"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Foodie Friday

It's Friday.  There's a holiday coming up, so I decided to just have a little fun today.  This is marginally running related as I am highlighting my favorite post-race foods.

First up:  Pizza.  Chicago style or New York?  Chicago for me.

Absolutely perfect to induce a nice post-race coma on the couch :-)

Next up:  Wings.  How do you like yours?  Hot, mild, bbq?  Mild for me with a side of bleu cheese dressing.

Not exactly coma inducing, but definitely hits the spot after a hard race.

Last, but not least:  Pancakes.  What's your favorite toppings?  Mine are bananas, pecans, walnuts, peanut butter, strawberry jam, blueberries, chocolate chips and/or real maple syrup.  Not all at once, but some combination of the above.

What's your favorite post-race refueling choice?  Feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Virtual Fall Trail Tour - Final Stop

This week marks the final stop on the 2011 Virtual Fall Trail Tour.

For the final installment I ran on the White Pine Trail.  It's a rail trail that has been mostly paved.  In the summer people ride bikes, walk and run on the trail.  In the winter there are snowmobiles and cross country skiers.  The trail is 92 miles long and extends from Grand Rapids, MI at the south end to Cadillac, MI on the north end.

The trail itself is pretty flat and straight.  The railroad built it that way on purpose to make it easier for the locomotives.  I use it on days I want to log some miles, but keep the intensity down.  It's just a nice, relaxing run in the country.  Often I will see deer.  In the summer I see chipmunks, snakes, hawks, bats and owls.  Sometimes in the evening I can hear coyotes off in the distance.  That's pretty creepy and can turn an easy run into a tempo run in a hurry!

On Sunday I ran 12.5 miles.  The sky was mostly cloudy and the temp was about 32.  There was not much wind to speak of.  We'd received a light dusting of snow the night before.  By the time I went out Sunday afternoon it was getting a bit melty and slushy.

Lake Cadillac froze over Saturday night.  That ice is still mighty thin.

The trail goes ever on... (apologies to Mr. Tolkien)

Only 90 miles to go!

At the turnaround, headed back.  The other foot prints have disappeared this far away from town.  Just the one bicycle track I've been following all day.

I hope you enjoyed exploring some of the trails with me.  I certainly enjoyed doing the fieldwork.  Depending on the weather, this feature may reappear irregularly during the winter as the Winter Trail Tour.  Either way, this feature will be back next spring with some new destinations.  I'm already getting pretty excited about the 2012 Spring Trail Tour and where we'll go together.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Got Your Shopping Done?

Do you have your holiday shopping done yet?

I'm pretty close to done.  Just a couple of odds and ends to pick up.

What's on tap for everyone this weekend?

For me, 7-ish trail miles today and about 12 miles tomorrow.  No snow on the trails yet so it makes for some really nice running.  I want to take advantage of it while it lasts.  Soon enough we'll have several feet of snow on the ground and I'll be on snowshoes or the road.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week of 11/28 - 12/4

This was a fairly busy week from an overall fitness perspective.  The week before I had a nice cutback week and this week I started building miles again.  The plan is to work my base up to 40 miles per week.  This week I also started working on dropping another 10 pounds or so.

Ended up at 35 miles for the week.  Overall it was a good running week.  Hammies have been a little tender, so I've been keeping the effort easy and sticking to flat routes as much as possible.  This coming week the planned miles should be 35-37.  I'll work on doing more stretching and rolling to loosen up the quads and hammies.

On the weight control front I started using My Fitness Pal to log my food.  I like the simple interface and their database is huge.  I guessed my starting weight last Monday was about 165.  Tuesday when I weighed myself I was 163.5, so I was close on my guess.  Friday I was 160.9.  Not bad.  I want to get to 150-ish and then really learn how to maintain in 2012.

What's up with all of you?  How are the holiday preparations coming along?  Are you busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday Night Adventure

Tuesday night I went out for my normal short, easy run.  Since I run at night and it was one of the coldest nights of the season so far I really didn't expect to see anyone along my route.  Even when the weather is nice I don't normally see other people very often.  Well, Tuesday was different this week.

First I came upon a teenage girl standing in the middle of the sidewalk texting.  She didn't know I was there until I was 2 feet from her.  She jumped about 8 feet and screamed.  LOL!  It was awesome.  I think she needed clean undies.  Hopefully she learned something about situational awareness at night in parks.  Not everyone is a Ninja Runner out for lulz.

Next I came upon an older gent out walking his dogs.  No biggie.  Totally normal occurrence.  He was on the right side of the street, I was on the left.  Then suddenly he swerves over to the left DIRECTLY in front of me so I have to swerve out to the middle of the road to miss him and his giant dog.  Of course the dog immediately starts yanking on the leash and barking.  The guy yells "Hey!  Watch where you're going!".  Wha...?!  Who cut off who Mr. Cranky Pants?  Well, I briefly considered flipping the guy the bird, but thought it would be better for everyone if I just ignored him and went on my way.

What an adventure for a Tuesday night run out in the wind and cold.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall Virtual Trail Tour - North Ottawa Dunes

Welcome to another installment of the Fall Virtual Trail Tour.  This week I visited the North Ottawa Dunes county park in Ottawa County, Michigan.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  The sun was shining and the temperature was about 45 degrees.  For late November in Michigan that was fantastic.

North Ottawa Dunes consists of very old sand dunes and quite a few blowouts.  A blowout is where the wind has carved a bowl out of a sand dune.  If you zoom into the map below you can read about the dune system.  It is a pretty unique place to run.

The trail surface is sand.  The sand varied from packed as hard as concrete to the consistency of flour, but it was all sand.  These trails are not very technical in nature.  There were a few tree roots to deal with and no rocks.  This would be a really good place for the barefoot runners as the surface was nice and soft for the most part.

I ran about 8 miles which included a couple of side trips to the beach and running a little in Hoffmaster State Park to the north.  Behind the dunes there was no wind.  As I would break between the dunes or climb to the top the wind was blowing pretty hard.  I'm surprised there were no surfers in Lake Michigan.  The surf was definitely up and the lake was roaring.  The one thing I could hear the entire time was the roar of the waves from the beach.

The map

Steps going up the back of a blowout
The view from the top of the blowout.  The building below is a bath house on the beach.

Leaf covered trail behind a dune

Ferns!  In late November!

The trail snaking through the trees along the top of a dune

Crossing into the state park

Cowabunga!  Surf's Up!

I love runs that end in views like this

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Midweek Stuff

Hey everyone.  Just kind of realized I forgot to do a weekly review on Sunday.  Oops!  Sunday was kind of a crazy day at our house.

A real quick review of last week:  Weekly speed work continues to go well.  It seems to be helping the rest of my running as well.  On Sunday I did my long run on the bike path so I could stay out of the woods (it's rifle deer season right now).  Ended up fighting a cramp in my left quad and hamstring for the last 6 miles.  Not fun but it seems to be all good now.

This Friday I have some field "research" planned for another installment of the Virtual Fall Trail Tour.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I will :-)

If you are in the US, I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving!  For everyone else, have a great week!