Xylaria species

Xylaria species

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Long run - such as it is in February

I find that I do better with a training plan and so, with hopes of a 100 miler in my future, have started being a bit more disciplined about my running. Today's schedule called for 14 miles. For that matter so did last week's plan but I opted for shorter due to the temperatures and trail conditions. Today was a bit warmer, 9 F by one report, maybe up to low teens even. Sun was shining and the wind wasn't much of a factor. I opted to run an out and back on a local snowmobile trail. There are plenty of hills on this course (one takes less then 10 minutes to run down and twice as long to climb back up). We had an inch or so of snow yesterday and more earlier this week. With the warmer temps footing was a bit soft in spots. Great strength training, right? On the way back I added a few miles of single-track trails, some well used by hikers/bikers/runners others not quite so packed. I am grateful for a friend who joined me as it allowed for good conversation and a chance to catch up with each other.

Stats for today's run:
 - 14.05 miles
 - 3:02
 - 1,289 ft elevation gain
 - 1,255 calories (not sure how much credit to give that data)

I was really hungry by 12 miles despite the two gels (E-gel - 150 calories per packet) I consumed during the run and, for me, a decent breakfast of oats, apples, craisins and a bit of maple syrup, prior to the run. I finished the last two miles trying to distract myself from focusing on my grumbling stomach. As with last week I used two 5 oz flasks to carry water. The one in the left zippered pocket of my pack actually stayed quite warm. The one in my right, open, pocket was a bit cooler and starting to freeze at the valve.

Tomorrow will be a shorter run of 6-8 miles. Four will be with my daughter (she is training for a 25K trail run in May) and the rest on my own. It is predicted to be much colder, with highs below zero. I keep reminding myself when it is this cold that the sun is getting stronger and days are getting longer.

OKC

Finally got out with some of my recent knits for a photo shoot:
Mosaic Hat
I am working on polishing up this pattern for publication. Once I have it finished I will post a link. 

Mosaic Hat and Vertical Striped Mittens
I have several versions of the pattern for these mittens in draft form, yet another one I need to finalize and publish.

Vertical Striped Mittens v4

Wingspan - Northshore color way (Three Irish Girls)
 I enjoy knitting this pattern, a lot. This is my third Wingspan, first in this yarn.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Blustery Day in the Northwoods

Today's run stats:
 - starting temperature:  -6 F (windchill in the -20's*)
 - 10 miles of single-track in the Piedmont/Brewer Park area. Some sections had been well-traveled, others presented more challenging footing
 - ending temperature: 3 F (windchill in the -teens*)
*windchill is only a factor if you are exposed to the wind; parts of today's run were quite protected and with the sun out it was actually very comfortable. 

The tunnel under Haines Rd. I love that it is labeled for the hiking trail,
though serves a snowmobile and mountain bike trail as well. 

Bridge on Lollygagger, one of the trails comprising the Duluth Traverse.

We flushed a ruffed grouse from it's resting place.

Overlooking Haines Rd and a section of Fox Rocks that we had run earlier. 

Looking over the Piedmont area and out to Lake Superior.
My goal was to run 12-14 miles today or 3 hours, whichever came first. In reality I called it quits at 10 miles and 2:18. Significant portions of the trails we used today had seen little use since our snowfall earlier this week and presented soft footing. Often hiking was as fast as running. 

I did head back out in the afternoon with Mr. Wildknits for a 2 mile snowshoe - our first of this winter season. We spent an hour packing down a section of the Superior Hiking Trail above our house. A few areas were quite drifted due to the strong winds the past few days. 

I wore my new Nathan VaporShadow, not because I needed that much capacity today, but to test out the fit and ride (see the photo that won me the pack here: http://www.nathansports.com/blog/09-05-14/dancing-fog). I did stuff an additional long-sleeve jacket in just in case and carried my usual supplies of wet wipes, gels, and camera. Today, instead of a hydration bladder or water bottle I carried a couple of 5 oz gel flasks filled with water. The pack was quite comfortable and didn't move around at all. It will be good to give it a try with a bit more weight as the weather moderates and my weekend runs get longer.

OKC
I have been pretty busy knitting of late, mostly smaller items including socks, mittens, hats and another Wingspan. A sweater I designed is hibernating right now while I contemplate what type of neckline I want (leaning towards shallow v-neck).

Runner's Hat - Wild Duluth 100K Edition

Silk Mittens
In Other News
I have a new employer. It was not an easy decision to leave my former workplace as I had been involved with the organization for 21 years in one capacity or another, but the past couple of years were not good, my health was suffering because of it, and I needed to make a change. I deeply miss many of my co-workers, colleagues and patients.

I started work with my new employer on January 5th and so far things are going well. Learning a new system is always a challenge, but the basics of my job remain the same. After a month I finally feel like I am getting my feet under me and finding my place.


Back to Running
Monday marks 30 weeks until the Superior 100 (Sawtooth) race. Time to start official training! On the way I am planning on participating in the Spring Superior 50K and the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultramarathon as well as a couple of shorter road races as part of the USATF-MN Team Circuit for Northwoods Minnesota-Wisconsin.