #7 I was in "Van 2" with Megan K., Megan D., Jess, Mel, and Sarah. All women I did not know before that day, but enjoyed learning more about as the race progressed.

Also met up with Wayne and Mark (Wayne directed me to food - Thanks!). Their team (St. Paul Running Company) was starting at the same time as ours.

Margot - our first runner, during team introductions

And they are off!

Once the race started, Van 1 headed out to their first exchange point and Van 2 set off to find parking for one of the runner's vehicles and then on to the first major exchange in Modena, Wi. This is where I would run my first leg - 6.3 miles.

Now, knowing elevation charts can be deceiving I was not too worried about that hill. Ignorance is bliss! By the time I reached the last little plateau (with teams cheering me on and telling me I was almost at the top) I was calling it a "son of b****". I made it almost to the top before shifting to a walk. But ah, the downhill! That was fun! By then it was getting quite dark and I was finding out how little illumination my head lamp provided. Rather than wear it on my head (had tried it out and decided it was going to annoy me) I wore it around my chest. This also provided a handy place to attach the blinking red 'butt' light we had to wear in addition to a reflective vest (on the next leg, following a team mates method, I would move the headlamp down to my waist - less slippage there). Made it into Exchange 7 in 53:42 (a PR I just realized - Tofte Trek was 56:36), passed off the baton and proceeded to wander around a bit to cool off. Then it was into the van and off to the next exchange. I shed the wet upper layers at this point and hung them from hangers on the back of the van in the vain hope my running bra would dry out before the next leg - not to be, good thing I had two! Also learned that hangers and clothing will stay on a vehicle for quite some time while you drive (forgot to bring them in the van at the next exchange - they were discovered when we stopped for gas)!

Our van reached Exchange 12 (Stockholm, Wi) near midnight and my eyes were drooping. We picked up Runner 12 (Sarah), cheered on Runner 1 (Margot) and headed to the next major exchange in Prescott, Wi. The plan was to get a few hours of sleep and then we would be up and heading out again.

Knowing I am a slow mover when I first wake up I set my alarm (and Jess set hers and I am sure others did as well) for 3:30 am. I figured this would give me an hour to wake up, eat a little something, wander around and take care of necessities. We had arranged for Van 1 to call when their Number 5 runner (Leslie) started, this would give us plenty of time to prepare before Number 6 (Sam) started. Sam had a longish and hilly leg and we thought we had a good estimate for when she was due in.

I was just starting to get my last layer off, thinking I had another 10 - 15 minutes when we heard "123". Panic! That was our teams' number and I was a block from the exchange! Jess helped me get my sweats the rest of the way off and it was a mad dash to the exchange. I didn't beat Sam by much, had enough time to look up, see Wayne (who came to see me off, or maybe it was his Runner 7 he was there for?) and then it was a slap of the bracelet (what we used for a baton) and I was off on my second leg.

Note that this says 3.0 easy. Also note the instructions: "Runners must stop at traffic light if red". I got a red light - at 4:30ish a.m. I stopped, and waited. There was no way to get the light to change. Another runner came up at this point, we both waited a little and then decided to go (there was absolutely no traffic). He took off (nicknamed him 'gazelle') and I ran alone into the night thinking all the while "it is only 3 miles, push the pace. It's flat, keep pushing it" and once I turned the corner (at 1.9 miles according to the map) wondering when I would see the "one mile to go marker". It never appeared! I kept running hard but was starting to feel like this was the longest 3 miles of my life. And then the lights of exchange 19 appeared. Yippee!!! Ran in, slapped the bracelet into Megan's hand and headed to the van for the next drive. (Leg 2: 24:34, including stop time at the light). Megan had a nasty little valley on her route, deep enough to drop cell phone coverage (was on the phone giving an update to Mr. Wildknits who was awake and heading out on Lake Superior to pick herring).

By now we were seeing the glow of sunrise and by the time we reached the next exchange point it was getting fairly light, though you can't tell it from this picture:

Then it is back into the van and on to the next exchange. I tried to get pictures and video but failed miserably - should really read the manual! I did manage to get pictures of Mel (Runner 11) coming into Exchange 23 and handing off to Sarah (Runner 12)

Sarah had the leg into Stillwater (cool lift bridge)

and another major exchange, where she handed off to Runner 1 and Van 1 took over for the next few hours.

It was here I had been hoping to score a couple of cups of coffee. The Ragnar folks had some, but I admit to being a bit of a snob and won't put artificial creamer in my coffee, nor can I handle it straight up (especially bad coffee). Downed a small cup of hot chocolate and it was into the van in search of a coffee shop on our way to our next meeting point. Didn't find the coffee shop and we headed out, thinking we would spot one somewhere in our travels (never happened but I learned I can survive, and run, without coffee ;-> ).

By now we were catching up to a lot of teams (the Relay started at 7:30 am the previous day, with teams heading out every 30 - 60 minutes up until 4:00 pm) and it was fun to check out the van decorations and chat with other teams.

The day was heating up (by my standards at least), my stomach was 'off' and I spent most of my time pacing back and forth to the bathrooms, filling water bottles and drinking (there had been a lack of water on the course) and generally trying to get psyched up for - and memorize the directions of - this last leg. According to the course map it was a "moderate" 6.2 miles. I obviously did not pay enough attention to the elevation chart as I was totally unprepared for the hills. I had asked that the team stop along the way with water as I didn't want to carry a belt but was concerned about the distance and the heat. They chose the PERFECT spot - at the top of the big hill around 2.5 miles. This team knows how to run a water stop! Megan met me with the water bottle - yelled encouragement and the rest of the crew was down the road a bit yelling and ready to take the bottle when I was done. Way to go team!

This was a hard section for me and I had to battle a lot of negative thinking. I felt like I was crawling along, was pretty sure I would never do a relay again, had severe doubts about running an ultra if 15 miles was killing me, and really wondered why I thought I was a runner (hint - this type of thinking usually means I have not taken in enough calories and my blood sugar is tanking). I was walking a lot of hills, hoping to have enough left over to run into the exchange with some semblance of a brisk pace.

I alternated all the negative thoughts with reminders to myself that: I was probably running faster then I thought if I felt this crappy; it was a hilly section and hot; this was the third - and final - leg; I was doing just fine and I had (finally) passed other runners (two to be exact). I eyed some fountains along the way with envy (Could I swim in them? Would it totally wreck my teams time?).

I was so happy to see the volunteers that call in the runners numbers a block or so from the exchange - this meant I was nearly done. And I had enough left to pick it up a little bit into the exchange point for my hand-off to Megan. Whoo hoo!! I was done! Time to mix up some Recoverite, hop into the van and eventually change into some dryer clothes while cheering on the rest of our vans runners on our way to Boom Island and the finish line.

By now the course was getting crowded as more and more teams overlapped on their way to the finish. Parking near Boom Island was crowded and I wondered how we would ever connect with the rest of the team in a sea of white shirts. But we found each other (and my sister and her family found us) and we waited for Sarah to come in. The plan was for the whole team to run into the finish line together.

We were close behind another team (much to my sister's dismay as she was trying to capture pictures of us and the other team 'got in the way') as we crossed under the banners. And trying to assemble 12 sleep deprived runners in one spot for a team photo may be like herding cats. Good job J for getting these photos!

Pretty soon it was time to say good-bye to the team as I was heading back with my sister to her place. We went back to the vans, sorted out our stuff and exchanged hugs.

By now my stomach had recovered and I was starving!! My first request was food (I couldn't seem to find any at the race finish) and my sister, her family, J and M (son and his girlfriend) discussed nearby options that were kid friendly. Ended up at Brasa Minneapolis, an excellent choice. I proceeded to make up for the past 24 hours of missed meals and topped it off with a Surly Furious. Bliss!

Puttered around a bit on Sunday morning, visited with my Mom and then headed to Murphy - Hanrehan for a run. I had decided to run the north side trails to get a better feel for what Surph the Murph might be like. I kept hearing about hills but had not really experienced anything all that steep on my previous outing in the park. Well, I found them! Ran for an hour on the trails leading away from the park headquarters. Some of these trails are only open August to November and they are steep!! Got in a little under 6 miles the best I could tell on a warm, humid day.

Was welcomed back to my sisters, and sent on my way, with chocolate cake and ice cream (god bless 5 yr olds that want to throw a party). Picked Sam up at her sister's in the St. Paul area and headed north. When we left the Cities it was in the 80's, we arrived in Duluth to mid - 60's. Gotta love Lake Superior!

Results: Copper Country Running Club aka Team MegaHz aka 123 - 12th overall and FIRST in our division (female, open, regular)!.

It has been a quiet running week since then. Mowed the lawn Monday (if you have ever seen my place you know this is a hill workout in disguise); biked to and from work on Tuesday (including a rather speedy uphill ride home as I tried to beat the sunset), ran 5k on Wednesday and then nothing until Friday evening when I joined a friend for his "24 hours at Hartley" run. Jim had planned on running the Superior 100 but couldn't and decided to set up a 24 hour run instead. I had received the message Tuesday night and thought it could be a good way to get my long run in while supporting a friend.

Joined him at 5:00pm and ran until a bit after 10:00pm (5 loops @ 4.2 miles each = 21 miles for me). Jim had a great route mapped out, leaving his house (aka the aid station) and entering Hartley through a side trail, then it was on to the guardrail loop and then into the pine forest and up onto Rock Knob before descending and getting on the SHT over to the swamp loop, back to the pine forest and out to his place. He would alternate directions each lap (clockwise vs counter clockwise). We were joined by another runner for a little over a lap and then it was just the two of us. By 8:00pm we needed our headlamps. The trail was all single-track and rooty and rocky in fine trail running tradition. It was also quite muddy and slick as it had been raining and or misting since the previous night.

The clouds broke just in time for the sky to be lit up by the last rays of the setting sun and we got to see the stars and moon emerge on my final laps. I briefly toyed with staying out for a sixth lap but decided as this was the longest run since the Half Voyageur maybe I should take it easy. Jim was incredible! His longest run to date had been 50 miles (Voyageur). I was there when he hit the 50 mile mark Friday night and he continued to run another 17 miles with me and was still kicking my butt on the down hills at that point. It was an honor to run with him! And it was a confidence booster for me! I am feeling much more confident that I will be ready for my first Ultra (Wild Duluth 50K) this October.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What - a finished knitting project?!?

I know, surprise, surprise. It took way too long to finish this - something about sz 0 needles, fingering weight yarn, complicated two-color knitting and training for too many races slowed the knitting down on this one. Not sure who/what this hat is for. I am sure it will become obvious in the near future.


Yarn - Plymouth Yarn Co. Happy Feet (90% superwash merino wool, 10% nylon). Main color: 5. Contrasting color also Happy Feet - a beautiful variegated deep blue seen in other hats/socks distributed to various family members.

Needles - Knit Picks Harmony double points, sz O (2 mm) and Inox nickel-plated circulars, same size

Celtic knotwork patterns from "Celtic Charted Designs" by Co Spinhoven. Dover Publications.

Pattern is written down (another surprise as I usually jot down a few numbers and wing it).

Heading south in a few hours for a conference and a race. Along with "grown-up clothes" and running stuff I am packing two knitting projects. Yarn for a pair of socks (Happy Feet again) and yarn for a scarf (after all it is 63 degrees today).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ragnar Relay - Great River

A while ago Wayne requested more information about this event. Since it is now less than a week away and I know which "runner" I am, it seems like a good time to comply with that request.

First off - I have never done an event like this before so really do not know what I am getting myself into ;->

From the Ragnar Relay/Great River website: "Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat." Check out the home page description for more information about the race and the series.


Team Name: Copper Country Running Club (but being changed to MegaHz).

We are team #123 out of 233. For an entertaining read check out the Team Info page and read through the names. Can you guess what some of the folks do for a living?

Start time: 3:00pm Friday August 21st

I am "Runner #7" which means I will be the first person in Van Two to run (12 runners, 6 to a vehicle). Prior to my signing on, and the team captain having to adjust the pace for my predicted average of 8:30 min/mile (I still get a bit dizzy when I see that in print) and our start time being moved back to 3:00pm from 2:00 pm, Runner #7 was due to start her first leg (6.3 miles "very hard") around 7:00 pm on Friday. My second leg (3 miles "easy") would then occur sometime around 4:00 am Saturday, with my third - and final - leg (6.2 miles "moderate") being run at around 10:00 am Saturday. Not sure what time I will really be running due to the change in start time and adjusting for average pace of each runner, now that everyone has settled into a spot (and some of the leg distances have been tweaked a bit).

Running in the middle of the night will be a first - though I used to get up at 5:00 am (reluctantly) to run a closed road with a friend and our dogs in the middle of the winter, so have run in the dark before - just not with traffic and a safety vest and multiple lights attached.

The race starts in Winona, MN at Levee Park and finishes in Minneapolis, MN at Boom Island Park. The Ragnar website has course maps and information about exchange sites if you want to see the route and have an idea of the terrain we will be traversing (or care to try and track Team MegaHz down and cheer us on).

After yesterday's run in 82% humidity at 80 degrees F I am hoping for cooler weather! On the books was a 14 mile trail run. Had the route all plotted out (base of Spirit Mountain to Bayfront Park on the SHT) and was pretty excited for the run. The day before the wind had come up off the Lake, dropping the temps into the upper 60's downtown, and the prediction was for more east winds. Unfortunately the wind didn't pick up until later in the day and I ran early to: a) beat the heat (or so I thought) and b) because I had family coming in from out of town.

Less than half way through the run I was having an internal debate about whether or not I would complete the distance. By the time I was climbing up along Keene Creek I was pretty sure I would run only as far as home, then turn down on the spur trail and call it good at about 12 miles. By the time I reached Haines Rd I thought maybe I could make it to the next crossing with Skyline or maybe to the reservoir before hitting the roads and heading home. Crossed Haines, started up the trail, made it about 10 feet and said "Enough!" Walked back to the road, pulled out my cell and called for a ride. From there I ran down Haines to Skyline and along the boulevard until Mr. Wildknits came to the rescue (a knight in a blue Fit ;->).

Legs felt fine all along but I just don't run well in that kind of heat and humidity. I was walking a lot of hills that normally I can run up and felt sapped of all energy. On a positive note, my hands did not swell so I must have been doing something right. I wonder if I would have been able to complete the distance if I had been running with someone else? Part of me feels like I wussed out, another part says I did the smart thing and pulled the plug before overheating and really wiping myself out. After all I had a 5 and 2 yr old coming for a visit (in addition to my sister, her husband, my daughter and her college roommate).

Today I am watching the weather radar, waiting for the thunderstorms to roll through so I can head out for another run (I am trying the back to back runs again). In the meantime, this kind of weather is good for reading and knitting, so it is back to the couch for me where I can sit with a good book and the hat I need to finish up so I can start a new "conference knitting" project.

On vacation this week. Will head to the Twin Cities on Tuesday, attend a conference Wednesday and Thursday, then the Ragnar Friday and Saturday. In light of the relative lack of sleep I will get over the weekend, my plan is to head north on Sunday. Have been in touch with a running friend to show me some trails in the area and may - depending on how I feel Sunday - try to get out to Murphy-Hanrehan before I leave town. Still contemplating Surf the Murph in October (two Ultras in two weeks, or the 25K??).

"Fun on the boat" (Miss G assisting her cousin E. to steer the boat, with my sister J. standing by.)

"Kids have to wear PFD's" is the rule on the sail boat, and even though Miss G is legally an adult the consensus was that college students still wore PFD's, especially when they went forward to put the jib on in rough seas (and to aid in getting the younger kids to keep theirs on). Not sure what was so funny at the time this photo was taken, but we were busy watching for other boats as we headed back towards the marina.

Cruise ship anchored outside the DECC (click on the picture to embiggen). Don't know anything about this boat or the cruises, but what a concept!

Running Update

Just got back from a run. This time it was 80 degrees F with 80+% humidity and gusty winds. Sound familiar? Goal - run 8 miles on the road (a hilly out and back route on Skyline). It wasn't too bad until the sun came out and then it was steaming. Ended up turning around just short of 4 miles to avoid a huge hill. The run back involved a bit more downhill at times and more wind at the back. Walked a few times during the run just to cool off, and stopped three blocks short of the house for a nice cool-down walk. I do not know how people in the south run in these conditions!!! Kept hoping the dark clouds over head would open up and dump a little rain, but no such luck. Ah well.

As deer go crashing off into the woods I think of Jean and his bpm (bunnies per mile). I could do a dpm(deer per mile) report. Today, it was pretty dismal - saw one, heard another. So, in a 7.6 mile run that works out to be .26 dpm. Yesterday was a bit better at .58 dpm, plus a "murder" of crows that I chased off the cliffs in Brewer's Park.

Last Thursday was the best - saw a pine marten on my run to work (something to be said for a commute that involves that much woods, even when you are running on the roads)!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


\ˈdōl-drəmz, ˈdäl-, ˈdȯl-\
1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency
2 often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

The third definition seems to fit my running of late.

On the "schedule" for this weekend: 12 miles on Saturday and 8 on Sunday. Hmmph... back to back runs take up a lot of my weekend. Maybe I should just run long one day... 12+8 = 20. Okay, can do that (or so I thought Friday night). Saturday dawned, I looked out the window and could barely see across the road. It had poured the night before, the trails would be soaked, I was tired, it was barely in the 50's... rolled over and went back to sleep for a bit. Woke later, ingested a couple of cups of coffee and still couldn't get enthused about a run. Checked the weather, Sunday was supposed to be nicer. Guess I will run 20 on Sunday. Spent most of the rest of the day either huddled under the covers reading or bundled up at my desk (sweats, fleece, wool hat and down booties) taking care of household finances.

Walked to and from the party (all of three blocks one way) so at least got some exercise.

Today I woke to overcast but no fog. Looking better. I was still tired and as I sat drinking my coffee and looking at my planned route I just could not get excited about the run. So, I started revising the run downward. Looked over an older training schedule and thought "I don't need to run 20 today I can run...." insert a number, 'cuz I kept revising it down! Texted Wayne for a little encouragement as he is usually good for a pep talk. Even he was saying I could bag the run ;->

By this time I had wittled the run down to 10 miles and I was feeling a little excitement about the prospect. Then, Mr. Wildknits called (on his way back from fishing - picking herring out of a net for several hours that is) and said a friend was flying over to go sailing. I had decided it was time to end all of my runs on the SHT at Bayfront where the Wild Duluth 50k finish will be located. The sailboat is less than a mile from there. Now running was sounding more interesting!

Packed up some supplies to have on hand for after the run, loaded them in the car and had Mr. Wildknits drop me off at the Highland & Getchell trailhead. By now it was in the upper 60's/low 70's and humid! Perfect conditions to make any run seem hard. Hit the trail and tried to maintain am easyish pace and ended up walking a lot of hills that I can usually run.

The whole time I was out I didn't feel all that great, but kept telling myself it was only 10 miles. Flushed a couple of grouse (that will get the heart rate up - possibly explaining the Peak HR of 190 recorded today) and saw lots of Corpse Plant/Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora). Will try to get a photo of this unique flowering plant this week as they are abundant right now.

As I neared my house I kept reminding myself that I wasn't turning down at the spur trail but instead heading for Enger Tower (would make a great aid station for Wild Duluth - has bathrooms!) and then downtown. From Enger the trail is mostly downhill, crossing several streets and some historic steps before coming out along Superior St near the M&H gas station.

Crossed the road, headed for the pedestrian overpass across the freeway and then down towards Railroad Street and Bayfront Park. Around the park and the back of the DECC and over to the Minnesota Slip Bridge. I crossed the bridge and just could not face running any further. From there I walked, crossing the Aerial Lift Bridge and heading down Park Point to the marina.

So what is with my running?!?

First a disclaimer: I am a low-mileage runner. In the past 6 weeks I have run the following weekly mileage: 20 miles; 16 miles (10k race); 32 miles (Half Voyageur Trail Marathon); 12 miles (donated blood); 24 miles; and 26 miles (5 mile race). I also seem to do best running 4 days a week. The new plan I am (was)trying out has me running 5 days a week. Oh yeah, and there was that monthly reality for all pre-menopausal women thrown in there too (sorry guys).

Maybe I have good reason to be tired!?!


We headed out onto Lake Superior today. It was a much warmer sail than this past Friday (when I had on multiple layers and was still so chilled I had to go below for awhile and had trouble getting the jib down as I could not feel my hands).

On our way we picked up a couple additional crew members at the outer portion of the ship canal

Jeff (guy in the hat) likes to fly the spinnaker. I had never seen this sail so sat back and watched:

All too soon it was time to take the spinnaker down and head back. We waited outside the ship canal until the Vista King was also on it's way in (along with several other sail boats - they limit lifting the bridge for easier traffic flow on and off the Point) and then motored under the bridge:


Hop flowers


Eggplant flower (love the colors on this plant)

Tomato jungle


Also in the Doldrums. Any progress I make on decreases is set-off by finding a split stitch 6 rows back and needing to fix it. Sigh.

Mr. Wildknits brought home some herring. For dinner we had:

Fish cakes made from today's catch, potatoes with yogurt and parsley, and broccoli (from our garden). Yum!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fisherman's Picnic Five Mile Trail Run

My racing season continues - and with another good performance! Saturday, Leslie and I headed to Grand Marais for the Fisherman's Picnic Trail Run. The weather did not look good - trees tops were being thrashed around in front of my house and the forecast was for 50% storms. Temperatures were cool as well - reminding me a bit of day I ran the Superior 25K this past May.

Lately I feel like my running is not going well and so I did not have any great expectations for this race. I knew there were hills, and at least one long climb and figured it would be reasonable to finish somewhere under and hour as I had run the Tofte Trek in 56 minutes (pre - Half Voyageur).

There was more than one long climb! As a matter of fact, other than the beginning mile (if that) it was all climb (or seemed that way)! Nothing too steep, all runnable, well at least for a while. But when the grade switched from gradual to steep I walked. Then again at the water stop (love how it was labeled self-serve but there was a guy standing there handing out cups), and then near the end when the course vacillated between steep uphills and correspondingly steep downhills (I do love to run downhills ;-> )

Had enough in the tank to pick up the pace and pass a few folks coming into the finish line (the downhill at this point helped). 43:44 Another personal best at this distance??? Not sure. But it was good enough for second in my age group and a prize:

Swedish Fish!

I know the announcer from my work with the Superior Hiking Trail Association Board of Directors and I think he had a lot of fun mispronouncing my name ;->
Dick Swanson staying warm and dry

The shirt is great! It is nice to venture away from white or grey and there are 30 fish running the trails (this was the 30th running of the race apparently).

Leslie was the top female finisher and won a nice mug and bowl set as well as some Swedish Fish for placing in her age group. There were a lot of runners from Thunder Bay, lending this race an international flair ;->

The sun was trying to peak out during the awards ceremony, but as you can tell from the pictures it was cool enough to stay pretty bundled up.

After the race we headed back to Duluth, stopping outside Beaver Bay for lunch. Then it was off to Ashland, Wi for me, combination of work (Mr. Wildknits had an airplane over there needing a 'switch' for the flap control mechanism) and pleasure (dinner with our eldest daughter). It rained off and on the whole trip over and the rainbows were pretty spectacular, appearing to touch down in the road at times. they were so vivid that you could see a strong band of purple on some of them. Very cool (but hard to photograph as we drove).

It ended up being a long, but satisfying day. Sunday I went out to Pike Lake and watched a lot of friends in the Brewhouse Triathlon. Impressive performances by all! Later I got in a ten mile run on the Munger Trail (paved rails to trails conversion). I am a bit tired of pavement, but need my legs to understand what Ragnar holds for them. Anyway, today it is back to dirt for me. Heading out soon for a short run on the Piedmont ski trails (and maybe an errand or two) before work.