Asters & Snow

Asters & Snow

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Night Musings

It's been a bit chilly lately and all of my cold weather running and cycling gear (stuff for single digits and lower) has been getting quite the workout. 

Last Saturday I headed out to explore the fat bike designated trails at Jay Cooke State Park. Crossing the Swinging Bridge on two wheels is interesting, though initially I was worried my handlebars were not going to fit between the hand rails. 

The route involves a lot of elevation change! Especially the Summer Trail where there are hills that are quite steep (though I always forget how tough they are until I am faced with climbing them once again). 

The route is well marked. After completing a full loop we headed out the northwest corner of the park, rode a bit up the Leimer Rd to the Alex Laveau Memorial Trail and took that north to the Munger Trail, then rode that east back into the park. Overall it made for a very nice loop with a good mix of gently rolling hills, steep climbs and fast multi-use trails. 

Fat bike trail designation signs
This week has been a step back week and as such today was a rest day. I took the opportunity to head to Mont du Lac Ski Hill to watch the NJRS race. I show up every year or two to watch a friends son compete, and to marvel at what these kids can do. It was a lovely sunny day, and when out of the wind, not too bad for standing around outside for several hours. Just ask Red:

Red Skeleton waving to the crowd
He seemed rather unaffected by the cold and had the same jaunty carefree attitude the whole day. 

I was surprised today to receive some updated photos of the Ripple Hat. It is wonderful to see a knitted creation in the wild, and obviously well-loved by it's owner. 

Ripple Hat - Pikes Peak State Park, Iowa

Currently on the needles:

Lake Superior Hiking Trail color way
Socks that are large enough I am playing yarn chicken with the end of the skein as I work towards the toe of the second sock. I anticipate having to dip into a second skein in order to finish these off. Fortunately I anticipated this and not only bought one additional skein but stashed a third as well (it is a rather pretty color way when seen in good light and is named in honor of a favorite trail system).  

4 x 2 ribbed sweater
A long neglected sweater I am designing in a lovely merino/bamboo blend lace weight yarn. I got it back out for a knitting retreat I attended last month, determined how much further I needed to knit until I reach the armhole area and ensured that it still fit (I am terrible about knitting gauge swatches, plus have lost a bit of weight since I first designed this a few years ago).

Stonecrop Stole
I was ready to work the final rows of this pattern, after completing the main body, when I discovered that either I got off on row count somewhere or there is an error in the written directions. Since the pattern has been published for some time, there is no errata that I can find, nor has anyone commented on the directions being wrong, I suspect it is knitter's error. I am currently tinking back (unknitting one stitch at a time) trying to find where I messed up. This is best done when I can devote all of my attention to the project so has been slow going. 

Yesterday I spent 2.5 hours running the SHT in Duluth. I saw a total of 4 people and 3 dogs while I was out. And the first not until I had been out an hour! It was a brisk morning, with temperatures just above zero and a light breeze out of the west. The sun was shining and the snow was doing that wonderful squeak-crunch underfoot that is only heard on really cold days. Such a wonderful day for a long run. The views over the St. Louis River Estuary and Lake Superior never get old. 

Oddly my Garmin seemed to have a bit of a glitch and, when downloaded post run, had me starting my run at least a quarter mile downhill of my house and proceeding uphill via a route that would have taken me over retaining walls, across a highway and through a dozen houses before finally syncing up with my actual route. 

I am still trying to sort out a race schedule for this year, in addition to the Superior (Sawtooth) 100 in September. Much depends on travel and family schedules so I find myself strangely uncommitted to any races in the spring and summer. 

I did sign up for a fat bike race - the Fat Forest Fourteen -  next Saturday in Grand Rapids, MN. It is  put on a by a great group of folks and held on a fun course.  I have been cycling more consistently this year so am looking forward to testing out my fitness.  

I am starting week 3 (out of an anticipated 4) of the strict elimination phase of the Low FODMAP diet, while maintaining the other food restrictions initially put in place. This week I had a mild flare of symptoms, and with Rachel's help (dietitian I am working with through Trail Transformation) we narrowed down the likely cause and adjusted dietary amounts of a couple of foods. Because we had done so much work with my diet prior to starting the elimination phase, and my options are more limited then most folks who follow a Low FODMAP diet due to allergies/known food sensitivities, we had been a bit more "free" with amounts of some foods I seemed to tolerate well then is strictly recommended. I am finding there is constant tweaking even in this stage of the experiment and am very grateful for Rachel's help. 

Note: I would strongly recommend that if anyone is thinking of trying this diet that they work closely with a dietitian who is familiar with Low FODMAPs; this is not something that should be undertaken without expert guidance. I say this as someone who came into this with a decent handle on nutrition and a medical background. It is complex sorting out what the acceptable foods and amounts are and ensuring you are getting a decent variety of nutrients.

With the longer training runs comes the need to eat mid-run and I am experimenting with new gels (some Hammer products are Low FODMAP) and foods to see what is not only palatable but provides the calories and energy needed for quality workouts. 

I do admit I am looking forward to adding foods back in, though not to a possible return of any symptoms. Fingers crossed that some favorites are NOT triggers and will once again be part of my  regular diet. 

I recently was reminded that just because a restaurant worker tells you they use, or don't use, a certain product does not mean it is true. I had a mild, limited, allergic reaction to something I ate last night from a local diner. For a brief time I was debating if I was going to actually need to use an Epi-pen for the first time on myself. Fortunately the symptoms started to subside after I stopped eating the suspect food, and over the next 1-2 hours completely resolved.

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