Sunday, October 11, 2009

First Snowfall

Back porch - time to put the soccer ball away?
Garden:tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, greens - done; brussel sprouts and kale may still be okay
View west onto the Piedmont hills, SHT crosses that ridge(as does the Wild Duluth course)

There were rumors of snow in the forecast, but who thought accumulation was really possible on October 10th?!? Most of the snow is melted already, though roads and trails were interesting yesterday. Had plans to meet friends for breakfast and then go for my last "long run" before next weekends race. As you may be able to tell by the last photo I live on a hill and all roads lead either up or down - steeply. Mr Wildknits (he left the house at 6:00 am to go fishing = hauling nets out of Lake Superior and picking herring) reported the roads were quite slippery and advised avoiding the steeper streets out of our neighborhood ;->. Okay.... brushed and scraped the windows and ventured out. Not too slippery on my side of town, sun had done some work already, but worse on the east side - rain before the snow last night?

After breakfast and a quick stop home I headed to the Highland and Getchell trailhead to meet Leslie and run the SHT to Bayfront Park, the last 8.7 miles of the Wild Duluth course. The bowhunters were out, saw a group admiring the deer one of them had gotten that morning. Glad I was wearing bright clothing, but may want to remember that for next weekend as the course passes through a lot of areas in the city that are part of the hunt.

We opted to avoid the trail up Keene Creek at this point due to the snow, it is barely runnable when dry and with a half inch or more of snow on the rocks would be treacherous. Instead we ran Skyline Boulevard which parallels the creek on both sides and hopped onto the trail where it crosses the road. The woods were beautiful with the snow overlaying the colored leaves. The first section we ran showed evidence of other users - hunters and hikers/runners. The footing was surprisingly good, though the wooden boardwalks could be slick where the snow had melted just a bit. Saw a couple of other runners - heading in the opposite direction.

The wind was whipping but, luckily for us, out of the west so at our backs. Temperatures were in the upper 20's and it was an adventure trying to remember what layers I need. Ended up going with tights, a short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, fleece vest, windbreaker, wool hat and wool/silk mittens. The mittens came off at one point (then went back on later). I was unzipping and zipping throughout the run to manage my temperature. Overall the layers seemed right as I was comfortable for the duration of the run. During Wednesday's run I couldn't feel my toes for the first 2 miles so obviously had gotten too chilled at the start - will need to figure out how to deal with this next weekend so that I do not have to overdress at the start to keep the circulation flowing to my hands and feet.

The descent to Haines Road was a bit scary - lots of rock covered with snow and unknown traction. Made it down safely, crossed the road and headed into the Piedmont area. We were the first people to be on this section of trail and I wished I had my camera along. First footprints in the snow on a trail, maple leaves at their peak color with a snow overlay, views from the overlooks.... so much to capture!

The cold snap had resulted in a wholesale dropping of leaves from some trees. This could make things interesting next week as there are many roots and rocks on the trail. We managed well, with the only tripping I did over a rather large rock that was easy to see. We made it through the rolling hills of this section and then headed down hill towards the reservoir, along the road for a bit and then back into the woods. At this point we cross a small tree on board walk that goes under a very large willow tree. I have to duck - significantly - here to avoid hitting my head and Leslie and I discussed how fun this could be in the dark for the 100K runners.

Like much of Duluth getting downhill can involve a lot of uphill running. The section from Lincoln Park to Enger Tower involves a lot of steep little hills and a spur trail to my house. I have to make a conscious effort here not to pick up the pace in anticipation of turning down the trail and going home. Instead I remind myself there are still a few hills to climb before the descent from Enger to Bayfront. And what a descent!! Until you hit the road crossing near the M&H gas station and pedestrian overpass, it is one long descent. From then on it is paved surfaces and can feel long once you hit the flats along Railroad Street and before you reach the park.

Yesterday's run went well and helped me to cement in my head the route to the finish. Hopefully I can remember what it is like to run this section feeling strong and channel that energy next weekend!

Ragnar Baton

Leslie brought this by last night. Our team was first in our division (open women) and this is what we all received. It is 11.5" long by 1.5" in diameter and made of aluminum. Love the color! Not exactly sure what I will do with it though.

On the knitting front:
Intended to reknit the Celtic Braid Hat (BTW - figured out what all the increases were about - needed to do that to incorporate the patterns) but while cleaning out a knitting bag found another pattern I want to incorporate instead. It is reminiscent of runners and I think will make a nice border to a hat. Pictures will be forthcoming as the hat progresses. Because I made this change after I had already cast on for the hat; and because the pattern has a longer repeat than either of the celtic braid patterns; I had to rip back the knitting and do some recalculations. This all occurred while sitting at our local food co-op's annual meeting. Got this all figured out, recast on the stitches needed (twice as I had too much yarn left the first time and I am 'yarn frugal') and set to knitting back and forth on the garter stitch border. After a few rows I decided to switch colors, and then eventually used both colors in the same row. Of course I did not write down what I was doing. I think I need a secretary who sits by my side when I am designing and notes what I am doing for future reference (a knitter can dream). Materials: Plymouth Yarn Co. Happy Feet - two colorways; Sz O/2 mm needles (16 inch and double-points). Gauge: 8.625 sts/inch.

Writing this and then doing the math made me realize this hat will be 22" in diameter! Ummm - that is kind of big. Guess it is back to the drawing board - and frog pond - for me, this time with a calculator in hand and no distractions!


Wayne said...

Leaves and maybe snow covering the rocks and roots... and hunters?? Maybe I'll volunteer to help at a road crossing! :)

wildknits said...

No wussing out. It may not even snow that weekend, it is October after all... though Duluth once did receive 3 feet of snow on Halloween, but I am sure most of the accumulation was in November ;->

As for the hunters - it is a bowhunt and I have been assured that bowhunters actually have to get close to their deer/have a good look at it, before they take a 'shot'. The ones I have run into over the years have been very courteous. They also have to be at least 300 feet off of any trail. I have never had any trouble and never wear blaze orange (though I guess the Superior 25k shirt I have from 2008 would do well in this situation).

Andy sure could use volunteers though... any of the other readers care to give up a Saturday to help runners cross roads?

Jim in Big lake said...

Good luck next weekend; I just volunteered to volunteer and am now working on getting Jeff to come along, see ya on the trail!

Chris said...

I hope it's not slippery next weekend. Did you get more snow today like we did?

Jean said...

Great pictures! What a strange last few days this has been. Today in the Cities, there were times when the snow was coming down so hard that the visibility was about 1/4 mile or less!

wildknits said...

Jim, thanks for volunteering!! I told Andy I would do some arm twisting but I meant my daughter mostly ;->

Chris, we did get snow today but no accumulation that I could see. I am hoping for a touch warmer and no rain!!

Jean, wondering what happened to fall?! It was an abrupt transition... on my walk last night I kept trying to remind myself that these temps would be balmy in a couple of months. It didn't help a whole lot. ;->

SteveQ said...

I won't make it up to the race; I've got a cold (NOT H1N1!).

wildknits said...

Steve - you think a little cold would be bad for your cold?!? ;-> Understand the sentiment.

So - pretty sure I was providing direct patient care to someone with H1N1 Tuesday (in addition to all the folks who have probably already come through that I didn't know had it between here and Job B). If I get sick before/between any of my races I know who I am going after! ;->

Too bad you are not feeling well, will miss your presence!