"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!"

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!